Harold Baines was one of the top designated hitters in Major League Baseball during a career that spanned more than two decades. No matter the type of card collection, there is something for everyone in the diverse catalog for this Hall of Famer, including tough pre-rookie cards from the 1970s all the way up to modern certified autographs, and everything in between. This top list offers some of the best and most popular Harold Baines cards available.
The Chicago White Sox made the Cooperstown inductee the first overall selection in the 1977 MLB Draft. Baines quickly reached the Majors and became a force in the middle of the White Sox lineup for the better part of a decade where he was paired up with fellow Hall of Fame member Carlton Fisk. While his time was primarily spent with the White Sox and his hometown Baltimore Orioles, Baines also played for the Texas Rangers, Oakland A’s, and the Cleveland Indians.
Harold Baines made his first appearance on a Major League Baseball card in 1981. The majority of Baines' career took place during the junk wax era of the 1980s and 1990s, although he has appeared in numerous sets since his retirement. During his playing days, Baines was featured in a wide variety of sets, which included cards in some of the most popular baseball card releases from that era, as well as a few hard-to-find issues that can prove challenging to track down. However, most of his card prices are very reasonable.
Baines remains a popular figure amongst baseball card collectors, especially Orioles and White Sox hobbyists, who have maintained a healthy interest for his collectibles. Furthermore, his cards in current products have helped new generations of collectors learn about one of the greatest designated hitters, a man who pre-dates more recent DH stars like David Ortiz.
The following guide looks at 10 of the best Harold Baines cards. This list highlights cards from his entire career and beyond, ranging from pre-rookie and rookie cards through modern releases which indicate his continued demand with collectors.
Top Harold Baines Cards to Collect
Bolded sets go directly to detailed product profiles and checklists when available.
10. 1983 True Value White Sox Harold Baines
The White Sox and the Chicago-based True Value hardware stores teamed up several times in the early-to-mid-1980s to offer fans attending games at Comiskey a chance to take home a set of baseball cards. Like many stadium giveaway sets, there are tens of thousands of copies of the cards available to collectors, but it’s always fun to find regional and local products. Harold Baines' most desired issue in the run of True Value White Sox giveaway sets is his 1983 card. The simple design on the white-bordered card features a nice action shot of Baines hitting in front of the home crowd and is a winner with Sox fans.
9. 1989 Score Rookie & Traded Harold Baines #62T
Harold Baines spent the first decade-plus of his professional baseball career with the White Sox. At the trade deadline in 1989, the team shipped Baines to the contending Texas Rangers. While Baines was an All-Star-caliber player at this point in his career, Score was the only card company who managed to squeeze him into their update set. Although, with players such as Nolan Ryan, Bert Blyleven, and Deion Sanders changing teams, along with the debut of Ken Griffey Jr., it is somewhat understandable that card companies might have overlooked Harold Baines. This card represents Baines' first card away from the White Sox.
8. 1982 All-Star Game Program Insert Harold Baines
During the 1980s, Major League Baseball provided fans attending the All-Star Game an uncut sheet of baseball cards inserted into the game day program. The mini cards can still be found in uncut sheets, which can carry a premium, but most have been cut out and are available as single cards. Naturally, the All-Star insert cards are condition sensitive and available at a wide array of prices depending upon how cleanly they were cut and separated. The 1982 All-Star Game took place in Montreal, which makes the cards a little tougher to locate than its peers amongst the other All-Star Game sets, but also offers the neat feature of being a bilingual French/English release.
7. 1996 Leaf Signature Series Harold Baines
The 1996 Leaf Signature Series cards are held in a special place for certified autograph and player collectors from the 1990s. The checklist is deep and covers an extensive range of players from Hall of Famers to All-Stars and everyday starters, plus a generous helping of bench and utility types. Baines has numerous certified autographs, but this was the first and one of the most popular options with Baines collectors. The fact that Leaf captured Baines in a White Sox uniform during his second stint with the team adds to this card’s favorability.
Of course, there are many other Harold Baines autographs out there, and most won't cost you very much.
6. 1993 Topps Finest Refractor Harold Baines #153
The debut issue of Finest in 1993 is another '90s set which has attained legendary status, especially the Refractor parallels. The popularity of the set has made Refractors harder and harder to find over time, and has resulted in a premium value. In fact, the Baines Refractor is one of the more difficult cards to locate. As a result, the card is a rarity on the secondary market and sellers usually demand a hefty price.
5. 2003 Topps Fan Favorites Autographs Harold Baines #FFA-HBA
Since Baines retired in 2001, he has appeared in the autograph checklists of numerous products. Several of those signed cards have been in Topps Archives. The Fan Favorites cards were a rebrand of the Archives line in the 2000s, but it’s the same concept. This Harold Baines autograph is done on a 1981 Topps-style card, same as his rookie card, with a picture from the same era. Add in a nice on-card signature, and you can see why this card has been a big hit with Baines collectors.
Baines also has a 2016 Archives 65th Anniversary autograph featuring the exact image from his Topps rookie card.
4. 1978 TCMA Knoxville Knox Sox Harold Baines
Harold Baines played his first full season in the minors in 1978 with the White Sox Double-A team, the Knoxville Knox Sox. Many collectors may be familiar with some of TCMA’s sets from the 1980s that featured highly sought-after cards of Cal Ripken Jr., John Elway, and Tony Gwynn, but the company was covering minor leaguers on cardboard long before that. Like many of the 1970s TCMA cards, the Baines card has a black-and-white photo. This card is a pretty tough find as a single and can cost collectors a hefty sum. Finding it with the full team set is an even tougher task and more expensive due to the fact that Tony LaRussa’s debut managerial card is also included.
3. 1979 Iowa Oaks Police Team Set Harold Baines
Baines' final year in the minors also produced one of his more desirable and costly cards. The Iowa Oaks, which is the same franchise as the current Iowa Cubs with a different affiliation, had several different team sets produced during the 1970s. The most challenging of these is the police set given out to fans during the summer of 1979. There is no exact number on the print run, but these oversized cards rarely pop up. If you’re looking for an affordable alternative, the Iowa Cubs franchise issued an anniversary set celebrating great players from their history, which is much more reasonably priced if you can find one. It also has the same sweet photograph of Harold Baines.
2. 1981 Fleer Harold Baines RC #346
1981 Fleer was the first licensed MLB product for the company. Nevertheless, Fleer had found ways to circumvent the Topps monopoly several times during the '60s, '70s and '80s. Harold Baines is the only Hall of Fame player with a rookie card in the set, but there are also first-year issues of some other good baseball players, including Fernando Valenzuela, Kirk Gibson, and NBA star Danny Ainge. Similar to many star players with rookies issued during the 1980s, the Harold Baines rookie card is plentiful and affordable. However, this card is still important and valued by collectors. The 1981 Fleer Harold Baines is a must-have card of the Hall of Famer.
1. 1981 Topps Harold Baines RC #347
1981 Topps has always been considered truly unique for its design with the baseball cap in the bottom-left corner of the card. But, for years, the set was thought to be lacking important rookie cards. However, that perception has slowly started to change as the players from the 1980s gained traction with Hall of Fame voters. This set not only features the rookie card of Harold Baines, but also fellow Hall of Famer Tim Raines. Similar to the Baines rookie card in the Fleer set, copies of the card are plentiful and inexpensive, but still important to collectors looking to find the best baseball cards of this great designated hitter.
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