Rob Paulsen » 15+ Most Valuable Barry Bonds Rookie Card Worth Money

15+ Most Valuable Barry Bonds Rookie Card Worth Money

Barry Bonds is considered one of the best baseball players of all time. But because he’s so controversial, he’s yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In this article, we’re going to look at the most valuable Barry Bonds rookie card and learn more about this exceptional athlete.

Barry’s rookie season was 1986 to 1987, so we’re going to focus on baseball cards from those two years. At least ten different styles were released, but some cards are more popular than others. We’ll try to check out at least one sample of each card, but many seem undervalued.

Most Valuable Barry Bonds Rookie Card

1. 1987 OPC O-Pee-Chee Barry Bonds #320 PSA 10 Gem Cross BGS Black Label? POP 36

1987 OPC O-Pee-Chee Barry Bonds #320 PSA 10 Gem Cross BGS Black Label POP 36
Image Credit: psacard

If you watch any professional sport these days, you’ll see players clashing violently with referees. And fans take the cue from their idols, pouring just as much vitriol on the ref. It’s a tough job to have. We’re mad at refs because we watch them more closely via smartphones, close-ups, and replays. But refs have these tools too, and are now more accurate than ever!

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: O-Pee-Chee
  • Value: $24,500

So why are we so verbally violent towards them? A lot of it is echoing the big stars in sports. After all, it’s not all team members that attack referees – just the highest ranking ones. As the theory goes, these stars have made it, so they feel they’re above the law. They take it personally when anyone questions them – refs or reporters! Barry Bonds was one such star.

 

2. 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T Barry Bonds RC SGC 98 Gem Mint 10

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany #11T Barry Bonds RC SGC 98 Gem Mint 10
Image Credit: ebay

There’s no question that Barry is one of the all-time greats. He earned himself 6 OPS, 7 MVPs, 8 Gold Gloves, 12 Silver Sluggers, 14 All-Star picks, 514 stolen bases, and 762 career home runs, including 73 in a single season. He achieved this last feat in 2001. Barry played for 17 qualifying seasons and for 12 of them, he was among the major league’s top five hitters.

  • Year: 1986
  • Brand: Topps
  • Value: $9,995

Barry was an all-round player and his WARP and Fangraphs ratings put him at Number 2 behind Babe Ruth! During his career, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants. But he got in trouble off the pitch, and for industry investors, this made him a shaky proposition. His off-field shenanigans dimmed his in-game talent and accolades.

 

3. 1987 Toys R Us Rookies Baseball #4 Barry Bonds RC Rookie Pirates PSA 10 Gem Mint

1987 Toys R Us Rookies Baseball #4 Barry Bonds RC Rookie Pirates PSA 10 Gem Mint
Image Credit: ebay

Let’s go back to the beginning. Barry Lamar Bonds was born on 24th July 1964 and started playing pro baseball in 1986. He was the 6th draft pick for the Pirates back in 1985, and while his in-game performance was exemplary, he wasn’t as popular off-field. Both the fans and the press disliked him, and the papers once awarded him an MDP – Most Despised Pirate.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Toys R Us
  • Value: $334

But on the ball field, you couldn’t touch him. Before joining the majors, he played in the Carolina League, specifically, the Prince William Pirates. They named him Player of the Month for July 1985. He also played for the Hawaii Islanders in the Pacific Coast League. So even before he joined MLB (Major League Baseball), he had professional field experience.

 

4. LOOK!!! 1987 Rare Topps Barry Bonds #320 “Double Misprint” Rookie Card

LOOK!!! 1987 Rare Topps Barry Bonds #320 “Double Misprint” Rookie Card
Image Credit: ebay

How did Barry get into baseball? Well, his dad, Bobby Lee Bonds, was a major league player too. But while Bobby played right field, Barry played left. Bobby mostly played for the San Francisco Giants, a team his son later joined. He had a five-time record of 30 stolen bases and 30 home runs – meaning he achieved this in five separate seasons. But he went beyond.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Topps
  • Value: $5,000

By the end of his career, he had hit 300 home runs and stolen 300 bases. At the time, only Willie Mays had reached such heights. But Barry later elevated this record, achieving 500 steals and 500 homers. Bobby retired from the majors in 1981, and his boy took up the mantle, playing in two minor leagues before being drafted into the Major League in 1985.

 

5. 1986 Fleer Update #U14 Barry Bonds Signed RC PSA 8 PSA DNA 10 Auto w/ Fleer Cert

1986 Fleer Update #U14 Barry Bonds Signed RC PSA 8 PSA DNA 10 Auto w Fleer Cert
Image Credit: psacard

Barry’s family has always been big on sports. We’ve just talked about his dad, Bobby, but his paternal aunt Rosie was an Olympic hurdler and his paternal uncle Robert was drafted for the NFL. His younger brother Bobby Jr. played pro ball too, though Bobby Jr. stayed in the minors. Apart from baseball, Barry did well on his high school football and basketball teams.

  • Year: 1986
  • Brand: Fleer
  • Value: $3,750

He played varsity baseball and had a shot at the majors in 1982 when the Giants picked him as a second-round draft. He was a high school senior at the time, and the Giants offered $5,000 less than his asking price. So he declined, went to college instead, and accepted a more lucrative offer from the Pirates in 1985. But he did join the Giants later in his career.

 

6. 1987 O-Pee-Chee OPC #320 Barry Bonds RC Rookie Dmitri Young PSA 10 POP 1

1987 O-Pee-Chee OPC #320 Barry Bonds RC Rookie Dmitri Young PSA 10 POP 1
Image Credit: psacard

Curiously, Barry studied criminology in college at Arizona State University. He later got in trouble for perjury and obstruction of justice, but we’ll start with the good stuff. For now, let’s look at his college years. He was the best player on the team, but he had already started clashing with his teammates. One time, he broke curfew and got suspended from the team.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: O-Pee-Chee
  • Value: $15,655

Fellow players had to vote on whether to let him play again and at first, they said no. But his talent prevailed and he was eventually allowed to play. He already had a superstar mentality, and he gained experience playing for the Alaska Goldpanners in the ABL. It was an amateur summer league in Alaska, but it exposed him to the conditions and expectations of pro ball.

 

7. 1987 Panini Donruss #361 Barry Bonds BGS 10

1987 Panini Donruss #361 Barry Bonds BGS 10
Image Credit: ebay

These days, stars can get away with anything as long as they keep their scores high. They’ve gone from sports stars to celebrities, so lots of them go by the ‘all news is good news’ mantra. They don’t mind courting controversy, and they sometimes do it deliberately to maintain press visibility. Barry played from this book early on, but it wasn’t as acceptable back then.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Panini Donruss
  • Value: $1,127.99

So despite being the best MLB player by far, he lost the public vote. In his rookie year, his stats were beyond any other player, but he was only placed 6th in rookie rankings because everyone disliked his attitude. Barry started out playing center field, but he was later moved to left field (for Andy Van Slyke). As a vetted all-round player, new positions didn’t faze him.

 

8. Barry Bonds – 1987 Topps Opening Day – #163 – Johnny Ray Error SSP – PSA 9 Mint

Barry Bonds - 1987 Topps Opening Day - #163 - Johnny Ray Error SSP - PSA 9 Mint
Image Credit: psacard

Barry often played first bat, and he earned his initial MVP in 1990, joining the 30-30 Club that same year. It’s a consort of players who achieve at least 30 homers and 30 steals in a single season, and as we said before, his dad Bobby was a five-time member. Barry stayed in the 30-30 club for five seasons as well. So far, they’re the only two players who did it 5 times.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Donruss
  • Value: $2,899

In 1992, Barry ‘got too expensive’ for the Pirates and became a free agent. The deal he then signed with the Giants was the highest ever figure at the time, $43.75M. He wanted to wear his dad’s number, 24, partly because it was his own jersey number at the Pirates, and partly because it was Willie Mays’s jersey number. Willie Mays was Barry’s godfather and mentor.

 

9. 1987 Donruss Opening Day Barry Bonds #163 Rookie RC PSA 10

1987 Donruss Opening Day Barry Bonds #163 Rookie RC PSA 10
Image Credit: ebay

Both Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds had played for the Giants, and Willie’s Number 24 jersey was retired when he left the team in 1972. Willie was fine with Barry wearing his jersey, but the fans and the press were outraged. Remember, Barry was an amazing ball player, but he wasn’t well-liked. So after the public uproar, Barry opted for Number 25, his dad’s old jersey.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Donruss
  • Value: $400

We’ve talked about the 30-30 Club, but there’s also a 40-40 Club, which Barry joined in 1996. To date, the club only has four members, with the fourth member (Alfonso Soriano) joining in 2006. Curiously, Alfonso spent 4 seasons in the 30-30 club so he’s the closest contender to the 5-time record held by Barry and his dad. No other player has more than 3.

 

10. 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Barry Bonds PSA 10

1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Barry Bonds PSA 10
Image Credit: ebay

Baseball is all about stats, so there’s also a 300-300 Club for career steals and homers. At the moment, it has 4 members – his godfather Willie Mays, his dad Bobby Bonds, Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, and Barry himself. But as we said before, Barry surpassed them all with a career record of 500-500. But his personality was abrasive and he kept losing MVP votes.

  • Year: 1986
  • Brand: Topps
  • Value: $8,900

To confirm this factor, Barry got the 5th ever intentional walk in baseball history. He achieved this honor on May 28th, 1998. He inaugurated the 400-400 Club that same year but was still voted 8th in the MVP ranking for that season. To date, Barry is the only member of the 400-400 and 500-500 clubs, but his professional acclaim couldn’t win over baseball fans.

 

11. 1987 Fleer Barry Bonds Signed Rookie RC Card Auto Autographed Beckett BAS

1987 Fleer Barry Bonds Signed Rookie RC Card Auto Autographed Beckett BAS
Image Credit: ebay

The 1999 season is considered Barry’s worst because he was out with injuries for most of April and May. But he still outperformed lots of players who had been active all season. And in 2000, he was awarded 117 walks, the highest in the league that season! The pitchers were clearly wary of him. Come 2001, his new season record was 177 walks and 28 home runs.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Fleer
  • Value: $316.77

He hit 17 of those home runs in a single month – May – and it was a personal career high for him. By the end of the season, he had an all-time MLB record of 73 homers. But his highest score was 198 walks in his 2002 season. Of that number, 68 were intentional. He batted his 600th home run the same year. He wasn’t done yet, achieving 232 walks in the 2004 season.

 

12. 1986 Donruss Rookies #11 Barry Bonds RC Rookie Pirates PSA 10 Gem Mint

1986 Donruss Rookies #11 Barry Bonds RC Rookie Pirates PSA 10 Gem Mint
Image Credit: ebay

In total, Barry attained 762 career home runs and over 2,500 walks. He also won an MVP at age 40, the oldest player to do so. 2004 is widely considered as his best season ever. And although the public still didn’t like him much, he earned a total of 7 MVPs, which is still more than any other player. Ever. In 2005, his salary was the second-highest in the entire league.

  • Year: 1986
  • Brand: Donruss
  • Value: $203.50

By 2006, he was down to #4 in top salaries, but by the time he retired in 2007, he was the overall highest all-time earner in baseball history. His career spanned 22 years. But we do have to mention some of the bad stuff. In 2007, drug tests found amphetamines in his blood. The papers leaked it and Barry said they were a teammate’s drugs, but later retracted the lie.

 

13. 1987 Fleer Barry Bonds Hottest Stars #5 RC Rookie PSA 9 Mint

1987 Fleer Barry Bonds Hottest Stars #5 RC Rookie PSA 9 Mint
Image Credit: ebay

Fans can be nuts. The ball from Barry’s 756th home run was caught by Matt Murphy, a 22-year-old Mets fan. He immediately received a police escort because fellow fans were rabid. He later sold the ball at auction for $752, 467. The winner, Marc Ecko, opened a website to let the public decide what he should do with the ball. Barry felt this decision was ‘stupid’.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Fleer
  • Value: $59.99

While his official record stands at 762 home runs, his MLB record is 756, and that last ball was donated to the Hall of Fame museum as per the votes on Ecko’s website. But for his 755th ball (bought by Ben Padnos for $186,750), the website voters chose to smash it. The website did earn 5 years’ worth of ad revenue though. Unfortunately, Barry wasn’t signed after 2007.

 

14. 1987 Classic Travel Update #113 Barry Bonds RC Yellow Back PSA 10

1987 Classic Travel Update #113 Barry Bonds RC Yellow Back PSA 10
Image Credit: ebay

During his active years in MLB, Barry Bonds cultivated a diva persona. He was seen as rude and entitled by fans, the press, and some of his teammates. In 2016, he admitted regretting the character he had created because it had lost him endorsements. He had an incident with reporter Rod Beaton in 1996 where Barry shoved him and they had words with no apology.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Classic Yellow Back
  • Value: $185

And in 2003, he was accused of using steroids. This led to the BALCO controversy (Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative). Barry committed perjury and was indicted in 2007. He was also charged with obstructing justice. The steroid in question was called The Clear and could sneak past doping tests. The sentence was house arrest, community service, and probation.

 

15. 1987 Leaf #219 Barry Bonds Rc Pittsburgh Pirates Psa 9 Mint – E01

1987 Leaf #219 Barry Bonds Rc Pittsburgh Pirates Psa 9 Mint - E01
Image Credit: ebay

The case dragged on (as these things do) and the verdict was eventually overturned in 2015. He sat before an en banc panel of 11 judges who voted 10-1 in his favor. Barry then took springtime training positions with the Giants and the Marlins from 2014 to 2016. And while he’s not a baseball Hall of Famer yet, he’s been on the SF Giants Wall of Fame since 2017.

  • Year: 1987
  • Brand: Leaf
  • Value: $102.50

If he earns the 12 votes he needs to finally be inducted into the Hall of Fame in December 2002, his trading cards are likely to shoot up in value. Also, he left the licensing union in 2003, which is partly why his rookie cards are so valuable. He left because independent dealers offered him more money. Also, in case you didn’t know, Barry Bonds is left-handed.

Do you have any experience with Barry Bonds rookie cards? Tell us in the comments section!

Leave a Comment