Arguably the greatest baseball player ever, three years after Rose retired, he agreed to permanent ineligibility from baseball after allegedly gambling on games while he was a Cincinnati Red player and manager, including allegations that he wagered on his own team.
It brought the game into disrepute, and it’s the reason why he hasn’t been included in the Hall of Fame.
We’ve come up with a list containing a trio of ‘Charlie Hustle’s’ best cards, along with buying/selling advice for the future.
The Best Pete Rose Cards
There’s a distinct lack of rare autos, as we’re sticking with vintage cards that were released prior to the 1980’s.
5. 1981 Topps Pete Rose #180 (eBay)
The 1981 Topps set is first up, instantly recognisable thanks to a distinctive green border.
It includes a simple profile shot of the player, and it’s the most recent Rose card to make the list by a fair margin.
He led the league in hits (140) for the seventh and final time during the shortened 1981 season, adding to the overall desirability.
As with the majority of vintage graded Rose cards there’s a major drop-off if you’re looking at PSA 9s and below.
This is mainly due to scarcity, as there are only 29 Gem Mint copies according to the registry at the current time of writing.
4. 1964 Topps Pete Rose #125 (eBay)
A year after the release of his RC, 1964 Topps sets have the first MLB-branded card featuring the player as a solo star.
Rose is found in a profile shot wearing a classic red and white Cincinnati hat, with his team listed in purple text at the top.
The “Topps All-Star Rookie” logo is an important addition, as it had been added to special cards since 1960.
It’s not quite as prestigious as his ‘63 rookie card, but flawless copies are worth a lot.
3. 1975 Topps Pete Rose #320 (eBay)
1975 was another good year for Topps-branded Pete Rose cards.
He was named as an NL All-Star, while the card has a great shot of Rose in a batting pose, along with a facsimile auto found at the bottom.
One explanation for the high asking price for this card can be found when looking at the coloured corners. The Red and yellow is especially susceptible to showing off any nicks or dings, instantly lowering the value depending on the grade selected.
2. 1971 Topps Pete Rose #100 (eBay)
The 1971 Topps set is another that is famed due to a variety of strong design choices.
For example, the thick, black background makes it instantly recognisable, while showing off any and every flaw imaginable.
You’ll find a facsimile copy of his autograph printed along the bottom of the card, helping it to stand out compared to others released during the period. (In many ways, it’s a prototype of the 1975 card seen above.)
1. 1963 Topps Pete Rose RC #537 (eBay)
The definitive Pete Rose rookie card is found in 1963 Topps packs.
Rose shares the front with Pedro Gonzalez, Ken McMullen, and Al Weis, as their disembodied heads float in red circles set against a yellow background.
A blue and white tab at the top notes that the players are ‘1963 Rookie Stars’.
Given a PSA 9 recently sold for over $100,000, it’s easy to see how it has gained a serious reputation amongst collectors.
There’s a sole PSA 10 graded copy, which last sold for $717,000 via Heritage Auctions in 2016.
Pete Rose Cards: Buyers Guide
Pete Rose is still being included in sets till this very day, so we’ve come up with a brief buyers guide for a few different scenarios.
The Best Cheap Pete Rose Cards
If you want cheaper graded Rose cards, PSA/BGS 9s and below tend to be affordable if you’re looking at vintage Topps sets. Of course, this means that they’re less likely to sell for massive sums in the future, but it’s great news for collectors and hobbyists.
The Best Pete Rose Investment Card
Of course, the 1963 Rose RC takes up the majority of attention, especially considering the high asking price compared to every other card on this list. Sometimes, you really can’t do better than the original.
The RC has to be the best investment option overall, depending on budget and the amount of time you’re willing to hold for.
Pete Rose Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
Rose is arguably the best player ever to be excluded from the Hall of Fame, even if the reasons behind it still seem justified in the present day.
His reputation and the numbers he put up as a player have helped to cement his legacy with collectors and investors, which means they’re always popular whenever they come up for sale in the present day.
We think that Rose is one of the safest investment options overall, with a small chance of a large boost if rulemakers ever do decide to relent and let him into the promised land in Cooperstown.