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Albert Pujols (True) Rookie Cards

With their pick in the 13th Round in the 1999 MLB June Amateur Draft, the St. Lous Cardinals selected Albert Pujols from Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City, MO. Albert Pujols has 42 true rookie cards and 27 parallel rookie cards.

Tell Me Something Good

The year 2020 is one for the record books. In the world of sports alone, many Hall of Famers have passed away. Although I enjoyed writing about their life, career, and rookie cards a certain amount of sadness set in.

It led me to think, “In 2020, who performed in a way that generated excitement to me?” Albert Pujols came to mind. His career accomplishments in 2020 were a breath of fresh air.

Albert only played 39 games in a shortened 60 game season and he only got 6 home runs in 152 at-bats which is nothing really impressive I know. However, entering into his 20th season he cemented his All-Time Great status.

He started the season 7th all-time in home runs with 656. Midway through the season, he tied the great Willie Mays with 660 home runs. That same week he surpassed Willie with his 661st career home run and took sole possession of 5th on the All-Time Leaders List.

Career Stats & Accomplishments

As of the date of this post, Albert’s contract is good through the 2021 season so let’s look at his amazing numbers as of the end of the 2020 season.

According to Albert Pujols career stats are:

Career Summary: WAR 99.6 | Hits 3,301 | Home Runs 679 | Batting Avg. .297 | Runs 1,872 | RBI 2,150.


  • Rookie of the Year (2001)
  • 10x All-Star
  • 6x Silver Slugger
  • 3x MVP (2005, 2008, 2009)
  • 3x ML Player of the Year (2003, 2008, 2009)
  • 2x Gold Glove
  • 2x World Series Champion
  • 2003 Batting Title
  • 2004 NLCS MVP

What You Need to Know About Baseball Cards in 2001

In 2001, card manufacturers produced a wide variety of sets. Some of them traditional releases and some off the cuff, never seen before, nor after. Many hobbyist believe that these smaller, gimmicky, sets were produced to take advantage of the Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki phenomenon. 

Many collectors felt confused and frustrated with all the product produced and the gimmicks produced within the rookie cards. If this topic interest you check out this post History of the Rookie Card. 

Albert Pujols True Rookie Cards

2001 Absolute Memorabilia, #157 (RC)

Leading us off is the 2001 Absolute Memorabilia. It’s a 200 card set distributed in a single series, which may seem a bit small but as you’ll see as we move along, 200 cards seem to be the average set size for 2001. This Albert Pujols rookie card is #d to 700.

I will be limiting my design commentary for the scope of this post, I’ll be sharing specific details that stand out, but quickly move on.

Oddly enough this card offers an Authentic Game Used Base which I find kind of odd, but that’s just my opinion.

There is one parallel in this set, Spectrum, and their serial #d to 25.

2001 Bowman, #264 (RC)

This black-bordered beauty is a 440 card set distributed in a single series. A bit more mainstream therefore it’s not serial numbered.

Keep in mind when shopping for this one, it has black borders on both the front and back of the card.

There is one parallel, Bowman Gold which was inserted one per pack and is not serial numbered.

2001 Bowman Chrome, #340 (RC)

This next-level, black-bordered beauty is a 352 card set and was distributed in a single series. Cards 331-350 are autographed rookie cards with refractor type technology. The cherry on top, their #d to 500.

Like the Bowman RC black borders on both front and back. However, this Chrome brand used sturdier card stock.

There are two parallels, X-Fractors 1:23 packs, and Gold Refractor 1:47. However, neither of them feature this Albert Pujols rookie card. So technically speaking there are no parallels for this card.

2001 Bowman Heritage, #351 (RC)

The 2001 Bowman Heritage is a 440 card set distributed in a single series. Cards 331-440 are considered to be Short Prints and were inserted 1:2 packs.

Design inspiration appears to be the 1948 Bowman brand. A fantastic-looking card in my opinion. There are no parallels for this set.

2001 Bowman’s Best, #174 (RC)

The 2001 Bowman’s Best is a 200 card set distributed in a single series. Rookie cards were inserted 1:7 packs and they are serial-numbered to /2999.

The card design is considered leading technology as Bowman’s Best really set the bar high. Great card stock, fantastic design, colors, and refractor-like technology was given to all the base cards.

There are no parallels in the set but it’s not like it needs them.

2001 Donruss, #156 (RY)

2001 Donruss is a 220 card set distributed in a single series. Cards 151-200 display the fan-favorite “Rated Rookie” insignia, and are #d to /500.

Rookies were exchange cards via a redemption card with a deadline, this type of distribution has always been rejected within the hobby. For this reason I do not consider this a true rookie card.

There’s been a lot of accusation with this set too. Allegations of fraud and distribution shenanigans have been reported. For more info on this check out this resource

There are five parallels for this set Baseball’s Best come in Bronze #d to /999, Silver #d to /499, and Gold #d to /99.

Other parallels include Stat Line Career #d /154, and Stat Line Season #d /17.

Also, complete sets were available via a coupon that was inserted 1:720 packs. You had to mail them this “coupon” by January 20, 2002, along with $105.00 to receive a factory sealed set.

2001 Donruss Class of 2001, #268 (RC)

Donruss Class of 2001 is a 300 card set released in a single series. This specific rookie card is #d /625 which is rather low for a base card RC.

Overall, a really nice design that matches the Cardinals color scheme too. There is one parallel, First Class – which was produced with special holographic foil #d /50.

2001 Donruss Classics, #108 (RC)

The 2001 Donruss Classics offers a 200 card set distributed in a single series. Cards 101-150 are #d /585 and feature the rookies.

A simple design representative of the prewar years with the copper tone photo filter. There is one parallel, Timeless Tributes which are #d /100.

2001 Donruss Elite, #156 (RC)

This beautiful card is difficult to photograph because of its mirrored foiled design. Card stock is sturdy but because of the foil, there may be chipping issues.

This is a 200 card set and was distributed in a single series only available at Hobby Stores. They are serial numbered on the card front to /1000.

There are two parallels and are a bit difficult to understand. For starters, it’s important to know that Albert Pujols wears #68 on his uniform jersey.

Okay. You with me so far? Here we go. Aspirations inserted 1:62 to know how many were made you have to subtract Pujols jersey number minus 100, this gives you the total number of copies. In other words, Aspirations are #d /32.

A second parallel is Status inserted at a rate of 1:163 packs, these are a bit easier being serial-numbered to the player’s jersey number. So, Status #d /68.

2001 Donruss Signature, #151 (RC)

The 2001 Donruss Signature is a 311 card set distributed in a single series. A somewhat complex set. Cards 111-165 were inserted one per box and #d /330. Cards 166-311 inserted two per box and #d 800.

Overall, handsome colors and design, scarcity is key with the low print run. The only negative would be sticker autograph which is frowned upon today.

There is one parallel to this one. Signature Proofs, #d /25.

2001 EX, #131 (RC)

Now we begin to look at card brands that were manufactured by Fleer, I hope you’re sitting down with a notepad and pen. We begin with 2001 EX which is a 150 card set distributed in a single series.

Cards 141-150 were added to the set in December 2001 but they were inserted inside Fleer Platinum RC packs.

An absolutely beautiful card with great photography, colors, design, on quality card stock.

Two negatives with this one. First, this base card RC is not serial numbered, and there are no parallels. So, no Essential Credentials parallel!

2001 Fleer Authority, #102 (RC)

2001 Fleer Authority is a 150 card set #d /2001. A great design here with many layers to the front photograph. There is one parallel. Prominence #d to /75.

2001 Fleer Focus, #245 (RC)

2001 Fleer Focus is a 250 card set released in a single series. However, cards 241-250 feature the top rookies including this Albert Pujols rookie card.

But they were not pulled from the Fleer Focus product. Instead, they were inserted into Fleer Platinum RC packs.

Design highlights Pujols in an action pose with forgiving white borders. However, the back has red borders that make chipped edges stand out.

These are #d /999 and there are no parallels.

2001 Fleer Futures, #224 (RC)

The Fleer Futures is a 230 card base set distributed in a single series. However, cards 221-230 give us the same song, inserted into packs of Fleer Platinum RC.

A really nice “futuristic” card design and #d /2499. There is one parallel to speak of. Black Gold which features a black background and #d /499.

2001 Fleer Game Time, #121 (RC)

2001 Fleer Game Time is a rather small set coming in as a 121 card set. Cards 91-121 feature the theme subset “Next Game” rookie cards.

The card design is really busy and colorful. They are #d /2000. And despite having such a small checklist, there are no parallels available.

2001 Fleer Legacy, #102 (RC)

The Fleer Legacy is the smallest set so far with a checklist of only 105 cards. Cards 91-105 feature the rookie cards and are #d /799.

Quality card stock and a simple white card front with plenty of room for an autograph make this one an excellent choice for an in-person autograph.

There is one parallel available. Ultimate – featuring a gold backdrop # /250.

2001 Fleer Platinum, #301 (RC)

The 2001 Fleer Platinum is Fleers largest offering, coming in at a hefty 601 card set distributed in two series. Series 2 packs were re-named “Fleer Platinum RC Edition.”

This particular Albert Pujols rookie card can be found in Series 1 packs (cards 1-301).

But he has plenty of other rookie cards in Series 2 because this was the series that captured all the missed opportunities in other Fleer products.

The Pujols RCs in Fleer EX, Focus, Futures, and Triple Crown can be found in this series of Fleer Platinum RC Edition.

Card design for card #301 is basic, not much to really brag about and dual rookie cards are another negative. The only thing going for it is it’s #d /1500.

Here comes a curveball. There is one parallel, Fleer Platinum Parallel. However, this rookie card, #301 was not included in the parallel checklist. So technically, there are no parallels for this card.

2001 Fleer Premium, #233 (RY)

Fleer Premium is a 235 card set distributed in a single series. Cards 201-235 are #d /1999 and were available via an exchange card set good through May 1, 2002.

I do not consider this a true rookie card because of its distribution method. Cards 201-235 were available via redemption card set. However, a rookie-year identifier fits nicely.

Here comes another curveball.

There is one parallel in the set, Star Ruby but it does not include cards 231-235. So technically there are no parallels for this card.

2001 Fleer Showcase, #121 (RC)

The 2001 Fleer Showcase is a 160 card set. Cards 116-125 feature a subset, Rookie Avant and it gives collectors ten rookie cards #d /500 copies.

A very unique design with a picture in the picture printed on canvas material and framed out in a matted border. Quality card stock too.

There are two parallels. Legacy #d /50, and Masterpiece # 1/1.

2001 Fleer Tradition, #451 (RC)

2001 Fleer Tradition is a 485 card set distributed in a single series. Cards 451-485 is a rookie set only found in factory sets released later in the season.

Ironic that the Albert Pujols rookie card is card number 451. A good classic card design in which one can clearly see a 1956 Topps influence to it.

This rookie card is not serial numbered and for that a little lighter on the wallet. Also, there are no parallels.

2001 Fleer Triple Crown, #309 (RC)

Fleer Triple Crown is a 300 card set. Cards 251-300 feature all rookies. However, one of the best rookies appears to be left out of the set! Can you guess who?

Fleer quickly created cards 301-310 and inserted them into their catch-all product of the season Fleer Platinum RC Edition.

Nothing to really brag about here, mimics their Fleer Focus design. The card back shows that tough black-bordered edge.

Cards are serial-numbered to 2999, and there are no parallels.

2001 Fleer Ultra, #277 (RC)

2001 Fleer Ultra is a 280 card set. Oddly enough this product was released in December 2000. An extremely early release that did not feature an Albert Pujols rookie card.

So what did Fleer do? They created cards 276-280 and inserted them into packs of Fleer Platinum RC Edition of course. These RCs are #d /1499, and there are no parallels.

2001 Leaf Certified Materials, #158 (RC)

Leaf Certified is a small 160 card set that offers many insert and parallel cards.

This Albert Pujols rookie card features a piece of his hat and claims to be “Authentic Game Worn.”

These are scarce at only /200 copies available. Two parallels to speak of. Mirror Red #d /75, and Mirror Gold #d /25.

2001 Leaf Limited, #367 (RC)

The 2001 Leaf Limited was a hobby exclusive product. It offers 375 cards in the set and there a bit scare at only /250 #d copies. This RC offers a piece of “Authentic Game Worn Jersey.”

A very complicated set to decipher with all of its layers and tiers. However, there are no parallels for this one.

2001 Leaf Rookies & Stars, #205 (RC)

Leaf Rookies & Stars is one of my favorite rookie cards of Albert Pujols. But more because I was a fan of the product.

This is a 300 card set and it featured many short-printed cards. Cards 201-300 in the set were inserted 1:24 packs!

Quality card stock, design, and photography can always be found with Leaf Rookies & Stars. Surprisingly, no serial-numbers for these.

There are two parallels for this card. Longevity featured cards 101-300 and was #d /25. And Chicago Collection #d /5 were given at the Sun-Times Show in March 2002.

2001 MLB Showdown Pennant Run, #168 (RC)

2001 MLB Showdown Pennant Run is a 175 card baseball card game. The 1st Editions were released with a silver stamp on the front.

After 2005 when the MLBPA stepped in to give the industry guidance on what a rookie card is, this wouldn’t be considered a rookie card.

But the hobby has spoken and here we have a colorful design with lots of accessories. No serial numbers and no parallels.

2001 SP Authentic, #126 (RC)

This Sp Authentic offering is the mainstream favorite rookie card of Albert Pujols. It’s a 240 card set and this particular card is #d /1250.

It is a handsome card design with a fantastic card stock quality. Be ready though, the most popular also means the most expensive.

There is one parallel, Limited features gold foil highlights on the card front and are #d /50.

2001 SP Game Bat Milestone, #92 (RC)

The SP Game Bat Milestone is one of the smallest sets available in 2001 coming in at a 96 card set. The last six cards were short-printed and #d /500. It features a game dated Game Used Bat piece. There are no parallels.

2001 SP Game Used Edition, #85 (RC)

2001 SP Game Used Edition takes the trophy for the smallest set available in 2001, coming in at 90 cards. Cards 61-90 feature Super Prospects #d /500.

This to me is a beautiful looking card. The card designer really did a fantastic job with photography, colors, for both the front and back of this card. I love it!

Oddly enough no game-used material of any kind for this card in particular. Also, no parallels.

2001 SPx, #206 (RC)

The SPx brand is another high-end rookie card of Albert Pujols. It features a beautiful card design with a big bold on-card autograph, the cherry on top is #d /1500.

However, this one does rub some collectors the wrong way here’s why. The set was originally printed as a 150 card set released in May of 2001. An additional 60 cards were printed in December 2001 and inserted into their UD Rookie Update release.

It’s obvious they missed the mark and didn’t include Pujols in the checklist in May, so they did something similar to Fleer and created a catch-all product.

There are no parallels for this card but the set does offer 4 different insert cards, Winning Materials, that feature Pujols but these are considered Rookie Year cards.

2001 Studio, #191 (RC)

2001 Studio is a 200 card set distributed in a single series. Cards 151-200 and are presumed to be short-printed.

Fantastic colors and overall design offered by manufacturer Donruss. This Albert Pujols rookie card is #d /700 and also offers a fantastic card back featuring personal stats, minor league stats, commentary, and an action photo.

There is one parallel, Proofs are enhanced with sparkling gold holo-foil, and are #d /25.

2001 Sweet Spot, #121 (RC)

Sweet Spot offers a 150 card set. In February 2001 the first 90 cards in the set were released, and in December an additional 60 cards were inserted into the UD Rookie Update set.

The rookies were given a theme “Sweet Beginnings” and were #d /1500. There are no parallels to speak of.

2001 Topps Chrome, #596 (RC)

The 2001 Topps Chrome is a large 661 card set distributed in two series. This Pujols RC was inserted into Series 2 packs.

Allegedly Ichiro Suzuki contractually could not be included in Topps Chrome product. In a last ditch effort Topps removed Ichiro from the checklist and included this Albert Pujols card. That’s why there is a “Late Edition” identifier on it.

There is one parallel, Retrofractors inserted 1:12 packs.

2001 Topps Traded, #T247 (RC)

2001 Topps Traded is a 265 card set. This set caused a lot of confusion and heartache within the hobby. The first thing we need to notice is the recycled photo. The exact image was used in all Topps flagship product line.

Pujols was not included in the Topps series 1 or 2 releases therefore, him being included in the Traded sets makes perfect sense.

There is one parallel, Topps Traded Gold inserted 1:3 packs #d /2001.

2001 Topps Chrome Traded, #T247 (RC)

Topps also created Topps Traded Chrome but instead of being its own release, they decided to combine it inside Topps Traded packs and sold them together.

Each pack contained 8 Topps Traded cards and 2 Topps Traded Chrome cards. Key thing to remember, these are not parallels of the paper Traded card. Instead they are its own product. One can say it was a product distributed within another product.

The hobby has rejected the Topps Traded Chrome card as an actual rookie card and view it more like a parallel. This is the preferred Pujols “chrome” rookie card.

There is one parallel, Retrofractors inserted 1:12 packs.

2001 Topps Gallery is a 150 card set. Cards 102-150 were short printed and inserted 1:3.5 packs. They are not serial numbered so it makes these a bit more affordable.

Design features an artistic design complete with a Coca-Cola machine in the background. There are no parallels.

2001 Topps Reserve, #103 (RC)

Topps Reserve is a 151 card set. Topps offered a very creative concept inside boxes of Topps Reserve giving collectors a signed baseball of a rookie along with 10 packs of cards.

Cards 101-151 are short-printed and inserted 1:5 packs, and are #d /1500. A really nice photograph captures Albert in a follow-through swing.

Adding to the creativity bucket is its one parallel, Topps Reserve Rookie Autographs. The autographs were authenticated and encapsulated by PSA and are also #d /1500.

2001 Topps Stars, #198 (RC)

The 2001 Topps Stars is a 200 card set. They are not serial numbered so there easy on the wallet. A very nice design with lots of similarity in the front and back of the card.

If you like parallels then this is your set. Gold inserted 1:9 packs #d /499. Onyx inserted 1:48 packs #d /99, and Elimination 1:72 packs #d /100.

2001 UD Reserve, #204 (RC)

2001 UD Reserve is a 210 card set. Cards 181-210 feature the rookies and are #d /2500. Clean crisp design with neutral colors, a very well designed sports card.

There are no parallels in this set.

2001 Ultimate Collection, #111 (RC)

Ultimate Collection is a 120 card set. It’s considered a rookie card but comes under scrutiny because of its mid-January 2002 release.

If this were post-2005 it would not qualify due to the MLBPA amendment on rookie cards.

Card stock is good but the design is average in my opinion. Not real impressed with the photo nor the card back. There are no parallels but the set does offer 9 jersey card inserts.

2001 Upper Deck, #295 (RC)

The 2001 Upper Deck is a 450 card set distributed in two series. Series 1 offers cards 1-270 and Series 2 gives us cards 271-450.

This card is very popular among collectors, even though it’s not serial-numbered, it does offer a fantastic photo and overall card design. There are no parallels.

2001 UD Evolution, #92 (RC)

Upper Deck Evolution is a 120 card set. Cards 91-120 showcase the rookies in the set, they are #d /2250.

A very strong, blood-red color on the card front really pops. Overall a nice card design front and back. There are no parallels.

2001 UD Gold Glove, #130 (RC)

The 2001 UD Gold Glove is a 135 card set that features top defensive players, thus the “Gold Glove ” theme.

Cards 91-129 are short-printed and feature all the rookie cards #d /1000. However, cards 130-135 are #d /500 and include Albert Pujols rookie card.

A handsome, brown, wood grain design with gold foil highlights on the card front. There are two parallels, Limited #d /100, and Finite #d /25.

2001 UD Pros & Prospects, #137 (RC)

The final card in the Albert Pujols rookie card checklist is Pros & Prospects, and it’s a 141 card set. Cards 91-135 are #d /1250, and cards 136-141 are #d /500.

Not much to brag about here in my opinion. The left side of the card is hard to read due to its blurriness.

The only thing it has going for it is a lower print run and the jersey swatch which at the time were desirable in the hobby. There are no parallels.

Happy Collecting Collectors,

Learn. Collect. Enjoy.