16 Undervalued and (Underappreciated) Baseball Cards

Ryan Barone
(@ballcardgenius, Card Expert) is a lifelong member of the hobby. He has been quoted in PSA Magazine, and his content has regularly been mentioned in “Quick Rips” (the Topps RIPPED Newsletter) and across other hobby publications. hello@ballcardgenius.com; Last Time Ago LLC dba Ballcard Genius.

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As I am a part of the eBay Partner Network and other programs, if you follow these links and make a purchase, I’ll receive commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Some of the most Undervalued baseball cards of the last 30 days include:

CardLast Sale30-Day AvgeBay Link
1987 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire #366 PSA 10 $173$326eBay
1989 Bowman Tiffany Ken Griffey Jr. #220 $124$289eBay
1964 Topps Willie Stargell #342 PSA 3$10.09$25.04eBay
1974 Pete Rose #300 PSA 7 $19.99$28.81eBay
1965 Topps Roberto Clemente #160$31.89$70.96eBay
1979 Topps Willie McCovey #215 SGC 7.5$10.50$21.50eBay
2018 Topps Living Babe Ruth #100 PSA 9 $10.50$24eBay
1964 Topps Willie Stargell #342 PSA 7 $124$272eBay
1973 Topps Carl Yastrzemski #245 PSA 6 $12$26.25eBay
1959 Topps Roy Campanella #550 PSA 6 $62.10$123eBay
1955 Topps Eddie Mathews #155 PSA 4$39.6$77.30eBay
2001 Bowman Draft Ichiro #BDP84 PSA 8$17.35$28.23eBay
1981 Topps Traded Danny Ainge #727 PSA 9 $1.50$32.83eBay
1995 Topps Traded Carlos Beltran #18T Juan Lebron Error PSA 8 $.99$6.49eBay
1989 Topps Traded Tiffany Nolan Ryan #105T $2$11.05eBay
1990 Score Frank Thomas #663 PSA 8 (last sale $1.29)$1.29$5.45eBay

As you can see, I tried to find a few options from different price points.

Now, what do we mean by undervalued? What’s the methodology?

As you can see, this list is made up of retired players, and that’s’ by design. Far too often do the values of current players fluctuate with injury or poor play, just as much as they take off when a player is on fire or sell at their peak upon a new release. Thus, “undervalued” here doesn’t mean decline in value—it means a blip or seemingly short term dip that has a chance of recovering based on a card’s history.

Note: Of course, “past performance does not necessarily equate to future results.” These cards might never bounce back. So, do your own research and make your own decisions. Not to mention that, for example, even though the last 1989 “Tiffany” that sold for cheap, what if it was incorrectly listed and wasn’t a Tiffany at all? What if the source of the data I’m using (Market Movers) in this case, had an error? Always verify!

So, again, I’m simply pointing out cards you might want to consider purchasing now given where they find their current value, but don’t do so blindly. This is for informational purposes only, and mainly to give you the chance to pick up some really cool cardboard at a relatively cheaper price.

As an example, let’s look at this 1995 Topps Traded Carlos Beltran #18T “Juan Lebron” Error PSA 8.

The last sale of this card was on 12/10/2023 for $.99, and as you can see from the chart, this is the lowest this card has sold for at any time going back to July of 2022.

Now, I think it’s also important to look at what’s currently available for sale as well. Meaning if this card sold for $11.99 earlier in the month and $.99 yesterday, that’s great, but if the only card available for sale is sitting at $22 “Buy it Now,” then good luck scoring a deal. You might have a better chance of grabbing a copy at $.99 if the next one went to auction and fellow prospective buyers were basing their decision to bid on that last comp.

Without the Data

Now, data is great, but it’s not everything. And with that stance, “undervalued” could also simply mean “these cards are cool but get no love.” That’s what this next section is about, and it’s purely based on opinion.

Old baseball card game sets like 1968 Topps Game Cards, Jim Thome cards (and those from other greats of the game), vintage cards as a category, oddball cards, and even modern sets like Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary.

And if that list seems all over the place, that’s because it is.

With so many cards out there and so many great players to have ever played, many are bound to be deemed undervalued. Plus, undervalued and underrated could be a subjective measure. I personally might think a card deserves more love for a number of reasons, while someone else might think something entirely different.

This is not solely my opinion, as many experts have debated and talked about undervalued baseball cards as much as they do the hottest rookies or most valuable cards of the 90s.

I’m also trying to stay away from current players, because especially compared to young prospects, there are a number of players who just don’t get any hobby love. But, if you want a list, here are some that come to mind:

  • Matt Olson
  • Nolan Arenado
  • Yordan Alvarez
  • Miguel Cabrera

1968 Topps Game Cards

The 1968 Topps “Game” set is a total beast of a baseball card set, but doesn’t get the love it deserves. (The above video link is a YouTube video of Sports Card Investor picking a few up at the Dallas Card Show).

Made up of 33 of the game’s best, the values might reflect the fact that the set wasn’t just for collectors, but for game enthusiasts too. Meaning, Topps made these cards as inserts for a real card game. The front of each card has a player’s image and a facsimile signature, but each card also indicates a specific move, like a “Home Run” or a “Single.”

As mentioned, the checklist is insane, and if you’re looking to put together a cool vintage set for a relatively lower price, you won’t find much better.

  • Mickey Mantle (#2)
  • Carl Yastrzemski (#3)
  • Hank Aaron (#4)
  • Harmon Killebrew (#5)
  • Roberto Clemente (#6)
  • Frank Robinson (#7)
  • Willie Mays (#8)
  • Brooks Robinson (#9)
  • Ron Santo (#19)
  • Richie Allen (#23)
  • Al Kaline (#27)
  • Rod Carew (#29)
  • Pete Rose (#30)

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Set

Moving on to a recent release, the hobby seems to really enjoy the Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary line, and what’s not to love? They’re pretty affordable, and is just an all-around fun set with a great checklist and beautiful cards. (According to WaxStat.com, the lowest available hobby box on eBay right now is only $149.88, and you can grab one even cheaper for $13.95 from Blowout Cards.)

For me, it’s all about the bling (I love shiny baseball cards). For others, it’s the vintage and modern combo. Imagine taking a 1953 Topps vibe and giving it a Chrome makeover. Yep, that’s what we’re talking about!

Here’s the lowdown on why this set is a home run:

  • That 1953 Topps design? Classic and always a crowd-pleaser.
  • The Chrome finish? It’s like the cherry on top of a sundae.
  • Those image swap variations? They’re like finding a golden ticket – rare but oh-so-sweet.
  • From rookies to legends, this set’s roster is stacked.
  • Pulling a variation might be a curveball, but hey, that’s part of the thrill!

Kellogs 3D Baseball Cards

Ok, I’m the expert on this one, as I feel Kellogg’s baseball cards are criminally undervalued. Kellogg’s 3D baseball cards were a cereal-ously (sorry) cool thing from 1970 to 1983, and while I never had the chance to pull one, I’m sure I would have been bowled over by doing so.

Thanks to lenticular printing, these cards weren’t just flat-out awesome—they popped out in 3D, giving collectors a whole new angle on their heroes as you could hold the cards at different angles to make them “move.”

Among the all-star lineup of these cards, the heavy hitters include Reggie Jackson, Roberto Clemente, while fireballers like Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson certainly made an appearance.

The cool thing is, as mentioned above, you can totally binge collect this one given its impressive run throughout the 70s and into the early 80s.

Jim Thome Baseball Cards

Listen, I know a lot of great players have card values that are so undervalued its sickening. And since I don’t have unlimited time and words to talk about them all, I’m choosing one, and that’s Jim Thome.

Cards aside, I’ll let the stats do the talking on this one. Thome was a beast of a hitter who played for six different MLB teams over 22 seasons (which I think should do even more for his collectability). He smashed 612 home runs, which is the eighth most all-time, was a five-time All-Star and a Silver Slugger Award winner. Off the field he was also known for being a positive guy and for giving back to his community.

I mean, come on. All of this and you can buy a rookie card for a few books. The junk wax era was a weird time in baseball cards.

Other players who some might say fall into this category:

  • Randy Johnson
  • Juan Gonzalez
  • Larry Walker
  • Chipper Jones
  • Kenny Lofton
  • Tony Gwynn

5×7 Jumbo Cards

You might know these better as box toppers or box loaders, but all around, over the course of the years, larger jumbo cards are undervalued. I mean, if we all know and love a standard size baseball card, why wouldn’t we enjoy something bigger?

I can understand the argument against mini cards because they are smaller, making simpler designs and easier to get lost in the shuffle. But as someone who appreciates cards as art, give me something I can display easier.

Speaking of art, Donruss Diamond Kings jumbos have to be some of the coolest of their kind.

Oddball Cards

And while jumbo cards aren’t necessarily classified as “oddball cards” given they usually come from Topps, talking about them got me thinking that oddball cards altogether are severely undervalued and underappreciated.

What is an oddball card? Well, those Kellogg’s cards would be considered oddball. Think of it as any card released in combination with another organization. or entity; as in promotional items. Perhaps the most famous are Mother’s Cookies Stadium Giveaway Cards, but can also include popular KayBee Toys and Toys R’ Us cards, and those from Post Cereal, Quaker Oaks, Dennys, Wonder Bread, David’s Sunflower Seeds, and others.

One of the things that makes a card valuable is rarity, so the fact that some oddball cards are printed in far fewer quantities than their same year “main set” counterparts is mind-boggling.

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