What makes a baseball card great? Some say scarcity, others say age; some just like shiny things, and that’s OK too.
With Ken Griffey Jr., he had it all going for him—a home run hitter, a photogenic swing, one of the game’s best all-around players, an amazing signature, and the bulk of his releases coming in the midst of what was probably the hobby’s shiniest and most visually explosive.
It’s no wonder he his highly-collectible.
All of this can’t help but get you thinking about Griffey’s career, and how each of his little tiny pieces of cardboard captured a piece of history. Which gets youthinking even more about all of the different people who got to see a Ken Griffey Jr. home run live in person, and what the buzz in those ballparks must have been like each and every time he stepped to the plate.
Speaking of ballparks…
How many different ballparks did Ken Griffey Jr hit a home run in?
Ken Griffey Jr. hit a home run in 44 different ballparks, with the first ballpark being Seattle’s Kingdome in 1989, and the last being the new Yankee Stadium in 2009.
The 44 different ballparks ranks second behind Sammy Sosa, who hit a home run in 45 different parks.
If you’re a card collector, a 44-card run showcasing such a historic run would go over well, right? While we don’t have one, yet, here are ten great cards that perfectly showcase “The Kid,” the swing, an iconic stadium, and the feeling that “yep, he probably got that one.”
7 Amazing Ken Griffey Jr. HR Cards
If you’re a card collector, a 44-card run showcasing such a historic run would go over well, right? While we don’t have one, yet, here are – in no particular order – ten great cards that perfectly showcase “The Kid,” the swing, an iconic stadium, and the feeling that “yep, he probably got that one.”
#1. 1998 Pinnacle Goin’ Jake
If you’re not a Cleveland Indians fan, this Griffey insert may appear a bit random at first, but a little light reading on the back of the card helps the stage for Griffey’s participation in the 1997 Home Run Derby held at “The Jake,” or more formally known as, Jacobs Field.
That year’s derby winner? Not Griffey, and not Mark McGwire, but none other than Tino Martinez.
#2. 1995 Donruss Longball Leaders
While this one doesn’t do much for the stadium in the background, it stands out as being different from other similar inserts in the day thanks to its “facts on the front” approach.
And as you can see, this one is commemorating Griffey’s 462-foot shot at the Kingdome, coming in April of 1994, and being launched off the Twins’ Scott Erickson.
#3. 1998 Fleer Tradition Update U7
This card checks all the boxes, and commemorates Griffey’s 56th home run of the 1998 season, which was also his 350th career “round tripper” as mentioned on the back of the card.
The problem is, Griffey crushed this one at home in the Kingdome, wearing, yes, the home white uniform, but the card for some reason clearly shows Griffey outdoors on the road (Yankee Stadium?). Here is more on the historic knock.
#4. 1995 Ultra Home Run Kings
If you pay attention to the backgrounds of cards, you’re probably used to seeing a lot of what is showcased here—the blindingly yellow dugout tops of what can only be the Oakland Coliseum…a place where Griffey probably hit quite a few home runs being a part of the division-rival Mariners for so long.
(Also see 1994 Triple Play Bomb Squad for good measure.)
#5. 2020 Topps Update Foil U-9
This card really does all the talking, so I’ll let it. 1999 Home Run Derby at Fenway. Backwards hat. The swing.
#6. 1994 Donruss Long Ball Leaders
While the 1994 version doesn’t have as much info plastered on the front when compared to its previously mentioned 1995 counterpart, the 471-foot indicator is enough to get you to turn the card over…where you’ll learn that Griffey belted this shot in April of 1993 over the right centerfield fence at Tiger Stadium off of pitcher John Doherty.
#7. 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition #87F
And to finish things off, how about the great back when he was still an up and coming phenom, pictured here at the 1991 All Star Game held at Toronto’s Skydome.
This midsummer classic was a tight ballgame that saw the American League come away with a 4-2 victory over the National League, thanks to a 3-run third inning. Fun fact: both the winning pitcher and the losing pitcher represented the major league’s Canadian teams at the time, with Jimmy Key getting the “W” as Toronto Blue Jays star, and Dennis Martinez stuck with the loss while representing the Montreal Expos.