15 Most Valuable 1993 Leaf Baseball Cards

Written By Ross Uitts

Last Updated: May 11, 2024

As you sort through a stack of 1993 Leaf baseball cards, you'll quickly notice significant quality improvements compared to previous designs.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy several earlier Leaf sets.

But this release made it clear that the brand was trying to compete in the premium space...

The borderless, full-color imagery brought players to life with incredible action shots.

The glossy finish and foil stamping gave the cards a premium look and feel.

Leaf nailed it with a solid design.

However, the one key drawback of this set is its lack of Hall of Fame rookie cards.

Still, the design and big-name superstars make the set worth a look.

And in this guide, we'll take a look at the 15 most valuable.

Let's jump right in!

1993 Leaf #115 Nolan Ryan

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $60

In 66.1 innings pitched, Nolan Ryan went 5-5 with a 4.88 ERA while striking out hitters per nine innings for the Texas Rangers during the 1993 season.

On the surface, those numbers seemed way below his career norms.

Keep in mind, though, that Ryan was 46 years old and in his 27th season in the Majors.

And Ryan most likely would've attempted a return for a 28th season, as he didn't seem to express any intentions of retiring during the 1993 campaign.

Unfortunately, it wasn't up to Ryan whether he'd ultimately return for another year or not.

During a late-season showdown at Seattle on September 22, Ryan heard the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow "pop like a rubber band" during the first inning.

Ryan had faced six hitters and allowed five runs without recording an out before releasing that fateful pitch to Seattle's Dave Magadan in almost symbolic struggle that defined his whole season.

After the game, Ryan stated, "It's got to be it. There's no way I'll ever throw again. It's a hell of a way to end a career. This whole year has been a nightmare."

That year may have been a nightmare, but Ryan's career was one of the greatest in MLB history.

1993 Leaf #115 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #237 Don Mattingly

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $60

It's been well-documented that injuries nagged at Don Mattingly throughout the 1990s, robbing him of the power at the plate he so often displayed throughout the 1980s.

Mattingly routinely tore the cover off the ball in the 80s, winning a batting title, three Silver Sluggers, and an MVP.

He also led the Majors in doubles three times, RBIs once, and hits once while topping the American League in hits another time.

In short, Mattingly was one of the last guys you wanted to deal with if you were a pitcher during the 80s.

But, in the 1990s, Mattingly was a shell of his former self at the plate.

Yet, the 1993 season sticks out as the one season where he came arguably closest to resembling the days of old.

In 530 at-bats, Donnie Baseball slashed 295/.364/.445 with 17 home runs and 86 RBIs to help New York to a second-place finish in the AL East at 88-74.

His .809 OPS was well above where it had been during the previous three seasons and marked the first time since 1989 he'd eclipsed the .800 mark in that category.

It was good to see the old Mattingly somewhat back at the plate.

1993 Leaf #237 Don Mattingly Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #319 Ken Griffey Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $60

After four seasons in the Majors, everyone knew Ken Griffey Jr. could hit with the best of them.

But few could've predicted the level to which he would "break out" during the 1993 season.

To go along with a career-high .408 on-base percentage, the young superstar also eclipsed the .600 mark (.617) in slugging percentage for the first time in his iconic career.

With incredible plate discipline and power, "The Kid" led the American League in total bases (359) and struck fear into opposing pitchers by belting 45 home runs.

Griffey had hit no more than 27 home runs in his previous three seasons, so witnessing the jump to 45 home runs was quite the site to see.

Eclipsing the 40-home run mark would be a regular thing for the Hall of Famer for the rest of the 1990s, leading many to wonder if he'd eventually catch Hank Aaron for the all-time lead.

Unfortunately, injuries derailed several of his seasons during the 2000s, limiting his plate appearances and canceling any hopes of seeing him smack home run number 756 someday.

Still, his 630 home runs turned out to be an incredible achievement.

1993 Leaf #319 Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #28 Tony Gwynn

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

Tony Gwynn left a legacy as one of the greatest hitters of his generation, failing to eclipse the .300 batting average mark only once in his twenty years playing for the San Diego Padres.

Over his Hall of Fame career, Gwynn racked up eight batting titles, tying him with Honus Wagner for the second-most all-time behind Ty Cobb who had twelve.

During the 1993 season, Gwynn nearly won his ninth with a .358 batting average but Colorado's Andrés Galarraga edged him out with a .370 average.

Galarraga was a career .288 hitter and an incredible player, but his .370 average that season was an outlier.

"The Big Cat" hit well on the road with a .328 average but clearly adjusted well to thin Denver air by hitting an eye-popping .402 at home in Mile High Stadium.

Despite coming up short for the batting title, Gwynn still had an incredible year and maintained his reputation as one of the top players in the league with his ninth All-Star selection.

From 1994-1997, nobody would top Gwynn as he won four more consecutive batting titles.

1993 Leaf #28 Tony Gwynn Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #291 Rickey Henderson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

As arguably the game's greatest lead-off hitter ever to set the table at the MLB level, Rickey Henderson left a legacy as a prolific hitter and baserunner.

After breaking Lou Brock's all-time stolen bases record on May 1, 1991 when he stole his 939th base, Henderson stared down another stolen bases record on June 16, 1993.

Needing one more base to break Yutaka Fukumoto's world record from his days in Nippon Professional Baseball, Henderson stole the 1,066th base of his career to move into first place.

Henderson was 34 years old during the 1993 season, his fifteenth overall, but he was still one of the game's most exciting players.

Through the first 90 games with the Oakland Athletics, Henderson hit .327 with 17 home runs, 47 RBIs, 77 runs scored and 31 stolen bases.

But, Oakland was a terrible team that year.

After winning the 1992 World Series, the Toronto Blue Jays looked to Henderson to help make another run at a title and happily traded for him.

As fate would have it, Henderson ended up being one of the players on base with Paul Molitor when Joe Carter sent a series-ending three-run homer into the outfield in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series.

1993 Leaf #291 Rickey Henderson Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #316 Bo Jackson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

No one knew how Bo Jackson's baseball career would be affected after a hip injury ended his football career in 1991.

The Kansas City Royals weren't willing to gamble and soon released him ahead of the 1991 MLB season.

But, the Chicago White Sox were willing to take a chance on the superstar athlete, banking that his incredible talents and abilities would still materialize in time.

So, they signed him to a three-year deal.

He would appear in just 23 games for the White Sox in 1991 and missed the entire 1992 campaign because of hip surgery.

But when he returned for the 1993 season, he soon demonstrated he still had enough left in the tank and even showed flashes of his former self during his heyday with the Royals.

In 85 games and 284 at-bats, Jackson slashed .232/.289/.433 with 16 home runs and 45 runs.

Yes, he struggled to hit for average, but he also had tremendous power.

After Chicago captured the AL West division with a sterling 94-68 record, they were soon dispatched in six games by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS.

Yet, at least Jackson finally had a taste of what postseason baseball felt like.

1993 Leaf #316 Bo Jackson Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #378 Kirby Puckett

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

For the eighth consecutive season, Kirby Puckett earned a spot on the American League All-Star team in 1993 for his efforts on both sides of the ball.

Heading into that season, Puckett already had five Silver Sluggers and six Gold Gloves, demonstrating his remarkable abilities with both bat and glove.

He was also entertaining to watch as Puckett played with excitement and determination that few other players could match.

For those reasons, Puckett's baseball cards were popular during his era and remain so to this day.

After helping the Minnesota Twins to a World Series title in 1991, his second with the team (1987), Puckett would never see post-season action again.

The Twins were good in 1992, finishing at 90-72 but ultimately fell six games behind the Oakland Athletics for the AL West title.

However, things fell apart from there, as the Twins turned in losing records from 1993-1995, Puckett's last season in the Majors.

And sadly, at age 36, the Hall of Fame outfielder was forced into retirement in 1996 after losing vision in one of his eyes, cutting his career way too short.

1993 Leaf #378 Kirby Puckett Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #431 Cal Ripken Jr.

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $40

When the Baltimore Orioles faced off against the Seattle Mariners on June 6, 1993, Cal Ripken Jr. was playing in his 1,790th consecutive game.

Yet, tensions began to mount between the Orioles and Mariners that day which, unbeknownst to everyone, were about to risk ending Ripken's incredible streak.

During the game, Baltimore's Mike Deveraux and Harold Baines each homered in the fourth and fifth innings.

And Seattle's Chris Bosio later threw behind their teammates, Mark McLemore and Harold Reynolds, in retaliation, or so the Baltimore Orioles thought.

So later in the game, Baltimore's Mike Mussina threw a pitch that struck Seattle's Bill Haselman, who had previously homered off of Mussina earlier.

Haselman instantly charged the mound and both benches cleared.

As Cal Ripken Jr. ran to the mound to help Mussina, he slipped on the grass and felt a pop in his knee.

After the game, tests revealed that Ripken had sprained the MCL in his knee.

Suddenly, his streak of 1,790 consecutive games seemed all but finished.

The next day, sitting just 340 games away from Gehrig's record, Ripken insisted on playing for the Orioles later that night against the Oakland Athletics.

After rigorous preparation on his knee, Ripken suited up for game number 1,791 and kept the streak alive.

1993 Leaf #431 Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #146 George Brett

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

If you're a fan of baseball highlights, you've almost certainly seen footage of the famous "Pine Tar Incident" that occurred on July 24, 1983.

After his home run in the ninth inning put the Royals ahead of the New York Yankees, an umpire reviewed Brett's bat at the request of Yankees manager Billy Martin.

The umpire deemed Brett's bat had too much pine tar and quickly called him out, nullifying the home run and ending the game.

Brett lept from the dugout in a blind rage and ecstatically argued with the umpires, having to be forcibly held back by those around him.

As infamous as that "highlight" was, Brett had many more magic moments throughout his career.

Brett earned thirteen All-Star selections in 21 seasons with the Kansas City Royals, as well as three Silver Sluggers, a Gold Glove, an MVP, and a World Series ring.

He also won the batting title in three separate decades, becoming the only player ever to do so, and joined the 3,000-hit club in 1992.

Yet, at 40 years old, Brett was still hungry and suited up for the Royals one last time for the 1993 season, batting .266 with 19 home runs, 75 RBIs and 69 runs scored.

1993 Leaf #146 George Brett Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #195 Frank Thomas

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $35

After finishing third and eighth in the MVP vote in 1991 and 1992, Frank Thomas finally got over the hump during the 1993 season to win his first of two career MVP Awards.

In doing so, Thomas became the first member of the Chicago White Sox since Dick Allen in 1972 to win MVP.

And somewhat quietly, Thomas's .317 batting average, 41 home runs, 106 runs scored, 128 RBIs and 112 walks put him in some impressive company.

In doing so, "The Big Hurt" became just 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 for three straight seasons.

The other four who had done it before Thomas were none other than Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams.

Amazingly, he went above and beyond those guys and proceeded to rip off four more seasons like it, giving him seven in a row.

Nobody has met or exceeded Thomas's streak since.

1993 Leaf #195 Frank Thomas Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #222 Deion Sanders

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

The 1993 MLB season was Deion Sanders' fifth in the Majors and third with the Atlanta Braves.

It would also be the last season where Atlanta fans could catch him at a Falcons game since he would sign with the San Francisco 49ers for the 1994 NFL season.

Sanders saw 272 at-bats in 95 games for the Braves that season, slashing .276/.321/.452 with six home runs, 28 RBIs (tying his career high), 42 runs scored and 16 stolen bases.

For some reason, Sanders seemed stuck on 28 RBIs as he would finish with that same number in four separate seasons.

However, he did set a personal best with 18 doubles on the year.

The Atlanta Braves were a powerhouse in 1993 with an MLB-best 104-58 record.

Amazingly, they only had one game up on the San Francisco Giants for the NL West pennant.

Despite having a loaded roster on both sides of the ball, the Braves fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS in six games.

Sanders saw three at-bats in the postseason, going 0-3 with a strikeout.

1993 Leaf #222 Deion Sanders Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #224 Ryne Sandberg

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

Ryne Sandberg entered the 1993 MLB campaign as the highest-paid player in the league at $6.4 million.

However, despite finishing the 1993 MLB season as an All-Star for the tenth time in a row, he started the season on a sour note.

During the Cubs' first Spring Training game against the San Francisco Giants, Sandberg took an errant fastball from Mike Williams off his left hand.

Doctors put his recovery at 4-6 weeks for the break to heal.

The Hall of Fame second baseman missed the team's first 21 games but eventually joined them on April 30th for a road game at Cincinnati.

When he finally got healthy, he was the same Ryno as ever.

Although his power wasn't what it usually was, he still hit nine home runs and drove in 45 runs in the 115 games he played.

Outside of his MVP 1994 season, his .309 batting average was the highest of his career.

Unfortunately for Sandberg and the Cubs, the team results were as mediocre as usual.

For the fourth year in a row, Chicago ended the season in fourth place in the NL East.

But at least they did it with a winning record (84-78-1) for the first time in those four years.

1993 Leaf #224 Ryne Sandberg Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #269 Barry Bonds

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

After four good years to start his MLB career, Barry Bonds exploded for an incredible three-year run from 1990 to 1992 to wrap up his time as a Pittsburgh Pirate.

During those three years, Bonds won two MVPs in 1990 and 1992, finished as runner-up in 1991 and won three Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers.

Nobody in baseball was hotter than Barry Bonds.

And, heading into the 1993 season, he had a big decision to make.

And, so did many other teams.

Who would offer Bonds the kind of deal he was looking for and would he go there?

Peter Magowan, the new owner of the San Francisco Giants wanted to make a splash and return the Bay Area to baseball significance.

So he inked Bonds to a six-year, $43 million contract to head west.

The decision paid immediate dividends as Bonds helped the team improve from 72 wins in 1992 to 103 wins in 1993.

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

It was just the beginning of many more great things, and controversy, to come to San Francisco in years ahead.

1993 Leaf #269 Barry Bonds Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #326 Greg Maddux

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

For the second year in a row, Greg Maddux turned in a 20-win season for the Atlanta Braves juggernaut in 1993.

And a second-consecutive Cy Young solidified his status as the game's top pitcher.

Maddux put in a lot of work that season, leading the Majors in starts (36) and innings pitched (267), falling just one inning shy of the career mark he established in 1992.

Through all that heavy usage, Maddux was brilliant.

His 2.36 ERA and 1.049 WHIP were tops in the Majors, as hitters remained nearly helpless against the crafty righty.

With pinpoint accuracy and incredible pitching instincts, Maddux was on an entirely different level than everyone else.

Lost in his pitching brilliance was his incredible glovework, as the Hall of Famer picked up his fourth of his record eighteen career Gold Gloves.

Unfortunately, he wasn't as hot when the team needed it most.

In two games against the Phillies in the NLCS, Maddux went 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA and 1.421 WHIP.

He was fine in his Game 2 win, allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out 8.

However, in the decisive Game 6, the Phillies tagged him for 6 runs (5 earned) as they closed out the Series.

1993 Leaf #326 Greg Maddux Baseball Card

1993 Leaf #328 Ozzie Smith

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $30

From 1981 to 1992, Ozzie Smith put on a streak of defensive wizardry at the shortstop position that may never be matched or surpassed.

"The Wizard of Oz" was a wall at short, earning twelve consecutive All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves over that period.

So when the 1993 season rolled around and Smith's name wasn't on the All-Star roster, nor did he win the NL Gold Glove at shortstop, the baseball world definitely noticed.

Pittsburgh shortstop was incredible in 1993, winning the only Gold Glove of his career and snapping Smith's incredible streak at twelve Gold Gloves in a row.

Though he may not have won any awards in 1993, Smith remained a huge asset for the St. Louis Cardinals, especially as he continued to perform better on offense.

In 141 games and 545 at-bats, Ozzie slashed .288/.337/.356 with six triples, 75 runs scored, 53 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.

At 87-75, Smith and the rest of the Cardinals played well in 1993 but still finished ten games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for third place in the NL East.

1993 Leaf #328 Ozzie Smith Baseball Card

1993 Leaf Baseball Cards In Review

Clearly, Donruss focused on positioning the Leaf brand as a higher-quality release in 1993.

The premium photography, foil stamping, and glossy cardstock gave these cards a superior look and feel compared to previous Leaf issues.

As a result, there are many great-looking cards of the biggest superstars of the day for collectors and fans to enjoy.

However, the glaring issue with this set is its lack of any big-name rookie cards.

Yes, it did have the infamous Frank Thomas autograph inserts.

But, usually when most collectors think of sets from 1993, they often drift towards Topps, Upper Deck and SP because of the Derek Jeter rookies.

Unopened Box of 1993 Leaf Baseball Cards

Other information about this set includes:

Checklist: 550 cards 

Distribution: Series 1 (#1 - 220), Series 2 (#221 - 440), Update (#441 - 550)


  • None


  • Dave Winfield 3,000 Career Hits
  • Frank Thomas
  • Frank Thomas Authentic Signature
  • Frank Thomas Jumbo Box Topper
  • Gold Leaf All-Stars
  • Gold Leaf All-Stars Update
  • Gold Leaf Rookies
  • Gold Leaf Rookies Jumbo
  • Gold Leaf Rookies Update
  • Gold Leaf Rookies Update Jumbo
  • Heading for the Hall
  • On the Fast Track

Without having any major rookie cards in the 550-card checklist, this set will likely continue to drift under the hobby radar and remain overlooked.

But, for the collector who was around during the early 90s, this set can be a great way to get a nice fill of nostalgia.