One of the most dominant pitchers of the early-2010s, Felix Hernandez's long MLB career is finally starting to catch up with him. However, that doesn't mean collectors should ignore Felix Hernandez rookie cards.
Felix Hernandez rookie cards were issued in 2004, and all eight are from Topps sets. Other than his autographs in 2004 Bowman Chrome and 2004 Bowman's Best, they can normally be acquired for reasonable prices.
Felix Hernandez Rookie Card Checklist and Gallery
Average among Felix Hernandez rookie cards, the black-bordered 2004 Bowman card will always be affordable. It's unfortunate that Hernandez's eyes aren't visible. Even more unfortunate, it's commonly seen on lots of his rookies.
The crown jewel of a King Felix rookie collection, the 2004 Bowman Chrome Felix Hernandez rookie card comes with an on-card autograph. Because Hernandez is the only big-time standout on the 2004 Bowman Chrome autograph checklist, boxes remain fairly reasonable, as well. Collectors will also want to look for several levels of serial-numbered Refractors.
The big draw of the 2004 Bowman's Best Felix Hernandez rookie card is the hard-signed autograph. Priced lower than his Bowman Chrome rookie, it's a great option for collectors looking for something more high-end but with a tighter budget. The card also features one of the more dynamic poses among the pitcher's rookie cards.
Inspired by 1955 Bowman Baseball, the 2004 Bowman Heritage Felix Hernandez is the only retro-style rookie. It pictures the pitcher inside an old console TV, something that might be lost on future generations. It's not a bad choice for buyers on a budget.
2004 Bowman Sterling Baseball is a high-end set focused largely on hits, so the base cards can be easily overlooked. It also makes base cards a little tricky to find, including Felix Hernandez. Not surprisingly, the set has multiple levels of parallels: base Refractors (#/199), Black Refractors (#/16) and Red Refractors (1/1).
As the flagship Topps rookie of Felix Hernandez, this will likely remain his most recognized card simply because of the set where it originates. It's also one of the easiest Felix Hernandez rookie cards to obtain.
Packaged with Topps Traded, 2004 Topps Chrome Traded cards have fared well with collectors. They're tougher to find than the flagship set because packs held only a couple of the premium cards. That said, it's still fairly affordable and should be considered a nice mid-range Felix Hernandez rookie.
Packs of 2004 Topps Total were cheap, but that doesn't make this card easy to find. The massive checklist meant collectors had to open multiple boxes just to build a base set. In recent years, some collectors have started to take note and prices could rise more in the future.
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