12 Most Valuable 1991 Topps Traded Baseball Cards

Most Valuable 1991 Topps Traded Baseball Cards


The 1991 Topps Traded baseball set may not be the flashiest, but it helped solidify the company's position as the leader in a crowded market.

Donruss, Fleer, Score and Upper Deck were busy producing competitive sets of their own, but they didn't have nearly the staying power that Topps did.

And the inclusion of the 40th anniversary logo in the upper-left corner of the 1991 Topps design added a nice humble brag to back that up...

The design is exactly the same as its flagship base counterpart: player images are encased in a straightforward, classy design.

And the 132-card checklist itself was interesting enough in its own right.

Along with several stars and big-name players in the 132-card set, collectors could also find 25 of the best college players in the nation.

The set had something for everyone.

And in this guide, we'll take a look at the 12 most valuable.

Let's jump right in!

Ross Uitts

Ross Uitts - Owner

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Let's be clear: most of the cards from this set do not have any value these days.

Like the 1991 Donruss, Fleer and Topps sets, large print runs saturated the market with these cards, driving down their values.

So, for the cards on this list to be worth much, they'll have to be graded by PSA to be in perfect, gem mint condition.

That means the card needs to be flawless.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's take a look at the list:

1991 Topps Traded #4T Jeff Bagwell Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

The Houston Astros gambled on Jeff Bagwell to start the 1991 MLB season.

And while it didn't pay off in team success, it jump-started the career of a franchise legend.

Dealt from Boston at the end of the 1990 season, Bagwell moved from one logjam at third base to another in Houston.

The former fourth-round pick wasn't going to see playing time in Beantown behind Wade Boggs and top prospect Scott Cooper.

And with Ken Caminiti entrenched at the hot corner for the Astros headed into the 1991 campaign, he appeared to be in another no-win situation.

Spring Training changed that.

Bagwell tore the cover off the ball over the first few weeks and earned a starting job.

However, it wasn't at third.

The Astros devised a plan to get Bagwell's bat into the lineup: move him to first and hope for the best.

The team put the 23-year-old rookie through a lightning-quick crash course with a sink-or-swim final exam.

He passed with flying colors.

A near-unanimous choice for NL Rookie of the Year despite Houston's 65-97 record, Bagwell slashed .294/.387/.437 with 15 home runs, 79 runs scored, and 82 RBIs in 554 at-bats.

1991 Topps Traded #4T Jeff Bagwell Rookie Card

1991 Topps Traded #58T Bo Jackson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

When Bo Jackson's hip gave out in the Los Angeles Raiders' 1991 AFC Divisional Game matchup, everything turned upside down.

The Kansas City Royals hedged their bets in the 1991 offseason, waiting to see if Jackson could make enough progress to justify keeping him around.

By the middle of Spring Training, it was clear that Jackson was months away (at a minimum) from getting back into baseball shape.

On March 18th, Kansas City placed the 28-year-old DH on waivers.

No team claimed him, and Jackson headed to free agency.

Eventually, the Chicago White Sox stepped in, signing Jackson to a three-year, $8.15 million deal with only $700,000 guaranteed.

It was a low-risk, high-reward move for the Sox.

It also allowed Jackson the chance to prove he still had it.

Bo continued rehab under the White Sox banner before returning on September 2nd for a late-season revival.

In his Chicago debut, he played in 23 games and hit .225 with a .732 OPS, three home runs, and 14 RBIs.

Jackson's injury took a devastating turn when he developed avascular necrosis, a disorder that breaks down bone and cartilage while cutting off blood flow.

He failed an October 15th physical with the Los Angeles Raiders, ending his NFL career just like that.

It also left his MLB career in a precarious spot.

1991 Topps Traded #58T Bo Jackson Baseball Card

1991 Topps Traded #101T Ivan Rodriguez Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

Ivan Rodriguez’s journey to Cooperstown started with a wedding.

Signed out of Puerto Rico at just 17 years old, Rodriguez quickly moved up the ranks of the Texas Rangers organization.

By the age of 19, he was the starting catcher and defensive standout for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.

Tulsa loved Rodriguez, and he adored them so much that he planned an on-field wedding ceremony for him and his wife-to-be, Maribel, during a June 20th doubleheader.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans.

After Rangers starting catcher Geno Petralli fell to injury, the team looked past Triple-A and promoted Rodriguez to the big-league squad one day before he was set to tie the knot.

Instead of postponing, the two rescheduled the wedding for the next morning before flying to Chicago to join the Rangers.

It was an emotional whirlwind beginning to a great rookie season.

Finishing fourth in the AL Rookie-of-the-Year race, Rodriguez hit .264 in 88 games while providing Gold Glove-caliber defense to the 85-win squad.

And he did all of this as a newlywed in his teens.

1991 Topps Traded #101T Ivan Rodriguez Rookie Card

1991 Topps Traded #77T Fred McGriff

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

The Toronto Blue Jays finalized a trade in the 1991 offseason that set them up perfectly for three years of October success.

All they had to do was give up a Hall-of-Famer and a three-time All-Star.

Toronto shipped 26-year-old first baseman Fred McGriff and shortstop Tony Fernandez to San Diego in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter, two legendary players in their own right.

It was a star-studded four-player swap that built a Jays dynasty.

However, losing Fred McGriff was undoubtedly a heavy price to pay.

An MVP candidate for three years running, McGriff kept killing baseballs in Southern California, slashing .278/.396/.494 for the third-place Padres.

The Crime Dog also chipped in 31 home runs, 19 doubles, a triple, 105 walks, 84 runs scored, and 106 RBIs in 153 games to finish 10th in the NL MVP race.

Toronto was well-equipped to deal with McGriff's absence.

Yet, it still must have stung to see him continue his upward Hall-of-Fame trajectory on the other side of the border.

1991 Topps Traded #77T Fred McGriff Baseball Card

1991 Topps Traded #114T Darryl Strawberry

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

Darryl Strawberry left the New York Mets in 1991 for his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers.

He also left some hard feelings behind.

Strawberry never felt at home in the Big Apple.

When the team won, the credit seemed to go elsewhere.

When the team lost, he felt singled out by the media.

So when the Mets attempted to play hardball with their seven-time All-Star in free-agent negotiations, Strawberry waved goodbye and inked a five-year deal with LA.

“I wanted to be with a winner, which the Dodgers have always been,” Strawberry said. “I wanted to come home. People talk about the pressure of playing at home, but after going through what I went through in New York, nothing can be as bad as that.”

The 29-year-old right fielder got off on the right foot in ‘91 with his eighth consecutive All-Star campaign.

Strawberry posted a .265/.361/.491 slash line with 28 home runs, 22 doubles, four triples, ten stolen bases, 86 runs scored, 75 walks, and 99 RBIs in 139 games played.

Los Angeles fell one game short of an NL West tiebreaker with Atlanta yet still had an MVP-caliber talent on their hands, at least, for a while.

1991 Topps Traded #114T Darryl Strawberry Baseball Card

1991 Topps Traded #2T Roberto Alomar

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $25

Padres, Roberto Alomar felt safe that he was part of the team's plans for years to come.

So, when the Padres shocked the world and dealt Alomar to Toronto in a four-player mega-trade, the 23-year-old second baseman was taken aback.

"I didn't expect it," Alomar said. "I didn't understand it."

Once the shock wore off, Alomar locked in and gave the Padres a case of seller's remorse.

Finishing sixth in the AL MVP race and earning both a Gold Glove and All-Star nod, Alomar posted a .295/.354/.436 slash line with new career highs in doubles (41), triples (11), stolen bases (53), hits (188), runs scored (88), walks (57), and RBIs (69).

He was arguably the best-hitting second baseman in baseball and an essential piece of the Jays' second AL East title in three years.

Alomar kept the hits coming in the ALCS with a 9-for-19 explosion (.474) against Minnesota.

However, the rest of Toronto's attack couldn't keep pace, and the Jays fell in five to the Twins.

1991 Topps Traded #2T Roberto Alomar Baseball Card

1991 Topps Traded #19T Gary Carter

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $15

You'd think Gary Carter would feel content after 11 All-Star appearances, five Silver Sluggers, three Gold Gloves, two All-Star MVPs, and a World Series title.

That was far from the case.

The Hall-of-Fame catcher was determined to go out on his own terms after the New York Mets released him in 1989.

After a solid part-time showing for the San Francisco Giants in 1990, Carter kept grinding and looking for another job.

The job found him in the spring of 1991 when Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda offered him a non-roster camp invitation.

If the 36-year-old backstop could win a backup role behind Mike Scioscia, he'd earn a one-year, $500,000 pact.

Carter beat out Barry Lyons for the gig and got his deal.

He played 101 games at catcher and first base for the second-place Dodgers, slashing .246/.323/.375 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 101 games.

He also remained a viable defensive presence behind the dish, throwing out 32% of attempted base stealers.

Carter wasn't the MVP candidate of old, but he was still a valuable veteran asset to the Dodgers cause.

1991 Topps Traded #19T Gary Carter Baseball Card

1991 Topps Traded #45T Jason Giambi Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $15

Before he became a top MLB prospect, Jason Giambi was a top-notch collegiate slugger with a born hitting advantage.

A lefty swinger with 20/13 vision in his right eye, Giambi could spot a pitcher's grip and release with hawk-like precision.

It informed a patient, measured hitting approach that would serve him well for two decades at the big-league level.

In 1991, Giambi's golden eye made him a hot commodity.

He hit a conference-best .407 for California State University at Long Beach and set a school record with 57 walks.

After CSULB was bounced from the second round of the College World Series, he joined Team USA for their run through the Pan Am Games in Havana, Cuba.

The college sophomore ranked second on the team with a .340 batting clip and led the Stars and Stripes to a bronze medal.

It was a fitting conclusion to a watershed year for the future AL MVP, one that would set him up for a second-round draft selection in 1992.

1991 Topps Traded #45T Jason Giambi Rookie Card

1991 Topps Traded #48T Luis Gonzalez Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $15

Luis Gonzalez made five All-Star teams in 19 years in the Majors.

All five of those came in the back half of his career.

Nine years before he made his first Midsummer Classic as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a 22-year-old Gonzalez joined the Houston Astros for an uneventful 12-game debut.

The former fourth-round pick hit just .190 for the 19'90 Astros, an inauspicious start, to say the least.

Regardless of his light-hitting introduction to the Bigs, Houston's front office and management team still saw something in the young left fielder that was worth a second look.

Gonzalez made the team out of Spring Training in 1991 and emerged as one of the best hitters on a mostly punchless squad.

The Tampa native broke Joe Morgan's 1965 rookie franchise record with 50 extra-base hits, and his .753 OPS was second-best among Astros regulars.

Houston finished with an NL-worst 65-97 record, nine games behind the fifth-place Cincinnati Reds.

Gonzalez, though, was one of the few highlights of the Astros' lost campaign and had guaranteed himself a starting job for years to come.

1991 Topps Traded #48T Luis Gonzalez Rookie Card

1991 Topps Traded #82T Jack Morris

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $15

There was no way, in the biggest moment of his career and maybe his life, that Jack Morris would not stay in and get the job done.

The longtime Detroit Tigers ace signed a free-agent deal with his hometown Twins before the 1991 season and became the rotation's backbone as the Twins surged from worst to first in the AL West.

The now five-time All-Star and fourth-place Cy Young finisher pitched a team-leading 246.2 innings, posting an 18-12 record with a 3.43 ERA.

He followed up his brilliant regular season with wins in Games 1 and 4 of the ALCS, propelling Minnesota to a 4-1 pennant win.

Morris won the opener of a breathtaking Series showdown with the Braves and received a no-decision in a Game 4 loss.

No one remembers any of that.

All they remember is Morris' iconic ten-inning Game 7 shutout.

The 36-year-old righty matched zeroes all night long with Braves ace John Smoltz but got the last laugh in a 1-0, extra-inning classic.

Morris brushed off manager Tom Kelly's attempts to pull him after nine, staying in for a scoreless tenth.

Gene Larkin did the rest, sending the Metrodome into joyous madness with a Series-winning walk-off single.

1991 Topps Traded #82 Jack Morris Baseball Card

1991 Topps Traded #89T Dave Parker

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $15

Throughout his 19 years in Major League Baseball, Dave Parker was consistently one of the top players in the league.

And that goes for both sides of the game.

A seven-time All-Star and the 1979 MVP, Parker won two batting titles and three Silver Sluggers on the offensive side of the ball while picking up three Gold Gloves on defense.

Parker could do it all.

He did most of his damage during a fifteen-year stretch that included 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and four more with the Cincinnati Reds.

However, though many counted him out during the last part of his career, he was still good for 20+ homers and 90+ RBIs for both the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.

And the end for Parker came in 1991.

Despite making the 1990 All-Star team as a reserve with the Brewers in 1990, the club traded Parker to the Angels for Dante Bichette before the 1991 season.

In 119 games for the Angels, Parker slashed .232/.279/.358 with 11 home runs and 56 RBIs before the team sent him to Toronto late in the year.

At 40 years old, the former All-Star decided to call it quits after the season.

Parker was an incredible baseball player, but many felt his career numbers weren't quite Hall of Fame caliber.

1991 Topps Traded #89T Dave Parker Baseball Card

1991 Topps Traded #94T Tim Raines

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $15

The Montreal Expos had four outfielders for three starting jobs as the 1991 MLB season approached.

It was Tim Raines who ended up drawing the short straw.

Hitching their wagon to the young trio of Dave Martinez, Marquis Grissom, and Larry Walker, the Expos dealt Raines to the Chicago White Sox as part of a four-player trade.

The former four-time NL stolen base champ was now 30 years old and coming off a season in which he was limited to 130 games due to injury.

His offensive numbers slipped since his 1987 peak, and the Expos were unsure if he still had the juice to be a franchise player.

Montreal's misgivings ended up Chicago's gain.

Raines posted new career lows in batting average (.268) and OPS (.703) yet finished third in the AL with 51 stolen bases.

He also proved quite durable, playing in 155 games for the second-place Sox while placing ninth in the Junior Circuit with 102 runs scored.

It wasn't quite the campaign to put Raines back in the MVP conversation.

That didn't matter, as the White Sox had the perfect left fielder at the perfect time. 

1991 Topps Traded #94T Tim Raines Baseball Card

1991 Topps Traded Baseball Cards In Review

Like any of the "Topps Traded" sets, the 1991 release is straightforward in what it promises to deliver: promising rookies, players who changed teams, and new managers.

However including the top 25 college players who made up the Team USA baseball team was an excellent addition.

Within the 132-card checklist, you'll find a good mix of rookies, stars, and Hall of Famers within its 132-card checklist.

The Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez Hall of Fame rookie cards stand out as the most desirable.

And had Giambi panned out and not ended his career surrounded in controversy, he would be right up there with them.

Unopened Box of 1991 Topps Traded Baseball Cards

Other information about this set includes:

Checklist: 132 cards 

Distribution: One Series


  • Managers (throughout checklist)
  • Team USA (throughout checklist)


  • Topps Magazine Subscription

Overall, the Topps Traded set was a nice way to finish off the Topps 40th anniversary.

Though it might be categorized within the "junk era" the Traded and flagship sets hold a special place for many hobbyists.

Ross Uitts

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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