There have been few better over the last 20 years than Adrian Beltre. One of only a small number of players still active who began their careers in the 1990s, he’s a lifetime .286 hitter, with a 90.2 WAR and a decent chance to join the 500 home run club. He’s positioned as a potential Hall of Famer and there’s little doubt he will be a first-ballot inductee. With that in mind and some fans not realizing how close he really is to Cooperstown, it might be a good time to consider examine Adrian Beltre rookie cards instead of focusing too deeply on much-hyped prospects who have yet to play an inning in a big league game.
Beltre has consistently hit for average and power throughout his career, and has seemingly gotten better as the seasons go by. But he doesn’t just do damage with his bat. He won his fifth Gold Glove in 2016, and his consistently well-rounded play and fearlessness has made him one of baseball’s best–and most respected– players.
Prospect and Rookie Cards
Beltre had a couple of minor league cards but broke into the mainstream hobby on Bowman and Upper Deck cards as an 18-year-old member of the Dodgers in 1997. Even in gem mint holders, those early cards aren’t expensive. 1997 Bowman Chrome Beltre rookie cards sell for prices that are far less than players who aren’t as accomplished.
Beltre is also in the 1997 Bowman’s Best set with gem mint examples selling for relatively modest sums. Refraactor versions versions represent the high-end.
1997 Upper Deck SP Top Prospects seem like they were made for autographs and that may be the case, but any signatures were obtained once the cards were pulled from packs.
In 1998, still a teenager, he hit a measly .215 in his debut with the Dodgers while appearing in 77 games, and fans and card collectors alike were not impressed. Beltre’s first certified autographs arrived that spring with Donruss Signatures and Bowman, both of which are in most collectors’ budgets.
Somehow, Beltre has managed to fly a little under the radar. He doesn’t play the game with the flashiness of Ken Griffey Jr., or post the jaw-dropping power numbers of Hank Aaron. But like Aaron, he’s been consistently excellent over a long period of time…and he’s not done yet.
You can see the current hottest Adrian Beltre cards on eBay in the live list below.
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