A hardware store worker in Canada has hammered out a new book that can serve as a useful guide for rookie card collectors.
Jamie Huskins has been compiling a database of rookie cards since 2008, and he previously published e-book editions in 2015 and 2016. Now, The Huskins Baseball Rookie Card Guide has made it to print for the first time, and this third edition can be purchased through Amazon either in print or as an e-book.
The 482-page book contains listings of 41,039 cards that include 12,396 different players; because of the proliferation of baseball card companies during the 1980s and ’90s, a player could have several rookie cards across the various sets.
“It’s just a listing to help people find which cards are the rookie cards for a player,” said Huskins, who added that the book is not a price guide but merely an alphabetical listing of players and their first-year cards. The cards he lists are from mainstream, fully licensed baseball card companies through the years, such as Topps, Donruss, Fleer and Upper Deck. Minor-league or prospect sets are not included.
Huskins, 45, lives in the Nova Scotia port town of Lunenburg and grew up a Red Sox fan. His favorite rookie is the 1983 Donruss card of Wade Boggs, and he aspired to be a third baseman when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers youth baseball team in his home town. Mostly, however, he played right field.
“Nobody ever hit it there,” he laughed.
Huskins got the idea of a rookie card database in 2010. His 8-year-old son had expressed interest in baseball in 2008, and Huskins took out his collection to give to the boy. As it turned out, his son was only interested in playing the game and not collecting cards, so Huskins decided to go through them again.
“I was looking for a book that had rookie cards and I wasn’t finding the kind that had them all,” Huskins said. “So I started an Excel spreadsheet.”
The hardware guy — Huskins actually does install sales for windows and doors — used software to put together a database.
“It was a slow process in the beginning,” Huskins said.
Following the lead of Beckett price guides, Huskins began compiling information starting with the 1933 Goudey baseball set. However, rookie cards in his book are listed alphabetically, rather than by year.
“I found that most people are looking for a certain player,” he said.
On his website, Huskins provides updates for the new sets that are being released during 2018; his most recent post, for example, lists the rookies from Bowman, Donruss, Finest, Panini Diamond Kings, Topps (Series 1 and 2), Gypsy Queen and Heritage. At the end of the year he will add the rookies to his spreadsheets and include it in the 2019 edition of the Rookie Card Guide.
Here are the rules Huskins follows to determine how a rookie card makes it into his guide:
- A card must appear in a base set, and not as an insert or parallel.
- It must be a regular card, not part of a subset such as an all-star or league leader card. The exception would be if a player has no regular card in the base set but is included in a special card.
- If a player has more than one regular card in a set, the first card listed numerically is considered as the rookie card.
Huskins collects the base sets from Topps’ flagship set to increase his rookie stash. One rookie he’d like to obtain is the 2011 Topps Update card of Mike Trout. Huskins originally had the card but dropped it, causing damage to the corners. When he tried to replace it he realized how expensive the card had become.
Huskins said sales have been slow so far for the book, which was released in April at a cost of $17.99 for the print edition and $5.99 for Kindle (free for Unlimited users). He’s patient, though, and as word gets out, he hopes that will change. Making huge profit isn’t his primary motivation, though.
“I figure if I get a sale, it makes it easier for me to buy more cards,” he said. “And that’s just fine.”