10 Most Valuable 1988 Score Baseball Cards
Many are quick to dismiss 1988 Score baseball cards as just another mass-produced set from the junk era.
But, this set packs a ton of nostalgic value…
First, I’ve always loved the design and thought Score’s idea of including six different border color options was quite creative.
Second, the action shots are fantastic and perfectly capture some of the great stars and Hall of Famers of the era.
Third, there are even a few Hall of Fame rookie cards, which is always a bonus.
But, while the nostalgic value is high, the monetary value is pretty low.
However, you might be surprised that some can still be worth a respectable amount.
And in this guide, I’ll run through the ten most valuable.
Let’s jump right in!
Brief disclaimer: most of the cards in this set will generally not be worth anything...
The only way they can have much value today is by being graded by PSA to be in perfect, gem mint condition (PSA 10) and/or be from the premium "Glossy" parallel set.
Now that we got that out of the way, let's take a look at the top ten:
1988 Score #638 Tom Glavine Rookie Card
Estimated Base PSA 10 Value: $40
Estimated Glossy PSA 10 Value: $125
Though Tom Glavine didn't possess overpowering stuff, he more than made up for it with his incredible control and pitching IQ.
A two-time Cy Young Award winner and ten-time All-Star, Glavine was an integral part of those dominant Atlanta Braves pitching staffs that ruled the 1990s.
His 1988 season was rocky, to say the least, as he finished with a 7-17 record and led the league in losses.
However, when all was said and done, Glavine would collect 305 wins, which were enough to place him fourth on the all-time wins list for left-handed pitchers.
Part of Score's "Rookie Prospect" subset, a fantastic action shot of Glavine delivering a pitch surrounded by orange, yellow and red border coloring makes this an overall attractive rookie card.
The base version will fetch a respectable $40 or so in PSA 10 condition while the glossy version will cost much more in that grade.
1988 Score Traded #103T Craig Biggio Rookie Card
Estimated Base PSA 10 Value: $40
Technically, Biggio's rookie card appears in Score's "Traded" set, which included players who were traded or called up from the Minors during the season.
Biggio was well-known for his versatility as he spent time in the outfield, at second base, and behind home plate at various times throughout his Hall of Fame career.
He is the only player in MLB history to be named an All-Star at both second base and as a catcher.
A member of the 3,000 hit club, Biggio also picked up four Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers during his twenty-year Major League career, all of which was with the Houston Astros.
1988 Score #1 Don Mattingly
Estimated Base PSA 10 Value: $30
Heading into the 1988 season, Donnie Baseball was looking unstoppable as he already had a batting title, MVP, three Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers to his name.
He was one of the biggest stars in the game and looked like a lock to be the next great Yankee on his way to Cooperstown.
However, injuries caught up to him and unfortunately diminished much of his power and derailed his path to superstardom.
Mattingly was always one of the names collectors wanted to see as they ripped open packs during the late 1980s and he still has a good following in the hobby today.
The nostalgia for Mattingly cards helps keep this one at around $30 in high grade.
1988 Score Traded #105T Roberto Alomar Rookie Card
Estimated Base PSA 10 Value: $25
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, Roberto Alomar won more Gold Gloves (10) than any other second baseman in MLB history.
But, the guy could hit, too.
As a career .300 hitter, Alomar didn't quite eclipse the 3,000 hit mark as he finished with 2,724, but he did pick up four Silver Sluggers along the way.
Alomar was a fantastic talent who was extremely fun to watch and although he spent five of his seventeen seasons in Toronto, he never quite landed anywhere for too long as he played for seven different clubs over his career.
Like Biggio, Alomar made his Score debut in their "Traded" set as the Padres called him up to debut on April 22, 1988 for a game against the Astros in which he collected a base hit in his first at-bat off of the legendary Nolan Ryan.
1988 Score #16 Mike Schmidt
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $25
Widely considered to be the greatest third baseman who ever played, Mike Schmidt possessed both a superior glove and bat that earned him three MVPs and a no-brainer induction into the Hall of Fame.
Schmidt led the league in home runs an incredible eight times and racked up ten Gold Gloves in the process giving proof to his unique talents.
At 38 years old, time eventually caught up to Schmidt as an injured rotator cuff cut his 1988 season short and put an end to his streak of dominance.
His legacy is strong enough that some Schmidt collectors are willing to pay around $25 for this card in a PSA 10 holder.
1988 Score Traded #80T Mark Grace Rookie Card
Estimated Base PSA 10 Value: $20
Back in the late 1980s, Mark Grace rookie cards were some of the hottest cards that collectors were looking to pull.
And, they can still be worth around $20 in high grade, in this case, which I'd guess is mostly driven by the nostalgia that is tied to his name or by collectors that are Cubs fans or both.
Although he never quite reached superstar status, he was beloved by Cubs fans and that always gave his cards a considerable boost.
Grace was a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover who is proof that you don't have to be a Hall of Famer to be a fan favorite.
1988 Score #575 Nolan Ryan
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $20
The Ryan Express would spend one final season in Houston in 1988 before signing with the Texas Rangers the following year.
The legendary fireballer still had enough left at 41 years old to lead the National League in strikeouts with 228.
Collectors get a glimpse of what opposing hitters saw a lot of that year as Ryan deals some blazing heat in this fantastic image.
His vintage cards are where the serious money is when it comes to Nolan Ryan cards but even his later cards, like this one, can be worth something in top condition.
1988 Score #501 Reggie Jackson
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $15
Score paid tribute to Reggie Jackson with a five-card subset that documented his time spent with the A's (1968-1975), Orioles (1976), Yankees (1977-1981), Angels (1982-1986) and A's again in 1987.
The Yankees and Angels cards can fetch $10 or so in high grade but the Orioles version can sell for $15 or even more.
Jackson's name is undoubtedly a driver of that price but this is also one of the few times Jackson appeared in an Orioles uniform on any baseball card produced during his playing days.
1988 Score #180 Bo Jackson
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $15
Another big-name Jackson that can be worth around $15 in a PSA 10 holder is none other than the late-80s sports icon, Bo Jackson.
The sports world at that time sat in awe while Jackson starred in both baseball and football at the highest professional levels as he would become both an NFL Pro Bowler and MLB All-Star.
He was in Nike ad campaigns, reminding us that "Bo Knows" just about everything.
He was an unstoppable force in Tecmo Bowl on the original Nintendo.
Fans couldn't get enough.
Today, those kids who grew up idolizing Bo Jackson still collect his sports cards in top grade as a nostalgic outlet.
Of all his cards, this one features one of the greatest images of Jackson of them all right as he's driving through the ball.
1988 Score #265 Barry Bonds
Estimated PSA 10 Value: $15
Speaking of driving the ball, we all know what Barry Bonds was able to do in that regard as he would eventually set the career home run record with 762.
However, we also know that both his legacy and that record hang under a cloud of controversy due to his connection to PEDs.
PEDs aside, Bonds was undeniably a unique talent who could do it all as he racked up twelve Silver Sluggers, eight Gold Gloves and seven MVPs over his 22-year career.
He was a five-tool star if there ever was one.
The red borders on this card and sharp image make for an overall great-looking card of the controversial slugger.
1988 Score Baseball Cards In Review
While they may not be worth much these days, you can see that certain cards in top shape can still have a bit of value if they receive the right grade.
However, the cost to grade them doesn't really justify the sell prices, though, unfortunately.
But, what they lack in value they make up for in nostalgia as many great names of the era appear throughout the 660-card checklist.
Within the set were also several different subsets, including:
- Reggie Jackson Tribute (#500 - 504)
- Rookie Prospects (#623 - 647)
- 1987 Season Highlights (#648 - 660)
Overall, I think the set is definitely colorful, includes some great players and has some great imagery within the checklist, so if you're not overly concerned with values, this is just a fun set to collect.