Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card Guide and Other Key MLB Cards


Heading into the 2018 season, there’s plenty of attention surrounding the Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card and autograph lineup.

He’s one of the most hyped players to arrive in the majors in some time. Ohtani also arrives with a large fanbase thanks to his years as a superstar in Japan beforehand. So collectors in Japan are already very familiar with Shohei Ohtani cards.

2018 Bowman Chrome Shohei Ohtani Superfractor Autograph John Muheim Card C

Now it’s time for major league cards.

By the time his rookie season with the Los Angeles Angels comes to a close, collectors will have a lot of Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards, inserts and autographs to choose from.

Here is where you will find a detailed Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card breakdown as well as highlights of other cards. We’ll be updating lots in the months ahead as new sets come out and more Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards are released.

Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card Guide and Where to Find Them

The Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards are listed alphabetically. The ones in this section are limited to those with the ‘RC’ designation in the Beckett Baseball Card Database and Price Guide. Inserts and parallels are not included.

2018 Bowman Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #49

The regular Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card in 2018 Bowman Baseball is a fairly straightforward affair. It’s simple, doesn’t draw attention to itself and is readily available. So in the big picture, it’s going to be one of the more affordable choices out there. The parallels bring some color and added scarcity. But the big interest in the set comes from the Bowman Chrome Shohei Ohtani autograph that’s found in packs. It’s an insert and not a traditional RC, but that hasn’t stopped it from going for thousands early on and even tens of thousands for some of the rarest Refractors. The one-of-one Superfractor Autograph fueled a lot of buzz throughout the hobby and beyond. It was found in June by a California collector.

Parallels: Sky Blue (/499), Purple (/250), Blue (/150), Green (/99), Gold (/50), Orange (/25), Red (/5), Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2018 Bowman Shohei Ohtani RC

2018 Bowman Platinum Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #34

The 2018 Bowman Platinum Shohei Ohtani is one of the Angels star’s wilder looking Rookie Cards. Besides the colorful graphics dancing in the background, the card comes printed on foil. It’s not a scarce card but the product was an exclusive to Walmart. Like many of Ohtani’s 2018 cards, there’s a variation short print where he’s pictured carrying a bag.

Parallels: Ice, Sky Blue, Purple (/299), Blue (/150), Green (/99), Orange (/25), Red (/10), Foilfractor (1/1)

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2018 Bowman Platinum Baseball Shohei Ohtani RC

2018 Diamond Kings Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards #73 and 76

2018 Diamond Kings has a pair of Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards in the base set, one with him pitching and the other with him batting. Neither is a short print or part of a subset so both get the RC tag and are held on equal footing as far as value goes. Diamond Kings takes an artistic approach with both the images and the canvas-style stock the cards are printed on.

In addition to a full slate of parallels, both cards have four different variations in the set. And those have parallels too.

Parallels: Artist Proof Red, Blue Frame, Red Frame, Artist Proof Gold (/99), Gray Frame (/99), Brown Frame (/49), Artist Proof Blue (/25), Green Frame (/5), Artist Proof Masterpiece (1/1), Black Frame (1/1)

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2018 Diamond Kings Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards

2018 Donruss Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #281

You’re not going to pull the 2018 Donruss Shohei Ohtani Rated Rookie from packs you find at the store. That’s because it’s exclusive to wrapper redemption packs. Packs were available in exchange for 24 empty wrappers, the equivalent to a hobby box. So it wasn’t hard, although supplies were somewhat limited. In each pack was three cards, one Ohtani, one Gleyber Torres and one Ronald Acuna. While there are no parallels, a variation is available with Ohtani’s name written in Japanese.

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2018 Donruss Shohei Ohtani RC

2018 Finest Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #100

The 2018 Finest Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card isn’t a complicated card. Nor should it be overly expense. But it is shiny. For those who like a little more pop, Finest also comes with a more vibrant design than comparable sets like Bowman Chrome. The chase for his base card is likely to come more with the rarer Refractor parallels. Ohtani also has an autograph — including a Superfractor — in the product that carries a similar design and on-card signature.

Parallels: Refractors, Purple Refractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Green Refractors (/99), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5), Superfractors (1/1)

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2018 Topps Finest Shohei Ohtani RC

2018 Stadium Club Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #138

2018 Stadium Club focuses on photography. Let’s face it, there’s isn’t a lot that’s action-packed about a microphone, a podium and a press conference. And as far as photo selection goes, it’s similar to what was used for Ohtani’s Opening Day Rookie Card and his debut Topps Now card. Chances are, when the set entered its production phase, there wasn’t a lot to choose from. There is a slightly more action-oriented pitching version of the card that’s among Stadium Club’s variations.

Parallels: Black Foil, Black and White Orange Foil, Members Only, Photographer’s Proof, Red Foil, Rainbow Foil (/25), First Day Issue (10 copies), Gold Rainbow Foil (1/1)

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2018 Stadium Club Shohei Ohtani RC

2018 Topps Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #700

Found in 2018 Topps Series 2 packs, this represents Ohtani’s flagship Rookie Card. It’s not hard to come by and it’s not overly expensive. That said, the second series does appear to have a smaller print run than Series 1. Topps Baseball is the line that a lot of collectors look to, both active and casual in the hobby. There’s history. There’s continuity. Along with the regular version there are a couple of variation short prints. Retail factory sets have yet another version of the card as part of a series of five bonus Rookie Variations.

Parallels: All-Star Factory Set, Black and White Negative, Rainbow Foil, Gold (/2018), Factory Set Sparkle Foil (/190), Vintage Stock (/99), Independence Day (/76), Black (/67), Father’s Day Blue (/50), Mother’s Day Pink (/50), Clear (/10), Platinum (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2018 Topps Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card

2018 Topps Big League Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #141

2018 Topps Big League marks the debut for the entry-level brand. That means a lower-than-average price point and wide availability. It also means a card that probably won’t be worth a lot compared to many of Ohtani’s other 2018 releases.

Parallels: Gold, Rainbow Foil (/100), Black and White (/50), Red Foil (1/1)

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2018 Topps Big League Shohei Ohtani

2018 Topps Gypsy Queen Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #89

2018 Topps Gypsy Queen Baseball brings the second Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card to the table. It’s got an old-time look about it, albeit with a more modern approach to color. Not a short print, there are plenty out there. When it comes to parallels, there are several. However, some are a little more stealth than others and might require a slightly closer look. The product also has an Ohtani autograph.

Parallels: Bazooka Back, Green, GQ Logo Swap, Missing Blackplate, Missing Nameplate, Indigo (/250), Black and White (/50), Red (/10), Black (1/1)

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2018 Topps Gypsy Queen Shohei Ohtani RC

2018 Topps Museum Collection Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #100

The 2018 Topps Museum Collection Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card has a lot of elegance surrounding it. And while it’s high-end in its construction and the product’s price point, it’s not numbered. It commands a premium over some of Ohtani’s other Rookies but not with the same ratio of what you’d average spending opening one pack or mini box at a time.

Parallels: Copper, Sapphire (/150), Amethyst (/99), Ruby (/50), Emerald (1/1)

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2018 Topps Museum Collection Shohei Ohtani

2018 Topps Opening Day Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card #200

The first traditional Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card is likely to end up as one of the most affordable. 2018 Topps Opening Day Baseball is an entry-level release that comes with cheap packs and a no-frills base set. Usually in the modern era players make their MLB debut before appearing in a MLB base set. This is a notable exception, releasing a few weeks before the start of the 2018 season.

Parallels: Purple, Opening Day Edition (/2018), Opening Day 1/1 Edition (1/1), Printing Plates Black (1/1), Printing Plates Cyan (1/1), Printing Plates Magenta (1/1), Printing Plates Yellow (1/1)

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2018 Topps Opening Day Shohei Ohtani RC

Early Shohei Ohtani Cards of Note

Looking for other early Shohei Ohtani cards? Here’s what came out before and around his MLB debut. This is not a complete list of cards. Rather, it’s some of the more popular or notable Shohei Ohtani cards. A full Shohei Ohtani checklist can be found in the Beckett Baseball Card Database and Price Guide.

2017 Bowman Mega Box Prospects Shohei Otani #BCP31

The first American Shohei Ohtani card showed up as something of a surprise. Then it seemed to have disappeared from shelves before reappearing once again. The 2017 Bowman Mega Box Shohei Ohtani (or Otani as the card has him) could only be found in special boxes at Target. These mixed five regular 2017 Bowman packs with a pair of exclusive Mega Box Chrome packs with their own patterned versions of the Prospect cards.

Part of the reason for the surprise was that Ohtani wasn’t among the 2017 Bowman Prospects. He was going to represent Japan at the World Baseball Classic but an injury kept him out of the tournament. A couple of international players did get Bowman cards in the main release. Ohtani was added only to the Bowman Mega Boxes. A similar Team Japan card was not in 2017 Bowman Chrome or Bowman Draft.

This card has proven to be extremely popular. Not only was it the first to market but the abnormal distribution added to it. Ohtani has international appeal. Japan does have hobby channels, but overseas collectors would have to look to the secondary market to get one of these.

Because it’s his first American card, some collectors treat this as a Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card. Others point to other Bowman Prospect cards and how they’re more like inserts. Either way, this has been a popular card since its release.

Parallels: Purple Refractors (/250), Green Refractors (/99), Orange Refractors (/25), Black Refractors (1/1)

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2017 Bowman Mega Box Shohei Otani

2017 Topps Now Off-Season Shohei Ohtani #OS-80

The first Shohei Ohtani card with him in an Angels uniform came as part of the print-on-demand 2017 Topps Now Off-Season set. Originally available on the card maker’s website for 24 hours, only the copies that were ordered were printed.

That ended up being 17,323 copies.

It set a new record for a Topps Now card.

As one can imagine, there’s no shortage of them out there. It has also kept prices in line with what they were originally sold for as singles. Barring huge numbers from Ohtani, this looks to be a card that’s more about history that it is about value.

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2017 Topps Now Offseason OS-80 Shohei Ohtani

2018 Donruss Whammy! Shohei Ohtani #W2

The 2018 Donruss Whammy! Shohei Ohtani isn’t your usual insert. It’s a throwback to those caricature shirts you’d find in the early ’90s. The illustrations make them unique and the spotted foil backdrop helps put it over the top that much more.

Another factor with this particular set is that they’re some of the toughest inserts in the product, adding rarity to the mix.

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2018 Topps Angels Team Set Shohei Ohtani #A-17

For those looking for a reasonably priced early Shohei Ohtani card, this might be one of the easier options. It’s part of the pre-packaged 2018 Topps Angels Team Set. These come in blister packs and are available at both retail and hobby. Normally at retail, the local teams are most plentiful. But with the interest in Shohei Ohtani cards, it’s possible it could see wider distribution. They’re also available to card shops.

It also offers a glimpse at what the eventual 2018 Topps Shohei Ohtani Rookie Card could look like. The team set cards adopt the flagship design, although the numbering on the back is different and sometimes the photos change.

2018 Topps Heritage Action Image Variation Shohei Ohtani #17

The first traditional, pack-inserted MLB Shohei Ohtani cards are in 2018 Topps Heritage. This card is a variation of the base set, an alternate card of sorts. Part of the Action Image Variation checklist, it’s only available in hobby packs. These aren’t the rarest variations in the product, however they’re still short prints versus regular base cards.

Ohtani is also one of 11 Angels players included on a 2018 Topps Heritage 1969 Poster boxloader. Each poster has 50 copies.

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2018 Topps Heritage Shohei Ohtani Action Image Variation

2018 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs Shohei Ohtani #ROA-SO

Several Shohei Ohtani autographs are on the way. Topps, Panini and Leaf all have him slated for various products releasing in the early part of 2018. The first to arrive is in 2018 Topps Heritage as part of the Real One Autographs set.

Signed on-card, it’s based on the 1969 Topps Baseball design. Traditionally, Heritage’s Real One Autographs are popular for big names. Expect this one to take that to an extreme. The combination of Ohtani, his international appeal, Heritage’s built-in and passionate audience and the fact that it’s first should be an early-season perfect storm.

Parallels: Red (/69)

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2018 Topps Living Set Shohei Ohtani #7

The Topps Living Set is one that’s intended to go on indefinitely. We’re talking years. And a key part of it is that a player only appears once on the checklist unless they change teams. Available through the Topps website, the Topps Living Set Shohei Ohtani came early, in just the third week of the set’s existence. Sold for a week through the Topps website, its production run of 20,966 copies is based on the number ordered.

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2018 Topps Now Shohei Ohtani

It’s safe to say that there are probably going to be a lot of 2018 Topps Now Shohei Ohtani cards. These capture big moments within hours of them occurring. Available on the Topps website for just 24 hours, these are more print-on-demand cards.

Topps is doing some a little different with Ohtani. The plan is for all of his cards to have both English and Japanese versions. Each much be purchased individually.

Ohtani also has autographs in the line as well, the first two of which sold out very quickly.

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2018 Topps Now Road to Opening Day Shohei Ohtani

As Spring Training kicked off, Topps released a series of team sets focusing on the earliest parts of the season. Ohtani appears twice in the Angels team set, one on a solo card and a second alongside Mike Trout. Like other Topps Now sets, these team sets are printed to order after the sales window closes. They’re available on the Topps website for the duration of Spring Training.

The Angels also have an upgrade version of the team set that includes an autograph. Ohtani is one of four players available for Los Angeles. Although there’s no guarantee which signature you’ll get, those that order two Angels autograph sets are guaranteed to get either an Ohtani or a Trout autograph.

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2018 Topps Now Road to Opening Day Shohei Ohtani

2018 Topps Now Spring Training Shohei Ohtani

Following his first official MLB pitching appearance in Spring Training, Topps quickly got Ohtani into Topps Now (#ST-4). Similar to his signing card, it was available for just 24 hours. While the print run didn’t quite reach the same heights as the first one, it still sold 11,384 copies. This makes it another one of the most ordered Topps Now cards to date.

A couple of days later, another card was made for Ohtani’s first Spring Training at bats (#ST-7). It sold 6,842 copies.

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  1. Set Builder 24 February, 2018 at 21:05

    Why would anyone want a photo-shopped image for a rookie card? The Topps Team Set and Heritage Auto cards are obviously photo-shopped. I realize Topps is just giving people what they want, a card of Ohtani in an Angels uniform. I hate to bring anybody back to reality, but a production card of Ohtani in full uniform is not a real picture, especially one depicting him in a game. I wonder how quickly I could search the internet and find the real image, from a game in Japan, used for the Team Set card. Photo-shopped images are cheap and cheesy. I have considered making a collection of photo-shopped cards, because there are a lot of them. I have never started one, because they are cheap and silly.

  2. Set Builder 24 February, 2018 at 21:19

    It took me less than 30 seconds to find the real image. The real image for the Angels Team Set card was featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article. Cheap, just cheap.

    • Ryan Cracknell 1 March, 2018 at 08:43

      @”Set Builder” — Air brushing has been used in the hobby for decades.

  3. david d 12 March, 2018 at 22:51

    I have been collecting for 55 years, have over 9 million cards, and I believe that air brushing has its place in the hobby yesterday, and still today!

  4. chris 25 March, 2018 at 23:50

    This guy is so far a major bust with prices on his cards taking a major dive in the past week. I’m so glad I dumped my one and only short print “rookie” card for a huge sum two weeks ago. Nothing like media hype based on unrealistic expectations. I’ll take my chances on real deals such as Mike Trout and Aaron Judge any day over wild speculation on overhyped “talent,” never mind the fake images and pointless parallels.

    • Ryan Cracknell 26 March, 2018 at 01:23

      @chris — Yes, it has been a rough spring. Also contributing — he now has several cards, autographed and otherwise, so the shine of something new is wearing off quickly. Collect what you enjoy and it’s hard to go wrong. At the same time, isn’t writing someone off completely before they’ve had a chance to play an official game kind of the same thing as “media hype based on unrealistic expectations” but on the other extreme?

  5. Tim 5 April, 2018 at 15:54

    @Chris – lots of foresight in dumping a RC of the most hyped Asian player in years, before the season. He is off to a terrible start…

  6. Patrick 5 April, 2018 at 20:08

    Hope you guys know most, if not all, of the precious Bowman Draft cards are photo-shopped.

  7. Jchag67 11 April, 2018 at 08:35

    Haha I bet Chris is still glad he dumped his rookie card in early March just because of a poor spring training…..

  8. Nick 14 April, 2018 at 23:23

    Ohtani card is so sweet and he is killing … where’s Chris ? I’d like to buy some cards from him :)

  9. Burt 3 May, 2018 at 12:46

    I have another card to add to this list – a parallel from 2018 Topps Opening Day. There are exclusive purple foil parallels at Meijer stores via 3-pack cardboard hangers. Possibly only at Meijer??? I have seen them there (only) for over a month now and 100% there are Ohtani purple foil RC parallels. I have 3 of them and Ebay has been selling them for a while – a few of which have sold between $200-300… I am guessing Topps had to hold back all of the Toys R Us Purples due to the store closings, re-packaged them with new “generic” non-Toys R Us packaging and gave them to Meijer stores. This probably took a few weeks which would explain why they started surfacing roughly a month after Opening Day officially released.

  10. robert Leslie 5 May, 2018 at 09:44

    I don’t get it !!!!! his true rookie card is 2013 I know I have some and they say “Rookie” Just because he is now playing in America does not make him a rookie! If Cristiano Ronaldo started playing in America would that make him a Rookie? Also Leaf and Donruss don’t eaven have MLB license for cards, they get by showing no logos in pictures on card. All said 2013 is rookie card harder to come by because they didn’t flood the market, 5000 bowman chrome Shohie Ohtani produced not very rare.

    • Ryan Cracknell 7 May, 2018 at 12:56

      @robert — His 2013 cards are from Japan and aren’t generally considered to be Rookie Cards in the MLB sense. That doesn’t discount them in any regard whatsoever, though. It was the same with Ichiro when he came over here. Personally, I tracked down Ichiro’s 1993 BBM card and it’s one of my favorites. If you’re collecting what you love, tags and labels shouldn’t matter much.

  11. Josh 5 May, 2018 at 09:56

    Bought first blaster today and got an Ohtani base and an Acuna chrome. Very pleased

  12. Burt 7 May, 2018 at 14:04

    Nevermind, 2018 Topps Opening Day Purple Foil Parallel Ohtani Rookies currently selling between $200-300 don’t exist. It’s just a rumor, those cards being sold must be photoshopped.

    • Ryan Cracknell 10 May, 2018 at 20:36

      @Burt — They do exist. Did some research and they’re three per specially marked blister pack. Not sure if they’re exclusive to anywhere or not. Definitely don’t appear to be that common. I’ve notified the database team. Thanks for the heads up!

  13. robert Leslie 26 May, 2018 at 10:20

    I stand by my commit earlier ,,,,, Qhtani in 2013 signed a professional contract to play baseball in Japan, till 2018 and comes to America and is now a rookie ? His rookie cards “Japan” are harder to get and a hole lot rarer and still bring a premium prices !

  14. Josh Hazen 5 June, 2018 at 18:00

    Robert you do realize that he’s not the first player to have played in Japan and then come to the United States to play correct. All other players that have played in different countries and then come to Major League Baseball are considered rookies the president was not set by Shohei Ohtani.

    Per the official rules of Major League Baseball
    Determining rookie status:
    “A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).”

  15. Joseph 13 July, 2018 at 22:36

    @robert Have you ever considered the fact that Steve Young, Jim Kelly, and numerous other former NFL players had rookie cards available when they were in the USFL and then also had rookie cards when they joined the NFL? Not to mention all of the NBA stars like Ricky Rubio, Dirk Nowitzki, and Arvedas Sabonis that previously played in Europe. Different leagues means different rookies for each league. It just makes sense.

  16. mike inman 10 August, 2018 at 02:55

    I was just curious if anyone knows if these figurines are worth anything or not. Tje detail is very cool. Its actually incredible. I have nolan ryan

    • Ryan Cracknell 13 August, 2018 at 12:40

      @mike – What figures are you referring to? This is an article about Shohei Ohtani cards.

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