1989 Bowman Baseball Card Price Guide

The 1989 Bowman baseball card set was the last major issue of Bowman cards before Topps regained the MLB license in 1991. With no competition from Topps in 1989, Bowman was able to secure deals with many of baseball’s biggest stars and prospects to be featured in the set. As a result, the 1989 Bowman set contains some of the most valuable rookie cards and stars cards from the late 1980s. Now over 30 years old, the 1989 Bowman set remains a highly sought after vintage release for collectors. Let’s take a closer look at the key cards, players, and estimated prices from the 1989 Bowman baseball card price guide.

Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card (Card #1)
Perhaps the most iconic and valuable card from the entire 1980s, the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie is the undisputed crown jewel of the 1989 Bowman set. Widely considered one of, if not the best player of his generation, Griffey was a huge star from the very beginning of his career. His rookie card perfectly captures the excitement around his debut and Bowman distributed it at a time when the hobby was booming. In pristine mint condition, Griffey’s rookie now fetches prices well into the thousands of dollars. Even well-centered near mint copies can sell for $500-1000 depending on the day. For most collectors, this card will remain out of reach unless they get extremely lucky in a pack or bundle.


Frank Thomas Rookie Card (Card #91)
Like Griffey, Frank Thomas established himself as one of the game’s all-time great hitters from the start of his career. His rookie card in the 1989 Bowman set is highly sought after by collectors. In top gem mint condition, a PSA 10 graded Frank Thomas rookie has sold for over $2000. Most near mint copies in the $300-500 range and there is little difference between a PSA 8 and PSA 9 grade. Even in well-centered excellent condition, this rookie commands $100-200 due to Thomas’ elite Hall of Fame caliber career.

Ken Griffey Sr. & Jr. Father/Son Card (Card #125)
A true one-of-a-kind card, the Griffey Sr. & Jr. father/son card perfectly captured the excitement of their unprecedented back-to-back generations in the majors. While not as iconic or valuable as the Jr. solo rookie, this dual card remains a highly coveted piece for any Griffey collection. Near mint PSA 8 copies have sold for $400-600 depending on the market. Well-centered excellent condition copies in the $150-250 range are more common. For the uniqueness of the subject matter, this card often trades at a premium to other stars from the 1989 Bowman set.

Barry Bonds Rookie Card (Card #144)
The Barry Bonds rookie has always been overshadowed by Griffey and Thomas in the hobby. With Bonds now firmly cemented as one of the game’s all-time great sluggers, his rookie card has gained steam in recent years. A PSA 10 gem mint Bonds rookie would be worth $1000-1500 today. Most near mint copies sell in the $200-400 range. Even in well-centered excellent condition, collectors are willing to pay $75-150 due to Bonds’ huge career numbers and single season records. Like Thomas, this card remains affordable for most 1989 Bowman collectors.


Other Key Stars from 1989 Bowman
The 1989 Bowman set also featured rookie cards and stars cards of many other future Hall of Famers and all-time greats:

Greg Maddux Rookie (Card #165): PSA 8 $150-250, PSA 9 $250-400, PSA 10 $500-750
Tom Glavine Rookie (Card #166): PSA 8 $75-150, PSA 9 $125-250, PSA 10 $250-400
John Smoltz Rookie (Card #167): PSA 8 $75-150, PSA 9 $125-250, PSA 10 $250-400
Randy Johnson Rookie (Card #169): PSA 8 $50-100, PSA 9 $75-150, PSA 10 $150-250
Craig Biggio Rookie (Card #172): PSA 8 $50-100, PSA 9 $75-150, PSA 10 $150-250
Cal Ripken Jr. Star (Card #197): PSA 8 $25-50, PSA 9 $50-100, PSA 10 $100-200

Key Rookie Prospects from 1989 Bowman
In addition to future Hall of Famers, the 1989 Bowman set featured several highly regarded prospects that went on to have solid MLB careers:

Ken Griffey Jr. (Card #1): See above
Frank Thomas (Card #91): See above
Chuck Knoblauch (Card #115): PSA 8 $25-50, PSA 9 $50-100, PSA 10 $100-200
Larry Walker (Card #146): PSA 8 $25-50, PSA 9 $50-100, PSA 10 $100-200
Jeff Bagwell (Card #150): PSA 8 $25-50, PSA 9 $50-100, PSA 10 $100-200
Bobby Bonilla (Card #158): PSA 8 $10-25, PSA 9 $25-50, PSA 10 $50-100


Condition and Grade are Key
As with any vintage release, the condition and professional grading of a 1989 Bowman card is extremely important to its value. Near mint to gem mint PSA or BGS graded examples will always demand the highest prices. For raw ungraded copies, having sharp corners, clean surfaces and strong centering is crucial. Even minor flaws can significantly reduce a card’s worth. When building a collection of this iconic set, focus on obtaining high quality examples to maximize long term value and appeal to serious collectors.

In Conclusion
Now over 30 years old, the 1989 Bowman baseball card set remains one of the most iconic and valuable releases from the entire vintage era. Featuring rookie cards of future all-time greats like Griffey, Thomas, Bonds, Maddux and more, this set perfectly captured the late 80s baseball card boom. Key cards like the Griffey and Thomas rookies have reached legendary status and remain out of reach for most collectors. There are still many affordable stars and prospects to build a set at reasonable prices. For those willing to spend, a pristine 1989 Bowman collection showcases the best that vintage baseball cards have to offer.

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