Paul Molitor was one of the greatest pure hitters in baseball during the 1980s and 1990s. When his career came to an end in 1998, he was one of four players in major league history to record 3,000 hits, a .300 batting average, and more than 500 stolen bases. This made him an easy choice for the Hall of Fame in 2004. The following list displays some of the best Paul Molitor cards of all-time.
"The Ignitor" spent the majority of his career with the Milwaukee Brewers, but also enjoyed successful stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins. Molitor quickly established himself as a strong hitter and stolen-base threat early in his career. While playing for the Brewers, he teamed with Robin Yount, Ted Simmons, and Rollie Fingers to form the "Harvey Wallbangers." That team made the playoffs in both 1981 and 1982 as the Brewers made their only appearance in the World Series.
The Brewers playoff runs established Molitor as a clutch postseason player. After more than a decade in Milwaukee, Molitor signed with the Blue Jays, helping the team win their second World Series title in 1993. Molitor batted .500 in the World Series against the Phillies and recorded six extra base hits en route to being named the World Series MVP. In all, Molitor was named to seven All-Star teams and won five Silver Slugger Awards.
The Minnesota native ended his career playing for his hometown Twins for three seasons. After his playing career ended, Paul Molitor began working as a coach with several teams and landed his first managing job with the Twins.
On the cardboard front, Molitor made his first appearance on a baseball card during the summer of 1978. His career spanned several different eras of baseball cards, starting with the Topps sets of the late 70s, ranging through the junk wax era and on to modern card sets where he remains a common figure. His popularity with collectors is fueled by the fact that he played for three different teams during his career and is beloved by each fan base.
Many of the cards from Molitor's playing career are affordable and easy to find, but his more recent cards have included plenty of challenging chase cards for collectors looking for high-end options. He has been a generous signer for different card companies, providing autographs for dozens of card sets.
The guide below features ten of the best cards from the 3000-hit club member and Baseball Hall of Famer. This list showcases cards from throughout Molitor's career, ranging from his rookie card through his cards issued post-retirement.
Top 10 Paul Molitor Baseball Cards
Click on the card titles or images to shop for specific cards on eBay.
One of Paul Molitor's more popular oddball cards was his appearance in the 1979 Kellogg's 3D Super Stars set. This second-year card was available through a mail-in offer on the back of cereal boxes. The undersized plastic cards are fairly easy to find and light on the wallet. On thing to note is that the plastic on the fronts of the cards from this set can crack, so collectors want to pay special attention to condition.
Another popular early card for Paul Molitor is his 1979 Topps card. Raw and graded copies of this card are extremely popular with collectors. High-grade copies and clean, raw copies of this card can often rival his rookie card in terms of price.
The 1997 Leaf Statistical Standouts set is one of the more underrated insert sets from the late 1990s. and the chase cards have remained popular with collectors well after their release. Molitor was included in the set and the card is one of his more challenging finds. While a print run of 1,000 cards sounds like a significant amount, these cards are not easy to run across and often carry a premium.
For several years during the 1980s, Major League Baseball offered fans attending the All-Star Game a page of baseball cards inside the game programs. Uncut sheets can still be found floating around, but many fans took the page of cards out of their program and cut the cards. Since many of the cards are hand-cut, there is a premium on the condition of these cards. In terms of design, the cards changed little over the years, but the backs of the 1982 set were written in both French and English since the Expos hosted the mid-season classic that year.
Throughout the summer of 2000, Fleer produced a set of cards featuring a handful of players with either 3,000 hits or 3,000 strikeouts. The cards were distributed across five different Fleer products. The Molitor card was inserted into packs of Fleer Focus and the different versions included pieces of game-used jerseys hats and bats. Outside of the hat relic that has only 65 copies, the cards with single pieces of memorabilia are easier to find given the greater quantities produced (#/975 or less). Considerably more rare, the multi-piece relic cards were all numbered to less than 100 copies.
A print run of 5,000 copies seems huge to modern collectors, but the Donruss Elite cards were extremely tough pulls in the early 1990s. The exact odds of pulling the cards were never stated by Donruss, but they have always been a popular card set amongst collectors. The Molitor card is one of the most affordable cards in this set and also represents one of his last Brewers cards as an active player.
Molitor's first season with the Blue Jays was a success as he helped lead the team to a title and also took home the World Series MVP trophy. One of the first Blue Jay issues for Molitor was his Topps Finest card. The Refractor parallel set has long been a favorite with collectors and is especially popular with graded card enthusiasts.
Among his most popular autograph cards, Paul Molitor made two appearances in the 1996 Leaf Signature set. However, these two cards were not his first venture into certified autographs as he had an autograph in the 1993 Donruss Elite Dominators set. His first autograph in Leaf Signature was short-printed with a limited print run of 1,000 copies. Leaf also included Molitor in the Extended Series with another 1,000 copies. The difference between the two cards can be found with the picture on the front of the card. The Extended Series card features Molitor wearing a blue Twins jersey, while the autograph in the base set features Molitor in a white Twins jersey.
The two players on this card spent a decade and half together on the Milwaukee Brewers and helped the team to its only World Series appearance. Both Robin Yount and Paul Molitor are held in high esteem by Brewers fans and baseball card collectors and this card offers them the chance to own both players' signatures.
Molitor's 1978 Topps card is one of the more popular rookies from the 1970s. While many of the multi-player rookie cards from this era paired Hall of Fame players up with unknowns, Molitor's card also features Alan Trammell, who was a star for the Detroit Tigers throughout the 1980s. Raw copies of this card are very affordable, but high-graded versions can be pricey.