Over the last 12 months the issue of Bryce Harper rookie cards has been much discussed across the Hobby!
It feels like it’s become a pretty confusing mess of parallels, SP’s, SSP’s and autographs, with little help coming from Topps due to their ongoing mission to slap the ‘RC’ logo on pretty much all of Harper’s 2012 issued cards!
I’d love to get hold of a few Bryce Harper rookie cards but it’s knowing where to start! I often find that rookies from the main Topps set is usually one of the best places, but as there are currently eight different potential 2012 Topps rookies for Harper that’s a no-go. Have a read of this article from Baseballcardpedia to see what I mean!
Then I thought I’d grab his Bowman Chrome rookie card!
Bowman Chrome, eh? Can’t really go wrong there! Here’s a picture of the card I’m talking about (refractor version) –
Nice!!! That’s settled then! The 2012 Bowman Chrome Bryce Harper rookie card is the one I’m after!!
And then I saw this one –
So do we have two Bryce Harper rookies in the same set? Call me old fashioned but shouldn’t there just be one??
I mean, this autographed card doesn’t even have the same picture on it!! How can it be a ‘true’ rookie card when the first card above is clearly the one from the main set. Shouldn’t that be the ‘true’ rookie card??
See what I mean about ‘confusing’?
It’s been an ongoing issue for sometime where Topps seem to arbitrarily slap a ‘RC’ logo onto a players card, thereby giving that card an ‘official’ rookie card status! But wasn’t this method of branding cards meant to clear up any confusion about what is or what isn’t considered to be a players’ rookie card?
So, if I’m accepting that the standard base card is the ‘true’ rookie card of Harper in this set, what the hell are we to make of the autographed card???
Well for one it can’t be a parallel because, as noted above, it doesn’t have the same picture on! The back of the card has the number ‘RA-BH’ which I assume stands for ‘Rookie Autograph – Bryce Harper’. The base rookie card has the number ‘214’, differentiating it even further from the ‘faux’ auto rookie!
So if it’s not a parallel could it be a variant? We have SP variant images in other products such as Heritage and Gypsy Queen, so why not here as well. Well, variants usually carry the same number on the back as the base card that they are a variation of, and as already highlighted this isn’t the case with this card!
So in my eyes this Bryce Harper autographed ‘rookie card’ can only be one thing – an insert!!
An autographed insert!!
And because it’s an insert, and not a base card, surely it shouldn’t be branded as a rookie card? I’m going to have to ask Chris Olds what Beckett’s take on this one is!
I don’t know! Maybe it doesn’t really matter that much! Maybe it’s just me trying to over-analyze something that really shouldn’t be considered that important! After all, it is only a Baseball card, and at the end of the day people will collect what they want!
All I ask is that Topps gives it a bit of thought before designating everything to be a players’ rookie card. That includes parallels (minis, refractors of various colours), SSP’s (last years Archives immediately springs to mind) and non-base, non-parallel, non-variant inserts!
Is it really too much to ask just to have one single rookie card per product? Now THAT would make life a lot simpler!