20 Funny Superstar Rookie Cards

Ed NoveloCorrespondent IIIJune 4, 2011

20 Funny Superstar Rookie Cards

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    Athletes grow a lot during the span of their careers, especially physically, which is no more apparent than in their rookie cards.

    These cards have a way of making grown men look like teenagers, and they often depict athletes in the most unflattering of ways. 

    Looking at these, you would never think these men would become stars, but they did. Some even became superstars.

    I've compiled 20 funny superstar rookie cards for your entertainment. Let's take a look...

20. Ron Artest

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    This picture actually makes Artest look like a decent human being, but that's only because you're not looking deep into his eyes. 

    Stare long enough and you can see the rage that drove him up into the stands that night at the Palace. Stare even longer and you can see him appearing on Kimmel in his boxers.

    If you dare, stare even longer and witness his inner rapper...watching, waiting.

19. Peyton Manning

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    Manning is doing his best to look tough here, but it's hard to take him seriously with the Donald Trump comb-over.

    I almost didn't recognize him because, if you haven't noticed, his hairline has receded substantially these days, giving way to a freakishly large forehead.

    I think it happens the more he studies film. He'll eventually be bald, and shortly thereafter, you'll be able to see the wrinkles from his brain take shape on his scalp. 

18. Sammy Sosa

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    It's Sammy Sosa, car salesman. 

    This was long before he turned into some ghoul-like vampire...thing, and his body was of standard, human size. He then ditched the hat and mustache, and everything went awry. 

    At least he's still smiling, though.

17. Alex Rodriguez

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    There's nothing better than a rookie card that makes you look like you want a banana in your mouth. The goofy throwing motion isn't helping. 

    What made Upper Deck think this looked good? This is like one of those pictures in your local newspaper where they capture some poor high school athlete in action with a facial expression seen usually during a colonoscopy. 

    No, that didn't happen to me, but my friend was never the same. 

16. Shaquille O'Neal

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    Close your eyes for a second and think about Shaq. Don't worry, it's not weird; I do it all the time. What comes to mind? Kazaam? Shaq-Fu? Morbid obesity? Now, open your eyes.

    It wasn't this, was it?

    Whoever made this card did their best to make sure to exclude everything that makes Shaq great. They took him out of uniform and put him in thrift store clothes, placed him in front of a plain background and then told him to look confused as hell.

    I'm confused, too, Shaq.

15. Junior Seau

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    Something must have happened to Seau's face in the past 20 years because this looks nothing like him. I mean, he's always looked like some kind of creature, but here he looks like something your 6-year-old nephew would pick up in the toy section—the monster section.

    Burn, son.

    Maybe it's the wicked pompadour he's rocking, or maybe he started plucking his eyebrows, but something definitely seems off.

14. Curt Schilling

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    Curt Schilling is known for having a bit of an attitude. Can you tell? He clearly wants to punch whoever is taking this picture. 

    He was a lot chunkier by the time he reached the Red Sox in 2004, where he would help lead the Sox to a World Series win, though many simply remember his bloody sock, which is now in the Hall of Fame!

    His sock—brace yourself—is better than you.

13. Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Now, this is a respectable rookie card.

    What a pleasant-looking chap. I bet he says "please" and "thank you" every time, eats his peas and carrots and always cleans up after himself. 

    I'm sure Mrs. Griffey has this picture of her "little slugger" in a frame on the fireplace.

12. Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe has never been the best at taking pictures, as you can see here, but there's something about a mega-closeup picture of his mug—complete with totally hip, radical shades—that doesn't scream Black Mamba.

    There is no way this guy can touch Jordan.

    This guy looks like he'll help you with your groceries or drop off the latest phone book at your front door. Need a math tutor? He's all over it.

11. Pedro Martinez

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    This was Martinez before he "bulked up," you know, like a lot of MLB players. Actually, he kind of just become a large, shapeless mass

    Who would think this man would one day terrorize Don Zimmer? That poor, poor old chicken dumpling...ahem, man. 

10. Barry Bonds

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    Whoa Barry, calm down. Nobody's accused you of anything—yet. No, that will come later when your hat no longer fits and is cutting off circulation to your brain, and your team has to start custom ordering your uniform. 

    And your mother no longer recognizes you, and the neighbor kids start screaming in fear when you go out to get your mail, and the toilet shatters into pieces when you sit down to go, and...

    Look, there's a lot of ways you'll know accusations are coming. As long as you remain powered down and in human form, you should be OK. 

9. Tim Lincecum

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    Tim Lincecum was kind of lame before he discovered a certain psychoactive drug. 

    He had short, momma's boy hair, clear eyes and a boyish grin. Plus, he knew where he was most of the time. Then, he grew his hair out, began eating a ridiculous amount of fast food and started pitching at 2,000 miles per hour—in his head, of course.

    The second—and better—Lincecum won a championship. Just saying.

8. Eric Lindros

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    I'm not really sure what they were going for here.

    Is this supposed to be sexy? Is that why his shirt is off, but they kept the pads on? Maybe they just walked in on him when he was in the middle of deciding which shirt he wanted to wear. There are about 16 behind him from what I can tell.

    I don't know about you, but this is every morning for me. 

7. Derek Jeter

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    Believe it or not, Derek Jeter is only 22 here, despite his pre-pubescent appearance. He looks like a 16-year-old pizza delivery boy. 

    If I didn't know any better, I'd think he photoshopped this as a teen to show his friends where he would play one day. Then they would all laugh and give him a wedgie or wet willy—or whatever it is kids do.

    It's OK, though, Derek. You got the last laugh. 

6. Jeff Gordon

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    Oh hi, Jeff Gordon. How's it going? Just headed to a strip club, eh? Yeah, I kind of figured, no offense. You just look like the kind of guy I'd see there. 

    You know where else I'd expect to see you? In a '70s horror film, terrorizing hot teenage girls in a cornfield—probably wearing that uniform. 

5. Deion Sanders

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    Back in 1989, long before ol' "Prime Time" was dancing up and down sidelines and shutting down wide receivers, he was doing his best to look like notorious gangster rapper Easy-E. 

    Just take a look for yourself. All he's lacking is the shades...and a couple of guns I guess—better make those footballs. Roger Goodell doesn't like guns.

4. Brett Favre

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    Favre looks like the offspring of two Neanderthal cousins. It's amazing this guy could figure out how to feed himself, much less throw a football with great success.

    He was always kind of a dufus—that's why people loved him—but at the time, he could have literally passed as handicapped if someone had written "dumb-dumb" on his forehead. 

    Then, he actually could have gotten away with taking snapshots of his junk—allegedly.

3. Cliff Harris

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    Either Harris went bald in his early 20s, or he was a rookie at the age of 65. It's a good thing his job entailed him wearing a helmet, because he needed to cover as much of that head as he could, whenever he could.

    Is it just me, or does this card look strikingly similar to the cover of The 40 Year Old Virgin, though I doubt Harris had that problem. Guys with mustaches never do, which is why I'm working on mine. 

    Hey, I still have 15 years before that title applies to me.

2. Randy Johnson

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    I'm assuming this is photoshopped; it just has to be. Maybe he lost a bet and was forced to consume a bag full of healthy, nutritious mushrooms. 

    In any case, Randy Johnson feels pretty, oh so pretty. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining and he doesn't have a care in the world. Randy and his cool high tops are going to take the world by storm.

    He's a strong, independent woman. 

1. Dirk Nowitzki

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    Dirk was going through a serious phase back in 1998, where he apparently thought he was being drafted to a boy band called "The Dallas Mavericks."

    It's no wonder Dirk arrived at the press conference with long, parted hair (complete with undercut), baby-faced and with a single loop earring in his left ear.  

    He looks like the religious fanatic who tries to kill Jodie Foster in Contact.