One advantage of missing out early on is that you get a chance to make up for it later … just ask 1989 Topps Traded baseball cards!

No one is going gaga over the base 1989 Topps set, and we never really did, thanks to The Real One missing out on key rookies that the other companies gave us — Ken Griffey, Jr., chief among them.

But that fall, Topps was back with their ninth straight 132-card box set featuring traded players and, yes, rookie cards of Junior and a host of other future big names.

And those cards are still plenty popular all these years later.

Especially these ten — they’re the most valuable 1989 Topps Traded baseball cards, according to recent sales prices for copies in PSA 9 condition.

1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey Jr. (#41T)

1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey Jr.

Of course, the most iconic Griffey rookie card is the very first card that Upper Deck ever issued (aside from those 1988 promos), card #1 in the 1989 UD set.

That card has been a standard-bearer in the hobby for decades, but it wasn’t the only Junior choice that summer, as Fleer and Donruss bought into the Griffey phenomenon from the get-go.

Topps joined Score on the sidelines, though both caught up by issuing a Junior card in their year-end set.

The 1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey, Jr., his first Topps card, checks in at about $35 in PSA 9 condition.

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1989 Topps Traded Deion Sanders (#110T)

1989 Topps Traded Deion Sanders

This is the second Hall of Fame rookie card offered up by the 1989 Topps Traded set, after the Griffey at #1.

Of course, Deion didn’t make it to the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, but he did make the Canton cut in 2011 as one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever line up in the NFL

On the diamond, the two-sport star turned in nine seasons across a 13-year span, making stops with four different teams along the way. In all, Neon Deion hit .263 in 2300+ plate appearances and stole 186 bases against 63 times caught.

The dual-sport star wasn’t quite as popular as Bo Jackson in his prime, but you have to give the nod to Sanders for the better overall combined MLB-NFL career.

Indeed, gridiron and diamond collectors alike continue to appreciate Sanders’ achievements, and his 1989 Topps card brings $15-20 in PSA 9 condition these days.

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1989 Topps Traded Omar Vizquel (#122T)

1989 Topps Traded Omar Vizquel

Vizquel played pretty much forever — 24 years, to be exact — and used all that on-field time to amass more than 2800 hits, 404 stolen bases, and 11 Gold Gloves at shortstop, including nine in a row.

A Cleveland Indians legend, Vizquel has made strides in Hall of Fame voting, though his overall numbers might make it tough for him to muster the final push he needs to gain Cooperstown enshrinement.

Still, plenty of fans and collectors love Omar, and his first Topps card is a $15 buy when slabbed in PSA 9 condition.

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1989 Topps Traded Randy Johnson (#57T)

1989 topps traded randy johnson rookie card

So, this isn’t really a Johnson rookie card in any real sort of way.

After all, he scored true rookie cards in all the 1989 base sets. But, in a way, this really is a rookie card — it’s Johnson’s first Topps card showing him as a member of the Seattle Mariners after the Montreal Expos traded him westward in May of 1989.

In Seattle, of course, Johnson grew into the Big Unit, one of the most dominant power pitchers the game has ever seen.

And, though the lefthander did big things with the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros later on, the Johnson-Mariners union is where all the magic began.

Johnson’s 1989 Topps Traded card sells for north of $10 most of the time when slabbed in MINT condition.

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1989 Topps Traded Nolan Ryan (#106T)

1989 Topps Traded Nolan Ryan

Of course, when it came to modern power pitchers, Nolan Ryan set the standard.

All through his years with the New York Mets, and especially with the California Angels and Houston Astros, Ryan was always a threat to fan 300 batters in a season, or to throw a no-hitter in his next trip to the mound.

And, when Ryan signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent before the 1988 season at 41 years of age, it was supposed to be a way for him to wind down his career close to home.

Instead, Nolan piled coal into the Ryan Express and reeled another couple of no-hitters, another 300-strikeout season, pushed his career victory total to 324, and generally became the hottest name in the game and the hobby.

By the time he finally retired after the 1993 season, Ryan was a stone-cold baseball legend, and his cards have never looked back.

This one, his first Topps issue in a Rangers uniform, pushes $10 in PSA 9 condition today.

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1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey (#40T)

1989 Topps Traded Ken Griffey

This Griffey was a mainstay of the Big Red Machine teams that took two World Series titles and were always right in the thick of the pennant race in the 1970s.

And, though Ken, Sr., was pretty underrated for most of his big league career, the spotlight swung his way as Junior crashed the Majors, and especially when the two of them suited up together for the Seattle Mariners.

This card, showing Senior in his return trip to the Reds after a seven-season run with the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves, brings close to $10 in PSA 9 these days.

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1989 Topps Traded Rickey Henderson (#48T)

1989 Topps Traded Rickey Henderson

This card caught Henderson in the aftermath of his return trade to the Oakland A’s in June of 1989.

By then, it was a foregone conclusion that Henderson would break Lou Brock‘s all-time stolen base record, which he would do a couple of years later.

And, though Henderson made more stops than a YouTube video played over dial-up during the last 15 years of his career, he always looked right-est in the A’s green and gold … don’t you think?

Enough collectors agree with that sentiment to make this a $9-10 card in PSA 9 condition.

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1989 Topps Traded Jim Abbott (#2T)

1989 Topps Traded Jim Abbott

Abbott was a sensation as the eighth pick out of Michigan in 1988, so much so that he skipped the minors entirely and stepped right into the Angels rotation in 1989.

A 12-12 record with a 3.92 ERA that summer grabbed him a fifth-place finish in American League Rookie of the Year voting that fall. It was a promising enough start, too, to keep the hobby hype rolling and make his 1989 Topps #1 Draft Pick card a hot item.

That base-set card, though, showed the lefty with Michigan, making this Traded issue his first Topps Angels card.

Abbott looked like a budding ace when he went 18-9 in 1991, and, though he faded from that point, our hobby memories are long and steady — this Traded card still brings close to $10 in graded MINT condition.

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1989 Topps Traded John Kruk (#63T)

1989 Topps Traded John Kruk

By the time the 1989 season began, Kruk had already established himself as a guy who could hit for a high average with occasional power over a few seasons with the San Diego Padres.

What we hadn’t seen from him yet, at least not on a national scale, was the quirky personality that would make him a perfect fit for the Philadelphia Phillies clubs that would peak with a World Series appearance in the 1993 thanks to the efforts of grungy dudes like Kruk, Mickey Morandini, Darren Daulton, and Lenny Dykstra.

This card shows Kruk in a Phils uniform for the first time after the June 1989 trade that sent him toward that destiny.

Considering the grit of those Philly teams, it’s sort of fitting that this card is an airbrushed mess, but it still checks in around $5 in PSA 9 condition.

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1989 Topps Traded Eddie Murray (#87T)

1989 Topps Traded Eddie Murray

It was one of those trades that rocked the baseball world — the Orioles sent future Hall of Famer and Baltimore legend Eddie Murray to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell in December of 1988.

Those O’s had been historically bad at 54-107, so they had to try something. Still, Murray in Dodger Blue was tough to swallow, and the trade came late enough that we got to see him in Orioles togs on our cardboard throughout the summer of 1989.

By that fall, though, Steady Eddie had turned in his first full season in L.A., which turned out to be his first of four seasons he spent with the Dodgers, if you include the stretch run in 1997 to end his career.

This first Topps card to show Murray in Blue sells for about $5 in PSA 9 condition.

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