Something that I’m looking forward to in 2009

January 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Topps, Upper Deck | 9 Comments

One of the peculiarities of the current rules that Topps and Upper Deck have with MLB and the MLBPA is that they can’t produce cards of players until after they’ve made their major league debut (with the exception of Bowman “prospect” cards).  This means that when the card companies produce their early products each year, the rookie cards that they are allowed to include are the players who were called up to the majors at the end of the previous season, usually the September call-ups.  It wasn’t until the second half of 2008 that collectors were able to enjoy rookie cards of Jay Bruce, Evan Longoria, and others who made their debuts after the beginning of the 2008 season.  As a result, products like Topps Chrome, Topps Finest, Upper Deck SPx, and Upper Deck Spectrum really suffered.  Collectors grew tired of spending a lot of money on boxes and pulling autographs of weak rookies like Joe Koshansky, Bronson Sardinha, Rich Thompson, or Chris Seddon over and over again.  For me, the only Rays rookie in these products was Justin Ruggiano, who is really only a marginal prospect.  Unless you managed to pull Clay Buchholz or Joey Votto, you were probably going to be disappointed, and even Buchholz went on to have a bad season.

Well, the good news for collectors, and especially for me as a Tampa Bay Rays fan, is that the early products in 2009 will include rookie cards, including autograph cards, of David Price, the pitching phenom who was called up in September and made a huge impact in the playoffs and World Series.  I’ll also get to enjoy cards of Reid Brignac (a top shortstop prospect), Fernando Perez (outfielder), John Jaso (catcher), and Mitch Talbot (pitcher), all of whom were September callups in 2008.  Collecting their cards, and especially their autograph cards, will make the early 2009 sets fun for me – even if I wind up looking for their singles on eBay instead of buying packs or boxes.

There are some other big-name rookies on other teams who debuted at the end of 2008 that we can also look forward to seeing on cards in early 2009.  Among them are Travis Snider (Blue Jays), Mat Gamel (Brewers), and Michael Bowden (Red Sox).  Getting the chance to pull autographs of players like these should make collectors happier with the early 2009 sets than they were in 2008.

Other names to look out for later in the year include Matt Wieters (Orioles), Matt LaPorta (Indians), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Tommy Hanson (Braves), and Brett Anderson (A’s).  Wieters is a player who I’m really excited about.  He could easily have just as big of an impact as Evan Longoria did in 2008.  I think that it’s going to be a great battle between Wieters and Price for the 2009 American League Rookie of the Year award!



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  1. I looked at the checklists for the series 1 of both topps and upper deck yesterday to see which rookies for my team (the reds) would get cards. Unless the rookies you mentioned literally made there debuts in September, you might be disappointed. They take September call up way to litarly. Here is a example from the reds.

    September callup Josh Roenicke (9.00 era 2.67 whip 5 games 0 starts 3.0 ip) will get a card.

    Ramon A. Ramirez, who made his debut on August 30th (2.67 era 1.04 whip 5 games 4 starts 27.0 ip) will not get a card.

    Look at the checklists before you get too exited:

  2. So does this mean that if a player played in August and had their rookie cards in U & H, Stadium Club, or Heritage High, they will not have rookie cards in the 2009 sets?

    The Cardinals have some promising young players who got a taste last year. A few are in the late season products but it seems fairly random.

    Here are a few to keep an eye on:

    Chris Perez – Fireballer closer in waiting.

    Jason Motte – Converted catcher. If Perez is a fireballer Motte is an outright flame breathing dragon. He needs a second pitch, but his fast ball consistently reaches into the high 90’s and low 100’s.

    Joe Mather – 8 HR’s in 133AB’s. Big, athletic, with speed. Got hurt late but should be healthy next year.

    And here’s a sleeper for you if / when he gets healthy. Jaime Garcia has a SP rookie card in Heritage High. He had TJ surgery in September and is out in 2009. I’m guessing that means the 08 Heritage will be his only rookie card? Before he got hurt the 22 yr old lefty was penciled in as a started for the 2009 season.

    Two players I’m looking forward to seeing play this year are Colby Rasmus and Brett Wallace. If Rasmus lives up to the hype he could be really exciting to watch… if not, he could be the next JD Drew.

  3. I dream about Matt LaPorta.

  4. fa – looks like Price, Snider, Gamel, and Bowden are all in Topps Series 1 – so they’re on the right track.

    chasingmoss – I think that the card companies can use the rookie card logo until the player is no longer officially a rookie. So if a guy was called up in July or August but didn’t play enough to lose his rookie eligibility, he could still have cards with the rookie logo, but obviously the 2008 cards of that player are the true rookies. If anyone has a better understanding of the rules, feel free to comment here!

  5. Sooz – just wait about 5 years til the Indians can’t afford LaPorta – the Yankees can swoop in with a $30 million per year contract…

  6. I almost had Tommy Hanson’s auto on a 2007 Bowman Heritage Prospect’s card this summer. Instead, I watched Reid Gorecki act an ass to a couple of kids.

    I’ll send you the first (if any) D Price auto I pull this year if you’ll do the same on a LaPorta…lol.

  7. I’ve never been as excited about a baseball card season as I am for 2009. The Phillies are the obvious reason – they will finally get some love from the card companies. The other reason is after the last two years of getting back in the hobby, I believe I now know enough about modern day collecting where I can make better decisions about what to collect and what to stay away from. I will start with the Topps Flagship and work from there! BRING IT ON!!!

  8. If Topps hets it right, the 2009 Finest autos should be HUGE!! I can’t wait to see the checklist as we should get, Longo, Price, Samardzija, et al.

    PLEASE don’t screw the pooch on this one Topps!!

  9. JV – sounds like a deal!

    Jawdy – I totally agree with you. I feel like I’m ready to make much better decisions about what I buy in 2009 now that I have a year of 2008 experience under my belt. And the Rays should get a lot more “love” from the card companies too! Price could be even more huge in the hobby than Longoria was in 2008.

    Charlie – I agree with you. I was thinking about Finest more than any other brand when I wrote this post. Finest should be much, much better in 2009 with the rookie autographs.

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