The Zack Greinke Rookie Card range keeps things simple. The winner of the 2009 American League Cy Young Award has only two cards with the RC tag in the Beckett database. In addition to these, there are a handful of early parallels, autographs, and others that have gained some level of popularity and notoriety over the years.
Over the years, Greinke has shown bouts of dominance from the mound. Sometimes Hall of Fame dominance. He was also slowed by injuries and played for several teams. So even with the success, Zack Greinke’s cards have been relatively quiet.
Zack Greinke’s first cards came out in late 2002, shortly after the Kansas City Royals made him a first-round pick. MLB card rules were a bit different back then and Topps was able to incorporate it into their 2002 Bowman Draft product, meaning its Rookie cards were released a few years before its debut with the Royals.
Greinke also has some Topps and Upper Deck autographs from his first two years as a pro.
Zack Greinke’s Rookie Card Guide
The following list only includes baseboards with the RC label in the Beckett database and price guide. It does not include insertions or parallels. A few more early key cards follow. A complete list of Zack Greinke baseball cards can be found in the Beckett Database.
2002 Bowman Draft Zack Greinke Rookie Card #BDP6
At the time, the 2002 Bowman Draft Baseball was one of those products that stayed hot for years. Greinke is one of several checklist recruits who were hot in the hobby at one point. He is joined by Joey Votto, Curtis Granderson, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano, Nick Swisher and many more. The only parallel, Gold, adds a facsimile signature leaf to the front.
2002 Bowman Chrome Draft Zack Greinke Rookie Card #BDP6
2002 Bowman Draft adopted Topps Traded’s hybrid approach of including Bowman and Bowman Chrome cards in the same bundles. In terms of value, Greinke’s Chrome card fetches more, which shouldn’t be surprising given its more premium pedigree. As for the parallel rainbows, there are only three more versions with only 500 copies in total between them.
Parallels: Refractors (/300), X-Fractors (/150), Gold Refractors (/50)
Highlights of Zack Greinke’s Early Cards
While the two Zack Greinke Rookie cards enjoy a certain level of popularity, he has a few other key cards from the start of his pro career. The following is not an exhaustive list. Instead, he focuses on some of his best early cards.
2002 Upper Deck Prospect creates Zack Greinke XRC autograph #93
Zack Greinke’s first autograph is part of 2002 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres, a set largely focused on draft picks of the year and incoming prospects. One of the first sets to move away from ink on card, the right-handed signature is on a piece of paper embedded in the card.
2002 Upper Deck Minor League Zack Greinke #232
If you’re looking for a cheap Zack Greinke card from his draft year, you might want to look into this one. Coming from a minor league product, he’s overlooked next to his Bowman RCs and Prospect Premiere’s pricey autograph.
Walking past it’s hard to tell this is a minor league card as Greinke is pictured in a Kansas City uniform.
2003 Bowman Draft Signs of the Future Zack Greinke #SOF-ZG
Bowman’s Signs of the Future run wasn’t long, but it further helped the brand establish itself as a place not only to find prospects’ first MLB cards, but also for autographs. Grienke is among the “Group A” signatories on the checklist. It was the easiest assortment to pull into the product.
Parallels: Red ink
2003 Topps Blue Chips Autographs Zack Greinke #TT-ZG
2003 Topps Blue Chip Autographs highlights the signings of two dozen promising players at the time. In retrospect, it might not be a strong group, but Greinke is the most valuable card in the set. It’s also his first card in the flagship line (his first Topps base card didn’t come until 2004).