1989 LEAF BASEBALL CARDS MOST VALUABLE

The 1989 Leaf baseball card set is considered one of the most iconic and valuable issues from the late 1980s. While it did not receive the same mainstream attention as Topps or Donruss releases at the time, the set has grown in prominence over the past 30 years due to several scarce short prints and rookie cards of future Hall of Famers. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the most valuable 1989 Leaf baseball cards today:

Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card (Card #132)
Junior’s rookie is universally considered the crown jewel of the 1989 Leaf set. Despite being printed by the millions as a standard issue card, it has stood the test of time as one of the greatest rookie cards ever made due to Griffey’s iconic status in the game. PSA 10 Gem Mint examples regularly sell for $2,000-3,000+ given Griffey’s incredible career and the card’s overwhelming popularity. Even well-centered, high-grade PSA 9 copies can fetch $500-1000. This remains the hottest Griffey rookie by far in the hobby.

Barry Bonds Rookie Card (Card #102)
Bonds’ rookie card was also widely produced, yet his legendary home run prowess has made it a steady riser over the decades. PSA 10 specimens change hands for $800-1500, while PSA 9s go for $300-600 depending on the day. Not as valuable as Griffey’s, but still highly desirable given Barry’s single-season and all-time home run records. He went on to have one of the greatest careers in MLB history after debuting with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Gregg Jefferies Rookie Card (Card #114)
Jefferies had substantial hype as a rookie shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1988, making his rookie one of the most sought-after in the ’89 Leaf set outside of Griffey and Bonds. Injuries derailed what appeared to be a promising career. Still, high-grade PSA 10 copies have sold for $600-800 online. PSA 9s bring approximately $250-400. A true “what if” in the hobby given Jefferies’ early potential and pedigree as a top prospect.

Roberto Alomar Rookie Card (Card #80)
A perennial All-Star and career .300 hitter, Alomar carved out a Hall of Fame resume despite debuting rather quietly with the San Diego Padres in 1988. His rookie has experienced strong collector demand in recent years thanks to Roberto’s enshrinement in Cooperstown. PSA 10 examples have reached $600, while PSA 9s command $200-300. An underrated gem from the set that remains relatively affordable for a future Hall of Famer.

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Ken Griffey Sr. Short Print (Card #32SP)
Griffey Sr.’s base card was limited to a short print run, making any high-grade versions incredibly difficult to track down. This scarcity has spiked values to new heights. PSA 10 specimens have sold online for well over $1000 given the card’s status as one of the scarcest in the set. Even PSA 9 copies can approach $500. An absolute key card for serious Leaf collectors of this vintage.

Chad Mottola Short Print (Card #84SP)
While not a huge name, Mottola’s short print shares the mantle as one of the rarest ’89 Leaf SPs alongside Griffey Sr. PSA 10 examples have sold for $800-1000 with PSA 9s reaching the $300-500 range. Certainly not the biggest player, but one of the most valuable purely from a scarcity standpoint within this set. Try finding either of the three short prints in pristine condition!

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Tom Glavine Rookie Card (Card #129)
Glavine was a relative nobody when he made his Leaf rookie, but five Cy Young Awards later, the lefty has one of the better post-rookie card performance risers. High-grade PSA 10 Glavine rookies have sold for around $600, with PSA 9s trading in the $200-300 vicinity. A rock-solid performer and yet another Hall of Famer from this vintage Leaf release.

The 1989 Leaf baseball card set is beloved by collectors not only for future stars like Griffey and Bonds, but also scarce short prints and performers who rose to stardom well after the fact like Alomar, Glavine, and others. Prices remain strong across the board thanks to these factors of desirability and performance. In all, it was a breakout year at the dawn of the modern baseball card boom. Looking back over 30 years later, the ’89 Leaf cards stand out as prized possessions for both collectors and investors alike.

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