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.
Shohei Ohtani Japanese Baseball Cards
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.
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 exclusive place to find autographed gear for Ohtani, including signed baseballs and jerseys.
2018 Shohei Ohtani Baseball Cards
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.
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 Bowman Shohei Ohtani RC #49
Sure, Shohei Ohtani has a base rookie in 2018 Bowman along with some paper parallels, but most collectors are focused on his hard-signed Ohtani Chrome rookie autograph and the many parallels, including the one-of-one SuperFractor shown below.
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 Panini Diamond Kings Shohei Ohtani RC #73 Pitching, #76 Batting, #145 SP
Fairly unique compared to the rest of his cards, the Ohtani rookie cards in 2018 Diamond Kings display an art-like view of the young phenom. Showcasing both his pitching (#73) and hitting (#76) prowess, Ohtani has two base cards and an additional four SP variations for each version. That means 10 different cards if you want them all, plus the high-number short print (#145), and that doesn't include the many parallels, inserts or autographs, which add up to even more options to chase.
2018 Topps Baseball Factory Team Set Shohei Ohtani RC #A-17
Because Topps did not include Ohtani in Series 1, the natural assumption was that collectors had to wait until Series 2 for the first flagship-style rookie. However, Ohtani is part of the 2018 Topps Baseball Factory Team set for the Angels. Each blister pack features all 17 cards for the team, including Trout and Pujols.
2018 Topps Gypsy Queen Shohei Ohtani RC #89
If you like the retro style and an affordable price, 2018 Gypsy Queen features an appealing Shohei Ohtani rookie card. Those looking for a challenge can try to track down the various parallels, including Green (Retail), Missing Nameplate, Indigo #/250, GQ Logo Swap, Bazooka Back, Black & White #/50 (Hobby), Red #/10, and Black 1/1.
Ohtani is also in the autograph set with many of the same parallels.
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 Living Set Shohei Ohtani RC #7 (PR=20,966)
Part of a never-ending set, the print-to-order card is sold directly by Topps' online store for just one week, selling nearly 21K copies. Topps Living Set uses the 1953 design plus images from Mayumi Seto. Ohtani came early in the run, releasing in week three alongside Russell Martin and Jackie Bradley Jr.
2018 Topps Opening Day Shohei Ohtani RC #200
2018 Topps Opening Day has the distinction of being the first Shohei Ohtani rookie issued as an RC in a traditional base set. The low-cost nature of the product and large supply keeps value in check but many will still remember it as the first.
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 Tribute Shohei Ohtani Autograph #TA-SO Redemption
Another instance where Ohtani has no base rookie, he is included in the main autograph set for 2018 Tribute. Issued as a Tribute Autograph redemption, they are only parallel options based on what has surfaced so far.
2017 Leaf Trinity Signatures Shohei Ohtani #A-SO1 (#/10 or less)
Although the 2017 set came out at the end of March in 2018, the 2017 Leaf Trinity card for Ohtani has several things going for it. First, it's signed on-card and there are inscriptions. Second, the design is simple and attractive. Finally, there is the extreme rarity as it only includes five versions: Bronze (#/10), Platinum (#/7), Red (#/5), Silver (#/3), and Gold (1/1).
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.