Um, what kind of title is that? There’s only one way to find out!
Thanks to our site leader Scott, I got back into the hobby, as it’s called, and have been seeing a ton of cards. I don’t know whether to hug him or hurt him next time I see him! I kid because we don’t condone violence. This has been a great journey since I first entered his 2020 Topps Archives break as I wrote about here. I’ve met a ton of great people and we’ve shared common terms for cards that we’ve been pulling every night at 8pm EST on a Twitter show we call #BpsRps. Be sure to check it out! I thought it would be cool to list a card for each topic from every team in baseball. It was a long undertaking but was extremely fun. I hope you all condone it and that this article can bring back some good memories in addition to giving guidance on prospects to target for your collection, enjoyment and/or fantasy baseball leagues.
Before we get into the list, let’s clarify and define these terms.
Goal – A card that overjoys you when you pull it out of a pack. It’s the card that you would like to have on your shelves to admire. These are often iconic to the industry, as a whole, in some cases.
Jobber – A professional wrestling term used to describe a wrestler who’s routinely defeated by main-eventers, mid-carders or low-carders. Enhancement talent if you will. We affectionately use the term to identify some of our favorite baseball players whose cards are often pulled out of packs or hit during breaks. Most times these cards can be found in the common bins at your Local Card Shop.
401k Piece – This is the card from the past that you thought would have increased so much that you could safely retire once you sold it. It’s the card that would have appreciated just like your 401k in normal times.
Future Graded – This is the prospect card that you obtain in hopes it can increase in value. It’s the card that you get graded so, if you’re into making a profit, you can maximize its sales price if you want to move it. This can also give you an idea of who to trade for in your dynasty leagues for fantasy baseball.
Goal – 1954 Topps Henry Aaron Rookie
The rookie card of one of the game’s greatest players definitely deserves to be here. 755 home runs and 3,771 total hits are only two of the illustrious numbers that Aaron put down during his career. This card actually sold at an auction last summer for $170,000. Honorable Mentions: 1977 Topps Dale Murphy, 1991 Topps Chipper Jones
Jobber – 1984 Fleer Glenn Hubbard
What more can you ask for on a baseball card? Light-hitting, average-fielding player wearing a snake around his neck? Check. Phillie Phanatic? Check. Barney Rubble? Check. Veterans Stadium multi-color outfield seats in the background? Check.
401k Piece – 1988 Score Ron Gant
Gant burst onto the scene showing a great blend of speed and power going 19/19 in his rookie year, making this card highly sought after at one point. He went on to have some great years and ended his career with 321 home runs.
Future Graded – 2016 Bowman Chrome Ian Anderson
I was going to cheat and put Ronald Acuna here but he’s exhausted his prospect status years ago, even though he’s still very young. The pick here is Ian Anderson, who ranked number 3 in our Braves Top 50 list. The righthander has good strikeout potential and has shown he can succeed at the major league level already. The future is bright for Atlanta and I expect Anderson to be near the top of their rotation for years to come.
Goal – 2000 Royal Rookies Miguel Cabrera
One of the greatest ballplayers of our generation was originally a Miami Marlin. One of the 2012 Triple Crown Winner’s rookie cards is this sweet Royal Rookies edition. Honorable Mention: 2014 Topps Jose Fernandez SSP
Jobber – 2020 Topps Stadium Club Jordan Yamamoto
Yamamoto came over to Miami in the Christian Yelich deal in January 2018 and was considered a mid-tier level prospect at the time. After an 18.26 ERA last year, the team dealt him to the Mets. Topps seems intent on including a card of him in every pack you open to saturate the market with this Jobber.
401k Piece – 2006 Upper Deck Jeremy Hermida
Hermida is the only player to hit a pinch-hit grand slam in his first career at-bat. What a way to start a career! It wasn’t easy to top that but Hermida had a few nice years for the Marlins.
Future Graded – 2019 Bowman Chrome Refractor JJ Bleday
Bleday was the 4th overall pick in the 2019 draft and has impressed during his time in Miami’s camp prompting talk of a possible promotion sometime this year. The outfielder has great power to go with his very solid hit tool. Bleday checks in at number 3 on our Marlins Top 50 list.
Goal – 1967 Topps Tom Seaver Rookie
Tom Terrific was one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history finishing his career with 311 victories, a 2.86 ERA and 3 Cy Young awards. Honorable Mentions: 1983 Topps Traded Darryl Strawberry, 1984 Topps Traded Dwight Gooden, 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan
Jobber – 1993 Topps Stadium Club Anthony Young
Young is best known for losing a record 27 straight games for the Mets. His career ERA wasn’t actually all that bad at 3.89 so his 15-48 record is somewhat misleading but, in the end, he is still a Jobber.
401k Piece – 1988 Fleer Gregg Jefferies
This was the holy grail of cards during the summer of 1988. Jefferies had it all – a five-tool talent playing in the country’s biggest market for a great team. He was going to lead the Mets back to the World Series. It didn’t quite work out that way as Jefferies never quite fit in with the bad boys of New York and was moved to Kansas City after the 1991 season. Some societies still consider this card to be a form of currency.
Future Graded – 2018 Bowman Draft Chrome Jarred Kelenic
This card is bittersweet for fans of the Mets due to Kelenic having been traded for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz in July 2019. He is ranked first on our Seattle Top 50 list and ranked number 3 on our Overall Top 197 list and is sure to arrive in the majors very soon.
Goal – 1973 Topps Mike Schmidt Rookie Card
The greatest third basemen in baseball history had to share a rookie card with Ron Cey and John Hilton and, at one time, this was a highly sought-after card. Schmidt retired with 548 home runs, 3 MVP awards, 10 Gold Gloves, and was a 12-time All-Star.
Jobber – 1985 Donruss Steve Jeltz
Jeltz was a Phillie for 7 years finishing his career with a .210/.308/.268 slash line. He was known more for his awesome hair than his baseball ability during his time in the City of Brotherly Love, which made for some interesting-looking cards.
401k Piece – 1989 Topps Ricky Jordan
During the ’80s the Phillies didn’t have much success so when Ricky Jordan came up and hit .308 with 11 home runs in 69 games, it gave Phillies fans everywhere hope for the future. That hope tampered down two years later when he battled injuries and hit 5 home runs in 92 games.
Future Graded – 2021 Topps Alec Bohm SP
The team’s 1st round pick in 2018 had a quick climb to the majors and is a potential All-Star. The short print card is rare and is a nice picture of the prodigy smiling in the dugout. I know he’s not a prospect any longer but I couldn’t in good conscious pick anyone else in the organization.
Goal – 1977 Topps Andre Dawson
So most of these players were on the Expos but that would limit the options immensely so I’m going with some cards from the previous incarnation of the Nationals, too. The “Hawk” as he was known was simply a phenomenal player. He had such a combination of speed and power that was rarely seen. Dawson won Rookie of the Year in 1977 and the NL MVP in 1987. Dawson is one of only 8 players to finish his career with at least 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Honorable Mention: 1981 Topps Tim Raines, 2012 Topps Bryce Harper, 1975 Topps Gary Carter
Jobber – 1985 Donruss Razor Shines
One would think with such a great name he would have made more of an impact in baseball but Shines never quite got an opportunity to play, having appeared in only 6 games for Montreal in the mid-’80s.
401k Piece – 1989 Score Randy Johnson
Johnson battled control issues during his early years but developed into one of the most dominant pitchers of all time over his career. This card was worthless when first produced but gained popularity years later as he matured into the Hall of Fame pitcher he ended his career as.
Future Graded – 2017 Bowman Chrome Yasel Antuna
Washington’s 2nd ranked prospect on our Nationals’ Top 50 has a chance to truly break out this year with his tools. The shortstop has good power and has impressed the staff at the Alternate Site.
Goal – 1954 Topps Ernie Banks
One of the finest shortstops and all-around players to ever play the game, Banks was a 14-time All-Star, 2 time MVP, and Hall of Fame inductee in 1977. Honorable Mentions: 1987 Donruss Greg Maddux, 1983 Topps Ryne Sandberg
Jobber – 1984 Fleer Jay Johnstone
Johnstone played for 9 teams, including 2 World Series Champions during his 19-year career. He was known more for being a clubhouse prankster rather than for his career .267 average and 102 home runs.
401k Piece – 1989 Upper Deck Jerome Walton
The 1989 Rookie of the Year won MVP votes after a solid but unspectacular debut. Walton never had much power and didn’t come close to replicating his rookie year.
Future Graded – 2018 Bowman Chrome Brennen Davis
Davis was ranked 2nd on our Cubs Top 50 list. The outfielder has good speed, power, and a developing hit tool and could be promoted to the big leagues within the next year.
Goal – 1963 Topps Pete Rose
Here is the all-time Hit King’s rookie card in all its glory. We all know the Pete Rose story – banned from MLB and, consequently, the Hall of Fame due to his off-the-field habits. That doesn’t diminish what he achieved on the field. Honorable Mentions: 1985 Topps Eric Davis, 1968 Topps Johnny Bench
Jobber – 1992 Score Jeff Reed
Reed played for 6 teams in the major leagues and 6 of those years were for the Reds where he caught Tom Browning‘s Perfect Game on September 16, 1988. He is also the only player to ever appear to be dying on a baseball card so we wish him the best. A true Jobber, indeed.
401k Piece – 1988 Fleer Chris Sabo
“Spuds” won Rookie of the Year and was also an All-Star in his debut season, winning people over with his hustle, goggles, and talent. After a few more solid years, injuries prevented him from doing more in his career.
Future Graded – 2019 Bowman Chrome Hunter Greene
Greene is ranked number 5 on our Reds Top 50 list but he is the type of pitcher whose cards can increase if he develops. He’s a power pitcher who recently hit 105 mph and can strike out a lot of batters. If the command works out, he could have a great future ahead of him.
Goal – 1975 Topps Robin Yount
While Yount never had spectacular power numbers, he put up a Hall of Fame career with 3,142 hits and was a two-time NL MVP. Honorable Mention: 1978 Topps Paul Molitor
Jobber – 1986 Topps Traded Dale Sveum
Think back to the 1986 Topps Traded Set that had a plethora of rookie cards in it. Oakland had Jose Canseco, Anaheim had Wally Joyner, Kansas City had Bo Jackson, etc. The Brewers had Dale Sveum, who hit 25 home runs in 1987 for them giving Milwaukee hope that they had their own young power-hitting prospect. That would be his first and final meaningful year in the major leagues as he wound up hitting 41 home runs the rest of his career. Real Jobber.
401k Piece – 1989 Topps Gary Sheffield
Sheffield had a great career but never lived up to the expectations that were attached to him. He was Dwight Gooden’s nephew, which didn’t help the hype. He was a speed/power/average player who was going to be the next superstar and, in some years, he was that type of player.
Future Graded – 2020 Bowman Chrome Garrett Mitchell
Stud prospect Garrett Mitchell is the pick here. He’s a solid, toolsy outfielder with speed and power potential and has impressed at the Alternate Site. He could move up quickly. Mitchell is the top-ranked prospect on our Brewers Top 50 list, and Hedbert Perez is right behind him. Perez has his first autos in the new 2021 Bowman.
Goal – T206 Honus Wagner
The holy grail, the godfather, the numero uno, the bomb diggity, the alpha – call it what you want but this is the most expensive card ever. Wagner was a Hall of Fame shortstop for the Pirates who ended his career with a .329 batting average and 3,430 hits. Honorable Mentions: 1963 Topps Willie Stargell, 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente
Jobber – 1990 Fleer Bob Walk
Walk was an average pitcher for the Phillies and Pirates but when you’re the only player in baseball history whose last name is the same word for a statistic, you are a Jobber. Especially when it’s a “walk”. Now if he was named Bob Strikeout, we may be having a different discussion.
401k Piece – 1987 Topps Barry Bonds
When Bonds was first promoted to the majors, he had power but nothing like he would develop in the future. He was more of a 30/30 type of guy rather than the type of player to hit 70 home runs in one year. Now how he did that is a story for another time but the truth is that his rookie cards were exciting to pull out of a pack at the time. Unless, of course, you’re Jeff Kent.
Future Graded – 2015 Bowman Chrome Ke’Bryan Hayes
The son of former Yankees and Phillies third baseman has already debuted in the major leagues with a blistering September last year. Our top-ranked Pirates prospect went on the IL shortly after the season began but should continue his ascension to stardom soon.
Goal – 1959 Topps Bob Gibson
We could have gone with Stan Musial but Gibson is the choice goal here. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981 after having a career 2.91 ERA, 251 wins, and 3,117 strikeouts. The 9-time All-Star was also feared on the mound, never hesitating to put a hitter on the ground if he felt they were disrespecting him or the game. Honorable Mention: 1948 Stan Musial
Jobber – 1987 Topps Jose Oquendo
Oquendo came up with the Mets but was traded to St. Louis before the 1985 season, opening up opportunities for his Jobber career to happen. Being a shortstop blocked by Ozzie Smith at the big-league level, the team had him play other positions. He appeared at every position at least once during his career, even pitching several times. Oquendo finished his career with a .256 average and 14 home runs in almost 1,200 games.
401k Piece – 1998 Fleer Update JD Drew
Known more for his pre-draft shenanigans rather than his play on the field, Drew was compared to Mickey Mantle by his agent, Scott Boras. After refusing to sign with the Phillies who wouldn’t match his contract demands, Drew was drafted by the Cardinals too much hoopla. Drew’s laid-back attitude and injuries prevented him from becoming the superstar we thought he would become.
Future Graded – 2018 Bowman Chrome Nolan Gorman
Even though the hype has died down on Gorman because of his strikeouts, I still believe he will be a middle-of-the-order masher for the Cardinals soon. He has immense power and, if he can cut down those strikeouts even a little bit, my optimistic potential profile of a .280/40 home run hitter is something that will excite card fans. Gorman is ranked number 2 on our Cardinals Top 50 list.
Goal – 2011 Topps Update Paul Goldschmidt
Okay so this card isn’t iconic like the cards for other teams it but the franchise has only been around since 1998 so there’s not too much history here. Most of their best players, like Randy Johnson and Zack Greinke, started with other teams so Goldschmidt has to be the pick here.
Jobber – 2002 Topps Rod Barajas
Not only did Barajas job it up as a player, hitting .235 with 136 home runs over 14 seasons, he also went 1-7 managing the San Diego Padres in September 2019. A true Jobber in both playing and managing is very rare so it must be celebrated when it occurs.
401k Piece – 1997 Bowman Travis Lee
Lee was originally drafted by the Twins in the 1996 draft but was declared a free agent after Minnesota failed to tender him a contract within the 15-day period. He immediately signed a contract with Arizona and this publicity drove interest up for him and his cards at this time.
Future Graded – 2018 Bowman Chrome Kristian Robinson
The top-ranked prospect on our Diamondbacks Top 50 list has the tools to grow into a power middle-of-the-order hitter for Arizona as he continues to develop. He has a solid hit tool and good potential for power.
Goal – 1993 Topps Todd Helton
Helton may never make the Hall of Fame but he was a great player for the Rockies for a long time. He’s quite possibly the answer to almost every Rockies trivia question when it comes to team career leaders.
Jobber – 2008 Topps Aaron Cook
Cook was a 10-year pitcher for the Rockies who ended his career with the Red Sox in 2012. He ended his career with a 76-79 win-loss record and a 4.60 ERA.
401k Piece – 2003 Upper Deck Ian Stewart
Stewart was the first Rockies rookie to excite the baseball card community with the power potential he brought to the team. Same as with Colorado still does today with its young prospects, Stewart bounced between 3B, 2B, and outfield and had one solid year during his career.
Future Graded – 2020 Bowman Chrome Zac Veen
Veen is Colorado’s top-ranked prospect on our Top 50 list. For a minute, let’s ignore Colorado’s preferences to play their veterans and tendency to ignore their young talent when they are called up. Forget all about Brendan Rodgers, Raimel Tapia, Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, and anyone else they barely gave a starting job to. Don’t let their past influence your future and hope that they change course with Veen because he has an advanced hit tool and power and could have a very solid career in the majors. That is if Colorado lets him.
Goal – 1949 Leaf Jackie Robinson
The rookie card of Robinson is simple in design for a man who achieved tremendous feats both in the sport and, more importantly, in life. Robinson famously became the first Black major league baseball player and put up spectacular numbers in his career. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 1947 followed up by winning the NL MVP two years later. The 6-time All-Star was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.
Jobber – 1986 Donruss Tom Niedenfuer
Niedenfuer was a non-descript Jobber for the Dodgers in the early 1980s who gave up home runs to Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark in the 1985 NLCS to give the Cardinals the victory to advance to the World Series.
401k Piece – 1991 Topps Traded Darren Dreifort
Dreifort was the 2nd overall pick in the 1993 draft behind Alex Rodriguez and actually skipped the minor leagues to pitch right away for Los Angeles. He was on the fast track to stardom until injuries hit and he retired after the 2004 season when he was 32 years old.
Future Graded – 2020 Bowman Chrome Andy Pages
Pages is only 20 years old and he ranks number 7 on our Dodgers Top 50 list, but Pages has the tools which will attract the hobby to his cards. A potential 5-tool hitter playing for one of the largest market teams is someone to keep an eye on. We need to have patience with this one but it could pay off if Pages develops.
Goal – 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn
A career .338 hitter, Gwynn was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 after receiving 97.6% ballots. Even more powerful than the numbers themselves, here is what Greg Maddux had to say about Gwynn:
“(Greg) Maddux was convinced no-hitter could tell the speed of a pitch with any meaningful accuracy. To demonstrate, he pointed at a road a quarter-mile away and said it was impossible to tell if a car was going 55, 65, or 75 mph unless there was another car nearby to offer a point of reference. ‘You just can’t do it,’ he said. Sometimes hitters can pick up differences in spin. They can identify pitches if there are different release points or if a curveball starts with an upward hump as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. But if a pitcher can change speeds, every hitter is helpless, limited by human vision. ‘Except,’ Maddux said, ‘for that [EXPLETIVE] Tony Gwynn.'” Honorable Mention: 1974 Topps Dave Winfield
Jobber – 1996 Score Bip Roberts
While not a Jobber, per se, this card humors me greatly. Roberts had a few nice years, especially with the Padres and Reds. He finished his 12-year career with a .294 batting average and 264 stolen bases, making him the King of Jobbers. He is also the Patron Saint of #BpsRps so he’s a logical choice to be listed here.
401k Piece – 1988 Donruss Roberto Alomar
Alomar was a popular rookie prospect at the time, being the son of former big-leaguer, Sandy, and for putting up good numbers in the minors. The 12-time All-Star won two World Series championships and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
Future Graded – 2019 Bowman Chrome CJ Abrams
I was going to go MacKenzie Gore here but the hobby’s tendency to value hitters over pitchers led me to Abrams. While he’ll never be a 40 home run hitter, he can be an impact player with his speed and high OBP. Abrams was ranked first on San Diego’s Top 50 list
Goal – 1952 Topps Willie Mays
One of the game’s greatest players makes this rookie card the obvious choice. The Hall of Famer has a career slash line of .302/.384/.557, hit 660 home runs, stole 338 bases, and was a 24-time All-Star.
Jobber – 1992 Fleer Jeff Brantley
Brantley was an All-Star in 1990 and had some good seasons closing for the Giants during his time on the team. That success still didn’t make anyone happy when they pulled the Jobber out of packs.
401k Piece – 1987 Fleer Will Clark
The Thrill had one of the sweetest swings in baseball history. He could hit for average, hit for power, and knock in runs. He played on a winning team in San Francisco and was a natural rival to Jose Canseco. While Canseco was more flash, Clark was more business on and off the field.
Future Graded – 2019 Bowman Chrome Marco Luciano
Luciano is in line to become the next top prospect in all of baseball once that guy in Tampa exhausts his eligibility because of his strong plate discipline and power potential. There’s a lot to like here with Luciano’s tools so now is the time to get in on him. He is currently the top-ranked prospect in San Francisco’s Top 50 list.
That brings us to the end of the first part. Be on the lookout for the American League Edition soon. Feel free to comment and let us know who you think we hit on and who else could have been included.