Rob Paulsen » 13 Most Valuable Mark McGwire Rookie Cards Worth Money

13 Most Valuable Mark McGwire Rookie Cards Worth Money

In the sports world, discovering a star can be both lucrative and exciting. And when it comes to trading cards, this skill is even more profitable. That’s why one of the most valuable Mark McGwire rookie cards is the 1984 Olympic Baseball Team. He was still a college ball player.

As his spotlight grew, so did the value of that trading card! So today, we’re going to explore his history, his baseball career, and his impact on the game. We’ll also look at more of his valuable baseball cards, particularly those from his rookie year on the baseball diamond.

Most Valuable Mark McGwire Rookie Cards

1. 1985 Topps Tiffany #401 Mark Mcgwire Signed RC Rookie Auto 10 Autograph PSA

1985 Topps Tiffany #401 Mark Mcgwire Signed RC Rookie Auto 10 Autograph PSA
Image Credit: ebay

When a player’s fame and game stats finally hit the big time, their rookie cards shoot up in value. But for Mark McGwire, his performance during his rookie season meant his cards were profitable from the get-go. In his first major league season, he made a record-setting 49 home runs. At the time, it was a massive move. No rookie had hit that many in their debut!

  • Brand: Tiffany
  • Year: 1985
  • Value: $999.99

He later broke a second home run record, hitting 70 in his 1998 season. Both records were later broken, but Mark retains his place among the baseball greats. For one thing, he won two World Series on two different teams, and that’s saying a lot! His second World Series came when he was coaching his former team the St. Louis Cardinals, an extra special win.

 

2. 1987 Donruss Mark McGwire Rated Rookie #46 BECKETT 9.5!!!

1987 Donruss Mark McGwire Rated Rookie #46 BECKETT 9.5!!!
Image Credit: ebay

Big Mac – as everybody knew him, played first base. And while many professional athletes end up as managers or coaches, they don’t always succeed. Just because you can play ball doesn’t mean you can teach others – that’s a separate skill. But Big Mac proved he could handle both when he coached his former team all the way to a World Series victory. Nice!

  • Brand: Donruss
  • Year: 1987
  • Value: $550.00

But before he became a championship-winning player or coach, Mark was a California kid who played baseball, basketball … and golf (his dad was a dentist). He eventually grew to be 6 foot 5 and weighs 245lbs, hence his nickname. Unfortunately, part of that bulk came from steroids, and unlike many players, he admitted it. But it didn’t dim his star status or career.

 

3. 1985 Topps Tiffany Factory Set With Traded Series Mark Mcgwire Rookie Card Rc

1985 Topps Tiffany Factory Set With Traded Series Mark Mcgwire Rookie Card Rc
Image Credit: ebay

Big Mac was an active player in the MLB between 1986 and 1991. He didn’t go pro until two years after his most valuable rookie card – that famous one from 1984. That year, his team won silver at the Olympics (Japan got the gold). Yes, he was drafted for the team in 1984, but he was a 10th draft pick and spent some time on the bench before his formal debut in 1986.

  • Brand: Tiffany
  • Year: 1985
  • Value: $810

Curiously, he had been drafted earlier – in 1981 – but it was an amateur pick for the Montreal Expos and he chose to stay in school. He played for his college team at USC, and officially joined the Oakland Athletics in 1984. Big Mac played first base, but he was known as a prolific home run hitter, and he still ranks 11th in all-time stats for career home runs.

 

4. 1985 Topps TIFFANY Mark McGwire Rookie Card Mint PSA 9 #401

1985 Topps TIFFANY Mark McGwire Rookie Card Mint PSA 9 #401
Image Credit: psacard

It must have been tough for Big Mac. By 1987, he had been playing with the pros for close to a decade, but he was still seen (and treated) as a rookie. But he soon made his name through his consistent home run hitting. That’s what earned him a spot on the All-Star team, sealing his reputation as a top-tier ball player. And he might have hit 50 runs in his first pro season.

  • Brand: Tiffany
  • Year: 1985
  • Value: $1,025

In a move that says more about the man than the sport, Big Mac skipped two games where he might have hit his 5oth homer. Reason? His wife was in labor so he sat the game out so he could be there when his first child was born. They were the final two games of the season, and luckily, nobody else broke his rookie record. But it did keep him out of the 50-50 club…

 

5. 1982 Anchorage Glacier Pilots Mark McGwire Card Minor League PSA 9 RARE!

1982 Anchorage Glacier Pilots Mark McGwire Card Minor League PSA 9 RARE!
Image Credit: ebay

That said, his record held for another decade until it was broken by Aaron Judge in 2017. Aaron hit 52 home runs that season with the Yankees. But back to Big Mac, he made rookie of the year in 1987 and was 6th on the list of MVPs. And he did stay in the public eye, hitting over 30 home runs per season for his first four seasons. He worked hard on defense as well.

  • Brand: Glacier Pilots
  • Year: 1982 (USC)
  • Value: $121.50

Big Mac didn’t want to just be known as a slugger. He won a Gold Glove in 1990 for his field performance. But 1991 was rough for him, both socially and professionally. He calls it his worst year ever, with his marriage in trouble and his game declining. But he bounced back in 1992 and continued to play pro ball until 2001 when injuries cut his playing career short.

 

6. 1987 Topps MARK MCGWIRE Signed Rookie Baseball Card PSA/DNA #366 Athletics USC

1987 Topps MARK MCGWIRE Signed Rookie Baseball Card PSADNA #366 Athletics USC
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By 1997, only four players ever had defeated the Tiger Stadium in Detroit by hitting a home run past the roof. Big Mac was the fourth, and no one has done it since. His April 27th homer is said to have traveled 491 feet over left field. And while nobody really wants to be traded, it says a lot if your one position is exchanged for three, which happened to Big Mac in 1997.

  • Brand: Topps
  • Year: 1987
  • Value: $158

At the time, Big Mac was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. The deal saw Eric Ludwick, T.J. Matthews, and Blake Stein joining the Oakland Athletics. Lots of people thought he’d leave the Cardinals at the end of the season, but he stayed on and eventually joined their coaching crew. And despite all the turbulence of the year, he still made 58 home runs and 101 walks.

 

7. 1985 Topps #401 Mark McGwire USA Baseball RC Rookie BGS 10 PRISTINE

1985 Topps #401 Mark McGwire USA Baseball RC Rookie BGS 10 PRISTINE
Image Credit: ebay

1998 was an exciting year. The existing world record was 62 home runs in a single season, held by Roger Maris. And the game had tons of high hitters that year, so the media made a big splash over who would break the record. The top three contenders were Big Mac, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey Jr. On 8th September, Big Mac tied the record with his 62nd home run.

  • Brand: Topps
  • Year: 1985
  • Value: $6,600

It was a big deal for him, with both Sammy Sosa and Roger Maris’ family in attendance. And ordinarily, a ball like that would be worth millions to anyone who caught it. But in a move that showed how well-liked Big Mac was, a stadium worker found the ball and readily offered it to Big Mac. They made a big ceremony out of the whole thing – it was a career landmark.

 

8. (Error Card Green Border) Mark Mcgwire 1988 Topps T #580 Oakland A’s Rookie Cup

(Error Card Green Border) Mark Mcgwire 1988 Topps T #580 Oakland A's Rookie Cup
Image Credit: ebay

Big Mac made it to 70 home runs that season, and he held the record until Barry Bonds broke it in 2001. Barry hit an all-time high of 73 home runs, but the glory of the first ever Babe Ruth Home Run Award went to Big Mac. All that excitement in 1998 brought a wave of new fans to the game. Baseball had been steadily losing its popularity to American Football.

  • Brand: Topps
  • Year: 1988
  • Value: $100

The downturn in fan interest had also been worsened by the baseball strike of 94-95. And most of this fan resurgence was attributed to the media interest in this Sammy Sossa – Big Mac home run rivalry. It was friendly though, and Sammy gladly congratulated Big Mac for that 62nd home run. It may have helped that Sammy still got MVP bragging rights that year.

 

9. 1985 Topps 401 Mark McGwire Signed USA Rookie Card Autograph RC Auto PSA/DNA A’s

1985 Topps 401 Mark McGwire Signed USA Rookie Card Autograph RC Auto PSADNA A's
Image Credit: ebay

This public link between Sammy Sossa and Big Mac kept going. Out of all the players in pro ball, ever, these two hold the record for hitting over 60 home runs in four consecutive seasons – 1996 to 1999. In 1999, they were the top two home run hitters, with Big Mac hitting 65 and Sammy Sossa hitting 63. Big Mac eventually retired in 2001 due to injuries.

  • Brand: Topps
  • Year: 1985
  • Value: $229

Off the field, Big Mac worked with individual players, notably Skip Schumaker, Bobby Crosby, and Matt Holliday. During his time as an active player, Big Mac hated the emphasis on his batting. He didn’t like people calling him a one-dimensional player that was only good for home runs and walks. But in this baseball afterlife, his hitting ability was his meal ticket.

 

10. Mark McGwire Psa 10 Retro Rated Rookie On Card Autograph 16/35 Teal Velocity

Mark McGwire Psa 10 Retro Rated Rookie On Card Autograph 1635 Teal Velocity
Image Credit: ebay

After spending some time as a personal hitting coach, he was hired officially and even coached the Cardinals to a World Series win! He later worked as a hitting coach for the LA Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the San Diego Padres. Ever the family man, he picked at least one of these jobs because it allowed him to be closer to his wife and kids.

  • Brand: Donruss
  • Year: 2021 (Rated Rookie)
  • Value: $125

It was during his time with the Diamondbacks that he faced an ejection followed by a two-game suspension. The whole thing was the messy aftermath of that famous bench brawl in 2013. Following that tenure, Big Mac served as a bench coach for the San Diego Padres from 2015 to 2018, when he retired from baseball altogether. His career total was 583 home runs.

 

11. 1987 Topps Baseball Mark McGwire Rookie Card SGC 10 Homerun Legend!!!

1987 Topps Baseball Mark McGwire Rookie Card SGC 10 Homerun Legend!!!
Image Credit: ebay

So when journalist Steve Wilstein asked Big Mac about it in 1998, he didn’t deny it. It wasn’t a big deal at the time, but in 2005, Jose Canseco wrote a book praising steroids and claiming he had personally injected Big Mac back when they were teammates. That same year, a total of 11 players (including both of them) were subpoenaed to testify at a Congressional hearing.

  • Brand: Topps
  • Year: 1987
  • Value: $100

Times had changed since then, and Big Mac tearfully refused to answer steroid questions under oath. He made an opening statement saying it wouldn’t solve the problem. The hearing felt more like a public spectacle, with pro ball players being cross-examined on live TV. But when he got into coaching in 2010, he publicly admitted to off-and-on steroid use.

 

12. 1985 Topps Tiffany Baseball Mark McGwire Team USA Rookie Card # 401 PSA 8 NM-MT

1985 Topps Tiffany Baseball Mark McGwire Team USA Rookie Card # 401 PSA 8 NM-MT
Image Credit: ebay

In his defense, Big Mac said it was a mistake he regretted and he openly apologized. He explained that he had used the drugs to help him recover from the injuries that plagued his career. He said he used them as a health hack, not as a performance enhancer, and that he wished he had never touched them to begin with. And the Cardinals still hired him to coach.

  • Brand: Topps
  • Year: 1985
  • Value: $350

Two of Big Mac’s brothers became pro athletes as well – one in the NFL and one as a bodybuilder. And while Dan McGwire (the football brother) hasn’t said anything about steroids, Jay McGwire wrote a book in 2010 that discusses how both he and Big Mac used steroids. In general, Big Mac was media shy, but the steroid thing put him in the press a lot more often.

 

13. Wow!! NO RESERVE McGwire Graded Baseball Card Lot, RCs 85 Topps #401 BGS, PCGS!

Wow!! NO RESERVE McGwire Graded Baseball Card Lot, RCs 85 Topps #401 BGS, PCGS!
Image Credit: ebay

We’ve mentioned Barry Bonds several times in this article. Barry broke Big Mac’s home run record, so the two are often tagged together. In various news pieces and baseball record commentaries, they take turns being acclaimed as ‘second only to Babe Ruth’. Barry Bonds was subpoenaed regarding alleged steroid use as well, but he never admitted to using them.

  • Brand: Mixed
  • Year: Mixed
  • Value: $227.48

Barry was later charged and indicted with perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to the case, but after several rounds of legal battles, the verdict was overturned in 2015. Barry said Big Mac was brave for admitting to his steroid use. But so far, neither of the two is in the Hall of Fame. Barry is eligible until December 2022, but Big Mac timed out with 54 votes in 2016.

Do you own any valuable Mark McGwire rookie cards? Share photos in the comments below!

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