He was a nine-time All-Star, a World Series champion, five-time Silver Slugger Award winner, 1992 NL Batting Champion, and the owner of one of the most unique stances in all of Major League Baseball History. You know him as Gary Sheffield. And while he was one of the most feared hitters of his generation, the prices of the various Gary Sheffield rookie card options are nothing to fear at all. Why? They came out of the Junk Wax Era, of course. We’re about to go over what cards are available, but first, let’s find out more about why Sheffield was one of the most feared hitters the game has ever seen.
A Career that Will Make You Want to Buy a Gary Sheffield Rookie Card
Sheffield played for eight different Major League Baseball franchises in a career that spanned from 1988 to 2009. Touching three different decades in his career, Sheffield became one of the game’s most popular and respected players. Sheffield could hit for power, average, run well, and was a fantastic defensive player winning Gold Glove awards at both third base and outfield. Not an easy feat.
Sheffield began his career with the Brewers and spent his first three years in Milwaukee. After that, he was traded to the San Diego Padres where he and the “Crime Dog” Fred McGriff made for a lethal 1-2 punch in the middle of the order. But it wasn’t until his next stop where Sheffield cemented his legacy with a World Series in Flordia. Soon after winning his first World Series Sheffield was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and was an automatic star there too. Which wasn’t easy to do seeing as he was traded for catching legend for Mike Piazza.
The Sheffield Sunset
Sheffield enjoyed the Dodger days but was ultimately traded to the Braves and then signed a massive three-year, $39 million contract with the New York Yankees in 2003. After the Yankees, he played for the Tigers and the Mets and became the 25th player in Major League Baseball history to hit 500 home runs. Sheffield is a baseball great and a guy whose rookie card should be in your collection. Let’s take a look at some of the cards you’ll want to consider adding to the ole’ collection.
Random thought of the day: Shouldn’t a .292 career average and more than 500 home runs get you in the Hall of Fame? Voters haven’t been kind to Sheffield so far, but it appears they may be coming around. Always next year!
Our Favorite Gary Sheffield Rookie Options
1989 Upper Deck (our favorite Gary Sheffield rookie card)
This is a classic card that features a calm, almost jovial Sheffield with a batting jacket, double gold chains, and a bat hanging on his shoulder. BALLER. While not as famous as some of the other cards in this set (there’s one that comes to mind!), it’s still a giant in it’s own right. Not the most valuable Sheffield rtookie card, but our favorite.
The card features Sheffield in that retro Brewers jersey with some paint below the eyes and a bat on his shoulder. Yep, someone is ready to play hard ball. Fleer was able to capture the intimidating look that Sheffield gave out on the field. Basically, the card pretty much sums up his playing career, tough and powerful.
1989 Topps Tiffany (most valuable Gary Sheffield rookie card overall)
If the value is your number one objective, this is THE Gary Sheffield rookie card to own. An upgraded and much less common version of the original Topps, the Tiffany version will run you around $200 in perfect condition. As far as the less important details go, the card predicted Sheffield’s career in Major League Baseball pretty well, calling him a “Future Star” with that banner over the top in retro gaming letters.
One of the most iconic “Rated Rookie” sets of all time. This is a card that features Sheffield labeled as a shortstop, a position he did not play often in the Major Leagues but was fantastic at coming out of high school. Add that crushing swing and you’ve got yourself a card that is nothing short of ELECTRIFYING. So if you need to burn a few bucks, there’s plenty of worse ways to spend it.
This card from Score is one of the lesser remembered Gary Sheffield rookie cards. Just Gary doing his thing, trying to put some wood on the ball. On second thought, is that a warm-up swing? Either way, a card that won’t cost you much to get your hands on. Although if we’re going to go with a value play the Donruss Rated Rookie shown above has our vote. Hands down.
Gary Sheffield Rookie Card Outlook
As we spoke about earlier, just like the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards, Gary Sheffield rookie cards are a victim of the infamous Junk Wax Era. While this tends to drive down value, look on the bright side, the cards are much more affordable.
So while you will never make a fortune collecting these, true Sheffield fans can pick up all of their favorite player’s first-year cards ON THE CHEAP. Who knows, maybe one day the Junkl Wax cards will become a cherished collector’s item. Nothing wrong with wishful thinking. But even if they don’t, your collection of Gary Sheffield rookie cards will be an ode to one of the most under-appreciated players to ever play.