One year of community college. One year of minor league baseball. That’s all it took for Albert Pujols to go from high school baseball star to Rookie of the Year. Since then, he’s steadily produced offensive numbers that will make him a first ballot Hall of Famer. As he reaches new milestones, Albert Pujols baseball cards are starting to once again capture the attention of collectors and fans.
At 37, his career may be starting to wind down and west coast fans seem a bit indifferent but it’s possible he’ll reach 2000 RBI, 3000 hits and 700 homers–a feat achieved only by Hank Aaron.
Best Albert Pujols Rookie Cards
A three-time MVP in St. Louis before signing with the Angels in 2012, his rapid rise to the big leagues certainly caught the trading card companies by surprise. He first appeared on licensed trading cards in 2001, with most not coming until later in his rookie year. At the time, there was no Topps exclusive and you’ll find Pujols in the products of a variety of manufacturers including Donruss, Upper Deck and Fleer. Interestingly, one of Pujols’ first paychecks for trading cards, a $10,200 payment from Fleer, recently sold at auction for $1,900.
The most valuable Pujols rookie card is his 2001 Bowman Chrome autograph. Numbered to 500, you’ll pay close to $5,000 these days for a mint, graded example. As a redemption card, there’s no chance to pull one from any unopened boxes that are still out there, which means all are either in collections or for sale.
Also popular are high-grade copies of Pujols’ Upper Deck SPx autograph, numbered to 1500, which was found in packs of the 2001 SPx Rookie Update series, his 2001 Bowman Rookie Autos (BGS 9.5 examples have been bringing around $600), the 2001 Donruss Signature Series numbered to 330 (it’s a sticker autograph but the dearth of autographed Pujols rookies in the market have allowed it to maintain popularity) and the non-autographed SP Authentic, numbered to 1250 (a couple of them graded BGS 10 sold for over $2,000 each this week with 9.5s now pushing $600).
Traditional Topps and Others to Consider
Pujols does appear in the 2001 Topps Traded and Chrome Series 2 sets and most are plentiful.
He has several insert cards numbered to 500 or less across several brands in 2001, most of which seem undervalued based on selling prices. He’s also on a pair of Leaf memorabilia cards, back when the brand name was owned by Donruss.
You can see a live list of the most watched Pujols cards from all years below.complete list of most watched eBay baseball cards.