The 1988 Topps baseball card set is widely considered one of the standout rookie card year sets of all time. While the 1986 set that included the debuts of Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds gets more attention, the 1988 lineup had plenty of future Hall of Fame players and all-time greats just starting out in the big leagues. Let’s take a look at the value of the rookie cards and early career cards from the projected 1988 opening day starting lineups of eight iconic MLB franchises from that season.

New York Yankees:
The 1988 Yankees were led by star slugger Don Mattingly at first base. His ’88 Topps card in near mint condition can fetch around $15. While not a rookie card, it captures Mattingly early in his impressive career with the Yankees. Rookie shortstop Alvaro Espinoza got the starting nod to open the year, but his card holds little value at around $1-2. Yankee pitcher Dave LaPoint took the ball on opening day and his ’88 card ranges from $3-5. Catcher Joel Skinner and outfielder Roberto Kelly round out the Yankees lineup. Neither hold much current value, with Skinner at $1-2 and Kelly around $3.

Oakland A’s:
Future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson led off and played left field for the powerful A’s. His 1988 Topps card in mint condition averages between $30-40 given his superstar status even that early in his career. First baseman/DH Dave Parker also brought veteran presence to the A’s attack, with his ’88 valued around $5-7. Shortstop Walt Weiss and third baseman Carney Lansford contributed steady gloves and bats, with Weiss at $5-10 and Lansford $3-5. Catcher Ron Hassey was the veteran receiver, holding a $1-2 card value. Center fielder Dave Henderson and starting pitcher Bob Welch round out the A’s, with Henderson around $5-7 and Welch $8-12.


Boston Red Sox:
The Bosox were powered by their middle of the order threats Jim Rice in right and Mike Greenwell in center. Rice’s dominance continued in 1988, making his card worth $15-20. Greenwell was in his early prime and his ’88 also carries value at $10-12. Veteran catcher Rich Gedman was the backstop and his card is $3-5. Shortstop Jody Reed, third baseman Wade Boggs, and second baseman Marty Barrett provided steadiness around them. Reed is $3-5 while future HOF’er Boggs commands $15-18 given his superstar status. Barrett checks in around $2-3. Opening day starter Oil Can Boyd on the mound has a card valued at $5-7.

Chicago Cubs:
Second baseman Ryne Sandberg was the heartbeat of those Cubs teams and consistently delivered from the two-hole. His 1988 Topps is worth a solid $20 given his talents. Outfielder Keith Moreland gave the Cubs some pop from the cleanup spot, holding a $3-5 card value. Shortstop Shawon Dunston anchored the middle infield and his ’88 ranges $5-7. Catcher Damon Berryhill was an offensive-minded backstop option and his card sits around $2. First baseman Mark Grace was in his rookie campaign, making his card worth pursuing at $20-25 given his Hall of Fame career. Opening day starter Rick Sutcliffe brought veteran experience to the rotation, and his ’88 checks in around $7-10.

St. Louis Cardinals:
Future Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith patrolled shortstop for the Cards and was in his prime in 1988. As one of the best ever at his position, his ’88 card demands $25-30. First baseman Pedro Guerrero brought big lefty power to the four-hole, with his card valued around $5. Outfielder Vince Coleman was coming off his stolen base title and Rookie of the Year win, making his ’88 card a nice find at $15-18 given its rookie card status. Catcher Tom Nieto and third baseman Terry Pendleton anchored the lineup behind them, with Nieto at $2-3 and Pendleton $5-7. Opening day starter Joe Magrane on the mound has become a popular vintage pitching card, holding steady at $10-12.


Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Dodgers franchise player was set up at third base in Kirk Gibson. His 1988 Topps captured him in Dodger blue and holds an average value of $15-18. Power hitting right fielder Mike Marshall gave the Dodgers pop behind Gibson and his card ranges from $3-5. Perennial All-Star shortstop Alfredo Griffin led off for LA that year and his ’88 value is stable at $5-7. Catcher Mike Scioscia was an offensive and defensive standout as the Dodgers backstop that season. His card usually sells between $5-7 given his consistent MLB career. Pitcher Tim Leary got the ball on opening day and his 1988 Topps goes for $3-5.

Detroit Tigers:
Veteran catcher Lance Parrish was in the starting 9 for Detroit in ’88. As a consistent offensive force for the Tigers during their peak years, his card holds an average worth of around $10-12. Shortstop Alan Trammell flanked him in the lineup and was in the midst of his Hall of Fame career. His ’88 Topps is very obtainable at $10. Third baseman Tom Brookens, first baseman Cecil Fielder, and second baseman Lou Whitaker provided stability around them. Brookens is valued at $3-5 while Whitaker and Fielder’s rookie cards can each be had for $8-10 given Whitaker’s decorated career and Fielder’s eventual power dominance. Opening day starter Frank Tanana was on the mound for Detroit, and his ’88 card comes in around $5-7.


Cincinnati Reds:
Future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin was just breaking in as the Reds shortstop in 1988. His rookie season Topps card can be found for $25-30 still. Outfielders Eric Davis and Kal Daniels flanked him in center and left respectively. Davis was in his prime and his ’88 value holds at $10-12, while Daniels is only $2-3 as he didn’t have the same long term MLB success. Veteran catcher Bo Diaz held down the nine spot and his card is obtainable for $3-5. Starting pitcher Mario Soto took the ball opening day, with his ’88 Topps valued between $7-10 given his consistently good MLB run.

In summary, 1988 Topps had numerous stars and future Hall of Famers just starting their careers that made for coveted rookie cards over 30 years later. Sets from Larkin and Grace’s rookie seasons remain very collectible and hold strong values. Later career cards of icons like Henderson, Smith, Mattingly, Boggs, and Gibson also continue to retain good monetary worth. For vintage collecting, targeting projected 1988 opening day lineups offers a fun nostalgia-based approach to seeking truly foundational cards from that epic Topps series.

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