Mike Trout cards set the hobby on fire during his rookie season. Many picked him as one of baseball's top prospects heading into his first year, but few expected him to contend for the MVP in nearly every season since then. A true five-tool talent, Mike Trout has excelled at every part of the game.
When Trout mania began, it was like a gold rush as collectors scampered to track down whatever Mike Trout cards they could. Commons, inserts, autographs and everything in between were easy sales for dealers. The scorching demand led to soaring prices with many cards fetching four figures during the heart of his historic 2012 run. Since then, collecting interest and card values have fluctuated a good bit, but Trout's Hall of Fame production has remained a constant. Of course, cardboard demand has peaked during his two MVP seasons.
A product of the modern hobby, Mike Trout's first licensed cards come from 2009. They're not rookie cards by traditional definitions, but they're traded like them. The outfielder's first base cards, the true rookie cards, were released in a handful of 2011 sets after he made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Angels. While autographs are clearly a focus for many collectors, just a handful of the very best are detailed below. For more choices, view a comprehensive breakdown of early Mike Trout autographs.
Below is a list of the best Mike Trout cards released between 2009 and 2011. Please note that we've limited it to cards that have print runs of 50 or more. Also, individual parallels are not included, although they're mentioned and were taken into consideration when compiling the list.
Top 10 Mike Trout Rookie Cards and Prospect Cards
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While simple and just a base flagship rookie, the 2011 Topps Update Mike Trout card is synonymous with his rookie card options. Don't let the plain card fool you. Values are strong despite the huge supply and Gem Mint versions can push well into the hundreds. While there are several parallels, the Anniversary editions, especially the Hope Diamond (#/60), have proven to be quite valuable.
With just six base cards per box and a hefty price tag attached to it, this is the toughest Mike Trout rookie card to come by. Although it's not numbered, it's relative scarcity has made for bullish prices and continued demand.
When it comes to official Mike Trout rookie cards, 2011 Bowman Chrome has one of the best. It's not so much the base version that makes this card so popular; it's the bevy of Refractors that set this one apart.
The lack of official licensing gives this card a somewhat nondescript look, but there is a lot of significance behind it as the first Mike Trout jersey card. Although the origins of the jersey aren't given, the back of the card does say it was used in a game of some sort. There's also an unsigned version.
As an autographed insert from a high-end set released during his first season with the Angels, it's not much of a stretch to understand why this card is popular. The use of a sticker keeps it from ranking higher. There are also limited Refractor parallels.
2011 Topps Finest might not have the same ultra high-end pedigree as Bowman Sterling, but when it comes to Mike Trout cards, this is the better choice. Not only is it numbered, but the autograph is done on the card. That's a rarity for the outfielder. Colored parallels add even more appeal.
Following his first cards in 2009, there weren't a lot in 2010. The 2010 Bowman Platinum Prospect Autograph Refractor for Mike Trout sits in that no-man's land between his earliest cards and those that came out during his first run in the majors. Although not as exciting, it is hard signed and still from the beginning of his career. Combine that with the in-uniform photo and you've got one of the top Mike Trout cards.
What the 2009 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Mike Trout autograph lacks in official logos, it makes up for with its print run. Given the history behind the Elite brand, collectors have also largely overlooked the licensing when compared to similar sets from other companies. Low-numbered Status and Aspirations parallels have been standouts as well.
Topps released two Mike Trout autograph cards in 2009. This one is more overlooked when compared to the other. But that's all relative when you're talking about some of the first Mike Trout cards. The sticker autograph takes away some of its appeal but, again, it comes down to that relativity thing. The 2009 Bowman Sterling Mike Trout remains a wildly popular and important card.
When it comes to Mike Trout cards, the 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospect Autograph is easily his best and most iconic card. It boasts an on-card autograph and the Bowman Chrome brand power. There are also several Refractor parallels and the Gold Refractor is particularly popular.
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