MLB unveils new patches to mark players' big league debuts

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Making it to the show is an unforgettable moment in a baseball player’s career, and now rookies will wear something to help mark the occasion.

Ahead of first pitch on Opening Day, MLB, Fanatics and Topps revealed a new patch that every player making their big league debut will wear on their sleeve before it turns into a trading card collectible.

Following the player’s on-field debut, the patch will be used to make a one-of-a-kind rookie card.

“A Major League player’s debut day is a cause for great celebration and the culmination of many years of hard work,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a press release. “Topps has been a great partner to baseball for decades, and I think this particular initiative is crucial to the development of deeper fan engagement.”

Rookie cards are among the most coveted items in the sports memorabilia industry. In 2021, a signed Mike Trout rookie card sold for a then-record-setting $3.9 million. That figure has since been beaten out by a 1952 Mickey Mantle card, which sold for $12.6 million in August 2022.

On Opening Day, two prominent prospects will be among the first players to ever wear the patch. Anthony Volpe will make his big league debut at shortstop with the New York Yankees against the San Francisco Giants and Jordan Walker will step onto a major league outfield for the first time when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Toronto Blue Jays.

The patch will be a standard practice beyond Opening Day, giving players like Colorado Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, Chicago White Sox outfielder Oscar Colás and Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Jared Shuster a chance to sport it later this month.

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