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During his time with the Yankees, Rivera played in 13 All-Star games, won 5 World Series, and was named the World Series MVP in 1999. Rivera saved at least 25 games in 15 consecutive seasons on his way to setting an all-time MLB career record of 652 saves.[irp posts=”2350″ name=”Derek Jeter Rookie Card – Top 5 Cards, Buyers Guide, and Checklist”]
Rivera was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously by the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) in 2019, the first year that he was eligible. He is the first-ever player to receive a unanimous nomination.
The Yankees spotted Rivera in 1990 in Panama as a rookie and almost immediately tied him to the organization. Rivera then operated in the Yankees Minor League affiliates and honed his talents before finally making the step up to the Major League in 1995.
Top Mariano Rivera Rookie Cards
Let’s take a look at the best Mariano Rivera rookie cards from an investment perspective.
1992 Mariano Rivera Bowman RC #302 (buy on eBay)
This is Rivera’s only official rookie card and features the Yankees legend casually leaning against a wall wearing some casual clothing that definitely has not aged well! The card is extremely minimalistic, with the only writing on the card Rivera’s name written at the bottom.[irp posts=”1646″ name=”Jasson Dominguez Rookie Card – Top Card and #1 Buyers Guide”]
Rivera’s clothing may not have aged well, but this card’s value certainly has. In gem mint 10 conditions the PSA website lists the value at over $550 and they have sold for up to $650 at auction. This might not sound particularly expensive, but the card did not have a short run and therefore is not particularly rare.
If you want to get your hands on a piece of history but do not have $500 to spend, cards graded mint 8 or lower can go for as low as $50.
1993 Mariano Rivera Bowman 2nd Year Card #327 (buy on eBay)
This is the direct successor to the rookie card and Bowman went for a slightly different tactic on the design this time around. It is a lot more traditional with Rivera stood wearing a Yankees uniform and cap. Other than the picture, the design is similar to the same minimalistic look with again the only writing being the name down at the bottom.
This card is very similar to the 1992 version, and the more traditional picture may make it a more attractive prospect for some collectors, but because it does not have an official rookie card designation it has a lower value. In gem mint 10 conditions a copy has recently sold for $230 at auction, but in reality, it is probably valued more towards the $150 mark.[irp posts=”2456″ name=”Barry Bonds Rookie Card – Best 3 Cards, Checklist, and Buyers Guide”]
Again, the cards that are graded in a lesser condition are in the price range of almost all collectors, so it is a great opportunity to get your hands on baseball history. Graded 8, these cards regularly sell for around the $20 mark.
1990 Mariano Rivera Diamond Cards Tampa Yankees #17 (buy on eBay)
Like the other 2 cards on this list, this is another very minimalistic card. It features Rivera on the front holding his glove in Yankees uniform on what looks like a practice ground. The border of the card has Yankee-like pinstripes on a light grey background. His then Minor League team ‘Tampa Yankees’ written on the bottom left is also a nice touch.
Must Read: Best Baseball Cards To Buy
This card is one of the most interesting cards out there, it pre-dates the official Bowman rookie card by two years and is from the first season Mariano signed with the Yankees, but it was not given an official rookie designation.
The card is now 30 years old, so it is probably no surprise that it does not crop up very often and despite not having an official rookie designation, the value is still the highest of the 3. In gem mint 10 conditions the card is worth around $1500 and regularly achieves this figure at auction. In a lower condition, or ungraded as they are sometimes found they can sell for anywhere between $100 and $500
Mariano Rivera Rookie Card Value
The most expensive Mariano RC is going to be the 1992 Mariano Rivera Bowman RC #302 in a PSA 10 or BGS Pristine Black Label Grade with an Autograph.
Mariano Rivera Rookie Card Checklist
- 1990 Diamond Cards Tampa Yankees RC #17
- 1991 Fleer MILB ProCards Mariano Rivera RC
- 1991 Procards Greensboro Hornets Mariano Rivera ROOKIE RC #3058
- 1992 Bowman RC #302
- 1992 Fleer Procards #2611 Mariano Rivera Ft. Lauderdale Yankees RC
Mariano Rivera Rookie Card: Buyers Guide & Investment Outlook
Investment Rating: 9.6 out of 10
Card Ownership: None
Our Top Pick: 1992 Mariano Rivera Bowman RC #302
Best For Moderate Bankrolls: 1992 Mariano Rivera Bowman RC #302
Best Card for Smaller Bankrolls: 1992 Mariano Rivera Bowman RC #302
Bottom Line?: If you’re looking to nab a Rivera rookie card you will want the 1992 Bowman.
Mariano Rivera has already etched his name firmly in the baseball history books as one of the best relief pitchers of all time. His unusual story and incredible career have catapulted his name right up there amongst the true greats of Basketball.
Since retirement Rivera has kept his name in the limelight by his political activism and philanthropy and was last year awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom award by President Trump. Keeping his name on at the forefront in retirement will undoubtedly enhance his rookie card value going forward.
The value of his cards got a big boost when he was given his unprecedented unanimous nomination into the Hall of Fame. Having the reputation in and out of baseball that Rivera does, these cards will almost certainly hold this value for years to come.
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The above card is the legendary 2018 Luka Doncic Panini Opulence RPA RC /10… some other blogs have called it the best investment on the planet… we hesitate to go that far BUT would do a lot of things to own that bad boy!
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