Dustin Pedroia's hard-nosed style of play and postseason success made him one of the most beloved modern players for the Boston Red Sox and a candidate to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame. Nicknamed "The Laser Show" for his ability to hit the ball hard to all parts of the park, Pedroia's career included winning the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year and the 2008 American League MVP, along with helping the Red Sox win the World Series (twice). Naturally, the longtime second baseman has a strong following in the baseball card hobby and a wide assortment of cards for collectors to track down. This list looks at some of the best Dustin Pedroia cards for your collection.
Following an impressive college career, the Red Sox selected Dustin Pedroia in the second round of the 2004 draft. He rose quickly through the ranks, joining the Sox at the end of the 2006 season. Pedroia teamed up with David Ortiz to form the heart and soul of the Red Sox World Series Championship teams in 2007 and 2013. Beyond the aforementioned ROY and MVP Awards, Pedroia also appeared in four All-Star Games, won four Gold Gloves, and a Silver Slugger. The combination of personal and team success has many hoping that he joins fellow modern second basemen Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio in Cooperstown.
Pedroia's first cards appeared in 2002 Upper Deck products as a member of the USA Baseball College National Team. His debut into the hobby world as a professional player was unique due to the circumstances surrounding the licensing agreements that the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) had with card manufacturers. In a typical year, Bowman is the lone brand licensed to make products focused on draft picks and prospects. However, in 2004, the MLBPA granted Fleer, Playoff, and Upper Deck a one-time exemption to create a product similar to Bowman. In the end, Pedroia did not make the checklist of the Bowman sets in 2004 but did have important cards in each of the three competing products created using the exemption.
Many collectors consider the 2004 cards as his rookies, but the RC logo cards did not release until 2006. That year marked Pedroia's MLB debut and also the start of the modern baseball rookie card rules.
As a highly successful and admired player on a team with one of the most die-hard fan bases, Pedroia's cards have increased in popularity throughout his career and beyond. The quantity of Pedroia cards being produced has decreased in the later years of his career and into his retirement from baseball, but he has continued to maintain a presence in many current releases. Pedroia's newer cards are largely from high-end products that focus on low-print autographs. Given that he will likely garner some level of support for the Hall of Fame, Pedroia should be a relevant figure in the hobby world for years to come.
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Top 10 Dustin Pedroia Baseball Cards
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10. 2005 Topps Red Sox Factory Set Dustin Pedroia #5
Topps has long put out bonus cards in the popular factory sets, offering collectors special packaging or cards beyond the standard base set. In 2005, this included different draft picks and first-year players as an extra incentive for collectors, a practice that had been utilized by Topps for several years at this point. In fact, Topps produced regional factory sets for the Cubs, Giants, Nationals, Tigers, Yankees, and Red Sox.
While the nationally distributed Topps sets offered collectors a standard group of prospects or draft picks across all 30 MLB teams, the regional sets included five cards specific to the designated franchise. For Red Sox collectors, that meant adding a copy of a limited Dustin Pedroia card. This is his first appearance on a flagship Topps base card.
9. 2014 Topps 2013 World Series Champion Dustin Pedroia Relic #WCR-DP #/100
During his storied career with the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia's greatest accomplishment was leading the team to two World Series titles (2007 and 2013). The starting second baseman on the 2007 Red Sox, he played an important role in that Fall Classic by hitting a two-run home run in Game 1 that would ultimately end in the team's sweep of the Rockies. However, Pedroia was excluded from the popular World Series Champion Relic set by Topps the following year. Fortunately, the card giant included a Pedroia patch card when the Red Sox defeated the Cardinals for the 2013 crown.
While Topps expanded the number of Postseason cards produced in the 2014 set to include several relic cards from all the playoff teams, the World Series relics for the Red Sox players are just as tough earlier editions. Pedroia's career intersected a time in the hobby where relic cards were produced in huge quantities, often limiting the value of the cards, but that trend does not hold with the World Series Champion relics. This card is highly sought-after and one of the best baseball cards available to mark the postseason success achieved by Dustin Pedroia.
Given the rarity, these can be very tough to locate. On the other hand, there are many different Dustin Pedroia relic cards to collect.
8T. 2003 USA Baseball Dustin Pedroia 2003 Team USA Signatures #S-16 #/750
Before joining the Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia starred on the diamond at Arizona State. He was one of the best players in the college game during the early 2000s, won numerous individual honors, and is considered to be one of the school's greatest baseball players. This is a high honor considering that Barry Bonds and Reggie Jackson are both former Sun Devils. Of course, being a talented college player often means a spot on the USA Baseball College National Team, and inclusion in the USA Baseball card set. His first USA Baseball cards came in 2002.
A year later, the Dustin Pedroia autographs were distributed in a factory set with 27 base cards and a random signed card. The prized autographs in 2003 Upper Deck USA Baseball are Justin Verlander and Dustin Pedroia. Like other star amateur players who made the checklist of a USA Baseball card product, Pedroia's first signed cardboard appearance is a popular choice with collectors. There are two colored variations of this early Pedroia card, both with a plentiful print run that offers good value. The red ink autograph has 750 total copies and the blue ink autograph is limited to 250 copies.
8T. 2003 USA Baseball Dustin Pedroia 2003 Team USA Signed Jersey #J-16 #/350
Upper Deck also created an autographed jersey card for all of the players in the 2003 USA Baseball set. Similar to the regular autograph, there are two versions. Both have a high print run and are easy to find. The Red Ink version has 350 serial-numbered copies, while the Blue Ink checks in at 150 copies. There is little difference in price between Pedroia's regular autograph and the jersey autograph in the 2003 USA Baseball set. Again, these cards represent a relative bargain for collectors looking to acquire a Pedroia autograph.
7. 2006 Topps Autographs Dustin Pedroia #TA-DP AU
Dustin Pedroia had two official rookie cards in 2006, but neither appeared on the flagship Topps checklist. This was in large part due to the changes that took place between the MLBPA and card manufacturers in 2005. Simply put, a player could not have an official rookie card produced in 2006 until they either made the 25-man roster or had previously appeared in a Major League game. The rule would lead to the creation of the famous 2006 Topps Alex Gordon rookie card, but it also meant that many prospects debuting later in the season missed the Topps base set releases. 2006 Topps Series 1 was released at the end of February, Series 2 came in June, and Pedroia did not make his debut with the Red Sox until August.
Topps still produced cards of several top prospects and rookies for 2006 by placing them on the autograph checklist. The early on-card autograph card of Dustin Pedroia is very popular and can be just as expensive as some of his more recent autographs in high-end products. Furthermore, the autograph checklist in 2006 Topps is a bonanza for Red Sox collectors with certified signatures of David Ortiz, Wade Boggs, former General Manager Theo Epstein, and several others.
6. 2008 Topps Heritage High Numbers Real One Autographs Dustin Pedroia #ROA-DP
Generous with his signature throughout his career, fans have plenty of options when trying to find certified Dustin Pedroia autographs. There is one autograph, outside of his rookie and pre-rookie cards, that stands out above the crowded field—his 2008 Heritage High Number autograph.
Two factors make this card popular. First, Pedroia has numerous cards from early on that feature signed stickers, which are almost always less desirable on the secondary market. Second, in 2008, Heritage High Number was not released in a very traditional manner. Topps packaged the Heritage High Number cards with their Updates and Highlights set in the fall as a first-year release. This peculiar distribution has made finding some of the Heritage High Numbers cards from 2008 a tough task, including the Pedroia autograph.
The aesthetics of the card, borrowing the popular 1959 Topps design, along with the on-card signature, add to the collectability. Beyond the standard blue ink signature, collectors can also look for the tougher red-ink autograph, which has just 59 serial-numbered copies.
5. 2006 Topps '52 Dustin Pedroia RC #40
Dustin Pedroia did not have a flagship rookie card from Topps, but he was part of 2006 Topps '52, a rookie-centric product that used the 1952 Topps design. Topps 52 was a bit of an afterthought, though, lacking the popular prospect names of the day, combined with a late release date in January 2007. Plenty of players with rookie cards on the checklist have gone on to have solid careers, but Dustin Pedroia is the standout card in Topps 52.
This card has become very popular in recent years as Pedroia's Hall of Fame credentials have grown. There are also several different parallels following a similar format to Topps Heritage. The Chrome parallel is the easiest to find with a print run of 1,952 copies, along with a Chrome Refractor (552 copies). The rare Gold Chrome Refractor has just 52 copies.
4. 2006 Upper Deck Update Dustin Pedroia RC #1027
Upper Deck kept the size of their flagship brand base sets in the neighborhood of 500 cards during the early 2000s. However, the card manufacturer went big in 2007, producing 500 cards for both Series 1 and Series 2, and capped it off with a 250-card update. This set appealed to team collectors who, in a hobby that can be dominated by star-studded, short checklists, could find cards of nearly every player on the roster. Red Sox collectors naturally had cards from stars David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Curt Schilling. They were joined by players like Dustin Pedroia, who was not a highly-touted prospect and did not manage to crack the Mendoza line during his brief appearance with the team in 2006.
In the first year with the official rookie logos, the 2006 Upper Deck Pedroia card was the second option to earn that label. This Pedroia rookie card was released in Update Series. In an odd move at the time, Upper Deck only sold packs of Update Series at Walmart as a retail exclusive. There were 50 short-printed rookie cards in 2006 UD Update Series, but the Pedroia card has standard production. This card is pretty easy to find on the secondary market, but its popularity and price have increased.
3. 2004 Fleer MLB Hot Prospects Dustin Pedroia RC #109 Autograph #/299
Fleer used the one-year exemption to reshape the Hot Prospects brand. Hot Prospects debuted in 2002, but the checklist only featured a handful of actual prospect autographs, all of which had either already made their MLB debut or were already on the 40-man roster. The MLBPA's rules at this time had a definite impact on products like Hot Prospects, with cards that were typically well behind Bowman, making them less appealing to collectors.
With no limitations, 2004 Fleer Hot Prospects focused on a group of 48 players selected in the MLB Draft earlier that summer, including Dustin Pedroia. He appeared in the Signature Selections subset and had a certified autograph card limited to 299 copies. The "Red Hot" parallel of Pedroia's 2004 Hot Prospects card has just 25 copies. This Hot Prospects rookie card is very popular and deserves a place in any serious Pedroia collection, but the lack of quality names on the product checklist puts it a notch below some of his similar 2004 issues.
2. 2004 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Dustin Pedroia RC #262 Autograph #/1,114
Released late in the calendar year, 2014 Donruss Elite Extra Edition (EEE) was Playoff's entry into the world of MLB draft picks and prospects. Dustin Pedroia was featured on an autograph card in the Draft Pick subset. At 1,114 serial-numbered copies, he has one of the higher print runs in the set, making this card widely available on the secondary market.
Beyond the base autograph, collectors can also track down a few harder-to-find parallels of this key rookie signature. This includes limited Aspirations, Status and Turn of the Century editions, which come signed and unsigned with print runs of 100 or less. While the EEE autographs are far more plentiful than his card in Hot Prospects, Playoff made this release more appealing to a broader swatch of the collecting world by including a deep checklist of low-print chase and autographed cards from Hall of Famers and present-day superstars.
1. 2004 SP Prospects Dustin Pedroia RC #340 Autograph #/400
Another product created using the one-year exemption for draft picks and prospects was 2004 SP Prospects Baseball. This Upper Deck release offered over 400 cards, the vast majority of which belonged to players who could only be included due to the exemption. Similar to EEE, Upper Deck gave SP Prospects a checklist enticing to collectors beyond rookie and prospect cards by offering autographs of current star players and Hall of Famers. For Red Sox collectors, this meant autographs of Carlton Fisk, Nomar Garciaparra and Roger Clemens paired with various prospects. Pedroia does have a dual signature card in SP Prospects, but unfortunately, he was paired with another draft pick rather than one of the Red Sox's stars.
The SP Prospects Dustin Pedroia rookie autograph is serial-numbered to 400 copies and has long been considered the best of his first-year cards, and a must-own for any Dustin Pedroia fan or modern Boston Red Sox collector. Beyond being a key Pedroia card from 2004, the small number of quality draft picks and prospect cards make this one of the best rookie cards of the year. Given Dustin Pedroia's impending eligibility for the Hall of Fame in 2025, this card will only grow in popularity in the coming years.