Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards are some of the most coveted baseball cards ever produced. Griffey’s 1989 Upper Deck rookie is possibly the most popular sports card ever. His tremendous popularity made him one of the most beloved baseball players of all-time and he is a shoe-in, first ballot, Hall of Famer. Griffey compiled 2,781 hits and hammered 630 home runs. He also drove in 1,836 and had a career .284 batting average.
Griffey was also appeared in 13 All-Star games and won the AL MVP award in 1997. One of the things that made Griffey so unique was how great he played his position. Even though he is known for his incredible power, Griffey won 10 gold glove awards.
Over the course of his career, Ken Griffey Jr. played with the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, and the Chicago White Sox.
Armed with a million-dollar smile and a million swing, Griffey established himself as one of the most beloved players of all time. His popularity transcended generations of fans. Young or old people came to watch Griffey Jr play baseball. So what is the best Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card to buy? Here is a detailed list we have compiled including the most valuable Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards ever produced and some of his most unique baseball cards that are popular with collectors.
1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Cards #1
Upper Deck and Ken Griffey Jr. were the perfect storm. Combined, the pair revitalized and industry. Upper Deck knew how popular Ken Griffey Jr, was among MLB fans, so they made a great business decision and included the Mariners young star as the #1 card in their inaugural set. Fans fell in love with the clean, sharp, glossy look of the card and gobbled them up the day they were released.
These Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards sold for $25 within the first week and packs of 1989 Upper Deck were nowhere to be found. Upper Deck quickly released more and many believe that this is what helped Upper Deck dominate the market for years to come.
The Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie is not that easy to find in great condition. This is due to age and the fact that many are off-centered. These great baseball cards had a great look, but thinner card stock made dinged corners quite a normal occurrence. Currently, gem mint 10 versions of these cards are selling for $250-$300. Ungraded cards, found in near mint condition are currently selling for $15-$20.
Counterfeit 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards are common and buyers should beware before making a purchase.
1989 Donruss #33
Donruss produced a spectacular card of Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989. The dark black border frames his photo and in the top right corner Donruss included their coveted Rated Rookie stamp of approval.
When it comes to condition, these Ken Griffey RC cards are some of the worst. Black borders show even the smallest nicks and the edges of these cards flake quite easily. Poor centering was also a common problem and thin card stock didn’t help matters at all. Donruss did not hold back the printing press with these cards whatsoever. These Griffey rookies are not scarce, which affects their long term value. Currently, gem mint 10 versions sell for around $50-$60 while mint 9 versions bring $10-$15.
1989 Donruss Baseball’s Best #192
Donruss created a Baseball’s Best set and made sure to include the Mariners great slugger to help push sales. These sets were very popular in 1989 and 1990, as they included the top rookies of the year. These Griffey Jr. Rookies were much harder to find than the base cards and sell for a little more money. Gem mint 10 versions sell for around $70 while mint 9’s fetch around $20.
1989 Donruss The Rookies #3
This is another set produced by Donruss in 1989. These Ken Griffey Jr. baseball cards are not rare but are also not the easiest to find in gem mint 10 conditions. Currently these cards sell for $50 in gem mint 10 condition while mint 9’s bring $10.
1989 Topps Traded #41T
Topps made a huge mistake not including Griffey Jr. in their 1989 base set. They realized the mistake and made sure they added him into their popular Topps Traded set. These white bordered cards are not scarce at all but still quite popular amongst fans. These baseball cards normally grade very well, even though centering can be a problem. Gem mint 10 versions of these Topps cards sell for $25 while mint 9’s bring $8-$10.
1989 Topps Traded Tiffany RC #41T
This is one of the most expensive and rare Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards ever produced. They look exactly like the 1989 Topps traded version except for the fact that they have a shiny, glossy surface unique to only the Tiffany set. Some believe that Topps only created 5,000 of these unique, glossy sets. That makes a gem mint 10 versions incredibly hard to find. Gem mint versions sell for around $400, which is only a little more than his Upper Deck rookie card. These cards are extremely undervalued at their current levels and should be considered as a must add for any Ken Griffey Jr. collector with deep pockets.
1989 Fleer #548
The Fleer Griffey Jr. rookie has a nice clean design that features metallic gray border. These cards are not rare and were not just produced for packs, but also factory sets. These cards are extremely hard to find centered as many were poorly cut. Poor edges are also common flaws. Buyers can find these cards selling on Ebay ungraded for around $3 while gem mint 10 versions fetch $50.
1989 Fleer Glossy RC #548
This is one of the most valuable Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards. This card sells for over $600 graded in gem mint 10. These are limited edition, glossy versions of the 1989 Fleer card. These cards are incredibly hard to find in great condition is just one of the reasons they are so valuable. Even mint 9 versions of these cards sell for good money selling for over $70-$80. An incredible baseball card with a high upside.
1989 Bowman #220
These unique cards are over-sized compared to the other cards listed. Because of their size, they are much harder to find and weak card stock they are much harder to find in premium condition. Ungraded Bowman rookies sell for around $5 while gem mint 10 graded versions sell for around $80 online.
1989 Bowman Tiffany #220
This may be the rarest and most epic of all Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie cards. Much like the Topps Tiffany set, these cards were limited in production. These incredible cards were never released in packs and only available in factory sets. They look exactly like the regular issued Bowman rookie except for a high-end glossy coat that was included on these rare cards. Just like the base Bowman card, these cards are extraordinarily hard to find in gem mint 10 conditions. This is partially due to them being oversized and normally off-centered. These limited edition cards sell for premium prices fetching over $450 in mint 9 conditions and up to $1600 in gem mint 10 condition. This is definitely one of Griffey Jr. greatest rookie cards.
1989 Classic Purple #193 RC
Classic produced these interesting cards as part of a game set. These cards became very popular late in 1989, but not because of the game. Investors starting hoarding the sets hoping for profitable returns. The purple border of these cards makes them tough cards to find in high-end condition. The thin card stock also didn’t help how well they grade. Currently you can find these rookies selling online for around $5 ungraded, while gem mint 10 versions sell for around $50-$60.
1989 Classic Orange #131
This is another card produced by Classic as part of a game in 1989. These Ken Griffey rookie cards grade a little better than the purple versions. They can be readily found online selling for $4-$5 ungraded, $20 graded in mint 9 conditions, and gem mint 10 versions selling for a little over $50.
1989 Score Traded Griffey Jr. #100T
Like Topps, Score made a huge mistake not including Ken Griffey Jr. in their base set. They came back, making strong by making sure they included him in their popular 1989 Score Traded set. These Griffey cards normally have sharp corners, but do have some serious centering issues. If you can find well centered cards they are definitely worth picking up at the right price. Graded mint 9 versions of these cards sell for about $15 while gem mint 10 versions fetch $25-$30.
1987 Bellingham Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Rookie #15
This team issued card was produced in 1987 by the Mariners Minor League team, the Bellingham Mariners. It’s hard to determine how many of these sets were actually produced, but some speculate that it was under 5,000 total. They are certainly one of the best Ken Griffey Jr. minor league cards ever produced. These cards have nice, clean, white borders and are normally found to be well centered. They grade very well and sell for incredible money online. Mint 9 versions of these minor league cards sell for around $100 while gem mint 10 versions fetch close to $300.
1989 Mother’s Cookies Set
These Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards were released in a wrapped 4 card set. Each of these cards have rounded corners and a clean glossy finish. These cards are not very valuable, but incredibly unique. They grade very well. Ungraded versions of these cards sell for around $3-$5 online while gem mint 10 examples fetch $25.
1989 Score Young Super Stars #18
This Griffey card was released late in 1989 as part of a set. The card has a high gloss finish and an incredible photo of Griffey Jr. swinging. These cards grade well and are getting harder to find. Right now you can get hold of them ungraded for around $5 and gem mint 10 versions are selling for around $50.
Fan Favorite Cards that are Not Rookies but still Awesome
1993 Topps Finest Refractor #110
This is not a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, but still one of his most valuable of all-time. It sells for much more than any of his rookie cards due to the fact that only 242 of these cards were ever produced. The cards have a gorgeous chrome finish and are not easy to find in gem mint 10 conditions. These cards are normally found off-center and refractor lines keep many from reaching perfect condition status. Currently mint versions of these cards are valued at a little over $1,600 while gem mint 10 versions sell for around $2,400.
1994 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr., Mickey Mantle Dual Autograph
This epic card has amazing artwork featuring headshots of both Griffey Jr. and Hall of Famer, Mickey Mantle. Different variations of these cards exist, including ones autographed only by Ken and ones only signed by Mantle. The dual autographed card is the prized card. The dual signature card sell for over $2,500 and is just a popular today as it was 20 years ago. Ken Griffey Jr. is not just one of the greatest baseball player to ever wear a uniform, but he is also one of the most popular. Popularity is one of the key factors in determining the value of a baseball card. He will be always be remembered for his outstanding power and amazing diving catches.