Everyone's gotta start somewhere. Even future legends and Hall-of-Famers were fresh-faced rookies the first time they put on that uniform. Now, I'm no card collector, and far be it from me to suggest what you should spend your hard-earned coin on, but here are some of the more interesting, unusual, valuable and all-around awesomest rookie (and not so rookie) cards floating around auctions, and sparking arguments and discussions worldwide. (And I'm sure you've got you're own opinion on ones I forgot, so let me know in the comments.)
Not for nothing, but looking at these first year shots of four of the more suspected suspects in the usage of performance enhancers, Slammin Sammy is more Skinny Sammy, Bonds' head is 4 sizes smaller, Clemens' jaw line is suspiciously softer and McGwire actually has a neck.
What, Manny's uniform was at the cleaners so they had to use his high school year book photo?
Speaking of yearbooks, Eli Manning looks like he's wearing his age on his jersey in this ridiculously unflattering Fleer card apparently designed by an Eagles fan. And Ken Griffey, Jr. looks more like a high school junior in his shot.
The Great One's card on the left went for $80k a couple of years ago. Which may explain why someone tried to pass off the fake on the right as a "rare" card from Gretzky's World Hockey Association days. (Full story here
It's not his rookie card, but you can't have a trading card conversation without mentioning the rarest, most well-known and most valuable card ever.
Hey Deion, ease up on the Soul-Glo.
Jackie Robinson made history by
breaking the color barrier and was a man of tremendous class and talent, so couldn't we get a decent picture of the guy?
They held a spot for Lindros in the New Kids on the Block should the hockey thing not work out.
Son of Cal, Sr. and brother of Cal, Jr., Bill Ripken is best known for his second year Fleer card, which had the words "fuck face" clearly handwritten on the knob. He's a ball player and a poet. (Story here
I'm guessing after these cards came out during Don Mossi's rookie year, warning labels were required to be printed on every pack.
After his one less than stellar season in the Sox minor league system, no one in MLB wanted to be like Mike.
Politicians all want to be athletes and former athletes want to be politicians. Some elected officials even get their own cards, like Winston Churchill in what was probably his rookie card, John McCain taking a big swing from Upper Deck's
Presidential Predictors set, and FreeObamaCards.com's
President Obama card, one of many collector cards of the new prez.
If your dad or grandad gave you a rookie card for any old time Hall-of-Famer, it might be time to trade it in and pay off your mortgage.
Not that this card is rare or valuable - or even interesting - I'm just required by law to include Tiger in any sports related list I write.