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Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide

Frank Thomas

Date of Birth: 5/27/1968

Rookie Card Year: 1990

Investment Rating: 7.0


As one of the most beloved players of the 1990s, Frank Thomas cards will always have a place in the hearts of many collectors. He was one of the most feared and consistent hitters of his era. Even with all of the talk of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs surrounding so many of his peers, Thomas has avoided the shameful spotlight.

Thomas is best known for his time with the Chicago White Sox where he won back-to-back American League MVP awards in 1993 and 1994. Combining power and average, he was a truly dangerous hitter. Over the course of his 19-year career, Thomas hit 521 home runs to go alongside a .301 batting average. And while his average is still impressive, it was brought down somewhat in his later years. During his prime, Thomas would regularly be competing for batting titles. He did win one in 1997 after hitting .347.

When it comes to collecting Frank Thomas cards, his rookies are all extremely affordable. Released in 1990, all are readily available today. In fact, they're too easy to find, which explains why you can find most for a dollar or two. The most popular Frank Thomas rookie card is from 1990 Leaf Baseball. In fact, it's one of the most iconic cards of the decade.

From an investment perspective, collectors will likely want to look toward some rarer non-rookies from 1990. Both 1990 Bowman Baseball and 1990 Topps Baseball have glossy Tiffany versions that are somewhat rare. The priciest card is the 1990 Topps Baseball No Name on Front variation. Extremely scarce, the source of this error has never been confirmed but the card consistently sells for four figures when they show up.

Thomas is starting to appear on the show circuit with greater regularity. This makes Frank Thomas autographed memorabilia not too difficult to find. Should he start signing more and more, this could cause prices to drop on the secondary market, however it's still too early for that. And any fluctuations could be offset by his election into the Baseball Hall of Fame, which seems like a guarantee.

Frank Thomas Rookie Card Guide

1990 Bowman Frank Thomas RC #320

Although it's one of the nicer Frank Thomas cards, his 1990 Bowman rookie is often overlooked. The simplicity of the design and pose really showcase the beaming smile. Unlike a lot of posed shots, there's nothing awkward about slugger's smile. He looks genuinely happy to be there. A better bet is the 1990 Bowman Tiffany version of the card.

Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 1

1990 Fleer Update Frank Thomas RC #U-87

Part of an overproduced box set, the 1990 Fleer Update Frank Thomas is an average rookie card. It has the same design as the base Fleer set. It's probably better that Thomas was saved for the late-season release as most of the rookie cards in the main set are paired up.

Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 2

1990 Leaf Frank Thomas RC #300

If you're going to own one Frank Thomas rookie card, this should be the one. The price has dropped in recent year, but that makes it affordable to just about everyone. Like most every card from the early-1990s, its easy to find but still not as plentiful as most of his other rookies. More than value, the 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas is one of those iconic cards most every collector familiar with the era can recognize in and instant.

Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 3

1990 O-Pee-Chee Frank Thomas RC #414

The 1990 O-Pee-Chee Frank Thomas may be the sleeper of all his rookie cards. It looks nearly identical to his Topps rookie. In fact, there's no way of telling by the front. The card back of the O-Pee-Chee card has both French and English text. Also, it has an O-Pee-Chee copyright. 1990 O-Pee-Chee is one of the more readily available sets from the Canadian company, but it's still much tougher to find than its American counterpart (and his other rookie cards).

Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 4

1990 Score Frank Thomas RC #663

Like Bowman, the 1990 Score Frank Thomas rookie card focuses on a strong portrait with a beaming smile. Easy to find, it can still be found for a dollar or two. High-grade versions from PSA or BGS are another way to go as they're relatively cheap as well.

Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 5

1990 Topps Frank Thomas RC #414

Although the 1990 Topps Frank Thomas is one of his most seen rookies, it's more because of the brand than the look of the actual card. Pictured in his college uniform, it's part of the #1 Draft Pick subset. The photo is drab and murky, especially when you place it alongside Thomas' other rookie cards. As mentioned, the No Name on error variation is extremely rare and wildly popular on the secondary market. The 1990 Topps Tiffany Frank Thomas is another great option.

Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 6

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Autograph Guide

Frank Thomas Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide

Below you will find an example of what Frank Thomas' 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, Tristar and Sports Card Guaranty. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.

Frank Thomas Cut Signature Exemplar

Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 7

Frank Thomas Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Frank Thomas signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of  the type of item or when it was signed, look for the following signature features:

  1. Entire signature is written on a relatively level horizontal plane.
  2. The signature consists, primarily, of the letters "F" and "T"
  3. Their are no starts and stops to the signature, it is fluid and defined by the flamboyant flair coming of the letter "T" and back across the "F"
  4. Thomas almost always includes his jersey number "35"

Frank Thomas Signed Baseballs

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Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 8

Frank Thomas Signed Bats

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Frank Thomas Rookie Cards and Autograph Memorabilia Guide 9

Frank Thomas Signed Jersey

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Frank Thomas Signed Photo

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More Info

Check out the following for more info on Frank Thomas cards and memorabilia.

For general information and player statistics visit:

Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His 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.

User Comments


Have you ever heard of an Alvin Davis, 88 Leaf card (with what seems to be spanish) and english career highlights area on the back but with Barry Lamar Bonds as the subject. I believe these are called wrong backs but when I have asked collectors about this card they know nothing. Even Beckett publications has no mention of it. Just searching around to see what I can find out.

Matthew Kenney
Matthew Kenney

I have all kinds of sets ranging from 87 to 90 was wondering if your interested?

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