HIGHEST VALUE 1989 TOPPS BASEBALL CARDS

The 1989 Topps baseball card set is one of the most iconic releases from the late 1980s. While not quite as coveted as some earlier sets from the 1970s, the ’89 Topps cards still hold significance for collectors and are home to some extremely valuable rookie cards. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the highest value cards from the 1989 Topps set.

Ken Griffey Jr. Rated Rookie (#156)

Widely considered the premier card from the ’89 set, Griffey’s rookie is the undisputed king. Often called “The Greatest Baseball Card of All-Time,” Griffey would go on to have a Hall of Fame career and become one of the most popular players in MLB history. His sweet left-handed swing and dazzling defense in center field made him a fan favorite. Not surprisingly, his rookie card has skyrocketed in value over the decades. In PSA 10 Gem Mint condition, it has sold for over $34,000 at auction. Even lower graded copies in PSA 8 or 9 can fetch thousands. Griffey’s greatness, coupled with the iconic design of his rookie card make this one arguably the most coveted modern-era issue.

Greg Maddux Rated Rookie (#90)

While not putting up the flashy stats of other stars from the late 80s/early 90s, Maddux cemented himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball history based on consistency, command, and guile. He racked up 355 career wins and four Cy Young Awards between the Cubs and Braves. Like Griffey, his ’89 Topps rookie is a true all-time great card. PSA 10 copies have sold for as much as $12,000. Other high grades still demand four figures as well since Maddux turned out to be a true pitching legend. His pinpoint control made him must-see TV during his playing days and that longevity has served his cards very well.

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Randy Johnson Rated Rookie (#359)

One of the most intimidating pitchers to ever step on a mound, “The Big Unit” could simply overpower hitters with a fastball that touched 100 MPH. The 6’10” lefty would go on to rack up over 4,800 career strikeouts and claim five Cy Young Awards between six different teams. While he didn’t become a true star until his time with Seattle and Arizona later in his career, his ’89 Topps rookie is still a very valuable card. PSA 10 versions have topped $9,000 at auction. Even lower grades still bring four figures due to Johnson’s total dominance when at his best in the 1990s and his unique, frightening delivery.

Gregg Jefferies Rated Rookie (#327)

While he didn’t end up having the Hall of Fame career that was predicted, Jefferies was immensely hyped coming up through the Mets system in the late 80s. He hit .309 with 24 homers in 1988 split between Double and Triple-A ball. That translated to huge interest in his ’89 Topps rookie card, which has maintained lofty values even though Jefferies was never able to fully realize his potential in the majors. PSA 10s have sold for north of $6,000. This just underscores how pre-rookie hype can sometimes outpace actual MLB production when it comes to the long-term value of a particular issue.

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Tom Glavine Rated Rookie (#88)

One of the greatest pitchers of the 1990s and 2000s for the Braves, Glavine racked up 305 wins and two Cy Young Awards over a stellar 22-year career. Not many saw that kind of prime coming based on his 1987 rookie season that was cut short due to injury, however. Still, his iconic ’89 Topps rookie is a highly sought card decades later. PSA 10 copies consistently sell for $3,000+. Even in PSA 8 or 9 condition, examples still fetch four figures. Glavine’s amazing career and those classic late 80s/early 90s Braves teams he was a linchpin of have made this a blue chip investment grade rookie.

Dennis Martinez Rated Rookie (#150)

The designated “Diamond King” in his native Nicaragua, Martinez enjoyed a fine 21-year MLB career split between several teams. His most productive years came with the Expos and Orioles from 1983-1992. That included throwing a perfect game for Montreal in 1991 at age 37. While his stats were never eye-popping, Martinez showed great prowess as a control artist. His impressive longevity has made his ’89 Topps rated rookie a strong catalog card. PSA 10s sell around $2,000 despite the lack of true star power in his career. Still, 238 wins commands respect from collectors.

Jeff Bagwell Rated Rookie (#334)

Bagwell would go on to establish himself as one of the best first basemen of the 1990s with the Astros based on his prolific power and consistent all-around production. He slugged 449 career homers and won an MVP in 1994. Coming out of rural New England via the University of Hartford, not many expected such a breakout. As a result, his ’89 Topps rookie is one of the biggest bargains in the set if a collector can find an intact high-grade copy. PSA 10s have reached $1,600 while PSA 9s still trade for around $500. At that price, it’s chump change for a legitimate future Hall of Famer.

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Tom Pagnozzi Rookie (#550)

As the backup catcher for Ozzie Smith and the Cardinals championship teams of the 1980s, Pagnozzi didn’t put up huge stats in an 11-year career. Still, collectors have long coveted this late-numbered ’89 Topps rookie for its scarcity and connection to those World Series-winning Redbirds clubs. In high grades like PSA 10, copies can still reach $1,000 due to very low pop reports. Pagnozzi may not have set the baseball world on fire but this scarce rookie endures as a true condition-sensitive gem for vintage Cardinal collectors.

While not the most decorated set overall the 1989 Topps release housed some true superstar rookie cards that have stood the test of time. Led by the incomparable Griffey and backed by legends like Maddux, Johnson, and Bagwell, it holds immense nostalgia for a generation of collectors. Even obscure issues like the Pagnozzi maintain value based on factors beyond stats alone. For vintage baseball card investors, examples from the ’89 set in pristine condition continue to prove themselves as sound long-term holdings.

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