He earned min-blowing 15 All-Star appearances and 13 Gold Glove awards during his time with the San Diego Padres and the Cardinals, winning the World Series with the latter in 1982.
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It’s clear that Smith is one of the greatest of his era, but where do his RCs rank on the investment scale?
Here are three of the best Ozzie Smith rookie cards available on the market, along with a report looking at trends and potential prices in the future.
The Best Ozzie Smith Rookie Cards
Smith’s RC options hail from 1979, and there are also a few interesting pre-rookie options from earlier years.
1979 Ozzie Smith Topps Rookie Card #116 (buy on eBay)
The 1979 Topps features a large close-up image of Smith in his Padres kit, and it’s his most popular rookie card overall.
It’s an iconic piece of memorabilia from the era, with the player effortlessly showing off the style from the time with large sideburns visible under his helmet
For a slightly more affordable option, Canadian company O-Pee-Chee released a variation that is difficult to locate with higher grades, mainly due to issues relating to centering.
You’ll be able to see the difference between the two by looking at the card company logo located on the front.
Either make for a great investment piece, although the Topps is worth a lot more if you’re looking at PSA 10’s.
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1979 Ozzie Smith Hostess Rookie Card #102 (buy on eBay)
There are no two ways about it.
This card looks cheap compared to the others, and it isn’t helped by the plain white border or the slightly off-center image.
It was originally released in a set of three panels along with Willie Montanez and Nolan Ryan in 1979 and needed to be cut away from the others with scissors, which is an explanation for the plain border and background.
As with the Topps card, Smith stands ready to bat in his Padres kit, with a blue sky and clouds in the background.
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However, the 1979 Hostess is still relatively underpriced in comparison, and it’s a great pick as long as the card was cut away correctly.
The reverse features basic stats from 1977-78, but it’s bare compared to the others.
1978 Ozzie Smith Family Fun Centers Padres #1 (buy on eBay)
Released a year earlier, the Family Fun Centers is an oversized card set that was originally released as a promotional giveaway by the Padres.
The distinctive wood-effect background is certainly an upgrade on the 1979 Hostess, even if it’s more susceptible to scuffing and other flaws that are easy to see.
The crisp image shows Smith preparing to make a catch, and it’s also the first to feature him in his Padres uniform.
There’s a quote on the reverse from the player, along with a printed copy of his signature.
Given the low population of good copies, they’re always a solid choice if you’re looking for cards that are the most likely to retain value, and it’s a stylish pick if you’re picking up a card to keep.
Ozzie Smith Rookie Card Value
The most valuable Ozzie Smith rookie card is the Topps card but the Hostess Ozzie Smith rookie card can cost potential buyers some coin as well (the Hostess RC sold for $818 in April of 2020).
Card investors looking to spend as little as possible will want to opt for the Ozzie Smith Family Fun Center RC.
Ozzie Smith Rookie Card Checklist
- 1978 Family Fun Centers RC
- 1979 Hostess Rookie Card
- 1979 Topps Rookie Card
- 1979 O-Pee-Chee RC
Ozzie Smith Rookie Card: Buyers Guide and Investment Outlook
Investment Rating: Buy (3.8 out of 5)
Best Ozzie Smith Rookie Card: 2020 Kaboom Joe Burrow Rookie Card
Ownership Disclosure: None
Smith is almost unmatched as a defensive force, making his range of rookie cards instant classics back in the late 1970s.
Even now, the number one jersey has been retired by the St. Louis Cardinals in his honor, which makes sense given his impact for the team over two decades between the ’80s and ’90s.
A lack of MVP accolades is one small chink in the armor if you’re really looking for flaws, but ‘The Wizard’ is still regarded as the greatest defensive shortstop of all time by many of his peers.
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Better still, Smith’s numerous charitable endeavors help to keep him in the limelight, and they don’t hurt the value of his rookie cards.
He looks to be a solid pick in terms of investment potential, with a range of popular cards that are still valuable over 40 years on.
The trio we’ve listed are all great options, although we’d look to the 1979 Topps if you want to play it safe.
The Family Fun Centers is also a great choice if you don’t mind the weaker brand name and the flaws, although we’d strongly recommend checking out cards that have received higher grades for the best potential ROI.
CTA – Will you be picking up a couple of Ozzie Smith cards for investment purposes? For more ideas, we have the top three baseball cards from the 1980s, as well as another great shortstop in the form of Cal Ripken Jr.