For several years, Felix Hernandez has been one of baseball's most dominant pitchers. Despite winning the 2010 American League Cy Young Award, he's also one of the game's most overlooked superstars. Pitching for a Seattle Mariners team that has struggled for years, it's not hard for the lively flamethrower to get lost in the shuffle. That doesn't mean collectors should ignore Felix Hernandez rookie cards.
Signed as a free agent in 2002, "King Felix" debuted with the Mariners in the latter part of the 2005 season. After warming up for a few seasons and showing flashes of greatness, the pitcher broke out in 2009 with a 19-5 record.
Hernandez's 13-12 record in 2010 is very deceptive. Had his teammates given him some run support, his win total would have been much higher. Hernandez led the league with a 2.27 ERA and 249.2 innings pitched. His mound dominance did not go unnoticed and King Felix was recognized with the AL Cy Young Award
Felix Hernandez rookie cards come from 2004. All eight are from Topps products. Other than his autographs in 2004 Bowman Chrome and 2004 Bowman's Best, all can be found at decent prices.
Felix Hernandez Rookie Card Guide
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 common on lots of his rookies.
The crown jewel of King Felixs, 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 list, 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 on-card 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 of 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 price-conscientious buyers.
2004 Bowman Sterling Baseball is a high-end set focused largely on hits, the base cards can be easily overlooked. It also makes base cards a little tricky to find, include Felix Hernandez. Not surprisingly, the set also has multiple levels of parallels: Refractors (#/199), Black Refractors (#/16) and Red Refractors (1/1).
As the flagship Topps rookie of Felix Hernandez, this card will likely pop up for years to come simply because of the set it comes from. It's also one of the easiest Felix Hernandez rookie cards to come by.
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 come by. The massive set size 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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