Five All-Time RCs to Collect
While we’ve already explored the best rookies in 2023 Topps Series 2, it’s time to turn our attention to the timeless treasures that have become some of the most valuable cards in the history of the set. Join us on this exhilarating journey as we unveil five of the most coveted Topps Series 2 Rookie Cards ever released, each holding a special place in the hearts of collectors and serving as a testament to the enduring allure of the game.
Shohei Ohtani P/DH, Los Angeles Angeles
Shohei Ohtani arrived in the Big Leagues with a buzz that rivaled NSYNC in the early ’00s. The one-man boy band then proceeded to drop literal hit after hit and prove himself as one of the game’s most feared forces on the mound. In 2022, the two-way stalwart became the first player in MLB history to log at least 30 homers and 10 wins in the same season. His assault on the record books continued this season as he surpassed Babe Ruth for most career strikeouts among players with at least 100 homers. I don’t want to be this guy, but there’s a chance Ohtani fires/hammers his name in the G.O.A.T. conversation. That alone makes the 2018 Series 2 Shohei Ohtani #700 Rookie Card a must-have for any collector. Look at the material: it only gets greater later.
Justin Verlander P, Detroit Tigers
If Justin Verlander retired now, he’d have a strong case as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The 40-year-old plans to play until 45, so we might have to wait until 2034 for that discussion. We can talk about the accolades. We can talk about the three Cy Youngs, two World Series championships, and the fact that he’s the only pitcher besides Clayton Kershaw to win an MVP since 1992. But we’re going to focus on the card. The 2005 Series 2 Justin Verlander #677 Rookie Card belongs in the Holy Grail of RCs. This card, bearing the esteemed First Edition patch, holds a special place among collectors as it marks Verlander’s introduction to the world of Topps. The infectious smile captured in this card takes us back to a time before the greys started to dot his hair, immortalizing a young talent destined for greatness. This is truly a piece of history.
Ichiro OF, Seattle Mariners
Topps celebrated its 50th year in 2001. The noted trading cards brand then dropped one of the most valuable rookie cards in sports in its 2001 Topps Series 2 pack, the Ichiro Suzuki #726 RC. Despite making his MLB debut at 27, Ichiro, the 2001 AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP award winner, finished his career in the Bigs with over 3,000 hits. His 4,367 hits as a professional player rank 1st in baseball history, and he’s one of only seven MLB players with at least 3,000 knocks and 500 stolen bases. At this point, it’s not even a debate whether Ichiro’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’s eligible in December 2024 and should be walking right into Cooperstown.
Fun fact: In Ichiro’s first at-bat of his third career game, a contest on April 4, 2001, he singled. The base hit lifted his batting average to .300. From then on, his batting average never dipped below .300.
Bryce Harper OF, Washington Nationals
Here’s the quick backstory behind Topps’ 2012 Bryce Harper #661 Rookie Card. An extra-inning addition to Series 2, Harper’s RC is also a short print that is much tougher to find than its counterparts in the set. That only adds to its allure, making it a coveted RC among collectors. Since his rookie season in 2012, Harper’s taken baseball by storm, building a following with his fiery playing style, collection of dope cleats, and all-around brilliance. We’re talking about a seven-time All-Star, two-time NL MVP who boasts a pair of Silver Slugger awards. Oh. He also took home the NL’s Rookie of the Year honors in his inaugural season and is only furthering his case for Cooperstown. Remember folks. If you look good and feel good, you also play good—word to Coach Prime.
Vladmir Guerrero Jr. 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
While baseball captivated a generation of kids growing up in the late 90s/early 00s sluggers like Vladimir Guerrero, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, and several others were household names and prime trading cards every kid wanted to collect. As an adult who grew up in that era, it’s mind-boggling seeing Vladimir’s son, Vladdy Jr., become a superstar in his own right and build his trading card legacy. The 2019 Topps Series 2 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was released as a numbered short print and won’t be found in every 2019 Topps Series 2 Pack.