I was going through my card boxes the other day where I keep my commons and star players not in my PC, and I got really excited when I came across this gem:
I'm thinking to myself, "A Joey Votto rookie! Awesome!" However, upon further review, it seems as though even though the 2010 NL MVP didn't play in the majors until 2007, his actual "rookie cards" were in 2002, when he had issues in Bowman Draft, Bowman Chrome Draft, and Topps 206.
The frustrating thing, as a collector, is that I don't know what I have in front of me. When I have a card, and it says, "Rookie Card" in bold letters at the top, I expect it to be just that. Especially when it comes to buying singles, (I'm looking at you, ebay) there's a whole lot of room for deception in how the product is advertised.
I'm also thinking of this now, as Strasburg-mania is dead and gone, and Bryce-amania is in full force. We already have Bryce Harper cards out in Bowman this year, and I'm sure we'll see something in Topps Update, but even if he doesn't see the bigs until 2013 or 2014, fans will have to go back a few years to get his true "rookie card."
I was hoping with Topps taking control of the baseball card market, there wouldn't be a big rush to get players out before the competition, but it looks like Topps might be hurting its own product by making some of their rookie cards in their flagship issue, Heritage, Allen & Ginter, etc. meaningless.
Maybe not, though. My only point is, don't slap a "Rookie Card" label on a player, when he has appeared in previous years on your own product. That's all.