Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball Cards

Ken Griffey Jr (born 1969) played for 22 years in MLB, and he is best known as one of the great players of his generation because he was an outstanding home run hitter and defensive outfielder.

Griffey was with the Seattle Mariner from 1989-1999 and 2009-2010, the Cincinnati Reds from 2000-2008, and the Chicago White Sox in 2008.

Over his career, Griffey Jr. had a .284 batting average, 2,781 hits, 630 home runs (7th all time), and 1,836 runs batted in.

His career awards and accolades are numerous. They include 13 time All-Star, 10 time Gold Glove Award winner, the 1997 AL MVP, and four time AL home run leader.

Griffey Jr. was born on November 21, 1969 in Donora, Pennsylvania. He shares a birthday and birthplace with fellow Hall of Famer, Stan Musial.

Griffey Jr. was surrounded by professional baseball from early on because his father, Ken Griffey Sr., was a member of the legendary Reds dynasty of the 1970s which won back to back World Series championships in 1975 and 1976.

As a young kid, Griffey Jr. was always hanging out around the club houses and players. His father instilled him the value of the team, and Griffey Jr. said, “My dad would have bopped me on the head when I was a kid if I came home bragging about what I did on the field. He only wanted to know what the team did.”

Like his father, Griffey Jr. was a multi-sport standout, and he received scholarship offers from college football programs like Oklahoma and Michigan. But, he was an even more highly touted baseball prospect.

Griffey Jr. was the first overall pick in the 1987 MLB Amateur Draft. Griffey Jr. established himself as the premier prospect, and he soon found himself with the Mariners in 1989.

Over 1990 and 1991, Griffey Jr. and Griffey Sr. played 51 games together. The highlight was the back to back home runs against the Angles on September 14, 1990.

Griffey Jr.’s time with the Mariners was undoubtedly him at his best. Over those 11 seasons, he racked up the majority of his statistics and accolades, including four time home run leader and ten straight Gold Gloves Awards.

The highlight of his time in Seattle may be the 1995 ALDS against the New York Yankees, where Griffey Jr. led a comeback to tie the series 2-2, only to score the winning run in Game 5 in the bottom of the 11th inning to seal the series.

His performances in the mid to late 90s saved baseball in Seattle. The franchise had been rumored to be moving for years, and those rumors ended while a new stadium was constructed thanks to Griffey Jr.

Griffey Jr. requested a trade in 1999, and he was sent to Cincinnati. However, he struggled with different injuries, and while he remained a deadly player, he had passed his prime.

In 2016 Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Hall of Fame on 99.3% of the vote. Also, Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, and the Mariners retired his jersey. Finally, he was named to the MLB All-Century Team.

Ken Griffey Jr. has one of the most famous rookie cards of all time. Given his era of overproduced and junky cards, it is mostly downhill from there. But, in the era of the Ken Griffey Jr., it seemed like everybody and their grandma were buying packs, and Ken Griffey was the hot ticket item.

Though the hobby looks much different than it did at the peak of the 80s/90s bubble, the Ken Griffey rookie cards are some of the best out there.

1989 Bowman Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

This is the most expensive Griffey Jr. rookie card out there, depending on the buyer. The set had 484 cards, and they measured 2 ½” x 3 ¾”. While the fronts of the cards are identical to the standard Bowman sets, the fronts are gloss covered with a white cardstock.

Major rookies, in addition to Griffey Jr., include Robin Ventura, John Smoltz, Sandy Alomar Jr., and Gary Sheffield.

Most significantly, it is estimated that only 6,000 sets were created, which help to set this card apart from a crowded field. For reference, there are 1500 cards registered by PSA, and you will see how many more there are of the other rookie cards.

This is often the most expensive Griffey Jr. Rookie Card. PSA Gem Mint 10’s have sold for between $7,000 and $8,000 since March of 2020 after a sharp increase. Due to that increase, a $1,000 budget might not be a safe bet for a Mint copy, and you might have to drop to a PSA 8.

1989 Fleer Glossy Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

There are 672 cards in this standard size set. This is the final run of the Fleer Glossy brand, which would have an identical set to the standard Fleer issue, but the cards were covered in gloss. This was another set available only through factory sets bought by hobby dealers, and 30,000 sets were produced.

Ken Griffey Jr’s card is the undeniable key to the set, especially because it is often found with condition issues, such as poor centering, which creates greater scarcity.

There are only 1500 cards registered by PSA. Gem Mint copies are worth a few thousand, Mint copies are worth a few hundred, and PSA 8’s often go for under $100.

1989 Topps Traded Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

This set had 132 cards of standard size. This set is also set apart with a limited print run of 15,000. There are about 2000 cards of Ken Griffey Jr. registered by PSA alone. Gem Mint copies will sell for between $3,000 and $5,000, but Mint copies often go for around $500.

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

Last but not least is the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card. This is an iconic card that helped to launch the Upper Deck brand. While it is not the most valuable card, it is the most popular.

The set has been well preserved, and it remains popular today. There are a whopping 77,000 cards registered by PSA alone. Of those cards, PSA has registered 15,000 sales.

Despite thousands and thousands of top graded cards on the secondary market, Gem Mint copies are worth over $4,000. PSA 9’s are often below 500, and PSA 8’s can be grabbed for a hundred bucks.


This article only covered rookie cards, and there are actually a few more good ones out there, though the most expensive rookie cards are covered.

There are plenty of not-so-good cards out there too, like for food brands, unlicensed cards, or general odd sets. We covered the best of the mainstream sets, which typically (but not always) hold up over time. Because of the era of collecting, there are dozens of these oddities hanging around, particularly for Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the best players of his generation, a shoe in for the Hall of Fame, and a hugely important Mariner. Luckily for us, there are plenty of excellent rookie cards for us to trade, collect, and invest in.