One classic rookie card for each team

From Kaline to Wander

June 10th, 2021

Perhaps no type of baseball card is more coveted than a rookie card. We think of the first card in the 1989 Upper Deck set, for example, the iconic Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. Or we think of the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, one of the most valuable sports collectibles on the planet. Here's a look at a classic rookie card for each team:

American League East

Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio, 2020 Topps Relic

To have a rookie card of a star player is one thing. To have a piece of a baseball used in his MLB debut game is quite another. More >

Orioles: Manny Machado, 2010 Bowman

Manny making one of his patented sidearm throws and a "1st Bowman Card" label in the top-left corner. Doesn't get much better than that. More >

Rays: Wander Franco, 2020 Bowman Chrome

It's never too early for a Wander Franco rookie card -- especially an autographed one. More >

Red Sox: Carlton Fisk, Cecil Cooper and Mike Garman, 1972 Topps

A Fisk rookie card is a cherished item for any Sox fan, and here, there's a bonus -- Cooper and Garman are there, too, representing a great cross section of Boston's young talent in the early 1970s. More >

Yankees: Bobby Murcer and Stan Bahnsen, 1967 Topps

A five-time All-Star alongside the 1968 AL Rookie of the Year? Not a bad combo for a rookie card. More >

AL Central

Indians: Jim Thome, 1991 Bowman

What better rookie card to own if you're a Cleveland fan than that of the man who hit the most home runs in franchise history? More >

Royals: George Brett, 1975 Topps

If there's any player whose rookie card is most coveted by Royals fans, it's Brett. And in a powder-blue K.C. uniform? In his batting stance? At age 22? Yes, please. More >

Tigers: Al Kaline, 1954 Topps

This card puts the "classic" in "classic rookie card." From the old Tigers logo to the signature scrawled across the front, what a beauty. More >

Twins: Johan Santana, 2000 Fleer Tradition

This is a great throwback card, going with the headshot and inlaid action shot of the player. And with the faded red background, this is a gem. More >

White Sox: Minnie Miñoso, 1952 Topps

The old flying sock logo by itself makes this a tremendous card. Then add one of the greatest Cuban players in MLB history, and you've got yourself one amazing rookie card. More >

AL West

Angels: Mike Trout, 2011 Topps

Who else could it be? Some of Trout's rookie cards have gone for millions of dollars in recent auctions. This one has Trout hitting during his MLB debut, and as a happy coincidence, the debut came on the day the club was celebrating its 50th anniversary with throwback "California" uniforms. More >

Astros: Jeff Bagwell, 1991 Topps Traded

Recognize this guy? No goatee. Rainbow Astros uniform. It's Bagwell, alright, at the start of a Hall of Fame career. More >

Athletics: Reggie Jackson, 1969 Topps

Talk about a baby-faced future star. Reggie, who we're used to seeing in his trademark glasses-mustache-afro look, was embarking on a Hall of Fame career in which he would earn one of the most iconic nicknames in the game's history. More >

Mariners: Ichiro Suzuki, 2001 Topps

Ichiro's rookie campaign was one of the finest ever produced, worthy of not only an AL Rookie of the Year Award, but the AL MVP Award as well. This card has a special 50th anniversary foil stamp on it to celebrate Topps' half-century of bringing us trading cards. More >

Rangers: Ruben Sierra, 1986 Donruss

Donruss had the "Rated Rookie" label, but it also had "The Rookies," as on this Sierra card. The confident smile on Sierra's face here portends a career that would feature more than 2,000 hits and 300 homers. More >

National League East

Braves: David Justice, 1990 Topps

Justice would become one of the key members of a Braves club that ruled the NL in the 1990s, hitting arguably the biggest home run in the franchise's Atlanta history in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series. Here we have a card marking the exact date when his MLB journey began. More >

Marlins: Dontrelle Willis, 2003 Topps

D-Train before he was D-train, in the year he would help the Marlins win the second World Series title in franchise history. Gotta love it. More >

Mets: Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman, 1968 Topps

Look at that baby face on Ryan. It's not often you get a glimpse of Ryan in the earliest years of his career since he pitched in parts of four decades. And Koosman's inclusion is perfect given he would help the "Miracle Mets" win it all in 1969. More >

Nationals: Andres Galarraga, 1986 Leaf

Wow, there are so many things that stand out about this card -- the incredible Expos uniform, the "Big Cat," the determined look of a rookie planning on becoming a star. More >

Phillies: Rick Wise and Dave Bennett, 1964 Topps

The only guy who ever pitched a no-hitter and hit two homers in the same game, along with a guy who made one career MLB appearance. You don't see many rookie cards like this one. More >

NL Central

Brewers: Robin Yount, 1975 Topps

A great photo of a 19-year-old future Hall of Famer in his defensive position. A bold card, both in font and color, as well as a printed signature across the front. More >

Cardinals: Albert Pujols, 2002 Topps

As Pujols nears the end of one of the greatest careers of any slugger in MLB history, here's a great reminder of where it all began -- a 2001 rookie season in which he hit an incredible .329/.403/.610 with 37 homers. More >

Cubs: Ron Santo, 1961 Topps

How cool is this card, particularly with the "Topps 1960 All-Star Rookie" trophy decal next to Santo in his hitting stance? More >

Pirates: Willie Stargell, 1963 Topps Rookie Stars

It's always cool to see cards of "rookie stars" when there's clearly one guy on there who ended up having a tremendous career, while the others ended up being little-known players. More >

Reds: Joey Votto, 2002 Bowman Chrome Draft

An appropriately contemplative look on Votto's face before he became known as one of the smartest hitters in the game. More >

NL West

D-backs: Brandon Webb, 2003 Topps Traded

Webb, who would win the NL Cy Young Award in 2006, is seen here in the classic cut-off/pinstriped "Arizona" uniform with purple lettering. That by itself makes this an amazing piece of memorabilia. It's nice to have a great pitcher on there, too, though. More >

Dodgers: Adrián Beltré, 1997 Bowman Chrome

Beltré wouldn't become a consistent star until he moved on to other teams, but it all began in a Dodgers uniform for the future Hall of Famer. And it's interesting that he looks almost exactly the same now as he did in 1997. More >

Giants: Willie McCovey, 1960 Topps

These days, we see a lot of cards acknowledging awards players won the prior year. But back in McCovey's day, it was rare to see, and this is a pretty great commemoration of his 1959 NL Rookie of the Year Award. More >

Padres: David and Ryan Weathers, 1991 Topps and 2018 Bowman Draft

A father-son rookie card combo? Whoa. And be honest: If the names weren't on the cards, there's no way you'd know which was which, right? More >

Rockies: Todd Helton, 1993 Topps Traded

Helton with a metal bat in hand and "USA" across his chest? Sign us up. More >