Rookie Card Year: 2003
Investment Rating: 7.0
It's hard to imagine that a member of the New York Yankees can be a quiet superstar. That's exactly what Robinson Cano's done. Dodging the spotlight that follows the every move teammates Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, Cano has emerged as one of baseball's best second basemen.
Signed by the Yankees as a free agent in 2001, Cano made his debut with New York in May, 2005. He was voted into the All-Star Game a year later, however injury kept him from the game. Cano has hit above .300 in every full season he's played for the Yankees except for 2007. He's not only a perennial batting champion contender, but he's also one of the best power-hitters in the game and a Gold Glove winner as well. Cano won the 2011 Home Run Derby in dramatic fashion, hitting against his father, Jose Cano, a former pitcher with the Houston Astros.
Cano has just six rookie cards. None are autographed, serial numbered or massively short printed, making them affordable to all collectors. For those looking for the high-end chase, Cano does have a handful of rare parallels and one autographed insert. His most popular rookie cards come are 2003 Topps Pristine Baseball and 2003 Bowman Chrome Draft Baseball. Retro card fans will want to track down his 2003 Bowman Heritage Baseball card, which carries a classic knothole design. Collectors can also find Cano's lone MLB-licensed autograph in Bowman Heritage, which was part of the Signs of Greatness insert set.
As a leader on the New York Yankees, Cano baseball cards are always in demand. The same can be said for his autographs and other pieces of sports memorabilia. Especially popular are autographed Cano baseballs, photos and Yankees jerseys. Collectors may want to look for signed 2009 World Series baseballs or 2011 All-Star Game baseballs, which commemorate his Home Run Derby win.
Robinson Cano Rookie Cards
Cano's 2003 Bowman Draft Baseball card features the second baseman in his Futures Game uniform. The black borders make it a little more difficult to keep in mint condition as even the most minor ding shows up.
A chromium version of Cano's regular Bowman Draft card, this is one of the superstar's best rookie cards. Inserted in the same packs as Bowman Draft, the Bowman Chrome cards are somewhat rarer. Refractor parallels are also popular among collectors, particularly X-Fractors (/130) and Gold Refractors (/50).
Bowman Heritage was one of the more underrated brands when it was around. The card features a portrait of Cano framed by a fence knothole. Like all rookies in the set, Cano has two parallels in the set: Facsimile Signatures, which feature a black border, and Rainbow. As mentioned above, Cano also has a Signs of Greatness autograph in the set.
The 2003 Topps Traded Cano is one of his least valuable rookie cards. Featuring a thick blue border and an unflattering photo of the second baseman swinging, it doesn't carry the iconic flair many other Topps rookie cards have. Cano has a Gold parallel in the set that is numbered to 2003.
2003 Topps Chrome Traded baseball cards were bundled together with regular Topps Traded cards but at a shorter rate. The card features the same design as Cano's regular Topps Traded card, only with chromium card stock. Parallels include Refractors and uncirculated X-Fractors. Limited to 25 copies, X-Fractors were distributed as box toppers in jumbo boxes.
Cano's 2003 Topps Pristine card is his most high-end rookie card. The chromium card was part of a pricey set that included a complex multiple levels of base cards (common, uncommon and rare) and parallels (Printing Plates, Refractors and Gold Refractors). He also has a mini card in the set as well.