30 Most Valuable 1988 Topps Baseball Cards

Written By Ross Uitts

Last Updated: May 12, 2024
1988 Topps Baseball Cards

I always loved the look and feel of 1988 Topps baseball cards...

They had a classic and straightforward design while featuring a lot of great action photography.

Team name across the top.

Player name in the banner on the bottom right.

These cards got straight to the point...

The set contained 792 cards in total so trying to build an entire set could be quite a challenge and required ripping pack after pack.

You can find all the stars of the day as well as rookie cards of Hall of Famers Tom Glavine and Roberto Alomar (in the Topps Traded set).

And in this guide, I will cover the 30 most valuable 1988 Topps baseball cards that are still worth a decent amount.

Let's jump right in!

1988 Topps #300 Don Mattingly (World of Baseball)

Estimated PSA 9 Value: $300

You won't find this oddball card in the standard 1988 Topps or Topps Traded checklists, but it is indeed a Topps card.

Though its origin remains a bit of a mystery throughout the hobby, somehow this card made it into circulation, and today there are 76 PSA-graded examples in existence.

By comparison, there are 487 PSA-graded examples of Mattingly's standard 1988 Topps card (which we'll get to in a bit).

Given its mysterious nature, I thought there would be far fewer "World of Baseball" variations in PSA holders than the standard base card.

However, where the card does become extremely rare is when it comes to PSA 10 examples, as there is just one example of this card that PSA has graded as a Gem Mint 10.

You'll notice the rest of the cards on this list reflect pricing in PSA 10 condition, while this Mattingly card outpaces them all even in PSA 9 grade, given how tough it is.

It's anyone's guess how high a price the PSA 10 example would fetch in today's market.

The card's design is bland as Mattingly has no Yankees logos on his hat or shirt.

And instead of the Yankees team name, "NEW YORK A.L." is emblazoned across the front of his cap, while the regular cards in this set featured a player's team name behind him.

It's a strange card.

1988 Topps #300 Don Mattingly Special World of Baseball Card
1988 Topps #300 Don Mattingly Special World of Baseball Card Reverse Side With Stats and Biography

1988 Topps #250 Nolan Ryan

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $200

Nolan Ryan's reputation for rolling through opponents remained on track during his age-41 season.

The Houston Astros righty was always an anomaly.

In an age of control pitchers, Ryan was a rocket-armed strikeout artist.

You'd think that would taper off by the age of 40.

But it sure didn't.

Two years after an NL West title, the Houston Astros were a middling 82-win team that relied heavily on a deep starting rotation.

The 1-2 punch of Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott was hard to beat, subpar hitting or not.

On the minus side, Ryan finished 12-11 in 1988 with a 3.52 ERA, his second-highest ERA in eight years.

On the other hand, Ryan remained a strikeout machine.

The Texas native struck out 228 batters in 220 innings, topping the National League for a second consecutive year.

Walks remained an issue, yet Ryan still struck fear (and awe) in opposing hitters.

He even came within two outs of his sixth no-hitter in an April showdown with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Weirdly enough, this was Ryan's last year in an Astros uniform.

Houston owner John McMullen demanded that his Hall-of-Fame righty take a pay cut headed into 1989.

Ryan balked, choosing instead to head north to Arlington on a lucrative new deal.

1988 Topps #250 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1988 Topps #60 Rickey Henderson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $115

Hall-of-Fame speedster Rickey Henderson missed nearly half the 1987 season due to a hamstring injury.

However, neither the New York press nor his manager, Lou Pinella, went easy on the criticism.

Pinella openly questioned Henderson's passion for the pinstripes, intimating that Henderson was milking the ailment for all it was worth.

Rickey responded the best way he knew how in 1988: by running circles around the American League and stealing an MLB-best 93 bases on 106 attempts.

His next closest AL competition, Tigers outfielder Gary Pettis, swiped nearly 50 fewer (44).

With the now eight-time All-Star sprinting his way into scoring position, New York was in the thick of a chaotic AL East race.

And that was despite a dizzying managerial carousel that saw Billy Martin come back in and head right back out due to what owner George Steinbrenner termed "a combination of factors."

As a result, Pinella left his role as GM and returned to the bench.

The Yankees buckled from there, falling to fifth in the East with a 45-48 finish.

Through all the turmoil, Henderson remained a bright spot.

The Yankees leadoff hitter slashed .305/.394/.399 with six homers, 30 doubles, two triples, 118 runs scored, and 50 RBIs in 140 games.

1988 Topps #60 Rickey Henderson Baseball Card

1988 Topps #300 Don Mattingly

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $100

At first glance, Don Mattingly's 1988 season looks fine enough.

Look deeper, though, and you'll see where things started to go downhill.

From 1984 to 1987, the New York Yankees' first baseman was the class of the game.

Opposing coaches and players marveled at Mattingly's unique mix of power, glove work, and pure competitiveness.

In 1988, things started to shift.

A back injury suffered during the 1987 season would plague the future Yankees captain for the rest of his career.

It wasn't enough to completely derail Mattingly.

However, it did knock his '88 offensive output down a peg or three.

Mattingly hit .311 with a .816 OPS in 1988.

The batting average remained high, but the OPS was over 100 points less than the worst of his previous four seasons.

The 27-year-old hit just 18 homers in 144 games.

He hit no less than 30 during the last three campaigns.

Mattingly still captured his fifth All-Star nod and fourth consecutive Gold Glove.

And he was one of the constants that kept the Yankees in the thick of the AL East race for most of the year.

However, Mattingly would never again touch the heights of his mid-80s outburst.

The latter stage of his career came way too soon.

1988 Topps #300 Don Mattingly Baseball Card

1988 Topps #580 Mark McGwire

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $100

A year after perhaps the most incredible rookie season in baseball history, Mark McGwire experienced his first taste of team success.

The Oakland A's steadily stacked the building blocks of a championship future in the mid-1980s.

From 1982 to 1987, the A's had precisely zero winning seasons.

But in 1988, the A's rocketed to 104 wins and cleared the rest of the division by 13 games.

Much of Oakland's breakthrough came from the club's bombs-away attack.

The A's hit 156 home runs in '88, two shy of Toronto for the Major League lead.

McGwire hit 32 of those dingers, many of which came in clutch situations.

Coupled with his fellow Bash Brother, 1988 AL MVP Jose Canseco, McGwire was part of the most unstoppable hitting force in the Major Leagues.

The A's slugger continued to put on a show in the ALCS.

In a four-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, McGwire hit .333 with a homer, four runs scored, and three RBIs.

Oakland seemed positioned for a breezy World Series walkthrough against the LA Dodgers.

Instead, the Bash Brothers managed just two hits in 36 at-bats in a stunning five-game series loss.

McGwire's only tally was a big one: a walk-off homer in Game 3.

It was far from enough.

1988 Topps #580 Mark McGwire Baseball Card

1988 Topps #650 Cal Ripken Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $100

The 1988 Baltimore Orioles were a dumpster fire.

And the Ripken family took the brunt of the blaze.

After the O's lost the first six games of the 1988 campaign, the team's front office unceremoniously dumped Cal Ripken Sr.

Ripken Sr. had spent 1976-1986 as a coach within the organization.

However, all those years of service and loyalty didn't matter much.

He was on the outs just a year and six games into his first (and only) managerial tenure.

The team never recovered from there.

Cal and his brother, Billy, were understandably vexed by the quick turn of events.

Despite the siblings' best efforts to move past it, the firing loomed over the O's clubhouse all season long.

Under new manager Frank Robinson, the Orioles went a dismal 54-101 en route to the Major League cellar.

Ripken Jr. was one of the lone bright spots, slashing .264/.372/.431 with 23 homers, 102 walks, and 81 RBIs in 161 games.

Still, the fire spread unabated as the O's stumbled to the worst finish thus far in the club's 35 seasons in Maryland.

1988 Topps #650 Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Card

1988 Topps #450 Barry Bonds

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $90

After an uneven 1987 season of equal parts dingers and defensive blunders, Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds strove for balance in 1988.

The presence of recently acquired glove guru Andy Van Slyke in center field pushed the third-year slugger to round out his game.

Pure athleticism was one thing.

A focused work ethic was another, unlocking a version of Bonds that ended up rewriting the Major League Baseball history books.

As Van Slyke later put it, Bonds "willed himself to be great."

Perhaps the first step was Van Slyke winning a Gold Glove for the '88 campaign.

Bonds sought the same validation.

And so, he used Van Slyke's defensive presence as a primer for getting his house in order.

His arm remained substandard, but his refined instincts meant fewer balls got over his head.

It was a pivotal moment for an 85-win Pirates club that claimed second place in the NL East for the first time since 1983, albeit 15 games behind the division-winning Mets.

At the plate, Bonds became more patient and measured.

The California native's final form wasn't far off.

Within two years, he'd have both a Gold Glove and a league MVP award. 

1988 Topps #450 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1988 Topps #750 Bo Jackson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $90

Bo Jackson's controversial decision to pursue a two-sport career continued to vex and perplex critics and fans in 1988.

Things started well enough.

Jackson easily beat rookie Gary Thurman in a (reported) Spring competition for the starting left field job.

He continued that momentum into the regular season, batting over .300 with 30 RBIs come the end of May.

Sadly, disaster struck on the first day of June when Jackson tore his hamstring muscle trying to leg out a groundball, costing himself 28 games.

When Jackson returned, so did his inconsistencies.

His power was undeniable, as evidenced by his 25 home runs.

On the other hand, Jackson was unsteady at the plate, finishing fourth worst in the AL with 146 strikeouts.

His batting average dipped dramatically as the Ks piled up, eventually settling at a modest .246.

Royals fans were vocal about their disappointment.

Jackson was a once-in-a-generation talent, but his desire to split his focus and decrease his recovery time may have led to the injury that derailed his season.

If Jackson had only been healthy and locked in, who knows what the third-place club could have accomplished.

1988 Topps #750 Bo Jackson Baseball Card

1988 Topps #3 Mark McGwire Record Breaker (White Triangle by Left Foot)

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $90

Check prices on: Amazon


1988 Topps #3 Record Breaker White Triangle Mark McGwire Baseball Card

1988 Topps #6 Nolan Ryan Record Breaker

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $80

Check prices on: Amazon

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1988 Topps #6 Nolan Ryan Record Breaker Baseball Card

1988 Topps #600 Mike Schmidt

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $80

At the tail end of his Hall-of-Fame career, legendary Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt was antsy for one last taste of World Series glory.

The first four years of the decade were fruitful.

The Phillies reached the playoffs thrice, captured the NL pennant twice, and won it all in 1980.

The next four years could have been better, as Philadelphia failed to qualify for the postseason.

Things bubbled over late in the 1987 season.

Schmidt aired his grievances about the state of the organization and a potential free-agent exit.

The Phillies bumbled to an 80-82 record, fueling speculation that the face of the franchise wanted out.

It turned out OK in the end, at least at first.

Schmidt returned to the Phillies on a two-year deal, vowing to lighten up and enjoy his time in 1988.

The combined toll of 16 MLB seasons weighed heavily on the back of the 38-year-old.

His batting average (.249), on-base percentage (.337), and slugging percentage (.405) were his worst since his star-crossed rookie season in 1973.

Something was wrong.

That something turned out to be injuries.

Schmidt was banged up all year, culminating in a rotator cuff injury that cut his season short on August 12th.

Philadelphia sunk to a 65-96-1 record, ending the year in last place for the first time since 1973.

1988 Topps #600 Mike Schmidt Baseball Card

1988 Topps #360 Tony Gwynn

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $70

Even in an unremarkable season by his standards, Tony Gwynn was the National League's most consistent and productive hitter.

The San Diego Padres right fielder won his second NL batting title in '87 with an MLB-leading .370 average.

Gwynn dinked, dunked, slapped, and slugged his way to the finest hitting season of his career thus far.

In 1988, it wasn't so easy.

Gwynn underwent surgery on his left hand and suffered injuries in a fall.

He also opened the campaign in an uncharacteristic slump as the Padres limped into the All-Star break at ten games under .500.

Gwynn wasn't content with writing '88 off as a lost year.

He found his rhythm in the season's latter months, lifting his average back over .300 as the Padres surged.

The 83-win Padres proved no match for the division-champion Dodgers, yet Gwynn's resurgence raised the franchise to its first winning season in three years.

That resurgence also lifted Gwynn back to the top of the NL mountain.

The 28-year-old hit .313 on the season, good enough for his second consecutive batting title and third in five years.

He also notched his 1,000th hit, a fitting bloop single to left center off the immortal Nolan Ryan.

1988 Topps #360 Tony Gwynn Baseball Card

1988 Topps #120 Kirby Puckett

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $65

The Minnesota Twins stunned the baseball world in 1987 with the franchise's first World Series title.

It was the club's first winning season since 1979 and first playoff appearance since 1970.

The key to Minnesota's championship run was a young, hungry roster that outplayed its 85-win regular season with an October for the ages.

Minnesota didn't surprise anyone in 1988.

Still, they finished with over 90 wins (91) -- their first such campaign since 1970.

The Oakland A's cruised to a division title, but the Twins remained a threat for the foreseeable future.

The rise of Kirby Puckett was a big reason why.

He exploded in 1988, topping a brilliant 1987 with the best season of his Hall-of-Fame career.

Puckett was first in the AL in hits (234), total bases (358), and at-bats (657).

He landed second in the AL in both batting average (.356) and RBIs (121) and fifth in slugging percentage (.545).

He did all of this while providing Gold Glove defense in center and steadying the pulse of the clubhouse with his charming personality.

Come season's end, Puckett captured his third straight Silver Slugger and ended third on the league's MVP ballot for the second consecutive season. 

1988 Topps #120 Kirby Puckett Baseball Card

1988 Topps #370 Jose Canseco

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

After losing his spot as the better Bash Brother in 1987, Canseco set the bar in 1988 with the first 40/40 season in Major League history.

Canseco even called his shot earlier in the year. "I think I can have a 40/40 season," Canseco said. "Let's go for a big-time goal."

The 23-year-old right fielder achieved that goal in style, crushing an MLB-best 42 home runs and swiping 40 bases.

He also led the Majors in RBIs (124), OPS+ (170), and slugging percentage (.569).

Throw in 34 doubles, 78 walks, and 120 runs scored, and you see why Canseco was a unanimous choice for AL MVP.

As Canseco's star shot up on the field, it shone brightly off it.

The two-time All-Star appeared in ads, posed for magazine profiles, and enjoyed romantic entanglements with models and movie stars.

The first-time Silver Slugger kept the attention from altering his mission statement.

In the ALCS, Canseco went 5-for-16 with three homers, four runs scored, and four RBIs.

Oakland dispatched the Red Sox in four straight, setting up a California showdown with the underdog Dodgers.

We all know how that ended.

The Dodgers won in five and Kirk Gibson's magical walk-off in Game 1 remains a staple of highlight packages.

1988 Topps #370 Jose Canseco Baseball Card

1988 Topps #661 Nolan Ryan Turn Back The Clock

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $55


1988 Topps #661 Turn Back the Clock Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1988 Topps Traded #1T Jim Abbott Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50


1988 Topps Traded #1T Jim Abbott Rookie Card

1988 Topps #475 Pete Rose

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50


1988 Topps #475 Pete Rose Baseball Card

1988 Topps #700 George Brett

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

One of baseball's most fierce competitors got his championship due in 1985.

In his seventh playoff appearance of his first ten seasons in the Bigs, George Brett reached baseball nirvana with a World Series title.

Unfortunately, it was Brett's last brush with the October spotlight.

The Royals failed to make the playoffs in his final eight seasons.

The team's postseason drought would eventually extend to nearly 30 years.

Kansas City may have been out of the World Series picture, but Brett remained one of the game's most valuable contributors.

After two good years in 1986 and 1987, Brett earned his first MVP votes in '88 since his runner-up finish in '85.

The Royals' first baseman capped the year slashing .306/.389/.509 with 24 home runs, 42 doubles, three triples, 14 stolen bases, 90 runs scored, 82 walks, and 103 RBIs in 157 games.

He earned his 13th consecutive All-Star nod, his third Silver Slugger, and a healthy helping of down-ballot MVP votes to finish twelfth.

At 35, Brett remained as formidable as ever, even if the team couldn't say the same. 

1988 Topps #700 George Brett Baseball Card

1988 Topps #779 Tom Glavine Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

From 1991 to 2005, the Atlanta Braves won 14 consecutive division titles.

Three years before the start of a 15-year dynasty, the Braves seemed miles away from even sniffing contention.

After three lost seasons in or just outside the cellar of the NL East, the Braves bottomed out in 1988.

Atlanta did nothing from day one, and attendance dwindled to just over 10,000 fans a game.

The Braves opened the season with a ten-game losing streak and suffered eight more losing streaks of four or more games.

It was a joke year for the National League's current laughing stock.

However, it was a valuable year's experience for 22-year-old lefty Tom Glavine.

The future 10-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young winner was over his head on a sinking Braves ship, finishing with an MLB-worst 17 losses against just seven wins.

Still, there were signs of life.

Glavine's control was excellent (2.9 walks per nine), and his 1.352 WHIP wasn't far off his career mark.

However, his 4.56 ERA and 99 earned runs allowed showed just how far he'd have to travel to go from afterthought to ace.

Today, this card is the most sought-after rookie card in the set.

1988 Topps #779 Tom Glavine Rookie Card

1988 Topps #10 Ryne Sandberg

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

In the four years after the team's 1984 NL East title, the Chicago Cubs won 77, 70, 76, and 77 games, respectively.

The loveable losers were back at Wrigley, albeit in a more mediocre state.

A rough patch at the dish for second baseman Ryne Sandberg mirrored Chicago's fall from the October scene.

The future Hall-of-Famer tore the cover off the ball in his 1984 MVP year and worthwhile 1985 follow-up.

The next three years weren't as great.

After a middling '86 and solid '87, Sandberg reverted to just above average (for non-second basemen) in 1988.

He slashed .266/.322/.419 with 19 home runs, 23 doubles, eight triples, 25 stolen bases, 77 runs scored, and 69 RBIs in 155 games.

However, there was a silver lining to all of this.

Sandberg continued to earn his keep as the NL's best defensive second baseman, earning his third consecutive Gold Glove.

He was also the best hitter at a light-swinging position, capturing his third Silver Slugger and fifth straight All-Star appearance.

1988 Topps #10 Ryne Sandberg Baseball Card

1988 Topps #361 Greg Maddux

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

The transition from student to "Professor" began in earnest for Greg Maddux in 1988.

Drafted in the second round of the 1984 Draft, crafty young righty Greg Maddux took his lumps upon arriving at the Majors.

He was batted around in a six-game sample size in 1986 before an even rougher rookie year in 1987.

By 1988, Maddux had worked out the kinks.

Maddux used off-speed deception to leave opposing hitters looking silly.

It was easy to misjudge your timing against the future four-time Cy Young winner, either by revving up too early or swinging late in a desperate attempt to stay alive.

In the first half, the 22-year-old was on the shortlist of the game's top pitchers en route to his first All-Star Game.

He struggled off and on in the second half, yet his season-ending line remained quite impressive.

Maddux finished 18-8 with a 3.18 ERA, completing nine of his 34 games.

Three of those nine-inning masterpieces were shutouts.

He also surrendered just 230 hits in 249.0 innings.

It was clear the kid had the stuff.

He had yet to find his pinpoint control, giving up well over double his career 1.8 mark for walks per nine innings (4.3).

As time went on, those free passes would dwindle close to nonexistence.

1988 Topps #361 Greg Maddux Baseball Card

1988 Topps #460 Ozzie Smith

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $40

The Wizard cast a spell on the 1987 campaign, finishing as the National League MVP runner-up.

In 1988, that spell wore off.

Smith remained the best defensive player of the generation, mind you.

He wasn't just a slick highlight reel of dives, twists, and rocket throws.

The now nine-time Gold Glover was an automatic out machine, routine plays or otherwise.

It was Smith's hitting that took a tumble in '88.

As the defending NL champs fell like a rock down the division ladder, Smith's OPS dipped from a career-best .775 to .686.

His average dropped from .303 to .270, and he reached base 35% of the time rather than just above 39%.

As it turned out, Smith's previous season was an outlier.

Only five of his 19 MLB seasons ended with an OPS over .700.

The 1988 season was a regression to the mean, Smith's ongoing defensive masterclass notwithstanding.

1988 Topps #460 Ozzie Smith Baseball Card

1988 Topps Traded #42T Mark Grace Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

A 24th-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 1985 MLB Draft, Mark Grace wasn't supposed to become a Wrigley legend.

Hard work, determination, and a hot bat carried him through.

Grace ripped through Single and Double-A in 1986 and '87, posting a combined OPS near .940.

21 Triple-A games later, Grace was called up to the big club in 1988.

From there, it took just three weeks for the 24-year-old first baseman to wrest the starting job from Leon Durham, eventually leading to a deal that shipped Durham to Cincinnati.

Grace only rocketed upwards from there.

His Gold Glove-caliber defense snuffed out many an infield single.

And his steady bat helped salvage an otherwise uninspired attack.

Runner-up to Cincinnati's Chris Sabo in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, Grace finished his maiden campaign with a .296/.371/.403 slash line, 7 homers, 23 doubles, four triples, 65 runs scored, and 57 RBIs.

Growing up in Indiana, I remember Mark Grace being one of the most popular players in the area since there were a lot of Cubs fans where I lived.

His rookie cards were extremely popular back then and have still held up well over time.

Technically, this card is part of the 1988 Topps Traded set, but I made an exception.

1988 Topps Traded #42T Mark Grace Rookie Card

1988 Topps #90 Dale Murphy

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

The great Dale Murphy wasn't immune to the bad vibes of the 1988 Atlanta Braves.

After posting a gigantic .997 OPS in 1987 with a career-high 44 home runs, Murphy went down with the sinking Braves ship in 1988.

In his worst year since his 1978 rookie season, Murphy slashed .226/.313/.421 with 24 home runs, 35 doubles, four triples, 77 runs scored, and 77 RBIs in 671 plate appearances (592 at-bats).

The power numbers were still OK, but Murphy's 125 strikes and MLB-worst 24 double plays proved fatal in the clutch.

The 32-year-old's name started coming up in trade talks as the Braves front office stared down a three-year rebuild.

Murphy didn't blame anyone but himself.

"I would imagine that the Braves have gotten into a situation where we didn't win too many games, and they're looking for a change," Murphy said later." I really didn't do that well. Sometimes that enters in as well."

1988 Topps #90 Dale Murphy Baseball Card

1988 Topps #165 Robin Yount

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

From 1986 to 1988, Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Robin Yount cleared his spot in the Hall of Fame with a scintillating three-year heater.

At his peak, the 1982 AL MVP was the perfect mix of defense, speed, efficiency, power, and average.

He kept the 1988 Brewers' heads just above water during the season's first five months and provided an array of clutch hits in the team's molten 22-7 finish.

In a career-best 162 games, Yount slashed .306/.369/.465 with an AL-leading 11 triples, 13 homers, 38 doubles, 22 stolen bases, 92 runs scored, and 91 RBIs.

The Brewers' excellent September wasn't enough to offset the damage of April through August, but it was enough to lift Milwaukee to 87 wins and a second consecutive third-place finish.

"The Kid" was all grown up and did everything he could to keep the Brew Crew relevant.

Yount would have a second MVP award and a clear path to Cooperstown one year later.

1988 Topps #165 Robin Yount Baseball Card

1988 Topps #200 Wade Boggs

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

As Wade Boggs staked his claim as the best hitter in the game, his personal life took a sharp left turn.

A woman named Margo Adams came forward with a palimony lawsuit against Boggs, alleging a four-year affair while seeking millions of dollars in civil compensation.

Adams blew Boggs up in multiple publications and ultimately settled the situation out of court.

His wife stood by his side.

But, the headaches persisted through the 1988 season and afterward.

The off-field scandal became the talk of Boston (and national) sports radio throughout 1988.

Boggs kept swinging regardless, cruising to his fourth consecutive AL batting title with an MLB-best .366 average.

He also paced the Majors in on-base percentage (.476), OPS (.965), doubles (45), walks (125), runs scored (128), and plate appearances (719).

He grounded into an AL-worst 23 double plays, yet that was more of a quibble than anything else.

With Boggs on an entirely different astral plane, the 89-win Boston Red Sox eked out an AL East title despite losing six of the last seven regular-season games.

However, Boston couldn't turn it on in the playoffs, losing four straight in dispiriting fashion to the juggernaut Oakland Athletics.

1988 Topps #200 Wade Boggs Baseball Card

1988 Topps Traded #4T Roberto Alomar Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30

When Roberto Alomar learned he didn't make the Padres' roster during Spring Training in 1988, he was devastated.

After hearing the news, he ran into the training room and openly sobbed with his teammates and father by his side.

"I just told him to keep his head up, that it's a long season," manager Larry Bowa said. "The chances of Robbie coming to the big leagues in 1988 are pretty good."

Fate twisted as the season went on.

Alomar turned his sadness into pure production in the Minors, earning a promotion by mid-April.

He'd go on to have a fine rookie season.

Bowa, on the other hand, would get fired just a month and a half into the campaign after a 16-30 start.

New manager Jack McKeon tapped into the team's talent, pushing the Padres to a 67-48 finish and third place in the National League West.

Alomar was a big reason why.

His Spring Training disappointment was firmly behind him, and he pushed forward for one of the better rookie seasons of the campaign.

Voted fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year race, Alomar slashed .266/.328/.382 with nine homers, 24 doubles, six triples, 24 stolen bases, 84 runs scored, and 41 RBIs in 143 games. 

1988 Topps Traded #4T Roberto Alomar Rookie Card

1988 Topps #70 Roger Clemens

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30

If advanced stats had been a thing in 1988, Boston Red Sox flamethrower Roger Clemens may have won his third consecutive Cy Young award.

As it was, Clemens had to settle for a sixth-place finish and a second All-Star nomination.

He was hyper-focused, somewhat self-possessed, and driven to prove himself as the absolute best.

Clemens was so dialed in that he declined to head home to Houston to witness the birth of his second son, choosing instead to pitch in Southern California against the Angels.

He may have been polarizing, but his pure statistical dominance eventually separated the Red Sox from the AL East pack.

Clemens finished 18-12 with a 2.93, an AL-leading 14 complete games, and an MLB-best eight shutouts in 35 starts.

He also led baseball in strikeouts (291 batters in 264 innings), FIP (2.17), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.69), and strikeouts-per-nine (9.9).

Clemens pitched seven innings and took a no-decision in Game 2 of Boston’s four-and-out ALCS against Oakland.

Walt Weiss’ ninth-inning single off Lee Smith proved the difference, as the Red Sox fell at home, 4-3.

1988 Topps #70 Roger Clemens Baseball Card

1988 Topps #463 Fred McGriff

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30


1988 Topps #463 Fred McGriff Baseball Card

1988 Topps #465 Paul Molitor

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $30


1988 Topps #465 Paul Molitor Baseball Card

1988 Topps Baseball Cards In Review

So there you have it, the ten most valuable 1988 Topps cards.

As you can see, it will take them being professionally graded in gem mint condition in their Tiffany form to be worth much.

Unopened Box of 1988 Topps Baseball Cards

It's a great set overall and features rookie cards of a couple of great Hall of Famers and many other base cards of stars of the day.

Within the set were also several different subsets, including:

  • All-Stars
  • Checklists
  • Manager Cards
  • Record Breakers
  • Turn Back The Clock

While many of the cards in this set are basically worthless in today's market, it really is a pretty decent set overall.

And for those of us who grew up collecting these as kids, they'll always have a huge nostalgic factor to them despite not having the most monetary value.