Rookie Card Year: 1989
Investment Rating: 6.5
Randy Johnson baseball cards and autographed memorabilia breaks the mold of most pitchers in the hobby and actually carries some top-tier clout. For most of his career, Randy Johnson was one of the most feared pitchers in baseball. A high-velocity hurler who intimidated batters with his dominating presence on the mound, Johnson made it a mission to own the inside part of the plate.
Johnson's rookie cards, of which he has seven, all come from products released in 1989. Despite being manufactured at the height of over production, high-grade examples of many of his rookie cards can still command respectable values. Johnson has rookie cards in 1989 sets from Donruss, Fleer, O-Pee-Chee, Score, Sportflics, Topps and Upper Deck.
Most interesting of all his rookie cards is the one printed by Fleer. Johnson was photographed in a posed shot using the distant outfield wall as the backdrop. Upon release of the card, some people complained that the Marlboro cigarette advertising that appeared over Johnson's shoulder served as an endorsement to children. Fleer attempted to correct this by reprinting the card. The result is four variations of the card: red tint, green tint, partial and black box. The terms reflect the various ways in which Fleer tried to obscure or remove the sign.
In addition to his rookie cards, Johnson has a healthy checklist of minor league cards that are also popular with player and team collectors:
- 1986 West Palm Beach Expos ProCards #21
- 1987 Jacksonville Expos ProCards #451
- 1987 Southern League All-Stars Jennings
- 1988 Indianapolis Indians CMC #1
- 1988 Indianapolis Indians ProCards
- 1988 Triple A All-Stars CMC #13
Other cards from Johnson's rookie year of 1989 that aren't considered true rookie cards, but are still part of his first-year checklist include cards from Classic, Panini Stickers, and Woolworth's.
Randy Johnson's first officially certified autograph card can be found in Extended Edition packs of 1996 Leaf Signature Series. His base autograph is a short print with a print run of 1,000 copies. There's also a Century Marks parallel limited to 100 copies.
Johnson's first memorabilia cards were produced by both Fleer and Upper Deck in 2001. 2001 Upper Deck Baseball has the first Randy Johnson autographed memorabilia card. Numbered to 51, the card is part of the Game Jersey insert set. 2001 Upper Deck Pros and Prospects Baseball has a similar card.
Randy Johnson's autographed memorabilia is pricey. Demand exceeds supply as a result of the fact that his signature is relatively difficult to fin. He has only recently started signing at conventions. Items related to his World Series Championship in 2001, in which he was named the series MVP carry a premium. Items from any of his five Cy Young Award seasons are also very popular.
Randy Johnson Rookie Card Checklist
The black border of this card makes it particularly prone to condition issues. High-grade examples get a slight bump in value but not nearly enough to offset the negative effects on the card's pricing due to the sheer number that were printed. Johnson also has cards in a couple of box sets from the company, 1989 Donruss Baseball's Best and 1989 Donruss The Rookies.
There are several versions of this card to chase. The original features a billboard for Marlboro. Various versions that try to hide the ad command moderate premiums. There's also a Glossy version of the card that was available exclusively in a special factory set. Because he was traded to the Seattle Mariners during the season, Randy Johnson is also in 1989 Fleer Update.
Because Johnson came to the big leagues as a member of the now defunct Montreal Expos, the Canadian O-Pee-Chee card can hold a soft spot with collectors north of the border. The only differences between this card and the Topps version are the logo and bilingual back. It's also rarer than the Topps card.
This is another widely available card that's extremely cheap. Besides appearing in the main set, Johnson also has a card in the 1989 Score Rookie & Traded factory set.
During the period of time Johnson's rookie cards were released, Sportflics tried to separate themselves from the competition by producing a lenticular cards. Unfortunately, the company included multiple players within the same card, which collectors were not fond of.
This is a key card in the 1989 Topps Baseball set. In addition to the basic version of the card, Johnson has a Tiffany version that was in a limited edition factory set. Like the Donruss and Fleer update sets, Johnson also appears in 1989 Topps Traded as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
While the big draw of the 1989 Upper Deck set is the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, collectors shouldn't ignore this gem as well. The heavier card stock, clear photograph and historic nature of the set make this an appealing card to have graded.
Randy Johnson Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what Randy Johnson's authentic signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Steiner, Mounted Memories and Tristar. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Randy Johnson Cut Signature Exemplar
Randy Johnson Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Randy Johnson signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:
- A very hard to decipher signature in terms of letter-by-letter analysis.
- The signature is usually written on an even horizontal plane with very narrow letter spacing.
- Signed in cursive, his writing style makes many of the letters look exactly the same.
- Comparison of an authenticated signature should be used when looking to acquire Randy Johnson autographed items.
Randy Johnson Signed Baseball Pricing
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