By the end of his first season with the New York Yankees, there will be lots of Masahiro Tanaka rookie cards. From high-end to low-end and everywhere in between, there should be enough to fulfill virtually every type of budget and collecting preference.
It is worth noting that as of yet, neither Topps nor Panini have announced an autograph deal with the pitcher.
Collectors have no shortage of Masahiro Tanaka cards to chase before his MLB rookie cards. He had several releases during his professional career in Japan starting in 2007. Topps also released World Baseball Classic cards in both 2009 and 2013.
Below is a look at all of the Masahiro Tanaka rookie cards. Consider it an evolving list that we'll update as new sets are released.
Masahiro Tanaka Rookie Cards Guide
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As an early release, the Bowman Tanaka rookie should draw lots of attention. However, as the season draws on and collectors have more choices, it will be one of the more affordable options. Besides the base version, there are several parallels.
The pitcher's Chrome debut came at the end of the season. It's not a premium card, but the chromium look is popular with a lot of collectors. The Refractor parallels definitely get more love due to their more limited nature.
The rainbow foil card stock adds some flash to an affordable Masahiro Tanaka rookie card. While the regular card is on the cheaper side, there are several parallels to chase for those who feel so inclined.
This is the first Masahiro Tanaka base card to have a memorabilia swatch. While that, and the limited quantity, give it a premium over his other rookies, it's not as pricey as you might expect.
This is Tanaka's first packed-inserted rookie card from Panini. Base set singles aren't terribly expensive, even when it comes to key rookies like Tanaka. However, the ten levels of colorful parallels add a chase element for those looking for cards that are more challenging to track down.
Tanaka closes out the 2014 Topps Series 2 checklist. There are two versions of the card. The main rookie card shows the pitcher tossing one towards home. Tanaka also has a variation short print that has him at a press conference.
Simple and classy -- that's the best way to describe this card. It's not a short print, so it should be one of the easier Tanaka rookies to find. It's also one of the more affordable. If you're looking for a chase, there are several levels of mini parallels.
Tanaka's 1989 Topps Baseball-inspired card is a short print. This adds to the price tag, although it's still relatively affordable. The card also has Gold (#/199), Silver (#/99) and Printing Plate parallels.
Unlike a lot of other cards in 2014 Topps Chrome, Tanka's rookie uses a different photo. It's just as common as every other base card so it should stay affordable. That said, he does have several Refractors and inserts that carry some added clout.
Colorful, chromium and not very expensive -- that sums up Tanaka's Finest rookie card. Since he doesn't have any autographs in the set, many collectors are chasing his rarer inserts and parallels.
Tanaka's Gypsy Queen rookie card is a short print but not one that's going to be extremely tough to find. It's notable for being the pitcher's first MLB card. Besides the base version, there are plenty of colored and mini parallels to chase as well as a Reverse Image Variation.
2014 Topps Mini Masahiro Tanaka RC #661
For the third year in a row, Topps has put their flagship set through Rick Moranis' shrinking machine for an online-exclusive release. With a much smaller print run than regular Topps, Minis do carry something of a premium but they're still not ultra expensive.
After a six-year absence, Stadium Club is back. Highlighting the release is stellar photography. Tanaka might not have the most striking shot in the set, but the glossy look and full-bleed design stand out against other similar shots.
As far as values go, this card's a sleeper. It's not numbered or given any sort of premium treatment so it's relatively affordable. However, base cards aren't that plentiful in the high-end release. Over time, this should be a little trickier to find than a lot of the pitcher's other rookie cards.
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