Rookie Card Year: 2011
Investment Rating: 6.5
For Houston Astros fans, there might just be a light at the end of the tunnel. Following years of futility, their crop of young talent is starting to come into their own. And one of the team's biggest spark plugs is also one of MLB's smallest players. Jose Altuve is coming into his own as one of baseball's top hitters and speedsters. And while he doesn't have a huge hobby profile, don't be surprised if Jose Altuve cards gain more attention in the years ahead.
The first major Jose Altuve cards can be found in 2010 Bowman Chrome Baseball. He has a Prospects insert in the set. His rookie cards came the following year in the form of 2011 Bowman Draft, 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft, 2011 Bowman Sterling and 2011 Topps Update Series.
Currently, Altuve has just a couple of autograph cards. Topps had redemptions for others but they were replaced when Altuve failed to sign his cards.
Because Altuve is never going to hit a ton of home runs or put up flashy numbers, the amount of attention he'll get is somewhat limited. However, there is precedent in the hobby for players with great averages, speed and lots of heart to gain some traction.
Jose Altuve Rookie Card Guide
Although an insert and not a rookie card, many collectors view the 2010 Bowman Chrome Jose Altuve as one. It's his first card in an Astros uniform, which gives it a lot of importance. Without a signature, it's not expensive. For those looking for a chase or something with more value, the card has several Refractor parallels.
Along with Topps Update, this is the cheapest Jose Altuve rookie card (not that any of them will cost much). There was a time when the black border meant for condition-sensitive cards, but this one is plentiful enough that it's not a concern. A handful of parallels are also available.
Boasting the same design as the regular Bowman Draft card, this one is still cheap enough that a lot of collectors opt for this one first. As one would expect, Refractors galore bring higher values.
If you're looking for the rarest Jose Altuve rookie card, this is it. Bowman Sterling is, really, all about the autographs. Base cards are a secondary thought. That said, there are so few of them that individual cards can be tough to find.
As Altuve's first flagship Topps card, it carries some clout. And let's not overlook its bizarre photo. But that doesn't translate into strong prices. It's easy to find and can often be bought for pocket change.