Barry Sanders Football Cards: Rookie Cards Checklist and Buying Guide
Barry Sanders was a rare talent who took the NFL by storm, becoming one of football's greatest running backs of all-time. He then shocked everyone when he walked away from the game at the height of his ability and popularity.
Lightly recruited out of high school due to size concerns (Sanders was 5'8") that were leveled at him throughout his career, Sanders accepted a football scholarship to play at Oklahoma State. He spent two years as Thurman Thomas' backup before getting his chance to handle the majority of the carries at running back. Although he only played one season before declaring for the draft, Sanders made the most of it by setting 34 college records and leaving with the Heisman Trophy.
Despite the aforementioned size concerns, the Detroit Lions took him with the third pick overall (first running back) of the 1989 NFL Draft. Sanders made an immediate impact and was awarded the 1989 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. The ten-year veteran was selected to play in the Pro Bowl in every season and never rushed for less than 1,100 yards in any of those years. Sanders retired in 1998, one year removed from his best season where he ran for 2,053 yards and 14 touchdowns. He retired less than 1,500 yards away from breaking Walter Payton's all-time rushing record and would later be inducted in the Hall of Fame.
For years, Sanders would not publicly acknowledge why he left the sport but eventually let it be known that the strain of losing had ruined his competitive spirit. Barry Sanders is one of the greatest running backs and football players of all time and his rookie card deserves a place in any football card collection.
In spite of Sanders' amazing ability and NFL contributions, his rookie cards are very reasonably priced and any would be ideal to purchase now and store away. The three true Barry Sanders football rookie cards are highlighted below. All are very reasonably priced, largely due to the fact that they're so readily available.
Barry Sanders Rookie Cards
The Topps Traded card is a common rookie, released during an era of massive overproduction. The card has a nice and simple layout. The image shows Sanders on the sidelines anxiously waiting to hear his name called. This card is only one that shows Sanders in his Lions' uniform.
Another common rookie, the card shows the only action shot of the group and the image is from Sanders' college days. The borderline-obnoxious, orange/red boarder almost matches the main color of his alma mater, Oklahoma State. The lined sides give the card a choppy look and make it easy to spot the centering issue that a lot of these cards have.
Barry Sanders' 1989 Score card is the pinnacle of his rookie cards. The profile shot of Sanders seems to portray an unabashed boy preparing to play against men. Sanders looks as though he should be in a high school classroom, not on an NFL field. The card is a perfect representation of how he was perceived throughout his career in that he appears diminutive and young. This would be the best card to purchase if you planned on having it graded. Overall, the look of the card has a classic feel but the green boarder detracts from the aesthetics.