Looking for the best Don Mattingly rookie cards?
Nicknamed “The Hit Man” and “Donnie Baseball”, Don Mattingly spent his entire 14-year playing career with the New York Yankees and later managed the Los Angeles Dodgers for five years.
Mattingly is arguably the greatest Yankee to never win a World Series with the organisation. He’s the current Miami Marlins manager.
Here’s a roundup with a trio of the best Don Mattingly rookie cards, as we take a look at their future investment potential midway through 2022.
The Best Don Mattingly Rookie Cards
Given the number of cards produced due to large print runs in the mid-1980’s, we’re sticking with PSA 10 versions for the purposes of this list.
The majority of Mattingly rookie cards were released in 1984. He was the subject of a couple of XRCs during his time with the Nashville Sounds.
3. 1981 Arby’s Nashville Sounds Don Mattingly RC (eBay)
The Arby’s Nashville Sounds team set features Don Mattingly and Willie McGee in their first ever cards back in 1981. (Arby’s sponsored the side for a single season, and you’ll find their logo on the front.)
The card also happens to be a classic, featuring a simple action shot of Mattingly standing with a glove at the ready. It could be from the 1950’s, and that’s meant as a real compliment. It’s a great collectible for fans who don’t mind sticking with minor league options.
2. 1984 Don Mattingly Topps Tiffany RC #8 (eBay)
1984 Topps Baseball is where you’ll find the next card to make the list, including both an action shot and a profile image of Mattingly.
It’s a similar design to 1983 Topps Baseball, only this time the profile photo is bordered with a square rather than a circle. The addition of a team name in large lettering helps it to stand out from the crowd.
The most coveted cards are found in 1984 Topps Baseball Tiffany Collector’s Edition sets. Featuring white stock with a glossy finish, the reported print run is approximately 10,000.
1. 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly RC #248 (eBay)
There’s no denying that the 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly RC is one of the more popular baseball cards from the decade.
The set itself has a role to play, with a smaller print run and a clear uptick in quality compared to Topps releases from the same era. (Even when compared to Tiffany cards.)
It helped to kickstart the rookie card collecting craze again, featuring a strong selection of images throughout. This Mattingly card sees the player staring at the camera in a close-up action shot.
Don Mattingly Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
We’ve put together a guide looking at the current state of the market for Don Mattingly rookie cards.
As they were released in the mid 1980’s and lack serial numbers, it’s not difficult to find Mattingly’s RCs on the market for an affordable asking price.
The 1984 Donruss is the undisputed king of Mattingly rookie cards, but there’s a ton of copies on the market. That goes for graded versions too, so PSA 8s are a fairly affordable compromise.
Once again, we’d probably go with the 1984 Donruss given its popularity and relative rarity ever since it was originally released. Of course, we’d stick with PSA 10 versions if possible.
At the current time of writing, there are only 297 copies which have achieved a gem mint grade.
It’s easy to see why he was chosen, as the former Yankees captain won the 1984 batting title and the 1985 AL MVP. The AL selected him for six consecutive All-Star games, and he won nine Gold Glove awards during his playing career.
Nonetheless, a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame still eludes him.
Even so, we think that Mattingly cards are a decent investment if you’re looking for the best that 1980’s baseball has to offer.
He’s unlikely to hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. They could creep up in value over the next decade or so.