Baseball cards have a long and storied history in Cincinnati dating back to the late 1800s. Some of the earliest baseball cards produced featured stars from Cincinnati’s early professional baseball teams. Cincinnati has been home to several major league franchises over the years and its players have frequently been featured on some of the most iconic baseball cards ever made.

One of the earliest Cincinnati players to appear on baseball cards was Pete Browning. Browning was a star outfielder for the Cincinnati Red Stockings in the 1870s and 1880s. He appeared on cards in the late 1880s produced by companies like Old Judge and Goodwin Champions. These early tobacco cards helped promote Cincinnati’s star players and teams nationally as baseball grew in popularity.

In the early 1900s, the Cincinnati Reds emerged as one of the most successful franchises in the National League. Under legendary manager Pat Moran, the Reds won the 1919 World Series. Key players on that championship team like Edd Roush, Heinie Groh and Eppa Rixey appeared on popular baseball cards of the era from manufacturers like T206, E90 and Sporting News. Collectors still covet cards of stars from this golden era of early Reds baseball.


The 1950s saw the rise of modern mass-produced cardboard baseball cards. Topps dominated the market and regularly featured Reds players who were among the game’s biggest stars. Players like Ted Kluszewski, Gus Bell, Roy McMillan and Frank Robinson appeared on iconic Topps cards that are still treasured by collectors today. In 1956, Topps even produced an entire set dedicated solely to the Cincinnati Reds team.

The 1970s Reds dynasty that won back-to-back World Series in 1975-76 produced some of the most famous Reds cards ever made. Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Ken Griffey Sr. appeared on Topps and other brands as the Big Red Machine rolled to championships. Their cards from that era remain extremely popular with collectors. In 1976, Topps even produced a special World Series subset highlighting the Reds championship run.


In the 1980s and 90s, stars like Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo and Adam Dunn appeared on Topps and Fleer cards as the Reds remained competitive. The 1990 World Series championship team had their stars immortalized on cards as well. The Reds farm system also produced stars that were featured before making the majors, like Ken Griffey Jr. who appeared in minor league sets in the late 80s.

Modern Cincinnati Reds stars like Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey have continued to be featured prominently in sets from Topps, Upper Deck and other card companies into the 2000s and 2010s. Votto in particular has been one of the game’s most prolific sluggers of the last decade and his popular rookie and star cards are highly sought after. In 2013, Topps even produced a special Joey Votto career highlights insert set.


Cincinnati’s rich baseball card history remains an important part of documenting the franchise’s past stars and success. Local card shops and shows in Cincinnati continue to fuel collector demand for classic and modern Reds cards. With a new generation of young stars now on the Reds roster, their early baseball cards are sure to become coveted in the collecting community for years to come. The Queen City’s baseball card legacy lives on through the cards of past, present and future Reds greats that will be treasured by collectors for generations.

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