Lou Whitaker spent nearly two decades posting Hall of Fame-level numbers at second base for the Detroit Tigers, helping the team win the 1984 World Series and endearing himself to baseball card collectors. This list highlights some of the best Lou Whitaker cards available to fans who are looking to collect the distinguished second baseman.
"Sweet Lou" became a regular with the Tigers during the 1978 season. At just 21 years old, he took the American League by storm to win Rookie of the Year. Lou Whitaker paired with shortstop Alan Trammell to anchor the Tigers infield for more than two decades. In addition to his role in the 1984 World Series win, Whitaker established himself as a perennial All-Star, as well as an award-winning player who took home multiple Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.
The first Lou Whitaker cards released during the 1978 calendar year, with his debut coming in the Topps and Burger King sets. For the entire span of his career, Whitaker appeared regularly in a variety of different baseball card products. Even after his retirement, “Sweet Lou” has continued to turn up on new cardboard, helping to introduce him to a new generation of collectors.
The guide below showcases several of the best Lou Whitaker cards, including rookie cards, autographs and important cards from throughout his career and beyond.
Top 10 Lou Whitaker Baseball Cards
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10. 1979 Topps Lou Whitaker #123
As the initial Lou Whitaker card from Topps was shared with three other subjects, the 1979 release was his first solo appearance in the card giant's flagship set. The most important card from '79 has always been the Ozzie Smith rookie, but there are plenty of great second-year issues for collectors to track down. This includes Whitaker, double-play partner Alan Trammell, and Hall of Fame first baseman Eddie Murray. The Whitaker card is affordable, but can also be a challenge to find in mint condition due to centering problems that are common with this set. There is definitely a premium on high-grade copies.
9. 2001 Stadium Club World Champions Lou Whitaker Bat #WC-LW
The 1984 Detroit Tigers were one of the most dominant modern World Series teams, earning a special place with the franchise's fan base. Surprisingly, there have not been many cards to commemorate the team over the years. The sets that have been made are very popular. The Stadium Club World Champions relic set included Tigers cards of Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, and Willie Hernandez. These cards are very hard to come across, and often cost far more than the average relic card from this era. In fact, it can be tough to find a Whitaker relic card at all.
8. 1981 All-Star Game Program Inserts Lou Whitaker
Major League Baseball included an insert sheet of baseball cards in the programs for the All-Star Game during the first half of the 1980s. The program cards were often hand-cut by collectors, which made them condition-sensitive, often with uneven borders or poor centering. These cards can still be found in sheets and attached to the inside of All-Star Game programs, but the sheets often carry a premium above the hand-cut singles. Whitaker was a consistent All-Star during the 1980s, so collectors can actually find several different cards featuring the Tigers' long-time second baseman. The 1981 card was his first appearance in this set.
7. 2002 Topps Summer School Turn Two Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker #TTR-TW Dual Relic
Relic cards from the 2000s are generally easy to find and inexpensive due to the fact that card manufacturers produced them in such large quantities. However, there are a few exceptions from that era, one of which includes the 2002 Topps Summer School set. These Turn Two jersey cards had long odds and featured some great player combinations, including the Tigers' famed double-play duo.
6. 1979 Hostess Lou Whitaker #117
Hostess cards were an annual food issue during the second half of the 1970s. The cards were attached to the side panels of the confectionary company's snacks and were often cut out and collected. Since the Hostess baseball cards were hand-cut, it can be difficult to find cards that are well-centered with sharp edges and corners. This second-year Lou Whitaker card is very popular with collectors and comes in at a wide variety of price points depending on the condition of the card. Intact three-player panels include Whitaker alongside Eddie Murray and Jack Clark.
5. 1993 Topps Finest Refractor Lou Whitaker #2
The 1993 Topps Finest product was a groundbreaking modern set, popularizing the concept of the parallels with the now-legendary Refractor cards. At one per box, the Refractors are not too difficult to find, but they are still in demand by collectors even to this day. Whitaker's Finest Refractor is from the tail end of his career when card companies began limiting the number of products where the Tigers great appeared. However, it is still one of his most important and popular cards. Despite what 1993 Finest lacks in key rookie cards, Topps more than made up for it by featuring several important players nearing retirement, including Whitaker, Nolan Ryan and George Brett.
4. 2004 UD Legends Timeless Teams Legendary Signatures Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell Autograph
2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams focused on the World Series-winning squads over the previous 30 years (starting from 2004 and working back). For Tigers fans, there are two great groups of cards in this autograph-driven product that feature the franchise's 1968 and 1984 World Series winners. The dual autographed Legendary Signatures card of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell is a must-have for Tigers collectors. While indelibly linked on the field, the Tiger infielders have a limited number of cards together with their dual autographs being a rarity. Beyond this choice, the duo also signed for 2018 Flawless.
3. 2001 Topps Archives Autographs Lou Whitaker #704
The 2001 Topps Archives set celebrated the best baseball cards from the card giant's first 50 years in business. The checklist includes autographs of dozens of Hall of Famers and popular players. These are all on-card signatures done on reprints of one of the player's original Topps cards. For Whitaker, Topps recreated his rookie card without the other three subjects. The card company took similar steps for players with rookie cards from this era, including Andre Dawson and Dave Parker. Lou Whitaker has several other certified autographs available, but he has not signed for many products, and this is a clear favorite amongst his collectors.
2. 1978 Topps Burger King Tigers Lou Whitaker #13
Burger King distributed packs of their baseball cards during the summer of 1978 as a regional promotion with the Tigers, Yankees, Astros and Rangers. The Burger King cards are easy to confuse with the regular 1978 Topps set since there is very little outside of the card numbers to distinguish the two releases. The Burger King Lou Whitaker is one of the exceptions, as the Tigers great occupies his own baseball card. 1978 Tigers Burger King also houses a solo Alan Trammell rookie card, which has made this Burger King set a notable option for Tigers collectors. In recent years, this promotional card of Lou Whitaker has become commensurate to his Topps rookie card.
1. 1978 Topps Garth Iorg, Dave Oliver, Sam Perlozzo, Lou Whitaker RC #704
The Eddie Murray rookie card has long held the top billing in 1978 Topps, but Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris have seen their first-year cards surge with collectors as their Hall of Fame credentials gain traction. While Trammell's 1978 Topps rookie is bolstered by Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, Lou Whitaker is the lone standout player on his multi-player '78 Rookie 2nd Basemen card. That has not stopped collectors from making it the most desirable Lou Whitaker card in his catalog. Raw copies are still relatively inexpensive, but the market for high-end copies is very much on par with the other great rookie cards from the end of the 1970s.