Griffey Rookie Is Most Iconic Baseball Card

Ken Griffey Jr.'s 1989 Upper Deck trading card
Source: Upper Deck
Ken Griffey Jr.'s 1989 Upper Deck trading card

Everyone talks about the T206 Honus Wagner card and the 1952 Mickey Mantle rookie card, but in baseball lore, Ken Griffey’s 1989 Upper Deck card is the defining card of the business.

With the help of Beckett's Chris Olds and Tracy Hackler, I came up with a slideshow of the Top 10 Most Iconic Baseball Cards.

The year was 1989 and it was the height of the card collecting business. My dad had taken my brother Brian and I to a card show and we made the big leap of buying a case of Upper Deck cards.

We reasoned with my mom that the huge cost was worth it — it would, after all, pay for our college educations.

I vividly remember opening hundreds of packs with guaranteed gold in each foil pack — Griffey being the card we all wanted.

But there were so many other cards worth screaming about.

  • The Sandy Alomar Jr.
  • The Gregg Jefferies.
  • Dante Bichette!

I rifled through so many packs that the images on those cards are still somehow etched into my brain. I’d love to clear some space, but I still see those common players that I tossed to the side.

  • The Frank Dipino.
  • The Felix Fermin.
  • Henry Cotto!

Ken Griffey Jr. had a tremendous career, but for many of us in the card business, it is his card that we will always remember. And the fact that we didn’t sell them when we should have —immediately after we pulled them out of the packs.