Can Inserts Legitimately Be Considered Rookie Cards?

I ask this question because I feel that the case I’m bringing to your attention is indeed special and unique. And if you’ve been around this hobby for any length of time, it’s rare to find a truly unique topic of conversation that hasn’t been rehashed over and over. 

Before I really dive into this topic, I’d like to provide you with a little background on my history with the player involved. 

His name? Pat McAfee, punter/kicker/comedian for the Indianapolis Colts. 

If you follow the NFL at all outside of just the games being played, you may have already heard that McAfee is one of the most entertaining personalities on and off the field. 

Pat McAfee Uncaged (NSFW)
My “following” of McAfee goes back to his college days at West Virginia University when I worked for Hat World/Lids in Morgantown, WV and some of my regular customers were WVU athletes, not to mention one of the other employees was a student and friends with half of them, including Pat. Ever since then I’ve kind of kept my eye on McAfee’s place in the hobby. 

But, that was a problem in itself. Even though he was drafted in 2009, his first trading card was not released until 2014 by Topps. That means no Press Pass cards, no SA-GE, no Upper Deck. Nothing for five years!

Then in 2014, Topps produced the first ever Pat McAfee trading card. 


It’s a 2014 Topps All-Pro Team Commemorative Helmet card /99. 

Upon learning of his first card, I was ecstatic. I remember waiting for one to pop up on each Bay so I could buy it. Much to my surprise, the prices on these things went insane! I know the print run was limited to 99 but this card was selling and continues to sell for $100 or more. 

His next card produced was in the basic Topps 2015 set and is consistently sold for $1 with parallels pulling in strong sales on a consistent basis. 


According to Beckett, at the time of this writing, neither card is listed as his rookie card. Although, during my research (thank you @pisano64) of the situation, I was contacted by Ryan Cracknell, Editor at Beckett, about the issue and he’s looking into it. Let’s not forget that Topps also didn’t tag either card with the NFL rookie card logo either. 

All of that has led me to this question: which card should be considered McAfee’s rookie card?

In my opinion, it’s the 2015 Topps because it wasn’t produced on a limited basis like the 2014 card was. But, I can also agree with anyone that would argue that the 2014 card should be considered his rookie card because it was his first card. 

For now, I want to know what collectors think. Send me a Twitter reply or you can comment below. 

Happy collecting!

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