Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An open letter to the MLBPA regarding "ROOKIE CARD" logo guidelines.

Why is this all of a sudden a 'ROOKIE CARD?'

Date: 7/19/2006
To: Evan Kaplan, Director of Trading Cards and Collectibles, Major League Baseball Players Association
From: Chris Harris,
RE: Clarification of MLBPA's "ROOKIE CARD" logo guidelines.

Dear Mr. Kaplan:

This message is in regards to the MLBPA's new program that identifies rookie baseball cards with a standardized cross-brand "ROOKIE CARD" logo. I think I speak for most collectors in applauding the PA's efforts in this arena. However questions have arisen among some regarding the use of the logo on certain player's cards. Specifically, two players: Milwaukee's Jose Capellan and the Red Sox's Jonathan Papelbon.

In the 2006 Bowman baseball card set, both Papelbon (card #76) and Capellan's (#190) cards are grouped among the veterans -- the subset commonly known in collector circles as the "red cards." Neither Bowman card sports the "ROOKIE CARD" logo. Yet in the recently released Topps series 2, both of these player's cards are designated as "rookies." (Papelbon card #355 and Capellan #496)

Capellan pitched in his first Major League game in 2004. Papelbon made his debut on July 31, 2005. The MLBPA's definition of a "rookie card," as it is currently understood by most collectors, is if a player makes his Major League debut during the current season, or during the previous season after the September 1 "call-up" date; then all of his base-set cards may feature the "RC" logo. Because both Capellan and Papelbon made their Major League debuts before September 1, 2005, (using the aforementioned MLBPA guidelines) neither player should have the logo on any of their 2006 cards.

My question to you is: Has the MLBPA changed the "RC" criteria? And if so, why? And are there any more players like Capellan and Papelbon that are now eligible for the "ROOKIE CARD" logo, that weren't before? I, and most baseball card collectors, look forward to hearing to your response in a prompt manner.

Thank You,
Chris Harris


Chris Harris said...


It's going to take until the end of the decade -- at the very least -- for The Hobby to truly feel the effects of the PA's "RC" program.

To their credit, the PA saw the state our Hobby was in, and made some much needed changes (i.e. dumping Donruss, limiting Topps and UD to 20 releases, and the "ROOKIE CARD" logo). The Hobby didn't go from being a $1.2 billion business (as it was in 1991) to $260 million (2004) overnight. These policy changes aren't a "quick fix." But then again, the quick fix -- like in 2004 when the PA allowed draft pick sets -- tend to go long wrong.

It should also be noted, so that no one accuses me of picking on Topps, that in my review of '06 Ultra, I documented that the same "back-logoing" was done to Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander Retro Lucky 13 cards.

Chris Harris said...


Because both the Capellan and Papelbon cards have their "ROOKIE CARD" logo foil-stamped, rather than printed, and are not grouped with the other "RCs," this leads me to believe that these additions (plus the Alay Soler card) were made, and approved, by the PA, at the last minute.

Chris Harris said...


Thanx for the info. I had a suspicion that the PA changed the rules, in order to get more "Rookies" into packs. This all but confirms it.

OBTW, still haven't heard anything from the PA, Beckett, or SCD about the back-logoing issue. Will keep everyone posted.