As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we’ve asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we’ve broken them down by team. We’ll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.
To begin the series, we’ll be looking at one iconic card from each team.
Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 2016 Bowman
The prospect hype surrounding Vlad Jr. was already starting to build in 2016, the slugger’s first professional season. His card in the Bowman’s Best of ’16 Autographs set is one of his first.
Orioles: Eddie Murray, 1978 Topps
After winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1977, Murray first appeared in baseball-card sets the following year. Steady Eddie’s ’78 Topps card, which shows him taking a practice cut with an all-business look on his face, is one of the most desirable rookie cards from that decade.
Rays: Evan Longoria, 2016 Topps
Longoria was traded to the Giants after the 2017 season, but he holds a special place in Rays history, leading the franchise in many major categories.
Red Sox: Wade Boggs, 1983 Topps
Coming off a strong rookie season, Boggs was first included in baseball-card sets in 1983. He went on to win the first of his five batting titles that season, putting the third baseman on a path toward the Hall of Fame.
Yankees: Don Mattingly, 1984 Topps
Mattingly rose to prominence as baseball-card collecting was skyrocketing in popularity, and his rookie cards from 1984 were a must-have for collectors during that time. The ’84 Topps design is easily distinguishable — Mattingly’s card features “Yankees” rendered in purple block lettering and has an inset headshot showing the first baseman staring into the distance in front of a yellow background.
Indians: Oscar Gamble, 1975 Topps
Gamble’s 1976 Topps Card, which depicts the outfielder with the Yankees, is his most famous. But Cleveland fans might prefer the previous year’s version, which also captures Gamble’s iconic afro in all its glory while showing him in an Indians uniform.
Royals: Bo Jackson, 1990 Score
While there were four Bo Jackson cards in the 1990 Score set, the card depicting a shirtless Jackson wearing football shoulder pads and holding a baseball bat behind his head stands out from the rest.
Tigers: Mark Fidrych, 1977 Topps
Fidrych became a phenomenon in 1976, dominating on the mound and captivating the baseball world with his quirky personality. As a result, his rookie card from Topps’ set the following year was highly coveted at the time.
Twins: Kirby Puckett, 1985 Topps
Selected third overall by the Twins in the 1982 MLB Draft, Puckett debuted two years later and became one of the best players of his generation, making his rookie cards quite popular. From an aesthetic standpoint, his ’85 Topps card is a thing of beauty, from the baby-blue Twins uniform to the red batting helmet to the awesome “Win! Twins!” logo the team used in Puckett’s early years.
White Sox: Frank Thomas, 1990 Topps
The “Big Hurt” was known more for his bat than his glove, but his first Topps card depicts him playing defense for Auburn University, his alma mater.