Cards to Collect
As baseball’s undisputed best player, Shohei Ohtani found himself in high demand as he entered free agency in 2023. After a relatively quiet yet attention-grabbing search, the two-time MVP and 29-year-old sensation bid farewell to Orange County, opting to relocate just an hour north to Los Angeles, leaving the Angels for the perennial powerhouse and World Series contender, the Dodgers. Ohtani’s groundbreaking 10-year, $700 million deal now stands as the largest contract in North American professional sports history. It’s no surprise that a deep-pocketed organization like the Dodgers would take such a monumental risk on a player who consistently contends for both the Cy Young and MVP awards year after year. So, to celebrate Ohtani’s remarkable success and this historic moment, let’s take a closer look at his journey to Los Angeles through a set of trading cards.
2013 BBM HOKKAIDO (NPB ROOKIE CARD) Shohei Ohtani
The 2013 BBM HOKKAIDO (NPB ROOKIE CARD) Shohei Ohtani holds a unique distinction as the very first Ohtani autographed card ever produced in history. This card was exclusively released in the Japanese market, making it incredibly rare and challenging to find. Yet, it’s a highly coveted collector’s item, not only because it’s the inaugural Ohtani autograph but also due to the fact that the Dodgers’ newest signee has already inserted his name among baseball’s legends. Happy Hunting!
2017 Bowman Mega Box Prospects #BCP31 Shohei Otani
The 2017 Bowman Mega Box featuring Shohei Ohtani (or Otani as it’s spelled on the cards) is the Japanese-born baller’s first American card. These cards were exclusively found in special Target boxes, including five regular 2017 Bowman packs and two unique Mega Box Chrome packs with distinct patterned versions of Prospect cards. Ohtani’s absence from the initial 2017 Bowman Prospects lineup was a surprise, attributed to his initial plans to play for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic, which were disrupted by an injury. This card quickly became highly sought after for being Ohtani’s first American card and how hard it’s been to find.
2017 MLB TOPPS NOW® Off-Season #OS-80 Shohei Ohtani
Topps wasted no time embracing the Ohtani phenomenon, releasing his first card in an Angels jersey, the 2017 MLB Topps Now® Off-Season #OS-80 Shohei Ohtani. This card was made available on the Topps website for a limited 24-hour period, drawing an enthusiastic response from fans who flocked to the site. The card set a then-record for Topps Now, with 17,323 orders placed and cards printed to meet the demand.
2018 MLB TOPPS NOW® #ST-4 Shohei Ohtani RC
Some consider this to be the earliest Ohtani card with an ‘RC’ (Rookie Card) designation, although this can’t be definitively confirmed. What we do know is that it sold exceptionally well, and just two days after the release of the pitching version mentioned above, a hitting version of this card became available.
2018 Topps Opening Day #200 Shohei Ohtani RC
Ahhh, another first. The 2018 Topps Opening Day #200 Shohei Ohtani RC happens to be the first Ohtani RC found in traditional packs. Though the print run is plentiful and this can easily be located, it still has the distinction as No. 1. in its lane. That in itself makes it worth the chase.
Shohei Ohtani’s First Dodgers Card & More Pt. 2
See Shohei Ohtani’s first Dodgers card and more