The Ultimate List of 24 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Cards (2021)

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Are you wondering which Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards to buy?

Thousands of sports card collectors and investors are asking themselves the same question.

Ken Griffey Jr. was my favorite player growing up and I am fortunate to own several Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards valued at ~$2,000 in 2021.

Whether you are buying your first or adding to your collection, understanding your options, prices, trends, and population count are crucial to significantly improve your chance of making a positive return on your investment.

It starts by reviewing Griffey’s profile and stats, then examining cards available, prices, and pop count.

That is exactly what I am doing! And I am sharing my work with you.

Keep reading to find everything you need to know, and my investment advice.

Ken Griffey Jr. Player Profile and Stats

Ken Griffey Jr. was drafted 1st overall by the Seattle Mariners out of Archbishop Moeller High School in the 1987 MLB draft. Griffey Jr. played 22 seasons primarily with the Mariners and Reds.

Over his 22 year career, Griffey Jr. hit .284 with 680 home runs and 1,836 RBI. He was arguably the most exciting player of his generation and earned the nickname “The Natural.” Additional details:

  • Teams: Seattle Mariners (1989-99, 2009-10), Cincinnati Reds (2000-08), Chicago White Sox (2008)
  • Position: Centerfielder
  • Rookie Year: 1989
  • Prospect Years: 1987-1988
  • Date of Birth (Age): November 21, 1969 (51)
  • Draft: 1st overall by Seattle Mariners in the 1987 MLB draft
  • Career WAR: ~84
  • Similar Batters: Frank Robinson, Rafael Palmeiro, Gary Sheffield, and Mel Ott according to Baseball Reference
  • Awards: Hall of Fame, MVP, 13x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, and 7x Silver Slugger
  • Investment Status: Low Risk, Low-Moderate Upside

The following article lists 24 Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards in order from earliest released (1987) to latest released (1990). In addition, please keep the following in mind:

  • Prices are based on PSA 10 auction prices (when available)
  • Price estimates are based on transactions that occurred in May 2021 or earlier
  • PSA 10 count is based on data from PSA in May 2021

1. 1987 Bellingham Mariners Ken Griffey Jr. Team Issue #15 (Buy on eBay)

The 1987 Bellingnham Mariners Ken Griffey Jr. card is the only card on this list from 1987. The card is relatively expensive, but given it is one of the earliest Griffey cards, it is among my favorites on this list.

The card features Griffey Jr in a white jersey and blue hat framed by white boarder. Griffey is a lefty, so you’ll notice his glove is on his right hand.

As of May 2021, there are ~750 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr Bellingham prospect cards and the card value is ~$1,000.

1987 Bellingham Mariners Ken Griffey Jr Team Issue

2. 1988 Best Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit #1 (Buy on eBay)

The 1988 San Bernardino Spirit Griffey Jr. prospect cards are extremely rare and as a result, very expensive. The card design varies, but the Platinum rookie card features Griffey Jr. in a white San Bernardino Spirit jersey and black hat. His image is framed by a black and grey boarder.

There are three variations of this card and the PSA pop count and card price varies, as of April 2021.

  • Base: 5 PSA 10 Base rookie cards and the card value is ~$4,500+ (last sale from 2019)
  • Platinum: 17 PSA 10 Platinum rookie cards and the card value is ~$2,000+ (last sale from 2019)
  • Platinum-White Spirit: Only 3 PSA graded cards exist and none better than PSA 8. I couldn’t find the price, but I expect it would be very high
1988 Best Ken Griffey Jr San Bernardino Spirit

3. 1988 Cal League Ken Griffey Jr. All-Stars #26 (Buy on eBay)

The 1988 Cal League All-Stars Griffey Jr. prospect card is also extremely rare and relatively expensive. The card features Griffey Jr. in a white San Bernardino Spirit jersey catching a baseball in the outfield.

As of May 2021, there are ~20 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Cal League prospect cards and the card value is ~$2,500.

1988 Cal League Ken Griffey Jr. All-Stars

4. 1988 Star Ken Griffey Jr. Silver Edition #1-9 (Buy on eBay)

The 1988 Star Silver Edition Ken Griffey Jr. prospect cards feature a set of 9 different cards. Each card features a blue boarder with the “Star” brand in the top-right, but the image on each card varies.

The PSA pop count and card price varies. As of May 2021, there are less than 5 PSA 10 cards per card variation and a PSA 10 Silver Edition #4 sold for ~$620 in October 2020.

1988 Star Ken Griffey Jr. Silver Edition

5. 1988 Cal Cards Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit #34 (Buy on eBay)

The 1988 Cal Cards Ken Griffey Jr. card is a prospect card from his 1988 season, one year after he was drafted and one year before his rookie year in 1989. Similar to several other 1988 Griffey Jr. cards, the card features Griffey Jr. in a San Bernardino Spirit uniform.

As of May 2021, there are ~80 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Cal Cards prospect cards and the card value is ~$560 (last sale from December 2020).

1988 Cal Cards Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit

6. 1988 PROCARDS Ken Griffey Jr. Vermont Mariners (Buy on eBay)

The 1988 PROCARDS Ken Griffey Jr. prospect card is the only card on this list with Griffey Jr. in a Vermont Mariners uniform and is extremely rare. The card features Griffey Jr. in a white Mariners jersey with his bat over his left shoulder.

As of May 2021, there are ~100 PSA graded cards with only three PSA 9 and eight PSA 8. An off-center PSA 9 recently sold for ~$80.

1988 PROCARDS Ken Griffey Jr Vermont Mariner

7. 1988 Star Ad Cards Ken Griffey Jr. Green and Purple (Buy on eBay)

The 1988 Star Ad Cards are relatively rare, but less expensive than many 1988 Griffey Jr. prospect cards on this list. The card features Griffey Jr. in a Seattle Mariners jersey with his baseball bat over his left shoulder. Griffey Jr. batted left-handed in addition to throwing left-handed.

As of May 2021, there are 18 PSA 10 Star Ad Cards (Green) and 11 PSA 10 Star Ad Cards (Purple). A Green PSA 10 recently sold for $270 and a Purple PSA 10 sold for ~$255 in December 2020.

1988 Star Ad Cards Ken Griffey Jr

8. 1988 Star Ken Griffey Jr. Nova Edition (Buy on eBay)

The 1988 Star Nova Edition Griffey Jr. prospect cards include 10 variations of the card. Each card includes a descriptor (e.g., “Career Stats”) which appears at the bottom of the card, as well as a unique image.

The cards are rare with no single variation having more than 20 PSA 10 cards as of May 2021. Card prices vary, but a PSA 10 “Personal Data” card sold for ~$600 in October 2020.

The complete list of cards and PSA population count are below:

  • Career Stats (#118): 5 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • Career Info (#119): 7 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • 1988 Season 1 (#120): 9 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • 1988 Season 2 (#121): 9 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • #1 Prospect (#122): 11 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • Father / Son (#123): 15 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • Personal Data (#124): 14 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • The Future (#125): 18 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • Seattle Mariners (#126): 10 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
  • Promo: 3 PSA 10 cards and limited historical sales data exists
1988 Star Ken Griffey Jr Nova Edition

9. 1989 Baseball Cards Magazine Ken Griffey Jr. Replica Cards #63 (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Baseball Cards Magazine Ken Griffey Jr. is among the most rare 1989 Griffey Jr. cards and as a result, also among the most expensive. The card features Griffey Jr. in a blue Mariners batting helmet superimposed on a red, white, and blue background.

As of May 2021, there are 28 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Cards Magazine rookie cards and the card value is $800+ (last auction sale was October 2020).

1989 Baseball Cards Magazine Ken Griffey Jr. Replica Cards

10. 1989 Classic Travel Ken Griffey Jr. Update I #131 RC (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Classic Travel Update I is among the more common Griffey Jr. rookie cards and as a result, is also relatively affordable. The card is one of two “Classic Travel” cards on this list with this one, the “Update I” being the more common and less expensive of the two.

As of May 2021, there are 876 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Classic Travel Update I rookie cards and the card value is ~$70

1989 Classic Travel Ken Griffey Jr. Update I

11. 1989 Classic Travel Ken Griffey Jr. Update II #193 RC (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Classic Travel II is less common than the “Update I” and as a result, also more expensive. The price has fluctuated quite a bit lately with a PSA 10 selling for ~$700 in March and then the price dropping to ~$185 in April. The features Griffey Jr. at bat with a grey and pink boarder.

As of May 2021, there are 250 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Classic Travel Update II rookie cards and the card value is ~$185

1989 Classic Travel Ken Griffey Jr. Update II

12. 1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. Rated Rookie #33 (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. Rated Rookie card is among the most common Griffey Jr. rookie cards. The card features the classic Donruss “Rated Rookie” logo which increases the appeal for many collectors and investors.

As of May 2021, there are ~1,800 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Donruss Rated Rookie cards and the card value is ~$400.

1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. Rated Rookie

13. 1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. The Rookies #3 (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Donruss The Rookies Ken Griffey Jr. card is one of three 1989 Donruss cards on this list and also the least expensive. The card features Griffey Jr. holding a baseball bat over his left shoulder, eye-black beneath his eyes, while wearing a blue Seattle Mariners jersey. Due to the lower population count compared to the Donruss Rated Rookie card, I like this card for the current price point.

As of May 2021, there are ~1,700 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Donruss The Rookies cards and the card value is ~$225.

1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. The Rookies

14. 1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball’s Best #192 (Buy on eBay)

The Donruss Baseball’s Best Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card is the highest priced 1989 Donruss card on this list and also the most rare. It is also the only 1989 Donruss Griffey Jr. card that features an action shot. The image of Griffey Jr. is boarded by a neon green and black boarder and includes the ‘M’s’ logo on the top-right of the card.

As of May 2021, there are ~450 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Donruss Baseball’s Best rookie cards and the card value is ~$680.

1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball's Best

15. 1989 Fleer Ken Griffey Jr. #548 (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Fleer Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card is among the most common Griffey Jr. rookie cards. This card was produced at the height of the junk wax era (1987 – 1994) which drives the high population count. Despite the high population count, the card remains popular with collectors and investors and is one that you can easily find and add to your collection.

As of May 2021, there are ~4,600 PSA 10 Ken Griffey Jr. Fleer rookie cards and the card value is ~$175.

1989 Fleer Ken Griffey Jr.

16. 1989 Pacific Cards & Comics Ken Griffey Jr Playball U.S.A (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Pacific Cards & Comics Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card is a difficult card to find. A search on PSA’s website returned the result “no longer grading” and there are only a handful of auction transactions over the past several years.

Limited information is available for population count and price, but a PSA 10 card like the one pictured below sold for ~$900 in April 2021.

1989 Pacific Cards & Comics Ken Griffey Jr

17. 1989 Pacific Cards & Comics Ken Griffey Jr Rookies Superstars (Buy on eBay)

Similar to the last card, the 1989 Pacific Cards & Comics Ken Griffey Jr. rookie superstars card is also extremely rare and hard to find.

A PSA 10 version of this card sold back in 2015 for only ~$50, but in today’s market it is hard to guess what the card value would be now.

1989 Pacific Cards & Comics Ken Griffey Jr Rookies Superstars

18. 1989 Score Ken Griffey Jr. Soremasters #30 (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Score Ken Griffey Jr. Scoremasters rookie card is one of two cards from Score on this list. The card features one of my favorite images. Griffey Jr. is about to make contact (or just made contact) with the baseball and is framed by a brightly lit background of pinks, reds, yellows, and oranges. The card almost looks like a work of art and is one of my personal favorites, especially given the price.

As of May 2021, there are ~1,100 PSA 10 1989 Score Ken Griffey Jr. Scoremasters rookie cards and the card value is ~$133.

1989 Score Ken Griffey Jr. Soremasters

19. 1989 Score Ken Griffey Jr. Score Traded #100T (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Score Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card is the second of two 1989 Score cards on this list. The card is common with a PSA 10 count similar to the 1989 Fleer Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. It is also one of the most affordable Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards and is a good option around the $120 price point.

As of May 2021, there are ~4,400 PSA 10 1989 Score Traded Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards and the card value is ~$136.

1989 Score Ken Griffey Jr. Score Traded

20. 1989 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. Topps Traded #41T (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card is among the most common and iconic Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards. The popularity of the card has kept prices high despite the fact that there are more than 12,000 PSA 10 graded cards. I like the card and it is a relatively safe buy given the popularity among collectors and investors.

As of May 2021, there are ~12,250 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Topps Traded rookie cards and the card value is ~$230, but price has been fluctuating a lot recently.

1989 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. Topps Traded

21. 1989 Bowman Ken Griffey Jr. #220 Rookie Card (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Bowman Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card is both popular with collectors and investors and more rare than the 1989 Fleer and 1989 Topps Traded rookie cards. For these reasons, I really like this card, but so do many others which is why prices are currently near $500 for a PSA 10 graded card.

As of May 2021, there are ~2,000 PSA 10 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Bowman rookie cards and the card value is ~$470.

1989 Bowman Ken Griffey Jr.

22. 1989 Bowman Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr. #220 Rookie Card (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Bowman Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card is the highest priced rookie card on this list. The card is extremely rare and iconic which both contribute to driving up the price. I would love to own this card, but with a $20,000 price tag, I may need to hold off on buying it!

As of May 2021, there are 156 PSA 10 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Bowman Tiffany rookie cards and the card value is ~$20,000 based on the last card sold at auction in March 2021.

1989 Bowman Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr.

23. 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Star Rookie #1 (Buy on eBay)

The 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Star rookie card is the card I think of as the standard Griffey Jr. rookie card. The card is not rare, there are close to 4,000 PSA 10 graded cards, but commands high prices due to the cards popularity with collectors and investors. This card can be a cornerstone of any Ken Griffey Jr. card collection, but it will cost your more than $2,000 for a PSA 10 card.

As of May 2021, there are ~3,900 PSA 10 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck Star rookie cards and the card value is ~$2,200.

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Star Rookie

24. 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. Gold Cup #336 (Buy on eBay)

The 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. Gold Cup card is not a rookie card, but includes the “All-Star Rookie” Gold Cup which connects the card to Griffey Jr.’s rookie year. PSA 10 graded versions of this card are very rare and limited historical sales data exists. I like this card, but I wouldn’t overpay for it given it is not a true Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.

As of May 2021, there are ~365 PSA 10 1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. Gold Cup cards and PSA 9 versions of this card have recently sold for less than $100.

1990 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. Gold Cup

Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card Value

Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card values range from $10 to $20,000+.

The primary drivers of value for Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards are the following:

  • Rarity: the more rare the card, the higher the value
  • Condition: the better the condition of the card, the higher the value
  • Collectability: the higher the interest (demand), the higher the card value

For example, a PSA 8 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card sold for ~$110 in May 2021. In the same month, a PSA 10 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card sold for $2,225, 20x the price! As you can see, condition plays a huge role in determining the value of the card.

Another example is the difference in price between the 1989 Bowman and 1989 Bowman Tiffany cards. The cards feature the exact same image, but the Bowman Tiffany card was last valued at ~40x the price! This is due to the much lower population count: ~150 for the Bowman Tiffany compared to ~2,000 for the Bowman, and the glossy finish of the Bowman Tiffany card. As you can see, rarity also plays a major role in determining the value of the card.

Unfortunately, there is no set formula for calculating card values, but historical prices typically give you a good indicator of future price in the short-term.

Are your Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards worth money?

It depends on the same factors outline above:

  • How rare is the card?
  • What condition is the card in?
  • How popular is the card with collectors and investors?

The best way to find how much your Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards are worth is to look up historical prices for that card. The PWCC Market Price Research tool provides historical price data as far back as 2004 and is a great resource for looking up how much your Ken Griffey Jr. baseball cards are worth.

Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card Investment Advice

As of May 2021, I classify Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards as Low Risk with Low-Moderate Upside potential. Griffey Jr. is a baseball icon and will be remembered and collected for years to come.

Why do I believe Ken Griffey Jr. is a low risk investment?

Ken Griffey Jr. has already been elected to the Hall of Fame after a 22 year storied MLB career. During that time, Griffey Jr. was a 13x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, and 7x Silver Slugger. Many young sports fans growing up in the 90s idolized Ken Griffey Jr. and his legacy endures today.

I like to reserve medium or high risk designations for players who have yet to prove themselves, are unlikely to be collectible long-term, and / or are struggling severely. Griffey Jr. does not meet those criteria. As a result, I believe he is a low risk investment.

Why do I believe Griffey Jr. has low-moderate upside potential?

As mentioned previously, I believe Ken Griffey Jr. will remain one of the most collectible baseball players for years to come. The enduring popularity and demand for Ken Griffey Jr. baseball cards will ensure a continued market for his cards.

All that said, Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards prices have already risen significantly in 2020 and 2021 and as a result, I have a hard time imagining his card prices will continue to increase dramatically. I believe his card prices will go as the sports card market goes: if new collectors and investors continue to enter the hobby, you will likely continue to see a steady increase in Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card values.

Due to popularity and enduring demand for Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards and the fact that Griffey Jr. rookie card values have already risen sharply, I believe his cards only have low-moderate upside moving forward.

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4 Responses

  1. Thank you! Very interesting and informative! I was confused about your comment regarding the PSA rated 8 and a rated 10 card. I wasn’t aware of any card from 1991 being considered a rookie card!

  2. I have a Ken Griffey Junior rookie card in a clear plastic case I was just wondering what it is worth it’s an upper deck can you get me any numbers on what it might be worth

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