2013 Florida Gulf Coast University Men’s Basketball
In 2013, not only did the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles make it to the third round as a 15th seed, but they became known as, “Dunk City,” for the performances they put on in their wins over second-seeded Georgetown and seventh-seeded San Diego State.
1983 NC State Over Houston
Coming into the NCAA tournament as a sixth seed, the North Carolina State Wolfpack defied all odds against a stacked Houston Cougar’s squad, led by current NBA Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon. The Wolfpack went all the way, finishing off their perfect tournament run in dramatic fashion. In one of the all-time greatest buzzer-beaters, NC State’s Dereck Wittenburg heaved up a desperation 3-pointer, which came up short of the net but was quickly caught and dunked by Lorenzo Charles before the buzzer sounded.
Buster Douglas Over Mike Tyson
James “Buster” Douglas was pretty much unheard of before his fight with Mike Tyson. In 1990, Tyson entered the fight as a 42-1 favorite with an undefeated record. Not only did Douglas beat “Iron” Mike, but he actually knocked out the heavyweight champion and took his belt. While Douglas wasn’t able to hold onto the title for long, losing to Evander Holyfield in his very next fight, his performance against Tyson will always be remembered as an upset that nobody saw coming.
1969 New York “Miracle” Mets
The 1969 New York Mets were never supposed to be a threat to the rest of the league. Nobody could predict that they would even have the smallest chance at winning a World Series. They finished out the regular season with a record of 100-62 and went on to face off against Atlanta Braves, winning the series in three games. The “Miracle Mets” then moved forward to take on the highly-favored Baltimore Orioles. They would take the series 4-1, shocking the world.
1985 Villanova Over Georgetown
With a regular season of 19-10, the Villanova Wildcats made it to the 1985 Final Four. They were up against the Georgetown Hoyas, led by 7’0″ superstar, Patrick Ewing. The Wildcat’s had lost their previous two meetings with the Hoyas, and with 6’9″ Ed Pickney guarding Ewing, there was no reason to think the trend would change. Somehow, Ewing was held to 14 points as Villanova’s offense shot 78.6 percent from the field. The Wildcats became the lowest seed to ever win the NCAA championship.
When Josh Hamilton was given a second chance, he seized the opportunity. As the first overall pick of the 1999 MLB Draft, Hamilton headed to Tampa Bay with high hopes. During his time in the minors, however, Hamilton’s career fell apart as a result of substance abuse. Throughout the 2000s, he was traded from team to team until the Texas Rangers took him in 2008. With the Rangers, he cleaned up his image went on to win MVP in the 2010 season.
1982 Chaminade Over Virginia
Going into their 1982 game against the relatively unheard-of Chaminade Silverswords, the number-1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers were 8-0 and looking to cruise their way to another victory. Virginia had already faced off against some of college basketball’s best competition, It’s safe to say that the Cavaliers were feeling confident. In what many publications called college basketball’s “biggest upset,” the Silverswords beat Virginia by a score of 77-72. It wouldn’t be their only embarrassing loss…
Tom Brady And The 2001 New England Patriots
It might seem bizarre to think that Bill Belichick and his 5-time Super Bowl champion franchise-quarterback were once underdogs. As the 199th pick in the sixth round of the NFL draft, Tom Brady was never expected to amount to much, if he even saw the field at all. Brady, along with the rest of the 2001 Patriots, would silence every doubter as they began a tradition of not just winning, but dominating year after year, building a reputation as the most-hated team in the NFL.
Kurt Warner spent the better part of a decade proving his worth. Warner went to Northern Iowa University, where he wouldn’t see the field until his senior season in 1993. After spending a few years in the Arena Football League and one year in Europe, Warner joined the Rams, and became their starting quarterback in 1999. That same year, he would win a Super Bowl. He stayed in the NFL until his 2010 retirement and will forever be remembered as one of the greats.
Holly Holm Over Ronda Rousey UFC 193
Going into her fight against Holly Holm in 2015, many considered Ronda Rousey to be the queen of the UFC’s bantamweight division. Notorious for her superior grappling skills and knockout capabilities, Rousey had dominated her previous three fights, finishing off each bout in under a minute. In typical UFC fashion, trash talk had been building for months. The hype was there and the stage was set. In the second round, Holm landed a roundhouse kick and ended the fight in a knock-out.
2004 Detroit Pistons
In 2004, the Los Angeles Lakers were in the NBA finals for the fourth time in five seasons. Led by superstars Koby Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, in addition to newly acquired talent in Karl Malone and Gary Payton, the Lakers were up against the underdog Detroit Pistons. What the Pistons lacked in star power, they made up for in teamwork and good decision-making. Detroit would come out on top, beating the Lakers in five games and winning their first title since 1990.
1995 New Jersey Devils
Even though they were only a few losses shy of a losing record, the 1994-95 New Jersey Devils made the playoffs as a fifth seed and went on to defeat the Bruins, Penguins, and Flyers on their road to the finals. In a matchup similar to that of David vs. Goliath, the Devils had the odds stacked against them. Somehow they swept the dominant Detroit Red Wings in just four games and went down in NHL history for their incredible underdog performance.
2007 Stanford Football
The University of Southern California Trojans went into their game against the visiting Stanford Cardinals as a 41-point favorite to win. That, combined with their 35-game home game winning streak, and the Cardinals’ backup quarterback starting in his first game ever, made Stanford the clear underdog. All of the hype must have gotten to the Trojans’ heads, because this matchup resulted in the biggest point spread upset in the history of college football, with Stanford ending the Trojans’ winning streak in their 24-23 victory.
Even though it’s hard to call Goran Ivanisevic an underdog, considering that he was ranked number 2 in the world in 1994, his 2001 Wimbledon victory can certainly be considered a come-from-behind win. Having missed the entire 2000 season with a shoulder injury, Ivanisevic was 125th in the world and entered Wimbledon as a wildcard. Ivanisevic miraculously beat out Carlos Moya, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin, Tim Henman and Patrick Rafter to take home the title and end his career on a high note.
Greece 2004 Euro Cup
Greece has never been the type of team to put on impressive tournament performances. In 2004, after losing their first two qualifying matches, there was no reason to suspect otherwise. Somehow, they won six games in a row and made it to the group stage, and proceeded to beat out France in the quarterfinals. Next up, Greece took on the Czech Republic and came out with a close win. Against all odds, they beat Portugal 1-0 in the finals, making history in the process.
2016 Leicester City
With 5000-1 odds against them, Leicester City miraculously took the Premier League by storm in 2016. Even more impressive, just one season prior to their incredible run, Leicester City was almost given the boot and demoted from the Premier League. Italian coach Claudio Ranieri somehow transformed his team into champions without even spending a large sum of money. Leicester were such underdogs, that sportscaster Gary Lineker vowed to present his show in his underwear if they were to win the Premier League – and he did.
Even though Michael Oher is now considered to be one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL, his underdog story dates back to his upbringing. Growing up, Oher truly had the odds stacked against him. His mother suffered from substance abuse and addiction problems and his father was in and out of prison. Luckily the Tuohy family took him in and he began to thrive, both on and off the football field. He eventually became a first round draft pick.
1980 USA Men’s Hockey
In what would become known as “The Miracle on Ice,” the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team, a squad of amateurs and college stars put together last minute, faced off against the Soviets, a well-established cohesive team who had already proven their dominance on the world stage. USA’s victory against the Soviets became iconic with Al Michaels’ line of “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” The Americans would then come from behind to beat out Finland in the finals, making America proud.
James “Cinderella Man” Braddock
In a literal “rags to riches” story, James Braddock became the inspiration for the movie Cinderella Man. As a young man, Braddock fought as an unsuccessful professional boxer. When the Great Depression struck, Braddock abandoned his passion to provide for his family. Following a year without seeing the ring, Braddock was offered a chance to fight again but wasn’t taken seriously by any of his competitors. Braddock would shock the world, defeating Max Baer by unanimous decision and becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.
1966 Texas Western University Basketball
In 1966, Don Haskins became the first coach in the history of college basketball to play with an entirely African-American starting lineup. Haskins went on to dominate the NCAA tournament in true underdog fashion, beating out the highly-favored Kentucky Wildcats and ending their incredible championship season with a record of 28-1. The 1966 Texas Western Miners played with a chip on their shoulder as they not only battled opponents on the court but also faced scrutiny and adversity off the court.
Ivy league college basketball players rarely make it to the NBA. That’s why it was so impressive when former Harvard basketball star Jeremy Lin took the NBA by storm. He went undrafted in 2010 and spent his first season on the Golden State Warriors’ bench. Lin was finally given a shot in the 2011-2012 season when he was picked up by the injury-ridden Knicks. He took full advantage of his opportunity, putting on a stellar performance and giving rise the expression “Linsanity.”
2010-11 Butler Men’s Basketball
Back in 2010, the Butler Bulldogs stunned the college basketball world when their tournament run brought them to a championship game against the Duke Blue Devils, where they came up short. A year later, the Bulldogs pulled off the impossible yet again when they made it to another championship game, this time against the UConn Huskies. They once again fell short, but, as a mid-major school, their back-to-back championship appearances still prove to be one of the greatest underdog stories in basketball history.
1998 Harvard Women’s Basketball
Nobody anticipates a 16 seed to make it far in the tournament. They are typically seen as a stepping stone or warm-up game for their number 1 seeded opponents. Because they have no expectations, 16th seed teams can be dangerous. In 1998, the Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team learned what it meant to face an opponent with nothing to lose. While they may have lost in the next round to the Arkansas Razorback’s, the legendary underdog victory of the Harvard women will never be forgotten.
2004 Boston Red Sox
Back in 2004, the Boston Red Sox faced off against the rival New York Yankees in the ALCS. Boston quickly found themselves in trouble when they lost their first three games to New York. Somehow, the Sox rallied and turned the series around, winning four games in a row and becoming the first team to ever win a playoff series after being down three games to none. Boston went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals and win their first World Series since 1918.
2007 New York Giants
Super Bowl XLII featured the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. The Patriots were 12-point favorites and the first team to ever complete an undefeated 16-game regular season in NFL history. The Giants, on the other hand, finished the regular season with a record of 10-6 and were trying to become the first ever NFC Wildcard to win a Super Bowl. Eli Manning’s fourth-quarter game-winning drive and David Tyree’s iconic “Helmet Catch” will always be remembered as an epic underdog story.
2008 Fresno State Bulldogs Baseball Team
With a record of 37-27, the 2008 Fresno State Bulldogs were fortunate to even enter the NCAA tournament. Somehow they defeated teams like Long Beach State, University of San Diego, and Arizona State, before making it to the College World Series. There, the Bulldogs really proved their worth, beating out Rice, and North Carolina before moving on to the championship against Georgia. Throughout their series with Georgia, they outscored their opponent 31-18 and became the first ever 4th seed to win it all.
1988 Winter Olympics- Jamaican Bobsled Team
Any team that serves as inspiration for Disney movie is certainly worthy of a spot on our list. Coming from their tropical Caribbean homeland, the Jamaican bobsled team entered the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics as one of the most unusual and unlikely team of underdogs to ever see the sport of bobsledding. Coached by a former US Olympic bobsledder, the Jamaicans made an incredible run, but unfortunately crashed before crossing the finish line. Nevertheless, their inspirational story lives on through the 1993 film Cool Runnings.
1950 World Cup- USA Men’s Soccer
Despite their dominance in American pasttimes such as baseball and (American) football, the Americans have never been a strong contender on soccer’s world stage. That’s why it was so impressive when the USA’s 1950 World Cup team gave England a run for their money, and beat out the Brits 1-0. Even more impressive was the fact that the Americans had odds of 500-1 against them and that in their previous seven international matches, they had been outscored by 43 goals.
Nate Diaz Over Conor McGregor UFC 196
Conor McGregor’s rags-to-riches story is an underdog story in its own right. But by the time Conor fought Nate Diaz in 2016, he was a force to be reckoned with, having been on a 15-fight winning streak. Diaz, on the other hand, had just two weeks to prepare. In the days leading up to the bout, McGregor didn’t hold back with his trash-talk while Diaz remained quiet in press conferences. Diaz let his game do the talking, submitting McGregor in dramatic fashion.
2011 VCU Men’s Basketball
Entering the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament, the Kansas State Jayhawks were a number 1 seed and favorited by many to win it all. By the time the made it to the Elite Eight, they were the only top seed remaining in the tournament. The VCU Rams proved themselves to be worthy competitors as they took down the Jayhawks with a final score of 71-61. Unfortunately for VCU, they were then knocked out in the Final Four by the Butler Bulldogs.
The inspirational story of Vince Papale lives on through Mark Walberg’s 2006 movie Invincible. In the 1970’s, Papale was just a regular guy trying to make a living for himself and support his family, playing semi-pro football on the side. In 1976, his impressive performance with the World Football League’s Philadelphia Bell earned him a chance to try-out for the Eagles. Against all odds, Papale made the team and became the oldest rookie to play in the NFL without having played in college.
Joe Namath And The 1969 New York Jets Over The Baltimore Colts
When Joe Namath guaranteed that his New York Jets would win the Super Bowl against the Baltimore Colts, many sports experts thought he was crazy. The Colts were believed to be overwhelming favorites. Even though both teams were successful in their regular season runs, at the time, New York’s AFL competition was considered to be highly inferior to the NFL talent that Baltimore had faced. Somehow, Namath’s prediction proved itself to be true, as the Colts went on to win 16-7.
Tim Tebow And The 2011 Broncos
In 2011, the Denver Broncos were struggling with a 1-4 record. At the request of Broncos of fans, Tim Tebow was given his chance to start in Week 7, against the Miami Dolphins, and carried his team to an overtime win. With Tebow running the offense, the Broncos were able to turn their season around, going 7-4 through the remainder of the regular season. They even made it into the postseason, where they beat the Steelers in overtime but fell short against the Patriots.
2006 George Mason Patriots Over UConn Huskies
In 2006, the 11th-seeded George Mason University Patriots beat the number 1 seeded UConn Huskies in an overtime thriller for the ages. The UConn Huskies have been a powerhouse in the College Basketball world for over two decades, winning four national championships from 1999 to 2014. George Mason, on the other hand, was considered by many to be lucky to have even made the tournament. The stage was set for an upset and George Mason proved that anything can happen in March Madness.
2005-06 Edmonton Oilers
While they may have come up short when it was all said and done, the Edmonton Oilers’ 2005-06 Stanley Cup run was nothing short of miraculous. As the Western Conference’s eighth seed, the Oilers needed to face some of the NHL’s best competition, with most games on the road. In the postseason, they somehow conquered the Red Wings, Sharks, and Mighty Ducks before making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they fell in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes.
2018 UMBC Over Virginia
Virginia always seems to be on the losing end of incredible upsets. Prior to the 2018 NCAA tournament, few people even knew that the University of Maryland-Baltimore County had a basketball team. On March 16th, the 16-seeded Retrievers faced off against the number-one seeded Virginia Cavaliers and pulled off one of the most unexpected, bracket-busting victories in March Madness history. Not only did UMBC become the first ever 16-seed to beat out a 1-seed, but they did so in humiliating fashion, winning by 20 points.
1952 Topps – Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle is one of the most well-known baseball players in history, which is why you’ll see his likeness show up on several different cards throughout this collection. His 1952 Topps card is one of the most valuable in existence. With a grade of nine, it fetched an insane $3 million at one time!
This is a fixed record, discounting Honus Wagner T206 baseball cards. Lower-graded versions of this card can still sell for close to $1 million dollars, making it one of the most valued cards in baseball collecting.
1993 Deck SP – Derek Jeter (Foil)
Derek Jeter has been a household name for over three decades. The legendary shortstop and NY Yankees captain has many cards in existence, but this one — created in 1993 when he was still in the minor leagues — is the most lucrative. This variation jumps in value according to number rating and status, like most other cards.
If you happen to have one of these cards in close to mint condition, you can expect to earn about $1,000 at auction. Not too bad!
1984 Fleer Update – Dwight Gooden
Dwight Gooden first exploded onto the baseball scene in the 1980s, with a bullet-like fastball that helped him break numerous records. He earned the nickname “Doctor K” due in no small part to feats like his rookie season in 1984, where he eliminated nearly 300 batters and racked up almost twenty wins.
If you own this card in good condition, you can make around $200 by selling it. It features Dwight during his rookie season in his classic orange and blue Mets uniform.
1955 Topps – Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, after his untimely passing in an airplane accident. The Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder racked up 3,000 hits during his career, as well as numerous MVP awards. His record and shocking passing has resulted in a boost to the value of some of his baseball cards.
In 2012, a mint copy of Clemente’s 1954 Topps rookie card brought in almost $500,000, and in 2016, a grade nine reached $500,000. Check your collection for this rare, highly sought-after card.
1948 Bowman – Stan Musial
Considered to be one of the most consistent and greatest hitters in history, Stan Musial played for the St. Louis Cardinals for most of his career in the ’40s through ’60s. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2011 for his contributions to the country.
Although it may be a bit harder to find, if you happen to have Stan Musial’s 1948 Bowman card, you could be looking at a potential pay-day of around $1,000.
1914 Baltimore News – Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth, perhaps the most well-known baseball player in American history, played most of his career for the New York Yankees. Quite a few of his cards have made the list as you can imagine, and in 2012, one of his 1914 Baltimore News cards sold for a whopping $575,000.
This is even more shocking because the card was only a grade two. There are only 10 of these cards known to be in existence, which is why they’re so valuable.
1984 Fleer Update – Roger Clemens
The 1984 Fleer Update collection has some valuable items in it, including this card of Roger “The Rocket” Clemens. Between the 1980s and 2000s, Roger Clemens was one of the most famous pitchers in the league, and his cards had a meteoric rise in value as a result.
Even though he’s been barred from the Hall of Fame due to doping, this card of Roger Clemens did not diminish in worth as a result. If you have one in good condition, you can expect to sell it for a few hundred dollars.
1963 Topps – Pedro Gonzalez, Al Weis, Pete Rose, Ken McMullen
With four stars on its face, this specialty card can consistently sell for almost $70,000 in mint condition. It features four stars, including the record-smashing Pete Rose, so it’s really no surprise that it remains a valuable collector’s item to this day.
In 2016, a grade 10 version of this card fetched a whopping $717,000, but having an old card in perfect quality and condition is exceedingly rare. Still, $70,000 isn’t anything to sneeze at!
2001 Bowman – Albert Pujols (Autographed)
In the early 2000s, baseball card collecting was a very widespread hobby, so only special cards were really considered rare and exciting. Special cards included special edition, truly rare, or autographed cards.
One of those autographed cards, Albert Pujols’ 2001 Bowman, can usually fetch a few thousand dollars if it’s been kept in good condition.
1982 Topps Traded – Cal Ripken, Jr.
Cal Ripken’s 1982 rookie card is the most valuable of the 1982 rookie cards, which is really saying something since there are quite a few that are very valuable.
Cal Ripken, Jr. had a long and storied career, playing the most consecutive games in history at over 2,600. One of these rookie cards featuring the “Iron Man” will go for a couple of hundred dollars in mint condition.
1968 Topps Rookie – Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan
This card, featuring Mets heroes Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan, only has around 8,000 in circulation. Out of that 8,000, only one was given a grade of 10, making it extremely rare and, therefore, pretty valuable. The last time the 10 grade was auctioned off, it hit $612,359!
If your baseball card collection includes a nine-grade version of this rare card, you can expect to sell it in the low five-figure range. Still not a bad payday!
1990 Topps – Frank Thomas (Error)
Frank Thomas’s 1990 Topps card was one of the priciest of the 1990 Topps collection. While the card is rare, if you happen to find one with an error, you can expect to sell it for even more money! The error version is missing the title on each side of the card.
This type of error makes baseball cards (at least some of them) a highly sought-after novelty item, and if you happen to have it, it’s worth a few thousand dollars.
1911 T206 – Honus Wagner
This particular baseball card has the honor of being the most expensive baseball card ever auctioned off. Any baseball card collector worth their salt will know about this treasure. As with most other baseball cards from the early 1900s, the Honus Wagner card was printed by a tobacco company to help sell their products.
Wagner wasn’t a huge fan of this practice, but his dispute with the company actually arose from royalties rather than any moral stance. In 2016, this card sold for about $3.12 million.
1991 Topps – Chipper Jones (Desert Shield)
Chipper Jones, the iconic Atlanta Braves 3rd baseman, was a staple of the MLB in the ’90s. In 1991, Topps made a new set featuring a Desert Shield for distribution to troops serving in Iraq. In 2018, a mint condition Chipper Jones Desert Shield card sold for over $13,000.
This was primarily due to its grading (10) since many of these cards were sent overseas and consequently damaged in the hot sands of Iraq. If you have one in worse condition, you might make a few hundred dollars off it.
1916 Sporting News – Babe Ruth
Another Babe Ruth card on this list — due in no small part to his incredible performances, numerous hitting records, and his standing as one of America’s national treasures. Since he has enjoyed the same popularity for decades, his cards consistently sell for astronomical sums.
This 1916 card from Sporting News is one of the priciest cards in existence, with one going for $717,000 in 2016. In 2017, yet another card from the set sold for $550,000. If you have one, consider yourself lucky!
1989 Upper Deck – Ken Griffey, Jr. (Rookie)
For some reason, many people during the 1990s believed this was one of the most valuable cards ever printed, but that was never really the case. This rookie card featuring the famous centerfielder from Seattle and Cincinnati isn’t going to fetch as high a price as some of the other cards on this.
Regardless, it’s still a valuable card in its own right, holding its value pretty consistently for three decades. A mint-condition copy will sell for about $400.
1952 Topps – Willie Mays
While the 1952 Topps collection features a pretty famous Mickey Mantle card, it also features this legendary Willie Mays card. The legendary centerfielder for New York also happens to be a Hall of Famer so unsurprisingly, this card is quite expensive.
In 2016, one of these cards with the “Say Hey Kid” on it sold for $478,000 at auction. That’s a pretty valuable card!
1984 Fleer Update – Kirby Puckett
The next valuable card on our list is a relic from the 1984 Fleer Update collection, featuring Kirby Puckett. Puckett was a centerfielder for the Minnesota Twins, who was also inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.
Of course, this card’s value is heavily influenced by grading — for a card with a 10 grade, you might get anywhere from $200 to $500.
1909 American Caramel – Shoeless Joe Jackson
Another card printed by tobacco companies at the turn of the century, this card is a pretty pricey item. Shoeless Joe Jackson was banned from baseball in 1919 after suspected participation in the Black Sox gambling incident. Still, his 1909 American Caramel card still commands a high price at auction.
A perfect condition card from this set went for $660,000 at auction in 2016 (which seems to have been a pretty popular year for astronomical baseball card values).
1911 T206 – Joe Doyle
Another from the incredibly valuable T206 collection from 1911, this card features Joe Doyle. It’s interesting because Joe Doyle wasn’t really a great player, didn’t get inducted into the Hall of Fame, and was lost to the annals of sports history after he left the game, but his cards still remain valuable today.
One of these cards sold for $414,750 at auction, but part of this incredible valuation is believed to have been due to a printing error. The first edition of this card showed that he was part of the National League NY Team, rather than the Yankees!
1954 Topps – Hank Aaron
Another card that will sell for six figures features Hank Aaron, one of the most prodigious home run hitters in history. The only rookie card featuring him is this 1954 Topps card, which was one of the first sets to be printed with new printing techniques that led to them being much sturdier.
A mint condition of this particular card sold for $357,000 in 2012. Baseball card experts believe the set will continue to increase in value in the future.
1909 T206 – Ty Cobb (Bat Off Shoulder)
The T206 collection, printed from 1909 to 1911, holds some of the most valuable cards in baseball card history. This Ty Cobb card features Cobb in a stance with the bat off his shoulder; there were also cards printed with the bat on his shoulder. However, this card is the pricier one of the bunch.
Higher-graded items have sold for six figures in the past, but even if you have a lower-graded card, you might still sell it for several thousand dollars.
1951 Bowman – Mickey Mantle
Mickey Mantle is another American hero ball player whose cards continue to enjoy high prices at auction, since he was popular with both Baby Boomers as well as younger generations. This 1951 Bowman print, while less valuable than the Topps card featuring Mantle, is the only rookie card of his.
If you have a card in excellent condition, this card will easily sell for over half a million dollars. Of course, if you have it, you probably already know that!
1901 T206 – Eddie Plank
Yet another card from the esteemed T206 set features Eddie Plank, widely considered to be one of the best left-handed pitchers ever to play the game. This printing was plagued by numerous issues caused by a bad printing plate, with poor centering of the images to the point it can sometimes cut into the text along the bottom.
A Plank T206 card with an eight grade sold for $850,000 once. While the card might not be that valuable now, you can still expect to sell it for six figures.
1887 Old Judge – Cap Anson
This card is easily the oldest on this list, with any remaining copies being over 130 years old at this point! There were numerous other cards from the 1887 Old Judge collection that are very valuable nowadays. This particular card, featuring first baseman Cap Anson, is still highly valuable.
As you can imagine, the age of this print makes this card exceedingly rare, especially in excellent condition. A grade five has sold for over $50,000 in the past, and since there’s only a handful known to exist, this is a rare treasure indeed.
1948 Leaf – Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in the league, is one of America’s most beloved sports figures in history. He was able to overcome the MLB’s history of segregation to help pave the way for more minorities to play in the pros. His 1948 Leaf card is a rare gem that’s highly sought after among enthusiasts.
The highest price one of these cards has fetched was $75,000 in 2019, and that was for a grade eight. Since it’s so rare, it’s unknown whether there are any cards still around that are in better shape.
1938 Goudey – Joe DiMaggio
At first glance, you may notice immediately that this whimsical caricature of Joe DiMaggio is a novelty item. This is one of the first cards featuring Joltin’ Joe, which increases its uniqueness and value. Even though the Yankee Clipper is a household name, other printings featuring him aren’t very valuable.
This particular card has grabbed a healthy $200,000 at auction for a grade nine, and is slightly more valuable than some of his other cards from similar collections.
1949 Bowman – Duke Snider (Rookie)
Duke Snider, also called the Duke of Flatbush, played centerfield for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the ’40s and ’50s. He was part of the famous “Boys of Summer” crew as well, playing alongside legends like Jackie Robinson in the ’50s. In fact, Jackie Robinson is the only man from that era to top him in terms of fame.
The rookie edition of Snider’s 1949 Bowman card has commanded a decent sum throughout its history, with a well-graded card selling for $232,750 in 2016.
1952 Topps – Andy Pafko
Andy Pafko isn’t in the Hall of Fame, and this printing isn’t known for having any errors or irregularities, but apparently, it’s a pretty rare card, because a nine grade has sold for around $150,000. This card is one of the top cards from the 1952 Topps collection, even now.
Actually, this card was the first card printed in the 1952 collection, which is probably part of the reason why it’s so valuable.
1909 T206 – Sherry Magee
Sherry Magee isn’t necessarily a household name from the early 20th-century baseball scene, but even so, this particular card has been very lucrative for a lucky few baseball card collectors. This is primarily due to the fact that the card was misprinted — his name was spelled Magie instead of Magee.
The misprinted version was corrected quickly, so the misprints are very rare and very valuable. A grade eight sold for $660,000 in 2018.
1910 T210 Old Mill – Joe Jackson
Joe Jackson didn’t have too many cards printed for him, which makes those cards that did survive and are still in relatively good condition very valuable. He’s a fascinating character given his involvement in the Black Sox scandal, when he was banned from the league along with seven other members of the team.
A 3.5 T210 Old Mill Joe Jackson card sold for an amazing $600,000 last year, even though it’s a minor league card. Even so, its scarcity makes it a very valuable card.
1915 Cracker Jack – Ty Cobb
Cracker Jacks are almost synonymous with baseball, given their position in the famous seventh-inning stretch song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and they also dabbled in baseball cards. Cobb was a phenomenal hitter, defeating many pitchers throughout his 30-year career.
Almost a century after he stopped playing, his .366 batting average remains the highest career average in MLB history. A version of this card with a nine grade was sold for $432,000 in 2016.
1948 Leaf – Satchel Paige
After Jackie Robinson broke the MLB’s segregation practices in 1948, several other African Americans were allowed to play, even though they were on the older side. One such player was Satchel Paige, who was a rookie when he was 42 years old. He was one of the best pitchers of the day, and the few cards that were printed of him reflect his achievements.
None of these cards has ever graded above an eight, but an eight grade sold for over $400,000 at auction. It’s one of the most valuable cards from the 1948 Leaf collection.
1932 U.S. Caramel – Babe Ruth
This card is rarely found in very good condition due to its rarity and the fact that it was packaged with candy, which means many of them were ruined. Given that, you may not be surprised that a nine grade print sold for $432,000 in 2019.
This shot of Babe Ruth came from his famous game against the Chicago Cubs where he supposedly called his home run, after letting two strikes go by. He then hit a homer into the centerfield bleachers.
1909 T206 – Ty Cobb
A low graded version of this card sold for $408,000, making it one of the most valuable from this iconic T206 collection. It’s even rarer than the Wagner print from the same collection. There are less than 20 of these cards known to be in existence!
This particular card is interesting because it promotes Cobb’s tobacco business on the backside of it.
1956 Topps – Mickey Mantle
Many Mantle fans consider this particular print to be the most coveted of his printings, with a smiling Mickey after having achieved the Triple Crown, a legendary feat in baseball history. That year, he led the league with 52 home runs and a .353 batting average.
In 2016, one 10 grade print scored $382,400. It’s really no wonder given that it’s one of the most famous ballplayers in American history.
1948 Leaf – Stan Musial
This particular rookie card is one of the elusive Leaf cards, well-known and valued because of its vivid colors in an era of many black and white prints. One of these cards — a nine grade — went for $312,000 in 2018, making it a very rare and valuable card indeed.
Musial was a Hall of Famer, inducted in 1969, and he won seven championships, due in no small part to his excellent batting skills.
1933 Goudey – Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig is another American baseball player who almost everyone has heard of, and he’s enjoyed long-lasting fame even after his long career came to an end. In 1939, Lou had set the record for most consecutive games played with a total of 2,130. Only Cal Ripken, Jr. was able to unseat him.
A 10-grade card was sold for $274,950 in 2007, which is the only one of its kind to have reached that level of mint condition.
1990 Donruss – Bo Jackson
The next card on our list is of the legendary Bo Jackson, arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time. He was not only a professional baseball player, but an awesome football player as well — and is the only athlete in history to be named an All-Star in both the NFL and the MLB.
This particular card, a 1990 Donruss, is valued at a few hundred dollars when it’s in mint condition. Go check out your collection to see if you’ve got a potential new gaming system in your basement!
1986 Fleer – Jose Canseco
The final card on our list is Jose Canseco’s 1986 Fleer rookie card. While it’s not going to make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, you might be able to sell it for around $20 on eBay. There are several other printings from 1986, however, that’ll fetch a heftier price.
Jose Canseco was one of the hottest ballplayers in the 1980s, and everyone wanted his cards. In 1986, his rookie year, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year.