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Is There a Rookie Card for Aaron Judge: The Tallest to Win the Roberto Clemente Award?

Published 11/11/2023, 6:30 PM EST

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All rose for the All-Rise Aaron Judge when he debuted into the MLB scene in 2016, bagging two homers in his first two games donning the Pinstripes. Now, Judge has been topping the headlines with his 2023 Roberto Clemente Award win—a true token of his dedication to the team and his extraordinary form on the field.

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Aaron Judge turned out to be the first Yankee to hit three homers in a single game, twice in a single season in the MLB’s history of playoffs, this season. The three-time Silver Slugger Awardee is far from reaching his prime. The consistent upward curve in his performances, except for an occasional injury or two, shows it. He has proven to be a treasure trove for hardcore MLB card collectors during his 7-year-long career. The question remains whether the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year has a much-coveted Rookie Card to his name or not.

What is a Rookie Card: Its history and relevance in sports


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A “rookie card” is the first base card a player gets after they’ve made it to the top of their sport. It is the first one to be widely distributed. First, Major, Widely Distributed, Base, and Highest-Level Cards are the five types of Rookie Cards available in the market.

There can only be one First-round Rookie Card that meets all the demands of being the RC of the player in question. The same company cannot tag any following cards for the same player as a Rookie Card again. Multiple brands may issue multiple Rookie Cards for a single player; they might be released at the same time as the First Rookie Card.


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A Major RC is the one Rookie Card that has been released by a major card company, as opposed to local or lesser-known brands. Whereas, a Widely Distributed RC is a Rookie Card that is available everywhere, such as in stores and card shops. WDRC does not include limited-edition hobby cards.

The Base Card is the only true Rookie Card of the lot; it is released in a major set instead of being an Insert, Parallel, Chase, or any other limited-edition card. If the card is part of a set that includes Leader, In-Action, or All-Star cards, the Base card itself will be considered the Rookie Card. A Highest-Level Rookie Card is the one card where the player can be seen donning any Major League uniform. If a player makes their debut at their highest form on the diamond, HLRCs are always issued.

The first baseball cards were sold almost 150 years ago. A sports merchandise store named Peck & Snyder in New York started selling baseball cards as part of a promotional event for their shop; think about how they would have reacted seeing their invention turned into a multi-million dollar industry, which is also such a crucial part of the MLB culture!

The relevance of rookie cards in sports is deeply embedded in the culture of sports collecting. While the market has evolved, the excitement and nostalgia associated with owning a player’s rookie card remain a significant aspect of sports memorabilia collecting. This prompts one to wonder, given the immense fan following, does the captain of the Yankees possess a rookie card?

Does Aaron Judge have a rookie card?

Yes, the All-Rise absolutely has a Rookie Card—and not just one! The first batch of Aaron Judge Cards came out when the New York Yankees drafted him in 2013. Judge was selected by Topps for some late-season Bowman card sets. Other card companies, like Leaf and Panini, made him a part of multiple heavy sets for prospects at the same time.

However, Judge didn’t see the face of his Rookie Card until 2017. Remember his short slump that year after the Home Run Derby victory? Aaron Judge RCs were commanding the market for most of 2016 and the top half of 2017. Their market saw a roaring uprising again in the same season; it was when Judge bagged the record-breaking rookie score of 52 homers in a single season.

It is worth mentioning that Judge is one of the tallest players in the MLB and the tallest on the Yankees team right now, standing at a gigantic 6’ 7”. Is he the tallest player to have a Rookie Card, as well?

Is Aaron Judge the tallest player with a rookie card?

It seems impossible to surpass Judge in height, who stands at six feet and seven inches tall. Surprisingly, he is not the tallest player with a Rookie Card in the MLB franchise. An ex-Yankee, Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson, secured that record. An apt name for a person who is six feet, ten inches tall. Whether Johnson was more of a man than a tree (wink!) is up for debate, given the way he reigned all over the diamond, shadowing other players with his record number of strikeouts and pitches. The biggest unit, indeed!


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Has his card worth changed after the Roberto Clemente Award win? How much is it worth now?

Someone auctioned off the rarest and most expensive Aaron Judge Rookie Card in May 2022 for an astounding amount. The 2013 Bowman Chrome Superfractor rookie autograph 1-of-1 BCA-AJ card fetched $324,000 in a PWCC Premier Auction. That was the highest sales record for a Judge Card. The same card sold for $161,130 in 2020, which more than doubled in the amount in the next two years. With Judge’s 2023 Roberto Clemente Win, its price tag may reach beyond anyone’s expectations in the coming years!


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Aaron Judge remains one of the most consistent and brightest players in the history of the Yankees regime. Fans cannot wait to rise to see their favorite All-Rise in action in an all-exciting 2024 season!

Watch This Story: World Series Debut Of Journalist Mookie Betts: Oops Moment As He Mixes Up Aaron Judge’s Height

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Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta


One take at a time

Shrabana Sengupta, a budding MLB writer for EssentiallySports, has been a fan of the New York Yankees since their school days. In their adolescence, they got to know about the sport from one of the beloved Friends characters, Joey. Their passion blossomed into a reserve of knowledge within the realms of MLB, and with the dynamic evolution of the game, they discovered their true vocation while stumbling upon EssentiallySports, which served as a major catalyst for their entry into the field of sports entertainment journalism.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj