Mark McGwire Baseball Cards

Mark McGwire (born 1963) is best remembered for his stunning home run race in 1998. He was with the Oakland Athletics from 1986-1997 and the St. Louis Cardinals from 1997-2001.

McGwire has an impressive resume. He finished his career with a .263 batting average, 583 home runs, and 1,414 runs batted in. In addition, he was a 12 time All-Star, two time World Series champion (once as a player, once as a coach), five time MLB home run leader, and three time Silver Slugger Award winner.

McGwire is from Pomona, California. After showing promise in high school, at USC, and with the US Olympic team, he was selected 10th overall in the 1984 draft.

With 49 home runs in his rookie season, McGwire got off to a good start. The previous rookie record was 38, and McGwire’s record was not broken until Aaron Judge hit 52 in 2017. He finished his year as tied for home run leader, leader in slugging percentage, unanimous decision for AL Rookie of the Year, and sixth in AL MVP voting.

For the next few seasons, McGwire continued to do well, break records, and excite the crowd. Yet, he began to be plagued by injuries in 1993. After missing 242 games, McGwire almost retired in 1996.

While McGwire had a good career prior to 1996, he would soon take off. By 1998, McGwire was racing toward the home run record against Sammy Sosa. It was the focus of baseball fans across the globe.

McGwire hit 70 home runs, and he shattered the previous record of 61 from Roger Maris. Furthermore, there was no “asterisk” because McGwire surpassed Babe Ruth’s 60 in less than 154 games, which settled the decades-long “asterisk” with Maris. Yet, the asterisk still came.

In the years following, accusations of steroid use would hound him after his retirement. After many Congressional hearings, newspaper articles, and Jose Canseco’s book, McGwire finally fully admitted his dealings in 2010.

According to McGwire’s confession, his first use of steroids came in 1989, but it was because of his injuries from 1993-1996 when he started using steroids consistently. He was fully juiced in 1998.

After retiring as a player in 2001, McGwire began privately coaching a few players. He showed promise at the role, so the Cardinals hired him as a hitting coach in 2009. Since then, he has spent time at a few different roles as a coach for a few teams.

McGwire was inducted into both the Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. He was also named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team. McGwire received votes for his ten years of eligibility, but he was never inducted into the Hall of Fame. His voting percentages varied between 10.0%-23.7% (75% is needed for induction).

Controversy is nothing new to baseball, and the “steroid era” is another chapter. Mark McGwire will go down as one of the most infamous representatives of the era’s steroid use.

As a result of the notoriety and the overproduction of baseball cards at the time, Mark McGwire baseball cards are not expensive. However, they are fun cards to collect because they are very affordable, attractive, and the cards represent an explosive era of baseball.

1985 Topps Mark McGwire

McGwire is shown beaming in his Olympic uniform from 1984 in this car. He is featured as an amateur at card #401. There are 792 cards in the set of standard size. Rookie keys in the set include Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, Orel Hershiser, and Kirby Puckett.

There are plenty of these cards floating around on the secondary market. PSA alone has 46,500 cards registered on their site. There are thousands in Mint condition and hundreds in Gem Mint condition.

Gem Mint copies have been selling for around $1,500 to $2,000, but they can go significantly higher or lower depending on the bidding. Since there are tens of thousands of copies available, prices drop fast for a Mint card to about $100.

1985 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire

The details on the 1985 Topps Tiffany are about the same for the Topps. This set is worth mentioning for two reasons. First, the Mark McGwire photograph in his Olympic uniform is iconic for McGwire cards, and second, the Tiffany set was only available to Topps hobby dealers, so only 5,000 sets were produced.

To be clear, the size number, McGwire’s number, the measurements, and the key rookies are all the same. The populations and auction prices are different. There are a lot less of these cards on the secondary market, only 1,500 are registered with PSA. Few are in top grade.

Prices rise substantially for this card. Gem Mint copies often sell for $10,000 or more. While Mint copies drop like the base set, Mint copies will sell for about 400 or 500.

If you, like many collectors, like the idea of McGwire as an amateur, fresh faced and in his Olympic uniform, then this card is a more expensive, scarcer, and probably more price durable than the more common base card.

1987 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire Rookie Card

The following cards are often considered the true rookie cards of Mark McGwire, even though they are all less valuable than the two cards above. The following cards are from his rookie season, from a major brand, and have Mark McGwire in a professional uniform.

McGwire is a key to this set, but the rookie card of Barry Bonds is more valuable. Bo Jackson and Rafael Palmeiro are other rookies on the set. McGwire sits at #366.

As it went with the Tiffany brand, a limited number of sets were released with Topps hobby stores only.

There are nearly 3,000 cards registered by PSA for this rookie card, and most of them are in top grade. Gem Mint copies will sell for around $300 to $500. Mint copies drop to about 50 bucks.

1987 Leaf Mark McGwire Rookie Card

This is one of the more valuable Mark McGwire rookie cards. There were 264 cards in the set of standard size. There are about 800 cards registered by PSA. Gem Mint cards were selling for about $100 for years, but they jumped way up during 2020. Prices really need time to settle, having gone from $95 in 2019 to $2,000 in 2020.


There are some great rookie cards with plenty of cards available for Mark McGwire. Due to the burgeoning era of collection in the 80s and 90s, there are several brands to choose from, unlike cards from decades earlier.

While most cards are not worth much, there are some great Mark McGwire cards to surf through. We got you started with a few killer amateur and rookie cards.