Jay Bruce Baseball Cards: Rookie Cards Checklist and Buying Guide
Since debuting with the Reds in 2008, Jay Bruce has been one of the anchors of the Cincinnati offense. In each of his first three seasons, the 2005 first-round draft pick has seen modest gains in his home run totals, going from 21 in 2008 to 22 in 2009 and reaching 25 in 2010. However that number appears ready to explode as Bruce nearly matched his full-season totals in the first two months of 2011.
Equally impressive is the gains the outfielder is making in batting average. After wallowing in the low- to mid-.200s in his first two seasons, Bruce was able to bring it up to a much more respectable .281 in 2010 and he's kept it in that range moving forward. These impressive stat totals are quickly making Bruce one of the most feared hitters in the National League. He's also one of the key pieces in taking the Reds from the seemingly underdog over-achievers they were in 2010 to perennial contenders.
Bruce has relatively few rookie cards, although each comes with an assortment of parallels to add a chase element for those looking for more of a collecting challenge. All of Bruce's rookie baseball cards were included in 2005 late-season releases from Topps.
Autographs are available in both Topps Chrome Update and Bowman Sterling, which also includes a jersey swatch. Bruce has autographs in Bowman Heritage as well, but they're inserts and are not widely considered rookie cards.
For those looking to add cheaper rookies of the slugger, both the Bowman Draft and Topps Update cards are an option. Although it's an insert and not a true rookie card, collectors may want to consider tracking down a Draft Picks card that was included in Topps factory sets. Given that these sets are not widely opened or broken apart, it makes the card less common on the secondary market.
Bruce signs somewhat regularly for trading card sets. Other popular autograph options include signed baseballs, photos and jerseys.
Jay Bruce Rookie Cards
Bruce is pictured with a waist-up shot of Bruce resting a bat on his shoulder, looking off into the distance with his best thinking-man face.
Parallels: Gold, White (/225), Printing Plates, Red (/1)
Like most Chrome cards, this is a metallic and more desirable version of the base Bowman Draft card.
Parallels: Refractors, X-Fractors (/250), Blue Refractors (/150), Gold Refractors (/50), Printing Plates, Red Refractors (/1), Super-Fractors (/1)
The regular version of the card features a stylized version of his Bowman Draft card. A variation has the outfielder posed in a batting stance.
Variations: Draft Pick
Parallels: Mahogany, Mini, Printing Plates, Red (/1)
Autographs: Signs of Greatness, Signs of Greatness Red Ink (/51)
The only of Bruce's rookie baseball cards to feature both a an autograph and a jersey swatch makes this one of his best cards.
Parallels: Refractors (/199), Black Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/1)
Another card for collectors looking for a budget rookie card option, Bruce's Topps Update card benefits greatly from being a part of the flagship brand's set.
Parallels: Gold (/2005), Printing Plates, Blue (/1)
The combination of an autograph and the long-standing popularity of the Topps Chrome brand make this the most iconic first-year Jay Bruce baseball card. While the large sticker that holds the signature doesn't fit the card's design very well, it's still one of the most popular choices among collectors.
Parallels: Refractors (/500), Black Refractors (/200), X-Fractors (/25), Printing Plates, Gold Super-Fractors (/1)