Rookie Card Year: 2010
Investment Rating: 7.0
It's not very often that a prospect comes into the game with the amount of hype that Stephen Strasburg had in 2010. It's equally rare that something ignites the hobby like Stephen Strasburg cards did at the time. Even more impressive is the fact that, early on, the pitcher exceeded the lofty expectations bestowed upon him by the media. A legend was born during his debut with the Washington Nationals. Strasburg got the win in style, going seven innings and setting a new team record with 14 strikeouts.
The first pick in the 2009 draft, Strasburg continued to impress in his next two starts, racking up 18 more strikeouts and landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Not only was the pitcher doing well on the field, he was generating a lot of interest for baseball as well. Still in his early 20s, Strasburg was, for a short time, the centerpiece of a game still struggling to reemerge from the shadow of steroid abuse.
But then Strasburg-mania hit a wall. By the end of August, having already served one stint on the disabled list, the Nationals shut their star rookie down. It was announced he needed Tommy John surgery to fix ligaments in his arm, which normally takes at least a year to heal and rehabilitate. Understandably, prices of Strasburg's cards and memorabilia took a hit with the news. However, should he rebound strong, the prices will likely creep up again. Just don't expect prices to reach the same levels they were at in mid-2010.
Prior to being drafted, Strasburg was a standout at San Diego State University and with the American national team. In a college game, he set an Aztecs record by striking out 23 batters in a single game. During the 2008 Summer Olympics in China, Strasburg went 1-1 with a 1.67 ERA, helping the US squad win a bronze medal.
Strasburg can be credited as having a major role in the success of Topps' 2010 baseball card line. Stephen Strasburg cards appeared in nearly all of their sets, including several rare inserts and autographs that sold for thousands of dollars. Among these was the 2010 Bowman Baseball Superfractor, a one-of-one parallel of Strasburg's first card in a Nationals uniform, that sold first for over $16,000 then surpassed $30,000 when resold a short time later. The card garnered the hobby a lot of mainstream media attention and created a lot of excitement for later products. Despite having hundreds of different cards in 2010 products, Strasburg has just 11 true rookie cards, only one of which is autographed. Many of the top first-year Stephen Strasburg cards are autographed inserts and extremely limited parallels.
Strasburg also has a handful of cards from his days with USA Baseball. Most were inserts in 2008 Upper Deck baseball products.
Besides baseball cards, other popular pieces of Strasburg baseball memorabilia include autographed jerseys and balls. In 2010, Topps offered a limited line of signed balls, helmets and hats. Also popular are Washington Nationals jerseys with the pitcher's name and number. Within his first month with the MLB squad, Strasburg jerseys outsold all others in the franchise's history.
In March, 2013, Strasburg signed an exclusive autograph deal with Panini. Under the multi-year agreement, Stephen Strasburg autograph cards will only appear in Panini products.
Stephen Strasburg Rookie Card Checklist
Budget Rookie Cards
Premium Rookie Cards
Key Prospect Cards
- 2008-09 Upper Deck USA Baseball #21
- 2008-09 Upper Deck USA Baseball Autographs #79 (/175)
- 2008 SP Authentic Baseball USA National Team By the Letter Autographs #SS (U, S, A: each /105)
- 2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot USA Signatures #SS (/260)
- 2008 Upper Deck Timeline Team USA Signatures #SS
- 2008 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection USA Baseball Autographed Jersey #SS (/25)
- 2010 Bowman Prospects #BP1
- 2010 Bowman Prospects Autographs #BP1
- 2010 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP1