1 iconic baseball card for every team

April 8th, 2021

As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.

To begin the series, we'll be looking at one iconic card from each team.


Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 2016 Bowman
The prospect hype surrounding Vlad Jr. was already starting to build in 2016, the slugger's first professional season. His card in the Bowman's Best of '16 Autographs set is one of his first. See the card >

Orioles: Eddie Murray, 1978 Topps
After winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1977, Murray first appeared in baseball-card sets the following year. Steady Eddie's '78 Topps card, which shows him taking a practice cut with an all-business look on his face, is one of the most desirable rookie cards from that decade. See the card >

Rays: Evan Longoria, 2016 Topps
Longoria was traded to the Giants after the 2017 season, but he holds a special place in Rays history, leading the franchise in many major categories. See the card >

Red Sox: Wade Boggs, 1983 Topps
Coming off a strong rookie season, Boggs was first included in baseball-card sets in 1983. He went on to win the first of his five batting titles that season, putting the third baseman on a path toward the Hall of Fame. See the card >

Yankees: Don Mattingly, 1984 Topps
Mattingly rose to prominence as baseball-card collecting was skyrocketing in popularity, and his rookie cards from 1984 were a must-have for collectors during that time. The '84 Topps design is easily distinguishable -- Mattingly's card features "Yankees" rendered in purple block lettering and has an inset headshot showing the first baseman staring into the distance in front of a yellow background. See the card >


Indians: Oscar Gamble, 1975 Topps
Gamble’s 1976 Topps Card, which depicts the outfielder with the Yankees, is his most famous. But Cleveland fans might prefer the previous year's version, which also captures Gamble’s iconic afro in all its glory while showing him in an Indians uniform. See the card >

Royals: Bo Jackson, 1990 Score
While there were four Bo Jackson cards in the 1990 Score set, the card depicting a shirtless Jackson wearing football shoulder pads and holding a baseball bat behind his head stands out from the rest. See the card >

Tigers: Mark Fidrych, 1977 Topps
Fidrych became a phenomenon in 1976, dominating on the mound and captivating the baseball world with his quirky personality. As a result, his rookie card from Topps' set the following year was highly coveted at the time. See the card >

Twins: Kirby Puckett, 1985 Topps
Selected third overall by the Twins in the 1982 MLB Draft, Puckett debuted two years later and became one of the best players of his generation, making his rookie cards quite popular. From an aesthetic standpoint, his '85 Topps card is a thing of beauty, from the baby-blue Twins uniform to the red batting helmet to the awesome "Win! Twins!" logo the team used in Puckett's early years. See the card >

White Sox: Frank Thomas, 1990 Topps
The “Big Hurt” was known more for his bat than his glove, but his first Topps card depicts him playing defense for Auburn University, his alma mater. See the card >


Angels: Mike Trout, 2009 Bowman
The 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks & Prospects set is well known among collectors. The one-of-a-kind Trout Superfractor card from this set sold for $3.9 million in 2020, breaking the previous record of $3.12 million set by the famous T206 Honus Wagner card. See the card >

Astros: J.R. Richard, 1980 Topps
Standing 6-foot-8 and pairing 100 mph gas with an electric slider, Richard was an imposing force on the mound for the Astros. His card from the 1980 Topps set does a good job of capturing that. See the card >

Athletics: Rickey Henderson, 1980 Topps
The 1980 campaign was when Henderson arrived as a true superstar, hitting .303 with a .420 on-base percentage, scoring 111 runs and leading the Majors with 100 steals. His Topps rookie card from that year really pops, depicting Henderson wearing a gold A's jersey while in his trademark crouched batting stance. See the card >

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr., 1989 Upper Deck
This isn’t just an iconic Mariners card. No. 1 in the vey first Upper Deck set, Griffey's 1989 rookie card is one of the most recognizable cards in the history of the hobby. See the card >

Rangers: Ivan Rodriguez, 1991 Score
The 1991 season was Pudge's first in Major League Baseball. He debuted that June and appeared in Score's '91 Rookie/Traded set, with his card showing the future Hall of Famer chasing a popup near the plate. See the card >


Braves: Hank Aaron, 1957 Topps
Aaron's 1957 Topps card shows a 23-year-old who still had 689 career home runs ahead of him. Strangely, the image is reversed, making Aaron seem like a left-handed hitter. See the card >

Marlins: Miguel Cabrera, 2000 Topps
Miggy's card in the 2000 Topps Chrome Traded set came three years before his MLB debut and depicts a baby-faced, wiry 17-year-old clad in a classic teal Marlins jersey from the early years of the franchise. See the card >

Mets: Dwight Gooden, 1986 Topps
While Gooden's 1985 Topps rookie card is more valuable, his '86 card represents the right-hander at the pinnacle of his career, coming after he won the '85 NL Cy Young Award with a 24-4 record, a 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts. See the card >

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg, 2010 Topps
Strasburg lived up to the enormous hype surrounding his Major League debut, and this card captures the future World Series MVP toward the very beginning of his MLB career. See the card >

Phillies: Robin Roberts, 1949 Bowman
A vivid portrait of a Hall of Fame right-hander on the front, along with a chance to win a prize on the back? Yes, please. See the card >


Brewers: Kurt Bevacqua, 1976 Topps
There is a very good reason why Bevacqua is blowing a bubble larger than his head on this card. We promise. See the card >

Cardinals: Bob Gibson, 1968 Topps
If you could have a Bob Gibson card from any year (other than a rookie card), what better year than the one he is most remembered for, 1968? That's the year he had a 1.12 ERA and was named both NL Cy Young Award winner and NL MVP. He also struck out a World Series-record 17 batters in Game 1 against the Tigers that Fall. See the card >

Cubs: Ernie Banks, 1959 Topps
If there was ever a card that captured Banks' famous saying, "Let's play two!" it's this one. The color scheme, the fact that Banks is playing catch, the beautiful "Chicago" script across his chest and even the old bear cub logo at the bottom-left. Beautiful. See the card >

Pirates: Roberto Clemente, 1972 Topps
This card is perhaps the most poignant of the list -- Clemente at Three Rivers Stadium in a contemplative moment, flipping the baseball up in the air in what would prove to be his final Major League season before he tragically died in a plane crash that New Year's Eve. See the card >

Reds: Johnny Bench, 1969 Topps
This is simply a gorgeous card of a young Bench at old Crosley Field. It was released right after Bench won the 1968 NL Rookie of the Year Award, the first of many awards -- and rings -- to come for the future Hall of Famer. See the card >


D-backs: Justin Upton, 2006 Bowman
One of the most hyped prospects ever, this is a card from the year before Upton made his highly anticipated MLB debut. Four All-Star selections and three Silver Slugger Awards later, he's still going strong. See the card >

Dodgers: Jackie Robinson, 1956 Topps
Even though this is a card from Jackie's final Major League season, it features an action shot of him with a signature steal of home plate. Classic. See the card >

Giants: Willie Mays, 1952 Topps
This card features a portrait of focus -- the focus of a rookie with something to prove. And boy did Mays prove it and more with his Hall of Fame career. See the card >

Padres: Tony Gwynn, 1983 Topps
We miss Gwynn so much that any time we see an image of him, we get nostalgic. This one is a gem -- it's Gwynn running out of the box on what is surely a base hit in the "5.5 hole." What's interesting is that he's wearing a "Spring Training number," number 53 -- can't be many Gwynn cards out there like it. See the card >

Rockies: Dante Bichette, 1996 Upper Deck
How cool is "Bichette Happens" -- that's what was on the batting practice shirt Bichette happened to be wearing the day Upper Deck swung on by for a baseball card photo shoot. Discover the story behind the shirt. See the card >