Sunday, September 03, 2006

Rookie card dilema not new

2006 marks the year in which a new standard for rookie cards has been issue between the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and Topps/Upper Deck. The new rule states that a player must play in the major league before a card can be issued a rookie card; you can read the official statement here.
I'm in favor of the new rule with the MLBPA which I think is fair to both the players and the collectors. Before the card companies would print "rookie cards" for guys in the minor leagues and some of those guys never made it to the professional level. But right now we are a limbo state with some cards stating rookie cards for guys back in 2004 (which were in the minor leagues) but now starting in the major league has a new official "rookie card", creating multiple year rookie cards for some players. So I have seen some people complaining that it is not a smooth transition from the old system to the new. I agree that it is not a smooth transition, but nothing is smooth when you take a broken system and stop it cold and correct the matter. This mandate needs to be done, and the future of cards will be better for it. But this limbo state is not new, as I was sorting some cards tonight during the Tiger - Angels game I noticed something. Mark McQwire has a multi-year rookie card and I'm not talking about his 1985 Topps Olympic card. Look at the 1987 Donruss card and notice it is his rookie card and then in 1988 Topps rates him as an All-Star Rookie, but Topps already printed him a regular card in 1987. So was Mark McQwire a rookie for two years? I'm glad for the new system.
* Sorry about the poor scans of the cards I stole them from the web.

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