If you were going to build a one-player, one-card baseball card set in 1988, which one player would you have picked?

Well, you *might* have gone with Wayne Tolleson or Cecilio Guante or even Don Slaught.

But if you wanted to sell your set, or at least cause some sort of stir, there was really only one choice: Don Mattingly, better known as a 1988 teammate of those three Yankees up there.

By then, 1988, Mattingly was generally considered by most observers to be one of the top handful of players in the game, a New York legend on a beeline to Cooperstown.

That’s what happens when you crash the Big Apple out of nowhere to win a batting title over veteran superstar Dave Winfield and then follow that up with an MVP award … and then another couple seasons of .300+/30+/100+ production that also included plenty of doubles and Gold Glove defense at first base.

So, yeah, when Topps was drawing up a card to promote a potential release for the U.K., it was Donnie Baseball who came to mind.

Hence, all these years later, we can gaze upon the grandeur of the 1988 Topps World of Baseball Don Mattingly:

1988 Topps Don Mattingly World of Baseball

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Now, apparently Topps’ MLB license didn’t carry over to foreign releases (or something), seeing as how they went all “NewYork-A.L.” on this one, and nixed the NY logo on The Hit Man’s cap.

Eventually, Topps did release a 1988 set in England, the “Topps UK Minis” — which looked a lot different than this and which did, in fact, show team names and logos.

So, forget about what I said up there.

Maybe Topps just thought a new market could handle only so much baseball royalty all at once, so either Mattingly or the Yanks had to go.

And you can’t very well ditch your one-card, one-player player, so it was the Bombers who bit the dust (and Mattingly who got #300, even though he was a solo act).

These days, even though this was a promo card (likely), enough of them have found their way into the wild that PSA has graded more than 60 of them.

If you’re lucky enough to find one slabbed at PSA 9, you can expect to pay at least $300 — probably more.

Maybe a lot more.

Now, just imagine what a Sluggo version would have been worth!

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For more 1988 Topps goodness, check out our rundown of the 25 or so most valuable cards in the set over on YouTube:

1988 Topps - #327 Bo Jackson (RC)

End Date: Friday 07/12/2024 15:34:20 EDT
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1988 Topps Pee Wee's Playhouse 33 Card Base Set - NRMT

End Date: Tuesday 06/25/2024 18:39:31 EDT
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