’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Iconic Rookie Cards From My Youth’
When it comes to the greatest baseball cards from my youth, the ones that still hold memories with me more than two decades later are the rookie cards. Sure, I have my favorites that are non-rookies, but the that I remember most vividly are the ones that capture a player’s debut.
For this week’s installment of my ‘Top Ten Lists’, I thought it would be fun to countdown the ten best rookie cards issued during the time that I was collecting like crazy.
I started collecting baseball cards in 1985 and was strongly addicted for the better part of the next 8-9 years. It’s no coincidence that many of the cards being featured below were issued during that time…
Let’s do this!!!
Honorable Mention – Greg Maddux’s 1987 Donruss, Cecil Fielder’s 1986 Fleer, Mark Grace’s 1988 Fleer, Wade Boggs’ 1983 Topps, Tony Gwynn’s 1983 Topps, Ryne Sandberg’s 1983 Topps, Darryl Strawberry’s 1984 Topps, Eric Davis’ 1985 Donruss, Roger Clemens’ 1985 Donruss, Barry Larkin’s 1987 Topps, Barry Bonds’ 1986 Topps Traded, and Will Clark’s 1986 Topps Traded.
10 – Orel Hershiser’s 1988 Topps – When Hershiser was setting records and mowing down the competition in 1988, his rookie cards got a huge spike in attention. And like many others, I too went after picking up some more Hershiser rookies. What could be had for quarters a season prior, all of a sudden each card was consuming dollar bills.
9 – Kirby Puckett’s 1984 Fleer Updated – Only for the wealthy, Puckett’s 1984 Fleer rookie card was and has never been considered obtainable in my eyes. Kind of legendary, I have not seen too many of these. Consider this card an urban legend, my ‘Bigfoot’ if you will.
8 – Rickey Henderson’s 1980 Topps – Truly great, this card was a three-digit card for most of the time I was collecting as a kid. Still, I got one and I have it to this day. And while it is considered to be a great rookie card of a legendary player, I sill find it to be terribly underrated and undervalued.
7 – Bo Jackson’s 1987 Topps – Man, I had enough of these to wallpaper a bathroom with at one point. I remember attending a baseball card show with my dad back in ’87 where all we did was buy Bo Jackson rookie cards. Spending anywhere from fifty cents to a dollar per card, we walked out with a nice stack and also had a ton of dealer’s eyes on us…
6 – Dwight Gooden’s 1984 Topps Traded – Another legendary card, but much more affordable. I remember buying this one at a card show being held at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami. And I also recall them having an autograph guest there too – Yaz!! I still have the card, but not the ball that I had Yaz sign for me.. 😦
5 – Mark McGwire’s 1985 Topps – I have never seen a single card soar in desire and popularity like this one did in 1987. As McGwire was crushing home runs at a record pace, his 1985 Topps Team USA rookie card was doing the same to the hobby. I still have 2 or 3 of these, but at one time that investment could cover a car payment. Now, just a DVD or two…
4 – Don Mattingly’s 1984 Topps – A classic card. I had Mattingly’s Donruss rookie card, kind of treated like a red-headed step-child compared to his bigger, and better brother issued by Topps. This is one of the cards from the list that I never owned. And I still don’t!
3 – Jose Canseco’s 1986 Donruss – This card is the first card that I ever spent double-digit dollars on. I paid $11 for it from a coach of my little league team. A collector and a dealer, he was happy to sell me the card but he also spent a lot of time trying to convince me to pursue vintage cards. I should have listened!!
2 – Cal Ripken’s 1982 Topps – WHOA – The Man!! Everyone wanted this card. I managed to score three of them, and I still have all three today. A classic card – it is still not his most highly sought after one. That honor would go to his 1982 Topps Traded card – one that I have not seen very much of…
1 – Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 Upper Deck – Simply stated, Upper Deck will always be linked to this card, and that is far from terrible. Issued as card #1 from its debut set, this card should go down as one of the greatest baseball cards of all-time. Not just because it features a future Hall of Famer in Ken Griffey Jr, but because of its impact on the hobby. Everything changed after the release of Upper Deck in 1989 – baseball card collecting was never the same!
So, do you like my picks? Agree? Disagree? Let me hear it!!
And next week, I have another great topic – ‘Top Ten Signed Baseballs I Would Like To Add To My Collection’. I can’t wait!!!