- 1999 Topps Chrome Homerun Record Mark McGwire #220 (HOME RUN #45)
- 2003 Upper Deck Marks of Greatness Mark McGwire Autograph Jersey
- 1991 Topps Desert Shield Mark McGwire #270
- 1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Mark McGwire #49 (PLATINUM GOLD)
- Mark McGwire 1998 Skybox Precious Metal Gems /50
- 1993 Topps Finest Refractor Mark McGwire #92
- 2016 Panini Flawless Mark McGwire Silver /15 Dual Patch Autograph
- Mark McGwire 2016 Topps Dynasty 1/1 Logoman Patch Autograph
- 1985 Frank Chong Modesto A's Mark McGwire (Incorrect Spelling) #17
- 1982 Anchorage Glacier Pilots Mark McGwire
- 1999 Fleer Flair Showcase Mark McGwire Row 2 Legacy Masterpiece 1/1
- 1987 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire #366
- 1987 Donruss Rated Rookie Mark McGwire #46
- 1987 Fleer Update Mark McGwire Rookie Card #U-76
- 1985 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire Rookie Card #401
- Final Word On The Top 15 Mark McGwire Baseball Cards
When Mark McGwire broke the one-season home run record in 1998, the value of his rookie cards went through the roof. His were quickly the most coveted cards out there. But two things have happened since that dulled his luster. First, long-standing suspicions that he had used steroids were confirmed when he admitted as much in 2010. He started to inject them regularly in 1993, leading to a notable increase in his (already significant) power. As a result, “Big Mac” may never be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Second, in 2014 Barry Bonds (another suspected user of performance-enhancing drugs) broke his record by hitting 71 home runs 2014.
The result of these two developments has somewhat dimmed Mark’s luster. However, his cards remain valuable and vital. After all, Cooperstown or not, McGwire is one of his generation's most essential and recognizable baseball players. We all have great memories of his record-breaking year and that epic chase with Sammy Sosa. Furthermore, there is no question that without juicing, Mark would still have been a big star. “Big Mac” was already highly esteemed and well on his way to a Hall of Fame level career in 1993 when he began using PED’s.
We see the same situation with Pete Rose, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens. Their morally problematic actions have only deepened the mystique surrounding these unforgettable players. All this is to say that Mark McGwire’s cards still have substantial value and will continue to do so. You don’t need to be a Hall of Famer or have records for people to want to buy your cards. Instead, it's an emotional appeal that makes us want to collect a player. And “Big Mac” won our hearts forever in 1998. He will never lose it.
1999 Topps Chrome Homerun Record Mark McGwire #220 (HOME RUN #45)
A PSA 10 sold for $17.
The cheapest Mark McGwire card in this list is also the most immediately significant. The 1999 Topps Chrome Homerun Record Mark McGwire #220 (HOME RUN #6) card represents the greatest achievement in the sluggers' career, that unforgettable record-breaking season. Each one of his 70 homers in 1998 was given their own card in this series. So, collecting them all is a pretty cool idea. Hours of amusement for the whole family!
2003 Upper Deck Marks of Greatness Mark McGwire Autograph Jersey
A PSA 10 sold for $600.
Upper Deck specializes in getting reclusive athletes to sign exclusive auto deals. They got Michael Jordan, and even the “Big Mac” himself. This beautiful patch auto card shows why his John Hancock was well worth the wait. The classy red tinge gives the 2003 Upper Deck Marks of Greatness Mark McGwire Autograph Jersey card a unique look.
1991 Topps Desert Shield Mark McGwire #270
A PSA 10 sold for $685.
The image on the 1991 card caught a side of McGwire we don’t always remember: the warrior. He wasn’t just a tremendous slugger but also an incredibly competitive fighter with a “win at any cost” mentality. Indeed, he suffered injuries at least partially because of his combative style. That is part of why he resorted to PEDs to recover from agonizing pain and restore his career.
The 1991 Topps Desert Shield Mark McGwire #270 is worth a good deal more than the equivalent base card. That release was issued to soldiers heading out to the Persian Gulf. Most of them were busy fighting Saddam Hussein and didn’t keep track of the cards. Therefore, the few that remain are worth a good deal, including this great card.
1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Mark McGwire #49 (PLATINUM GOLD)
A PSA 10 sold for $909.
If you have the 1997 Pinnacle Totally Certified Mark McGwire #49 (PLATINUM GOLD), I hope you didn’t peel off the protective coating, because if you do, you may have created a hole in the time-space continuum. Or at least, the value went down. There are three parallels for this beautiful card: Platinum Red cards (/3999), Platinum Blue cards (/1999), and Platinum Gold parallel /30. This is also one of the last cards to feature our hero in the Oakland A’s uniform.
Mark McGwire 1998 Skybox Precious Metal Gems /50
A PSA 9 sold for $1,580.
There are only 4 PSA-graded versions of this card and only 50 of the Mark McGwire 1998 Skybox Precious Metal Gems /50 out there. And that is a shame because everyone should be able to enjoy the beauty of this. It should be in a museum, as Indiana Jones would tell us. And this card comes from the inaugural release of the PMG line, giving it further significance. We are lucky that Mac played into the late 1990s, when these gorgeous high-end cards were first arriving on the scene.
1993 Topps Finest Refractor Mark McGwire #92
A PSA 10 sold for $2,074.
The refractor has become one of the most recognizable sports card inserts. Topps was the first company to produce it. 1993 Topps Finest Baseball was the first product to contain it.
While many later refractors are kind of classy, the 1993 Topps Finest Refractor Mark McGwire #92 is incredibly tacky. And that is part of its charm. It's so 1990s that it wouldn’t look out of place in a commercial break for Beverly Hills 90210. And, of course, the action shot is terrific. As collectors realize the historical importance of this card, its value has skyrocketed.
2016 Panini Flawless Mark McGwire Silver /15 Dual Patch Autograph
A PSA 10 sold for $2,500.
Panini baseball cards may be unlicensed, but so what? The company is unparalleled in crafting high-end cards, and the 2016 Panini Flawless Mark McGwire Silver /15 Dual Patch Autograph is a testament to that. The Cardinals jersey patch colors absolutely pop, and putting them on both sides of the card was a stroke of brilliance. And, of course, Mark has a gorgeous signature. This is one of many higher-end Panini baseball cards worth good money despite lacking an MLB license.
Mark McGwire 2016 Topps Dynasty 1/1 Logoman Patch Autograph
A BGS 9.5 sold for $3,000.
Does Mark Mcgwire look like he is in the middle of a bad audition for a horror movie in this picture? Yes. Is the Mark McGwire 2016 Topps Dynasty 1/1 Logoman Patch Autograph still an awesome card? Also yes. We didn’t have rookie patch autos back in the 1980s, so this is as close as well will get. And with the MLB logoman patch, it is an absolute beauty. The card is also a reminder that Topps Dynasty cards are vastly underrated.
1985 Frank Chong Modesto A's Mark McGwire (Incorrect Spelling) #17
A PSA 10 sold for $598.
Minor league cards aren’t for everyone. But I love them. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. The low production values, weird team names, and players at their earliest awkward stages never cease to entertain. Modesto Athletics isn’t a word to marvel at. But the gritty black and white photography is absolutely to die for.
And there is a very cool variation. The initial pressing of the card calls the young slugger “Mark McGuire.” They soon fixed it, and most of these cards had the name down correctly. But it's incredibly cool to have a future superstar with the name incorrectly recorded. It is, after all, a reminder that they were nobodies once. But you may prefer the correctly written card, which does look classier. Either way, the 1985 Frank Chong Modesto A's Mark McGwire #17 is a must-have among McGwire (or McGuire, for that matter) cards.
1982 Anchorage Glacier Pilots Mark McGwire
A PSA 10 sold for $6,400.
Speaking of minor league cards, it doesn’t get more minor than the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Who knew they even played baseball up there? And you may be wondering what Mark, the ultimate California boy from Pomona, was doing up in Alaska. At the time, he was playing at the University of South California and just couldn’t get enough baseball.
So in 1982, Young Mac went up there for a summer league session. He even pitched there. The terribly awkward picture on the 1982 Anchorage Glacier Pilots Mark McGwire card only adds to its irrepressible charm.
1999 Fleer Flair Showcase Mark McGwire Row 2 Legacy Masterpiece 1/1
A BGS 9 sold for $3,049.
Are you used to Fleer cards being junk wax atrocities? So am I. But they were creating high-end masterpieces by the end of the decade. If people can change, can’t companies do the same? I have never seen a player's number incorporated into the card quite as gorgeously as in the 1999 Fleer Flair Showcase Mark McGwire Row 2 Legacy Masterpiece 1/1. Meanwhile, the images reflect the majestic power of late-career “Big Mac.” We should have kept Fleer around just so they could keep making cards like this.
1987 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire #366
A PSA 10 sold for $386.
Topps didn’t treat our boy Mark fairly in his early career. After featuring in the 1985 Topps Baseball release with his famous rookie card, “Big Mac” was nowhere to be found in the 1986 release. Then in 1987, he was denied the “Future Stars” designation, which they gave to several lesser players. It's another sign that Mark had to work his way up, like when he went to anchorage or the Modesto cards got his name wrong. McGwire wasn’t a can’t miss prospect and paid his dues.
The 1987 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire #366 is among the most recognizable of Mark’s career. The instantly identifiable wood panel design offsets the picture of young McGwire nicely. However, even in Tiffany's form, this card isn’t worth all that much.
1987 Donruss Rated Rookie Mark McGwire #46
A PSA 10 sold for $232.
The Donruss rookie card arrived a good two years after its Topps equivalent. And its Donruss. So, no one takes it as seriously. Nonetheless, the 1987 Donruss Rated Rookie Mark McGwire #46 is an indispensable rookie of the slugger. However, we have to admit, the expression on “Big Mac’s” face here is somewhat disturbing.
1987 Fleer Update Mark McGwire Rookie Card #U-76
A PSA 10 sold for $255.
The 1987 Fleer Update Mark McGwire Rookie Card #U-76 is a reminder that, even though some of his cards look pretty awkward, Mark is a good-looking guy. He has a beautiful carefree smile here, and those forearms, I am swooning here. And you have to hand it to Fleer, those sky-blue borders are legit.
1985 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire Rookie Card #401
A PSA 10 sold for $30,000.
The 1985 Topps Tiffany Mark McGwire Rookie Card #401 is one of a handful of cards that defined the 1980s collecting. Why do we love this card so much? A classic rookie card should show a player with a certain level of naivete, a precocious promise, and a hint of the mature athlete to come. This MArk McGwire card has all of that and more. In addition, Mark’s picture has an element of patriotism thrown in. The photo was taken when the young Mac represented the United States in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. It was a competition of great geopolitical significance, which the USSR boycotted after the US had done the same for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. And it is because of the Olympics we have such an early McGwire card because he wouldn’t make his MLB debut for a good two years.
Of course, if you love the picture (as most of us do), you don’t have to get the Tiffany version to enjoy it. The Topps base version is worth about 10% of its Tiffany equivalent and looks about the same. But the scarcity of the minor release makes it a significant long-term investment.
Final Word On The Top 15 Mark McGwire Baseball Cards
Ignores what the naysayers are about. Mark McGwire is a baseball immortal. His career OPS is top 20 in baseball history, and he will always be remembered for shattering that record. As fortune would have it, “Big Mac” has one of the best selections of cards ever. Whether you like junk wax classics, high-end patch autos, historical refractors, or just beautiful cards, Mark McGwire cards have them all. Finally, you can splurge on a “Big Mac” without getting heart disease.