Korean MLB Players

Top Korean Players Cards to Collect

Date: Mar 19, 2024
Topics: Baseball, Korea, Rookie Cards
Length: 587 Words
Reading Time: ~3 Minutes

As Major League Baseball continues to develop into an increasingly international sport, the rise of Korean players has become an important part of the modern era. Before the start of the 2024 season, 27 players from South Korea had already made their mark on the league, captivating audiences with their skill and passion for the game. With even more Korean talents making waves in the MLB, the market for their rookie cards has exploded, underscoring the global appeal and reach of America’s national pastime. With the MLB starting its season in Korea this week, we dropped our list of the top Rookie Cards and more from Korean MLB players.


Top Cards


Top Korean-Born Cards

1994 Topps Finest #426 Chan Ho Park RC

The 1994 Topps Finest #426 Chan Ho Park card marks the rookie card debut of Chan Ho Park, the first Korean-born player to ever grace Major League Baseball. Park’s debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994 not only marked a milestone for the team but also broke barriers for Korean players globally. Throughout his illustrious career, Park amassed impressive accolades, including an All-Star selection in 2001 and a career win-loss record of 124-98 over 17 seasons in the MLB.

Top Korean-Born Cards

2005 Topps Update #UH204 Shin-Soo Choo RC

The pride of Busan, South Korea, Choo logged his first Major League at-bat in 2005 with Seattle. He went on to play for three other franchises — Cleveland, Cincinnati and Texas — and become the greatest Korean-born hitter in MLB history. As of 2020, his last year in The Bigs, Choo is the only Korean-born player to top 1,000 career hits and leads his countrymen in homers (218) and RBIs (781). A fantastic career from the “Korean Kid.”

Top Korean-Born Cards

2013 Bowman Chrome #154 Hyun-Jin Ryu RC

Like Chan Ho Park, Ryu started his career in Los Angeles and enjoyed several dominant campaigns. The lefty hurler commenced his time in The Bigs with two consecutive 14-win seasons and finished his career behind Park for most wins by a Korean-born player (78). In 2024, Ryu returned to his native Korea and signed the biggest contract in KBO history with his former team, the Hanwha Eagles.

Top Korean-Born Cards

2023 MLB TOPPS NOW┬« #OS24 Jung Hoo Lee

Lee, also known as the “Grandson of Wind” and son of KBO legend Jong Beom Lee, makes his way to The Bay after sealing the richest deal ever for an Asian-born hitter entering the Majors: a six-year, $113 million contract. Lee’s journey to the States follows his transition from high school to the KBO, where he batted over .300 each season and earned the league’s MVP honors in 2022. To be quite frank, Lee’s ascent to stardom seems like just a matter of time, which adds to his appeal and inclusion in Topps Now. Watch out for this South Korean sensation as he takes the MLB by storm!

Top Korean-Born Cards

2021 Topps Chrome Update #USC-12 Ha-Seong Kim RC

The Bucheon, South Korea-born Kim enters his fourth year in The Bigs and has already totaled two campaigns with at least 10 homers and 55 RBIs (2022 and 2023). Last season, the infielder totaled a career-high 38 stolen bases and earned his first Gold Glove. We’re looking at what could be a future All-Star.

Top Korean-Born Cards

2023 Topps Series 2 #491 Ji Hwan Bae RC

Bae made Big League appearances in 2022 and 2023. In 2024, the South Korean export looks to make the Pirates’ Opening Day roster. With a retooled swing and the tools to impact Pittsburgh’s winning chances as a fielder, there’s a good chance his wish may come true. Be on the lookout.


More Cards to Collect


Related

Hank Aaron RC & More, Pt. 2
Apr 8, 2024
Hank Aaron RC & More, Pt. 1
Apr 8, 2024
Albert Pujols RCs, Pt. 1
Apr 5, 2024
Albert Pujols RCs, Pt. 2
Apr 5, 2024
Back to Top