Kirby Puckett (1960-2006) is the Twins’ all-time leader in career hits, runs, and total bases, having spent his entire 12-year MLB career as a center fielder with the team.
On March 5, 2006, Puckett suffered a stroke at his Arizona home and died the following day, just over a week short of his 46th birthday. His 1980’s cards are some of the most iconic from the era.
Here’s a rundown with five of the very best Kirby Puckett rookie options, including XRCs featuring the Hall of Famer.
The Best Kirby Puckett Rookie Cards
Puckett’s major league debut came on May 8, 1984, and he was included in all of the major sets in 1985.
For the purposes of this list, we’re looking at PSA 10/BGS 10 copies, given they’re the most valuable overall.
5. 1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett Rookie Card #438 (eBay)
The 1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett rookie card is where we’ll begin. It features a posed close up of the player with a bat slung over one shoulder, and has a black hard border which makes it a bit tougher to locate in pristine condition.
Regardless, there are hundreds of graded versions, so anything less than perfect won’t sell for much.
(You’ll also be able to find a 1985 Leaf version with the exact same design, save for logo changes and French text on the reverse as it was produced for the Canadian market.)
4. 1985 Fleer Kirby Puckett Rookie Card #286 (eBay)
1985 Fleer contains another popular Puckett rookie card. With a light blue background that matches his Twins uniform, it’s the key to the set, and features one of the best action shots overall.
As with the 1985 Donruss card, there are roughly 300 gem mint versions at the current time of writing.
3. 1985 Topps/O-Pee-Chee Kirby Puckett Rookie Card #536/#10 (eBay)
1985 Topps features another Puckett RC in a set that is better known for the Mark McGwire RC #401 contained within. It’s probably the most popular of the trio we’ve listed so far, as evidenced by the sheer number of cards that have been sent off to PSA for grading over the years.
This time, there are almost 500 copies, although it still sells for a similar price in pristine condition.
For a rarer option, Puckett’s O-Pee-Chee RC looks very similar to its Topps counterpart. You’ll be able to tell the difference by checking the logo. The back of the O-Pee-Chee card has lighter card stock and bilingual English/French text, while it was printed in fewer numbers due to lesser demand.
- Check prices for 1985 Topps Kirby Puckett RC on eBay
- Check prices for 1985 OPC Kirby Puckett RC on eBay
2. 1983 Visalia Oaks Fritsch Kirby Puckett #6 (eBay)
Puckett’s one and only minor league card, 1983 Visalia Oaks Fritsch is a rarer option than most. If you’re looking for background info about a little known manufacturer, in their own words;
“Back in 1982 and 1983 Larry Fritsch Cards produced minor league sets for the Midwest League. The Visalia Oaks set was made in conjunction with the 1983 issue and features Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett on his very first baseball card. The Visalia Oaks were a Minnesota Twins farm club in the California League. The production run on this set was very limited, making this set very scarce.”
1. 1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett XRC #93 (eBay)
The 1984 Fleer Update set is the first time Puckett was featured in an MLB-branded collection. It’s his only card from 1984, while it had a smaller print run than many of the RCs that came afterwards. That’s enough to make it the number one Puckett card to collect.
It benefits from a clean design, although 500+ PSA 10 copies have helped to keep prices lower than you might have expected.
Kirby Puckett Rookie Cards: Buyers Guide
What is the current market like for Kirby Puckett rookie cards? Here’s what we think.
The Best Cheap Kirby Puckett Rookie Cards
The cards were released during the mid 1980s, so you won’t have to be on the lookout for rare parallels and inserts. As such, ungraded copies of most Puckett RCs are affordable, and the same goes for PSA 9 cards.
The Best Kirby Puckett Rookie Card Investment
If you don’t mind earlier cards, we’d keep tabs on the 1983 Visalia Oaks RC. The best investment option is likely to be the 1985 OPC Kirby Puckett RC, as there are only 62 Gem Mint copies at the current time of writing.
Kirby Puckett Rookie Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
Puckett has a strong collection of RCs, and was featured by every major brand during his breakthrough season. There’s also a couple of options from 1983 and 1984, if you’d prefer to go down the XRC route.
Puckett led the Twins to a duo of World Series titles, in 1987 and 1991, the only two championships for the franchise since their move to Minnesota in 1961.
A legendary Hall of Famer, he’s still well remembered, and his rookie cards have to be seen as one of the safer bets in the hobby.