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Yadier Molina (True) Rookie Cards

With their pick in the 4th Round of the 2000 MLB June Amateur Draft the St. Louis Cardinals selected, Yadier Molina from Ladislao Martinez High School in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. Yadier Molina has 21 true rookie cards.

Breakdown of Yadier Molina RCs

Yadier Molina has 21 true rookie cards and 52 parallel rookie cards:

  • 6 cards feature sticker autographs
  • 6 cards show him in a catching pose
  • Most popular rookie card – 2004 Topps Cracker Jack
  • Scarcest rookie card – 2004 Ultimate Collection #/75 copies

Yadier Molina Comparisons

The career of Yadier Molina is a controversial one. Some believe he is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, and others would say he doesn’t even deserve to be on the ballot. He is often compared to Johnny Bench, and others call him a modern-day Yogi Berra.

Will he waltz into the Hall of Fame? Or is he nothing more than an overrated accumulator? If so, why would they compare him to these legendary Hall of Famers? Well, let’s look at some facts.

Like Bench and Berra, Yadier Molina has been clutch in the playoffs. In 21 World Series games, he has a .328 batting average. Another valid comparison would be in loyalty. Yadier has been loyal to the St. Louis Cardinals, and the St. Louis Cardinals have been loyal to him. It is rare in today’s game to see longevity and loyalty like this.

Currently, he has over 2100 games in the catching position, which is about 20% more games than both Bench and Berra. However, the most impressive and valid comparison can be attributed to a few factors.

First, all three of these catchers are known to be field generals. They have or had healthy relationships with their teammates. Secondly, they are hard-nosed demanding excellence in their leadership, and they took exception to any wrongdoing to them or any of their teammates.

Most impressive to me is his longevity in the punishing position of being a catcher in the MLB. Year after year, game after grueling game, the conditioning of taking that abuse at nearly 40 years of age is quite impressive.

Career Stats & Accomplishments

Yadier is indeed a decorated ballplayer. But before we get into that, I wanted to mention a couple of things. First, keep in mind that stats won’t show you Yadier Molina’s ability to frame a pitch. The hand-eye coordination and plate wisdom he provides is second to none.

Also, defensively he is a monster. Since his time in the league, he has provided the St. Louis Cardinals with the lowest steal rate, only allowing 882 while the rest of the MLB averages 1500.

According to baseball-reference.com Yadier Molina’s current stats going into the 2022 seasons are:

Career Summary – WAR 42.1 | Hits 2,112 | Home Runs 171 | .280 Batting Avg. | .733 OPS | 97 OPS+

Accomplishments:

  • 10x All-Star
  • 2x World Series Champion
  • 9x Gold Glover
  • 4x Platinum Glove
  • 1x Silver Slugger
  • 2x Wilson Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2018 Roberto Clemente Award

2004 Bazooka, #275a (RC)

Leading us off is the 330 card Bazooka set released in a single series. Cards 271-300 feature the rookie cards and 301-330 feature the same rookie cards featured with a variant photo. It captures Molina doing what he does best, throwing out would be runners.

The set offers two parallels: Bazooka Mini’s and Red Chunks which features red borders. However, neither one of these parallels have any scarcity to them because this was a wallet friendly product.


2004 Bazooka, #275b (RC)

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This is the image variant which does qualify as a true rookie card because long time hobby standards say, “so long as the design of the card back is the same and the card number is the same then it qualifies for RC designation. Different card board stock does not matter either. Parallels are the same for these as well. Bazooka Mini’s and Red Chunks, respectfully.


2004 Bowman, #301 (RC)

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This chipping sensitive, black border beauty was part of a 330 card single series set. Cards 145-165 in the set feature the prospect players and their cards have green color highlights around the borders. The rookies are featured on cards 166-330 and have blue highlights around the borders. There are three parallels available: Gold one per pack, 1st Edition, and Uncirculated #/245.


2004 Bowman Chrome, #301 (RC)

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The design of the 2004 Bowman Chrome is similar to the Bowman brand featured above with a few exceptions. One major exception is an additional 20 cards that were added. Cards 331-350 are the Autographed First Year Players. Also, these were sold exclusively at hobby shops, and of course the Chrome technology.

Parallels for this Yadier Molina true rookie card are: Refractors inserted 1:4 packs, Gold Refractors inserted 1:60 packs #/50. X-Fractor serial #/172 oddly enough were inserted 1 pack per hobby box-topper, and First Year Player Blue Refractors #/290.


2004 Bowman Heritage, #30 (RC)

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This retro, throw-back is a 351 card set that reflects the vintage 1955 card design. The design of the front mimics a television of the 1950’s. The card back has a real vintage look and feel to it too. An overall fantastic set and rookie card of Molina.

Bowman Heritage was released in a single series and was available in both hobby and retail outlets. Parallels include: Black & White inserted 1 per pack. Mahogany inserted 1:39 packs #/25.


2004 Bowman’s Best, #YM (RC)

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This hobby only product was put together very oddly. It’s a 107 card set, the first fifty cards feature the veterans obviously, but the remaining 57 cards feature Autographed First Year cards. Absolutely stunning card set but unfortunately these autographed rookie cards are not serial numbered.

Parallels include: Green inserted 1:32 packs and Red inserted 1:156 packs but they’re not serial numbered.


Donruss Elite Extra Edition, #273 (RC)

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This 286 card set operates as an Update or Traded set. It mimics the Donruss Elite set released earlier in the year but Yadier Molina does not have a rookie card in that set. But he does here! A nice looking card regardless of the sticker auto which were prevalent during this time in the hobby. Although hard to see in this photo, the card front does feature the serial number. There were #/1000.

According to baseballcardpedia.com reports, in late 2004 the MLBPA granted a one-time exemption to card manufacturers that allowed each to produce a set featuring non-union players. This free-pass was a one time exception due to the me too clause invoked against Topps and their Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects brand.

Parallels for this card includes: Turn of the Century #/100. Turn of the Century Signature #/100. Aspirations/Status matches Molina’s jersey number #/41. Aspirations #/50 and Aspirations Gold #/20. Status #/25 and finally Status Gold #/10.


Donruss World Series, #199 (RC)

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Donruss World Series was released in two series and has a total of 225 cards. The first 200 cards make up the first series. The second 25 cards were released as a factory set to celebrate the Boston Red Sox victory. Cards 176-200 feature the rookie cards and there all autographed. The number of copies that were autographed varies but Yadier Molina’s rookie card was signed to /500.

Parallels include four types of HoloFoils and each are serial-numbered to /100, /50, /25, 10.


2004 Fleer Hot Prospects Draft Edition, #112 (RC)

This 120 card set has a complicated story. According to baseballcardpedia.com reports, in late 2004 the MLBPA granted a one-time exemption to card manufacturers that allowed each to produce a set featuring non-union players. This free-pass was a one time exception due to the me too clause invoked against Topps and their Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects brand.

Unfortunately, Yadier Molina’s rookie card and card #113 of Shingo Takatsu were packed out as redemptions. There was 1000 cards available for these two cards but I’ve never seen one. Apparently, it’s believed that these redemptions were never fulfilled due to Fleer’s 2005 bankruptcy.


2004 Fleer InScribed, #88 (RC)

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A very small 100 card set that features short prints for the final 25 cards. The rookie cards are numbered to /750. Not a very flattering card design here, not sure if Fleer’s bankruptcy had anything to do with it but its a logical thought as this card really misses the mark. Parallels include: Gold randomly inserted #/199, and Red #/5.


2004 Leaf Certified Cuts, #300 (RC)

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This 300 card set produced by Donruss and released in a single series features this Yadier Molina rookie card and these rookie autographs are #/499. Black borders are beautiful but beware of chipped edges and corners, they stand out like a sore thumb.

There are 5 parallel cards and feature a Marble theme, they are as follows: Red #/100, Blue #/50, Gold #/25, Emerald #/5, Black #1/1.


2004 Leaf Limited, #275 (RC)

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This hobby only product houses 275 cards and was released in a single series. Card 251-275 features the rookie cards a.k.a. Phenoms. Living up to its name these base rookie cards are very limited #/99! Beautiful card with lots of shine, great colors and scarcity. The only caveat, because of the limited rookie autos included there are no parallels available.


2004 Leather & Lumber, #163 (RC)

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Another high end, hobby only product released by Donruss. There are only 175 cards in the set and the last 25 cards feature the rookie cards. Some are autographed but the Yadier Molina rookie card is not. It is however, serial #/500. Parallels include: Silver #/100, Gold #/25, and a Platinum #/1.


2004 SP Prospects, #140 (RC)

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The 2004 SP Prospects was Upper Decks entry to the MLBPA’s one time exemption that allowed non-union players. This was due to a grievance entered against Topps who violated this rule inside their 2004 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects. The new rules that went into affect in 2006 would not allow manufactures to include non-union players.

A rather large 437 card set released in a single series. Parallels include: Gold #/10 and a Platinum #1.


2004 SPx, #124 (RC)

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Upper Deck offers this SPx brand that featured 202 cards in the set. Cards 111-202 showcase the rookies and they’re split up by Tier 1, 2, 3, and Autographed Game-Used XCiting Rookies. The Yadier Molina rookie card falls into Tier 1. Really nice card design with great colors, although when I think of Molina I don’t think of him as a base steeler. Lol! There is only one parallel for this one: Spectrum #/25 copies.


2004 Topps, #324 (RC)

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Here is the baseball flagship product offered too collectors for decades now. It is the most important and longest standing product released by Topps. OG I believe is the term used by the kids today. Traditionally, this is a rather large set with 732 cards released into two 366 card series. There are two parallels: Gold #/2004 and Black #/53.


2004 Topps Chrome, #219 (RC)

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Topps Chrome is very similar to the Topps flagship. It’s a 466 card set split evenly into two series. If you’re hunting for the Yadier Molina rookie card you’ll want to get series one. Topps Chrome product has gained lots of momentum in recent years and is a hobby favorite. Especially for the parallels: Refractor 1:4 packs, Gold Refractor 1:5 packs, and Black Refractor 1:10 packs.


2004 Topps Cracker Jack, #204 (RC)

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Perhaps the most creative set produced in 2004 is this 297 card set that features this amazing Yadier Molina rookie card. The design mimics the 1914 Cracker Jack set almost entirely. The 1914 set measure 2-1/4″ x 3″ but this 2004 retro set is the standard size used today.

Parallels included are called Minis and have a very interesting design feature. They are 2-1/4″ x 3″ in size and mimics the original 1914 set. The parallels come in Red 1 per pack and Blue 1:10 packs.


2004 Topps Heritage, #355 (RC)

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Another retro brand design can be found with this single series 475 card set that embraces its hobby heritage in the 1955 Topps set. There are many short prints and variations in the set but none for this Yadier Molina rookie card. Something special happens when you take a vintage design and fuse it with modern day players. Parallels include: Chrome Refractor #/555 and Black Refractor #/55.


2004 Topps Total, #786 (RC)

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Something you don’t see very often is a very large 880 card base set released in a single series! But that’s exactly what you get with 2004 Topps Total, emphasis on Total. This budget friendly product did not offer a lot of razzle-dazzle but it was a fun set designed more for set collectors. One parallel to speak of Silver inserted 1 per pack.


2004 Ultimate Collection, #215 (RC)

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This hobby only, high-end product is an Upper Deck release and offers 222 cards in the set. The set has a conglomeration of tiers, game material, game patches, signatures and parallels. A couple of things working for it is scarcity, with the base set only having #/75 copies. Also, it offers a sticker autograph which was very relevant during this era. One parallel to speak of Gold, and it is serial #/10.


2004 Ultra, #375 (RC)

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Lastly, we have the Fleer Ultra brand and it’s a 395 card set split into two series. 220 cards for series one and 175 cards in the Update Series. This Yadier Molina rookie card can be found in the Update portion of the set.

Parallels include: Gold Medallion 1:4 hobby packs and 1:12 retail packs. Platinum Medallion #/100 copies.

Happy Collecting Collectors,

Learn. Collect. Enjoy.