Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card – Best 3 Cards, Value, Checklist

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best cal ripken jr rookie cards

Cal Ripken Jr. is a legend of the game of baseball after spending his whole 2-decade long career with the Baltimore Orioles.

Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Year Stats: 160 games | 93 RBIs | 28 homers | .792 OPS | ROY 1st

He predominantly played shortstop but on occasion also turned put as a third baseman and might be one of the greatest second-round picks of all time.

Ripken Jr. was named American League MVP twice, as well as winning two Gold Glove Awards, 7 Silver Slugger Awards, and being selected to play in 19 All-Star games.

He also won the World Series with the Orioles in 1983 and holds the record for most consecutive games started in MLB history with 2,632.

Top Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Cards

Despite making his Orioles debut in 1981, Ripken Jr.’s true rookie season was 1983 which was his first full year in the league.

The Orioles and Rip never looked back, as he hit 28 home runs and was given the prestigious American League Rookie of the Year Award.


1982 Cal Ripken Jr. Fleer Rookie Card #176


A very simple but effective looking card, reminiscent of its time.

It features Ripken Jr. on the front in full Orioles uniform taking up most of the card, with a think orange border and white outer edge.

There were a lot of these cards made, and PSA has graded more than 10,000 of them but finding them in gem mint 10 condition is a different matter, with less than 300 achieving top marks.

This results in a valuation well above $1,000 for top cards, but anything in the lesser condition is affordable for all collectors.


1982 Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Traded RC #98T


Cal Ripken Jr topps rookie card

This card features a classic ‘80s Topps design with Ripken in the center, bat swung over shoulder, and orange detailing around the outside with the Topps branding in the bottom right.

There is also a printed autograph overlapping his torso.

This is by far the most sought-after rookie card and it does not grade well, resulting in a valuation of above $3,000.

The high print run means in the lesser condition they are much cheaper but be prepared to pay triple figures if you want anything half decent.


1982 Cal Ripken Jr. Donruss Rookie Card #405 (buy on eBay)


1982 Cal Ripken Jr. Donruss Rookie Card #405

A very similar design to the other two cards on this list, but this time featuring a head shot of Ripken Jr. with the bat slung across his shoulder.

There is a thin blue border surrounding the picture, and the player details are featured inside a sketched baseball bat and ball.

[irp posts=”15466″ name=”17 Best Looking Sports Cards of All-Time (With Photos)”]

It is the least expensive of the trio but will still cost you well into triple figures if you want it in-game mint 10 conditions.

Anything below mint can usually be picked up relatively cheaply.


1982 Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Rookie Card #21 (buy on eBay)

Ripken Jr. takes pride of place in the middle of this ‘Future Stars’ card, flanked by Bob Bonner (shortstop) and Jeff Schenider (a pitcher).

They were all Orioles rookies at the time, but only Ripken managed to carve out a successful career in the sport.

The reverse has a list of basic stats, while a PSA 10 grade recently sold for $795 after attracting 42 bids.



The Best Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball Cards (non-rookie cards)


2007 Cal Ripken Jr./Derek Jeter Exquisite Retro Rookies Dual Autograph #RR-RJ


cal ripken jr derek jeter baseball card

Out of all the combo cards in the baseball card hobby this has got to be one of the better ones.

The Iron Man and Captain Cluth on the same card! Whoa!

This card will not be up often on eBay auctions but when it is we suggest making a winning bid.


1992 Cal Ripken Jr. Donruss Elite #/5000


Cal Ripken Jr. Donruss Elite

The 1992 Donruss Elite is an autographed card with a limited run of 5000.

Nearly three decades on, it’s difficult to find a perfect copy because of the metallic foil border, which scuffs far too easily.

A PSA 9 recently sold for $301, while a rare gem version will sell for thousands. (So much for the junk wax era!)

There are two versions, with one missing a signature on the front, as well as the numerator in the serial number.

The reverse quote is as follows;

“Cal Ripken, the tallest player ever to play shortstop regularly in the major leagues, may in time stand tallest of all Orioles as he breaks record after record. And, in the mid-’90s he should break Lou Gehrig’s record of playing in 2,130 consecutive games. He is the second player featured in the Donruss Signature Series, personally signing during the off-season, 5,000 of these specially numbered cards. Dick Perez, the official artist for Donruss and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, created this card using a two-dimensioned hologram and metallic foil.”


1994 Cal Ripken Jr. Finest #235


Cal Ripken Jr. Finest

Numbered 235, Ripken’s 1994 Topps Finest is a popular option that was released midway through his career.

It has a strong design, although there’s no signature to be found. There is a refractor version, with a gem mint grade recently selling for $300. The reverse lists his ‘Finest Moment’;

“July 15, 1993: His 278th HR as a shortstop surpassed Ernie Banks to set ML record for the position”.


2020 Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Series 1 1985


2020 Cal Ripken Jr. Topps Series 1 1985

If you’re looking for something more recent, the 2020 Topps Series 1 (read 2020 Topps Series 2 Baseball Cards) has an insert set, celebrating their 35 year anniversary with a host of stars from 1985. You’ll be able to find the following parallels;

  • Black (/199)
  • Gold (/50)
  • Red (/25)
  • Platinum (1/1)

There’s no quote on the back, although there is a guarantee of authenticity for the signature.


Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card Value

The most valuable Cal Ripken Jr. rookie card is by far the 1982 Topps Traded Cal Ripken Jr. RC #98T at high grades (i.e. PSA 10, SGC 10).

If you have a Cal Ripken Jr. rookie card and would like an estimated value please email us at


Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card: Buyers Guide and Investment Outlook

Ripken Jr. is one of the most beloved players of all time, and that remains the case way after his retirement.

He is seen as a pioneer of the game, paving the way for many of the sport’s great power-hitting Shortstops, and this all bodes well for his rookie trading cards.

Despite long being retired, and his induction into the Hall of Fame achieved now over a decade ago, his card value remains strong and even still consistently grows, and there is no reason why that would change now.

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