Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards Checklist and Gallery

Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards Checklist and Gallery

Prospect hype is nothing new, but the massive interest in Shohei Ohtani rookie cards is indicative of the potential many see in the Japanese star. Dubbed the Babe Ruth of Japan, the two-way 2018 MLB rookie can pitch and hit at a high level. As a result, collecting demand has surged for the Los Angeles Angels' star signing.

Because his pro career began in the Japanese leagues with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, the earliest Shohei Ohtani cards can be somewhat elusive. Starting in 2013, options include popular brands from Japan, most notably BBM and Calbee. While there are quite a few choices, and even some autographs, most of the cards are pretty basic and not in huge supply. However, the rarest cards command huge sums when they surface.

Shop for Shohei Ohtani baseball cards on eBay.

As the likelihood of his move to an MLB team increased, more mainstream options began to trickle out. First came his 2017 Bowman Mega Box Chrome card. His earliest MLB card debuted through the Topps Now program near the end of 2017, setting records along the way.

If you are looking for more than Shohei Ohtani cards, Topps Authentics is the place to find autographed gear for Ohtani, including signed baseballs and jerseys.

2018 Shohei Ohtani Baseball Cards

All that leads us to 2018 baseball sets, which feature many Shohei Ohtani rookie cards. 2018 Donruss Baseball, in particular, is an early option with multiple signed cards for Ohtani.

Although Panini offers MLBPA cards for Ohtani, only Topps has his MLB cards. In addition, Topps confirmed a long-term autograph and trading card deal that starts with 2018 Topps Baseball products. Up first is 2018 Topps Heritage, featuring both a short-printed base variation card and an autograph.

Topps has revealed Ohtani rookie autographs in 2018 Bowman Baseball and 2018 Topps Chrome, as well.

2018 Bowman Baseball

Shohei Ohtani Rookie Cards and Other Key Cards

Shop specific cards on eBay using the links below. Bolded sets go to complete product profiles or card guides. 

2018 Donruss Shohei Ohtani Autographs

Although Ohtani has no base rookie cards in 2018 Donruss Baseball, he has several different autographs. This includes on-card Private Signings, Rated Prospect Signatures, and Signing Day Signatures versions, each numbered to 50 copies. He also signed for Signature Series and Promising Pros Materials Signatures. Those not looking for autographs can find Ohtani in most of the inserts, as well.

2018 Donruss Baseball

2018 Donruss Baseball

2018 Topps Heritage Shohei Ohtani Rookie Variation #17

The first pack-pulled Shohei Ohtani RC card is likely to remain a popular choice for collectors. Issued as a Hobby-only short print in 2018 Topps Heritage Baseball, Ohtani is part of the 25-card Action Image variation lineup which averages 1:35 packs. This may not sound all that rare, but it works out to around 1:3 cases for Ohtani.

He also has an on-card signature in the Real One Autographs checklist, including the red ink Special Edition that is hand-numbered to 69 copies.

2018 Topps Now Shohei Ohtani RC #ST-4 (PR=11,384)

The earliest RC card for Shohei Ohtani was issued via the Spring Training offshoot for 2018 Topps Now Baseball. It notes his pitching debut for the Angels on February 24, 2018. A hitting version came two days later, ultimately selling 6,842 cards.

2018 Topps Now Baseball

2017 Topps Now Shohei Ohtani #OS-80 (PR=17,323)

The very first Shohei Ohtani MLB card documents his free agent signing with the Los Angeles Angels on December 14, 2017. Part of the 2017 Topps Now Off-Season release, the on-demand card set the record for the Now program by selling 17,323 cards in just 24 hours.

2017 Bowman Chrome Mega Box Shohei Ohtani #BCP31

Already the key Shohei Ohtani prospect card, many collectors view the 2017 Bowman Chrome Mega Box release as the Ohtani rookie to own. Spelled Otani on his WBC Team Japan card, the Target exclusive showcases a unique chainlink pattern commonly known as "mojo"  in the hobby. There are also several limited Refractor parallels, including purple (#/250), green (#/99), orange (#/25) and black (1/1).

2013 BBM Rookie Edition Shohei Ohtani #42

While Ohtani actually has a fair amount of 2013 BBM cards issued in Japan, the Rookie Edition release is among his most popular. Ohtani has two different images for card #42, including a pitching version and a hitting edition. However, the most valuable of these are the facsimile signature parallels.

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Trey Treutel

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Trey Treutel is an Ole Miss grad and a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. In more recent years, he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options. Find Trey on Twitter at @datreute or Google+.

User Comments

  1. I’ve been collecting Shohei Ohtani 2013 Japan Rookie cards for 2+ years, and know most things about them.

    I have like 60+ different RC on him, including the majority of the rarest cards.

    I also have some 2011-2012 High School magazines when he was featured on the covers, or stories. All printed in Japanese of course.

    The 2013 cards shown are common cards, but still, Americans know very little about them. I may be able to answer some questions.

    He’s already a Legend in Japan, and the rarest items are held closely by Japanese collectors, and why few have the real rarities.

  2. Congrats on the Ohtani collection! The two BBM cards mentioned where more about exposing collectors to a few of the accessible Japanese rookies. Rarity was not part of the decision, nor was it referenced.

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