The 1990 score baseball card set is considered one of the most iconic of all time in the hobby. released at the height of the junk wax era, it still featured many star players and hall of famers that have withstood the test of time. Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the top cards collectors seek out from the 1990 score issue.

Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card – Widely considered the most desirable rookie card of the late 80s/early 90s boom, Griffey’s 1990 score issue has stood the test of time. Even during the midst of the junk wax era, Junior’s talent and marketability was evident. This card has increased exponentially in value in recent years, easily bringing in thousands of dollars graded mint. For the iconic player he became, this remains his premier rookie card.

Nolan Ryan #1 – As one of the most legendary pitchers in baseball history, it’s only fitting that Nolan Ryan’s flagship card would be one of the most sought after from 1990 score. Sporting his trademark high leg kick delivering a heater, this card captures Ryan during his record-breaking final seasons. High grade copies continue to appreciate significantly for the all-time strikeout and no-hitter king.


Cal Ripken Jr. #158 – Not quite the flagship, but Ripken’s 1990 score card is still a highly desirable issue for collectors. It came during Cal Ripken’s incredible consecutive games played streak, where he would break Lou Gehrig’s record. The card depicts Ripken making an epic diving play to his left, showing why he won two AL MVPs. This iron man’s cards from the late 80s/early 90s period are icons.

Frank Thomas #93 – As one of the most dominant hitters of the 90s, Frank Thomas’ rookie season in 1990 saw him finish second in AL ROY voting. His score issue shows great promise, with Thomas unleashing a mighty cut. This card was hugely popular upon release and has grown in stature since. High grade T-Hawk rookies remain a core holding for collectors.

Greg Maddux #438 – Captured at the top of his game in 1990 after winning the first of his 4 straight Cy Young awards, Maddux’s prowess is on full display. He is shown delivering an offspeed pitch with his trademark control and efficiency. As one of the best pitchers ever, and a key member of the Braves dynasty, his stellar run guarantees his cards retain value.

Barry Bonds #450 – Arguably the greatest hitter in baseball history, Barry Bonds’ power surge began in Pittsburgh. His 1990 score issue shows the five-tool talent in his prime with the Pirates. Bonds is poised ready to unleash at the plate. Not as iconic as some Giants cards would later become, but still a strong Bulls player issue at the height of the junk wax era.


Roberto Alomar #583 – Often considered the finest all-around player of the 1990s, Roberto Alomar’s athleticism and talents are on display making a spinning throw from deep in the hole at second base. This snapshot captures why he won a record 10 straight Gold Gloves to start his career. Highly regarded among collectors for his peak performance years with Toronto and Baltimore.

Tom Glavine #648 – The ace of the dominant Atlanta Braves rotation, Tom Glavine came into his own in 1990 by winning the first of his two career Cy Young awards. This card shows Glavine on the mound, his long curly locks flowing, during a season he’d tally 20 wins. It helped propel him towards a Hall of Fame career and 300 career victories.

Don Mattingly #678 – As one of the iconic players from the 1980s, Don Mattingly’s offensive prowess and leadership at first base for the New York Yankees is legendary. His 1990 score issue, still with the Yanks before back issues forced a change of scenery, captures #23 during his classic crouched batting stance. A beloved star player from the time period.


Rickey Henderson #717 – The incomparable base stealing and leadoff-hitting machine, Rickey Henderson, is shown gearing up for another stolen bag on his 1990 score issue. As the all-time leader in steals and runs scored, Henderson made highlights a nightly occurrence, as this card reminds collectors. Always an exciting player to collect for his prolific statistical brilliance.

Those represent some of the most desirable stars and standout rookies captured in the 1990 score baseball set. While produced during the junk wax era glut, strong player selection and iconic photos have allowed many of these issues to retain value as the years go by. For historians of the game and collectors, they serve as snapshots from one of baseball’s most exciting decades of the late 20th century. Beyond just the stars though, the set as a whole captured a who’s who from the 1990 MLB season and remains a fun research set for players both Hall of Fame caliber and often forgotten. When it comes to lasting cardboard from the early 90s, 1990 score is a true standout.

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