12 Most Valuable 1993 Donruss Baseball Cards

Most Valuable 1993 Donruss Baseball Cards


The 1993 Donruss baseball card set hit hobby shelves right around the time the hobby bubble was bursting.

Massive print runs from multiple competitors flooded the market with options and the infamous strike that would cut the 1994 MLB season short was just around the corner.

Still, there is plenty to love about this often-overlooked set from the "junk era"...

The Chipper Jones and Mike Piazza "Rated Rookie" cards are probably the most recognizable.

But, there are also plenty of superstars of the era in the 792-card checklist like Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly, Cal Ripken Jr., and Frank Thomas, to name a few.

Overall, the values of the cards in this set aren't likely to blow you away, but some can still fetch a decent price in top condition.

And in this guide, I'll run through 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 1993 Fleer, Leaf, Pinnacle, Score, Topps and Upper Deck 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:

1993 Donruss #721 Chipper Jones Rated Rookie

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $100

After hitting .325 for playoff-bound Triple-A Richmond, top prospect Chipper Jones got the call of a lifetime in mid-September of 1993.

The former #1 pick was called up to the Atlanta Braves in the middle of the Minor League postseason, making his MLB debut in the teeth of one of the greatest pennant races in baseball history.

As the Braves fought neck-and-neck with the Giants for the NL West title, the future of the organization made his first MLB appearance on September 11th as a defensive replacement at shortstop.

Three days later, Jones tallied his first MLB hit at home in Atlanta with a pinch-hit single off Cincinnati Reds left-hander Kevin Wickander.

He'd receive only two more at-bats in 1993, getting one more hit as the Braves fended off the Giants to win the division.

Jones wasn't added to the team's postseason roster but was invited to Philadelphia to experience the team's gut-wrenching six-game loss to the Phillies as part of the clubhouse.

With valuable experience in hand and a bitter taste in his mouth, Jones headed into 1994, ready to make good on his promising talent.

A devastating knee injury loomed, but it would only delay the inevitable

1993 Donruss #721 Chipper Jones Rookie Card

1993 Donruss #553 Ken Griffey Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $75

In 1993, the game's top young talent flipped the power switch and continued to capture the imagination of the baseball world.

A season after capturing the 1992 All-Star Game MVP award, Seattle Mariners centerfielder Ken Griffey Jr. sharpened his plate approach to dizzying results.

And the day before his fourth-straight All-Star Game appearance to start his career, Griffey became the first slugger to hammer a baseball off the B&O Warehouse in Baltimore.

The mammoth 445-foot blast sent shock waves through the crowd at Camden Yards and remains one of the most iconic highlights in Home Run Derby history.

In late July, "The Kid" went on a home run tear, connecting in eight-straight games to tie an MLB record.

He finished the year with 45 dingers to set off his first of seven 40 home-run seasons in eight years.

At just 23 years of age, Griffey earned his fourth Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger award as he led the AL with 359 total bases, eclipsed both 100 runs batted in and runs scored, and finished fifth in the MVP vote.

He did it all, and he did it with an unabashed joy that endeared him to new fans young and old across the globe.

1993 Donruss #553 Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #209 Mike Piazza Rated Rookie

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $60

Called up to The Show in late 1992 for twenty-one games, Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza was a step behind and a second slow in the batter’s box at times.

But that changed in 1993.

Named the Dodgers’ starting catcher in Spring Training, Piazza responded with one of the most impressive Rookie of the Year seasons in the annals of Major League Baseball.

While Los Angeles finished with a perfectly mediocre 81-81 record, the 24-year-old backstop was anything but.

Piazza ripped through National League pitching all season long, ending with a .318 batting average and 35 home runs, a new MLB record for long balls by a rookie catcher.

In addition, Piazza’s 111 RBIs tied him for third among NL rookies in MLB history.

Inspiring comparisons to legendary hitting catchers like Carlton Fisk and Johnny Bench, Piazza earned unanimous NL Rookie of the Year honors.

He also earned his first of twelve career All-Star selections, first of ten Silver Slugger awards, and a 9th-place finish in the NL’s MVP race.

From an afterthought in the 62nd round of the 1988 MLB June Amateur Draft to a breakout sensation, Piazza’s unlikely march to Cooperstown began in earnest in 1993.

1993 Donruss #209 Mike Piazza Rookie Card

1993 Donruss #315 Rickey Henderson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $45

After starting infielders Tony

1993 Donruss #315 Rickey Henderson Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #423 Nolan Ryan

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $45

Entering his 27th year in the Majors at 46 years of age, Nolan Ryan had no intentions of throwing in the towel on his unparalleled Hall-of-Fame career after the 1993 MLB season.

However, Ryan's trademark fastball and electric breaking stuff were short-circuited in 1993 by rib cage, knee, and elbow injuries.

He made just 13 starts, pitching to an unsightly 4.88 ERA with a pronounced downtick in strikeouts.

The real highlight for the veteran hurler occurred on August 4th when he drilled Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura in the arm with a fastball.

A nonplussed Ventura charged the mound but ended up on the receiving end of a headlock and rabbit punches to the top of his head.

Ventura was ejected after the skirmish and an incensed Ryan made the White Sox pay for his transgressions, allowing just one baserunner in his last four innings to secure the win.

The highs of that early-August night, though, were short-lived. On September 22nd, Ryan heard the ulnar collateral ligament in his right throwing elbow "pop like a rubber band" during a road outing in Seattle.

In his mid-40s and battling a laundry list of other ailments, Ryan knew right away it was the end.

1993 Donruss #423 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #559 Cal Ripken Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $45

While there had been legitimate threats to Cal Ripken Jr.’s eventual record-breaking consecutive games streak before, the most worrisome stemmed from a benches-clearing brawl with the Seattle Mariners on June 6th, 1993.

In the middle of his eleventh All-Star season and seventh Silver Slugger-winning campaign, Ripken heard a nasty pop in his knee running to the mound to aid O’s starting pitcher Mike Mussina.

Ripken was able to finish the game but woke up hobbled in extreme pain the following day.

Worried, the future Hall of Famer drove to the ballpark much earlier than usual to consult with team trainer Ritchie Bancells.

Nearing 1,800 games in a row and just over two seasons away from passing Lou Gehrig, it was a nerve-wracking moment for everyone involved.

Luckily, a few physical therapy sessions and some stretching were all it took to keep Ripken in the lineup.

And with little to no pain lingering in his knee, he continued unabated in his pursuit of Gehrig.

1993 Donruss #559 Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #609 Don Mattingly

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $45

1993 was an undeniably rewarding professional year for New York Yankees captain Don Mattingly.

The veteran returned to the form he exhibited in the late 1980s, finishing in the top 20 of the AL MVP race with a .291 batting average, 17 home runs, 86 RBIs, and yet another Gold Glove season at first base.

And as Mattingly settled into a familiar groove, the rest of the Yankees blossomed around him.

After failing to reach second place in the AL East for seven seasons from 1986-92, a young squad headlined by Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, and new acquisition Wade Boggs made a big splash in the Bronx.

Unfortunately, the Yankees ultimately fell out of the division race, seven games behind the World Champion Toronto Blue Jays.

Yet, the team’s 88-74 record was a sign of changing times in The Bronx.

Mattingly wouldn’t be in uniform for the team’s rise back to World Series glory in 1996.

But, it was his tutelage and example which helped the young Yankees grow up and take Major League Baseball by storm.

1993 Donruss #609 Don Mattingly Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #7 Frank Thomas

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

In 1993, Chicago White Sox superstar Frank Thomas added his name to an exclusive list with four of the greatest hitters who ever lived: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and Ted Williams.

By season's end, Thomas became the fifth player in MLB history to post a .300 batting average, more than 20 home runs, and more than 100 walks, RBIs, and runs scored in three straight campaigns.

It was just one of many milestones for "The Big Hurt" in 1993.

He hammered 41 home runs, knocked in 128, and posted a robust 1.033 WHIP en route to a unanimous selection as the American League's MVP.

The first White Sox MVP since Dick Allen in 1972, Thomas was the catalyst for Chicago's run to the franchise's first AL West title in ten years.

Thomas was equally as impressive in the postseason, hitting .353 with a home run, three RBIs, and ten walks in Chicago's American League Championship Series tilt with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The eventual repeat World Series champs dispatched the Sox in six, but it wasn't for lack of a Herculean effort by the 1993 AL MVP.

1993 Donruss #7 Frank Thomas Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #607 Kirby Puckett

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

Kirby Puckett didn't have one of the best years of his Hall of Fame career during the 1993 season.

He failed to crack .300 for the second time since 1986 (.296), posted a .824 OPS below his career mark of .837, and dropped from an MLB-best 210 hits in 1992 to 184 in 1993.

Also, the Twins took a giant step back from 90 wins and a second-place finish in the AL West in '92 to 71 wins and a fifth-place finish in '93.

However, it was still an impressive individual campaign for Puckett, which earned him his eighth All-Star appearance and an opportunity to make franchise history.

The 33-year-old star paced the American League to a 9-3 win in the 1993 Midsummer Classic, winning game MVP honors with a home run and an RBI double.

In doing so, Puckett became the first Twins player to win All-Star Game MVP honors.

It was another storybook moment in a career full of them for Minnesota's favorite son.

1993 Donruss #607 Kirby Puckett Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #126 Tony Gwynn

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

It's daffy to think that a .358 batting average wasn't enough for San Diego Padres right fielder Tony Gwynn to win his fifth National League batting title in 1993.

But, since Colorado's Andres Galarraga hit .370 on the year, Gwynn failed to reestablish his stranglehold on the NL batting crown in 1993.

He'd return to his rightful place in 1994, collecting four straight titles, including the strike-shortened '94 campaign.

Yet, his 1993 season still deserves a closer look regardless of his placement on the NL batting leaderboard.

Yes, the Padres stumbled to 101 losses during a year that Gwynn missed 40 games due to injury.

However, Gwynn's opposite-field prowess and ability to pepper the gaps were both still on full display in '93.

The future Hall-of-Famer posted an OPS near .900 and collected hits at a pace that would have challenged his career-best single-season mark of 220 had he been healthy.

It was a challenging year for Gwynn and Padres fans alike.

1993 Donruss #126 Tony Gwynn Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #520 Ozzie Smith

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

Here's a trivia question for your next baseball-themed dinner party: In 1993, who ended future Hall of Fame shortstop (and beloved St. Louis Cardinals icon) Ozzie Smith's streak of thirteen straight NL Gold Gloves?

You'd be forgiven if you answered Barry Larkin.

After all, the Cincinnati Reds legend won three straight Gold Gloves from 1994-96.

But it was Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jay Bell.

Bell won the only Gold Glove of his eighteen-year career in '93, unseating Smith and effectively ushering in the end of an era.

That wasn't the only damage Bell did to Smith's legacy.

Bell also made his first of two All-Star Games in '93, unseating Smith on the NL roster.

It was the only Midsummer Classic that Smith missed from 1981-96.

That's not to say that Smith had a bad year.

He still hit .288, stole over 20 bases, struck out just 18 times in 603 plate appearances, and posted a strong .974 fielding percentage for the 87-win Cardinals.

1993 Donruss #520 Ozzie Smith Baseball Card

1993 Donruss #678 Barry Bonds

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

After capturing the 1992 National League MVP award in the final year of his deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Barry Bonds hit free agency in search of an unmatched payday.

While his performance on the field made his desire to be the highest-paid player in baseball understandable, his interpersonal shortcomings stopped several big-market teams from making an offer.

New San Francisco Giants owner Peter Magowan was the exception.

Looking to start things out with a bang by the Bay, Magowan met Bonds' demands and inked him to a  six-year, $43 million deal.

With Bonds at the heart of the lineup, San Francisco improved from 72 wins in 1992 to 103 wins in '93.

While they lost the NL West title and a playoff spot to the Atlanta Braves on the final day of the regular season, Bonds' maiden voyage in black and orange breathed new life into the franchise.

Winning his second straight NL MVP award, Bonds finished fourth in the league in batting average (.336), first in home runs (46), and first in RBIs (123).

It marked Bonds' last MVP season until his unreal (and controversial) 2001-04 run.

1993 Donruss #678 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1993 Donruss Baseball Cards In Review

As you can see, this set doesn't contain any blockbuster rookie cards or rare printing errors that can fetch huge price tags, but many of them can still have decent value in PSA 10 condition.

And, many collectors consider the 1993 Donruss set design to be one of the best-looking from the company during the early 1990s.

The full-color photos were sharp, the glossy finish on the front gave them a nice look, and the "Donruss" watermark on the reverse side added respectability.

Unopened Box of 1993 Donruss Baseball Cards

As far as subsets go, the only one in the set was the "Rated Rookie" cards scattered throughout the checklist.

However, Donruss did increase the number of inserts to six with the following:

  • Diamond Kings
  • Spirit of the Game
  • The Elite Series
  • The Legends Series: Robin Yount
  • Long Ball Leaders
  • Elite Signature Series: Will Clark

Overall, this set still packs plenty to enjoy for the die-hard baseball card collector and lots of nostalgic value.

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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