The 1989 Topps baseball card set is considered one of the most iconic issues of the 1980s. With 792 total cards, the ’89 Topps release captured some of the biggest stars and best rookie cards of that baseball season. While every set has its share of valuable and important cards, some stand out more than others. Here’s a deeper look at some of the absolute best 1989 Topps baseball cards to collect.

Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card (#71) – Widely considered the crown jewel of the 1989 set, Griffey’s rookie is arguably the most valuable baseball card of the entire decade. Junior would go on to have a Hall of Fame career and his first Topps card skyrocketed in demand. PSA 10 examples have sold for well over $100,000 in recent years. Even lower graded copies still fetch thousands due to Griffey’s popularity and the card’s solid design showing him batting left-handed.

Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#488) – Though not as well-known as Griffey, Maddux put together a superb 23-year career that landed him in Cooperstown in 2014. His rookie is the second most valuable from the ’89 Topps set, with PSA 10s selling over $10,000. He’s wearing a Braves jersey in the photo from his time in Chicago, foreshadowing his move to Atlanta where he’d win 4 consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1992-95.


Randy Johnson Rookie Card (#545) – The Big Unit’s rookie is an iconic late ’80s/early ’90s cardboard piece that really captures his signature long locks. Though not quite as valuable as Griffey or Maddux, a PSA 10 copy can still sell for over $1,000 given Randy Johnson’s greatness as a 6-time Cy Young winner. Plus, the card design shows him as a Montreal Expo before his trade to Seattle kicked off his Hall of Fame career.

Nolan Ryan Record Breaker (#450) – This card commemorates Ryan surpassing Walter Johnson as the all-time strikeout king in 1989. It’s a true one-of-a-kind piece from the set as Topps created it as an after-the-fact insert to recognize the milestone. High grades in the $500-1,000 range reflect its status as a unique baseball history card amidst the base set.

Ozzie Smith (#20) – Considered one of the best defensive players ever at any position, Ozzie’s smooth fielding is captured on his 1989 issue. Graded gem mint 10 copies have sold for over $400. Plus, the card design is very eye-catching with its futuristic galaxy photo against a black background, making it a fan favorite from the set.


Barry Bonds (#234) – Prior to Bonds’ steroid controversy, early versions of his rookie card were highly coveted. His power potential is evident with him swinging lefty for the Pittsburgh Pirates. PSA 10s have cracked $400 with demand still reasonably strong for one of the game’s all-time home run kings from back before public opinion soured on him as a player.

Wally Joyner (#386) – Not a huge star, but Wally’s rookie occupies a notable spot for 1989 Topps collectors due to a printing plate error. His name is misspelled “Wallly” on certain copies, creating a much rarer and more valuable parallel to hunt. Top-graded examples with the error have topped $1,500 over the years.

Will Clark (#300) – One of the best pure hitters of the late ’80s/early ’90s, Clark was an offensive force for the SF Giants. His smooth lefty swing is captured here with a classic blue and orange color scheme background. Higher graded versions command $150-200 reflecting his excellence as a ballplayer before injuries slowed him down.

Roberto Alomar (#99) – Beginning his successful career with the Padres, Alomar went on to achieve Hall of Fame status mainly with the Blue Jays and Orioles. His rookie shows nice action and remains a key pickup among ’89 issues even just in lower grades around the $20-40 range.


Ken Dixon (#424) – Not a huge star, but Dixon’s card stands out for featuring a very rare black border not seen elsewhere in the base set. Opinions differ on whether it was intentional or a miscut, but it makes this common player card much more intriguing to collectors. Higher graded versions can top $100 despite Dixon being fairly obscure.

The 1989 Topps release also featured stellar team/set checklist cards including the A’s #1 Featuring the “Bash Brothers” Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, the Dodgers #399 with Orel Hershiser, the Mets #1 with Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry and more. The set expertly captured an iconic era in baseball history and these were some of the true standout specimens worth hunting down for any collection. Whether you seek out the rookie gems, stars of the day or oddball errors, ’89 Topps endures as one of the most beloved modern issues.

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