Ozzie Smith Baseball Cards

Ozzie Smith (born 1954) is best known as an excellent shortstop in MLB from 1978 to 1996. He got his start with the San Diego Padres from 1978 to 1981, but he peaked with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1982 to 1996.

Smith finished his career with a .262 batting average, 2,460 hits, 28 home runs, 793 runs batted in, and 580 stolen bases. He was a 15 time All Star, a 13 time Gold Glove Award winner, and he was a Silver Slugger Award winner in 1987. In 2002, Smith was inducted into the Hall of Fame on 91.7% of the vote on the first ballot. Additionally, the St. Louis Cardinals retired his jersey and inducted him into their separate Hall of Fame.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, Smith grew up with four brothers and a sister. He was excellent at sports as a young kid, and he credited his mother for encouraging him to follow his dreams.

He decided that baseball was his favorite, and he played for his local school teams. Smith would also take busses one hour each way to watch local professional baseball. People would later remember that he was always active, like throwing a small bouncing ball with dexterity.

In high school a baseball teammate was Eddie Murray, and a basketball teammate was Marques Johnson. As an All American baseball player at a local college, Smith broke a number of school records, and he found himself on the radar of professional scouts. He was picked up by the Detroit Tigers in the 1976 amateur draft, but they could not agree on a signing bonus. The San Diego Padres drafted him in the fourth round of the 1977 draft.

Smith debuted on April 7, 1978, and he impressed the league immediately, especially with his fielding abilities. In his rookie season, Smith also began his signature move of doing black flips that the fans loved. He finished the year second in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

While his fielding was superb, Smith had a hitting slump in his sophomore season. Meanwhile, contract distraction filtered in. The Padre’s owner’s wife publicly offered him a job as a gardener on her estate to supplement his income. Obviously, Smith did not appreciate the offer.

In his last season with the Padres, Smith appeared in his first All Star Game. However, problems continued with the ownership. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals were looking for a shortstop after Gary Templeton had gestured off heckling fans and had to be pulled off the field by the Cardinal’s manager.

A blockbuster deal was made, and Ozzie Smith never looked back. He reached his Hall of Fame heights with the Cardinals, which began with a World Series championship in 1982. Any contract suit was settled as the Cardinals agreed to pay him $1 million per year.

Things looked bleak in 1985 with a rotator cuff injury, but Smith was back and better than before within a couple years.

Smith was known in baseball as a player who would put up solid statistics, win a Gold Glove, and be named to the All Star Game every year. He was consistent at the plate, at shortstop, and everywhere else.

In 1996, Smith was dealing with a divorce, a hamstring injury, and new ownership and management with the Cardinals, so he announced that he would retire at the end of the year. He could have kept playing as he did well for the rest of the year, but he exited on top to standing ovations from around the league.

This article will go over a few of the cards produced early in Smith’s career. As you enter the 1980s and 1990s, his cards become much more affordable. His rookie cards are very expensive in high grades, but prices fall off a cliff.

1979 Topps Ozzie Smith Rookie Card

There are 726 cards of standard size (2 ½” x 3 ½”) in the 1979 Topps, and Ozzie Smith’s card lies at #116.

PSA has about 110,000 cards registered from the set. Almost 10,000 of those cards are Smith rookies. Gem Mint cards are extremely expensive. During the Covid-19 outbreak, the highest graded copies have skyrocketed for certain rookie cards of Hall of Famers. This is especially true for previously inexpensive cards from the junk wax period (cards produced in the 1980s and 1990s).

For example, a Gem Mint Ozzie Smith copy of this card has sold for around $20,000 to $40,000 or so, but a copy sold for $222,000 in February of 2021. Mint copies are similarly unstable in early 2021. They were selling for about $1,000 for years, but they have gone as high as $5,000 to $7,000 in April of 2021.

On a budget of $1,000, PSA 8’s should be secure, while they sell for a few hundred.

1979 O-Pee-Chee Ozzie Smith Rookie Card

There are 374 cards in the 1979 O-Pee-Chee, and Smith’s card sits at #52 (which is right next to Nolan Ryan’s card at #51). Ozzie Smith’s card is the key to set, and it is known for its poor centering on the set.

There are 8,500 cards from this set registered with PSA, and about 650 of those cards are Smith copies. Again, Gem Mint copies sold for a few thousand for years, but in April of 2021, a copy sold for $81,180. Mint copies sold for $500 for years, but they have recently reached the thousands. On a budget of $1,000, a PSA 8 should be secure for a couple hundred.

1980 Topps Ozzie Smith

There are 726 cards in the set of standard size, and Ozzie Smith sits at #393. The major rookie card for the set is Rickey Henderson at #482.

PSA has about 110,000 cards registered, and over 2,500 copies are Smith copies.

As mentioned above, prices fall dramatically in this era after you move beyond the player’s rookie card. On a budget of $1,000, a Gem Mint copy should be possible. Gem Mint copies were selling for about $400 in 2020 and less than that for years. A copy sold for $938 in April of 2021.


The cards for Ozzie Smith continue to become more and more affordable. There were multiple card companies while he played, and they overproduced like crazy. It should not be hard to find a mid-career Ozzie Smith card in Mint condition for $10, including cards from a good brand.

Ozzie Smith was an excellent shortstop, and he was one of the best of his generation beyond a doubt. Outside of his fielding percentage, fans may best remember Smith for his color commentating and his leaping, diving, and legendary aerials.