Born and bred in Linden, California, Aaron James Judge competed at Linden High School as a three-sport supernatural athlete for the Linden Lions. Aaron Judge set countless records for his high school football and basketball teams. His capability to excel in multiple sports earned him scholarships to some of the most competitive football programs in the country, including Notre Dame, Stanford, and UCLA. Nonetheless, Judge was always drawn to baseball.
Initially drafted out of high school in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics, Judge chose to play college baseball before leaping to the big leagues. Judge competed at Fresno State for three seasons, leading the program to prominence. After forgoing his final year of eligibility at Fresno State, Aaron Judge declared for the 2013 MLB Draft, ultimately selected by the Bronx Bombers as the 32nd overall draft pick.
Judge quickly worked through the New York Yankees minor league system ranks, making his MLB debut on August 13, 2016. After posting a remarkable rookie season, in which he was unanimously voted for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, Judge has been hindered by injuries throughout his six-year MLB career. Regardless, Judge has tallied 154 home runs, the 5th most since 2017, his official rookie MLB season.
The three-time American League All-Star, 2017 American League Rookie of the Year, 2017 American League home run leader, two-time Silver Slugger, and 2021 All-MLB First Team is one of the most dominant players in the league when healthy. In turn, Aaron Judge's rookie cards have become a significant player in the baseball card landscape. Without further ado, the following are the top 10 best Aaron Judge rookie cards.
2017 Topps Stadium Club Aaron Judge Autographs RC #SCA-AJE
Recent sale: $500
The first Aaron Judge rookie card we'll examine materialized from the 2017 Topps Stadium Club, issued to collectors on July 12, 2017, in 16 packs of eight cards. Each hobby box includes two autographed cards, two Power Zone inserts, two Scoreless Streak inserts, one Base Team insert, two Black and White parallels, and one chrome parallel card. Aaron Judge's most valuable card from the 2017 Topps Stadium Club is his blue-penned autograph rookie card. While Judge's autographed rookie card is his second-most populated card on the list, it's one of the most condition sensitive as only 13% attained a PSA or BGS 10. Graded a PSA 10, this copy of Judge's autographed rookie card is one of only 11 cards deserving of a PSA 10. In contrast, Judge's autographed rookie card from 2017 Topps Stadium Club has a BGS population of 56, none of which achieved higher than a BGS 9.5.
Aaron Judge was a standout three-sport athlete at Linden High School, competing for the schools' varsity baseball, basketball, and football teams. Aaron Judge played varsity football in his junior and senior year of high school, racking up 1,405 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns, including 17 touchdowns in his senior year to set a school record. On the varsity basketball team as a junior and senior, Judge averaged 16.9 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals, and 2.0 blocks per game, including 18.2 points per game in his senior year, also establishing a Linden High School record. In his three years of varsity baseball, Judge accumulated 11 home runs, 45 RBIs, and an astonishing .436 batting average while ushering the Linden Lions to the Division III Playoffs in the California Interscholastic Federation.
Aaron Judge's ability to compete at a high level in three different sports was unprecedented. As a result, Judge had multiple possibilities on where to compete at the next level. Despite the least expensive rookie card on the list, Aaron Judge's 2017 Topps Stadium Club rookie card is a sound investment for any baseball card collector.
2017 Topps On Demand Aaron Judge 600 Home Run Club RC #15
Recent sale: $500
Aaron Judge's 600 Home Run Club rookie card is part of the Chasing 600 checklist of the 2017 Topps On Demand set, issued directly to consumers through the Topps online store. Judge's Chasing 600 rookie card holds a print run of 1,632. With 192 copies already surfaced, this is by far Aaron Judge's most accessible rookie card. While 52% of Judge's 600 Home Run Club rookie cards obtained a PSA or BGS 10, only 11 copies, or 5%, have attained a BGS 10 Black Label, this copy included.
Judge's athletic skills to vie in three sports presented him with multiple options in college, as Notre Dame, Stanford, and UCLA highly recruited Judge to play football. However, Aaron Judge elected to play baseball, chosen by the Oakland Athletics in the 31st round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft, the same draft Bryce Harper was the first overall selection. Similar to Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Judge decided to polish his game before heading to the big leagues, where he enrolled at California State University, commonly known as Fresno State, to compete for the Fresno State Bulldogs, one of the most prestigious baseball programs in the country.
The unique concept of 2017 Topps On Demand is a fitting representation of the exceptional talent of Aaron Judge, where his 600 Home Run Club BGS 10 Black Label rookie card is one of his best baseball cards to collect.
2017 Bowman Aaron Judge Megabox Rookie of the Year Favorites Orange Refractor RC #ROYFI-AJ #'d/25
Recent sale: $600
2017 Bowman marks the 70th anniversary of the Bowman brand since its iconic release of 1948 Bowman. Configured in 24 packs of 10 cards, one of the most valuable cards of the set is Aaron Judge's Rookie of the Year Orange Refractor rookie card, serial-numbered to 25 copies. Aaron Judge's Orange Refractor is graded a PSA 10, along with two other copies. Of the eight Aaron Judge Orange Refractor rookie cards in Beckett's population report, the highest card warranted a BGS 9.5, harboring a population of six.
In Aaron Judge's 2011 freshman season at Fresno State, Judge recorded two home runs, 30 RBIs, a .358 batting average, 11 stolen bases, and tallied 12 doubles across 55 games. Judge guided the Bulldogs to a 40-16 record to a share of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) regular-season title while capturing the WAC Tournament to qualify for the 2011 NCAA Tournament while being named a Louisville Slugger All-American. As a sophomore, Judge guided the Bulldogs to a 31-28 record behind four home runs, 27 RBIs, a .309 batting average, 13 swiped bases, and 14 doubles in 58 ball games. Judge went on to win the 2012 TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby after recording 16 home runs throughout the derby. In the summer of 2012, Judge competed for the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod League, racking up five home runs, 16 RBIs, six stolen bases, and a .270 batting average. In Judge's junior and final college baseball season, Fresno State competed in the Mountain West Conference (MWC), where he tallied 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and a .369 batting average.
After Judge's junior year, he declared for the 2013 MLB Draft, though not before achieving the All-Conference Team in all three of his college baseball seasons, twice in the WAC and once in the MWC. Aaron Judge took the college baseball landscape by storm, influencing the value of his Orange Refractor rookie card from 2017 Bowman.
2017 Panini Flawless Aaron Judge Flawless Finishes RC #FF-AJ #'d/25
Recent sale: $600
2017 Panini Flawless is the brand's second year on the diamond, offering one pack of 10 cards, showcasing six autographed cards, two memorabilia cards, and two gem cards in each hobby box. Aaron Judge's iconic rookie card from 2017 Panini Flawless arises from the Flawless Finishes checklist, featuring an on-card autograph serial-numbered to 25 copies. Since being printed, only three Aaron Judge Flawless Finishes rookie cards have emerged, two of which achieved a PSA 10 in addition to one BGS 9.5.
The Oakland Athletics initially drafted Aaron Judge out of high school in the 31st round. However, after his success at Fresno State, the New York Yankees selected Judge as the 32nd overall pick in the 1st round of the 2013 MLB Draft, offering him a $1,800,000 signing bonus. After suffering a quad injury in the 2013 season, Judge officially made his professional baseball debut on April 3, 2014, with the Charleston RiverDogs in the South Atlantic League. After recording nine home runs, 45 RBIs, and a .333 batting average, the Yankees promoted Judge to the Tampa Yankees in the Florida State League, where he blasted eight home runs, 33 RBIs, and a .238 batting average. After competing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, Judge quickly worked through the Yankees minor league system, playing for the Trenton Thunder and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Although Judge could have stuck with the Oakland A's in the 2013 season, his path to MLB stardom commenced when the New York Yankees ultimately called Aaron Judge up to the major leagues during the 2016 MLB season. Since his call-up, Judge has remained a focal point of the franchise, and his rookie cards have become one of the most coveted baseball players to collet, particularly his Flawless Finished autographed rookie card from 2017 Panini Flawless.
2017 Topps Transcendent Collection Aaron Judge Framed Autographs Silver RC #TCA-AJ #'d/15
Recent sale: $610
In recent years, one of the most unforgettable baseball card products is the 2017 Topps Transcendent Collection, limited to just 87 handcrafted hobby boxes. One of the perks of acquiring the 2017 Topps Transcendent Collection included a meet and greet with the late legendary Hank Aaron. Aaron Judge is featured in several rookie cards from the set, though his most valuable arises from the Transcendent Collection Framed Autographs checklist showcasing a Silver parallel card, serial-numbered to just 15 copies. PSA and BGS have graded just five copies of Judge's Silver rookie card, none of which merited a PSA or BGS 10. Judge's Transcendent Collection Framed Autographs Silver rookie card is graded a BGS 9.5 along with three other cards, illustrating the card's most coveted grade.
Aaron Judge made his Major League Baseball debut on August 13, 2016, slugging a home run in his first career at-bat. Judge also smacked a home run the following day, becoming the first New York Yankees player to hit a home run in back-to-back games to begin their MLB career. Across 27 games in the 2016 season after being called up, Aaron Judge amassed four home runs, 10 RBIs, and recorded a .179 batting average.
Although Judge had a short stint with the Yankees in the 2016 season, he flashed brilliance and presented the Yankees with hope for the future. As the only Aaron Judge rookie card on the list of his top 10 best rookie cards with no record of a PSA or BGS 10 in its population report, Judge's Transcendent Collection Framed Autographs Silver rookie card's long-term value is cemented.
2017 Bowman Chrome Aaron Judge Gold RC #56 #'d/50
Recent sale: $1,100
2017 Bowman Chrome is a 200-card set featuring 100 base cards and 100 MLB prospects. 2017 Bowman Chrome was issued on September 29, 2017, in hobby master boxes featuring two mini boxes of six packs of five cards and HTA choice boxes, comprising one pack of three cards, each holding an on-card autograph. Aaron Judge's most coveted rookie card of the set to date is his Gold parallel card, limited to a print run of 50 cards. Judge's Gold parallel card from 2017 Bowman Chrome is one of his least condition sensitive as 15 of his 27 cards, roughly 56%, merited a PSA or BGS 10. Despite this fact, only three of 14 cards, around 21%, warranted a BGS 10.
Aaron Judge gave us a small dose of his ability in the 2016 MLB season, which was on full display in the 2017 season, his official rookie year, after playing just 27 games the year prior. Aaron Judge was arguably the most valuable player in the league in the 2017 season, recording a league-high in home runs (52), runs scored (128), walks (127), and Wins above Replacement, or WAR (8.0). Judge also totaled 114 RBIs, just five short of Miguel Cabrera, who led the league in runs batted in. Judge added 24 doubles, a .284/.422/.627 slash line, and a 1.049 OPS for good measure.
Aaron Judge's 2017 rookie season was nothing short of phenomenal, where he was unanimously selected as the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year and snubbed by voters, finishing second in the American League MVP voting, behind Jose Altuve. Due to his explosive 2017 MLB season, the price of Aaron Judge’s Gold parallel card from 2017 Bowman Chrome remains one of his most desirable rookie cards in existence.
2017 Topps Chrome Aaron Judge '87 Topps Baseball Autographs Orange Refractor RC #87TA-AJ #'d/25
Recent sale: $1,199
The most desirable Aaron Judge rookie card from 2017 Topps Chrome arises from the 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs checklist as an Orange Refractor. Judge's Orange Refractor rookie card is limited to 25 copies and is graded a BGS 9.5 for condition and a BGS 10 for Judge's bold blue on-card autograph. After being released on August 2, 2017, 12 of Judge's Orange Refractor rookie cards from the 1987 Topps Baseball Autographs checklist have surfaced, 25% of which earned a PSA or BGS 10. Aaron Judge's Orange Refractor rookie card is graded a BGS 9.5, meaning just one copy is graded higher by Beckett.
Aaron Judge recorded 27 home runs, 67 RBIs, 22 doubles, and a .278 batting average in this sophomore campaign. While Judge's 2018 MLB season was not nearly as memorable as his rookie year, he achieved his second straight All-Star Game appearance and finished 12th in the MVP voting regardless of missing two months of the season due to a wrist injury.
After putting together one of the greatest rookie seasons in MLB history, a sophomore slump was expected for the 6'7" right fielder for the New York Yankees. Despite a minor recession in his 2018 MLB season, Aaron Judge's Orange Refractor rookie card from 2017 Topps Chrome steadily increased, conveying four figures.
2017 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition Aaron Judge Rookie Autographs Orange RC #AC-AJ #'d/25
Recent sale: $1,600
The 2017 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition is one of the most coveted baseball card releases, limited to only 250 boxes. 2017 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition is configured as a 720-card factory set, including five rookie autographs, 13 base parallels, and two Superfractors. Aaron Judge's most worthy rookie card from the highly sought-after set is his Orange Rookie Autographs rookie card, limited to 25 copies. Judge's illustrious rookie card is graded a BGS 9.5 for condition and a BGS 10 for Judge's unmistakable on-card autograph. Judge's Orange Rookie Autographs card has been graded 16 times by PSA and BGS, six of which warranted a PSA or BGS 10.
Aaron Judge was off to a blazing start in the 2019 season, recording five home runs, 11 RBIs, and a .288 batting average through 20 games. However, Judge suffered a considerable left oblique strain that kept him on the Injured List for two months. Although Judge's 2019 season was confined to 102 games, he continued to achieve remarkable recognition. On August 27, 2019, versus the Seattle Mariners, Aaron Judge recorded his 100th career home run, becoming the 3rd fastest player in MLB history to achieve the plateau in just his 371st career game.
He concluded his 2019 campaign with 27 home runs, 55 RBIs, and a .272 batting average and excelled in the outfield, capturing the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award as the league's best right fielder. Injuries were the culprit for Aaron Judge's statistics declining for the second straight season, yet the value of his Orange Rookie Autographs card from the highly sought-after 2017 Topps Chrome Sapphire Edition persists in fetching four figures.
2017 Topps Finest Aaron Judge Finest Autographs Refractor Red RC #FA-AJ #'d/5
Recent sale: $1,900
2017 Topps Finest was released on June 7, 2017, as a hobby-only product in Hobby Master Boxes, containing six packs of five cards in each mini box. Each Hobby Master Box from 2017 Topps Finest contains two on-card autographs, as collectors see the rookie autographed cards from the Finest Autographs checklist. With that said, the second most valuable Aaron Judge rookie card is his Finest Autographs Refractor Red rookie card, which is his most limited rookie card on the list, serial-numbered to merely five copies. Aaron Judge Finest Autographs Refractor Red rookie card brings four figures despite being graded a BGS 9.5, tied for the lowest attained grade for the card, with three cards deserving of a PSA or BGS 10.
Hindered by injuries for the third consecutive season, Aaron Judge only played 28 games in the 2020 Major League Baseball season, which was restricted to 60 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While only competing in 28 games, Judge excelled when he took the field, registering nine home runs, 22 RBIs, and a .257 batting average.
Injuries have restricted Aaron Judge from reaching his true potential, and his 2020 MLB season illustrates just that. While injuries have been the root of Judge's ability to sustain MLB stardom, the worth of Aaron Judge's Finest Autographs Refractor Red rookie card remains strong. Considering Judge's Finest Autographs Refractor Red rookie card is his most limited rookie card on the list and is graded a BGS 9.5, one can only imagine how much a PSA or BGS 10 would convey.
2017 Panini Chronicles Aaron Judge Contenders Rookie Cracked Ice Ticket RC #1 #'d/24
Recent sale: $3,500
Aaron Judge's most coveted rookie card arises from 2017 Panini Chronicles, allocated to collectors on November 22, 2017, in 12 packs of five cards. Judge's rookie card emerges from the Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs checklist as a Cracked Ice parallel, limited to 24 copes. This copy of Judge's Cracked Ice parallel warranted a PSA 10 for condition and a PSA 10 for number 99's on-card autograph. Seven copies of Judge's Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Cracked Ice parallel have been graded by PSA and Beckett, with this particular copy being the only card to earn a PSA or BGS 10.
Judge returned to form in the 2021 MLB season, amassing 39 round-trippers, 98 RBIs, 24 doubles, and a career-high in batting average (.287) and hits (158). Judge earned his third All-Star Game appearance, his second Silver Slugger Award, and finished 4th in the American League Most Valuable Player voting. Judge continued to excel in right field for the New York Yankees, acquiring his first Fielding Bible Award, presented to the most distinguished fielder at each position on the diamond.
The Yankee's right fielder evaded injuries in the 2021 MLB season, recording a career-high in games played with 148. If Judge can continue to dodge the Injured List, he'll continue to be one of the most feared batters in the league. If Judge persists in playing at a high level, his Contenders Rookie Ticket Autographs Cracked Ice parallel rookie card will reach unprecedented value.
All Rise for Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge has flashed his stature at the plate and in the field throughout his six-year MLB career. If Judge stays healthy, he's as good a bet as any to capture the 2022 American League MVP Award, currently with the 4th best odds at +1500. Aaron Judge has the ability to carry the Yankees on his back, who are presently +200 to capture the American League East, +475 to achieve the AL pennant, and +900 to win the 2022 World Series. If Judge and the Yankees can make a deep postseason run and even win their first World Series title since the 2009 MLB season, Judge's rookie cards will skyrocket across the board.