The Best Rookie And Early Career Cards Of Future Hall Of Famer Max Scherzer

August 16, 2023

Max Scherzer is one of the highest-paid players in baseball, as well as one the active pitchers who is a sure-thing future Hall of Famer.

Shockingly, both Scherzer and fellow well-compensated future Hall of Fame pitcher Justin Verlander both got traded at the 2023 trade deadline, and both to teams in Texas. Both went from a struggling Mets team to teams with 2023 playoff aspirations.

But who is Max Scherzer? What are his Hall of Fame credentials? And what are his best rookie cards? And what other early career Scherzer cards are worth a look?

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Who is Max Scherzer?

Max Scherzer is 39 years old and pitching in his 16th major league season. He’s spent time with the Washington Nationals, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, and now the Texas Rangers during his career.

Scherzer is under contract for at least another season and continues to pitch well late in his career.

Scherzer is quite simply, one of the best of his era. His career record is 212-106, a winning percentage of .667. Scherzer’s career ERA of 3.14 translates to an ERA+ of 132. His 3,329 career strikeouts lead all active pitchers and rank 12th all-time.

His 10.69 K/9 ranks 5th all-time. He’s won 3 Cy Young Awards in his career and finished in the top 5 in the voting five additional times. He’s been an All-Star 8 times and helped lead the Washington Nationals to the 2019 World Championship.

He has racked up 74.1 WAR in his career, good for 32nd among starting pitchers all time. Of those ahead of him, the only pitchers not in the Hall of Fame are either active (Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke), 19th century pitchers (Jim McCormick, Old Hoss Radbourn), Roger Clemens, or Curt Schilling.

Other than perhaps the 19th-century pitchers, all those that rank above him on the list should make the Hall of Fame eventually.

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Max Scherzer and the Hall of Fame

As of this writing, Max Scherzer has been worth 74.1 WAR in his career. The 66 starting pitchers currently in the Hall of Fame averaged 73.0 WAR in their careers, so Scherzer clearly belongs.

This is especially true as the “average” for HOF starting pitchers is significantly skewed by Walter Johnson (165.1) and Cy Young (163.6).

Add in the Cy Young Awards, the All-Star appearances, the 200+ wins, the strikeouts, and a World Championship, and Scherzer checks all the boxes. He’s been a near-consensus future Hall of Famer for a few years now, yet he keeps right on playing at a top level.

Future Hall-Of-Famer Pitcher Cards: Sure Things

Max Scherzer’s top 10 best rookie cards

Max Scherzer’s rookie cards appear in 2008 products. There are a lot to choose from, but we’ll highlight our 10 favorite base cards. With these being 2008 cards, know that many of these have parallel, mini, and other parallel and variation versions available, often at higher price points.

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The two key cards

There are two Max Scherzer rookie cards are his key rookie cards, and both sell for around $200 in a PSA 10 slab. These are the 2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Chrome and the 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights. If you’re starting a Scherzer collection, these two are a good place to start.

What if you can pick only one? While the 2008 Topps U&H might be slightly more renowned, check out the population counts here.

Shop for Max Scherzer Topps Updates and Highlights card from 2028 on eBay

The Bowman DP&P Chrome has a total PSA population approaching six times higher than the Bowman. Those black borders are tough.

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The high end

Where the PSA population of the 2008 Topps U&H base card is approaching 3,000 copies, the 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Chrome has a PSA pop of only 56.

Of those, only 20 are in PSA 10 slabs. Expect to pay a premium for these. The only one on eBay at the moment is listed at around $4,500.

Shop for the Max Scherzer 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights Chrome card on eBay

Other Max Scherzer rookie cards of note

The other Scherzer rookie cards span across the major product lines of the day. The interesting story here is again PSA population.

Despite Scherzer’s status as a Hall of Fame lock, the population counts here are surprisingly low. In several cases, there aren’t enough PSA 10s to give a reliable comp for that grade. Despite the scarcity, many of those examples still sell for what I consider very reasonable prices in PSA 9 slabs. I think there’s some upside to be had here, for sure.

An example is the 2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects, which has a PSA population of only 269. A PSA 9 only fetches $25-35, which feels like a bargain. There are only 19 examples in PSA 10 slabs, making them difficult to comp.

The 2008 Stadium Club has a low PSA pop and sells for around $50 in a PSA 9 slab. There’s a tough photo variation version that is worth keeping an eye out for, as well.

The vintage-themed 2008 Allen & Ginter, 2008 Topps Heritage, and 2008 Goudey and UD Masterpieces offer fun vintage designs and very reasonable prices. The Allen & Ginter has a higher population than the others, something to keep in mind.

We called out one card from the 2008 Upper Deck Timelines set, but Scherzer appears on several cards in the set. Featuring several different designs from the past, this set is a pretty cool low-cost option.

CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Max Scherzer #BDP33269PSA 9 = 85PSA 9 = $25-35
2008 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects Chrome Max Scherzer #BDP33594PSA 10 = 145PSA 10 = $200-225
2008 Stadium Club Max Scherzer #140135PSA 9 = 60PSA 9 = $50
2008 Topps Allen & Ginter Max Scherzer #297801PSA 10 = 613PSA 10 = $40-60
2008 Topps Heritage Max Scherzer #519257PSA 9 = 140PSA 9 = $25-35
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Max Scherzer #UH2802,994PSA 10 = 1,513PSA 10 = $180-215
2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Chrome Max Scherzer #CHR4056PSA 10 = 20PSA 10 = $4,500
2008 Upper Deck Goudey Max Scherzer #6462PSA 10 = 230PSA 10 = $55-65
2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces Max Scherzer #5430PSA 10 = 262PSA 10 = $40-65
2008 Upper Deck Timeline Max Scherzer #7552PSA 9 = 21PSA 9 = $40-60

Max Scherzer rookie card autographs

Max Scherzer appears on a number of autographed cards in 2008, his rookie card season. The story here is low PSA populations and strong selling prices when these do come available.

The 2008 SPx autograph, for example, has no PSA copies available on eBay at the moment. Non-PSA and raw copies are available, but the price range is quite dramatic. A PSA 8 copy of the 2008 Stadium Club Autograph recently sold for $200.

The 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces Stroke of Genius Signatures recently fetched $290 in a PSA 9 slab. A 2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot sold recently in a PSA 8 / AUTO 10 slab for a whopping $500.

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CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2008 SPx Max Scherzer #15064PSA 10 = 30PSA 10 = NA
2008 Stadium Club Max Scherzer #17340PSA 8 = 11PSA 8 = $200
2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces Stroke of Genius Signatures Max Scherzer #SG-MS17PSA 9 = 10PSA 9 = $290
2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Max Scherzer #13915PSA 8 = 7PSA 8/Auto 10 = $500

Other early career Max Scherzer Cards (2004-2006)

Before even being drafted, Max Scherzer appeared on a number of baseball cards. The first was a product for the La Crosse Loggers, a summer collegiate league.

These are incredibly tough to find. In fact, I was not even able to find evidence of PSA ever grading one. Even raw, these sell for $330-425 (or more) and that’s if you can find one. A BGS 9 copy of the La Crosse Loggers card is currently listed on eBay for $3,500.

The next year, in 2005, Scherzer was a member of the USA Baseball National Team, and appeared on a number of cards in the 2005 Upper Deck USA Baseball 2005 National Team set.

Roughly 60% of the PSA copies graded are PSA 10s, but they still sell for $100-150 in that condition. If you’re going to pick up a PSA copy, it’s probably not advisable to get anything less than a 10.

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CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2004 La Crosse Loggers Max Scherzer #29NANARaw = $330-425
2005 Upper Deck USA Baseball 2005 National Team Max Scherzer #USA 56323PSA 10 = 193PSA 10 = $110-150

Other early career Max Scherzer cards (2007-2008)

In 2007 and 2008, Scherzer appeared on a number of minor league and prospect cards. Some of these are downright tough to find.

The 2007 Donruss Elite Extra Edition is an unlicensed prospect card. Only 101 copies have been graded by PSA and 25 of those are in PSA 10 slabs. In a 10, plan to pay over $100, although lower grades drop in price significantly.

Meanwhile, another prospect card, in 2007 TriStar Prospects Plus, has been graded 62 times by PSA, with 40 PSA 10s. The only recent sale is a PSA 9 for $5. Ouch. Max Scherzer also made a TriStar appearance in the 2008 TriStar PROjections set. Again, the story here is low population but lots of PSA 10s and no recent comps.

Then there are the 2007 and 2008 minor league cards. The story here is super low PSA populations and because of this, no recent comps. The highest population count is the 2007 Grandstand Visalia Oaks, which has been graded 25 times by PSA with 13 PSA 10’s.

Even tougher, the 2007 Grandstand Mobile BayBears card has been graded twice by PSA, both times coming back an “A” (presumed autographed).

The next year, the 2008 MultiAd Pacific Coast League Top Prospects card has been graded twice by PSA. Both copies are PSA 9s, but there are no recent comps. Why?

Because I own both copies, having subbed them last year. A sole copy of the 2008 MultiAd Tucson Sidewinders card has been graded by PSA, and it’s in a PSA 8 slab.

Many of the minor league cards listed above are tough to find even in raw form, but make a nice collectible for the Max Scherzer fan.

CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2007 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Max Scherzer #33101PSA 10 = 25PSA 10 = $100-150
2007 Grandstand Mobile BayBears Max Scherzer #272PSA A = 2PSA A = NA
2007 Grandstand Visalia Oaks Max Scherzer #2725PSA 10 = 13PSA 10 = NA
2007 TriStar Prospects Plus Max Scherzer #3062PSA 9 = 40PSA 9 = $5
2008 MultiAd Pacific Coast League Top Prospects Max Scherzer #362PSA 9 = 2PSA 9 = NA
2008 MultiAd Tucson Sidewinders Max Scherzer #11PSA 8 = 1PSA 8 = NA
2008 TriStar PROjections Max Scherzer #1442PSA 10 = 33PSA 10 = NA

Final thoughts on the best Max Scherzer rookie and prospect cards

Max Scherzer is most certainly going to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame five years after he eventually hangs up his cleats. Yet while many of his rookie and early career cards are low population, many are still quite affordable.

Collectors have always gravitated toward hitters more than pitchers, with very few exceptions not named Nolan Ryan. Still, I feel that there’s room for growth on Scherzer’s cards.

It may not be huge gains, but perhaps fans and collectors won’t fully appreciate how great he’s been until his career is over. It’d be nice to be sitting on a few of his cards when they come around on Scherzer. A nice 2023 postseason won’t hurt things any, either.

Are you a big Max Scherzer fan? What are your favorite Scherzer rookie or early career cards? Tell us all about it at card_lines on X (Twitter).

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