Top 20 Frank Thomas Cards

Top 20 Frank Thomas Cards

Frank Thomas cards were some of the most popular during the 1990s. One of baseball's top hitters at the time, he could hit for average and power. Thomas could be counted on to do just about anything at the plate.

Hitting his peak at a time when the hobby was big into experimenting, there are a lot of flashy Frank Thomas cards out there. Actually, there are a lot of different Frank Thomas cards, period. These range from cheap base cards in overproduced sets to modern hits that come with autographs and memorabilia pieces. Collectors have literally thousands to choose from.

Below is a list of 20 (and change) of some of  the best and most iconic Frank Thomas cards of all-time. While value certainly comes into play, it's definitely not the sole criteria.

Top Frank Thomas Cards

1987-88 Auburn Tigers Frank Thomas

The first Frank Thomas card is extremely rare. Produced for Auburn University, the set focuses on greats who attended the school. It has a very plain design, but its notoriety for being the legend's cardboard debut is impossible to overlook.

1987 88 Auburn Tigers Frank Thomas 210x300 Image 1987 88 Auburn Tigers Frank Thomas Back 214x300 Image

1987 BDK Pan-Am Team USA Blue Frank Thomas #36

Honoring the slugger's time with Team USA, this bright card comes with a black and white photo. It's not nearly as rare (or as pricey) as the Auburn card. A similarly designed card with a red border was released in 1990.

1987 Pan Am Team USA BDK Blue Frank Thomas 215x300 Image

1988 Ballpark Cape Cod Prospects Frank Thomas #14

Tough to find, but not impossible, Frank Thomas leads the 20-card set Ballpark Cape Cod Prospects set. Also on the checklist is another of the era's top first basemen, Jeff Bagwell. The overall layout of the card is very plain and not very flattering, but it does have a solid posed photo. The back looks like a stick of gum.

1988 Cape Cod Prospects Ballpark Frank Thomas 235x300 Image  1988 Cape Cod Prospects Ballpark Frank Thomas Back Image

1988 P and L Promotions Cape Cod Prospects Frank Thomas #126

Frank Thomas doesn't have a lot of minor league cards that came out before his official MLB rookie cards in 1990. The 1988 P and L Promotions Cape Code Prospects is the most common. Reasonably priced and dreadfully designed, it's an affordable card for those looking for something early and different.

1988 Cape Cod Prospects P and L Promotions Frank Thomas 212x300 Image 1988 Cape Cod Prospects P and L Promotions Frank Thomas Back 209x300 Image

1990 Bowman Tiffany Frank Thomas #320

Regular 1990 Bowman Frank Thomas rookie cards are about as hard to find as a cigarette butt on a downtown street corner. But if you're looking for some rarity, go for the more premium Tiffany version. Available only in a special factory set, 1990 Bowman Tiffany cards come with a glossy finish. More importantly, the set has a print run of just 10,000.

1990 Bowman Tiffany Frank Thomas 206x300 Image

1990 Leaf Frank Thomas RC #300

Frank Thomas rookie cards don't get any more iconic than 1990 Leaf. When the Big Hurt was in his prime, this was the card almost everyone wanted. Once upon a time, you could expect to pay $100 or more for this card. Today? Not even close. Even high-grade PSA and BGS versions can be found for around that price. So if you always dreamed of owning a 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas but couldn't afford it, now's a great time to give it a second look.

1990 Leaf Frank Thomas RC 211x300 Image

1990 O-Pee-Chee Frank Thomas RC #414

Long the overlooked stepchild of the main Topps line, O-Pee-Chee baseball cards offer the same overall look. And much lower print runs. 1990 O-Pee-Chee Baseball looks even more like Topps than most years as the Canadian cards kept the main name. However, backs have a different copyright line and the bilingual text. When it comes to picking Frank Thomas rookie cards, none are wildly valuable anymore. However, the 1990 O-Pee-Chee Frank Thomas offers more of a challenge than Topps or Score, particularly if you're looking for ultra high-grade copies.

1990 O Pee Chee Frank Thomas RC 208x300 Image

1990 Topps Frank Thomas No Name on Front #414

Normally, printing defects are treated as such and don't carry much widespread appeal. The 1990 Topps No Name on Front Frank Thomas is a big exception. While the card does have some black on it, Thomas' name got left off for some reason. The rarity often sells for more than $1,000 still today.

1990 Topps Frank Thomas No Name on Front 212x300 Image

1990 Topps Tiffany Frank Thomas #414

This is the same situation as Bowman Tiffany. Rarer card + better quality = more valuable  card. It's believed the 1990 Topps Tiffany set has a print run of 15,000. The design is much the same as the regular 1990 Topps Frank Thomas. The biggest differences are the slick glossy finish and light card stock on the back.

1990 Topps Tiffany Frank Thomas 210x300 Image

1991 Arena Holograms Autographs Frank Thomas

The significance here is not Frank Thomas in a bow tie. And while holograms are always cool (it's on the front), the key here is that it's the first certified Frank Thomas autograph card. Hand numbered to 1250, there are actually 2,500 total cards. The print run is split evenly between silver holograms and gold ones. Gold cards also have his jersey number inscribed with the signature. Despite its early release, this is one of the most affordable Frank Thomas autograph cards. The lack of license, signature on the back and said bow tie are some of the biggest reasons for this.

1991 Arena Holograms Frank Thomas Autograph Image

1991 Topps Desert Shield Frank Thomas #79

1991 Topps Baseball is a beautiful set in its own right. But that's not the card that's on the list (though it is $1 well spent). This is the 1991 Topps Desert Shield version. Noted for its special logo on the top, these cards were made specifically for troops in the original Gulf War. History and rarity combine to make it one of the most desired sets of the 1990s, especially when it comes to superstars like Frank Thomas.

1991 Topps Desert Shield Frank Thomas 216x300 Image

1992 Donruss Elite Frank Thomas #18 #/10000

"Limited edition" is in the eye of the beholder. Today, a print run of 10,000 would get branded as a travesty. In 1992, it really was rare. Although not as iconic as the 1991 Donruss Elite inserts, the cards are widely recognized for kicking off the serial number craze. The follow-ups have a lot of flash along with a young Frank Thomas on the checklist. A fun photo only adds to its odd appeal.

1992 Donruss Elite Frank Thomas 211x300 Image

1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations Frank Thomas #1

Remember when this was the hottest card in the hobby? I remember watching a lot of Perfect Strangers around then too. Times change. And so do card values. This isn't the juggernaut that it once was, but to a lot of long-time collectors, the 1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations Frank Thomas still ranks among his most iconic cards. A big part of its appeal is the fact that the inserts were only found in jumbo packs.

1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations Frank Thomas 213x300 Image

1993 Leaf Update Autographs Frank Thomas #FT #/3500

Leaf did lots of things with Frank Thomas when he signed on as a company spokesman in 1993. From a collecting perspective, none were more important than this card -- the first pack-inserted Frank Thomas autograph. Simple but impressive, the card comes numbered to 3500. It was inserted in 1993 Leaf Update Baseball packs.

1993 Leaf Frank Thomas Autograph 214x300 Image

1993 Topps Finest Refractors Frank Thomas #102

Not many parallel sets can make the claim of being iconic in the hobby. 1993 Topps Finest Refractors are a huge exception. They marked new territory that is still a major force in sports card collecting today. With a print run that's believed to be 241, 1993 Topps Finest Frank Thomas Refractors still bring big prices.

1993 Topps Finest Refractor Frank Thomas 212x300 Image

1996 Leaf Signature Series Autographs Frank Thomas

1996 Leaf Signature Series broke new ground for a MLB set, delivering an autograph in every pack. With Frank Thomas as their spokesman, the White Sox great played a big part in the release including signed promo cards. He has Bronze, Silver and Gold Autographs in the first release, each differentiated by the medallion on the front. Not only that, but completists may also want to track down black and blue ink variations. Thomas can also be  found in the Extended Series, which comes with a different design.

1996 Leaf Signature Series Autographs Frank Thomas 211x300 Image 1996 Leaf Signature Series Extended Autographs Frank Thomas 216x300 Image

1996 Select Certified Frank Thomas Mirror Parallels #1

1996 Select Certified took rarity to a new level with their Mirror parallels. Although not serial numbered Mirror Red cards are limited to 90. Mirror Blue cards have half that. Mirror Gold parallels are even tougher, limited to just 30 copies each. Although print runs were shrinking across the board at this point, these were still extremely hard to find and still command a lot of attention today.

1996 Select Mirror Red Frank Thomas 213x300 Image

1997 Leaf Thomas Collection Frank Thomas #/100, 6 different

There was a big change in baseball cards in 1997. That's when the first MLB game-used memorabilia cards came out. While Upper Deck beat Leaf to the punch as far as being first, the 1997 Leaf Thomas Collection is still very impressive. Inserted in 1997 Leaf Series 2 packs, the set has six different cards, each numbered to 100. Memorabilia swatches include a game-used hat, bat, batting glove, sweatband, a home jersey, and an away jersey.

1997 Leaf Collection Frank Thomas 209x300 Image

1998 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Frank Thomas #175 #/50

Precious Metal Gems don't have the same history and love in baseball as they do in basketball where Michael Jordan, Kobe and other top stars can pull in thousands of dollars. However, it is starting to rub off on their diamond cousins. Prices on 1998 Metal Universe Baseball PMGs have been creeping up in recent years. Limited to 50 copies each, most have made their way into permanent collections so be prepared to pay should one pop up.

1998 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Frank Thomas Image

2012 Leaf Memories 1990 Leaf Buyback Autograph #300 #/35

When the 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas first came out, the hobby landscape was very different. When it came to autographs, we only had a faint hope of finding the Reggie in 1990 Upper Deck High Number packs. Today, autographs are king. With 2012 Leaf Memories paying tribute to 1990 Leaf, a signed Frank Thomas rookie was a perfect piece of nostalgia. Numbered to 35, the card is an original rookie card that has been autographed. A foil stamp was also added to the card showing that it's from the release.

2012 Leaf Memories Frank Thomas Buyback Autograph 213x300 Image

2013 Topps Triple Threads Auto Relic Combo Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr, Bo Jackson #TTARC-JGT #/36

Seeing as how this is a redemption, let's call this a bonus. But when this card finally goes live, how cool will it be? It's tough to argue against having autographs and memorabilia from three of the biggest names from their era on the same card. The basic version has 36 copies but there are also several parallels.

2013 Topps Triple Threads Auto Relic Combo Frank Thomas Ken Griffey Jr Bo Jackson Redemption 211x300 Image

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1993 Leaf Frank Thomas #2 Baseball Card (3 card set)
$13.95
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Frank Thomas Baseball Cards-Lot Of 6
$11.00
1714827784684040 1 Image
8 Minor League sets Hagerstown, Birmingham, Eastern League (Frank Thomas)
$27.99
3808338231364040 1 Image
1990 PROCARDS A & AA MINOR LEAGUE STARS #46 FRANK THOMAS RC HOF PSA 9 B1531607
$21.99
1313114556644040 1 Image
Frank Thomas 1998 Fleer Metal Universe Platinum Portraits, 2 of 12 PP, VG
$39.99
2009720777194040 1 Image
LOT OF 30 DIFFERENT FRANK THOMAS INSERT BASEBALL CARDS NO DUPS CHICAGO WHITE SOX
$12.00
3013367081664040 1 Image
1990 Leaf Frank Thomas Rookie #300 PSA 9 (OC) RC Chicago White Sox
$49.99
3309371967834040 1 Image
18 GOLD CARDS FRANK THOMAS (6) 1992 FRONT ROW 23+K GOLD CARD SETS (3) L#17
$24.95
2616428355784040 1 Image
1990 TOPPS - #414 FRANK THOMAS ERROR - BLANK FRONT - ROOKIE CARD
$84.15
2616428356454040 1 Image
Frank Thomas 1987 Rookie
$33.99
3810317789874040 1 Image
1990 leaf #300 FRANK THOMAS rc rookie BGS 9.5 9.5 9 9.5
$100.00
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1990 leaf #300 FRANK THOMAS white sox rc rookie card BGS BCCG 10
$40.00
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1990 leaf #300 FRANK THOMAS white sox rc rookie card BGS BCCG 10
$40.00
3609793307904040 1 Image
1990 leaf #300 FRANK THOMAS white sox rc rookie card BGS BCCG 10
$40.00
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1990 leaf #300 FRANK THOMAS white sox rc rookie card BGS BCCG 10
$40.00
3609793308354040 1 Image
1990 leaf #300 FRANK THOMAS white sox rc rookie card BGS BCCG 10
$40.00
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Ryan Cracknell

E-Mail Author | 
Ryan's collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection. Ryan can be found on Twitter @tradercracks and Google+.

User Comments

  1. I remember my brother and I searching for those rookie sensation. My brother got Thomas and Bagwell. I unfortunately have never had any luck with cards. I got Chuck Knoblock and Pat Listach

  2. Alan » I got my Thomas about 6 months ago for less than $5. Well worth the wait.

  3. You’ll find that there is a strong push in the Big Frank Community to find the elusive “Gem” version of the ’92 Fleer Rookie Sensations.

  4. I believe I have a one of a kind… 1992 Stadium club # 301has the foil printed over his name. If anybody has seen this email me. Dannyrjkool@gmail.com

  5. Hi, I have a variation of the oversized, ‘1996 Leaf Signature Series Autographs’ Frank Thomas card, the one on the right of the two pictured above. It is numbered #1112 of 1500 with a silver ‘LEAF’ medallion on the upper left side of the front of the card. It appears to be hand-signed in Black Ink, but the primary difference with this card is it does NOT have the Horizontal Scripting above the black autograph that says: ‘authentic signature’ in lower case. My question is, is this a hand-signed card or a facsimile signature? Thanks in advance for your help – I am a volunteer for White Sox Charities and truly appreciate your assistance. My best, -Bob

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