30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

It's My Turn

Close your eyes and think of an iconic rookie baseball card from the 80's.  I'm sure the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. popped into some of your minds.  Some of you might have pictured one of the Ripken rookie cards, the 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly, the 1985 Topps Mark McGwire, or maybe the 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco.

1980 Topps #482

Me?  Well... if this post wasn't focused on the 1980 Topps Rickey Henderson, I probably would have said the 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn.  But Rickey would be second for sure.

The 1980 Topps baseball card design is solid.  The photograph of Rickey features a well-cropped action shot, which is exactly what I'm looking for on a card.  And it's one of those cards I dreamed of owning when I was a kid, but completely missed out on due to the rookie card boom combined with a little kid budget.

Unlike most of you, my memory isn't what it used to be... so I can't remember where or when I acquired this card.  I can't imagine I paid much for it due to the rough bottom edge and soft corners.

But I do love the centering on this particular copy... and the back is nice with the exception of the printing dot in the upper right-hand corner.

In August of 2010, I upgraded and purchased this PSA 8 copy for my collection:

It set me back $36.50 (+ $2.50 shipping).  I'm glad I picked it up back then, because there's no way I'd spend the triple digits this card commands on eBay these days.

Six years later, I added an autographed copy of this card to my collection:

This card was way more expensive than the other card.  I submitted a $90 offer to the eBay seller and he/she accepted.  My Rickey Henderson rookie card trifecta was complete.

These days, I enjoy collecting the reprints that Topps has been mass producing the past decade or so...

2010 Topps Card Your Mom Threw Out Original Back #482

2013 Topps Manufactured Rookie Card Patch #RCP12

2020 Topps Rookie Card Retrospective Logo Medallions #RCR-RH

And the newest addition to my Rickey Henderson collection...

2020 Topps Project 2020 #129

Yup.  Like thousands of other baseball card collecting lemmings, I bit the bullet and purchased a Topps Project 2020 card.

This is actually the seventh one I've bought.  The other six were purchased directly from Topps, while I snagged this one last week on eBay for $11.50 + ($1.06 tax).  After seeing how cheap these sell on the secondary market, I regret purchasing the other cards directly from Topps.

Not sure when Topps plans to ship my cards, but as soon as I receive them... you'll be the first to know.  In the meantime, take a few seconds to answer the question of the day...

When you think of iconic 80's rookie baseball card, what is the first card that pops into your head?

I look forward to reading and responding to your comments.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

Here's a peek at which 80's rookie cards popped into reader's minds first.


  1. The only '80s rookie cards that really mean anything to me are the '80 Henderson and the '82 Traded Ripken.

    I pulled the Henderson out of a pack in 1980. In fact I think I had two of them. I once had four of them without even trying, but have since traded all but one away. And, no, none of them were ever graded.

  2. Probably the ‘86 Donruss Canseco.
    I found a Henderson rookie reprint with the Topps 65 year anniversary stamp on it. I’ll send it your way next time we trade.

  3. For some reason Gregg Jefferies sticks in my head.

  4. Probably the 89 UD Griffey comes to mind first, but my favorite might be the 1983 Topps Ryno.

  5. In addition to those already mentioned, I think of the trio of 84 Mattingly cards. The henderson is a great card!

  6. I have to go with the 84' Donruss 248 Mattingly, because I need two of them. I don't own one yet.

  7. 85 McGwire. Mainly because of the sense of betrayal I felt when I found out about it and how I've decided that I refuse to accept it as a rookie card.

    Also nice choice with the Chang P2020. I've loved her work for the entire project. Distinct style and her cards work together as a set while all being interesting in their own right.

  8. Whether I like it or not, the first card that pops into my head is the 1989 UD Griffey. I've seen it so often that it's just kinda become ingrained.

  9. I’ve got a Henderson from childhood. It’s a keeper and I like the 80 set just fine. Good move on getting the project 2020 cards secondary. I couldn’t ring myself to pay for it from Topps though the first ones would’ve been worth it.

  10. Tony Gwynn's Topps 1983 card come to mind, even though it's a shadow of his DonRuss 1983 card.

  11. The 84 Topps Mattingly pops into my head over his 84 Donruss. It's always been more iconic to me, personally.

    I like the Project 2020 you chose!

  12. My bias would say Roger Clemens Topps 1985 card, but that's not anywhere near the level of Henderson, Griffey, Canseco, etc. Bo Jackson's 1987 Topps has to rank high for me too.

  13. Quite a collection of Rickeys there! For me, not one but two iconic 1980s rookie cards come to mind: '84 Mattingly and '84 Strawberry. (I grew up in New York during that era.)

  14. Awesome Henderson rookie collection there! I also dreamed of owning one of them as a kid but could not afford it (I still don't have one!)

    For me the 1984 Topps Mattingly is the one I remember dreaming of. I remember saving up my money all summer to buy one, then my parents taking me to a show and finding a seller willing to part with it for "only" $35 and me gladly handing it over. That card blew away everything else in my collection for a while!

  15. 86 Donruss Canseco for sure. Speed and power were two of the most exciting things to see in the game , Canseco had both. It wasn't until later on that I would learn to appreciate players who hit for high avg. consistently. Reading the back of a Gwynn or Wade Boggs baseball card and seeing back to back to back .300 plus seasons was pretty incredible.

  16. Thats some collection of Rickey rookies! I would think of that card too. I got mine in a trade with my friend for a Rickey SLU when I was a kid.

    I'm curious what other Project 2020 cards you've picked up.

  17. i've tallied your 80's rookie card votes and added the results to the original post.

    night owl - never would i ever think you'd get a card graded. believe it or not... i've never actually submitted a card to be graded either ;D

    jeremya1um - very cool. i will gladly add it to my collection.

    sumomenkoman - nice. if we're talking late 80's rookie cards, his do stand out

    wax pack wonders - i feel like the griffey jumps into a lot of collector's minds when they think 80's rookie cards. the sandberg is a nice card

    gcrl - but if you had to pick only one mattingly... which one would pick?

    johnnystrading spot - i never owned one until a few years ago when i found a partial set at the flea market. very glad to cross that one off the list, since they still fetch a decent dime (over $20). i'm kinda surprised that after all of your collection purchases, that card has never popped up.

    elliptical man - love that card.

    nick vossbrink - so what do you consider his rookie card? his 1987 cards? yeah... she's my 2nd favorite artist.

    nick - that doesn't surprise me. if i started collecting 10 years later, that would probably be my pick as well

    steve at 1975baseballcards.com - that's awesome that you have the original rickey from your childhiood. did you pull it? as for those project 2020 cards... out of the seven i have purchased... only one was secondary. the rest were directly from topps. didn't realize they didn't hold their value until recently

    jongudmund - lol. i love the topps/opc gwynn rookie card. but i like the fleer and donruss too

    the lost collector - a few of my topps 2020 purchases arrived today. i'll probably write up a post next week. as for mattingly. i liked the topps and fleer, because i owned copies of them. once i picked up the donruss, i liked it too

    matt - that bo jackson is awesome. one of the best cards from the 80's

    gregory - they're still the two most popular rookie cards in all of those 84 sets

    john bateman - what if you had to pick only one?

    sean - i think i actually pulled my 84T mattingly from a pack. the same thing with my fleer rookie card. rickey's rookie seems to be holding its value these days, but a few years ago you could find them pretty cheap.

    big tone - iconic card. that card was triple digits for a long time in my area. when i started working at my lcs, i remember parents coming in and buying that card as christmas presents. as for batting average guys, i've always been a fan of those... more than the home run guys

    collecting cutch - whoa. that was a great trade. i've actually been looking for a MOC 88SLU Rickey off and on for quite some time now.

    1. Yeah the 87s. I decided for myself that I consider rookie cards to be a player's first card in a base set as a professional.

    2. I think I pulled it myself but it's a bit hazy now.

  18. If you asked me in the mid 1980s, I would have answered the 1986 Topps Vince Coleman card. Maybe the Dwight Gooden or Eric Davis 1985 Topps cards were close. At the end of the decade, my answer would be the Griffey. I think the answer to the question all depends on the players you liked at the time and who you collected in the 1980s. I'd still put Vince Coleman in my top 10, because that's who I liked.

    1. the snorting bull - yeah... but right now. one 80's rookie baseball card. which one pops into your head?

  19. 89 ud griffey without a doubt
    Second place, 85 topps McGwire