It may seem hard to believe now, but there was a time when Don Mattingly ruled the baseball card universe. He was one of the most popular players in the mid to late eighties and his baseball card values reflected as much. Three of his cards were some of the most sought after during the time. Clearly the 1984 Donruss was the most popular, but right behind was the 1984 Topps, followed by the 1984 Fleer. As these were the only three companies that produced cards at the time, the three of them proved to be quite valuable (at least at the time).
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The Topps 1984 Don Mattingly Rookie Card was an extremely popular card from its first appearance in early 1984 until probably 1990 or so. During those 6 years, Mattingly offered up some of the most productive seasons in baseball history. His batting average was a robust .326 with one batting title, a MVP award and several records including the most grand slams in one season (6). Unfortunately, begging with the 1990 season Mattingly's productivity began to decline as back problems severely impacted his health. He continued playing for five more seasons and finally made the playoffs with the Yankees in his last season. Sadly, he didn't get to experience a win as the Yankees lost the series to the Seattle Mariners. It wasn't until his retirement that Yankees really began their dominance of Major League Baseball. It's a shame, as he was really the heart and soul of the organization. Unfortunately, his career began the year after they lost in the World Series and ended a year before they won it in 1996.
The 1984 Topps baseball design is one of my all time favorites and probably only eclipsed by the nifty 1981 Topps style. All of the cards feature a large "in action" picture and then a smaller portrait picture in the corner. The Topps 1984 Don Mattingly Rookie Card shows Mattingly in a fielding "ready position." I find that a little unfortunate as his beautiful swing would have been a better representation of the ball player. Although, his fielding was nothing to discount as he was a 9 time Gold Glove winner. The small face picture is also a little unusual as he is wearing his batting helmet instead of his cap. It's not a big deal, but I always found it weird.
The value of the Topps 1984 Don Mattingly Rookie Card has varied wildly over the past 25 plus years. At the high of its popularity in 1984-87, it would regularly sell in the thirty dollar range. Once Mattingly's stats began to decline, so did the value of the card. Other forces also factored into the decline as other players like Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez just became more popular. But, unlike many stars from the mid to late eighties, the Topps 1984 Don Mattingly Rookie Card still does hold a little value. The card regularly sells in the $5 to $10 range with graded versions selling for even more.
Recommending a card like this is always difficult. Unlike a lot of major stars of the time, Don Mattingly is still quite active in baseball as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. And, he also avoided many of the pratfalls that have plagued other stars of the same era. However, there truly isn't much of an upside to the Topps 1984 Don Mattingly Rookie Card. There isn't much of a chance of him being inducted into the Hall Of Fame, so it's likely this card's value will remain around $8 or so. If Don Mattingly is a favorite player of yours or you happen to be a Dodger and/or Yankee fan, it might make sense to pick up one of these cards. Otherwise, you can probably pass on the purchase.
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