10 Super Low-Risk Baseball Cards To Skyrocket Long-Term Profits

These low-risk baseball card investments are great for those that want to accumulate money over time without taking on the stress associated with risk. Buy now and thank us later.

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best low risk baseball cards

What constitutes a low-risk baseball card investment? Essentially, it’s a card that is unlikely to lose money anytime soon.

This might be because the player is long retired, and is better known for being in the Hall of Fame, and has GOAT type status.

Related: Best Sports Card To Invest In Now and Long Term

You won’t find cards from players like Tatis, Acuna, and Vlad Jr. here. Although their card potential return on investment is sky high, the risk they bring is not exactly low.


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Shohei Ohtani - Trae Young - Luka Doncic - Justin Herbert - Mike Trout - Zion Williamson - Michael Jordan - Alex Ovechkin - Tom Brady - Ja Morant


Here you will find retired HoF GOATS along with the biggest stars in the sport right now, who are future Baseball Hall of Fame honorees. These are some of the best players to grace the sport of baseball.

10 Best Low-Risk Baseball Card Investments

These 10 cards are ideal for collectors who are not comfortable carrying much risk in their collection but still desire a moderate to high return on investment (ROI).

As always, we’d recommend looking at copies that have managed to achieve investment quality grades. For vintage cards, PSA or SGC is often the preferred service, while BGS is can also be added to modern baseball card purchases.

 

2011 Mike Trout Topps Update RC #US175

Recommended Grades: PSA 10, 9 or SGC 10 or BGS 10, 9.5, 9 or HGA 10

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2011 Topps Update Mike Trout Rookie Card

This is an easy one.

In a similar vein, the 2011 Topps Update is a must if you’re looking for high-reward baseball card investments with super low risk.

It benefits from having a GOAT as the subject, as it features Trout during his rookie season.

The crisp design shows the player after a successful swing, with no hard border and a small RC logo, found at the base. 

t doesn’t compare to the 2009 release in terms of overall values, but it’s a more affordable option and is viable from an investment perspective.

Standard Parallels: Gold (/2011), Black (/60), Silk Collection (100 cards, /50), Printing Plates, Platinum (/1) 2011 Diamond Parallels: Platinum Diamond (1:4), Cognac Diamond, Hope Diamond (/60), and Canary Diamond (/1)

 

1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck RC #1 

Recommended Grades: PSA 10, 9 or SGC 10 or BGS 10, 9.5, 9 or HGA 10

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1989 ken griffey jr upper deck

Another gimmee.

Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards are another name that is synonymous with baseball card investing. Griffey Jr. is often compared to Barry Bonds, as they are two of the greatest hitters from their respective eras.

Unlike Bonds, Griffey Jr. escaped from the ignominy of being accused of steroid abuse, and his legacy remains untainted to this day.

Another firm favorite with card collectors, the value of his RC has exploded in recent years. It features a simple image of the player as he smiles at the camera, in a shot that has become iconic in the collecting hobby.

Despite a lack of parallels or special versions, many contain a factory wrinkle on the reverse, which is prohibitive in terms of earning a high grade.

This card is another uptick in recent months, with the average price of a PSA 10 copy increasing steadily.

As such, it’s another canny investment and could provide dividends if you’re willing to wait for a while.

 

T206 Ty Cobb HOF Red, Green, Polar Bear Back

Recommended Grades: PSA all or SGC 3 and up

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T206 Ty Cobb HOF Portrait Red Polar Bear

When the Ty Cobb T206 baseball card hits an eBay auction you can bet your last dime it will be one of the most-watched (and bids) cards on the platform.

You would do yourself and your sports card investment portfolio one hell of a favor by adding one of these to your collection.

 

1948 Ted Williams Leaf RC #76

Recommended Grades: PSA 10, 9 or SGC 10 or BGS 10, 9.5, 9 or HGA 10

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best ted williams baseball cards

Ted Williams is a post-war icon, easily making the list thanks to a 19-year career spent with the Red Sox. It would have been longer still, if not for the player being enlisted for military service during World War II and the Korean War.

He’s regarded as one of the greatest hitters ever, and was an All-Star 19 times, and is the last MLB player to bat over .400 in a season.

Found in the 1948 Leaf set, this is the first post-war edition featuring Williams. (He can also be found in early Goudey Premium and Play Ball sets from the late 1930s.)

The age, print defects, and centering are common issues that hold it back from higher grades, while the red coloration and blue tab make it stand out from the crowd. Williams is pictured doing what he does best, with the bat in hand.

The condition and numerous problems cause mint editions to be exceptionally valuable, and reasonably risk-free from an investment perspective.

 

1963 Pete Rose Topps RC with Pedro Gonzalez, Ken McMullen, and Al Weis #537

Recommended Grades: PSA 10, 9 or SGC 10 or BGS 10, 9.5, 9 or HGA 10

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pete rose baseball card

On the subject of legends, the Pete Rose RC from 1963 is another card that has to be included if you’re looking for risk-free baseball card investments.

Rose is a former player and manager, who was a 17-time All-Star and a 3-time World Series champion. He was banned from the sport in ‘89 after accusations that he gambled on baseball games, which he later admitted to in 2004.

His RC has a vertical layout despite featuring four players, with Ken McMullen of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Yankees’ Pedro Gonzalez, and Al Weis of the Chicago White Sox joining Rose on the front of the card.

It has a bright yellow background, with players’ heads found in red circles.

The betting scandal that took place 30 years ago casts a wide shadow and leads to the issue of Rose’s possible reinstatement and election to the Hall of Fame.

It’s unlikely at present, although it would likely cause his RC prices to rise. In any case, it’s still incredibly popular with collectors.

 

1986 Barry Bonds Topps Traded Tiffany #11T

Recommended Grades: PSA 10, 9 or SGC 10 or BGS 10, 9.5, 9 or HGA 10

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Baseball Cards Investments with Good Returns

Barry Bonds. The recipient of a record seven NL MVP awards, eight Gold Glove awards, a record 12 Silver Slugger awards, and 14 All-Star selections, you’d be forgiven for thinking that his cards are some of the most expensive from his era.

Allegations surrounding the use of steroids have hurt his legacy significantly, even if others managed to get away with it at the time.

As such, a number of collectors shy away from the Bonds RC from ‘86, despite the addition of a Tiffany version, which was sold in a comparatively limited number, offering higher quality cards compared to the base release. 

It’s another good choice considering it’s somewhat underpriced, and copies were going for $400 just over a decade ago.

Gem mint copies now sell for four figures and could get higher still if he ever manages to get into the Hall of Fame. 

 

1982 Cal Ripken Topps Traded #98T

Recommended Grades: PSA or SGC all

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Cal Ripken Jr topps rookie card

‘The Iron Man’ Cal Ripken played 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, amassing 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 runs batted in over his career.

A World Series winner and a 19-time All-Star, he’s remembered as one of the best shortstops and third basemen in baseball history.

His ‘82 Topps Traded is a classic card that isn’t especially expensive when looking at ungraded copies due to the large print runs from the time.

“The card is another slow burner, but it’s exceptionally low-risk, and more affordable than many others.”

It has a posed shot of Ripken with a bat slung over one shoulder, with a printed auto included across the middle. However, it doesn’t grade well, so PSA 10 copies can result in a valuation of over $3,000.

 

2000 Miguel Cabrera Topps Traded #TTA40

Recommended Grades: PSA or SGC all

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good Baseball Cards Investments

At the turn of the century, Miguel Cabrera was one of the hottest prospects around. He made his MLB debut in 2003 and is still going as of 2020.

His faltering numbers are one reason why he’s sometimes overlooked by collectors, despite being a 4-time AL batting champion, a World Series winner, and a two-time AL MVP. 

The card itself has a posed shot of Cabrera holding a bat, while the addition of an on-card auto has helped to boost the price in recent years.

He might not be as exciting compared to those that came before or after, but he’s a steady choice from an investment perspective.

He’s sure to join the Hall of Fame when he retires, and people are likely to remember just how good he was in his prime. Once again, it looks to be a solid investment piece. 

 

1962 Lou Brock Topps RC #387

Recommended Grades: PSA or SGC all

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1962 Lou Brock Topps RC

Lou Brock was an outfielder who spent the majority of his 19-year career as a left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. Best known for his base stealing, he broke Ty Cobb’s all-time major league career steals record and Maury Wills’s single-season record. He passed away in September 2020. 

His ‘62 RC is special in a number of ways. It’s seen as his definitive rookie option, while the brown borders along the side are made to look like wood. They can come in lighter or deeper colors, and make the card especially susceptible to wear and chipping.

Brock’s legacy, his passing, and the card itself have led to it being one of the more popular auction pieces in recent months, as it would be a strong addition to almost any collection.

 

1954 Mickey Mantle Bowman #65 

Recommended Grades: PSA or SGC all

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1954 Mickey Mantle Bowman Baseball Card

Mickey Mantle. If ever there was a player who encapsulated U.S. exceptionalism; as well as the post-war glow of being a winning superpower, he was it.

Mantle is the subject of one of the most popular cards from the hobby, but first, we’re going to look at his ‘54 Bowman release.

It features a posed shot of the Yankees legend, with trees and a cloudy sky making up the background.

You’ll also find a copy of his autograph at the bottom, although it hasn’t been hand-signed by the man himself.

Despite being a lesser option compared to the card seen below, mint copies will still sell for an eye-watering six-figure sum. 

As one of the greats, prices remain steady for his early cards and continue to provide good returns year on year.

 

1952 Mickey Mantle Topps #311

Recommended Grades: PSA or SGC all

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Mickey Mantle topps baseball card

The Topps ‘52 Mickey Mantle is seen as ‘the holy grail’ of the hobby, such is its value and importance for baseball card collectors.

In 2018, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle made headlines when it sold for $2.88 million dollars at an auction hosted by Heritage Auctions.

The card belonged to former NFL player Evan Mathis and was graded a 9 MINT by PSA auctions.

The extreme prices have led to increased interest in lower graded copies, as well as cards like the ‘54 Bowman seen above.

It’s another solid baseball card investment, although the price of entry will be too prohibitive for many would-be owners.

 

1954 Ted Williams Bowman #66

Recommended Grades: PSA or SGC all 

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1954 Ted Williams Bowman baseball card

Williams’ ‘54 Bowman is a great alternative if you’re looking for a cheaper option compared to the 1948 Leaf.

It features a simple posed photo of the player, with a copy of his autograph found at the bottom.

The card makes the list as it was pulled from production following a contract dispute between the player and the manufacturer, and it’s prone to a range of issues. (It’s also the reason why he’s found twice in ‘54 Topps sets.) 

Trending: Best Topps Baseball Cards

Another vintage card that has slowly risen over the past decade, it’s hard to find a better option considering the scarcity and the story behind it.

Lower PSA grades have risen more rapidly over the past few years, while 7s and 8s are more stable as a long-term investment.

 

1954 Hank Aaron Topps #128

Recommended Grades: PSA or SGC all

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Baseball Cards Investments

“Hammerin” Hank Aaron is another icon who held the MLB record for career home runs for 33 years, and he still holds several MLB offensive records to this day.

The last player to feature in the Negro leagues following his retirement, he was celebrated with a trophy released in his name, awarded annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league.

His 1954 RC is notable for a number of reasons.

The bright orange coloring makes it instantly recognizable, although it’s prone to a variety of issues relating to the condition.

For example, you can expect to find poor centering, print defects in the orange background, and chipping along the green reverse.

“High grades are a stable baseball card investment, and should see good returns in the future.” 

It might not be as popular as the Mickey Mantle card from the same year, but the sole PSA 10 grade sold for $357,594 back in 2012.

 

2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects #BDPP89 

Recommended Grades: PSA 10, 9 or SGC 10 or BGS 10, 9.5, 9 or HGA 10

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2009 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects #BDPP89

If you consider that we’re looking at the best players and their top RCs; it was never going to take that long for Mike Trout to make it onto the list.

The LA Angels star has a reasonable claim to being the GOAT, while you can’t argue with either the numbers he puts up or the sheer consistency that he shows while doing so.

After dominating the minor leagues, Trout has gone on to become a living legend at the age of 29.

He’s been named as the AL MVP three times, (2014, 2016, and 2019) and it’s hard to find a more exciting set of rookie cards to collect.

Any of his early cards are seen as great options from an investment perspective, and we’re focusing on his ‘09 Bowman Chrome auto first.

It’s Trout’s key RC, even if it’s an insert rather than an ‘official’ rookie release.

It’s his 1st Bowman Chrome card, with the outfielder pictured in his Angels uniform. The parallels listed below are some of the most popular Trout cards that money can buy and look to be a low-risk, albeit relatively expensive, investment.  

2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks and Prospects Parallels: Refractors (/500) X-Fractors (/225) Blue Refractors (/150) Gold Refractors (/50) Orange Refractors (/25) Red Refractors (/5) Printing Plates (1/1), SuperFractors (1/1)

 

2011 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome #175

Recommended Grades: PSA 10, 9 or SGC 10 or BGS 10, 9.5, 9 or HGA 10

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2011 Mike Trout Bowman Chrome #175

Lastly, we’re rounding off with another Trout card from 2011. It might not have caught on with collectors in a similar fashion to the Topps Update from the same year, but it’s still a great choice if you’re looking for cheaper baseball card investment pieces.

Of course, this means that there’s less scope for profit, but it’s another good long-term pick. 

It features an action shot of Trout with his bat at the ready, while colored refractors will change the color of the border.

2011 Bowman Chrome Parallels: Refractors, Blue Refractors (/150), Gold Refractors (/50), Orange Refractors (/25), Red Refractors (/5)

 

Best Low-Risk Baseball Card Investments: Summary

It’s fair to say that the vast majority of baseball card investments aren’t worth the ink used in the printing process.

This is especially true when looking at newer cards, or copies with high print run. 

The greatest low-risk investments are typically tried and tested; have risen in price significantly over the past decade.

Take the Griffey Jr RC as a prime example, or anything featuring the likes of Mickey Mantle or Mike Trout.

Check out how much they were selling for just five years ago if you’re tempted to hold onto them as a long-term investment strategy.

Honorable mentions have to go to cards like the Babe Ruth quartet from the 1933 Goudey set, as well as many others that we simply didn’t have space for.

Of course, this means that there’s a higher price of entry, as the majority of cards to make the list are already worth a fair amount.

As such, we’ve tried to include a range of options, with something to suit everyone.

James is a journalism graduate/freelance writer from London, who specializes in sports cards and technology. He has a particular interest in tech for good, and in his spare time, he enjoys playing video games.

7 COMMENTS

  1. So why does Jo Adell make it then? Adell very well could be in that tier…but so far, he’s played in just a few games and hasn’t done anything

    • right, but we figured instead of having 3 of pretty much the exact same investment/player we would but a cheaper investment/player that has break-out potential and in return a monster ROI… obviously more risk but the main point is a different type of investment/player than just another Acuna Jr… like we said good point, however :)… cheers!

  2. What about the early African American players. I understand Jackie Robinson cards are through the roof but Larry Doby, the first African – American player to enter the American League, deserves mention as well as Minnie Minoso, one of the earliest Cubans to play the game. It amazes me how cheap Doby, Minnie Minoso, Don Newcombe, Monte Irwin etc. are -is that a good investment or will they always remain obscure and under priced
    Joaquin Adamas

    • Good point with Jackie Robinson but do you think the others you listed will have the best or one of the best ROI 10 to 20 years from now?

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