The 1989 Donruss baseball card set is considered one of the most iconic releases from the late 1980s. While not as large as some other brands at the time with only 330 cards, the 1989 Donruss set featured some of the biggest young stars in baseball on the verge of superstardom as well as legendary veterans. As a result, many of the top rookie and star player cards from the 1989 Donruss set have become extremely valuable modern classics for collectors.

One of the most notable aspects of the 1989 Donruss set was the inclusion of rookie cards for players who would go on to have Hall of Fame careers like Barry Larkin, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine. While not the true rookie cards for some of these players, the 1989 Donruss cards were the first widely available cards featuring them in a major brand release. This gives these cards a special significance for collectors, especially considering how successful the careers of Larkin, Maddux, and Glavine turned out. As a result, their 1989 Donruss rookie cards routinely fetch thousands of dollars in high grades.

Perhaps the most coveted and valuable card from the entire 1989 Donruss set is the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. Widely considered one of, if not the best player of his generation, Griffey was already showing superstar potential in his rookie year of 1989. His sweet left-handed swing and effortless defense in center field made him a fan favorite. The Griffey rookie quickly became one of the most sought-after cards in the hobby. In near-mint to mint condition, examples regularly sell for $5,000 or more. Pristine mint copies in a PSA/BGS Gem Mint 10 grade have even been known to reach six figures at auction.


Another hugely valuable rookie from the 1989 Donruss set is the Frank Thomas card. Like Griffey, “The Big Hurt” wasted no time proving he was a true franchise player, winning the 1990 American League Rookie of the Year award and going on to a Hall of Fame career. Thomas rookies have risen greatly in value over the years to become one of the most expensive modern rookie cards available. High-grade Thomas rookies often sell for $3,000-$5,000, with a PSA 10 potentially reaching $10,000 or more given his legendary career stats.

In addition to star rookies, the 1989 Donruss set also featured valuable veteran cards for baseball legends entering the twilight of their careers. Perhaps the most iconic is the Nolan Ryan card, featuring a photo of the “Ryan Express” firing a 100 mph fastball. As one of the most intimidating and record-breaking pitchers ever, anything related to Ryan’s career is highly sought-after. His 1989 Donruss card can sell for $100-$300 in average condition but over $1,000 in high grades like PSA/BGS 9 or 10.


Another legendary pitcher featured prominently in the 1989 Donruss set is Wade Boggs. As arguably the greatest hitting pitcher in baseball history and a career .328 hitter, Boggs’ offensive prowess made him a fan favorite. His 1989 Donruss card remains one of the most iconic in the entire set. In top condition it can sell for $300-$500 but has reached as high as $1,000 for pristine PSA/BGS 10 examples.

Beyond rookies and veterans, star players in their primes during the late 1980s are also highly valuable from the 1989 Donruss release. Arguably the most famous is the Kirby Puckett card, featuring a colorful action photo of the beloved Twins center fielder. Puckett was already a six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner by 1989. His charisma and clutch hitting made him a household name. As a result, his 1989 Donruss card in high grades sells for $150-$300 and reached as high as $800 for a PSA 10.


Another superstar player card that has risen greatly in value is the Jose Canseco. As one of the first true “five-tool” players and home run leaders of the late 1980s steroid era, Canseco made headlines on and off the field. His power and popularity made him one of the set’s biggest “chase” cards. While raw copies sell for $20-50, pristine PSA 10 Cansecos have reached over $1,000 at auction.

While not the largest set of the late 1980s, the 1989 Donruss release remains highly coveted and valuable for collectors due to its star-studded rookie and veteran lineup. Featuring the likes of Griffey, Thomas, Ryan, Boggs, Puckett and Canseco, it truly captured some of the biggest names in baseball at the time. As a result, high-grade examples of the top cards continue to climb greatly in value. For dedicated collectors, finding and owning these iconic pieces of cardboard history is a true hobby highlight. The 1989 Donruss set endures as one of the most memorable and valuable releases from the junk wax era.

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