What are the best Mark McGwire rookie cards to collect? The Oakland A’s legend is yet to be induced into the Hall of Fame, despite a .263/.394/.588 batting line and 583 homers.
Mark McGwire is an important player who helped to draw eyes to a sport that was on the wane during his early career. Unfortunately, his chances of a spot in the Hall of Fame were damaged when he admitted to PED usage, as it tainted his legacy to some extent. ‘Everyone’ might have been doing it, but McGwire was the one who actually admitted to it.
However, that hasn’t made a dent on Mark McGwire rookie card values, as long as you stick with the 1985 Topps release. Here’s everything you need to know.
The Best Mark McGwire Rookie Cards to Collect
One card stands head and shoulders above the rest, but there are still three viable options if you’re looking for a Mark McGwire rookie card to collect.
3. 1982 Anchorage Glacier Pilots Mark McGwire XRC (eBay)
For the first ever baseball card bearing the image of Mark McGwire, look no further than the 1982 Anchorage Glacier Pilots set. The first baseman is pictured while playing for a summer league team in the Alaska Baseball League, in a simple black and white image.
It works out to be far cheaper than the cards mentioned below, and it’s easily identifiable thanks to a deep blue background. You’ll find basic biographical info on the reverse.
2. 1985 Frank Chong Modesto A’s Mark McGwire RC #17 (eBay)
There are two 1985 minor-league cards from McGwire’s time spent with the Modesto Athletics. Or, should we say McGuire? You’ll also be able to find an error card with his surname misspelt, and these versions tend to be far rarer than the card seen above.
When it comes to this card, we’d be wary of fakes, no matter whether it’s the error card or the fixed version. It’s probably best to stick with graded versions. You’ll find simple stats and a couple of ads on the reverse.
1. 1985 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire RC #401 (eBay)
1985 Topps is where you’ll find the true Mark McGwire RC, from his time spent with Team USA. You’ll see a PSA 10 example of the base version in the image above. There’s also a premium glossy Topps Tiffany edition to chase, which is where values start to rise rapidly. (For example, the most recent PSA 10 sale price as of March 2023 was for $11,685.)
Each of the 792 cards in the set were given the glossy treatment for the Tiffany set. It was made available via hobby dealers, and there were just 5,000 sets produced in total. That’s especially low for the era.
The Best Mark McGwire Rookie Cards: Final Thoughts
Mark McGwire rookie cards can be exceptionally valuable at the upper end, which is unsurprising given he played in three straight World Series from 1988-1990, and is arguably the best Oakland A’s player that has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
If attitudes to his PED controversy do begin to change in due time, it would definitely boost his rookie card prices.
However, it seems like the National Baseball HoF has decided to make an example of McGwire due to the use of steroids, so it could be a while before he’s added to the Contemporary Baseball Era player ballot.