BEST BASEBALL CARDS FROM 1995

The 1995 baseball card season produced some of the most iconic and valuable cards of the 1990s. Fueled by the baseball strike that canceled the remainder of the 1994 season and playoffs, collectors and speculators were eager to get their hands on the new crop of cards when they were released in March 1995. While stars like Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, and Greg Maddux dominated the baseball card landscape throughout the decade, the 1995 set stood out for featuring several of the games all-time greats in key moments of their careers.

Perhaps the most notable and valuable card from the 1995 set is the Griffey Jr. rookie card from Upper Deck. While Griffey had been in the league since 1989 and appeared on cards starting in 1990, his rookie season was technically 1994 according to MLB rules. As such, the 1995 Upper Deck card was considered his true rookie. It captured “The Kid” in all his swagger and promise at the beginning of what would become a surefire Hall of Fame career. PSA 10 Gem Mint examples of this card regularly sell for over $10,000 today due to its iconic subject, sharp photography, and limited print run from Upper Deck.

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Another star on the rise featured prominently in 1995 was Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox. After consecutive MVP seasons in 1993-1994 where he hit over .300 with over 40 home runs each year, “The Big Hurt” was cementing himself as one of baseball’s most feared sluggers. His 1995 Fleer Ultra card shows Thomas in the batter’s box, glaring intimidatingly at the pitcher as he prepares to unleash another monstrous home run. Graded PSA 10 copies can fetch $2,000-$3,000.

Greg Maddux also had an ultra-valuable 1995 card courtesy of Fleer Ultra. As the reigning NL Cy Young winner on the Braves, Maddux was at the peak of his pitching powers. The card portrays “Mad Dog” in the middle of his windup, displaying his elegant, deceptive motion that kept hitters constantly off balance. PSA 10 versions rarely come on the market but can sell for over $1,000.

Rookies featured heavily in 1995 as collectors sought the next big star on the rise. One of the most iconic from that year was the Chipper Jones rookie from Bowman’s Best. As the #1 overall pick by the Braves in 1990, Jones was on the fast track and this card captured him at the start of his stellar career. PSA 10s command $500-700. Dodgers shortstop Todd Hollandsworth also had a very sought after rookie from SP that year that can fetch $300-400 graded gem mint.

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The 1995 baseball season itself was one of the most memorable in history, even if it was cut short. Players returned from the strike in late April and a wild playoff race ensued. The 1995 cards captured many of those key players and teams at the height of the excitement. The Braves won their third straight division title behind Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. The Indians made an incredible late season charge to win their first ever AL Central. The 1995 cards were a snapshot of that unforgettable season and launch point for future Hall of Famers like Jones, Jeter, and Piazza.

While stars like Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, and Barry Bonds continued to dominate the sport on the field, their 1995 offerings are more reasonably priced today. Ripken’s Fleer card pays homage to his then-record breaking streak of consecutive games played at over 1,500. Gwynn’s Upper Deck card shows him batting right handed, underscoring his ability to hit from both sides of the plate. And Bonds’ Fleer card portrays the Pirates left fielder poised to unleash another mammoth home run. All three future Hall of Famers can be acquired in PSA 10 for $100-300.

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Rookies also abounded in the 1995 set beyond Jones and Hollandsworth. The 1995 Donruss Optix set introduced baseball fans to a fresh-faced shortstop named Derek Jeter on the Yankees. While it lacked photo variation compared to other sets that year, Jeter’s rookie established him as the new face of pinstripes. PSA 10s trade for $300-500. Another rookie who made his cardboard debut in 1995 was Mets catcher Mike Piazza. His SP Authentic card featured crisp action photography and foretold his rise as a slugging backstop. Top-graded versions command $150-250.

The 1995 baseball card season produced some of the most iconic, valuable, and memorable cards of the 1990s. Rookies like Jeter, Piazza, and Jones established themselves alongside superstars Griffey, Thomas, Maddux entering their primes. The cards captured that memorable season cut short by the strike. Top PSA 10 examples of stars and key rookies remain highly sought after and command strong prices by collectors and investors alike well over 25 years later. The 1995 set endures as one of the most significant in the modern era for good reason.

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