25 Most Valuable 1980s Baseball Cards

Most Valuable Baseball Cards 1980s


Many people often wonder if there are any 80s baseball cards worth money.

Most know that during the hobby craze of that era, rampant overproduction led to a bubble that eventually burst.

Card values tanked and many collectors now refer to that part of the hobby as the "junk era."

So, it might be shocking to find that some baseball cards from the 1980s can be worth five and six figures...

You see, not every card fell victim to overproduction.

And the introduction of grading to the hobby has led to some collectors paying massive amounts of money for certain cards deemed to be in pristine condition.

So, despite the common misconception, some cards from that infamous hobby era still have value.

And in this guide, we'll look at the 25 most valuable baseball cards from the 1980s.

Let's jump right in!

Ross Uitts

Ross Uitts - Owner

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Before we get started, I just wanted to clarify a few "rules" that I used to generate this list.

First, I didn't include any college or Minor League cards and stuck with only those cards that featured a given player when he was in the Majors.

For example, I didn't include the 1980 Charlotte O's team issue cards for Cal Ripken Jr., even though the blue variation can approach $10,000 in top condition and the rarer orange variation can fetch five figures in just about any condition:

1980 Charlotte Os Team Issue Blue and Orange Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Cards

Second, I only included cards produced by mainstream companies and avoided any of the various "oddball" issues that appeared during the 1980s.

Since the sports card market exploded during the 1980s, many food brands, toy manufacturers, and regional companies jumped into the market.

And many of those weren't even licensed by Major League Baseball.

So, I stuck with big-name companies like Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Upper Deck and others when building this list.

Last, I didn't include any test issues from those mainstream companies.

For example, the 1989 Topps Heads Up set turned out to be a test issue that the company released to expand its reach into the hot market.

Less than 200 of these "cards" ever passed through PSA's grading facilities, so they're quite rare.

And the Ken Griffey Jr. can be worth thousands of dollars in any grade:

1989 Topps Heads Up Test Issue #5 Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Card

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

1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $120,000

Since most collectors in this hobby tend to draw the line on the "vintage era" at 1980, many consider the Rickey Henderson rookie card to be the last big-name vintage rookie.

And while its value pales in comparison to other big-name vintage rookies like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Roberto Clemente, to name a few, its price soared dramatically during the recent sports card boom.

I remember several years ago you could find this card in a PSA 9 holder quite easily for $400 or so, which made it undervalued even back then.

However, during early 2021, PSA 9 examples of this card frequently sold for $4,000 - $5,000 or more.

Recently, the price of a PSA 9 has continued to steadily fall to around $2,000 or less.

But, PSA 10 examples of this card can sell for six figures.

Regardless of its market value at any given point in time, the significance of this rookie card cannot be overstated as, again, the 1980 Topps set signaled the end of the vintage era.

Donruss and Fleer would join the market in 1981 and that competition would help light the spark for the hobby craze of the 1980s.

1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson Rookie Card

1989 Bowman Tiffany #220 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $13,000

Bowman had not released a set since 1955 after they were bought out by their largest competitor, Topps.

But, looking to capitalize as much as possible on the hype surrounding a young phenom known as "The Kid", Topps brought back the iconic brand when they released their 1989 Bowman set.

The cards were larger than normal, measuring in at 2 1/2" x 3 3/4", and featured full color photography and facsimile signatures of the players.

The hype surrounding Ken Griffey Jr. turned out to be well-placed as the legendary slugger went on to a Hall of Fame career.

For that reason, his card is easily the most desirable in the set and is worth around $250 or so in a PSA 10 holder.

But, the "Tiffany" version of this card is worth thousands of dollars.

From 1984 to 1991, Topps released a limited number of premium, higher-end versions of their base sets that they branded as the Topps Tiffany line.

And, in 1989 and 1990, they also produced Bowman Tiffany sets.

Because of their relative scarcity compared to the base Bowman version, these Griffey rookies can fetch huge prices in top condition.

1989 Bowman Tiffany #220 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

1987 O-Pee-Chee #320 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $12,000

For decades, O-Pee-Chee played the role of Topps' counterpart in the Canadian market.

In any given year, an O-Pee-Chee card is usually distinguished from its Topps cousin because of the O-Pee-Chee trademark appearing on the front or back of the card.

And the reverse of O-Pee-Chee cards typically printed text in both English and French because of their role as the major player in the Canadian market.

Like the Bowman Tiffany product line mentioned above, the O-Pee-Chee cards were typically produced in far fewer quantities.

But, unlike the Tiffany cards, O-Pee-Chee cards weren't necessarily premium in quality.

You'll usually find them on lower-quality card stock or with rough, jagged cuts.

As you can imagine, finding PSA 10 examples of a given O-Pee-Chee card is substantially more difficult than finding a Topps example in the same condition.

For that reason, finding a 1987 O-Pee-Chee Barry Bonds rookie in pristine condition is quite challenging, but if you do, you'll see them sell for around $12,000 or so.

1987 O Pee Chee #320 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1985 Topps Tiffany #401 Mark McGwire Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $11,000

If you were around for the card boom of the late 1980s and early 1990s, you'll surely recognize this iconic Mark McGwire rookie card.

Part of a subset (cards #389 - 404) that paid tribute to several members of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team that took silver in Los Angeles that year, McGwire's card is clearly the key.

For some reason, Topps did not include every member of the team as they notably left out players like Barry Larkin and Will Clark, among others.

Despite the controversy that will forever surround McGwire, the card can still be worth a lot of money in high grade, especially if it's the Tiffany version.

Not only does the Tiffany distinction make it tough to find in high grade but another contributing factor to that difficulty was its position on the printing sheet.

Since it was located along the left side, you'll often find this card cut in such a way that throws off its left-to-right centering, which prevents it from achieving gem mint status.

1985 Topps Tiffany #401 Mark McGwire Rookie Card

1985 Topps Tiffany #181 Roger Clemens Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $11,000

Next on the list is the rookie card of fireballer and pitching icon, Roger Clemens.

Like McGwire, Clemens' legacy will forever hang under a cloud of controversy due to his involvement in the PED scandal.

That said, there's no questioning how talented Clemens really was as he was mowing down opposing batters right from the beginning of his career well before the PED scandal took place.

With 354 career wins, 7 Cy Young awards, and 4,672 strikeouts (just to name a few of his unbelievable achievements) he certainly has the numbers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

But, we'll just have to wait and see if voters will ever end up giving a pass to guys like Clemens, Barry Bonds, etc.

In today's market, expect to pay around $400 for the base version of this card in gem mint condition and around $11,000 for the Tiffany version.

1985 Topps Tiffany #181 Roger Clemens Rookie Card

1983 O-Pee-Chee #143 Tony Gwynn Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $10,000

Along with those of Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg, the 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn rookie card is one of the most iconic baseball cards of the 1980s.

And, by default, its O-Pee-Chee cousin is also an incredibly desirable baseball card though it is much more difficult to find in top condition.

Nearly 700 examples of Gwynn's Topps rookie card have achieved a PSA 10 grade, while only 32 of the O-Pee-Chee versions have done so.

So, it's well over twenty times more difficult to find this card in a PSA 10 holder than it is his Topps rookie.

And that's where the substantial premium in price between the two comes into play.

As an interesting side note, and perhaps a sad one for Wade Boggs fans, only Gwynn and Sandberg appeared in the smaller O-Pee-Chee checklist, so Boggs doesn't have an O-Pee-Chee rookie, unfortunately.

1983 O-Pee-Chee #143 Tony Gwynn Rookie Card

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #50T Bo Jackson Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $10,000

Bo Jackson was one of the biggest superstars in all of sports during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Of all his rookie cards, the 1986 Topps Traded is the most desirable and expensive card you can find.

But the Tiffany version is even pricier.

Remember, the Tiffany versions were produced in much smaller quantities and were printed on premium card stock.

Finding them in PSA 10 condition is much tougher, hence the high price tag.

I've always loved this card and it's probably my favorite one in the set overall.

Bo Jackson was huge when I was a kid and his popularity is still quite high to this day.

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #50T Bo Jackson Rookie Card

1980 Topps #580 Nolan Ryan

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $9,000

After tallying 138 wins and 2,416 strikeouts over eight seasons with the California Angles, Nolan Ryan signed a $4.5 million four-year deal with the Houston Astros during the 1979 offseason.

If you do the math on those 2,416 strikeouts he accumulated during his time with the Angels, that meant he averaged 302 strikeouts per season, a mark many pitchers would be lucky to reach even once during their careers.

Interestingly, Ryan's highest single-season strikeout total in nine years with the Houston Astros was only 270 in 1987, a year in which he also led the NL with a 2.76 ERA.

To be fair, though, his innings pitched totals in Houston weren't as steep as those during his time in California, and his 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings in 1987 was the highest mark of his career.

Although the 1980 season would mark the first of a nine-year stint for Nolan Ryan with the Houston Astros, Topps still had to show him as a member of the California Angels because of the timing of their print run for their 1980 Topps set.

Finding a PSA 10 example of any card in the 1980 Topps set can be challenging because of poor centering and other print issues that plagued this set.

But, when you add a name like Nolan Ryan (or Rickey Henderson above) to the mix then the price only skyrockets.

1980 Topps #580 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1981 Topps #315 Kirk Gibson Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $8,000

For whatever reason, some moments in sports history seem to resonate with people in such a way that they almost become locked in memory.

Consider Michael Jordan's buzzer-beater over Craig Ehlo during the 1989 Playoffs that sent the Cavaliers packing.

Or take Joe Montana's pass to Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone during the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.

And then there was Kirk Gibson's walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series against the Oakland A's.

Gibson pumping his fist in excitement as he rounded the bases is one of the most memorable moments in baseball history.

The entire 1988 season was memorable for Gibson as he picked up the only MVP and Silver Slugger awards of his career that year.

Now that he's forever a Los Angeles sports hero, Gibson's rookie card is a must-have.

And, like the 1980 Topps set that preceded it, the centering and print quality challenges with the 1981 Topps set didn't improve all that much and only boost its value in high grade even more.

1981 Topps #315 Kirk Gibson Rookie Card

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T Barry Bonds Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $6,000

The 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany version of Barry Bonds' iconic rookie can be worth big bucks, as much as $1,250 in PSA condtition.

Of all the cards in this set, I think Bonds' is one of the best-looking.

The huge yellow lettering of the Pirates team name across the top paired with that awesome retro Pirates jersey and cap make this card really pop.

Bonds' legacy will forever be shadowed in controversy, but with or without PEDs there is no question he was one of the game's most talented players who ever stepped onto the field.

Had he not been involved with PEDs, there's no doubt he would be a Hall of Famer and this card would likely appear much higher on this list.

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11 Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1982 Topps Traded #98T Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $5,000

If you scan through the 1982 Topps base set checklist, you'll quickly remember that Cal Ripken Jr. first appeared alongside Bob Bonner and Jeff Schneider as part of the "Baltimore Orioles Future Stars" card.

Bonner and Schneider didn't have the career that Cal Ripken Jr. did, and to say that "The Iron Man" lived up to the "Future Star" tag would be an understatement.

Not only did Ripken break Lou Gehrig's streak for consecutive games played, but he also left a legacy as arguably the greatest shortstop who ever played.

And, fortunately for the collecting world, Topps gave him a standalone rookie card when they included him in their 1982 Topps Traded set.

Ripken was one of my favorite players as a kid and it has been nice to see this card get much more notoriety as time passes.

1982 Topps Traded #98T Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card

1985 Topps Tiffany #536 Kirby Puckett Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $5,000

Kirby Puckett was also one of my favorite players as a kid and this card was always among the top of my want list as a young collector.

The ten-time All-Star who could hit and field with the best of him and his charismatic personality made him quite the popular ball player among not only Twins fans but baseball fans in general.

There are many Hall of Famers in this set.

And there are several rookie cards in this set.

However, Puckett is the only player to meet both of those criteria making this card the only Hall of Fame rookie card in the 1985 Topps set.

Sadly, Puckett died of a stroke at the young age of 45 but collectors throughout the hobby will always remember him and his rookie card as one of the best.

And, you guessed it, the Tiffany version is even more valuable in PSA 10 condition.

1985 Topps Tiffany #536 Kirby Puckett Rookie Card

1987 Donruss Opening Day #163 Barry Bonds (Johnny Ray Error)

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $5,000

I'll never forget when I was looking up prices in a Beckett price guide that day as a kid long ago when I ran across the 1987 Donruss Opening Day section...

I was stunned when I read the price next to the Barry Bonds error card.

My next move was to go diving through my cards to see if I had one.

No I did not...

I didn't know it at the time, but these errors only turned up in factory sets and all my Donruss Opening Day cards had been pulled from packs.

This Barry Bonds card with Johny Ray pictured on the front goes down in hobby history as one of the most recognizable error cards ever produced.

And as you can see, it's value has held up very well over time.

Even in lower grade they can still go for hundreds of dollars.

1987 Donruss Opening Day #163 Barry Bonds Rookie Card Error Version With Johnny Ray On Front

1984 Topps Tiffany #8 Don Mattingly Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $4,500

Easily one of the most iconic baseball cards of the 1980s, the Don Mattingly rookie card is the clear headliner of the 1984 Topps set.

The same design of this card also appeared in the Nestle and O-Pee-Chee sets that year and all three cards are worth around $250-300 in top grade.

So, it's tough to say which of them is the most desirable of the three, although most hobbyists would likely side with the Topps issue.

And its Tiffany version is easily the most expensive of them all.

Mattingly solidified himself as a solid hitter during the 1984 season as he picked up the batting title that year after finishing with a .343 average.

But, he was even better with the glove as he would go on to win 9 Gold Gloves over his storied career so, rather fittingly, we get a nice shot of him on defense on this card.

1984 Topps Tiffany #8 Don Mattingly Rookie Card

1981 Topps #240 Nolan Ryan

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $4,000

Nolan Ryan made his debut with the Houston Astros in 1980 and that season was a bit unusual for him for one glaring reason: he did not lead the league in strikeouts.

After pacing the league in strikeouts during seven of his previous eight seasons with the Angels, nearly everyone expected that he would be at the top every year.

Adjusting from the American League to the National League may have been the root cause for the drop-off.

Whatever the reason, Ryan turned in the second-lowest K/9 ratio of his career (7.7) outside of his final season in 1993.

Interestingly, he bounced back in 1981 to dominate not in strikeouts but by turning in an incredible 1.69 ERA with a .688 winning percentage, both career bests, while finishing fourth in Cy Young voting.

I love how Ryan's orange Houston Astros cap and the cartoon hat in the lower-left corner work in unison to give this card some fantastic visual pop.

Nolan Ryan cards, especially in high grade, remain incredibly popular among hobbyists.

1981 Topps #240 Nolan Ryan Baseball Card

1981 Topps #180 Pete Rose

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,500

Pete Rose would lead the league in hits (140) for the seventh and final time in his storied career during the shortened 1981 season.

He also picked up his only Silver Slugger award and was named to his fifteenth All-Star game, seemingly on a surefire trajectory to the Hall of Fame at that point in his career.

However, the baseball world was stunned years later in 1989 when allegations surfaced that Rose gambled on baseball while a player and manager for the Reds from 1985-1987.

As a result of the legal process, Rose accepted his placement on baseball's permanently ineligible list, which would ban him from the game and Cooperstown for life.

Some hold out hope that baseball will someday forgive him and allow the all-time hits leader into the Hall of Fame, but it still seems highly unlikely.

Despite his complicated legacy, Pete Rose cards also remain some of the most desirable in the hobby.

1981 Topps #180 Pete Rose Baseball Card

1983 O-Pee-Chee #83 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,500

The third key Hall of Fame rookie card in the iconic 1983 Topps set belongs to Chicago Cubs legend, Ryne Sandberg.

And, like Tony Gwynn, Sandberg also appeared in the 1983 O-Pee-Chee set.

Growing up in central Indiana, Sandberg was one of the players I was able to watch most frequently and I remember being amazed at his ability to hit for power as a second baseman.

He'd go on to win 7 Silver Sluggers over his career.

And he was also a fantastic fielder, as he won 9 consecutive Gold Gloves during one stretch of his career.

Sandberg's status as a Hall of Famer and one of the most beloved Cubs of all-time keeps demand for high grade specimens of his rookie card at lofty price levels.

1983 O-Pee-Chee #83 Ryne Sandberg Rookie Card

1984 Donruss #248 Don Mattingly Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,500

After two years of bouncing back and forth from Triple-A Columbus and the Bronx, first baseman/outfielder Don Mattingly was relieved when Yankees manager Yogi Berra declared intentions to keep him with the big club for all of 1984.

However, he was openly disappointed with Berra's assertion in Spring Training that he'd open the season on the bench.

It took less than a month for Mattingly to convince Berra otherwise.

The 22-year-old future Hall-of-Famer put on a show in the days after the manager's announcement, winning Berra over with his impact bat and elite fielding instincts.

In 1984, the young slugger put on a clinic that cemented his spot and won the hearts of Yankees fans the world over.

While New York faded from the postseason race in September, Mattingly kept the city enraptured with a batting crown race for the ages.

Headed into the last weekend of the season, Mattingly held an AL-best .342 average while his teammate Dave Winfield sat in second at .341. Mattingly struggled on Friday and Saturday but wrestled the title from Winfield with a 4-for-5 masterclass on the last day of the season.

The fans roared their approval and Winfield shook his hand with a knowing glance. A first-time All-Star and fifth-place finisher in the AL's MVP race, Mattingly's time as the face of the Yankees was here.

Not only is Mattingly's rookie card the face of this set, but it's also one of the most iconic of the 1980s.

1984 Donruss #248 Don Mattingly Rookie Card

1989 Fleer Glossy #548 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,500

Much like the Bowman and Topps Tiffany releases, Fleer also produced a premium version of their cards that year to go along with their 1989 Fleer base set.

These "Fleer Glossy" cards were printed on higher quality cardboard and contained a much glossier finish on them.

Other than that, the design is exactly the same as the base card.

Because a smaller amount of these were produced and because centering is a challenge, finding these in pristine condition can be tough. 

1989 Fleer Glossy #548 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

1981 Topps #347 Harold Baines Rookie Card 

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,250

Over 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, Harold Baines appeared in six All-Star games, hit 384 home runs, tallied 1,628 RBI, and scored another 1,299 runs.

Baines also won a Silver Slugger in 1989 and led the American League in slugging percentage (.541) in 1984.

He would lend his bat to several teams, including the White Sox, Orioles, A's, Rangers, and Indians, as he bounced around quite a bit.

Overall, he had a solid professional baseball career, but he didn't quite put up the kind of Hall of Fame resumé needed for induction when he was first eligible in 2007.

His percentage of the voting total peaked at 6.1% in 2010 and he would fall off the ballot the next year after receiving just 4.8% of the vote.

However, he and Lee Smith both received the nod to Cooperstown when the Today's Game Era Committee selected them as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

The young, bearded lefty poses in his White Sox uniform on his 1981 Topps rookie card, which has received a nice boost in price ever since his Hall of Fame induction.

1981 Topps #347 Harold Baines Rookie Card

1981 Topps #261 Rickey Henderson

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,000

No position player in the American League enjoyed a better all-around season as Rickey Henderson did in 1981.

In addition to picking up his only career Gold Glove, he also snagged his first Silver Slugger and finished second in MVP voting to Milwaukee pitcher, Rollie Fingers.

The young speedster was brilliant on offense as he batted .319 (nearly a career-high) and led the league in runs scored (89), hits (135), and stolen bases (56).

Even though some baseball cards might not necessarily be iconic, they can stick out in your memory for simpler reasons, and Henderson's second-year card is one of those in my case.

When I was a kid, my older brother traded for this card and, at the time, we both admired it as it was one of the oldest cards either of us had in our collections.

And, the fact that it was "almost his rookie card" made it even more special to us.

Those are the kinds of memories that make this hobby so great.

1981 Topps #261 Rickey Henderson Baseball Card

1983 Topps #482 Tony Gwynn Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,000

Sure, Gwynn was one of the greatest hitters who ever played with 8 batting titles to his name, but why are collectors willing to pay so much for this card in top grade?

Back in 1983, the bubble in the baseball card market had already started to form as Donruss and Fleer had both entered the market in 1981 and all three companies started to boost production.

However, print quantities of 1983 Topps weren't at the same levels they were by the late 80s and early 90s.

Nor did as many pristine examples survive as centering and print bubbles were always tough challenges with this set.

For example, as of this writing, there are just under 700 examples of Gwynn's Topps rookie card that achieved PSA 10 grade status, while there are over 13,000 examples of Ken Griffey Jr.'s 1989 Topps Traded rookie graded in PSA 10 holders.

Therefore, the market has responded by boosting the price level of Gwynn's rookie in PSA 10 condition to the price levels you see here.

1983 Topps #482 Tony Gwynn Rookie Card

1985 Leaf #107 Kirby Puckett Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,000

After a 25-year hiatus, the 1985 Leaf set marked the brand's return to the hobby since they produced their last set back in 1960.

Being the Canadian cousin to Donruss, you can see that there isn't much different about the Leaf design overall except for the green leaf logo in the upper-left and the French text and Leaf trademark data on the reverse.

However, one thing is clear about this card and the set in general: they are incredibly difficult to find in top condition.

As is this case when comparing the quality of O-Pee-Chee cards to their Topps counterparts, the stock and print quality of early Leaf cards were not on par with their Donruss cousins.

1985 Leaf #107 Kirby Puckett Rookie Card

1985 Leaf #99 Roger Clemens Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,500

The 1985 Leaf set was much smaller than its Donruss counterpart as it included only 264 cards instead of 660.

But, fortunately, Clemens made it into the checklist with Puckett.

You'll also notice the numbering of the sets was different as Clemens is card #99 in the Leaf set versus #273 in the Donruss set.

1985 Leaf #99 Roger Clemens Rookie Card

1981 Topps Traded #850 Fernando Valenzuela Rookie Card

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,250

When it comes to rookie season debuts, the Dodgers have developed a reputation for some of the finest on record.

Jackie Robinson, Mike Piazza, Hideo Nomo and, you guessed it, Fernando Valenzuela each took the league by storm as soon as they stepped on the field.

After Fernando started 8-0 with a 0.50 ERA with eight complete games and five shutouts in his first eight starts, "Fernandomania" swept across the country.

At season's end, Valenzuela stood with a 13-7 record, 2.48 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 180 strikeouts, all good enough to win him both Rookie of the Year and Cy Young honors.
Valenzuela remains the only rookie ever to win the Cy Young.

Valenzuela appeared alongside Joe Perconte and Mike Scioscia in the base 1981 Topps set as the three "Dodgers Future Stars" on card #302.

But, he also received his own standalone rookie in the 1981 Topps Traded set.

"Fernandomania" still lives on with many collectors and they're willing to pay up for this card in PSA 10 condition.

1981 Topps Traded #850 Fernando Valenzuela Rookie Card

Honorable Mention

If you've made it down this far on the list, I want to thank you for taking the time to read through it.

However, you may wonder why one particular card didn't make the top 25.

Many consider this card not only to be the most iconic card of the 1980s but one of the most important in the hobby in general.

It changed the game when it first hit the market.

Of course, I'm talking about the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card:

1989 Upper Deck #1 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

During the recent hobby boom, prices of this card in PSA 10 holders soared beyond $5,000.

Had that trend held, it would've easily made this list.

But, given its popularity, it became one of the most frequently-submitted cards to third-party grading companies like PSA as collectors sought to capitalize on the high values.

Like anything in life, demand couldn't keep up with that increasing supply.

Don't get me wrong, it's still an expensive card and you'll find them bouncing between $1,700 and $2,000 these days.

But, value aside, I wanted to highlight it as it's impossible to talk about 1980s baseball cards without mentioning this card.

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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