With 10 homers last month, New York Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge tied the major-league record for newcomers — a mark set by Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies last year.
Judge and Story are different stories when it comes to baseball cards, though, as the Yankee is readily available — and has been for years — on MLB cardboard and has plenty of autographs and Rookie Cards with more on the way. (Yes, Story also had ink and prospect cards — about 40 autos — before his arrival last season, but he wasn’t a big-market, can’t-miss guy who took his time to arrive with his presence in most prospect products before that time came. That’s Judge.)
Sure, it’s a long season, but right now Judge is a runaway to win the American League Rookie of the Year award with his homer total doubling the next-closest rookie and his 20 RBI in 22 games also leading all newcomers. He’s also hitting .303 so far, which ain’t shabby as he was a career .278 hitter in the minors. And, again, collectors (and dealers) benefit from this start as he’s got plenty of cards — new and old.
Judge has his official Rookie Cards in 2017 brands and autographs in most releases — and plenty to come — but has yet to top the 1,000-card mark for his cardboard career that began back in 2013. His certified autograph total, though, is pretty impressive. He has more than 400 different signed cards with ink in 2013 Bowman Draft, Bowman Sterling, Leaf Memories, Leaf Metal Draft Leaf Trinity, Panini Prizm Perennial Draft Picks and Elite Extra Edition as the earliest options from wax in that first year. Some of those boxes are readily available, too, despite that hot start. He’s also appeared in many prospect releases since then, making him a good option for both past and present releases if someone wants to shred some wax to find ink.
Judge’s full-season arrival as a rookie on the field coinciding with the arrival of his Rookie Cards in 2017 releases — also with plenty of ink — is a plus. His wearing Yankees’ pinstripes doesn’t hurt, either. His heavily volume of past autographs doesn’t seem to be hurting his overall autograph sales on eBay where asking prices can be steep and the completed sales are near-constant — at least when those asking prices aren’t super-lofty.
Gary Sanchez autos had a similar tale last season as he arrived rather boldly in The Big Apple but Judge just seems like a player who might have even more appeal to go with all that cardboard. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s already hit homers that draw comparisons to big sluggers such as Giancarlo Stanton.
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