30 Most Valuable 1989 Topps Baseball Cards

Written By Ross Uitts

Last Updated: May 12, 2024
1989 Topps Baseball Cards

When I was growing up in the late 1980's, I remember scooping up as many 1989 Topps baseball cards as I could...

But I never came close to completing a set.

After all, there were 792 cards in total to collect and as a kid I just didn't have the resources to fund a quest like that.

But, I did what I could to at least keep or trade for as many of the star players of the day.

Even today, the design that Topps used for this set is easily one of my favorites of the modern era.

And in this guide, I will cover the 30 most valuable 1989 Topps baseball cards that are still worth a decent amount.

Let's jump right in!

1989 Topps Traded #41T Ken Griffey Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $275

Considered to be one of his most popular rookie cards, the 1989 Topps Traded issue features a young Griffey staring confidently with a bat over his shoulder.

The base versions are quite easy to find but in pristine condition they can still go for over $30.

But, the scarcer Tiffany version can be worth over a whopping $500 in PSA 10 condition.

Like other Tiffany cards, they are easily distinguished from their base versions by the glossy, sharper card stock.

1989 Topps Traded #41T Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

1989 Topps #465 Mark Grace

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

The feel-good story of the 1989 Cubs ended with a depressing NLCS reality check.

Mark Grace did everything he could to keep the Wrigley faithful in dreamland.

The reigning NL Rookie of the Year leveled up during his sophomore year, slashing .314/.405/.457 with 13 homers, 28 doubles, three triples, 14 stolen bases, 74 runs scored, 80 walks, and 79 RBIs.

He also picked it up at first base, moving towards league-average in Defensive Runs Saved (-2) while cutting his errors from 17 in '88 to 6.

With Grace copping MVP votes and a lineup full of big boppers like Ryne Sandberg, Dwight Smith, and Andre Dawson, the Cubs stunned everyone and grabbed just their second NL East title of the Divisional Era.

The end of the Billy Goat Curse was within their grasp, but the Cubs couldn't convert.

After Chicago and San Francisco traded wins in Games 1 and 2, the Giants gutted the Cubs with three straight wins by a combined four runs.

Those games may not have been close without Grace in Chicago's corner.

The 25-year-old was on a different planet against SF, going 11-for-17 (.647) with a .682 on-base percentage, a homer, a triple, three doubles, four walks, eight RBIs, and three runs scored.

1989 Topps #465 Mark Grace Baseball Card

1989 Topps #530 Nolan Ryan

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $100

If you think the 500 Home Run Club is exclusive, wait until you hear about the 5,000 Strikeout Club.

There are only four pitchers in MLB history who have touched 4,000 Ks.

And there's only one, the incomparable Nolan Ryan, who has gotten to 5,000.

On August 22, 1989, the 42-year-old Texas Rangers fireballer entered a contest with the eventual World Series champion Oakland A's with a 14-7 record and 219 strikeouts.

That placed him just six shy of opening the doors of the 5K Club.

Ryan struck out five A's hitters in the first four innings before squaring off with fellow Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson to lead off the fifth.

As was tradition with Rickey, the quintessential lead-off hitter pushed the count to 3-2 before fouling off a couple of nasty out pitches

Ryan finally got Henderson to swing and miss at a dotted low fastball, and that was that.

"It was an honor to be the 5,000th," Henderson said. "As Davey Lopes says, 'If he ain't struck you out, you ain't nobody.'"

Ryan ended his historic 21st campaign with a 16-10 record, a 3.20 ERA and an MLB-best 301 strikeouts in 32 starts.

1989 Topps #530 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1989 Topps #700 Don Mattingly

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $75

By the end of the 1989 MLB season, New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly was as close to a sure-thing Hall of Famer as you can be with seven years under your belt.

While Mattingly's '89 campaign wasn't up to par with his scorching 1984-1987 run, the former AL MVP was still an All-Star problem for any pitcher he faced.

"If you fool him one time, you're doing a good job," Tigers ace Frank Viola said at the time. "Three times? Forget it."

Mattingly hit over .300 (.303) for the sixth consecutive year in '89 and topped 100 RBIs (113) for the fifth time in six tries.

He smacked 23 homers for the fifth-place Yanks to go along with 37 doubles, two triples, and 79 runs scored in 693 plate appearances (631 at-bats).

The 28-year-old was also very durable despite battling two busted discs in his back.

Mattingly played 158 games in '89, with 145 coming in the field.

He was an unassuming, humble superstar with the world at his fingertips.

And then, the 1990s came, and his back got worse.

1989 Topps #700 Don Mattingly Baseball Card

1989 Topps #250 Cal Ripken Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $70

Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. worked tirelessly on his defense in the lead-up to the 1989 season.

And it showed.

After ending five of his previous seasons with 20 or more errors at the six, Ripken committed just eight errors in '89 while leading all of baseball in total chances (815).

Even with an MLB-high volume of grounders and lineouts hit his way, the 28-year-old leaned into his fundamentals and posted the second-best fielding percentage (.990) among shortstops.

Ripken also paced the Majors in double plays turned (119), assists (531), and putouts (276), all while working with Baltimore's pitching staff on how to approach given hitters.

The Orioles narrowly fell short of the AL East crown, placing second behind Toronto by two games.

Ripken did it all for the O's during their playoff push and did it for all 162 games.

Even with a career-worst .317 on-base percentage and .718 OPS, he was well worth a seventh consecutive All-Star appearance, fifth Silver Slugger, and third-place AL MVP finish.

1989 Topps #250 Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Card

1989 Topps #100 Mike Schmidt

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $65

Mike Schmidt called it a day 42 games into the 1989 MLB season.

The 39-year-old was coming off a disappointing 1988 that ended early due to rotator cuff surgery.

He re-signed with the Phillies on a one-year deal, choosing to play out his career in Philadelphia rather than test free agency.

As April turned to May, it was clear something was wrong.

One of the most productive hitters of any generation was laboring to catch up.

His swing looked off, and his defense at third was also starting to suffer.

And then, one day before Memorial Day, the legendary Phillies third baseman booted a grounder that led to four unearned runs.

It was right then that he made the decision.

On May 29th, Schmidt delivered an impassioned retirement speech that resonates even now.

“Some 18 years ago, I left Dayton, Ohio, with two very bad knees and a dream to become a Major League Baseball player,” Schmidt said in closing. “I thank God that the dream came true.”

Voted into the All-Star Game despite having been retired for over a month, Schmidt declined to play.

He left his legacy where it was, ending his Cooperstown career with the most homers (548) and RBIs (1,595) of any active player. 

1989 Topps #100 Mike Schmidt Baseball Card

1989 Topps #540 Bo Jackson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $65

The most popular player of the 1989 baseball season was a popular target among talk-show hosts and newspaper columnists.

Kansas City Royals outfielder Bo Jackson was a movement unto himself.

His decision to play baseball and football made him a crossover superstar unlike anything the Majors had ever seen.

On the other hand, his "lack of commitment" to one sport or the other rankled traditionalists.

"I don't really pay any type of attention to that," Jackson said. "The only people I worry about not doubting me is my family. And they were behind me 100% and that's all that really mattered."

After two uneven seasons in 1987 and 1988, Jackson shoved it in his critics' faces with the first-and-only All-Star campaign of his career.

He was the leading vote-getter for the American League and took home MVP honors for the game, going 2-for-4 with a moonshot homer and a stolen base in the AL's 5-3 win.

Injuries remained a problem, as did strikeouts (an MLB-worst 172).

However, Jackson was still a menacing slugger with an explosive swing.

The 26-year-old concluded the campaign slashing .256/.310/.495 with career bests in homers (32), hits (132), runs scored (86), triples (6), RBIs (105), and games played (135).

1989 Topps #540 Bo Jackson Baseball Card

1989 Topps Traded #110T Deion Sanders

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $65

Even after doing the unthinkable in September 1989, Deion Sanders kept his cool.

During his time at Florida State, Sanders made headlines for his three-sport prowess in baseball, football, and track and field.

He made even more headlines after leaving Tallahassee when he made his intentions known to play pro baseball and football.

Sanders was drafted twice in the MLB Draft, ultimately signing with the New York Yankees as a 30th-round pick.

In 1989, he was selected sixth overall by the Atlanta Falcons as a returner/defensive back.

"Prime Time" played 131 games in the Minors before receiving a late-season call-up to the Yankees.

At that time, he was in the middle of a contract impasse with the Falcons, scuttling his plans to join the team for training camp in July.

On September 5th, Sanders crushed a home run against the Seattle Mariners.

Two days later, he ended his holdout and signed a four-year deal with the Falcons.

Three days after that, he returned his first punt for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams, becoming the only player in MLB and NFL history to score a touchdown and hit a home run in the same week.

1989 Topps Traded #110T Deion Sanders Rookie Card

1989 Topps #647 Randy Johnson Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

The Montreal Expos made plenty of bone-headed moves before leaving for Washington, DC.

One of those came at the 1989 MLB Trade Deadline.

On the morning of July 31st, the Montreal Expos were a half-game ahead of the eventual NL East champion Chicago Cubs for the division lead.

The Expos had made just one playoff appearance (1981) in 21 years of operation, and the time seemed right to make a splashy move.

However, the move they made would have negative consequences for years to come.

In search of a big-name pitcher to top the rotation, the Expos dealt for Mark Langston in a five-player trade with the Seattle Mariners.

He pitched well in Montreal yet was rendered powerless as the team folded on the way to an 81-81 fourth-place finish.

As for the players the Expos gave up, one name sticks out: Randy Johnson.

If the Expos hadn't sold on him so quickly, Johnson could have grown into the game's most dominant pitcher on their roster, potentially reinvigorating a fan base tired of the same old stuff.

1989 Topps #647 Randy Johnson Rookie Card

1989 Topps #650 Kirby Puckett

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $60

After averaging nearly 28 home runs over the previous three seasons, perennial AL MVP candidate Kirby Puckett had a power outage in 1989.

The Minnesota Twins center fielder hit just eight home runs in 684 plate appearances (635 at-bats).

That was 15 fewer than the previous year and 22 fewer than his career-best 31 dingers in 1986.

Puckett's lack of bombs was somewhat concerning.

However, his all-around magnificence on the diamond made it easy to overlook.

The 29-year-old won his first-and-only batting title in '89, cracking two doubles on the season's final day to inch past Oakland's Carney Lansford with a .339 average.

He also led the Majors in hits (215) and set career bests in doubles (45) and on-base percentage (.379).

Puckett was also a guaranteed out in the outfield.

He tied an AL record by posting over 400 putouts for the fifth consecutive season and received his fourth straight Gold Glove as a reward.

Factor in his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance and Silver Slugger, and the home runs meant very little if anything at all.

1989 Topps #650 Kirby Puckett Baseball Card

1989 Topps #233 Gregg Jefferies

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $55

Gregg Jefferies was Public Enemy #1 for Mets fans at the end of a bizarre 1989 season.

After compiling a beefy .961 OPS in 29 games the year before, the 21-year-old infielder came to Shea to stay.

Jefferies immediately rubbed everyone the wrong way.

He kept to himself in the clubhouse and wasn't interested in making friends.

Opposing pitchers didn't like his attitude or the way he slammed helmets and bats after plate appearances.

Jefferies was moody, complicated, and young.

And when his production wavered, Mets fans turned on him.

The former first-round pick slashed .258/.314/.392 with 12 home runs, 28 doubles, two triples, 21 stolen bases, 72 runs scored, 56 RBIs, and a slightly above-average 106 OPS+.

New York fell short of championship expectations in 1989, finishing six games behind the NL East champion Chicago Cubs.

Jefferies took a lot of the heat.

It all boiled over embarrassingly in Game #162 when Jefferies charged beloved Phillies pitcher Roger McDowell after the game's final out.

"There were 30 guys on our side rooting for Roger, and 20 guys on their side rooting for Roger," Phillies manager Nick Levya said.

1989 Topps #233 Gregg Jefferies Rookie Card

1989 Topps #210 Dale Murphy

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

Going into the 1989 season, Dale Murphy had made the playoffs exactly once in parts of thirteen seasons with the Atlanta Braves.

The two-time NL MVP stayed the course as the Braves slid deep into the NL West cellar in the mid-to-late 1980s.

However, the memories of a 1982 division title could only go so far.

Atlanta finished with over 90 losses (97) for the third consecutive season in '89.

Even with a promising core of pitchers in the pipeline, the team's contending days seemed far off.

Murphy was sick of losing and didn't feel the organization was doing much to turn the ship around.

In fairness, his numbers were falling off a cliff.

The 33-year-old outfielder slashed just .228/.306/.361 with a .667 OPS and an 89 OPS+, the first year he'd finish as a below-average hitter.

The 20 homers were nice, but Murphy was fading and trade talks intensified.

Last-place Atlanta kept listening as offers trickled in, and he'd be out of town within a year.

1989 Topps #210 Dale Murphy Baseball Card

1989 Topps #230 Ozzie Smith

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

"The Wizard" was casting spells at full power during the 1989 MLB season.

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith had a solid offensive year for the NL East's third-place team, slashing .273/.335/.361 with 30 doubles, eight triples, two homers, 29 stolen bases, 82 runs scored, and 50 RBIs.

Smith's impact, though, was never really measured by his contributions in the batter's box.

It was his magic show at short that defined his Hall-of-Fame career.

And in 1989, Ozzie was in the most spectacular form of his nineteen years in the Bigs.

Smith posted career highs in defensive WAR (an MLB-best 4.8) and Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average (32).

And he posted these gaudy advanced metrics while committing 17 errors and compiling a .976 fielding percentage, so-so numbers by his Cooperstown standards.

However, his real value came in the spectacular run-saving plays he made look so routine.

Smith saved runs left and right in 1989 with dives and pinpoint throws, turning otherwise hopeless double plays with seeming ease.

If the ball came Smith's way, it was must-see TV.

1989 Topps #230 Ozzie Smith Baseball Card

1989 Topps #380 Rickey Henderson

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

The 1989 Oakland A's picked up the final piece of the World Series puzzle from a familiar source.

On June 21st, the A's dealt three players to the New York Yankees for the return of the inimitable Rickey Henderson, four-and-a-half years after sending Rickey to the Bronx for a five-player package.

The 30-year-old left fielder was a perfect fit.

Batting leadoff in front of the iconic Bash Brothers, Henderson set the table like only he knew how.

He stole an MLB-leading 77 bases, with 52 coming in 85 regular-season games with Oakland.

Henderson also posted a .863 OPS and nine homers with the A's, providing a little bit of everything in their journey to a second consecutive AL West title.

"We're a very relaxed club that knows what we have to do to win," Henderson said. "I like to think that I'm a money player. When we need a steal or drive home a run, I like to think I'll deliver."

Rickey's money mentality paid off in the postseason.

Henderson won ALCS MVP honors in the team's five-game triumph over Toronto and followed it up with a molten hot performance in Oakland's World Series sweep of the San Francisco Giants.

He ended the playoffs slashing a jaw-dropping .441/.568/.941 with three homers, three triples, two doubles, 11 stolen bases, eight RBIs, and 12 runs scored in nine games.

1989 Topps #380 Rickey Henderson Baseball Card

1989 Topps #397 Don Mattingly All-Star

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50


1989 Topps #397 Don Mattingly All-Star Baseball Card

1989 Topps #570 Tony Gwynn

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

By the end of the 1980s, Tony Gwynn was at the forefront of a new hitting revolution.

A back-to-back batting champ heading into the '89 season, Gwynn constantly advanced his game by obsessively studying videotape of his at-bats and opposing pitchers.

He packed VCRs on road trips and pored over footage in his hotel room.

"I am a natural hitter, but I have to work hard to keep it," Gwynn said.

Gwynn's intense work ethic was always his best asset and it got him his desired result during the '89 season.

The 29-year-old won his fourth NL batting title and third consecutive with a .336 average while pacing the Senior Circuit in hits (203).

He dinked and dunked pitches to all parts of the field, keeping the second-place Padres in the playoff race until the last week.

San Diego eventually fell three games short, but Gwynn reaped his share of individual awards.

The first-ballot Hall-of-Famer placed eighth in the NL MVP balloting and captured his fifth All-Star

nod, fourth Silver Slugger, and third Gold Glove.

1989 Topps #570 Tony Gwynn Baseball Card

1989 Topps #620 Barry Bonds

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $50

The relationship between Pittsburgh Pirates fans and Barry Bonds was complicated and contentious.

Fans and Pittsburgh newspaper columnists dogged Bonds during his rise from inconsistent leadoff hitter to MVP candidate, chastising him for his seeming indifference on the field.

Bonds didn't do himself any favors in dealing with the criticism, alternating coldness and pointed barbs when approached.

As things began to click for the young left fielder, fans did their best to warm up to him.

However, Bonds wasn't interested in building bridges.

"People were longing for Barry to adopt this city," former Pirates teammate Andy Van Slyke said. "Only Dave Parker had been treated harder by the fans, and he brought it upon himself."

1989 was the last year of Barry Bonds before he became Barry Bonds.

In 159 games, he hit .248 with a .777 OPS, 19 home runs, 34 doubles, six triples, 32 stolen bases, 93 walks, 96 runs scored, and 58 RBIs.

It was a fine year.

Yet, it paled to what the 1990s would bring.

As the numbers skyrocketed, though, the animosity would remain the same.

1989 Topps #620 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1989 Topps #240 Greg Maddux

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

Greg Maddux learned some hard lessons before he became "The Professor."

One of those came in 1989.

In his second MLB season, the crafty Chicago Cubs righty fought through a rough first month to emerge as one of the game's top pitchers.

Finishing third in the NL Cy Young race at 23 years old, Maddux went 19-12 with 135 strikeouts and a 1.276 WHIP in 238.1 innings pitched.

With the kid atop a deep rotation, the Cubs broke through the NL East glass ceiling and won the division title.

The next move was to ride their young ace to a World Series berth.

As it turned out, Maddux got roughed up in two NLCS appearances, finishing 0-1 with a no-decision in a Game 4 loss.

He surrendered 12 runs (11 earned) in just 7.1 innings pitched, the four most famous of which came in Game 1 off Giants first baseman and series MVP Will Clark's bat.

As Clark tells it, Maddux tipped the fateful pitch by saying it out loud.

"I was kind of almost going to be looking for it, and then when I was standing in the on-deck circle and saw him say 'fastball in,'" Clark said.

Clark got the heater on pitch one and broke the game open at Wrigley.

1989 Topps #240 Greg Maddux Baseball Card

1989 Topps #300 Darryl Strawberry

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

The 1989 New York Mets were tabloid fodder from day one.

New York had a seemingly deep roster with the power and name value to win it all.

Instead, they were held down by underachievement, drug use, diva attitudes, and infighting.

This included a well-publicized Spring Training confrontation between 1988 MVP runner-up Darryl Strawberry and veteran teammate Keith Hernandez.

Strawberry and the Mets were at an impasse in talks for a lucrative extension.

Instead of keeping it in-house, the oft-troubled right fielder made his case in the media.

Hernandez took exception to this.

"A deal is a deal," Hernandez said at the time. "If Darryl wants an extension, he should keep it out of the press."

Bizarrely, the two were placed next to each other during team picture day. They got to jawing, and then they got to fighting…

…on camera.

It was a head-shaking start to a bad year for Strawberry.

The 27-year-old posted new career worsts in batting average (.225), on-base percentage (.312), OPS (.779), and OPS + (125).

Strawberry's 29 home runs were nice, but there wasn't much else to cheer for as the Mets placed a disappointing second in the NL East.

1989 Topps #300 Darryl Strawberry Baseball Card

1989 Topps #343 Gary Sheffield Future Star

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

Gary Sheffield was the hottest prospect in Major League Baseball when he broke camp with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1989.

After starting 23 games at shortstop in 1988, the 20-year-old earned the starting job for '89.

He looked like a million bucks and had the swing of a multi-time All-Star.

Many thought he was the runaway choice for AL Rookie of the Year.

They got the All-Star part right, but it would be much later.

Sheffield slumped hard from April to July while booting a team-worst 12 errors at short.

Milwaukee decided to send Sheffield back to Triple-A Denver in mid-July, and it was there that a broken bone was discovered in his foot, an injury previously thought to be a bone bruise.

Sheffield returned to the Brewers in December, wary of the organization that bungled his injury diagnosis.

He grew more sullen when forced from shortstop to third base.

"If they don't need me to play shortstop, I'd rather go somewhere else," Sheffield said.

The vibes were bad, and Sheffield's numbers weren't much better.

In 95 games, he hit .247 with five homers, 32 RBIs, and a subpar .640 OPS.

1989 Topps #343 Gary Sheffield Rookie Card

1989 Topps #382 John Smoltz Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

The Atlanta Braves lost an average of 100 games per season in John Smoltz's first three years.

It was a trying time for the young righty and everyone involved with the team.

According to Smoltz, it was all well worth it in the end.

"We weren't very good so we had to get our brains beat out and learned from it," Smoltz said.

After scuffling along with the team in 12 appearances the year before, Smoltz stepped forward and dazzled early in the '89 season.

The 22-year-old was Atlanta's outlier during a 36-51 first half, posting an 11-6 record with a sterling 2.10 ERA.

Smoltz was named to his first All-Star team and took the loss in a 5-3 American League win.

Following the Midsummer Classic, the future Hall-of-Fame ran out of gas.

Smoltz went just 1-5 with a 4.42 ERA in the second half as Atlanta bumbled their way to last place in the AL East and a 63-97-1 record.

It was a tale of two halves, yet Smoltz's numbers still came out strong.

He went 12-11 on the season with a 2.94 ERA with just 160 hits and 72 walks surrendered (1.115 WHIP) in 208.0 innings pitched. 

1989 Topps #382 John Smoltz Rookie Card

1989 Topps Traded #500 Jose Canseco

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

You could make a ten-part documentary on the wild, weird ride of Jose Canseco's 1989 season.

The reigning AL MVP was in the newspapers all winter long.

There was never an off moment during Canseco's offseason, whether it was his multiple speeding tickets or other assorted headaches.

Canseco started the 1989 campaign on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his left wrist.

During treatment, he was arrested on campus at the University of California Medical Center for possessing a loaded handgun.

He'd later plea no contest and perform community service.

The fun wasn't done.

Canseco reinjured his wrist in May and underwent surgery.

During a second rehab assignment, he was voted into the AL All-Star Game with zero '89 plate appearances.

The 24-year-old told the media he was ready to play, but the A's forced him out of it and refused to take him off the DL.

When he finally made it back to Oakland in July, the team's run to a World Series title took the spotlight off his antics.

Canseco hit .269 with 17 homers and 57 RBIs in 65 regular-season games and .323 with two homers, six RBIs, seven walks, and six runs scored in nine playoff contests.

The A's won their first World Series since 1974, giving everyone a celebratory break from the 24/7 Canseco Show.

1989 Topps #500 Jose Canseco Baseball Card

1989 Topps Traded #660 Will Clark

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $45

The 1989 San Francisco Giants made the franchise's first World Series in 27 years on the strength of a 1-2 NL MVP punch.

Left fielder Kevin Mitchell and first baseman Will Clark were the figureheads of San Francisco's rise back to prominence, and they were also two of the best hitters in the game.

Clark and Mitchell locked horns with each other all season long, staying hypercompetitive in everything from on-field performance to clubhouse games.

Mitchell ultimately got the one-up by winning NL MVP honors.

Clark finished second, making them the first Giants duo to finish 1-2 in MVP voting.

Clark concluded the year slashing .333/.407/.546 with 23 home runs, 38 doubles, nine triples, 74 walks, 111 RBIs, and an NL-best 104 runs scored in 159 games.

He won NLCS MVP honors with a blistering .650 average, two homers, eight RBIs, and a 1.882 OPS.

In the World Series, he cooled down with the rest of the Giants, going 4-for-16 with a .607 OPS in San Francisco's four-game sweep at the hands of the cross-Bay rival Oakland A's.

1989 Topps #660 Will Clark Baseball Card

1989 Topps Traded #200 George Brett

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $40

1989 was the definition of an off year for George Brett.

The Kansas City Royals first baseman suffered a torn ligament in his right knee in late April.

Doctors initially feared he'd be out eight weeks, but Brett gritted through rehab and got back in about six.

The Royals eased the 36-year-old back as a DH, delaying his return to first until he was close to 100%.

Manager John Wathan commented that he "was drooling" when he saw Brett taking hacks before his return.

It looked like the hit machine of old was ready to get back to business.

Brett couldn't live up to expectations.

He posted his worst batting average (.282), slugging percentage (.431), and OPS (.793) since his 1974 rookie year.

The Royals still finished second in the AL West at 92-70, but it was clear their captain wasn't right, injury or otherwise.

He'd get right again in 1990.

1989 Topps #200 George Brett Baseball Card

1989 Topps Traded #360 Ryne Sandberg

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $40

The 1984 Chicago Cubs were the darlings of the decade, a scrappy young team that played above their heads en route to the franchise’s first playoff appearance since the 1945 World Series.

It could have been the start of something fun.

However, it all broke apart, and the Cubs won no more than 77 games over the next four seasons.

By 1989, only two members of the ‘84 team remained: right fielder Andre Dawson and second baseman Ryne Sandberg.

The veteran duo struggled in the first half, with Dawson battling injuries and Sandberg off to his usual slow start.

However, once they got on track, there was no stopping them.

As Dawson slugged, Sandberg soared, hitting .348 with 18 home runs from July 29th on.

The Cubs went from the middle of the NL East pack to division champions, lapping the field by six games.

It may not have been the out-of-nowhere story from five years before, but it felt just as good.

Sandberg placed fourth in the NL MVP race and notched his seventh Gold Glove, sixth All-Star appearance, and fourth Silver Slugger.

He slashed .290/.356/.497 with a career-best 30 home runs, 76 RBIs, and an NL-best 104 runs scored.

The 29-year-old followed that up with an 8-for-20 (.400) performance in Chicago’s five-game NLCS loss to San Francisco.

1989 Topps #360 Ryne Sandberg Baseball Card

1989 Topps Traded #505 Pete Rose

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $40

The 1989 Cincinnati Reds put together a ho-hum start under manager Pete Rose, going 59-66 through August 21st.

It was an uninspiring, blah season on the field.

Yet, it was much more interesting off of it.

In May, investigator John Dowd presented a report to MLB Commissioner Bart Giamatti regarding allegations against Rose for betting on Major League games.

Such an offense is grounds for permanent expulsion from all MLB activities, and Rose's entire reputation was now on the line.

The report concluded that Rose had, in fact, bet on games during his time as Reds manager.

By August 23rd, Rose reached an agreement with Giamatti that deemed him permanently ineligible from baseball.

The all-time hits king maintained he "never bet on baseball, never bet on the Cincinnati Reds, and no volumes (of documents) are ever going to prove that I did."

However, in 2004, he'd admit to betting on the Reds (to win) after fifteen years of controversy that included jail time for tax evasion in 1990.

1989 Topps #505 Pete Rose Baseball Card

1989 Topps Traded #600 Wade Boggs

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $40


1989 Topps #600 Wade Boggs Baseball Card

1989 Topps #70 Mark McGwire

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $40


1989 Topps #70 Mark McGwire Baseball Card

1989 Topps #49 Craig Biggio Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $35

I remember growing up watching Biggio play and thinking how versatile he was.

He may not have had the power that some of the big name sluggers of the day had but he was still exciting to watch.

Defensively, he could play pretty much anywhere.

And he was a stud on the basepaths racking up tons of stolen bases and scoring 100 or more runs almost every year from the mid-1990's into the 2000's.

His rookie card may not be the most expensive in the set but it's still very much one of the keys to own.

1989 Topps #49 Craig Biggio Rookie Card

1989 Topps #450 Roger Clemens

Estimated PSA 10 Value: $25


1989 Topps #450 Roger Clemens Baseball Card

1989 Topps Baseball Cards In Review

So there you have it, the ten most valuable 1989 Topps cards.

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

Unopened Box of 1989 Topps Baseball Cards

It's a great set overall and features rookie cards of several Hall of Famers and stars of the day.

Within the set were also several different subsets, including:

  • All-Stars
  • Checklists
  • Future Stars
  • 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.