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Greg Maddux rookie cards were an afterthought at best when they first appeared on the hobby scene in 1987.

That wasn’t an indictment of Maddux’s talents or even his standing as a prospect — it’s just the reality that RCs of wispy young finesse pitchers faced in the swirling melee of a hobby explosion fueled by a new generation of sluggers.

No, when Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire and Will Clark and Ruben Sierra and Barry Bonds and Wally Joyner and seemingly hundreds of other groundbreaking rakers are there in the offing in every wax pack you bust, a control pitcher you’ve never heard of trying to crack the rotation of a losing Chicago Cubs team just won’t light up many young faces.

Heck, even a decade or so later, when Maddux had established himself as one of the greatest pitchers of his generation and appeared headed toward all-timer status, his rookie cards still couldn’t hold a candle to the guys breaking home run records on a daily basis.

Today, though?

Well, today, with a clearer vision of the past and the taint of the so-called Steroid Era, and with Maddux’s legacy as an undoubted all-time great firmly etched in stone (and on a Hall of Fame plaque), it all looks a bit different from a hobby perspective.

Indeed, Maddux’s rookie cards now stand near the top of whatever sets they appear in, from a value perspective, and the only real knock against them is that they didn’t appear everywhere — he had no base cards in the 1987 Topps or Fleer set, for example.

Still, if you have some vision and expand your scope a bit, there are plenty of different Greg Maddux rookie cards to pursue, and they check in at about any price point you could imagine.

What follows, then, is a complete rundown of every Mad Dog rookie card, from the common to the obscure. Unless otherwise noted, values listed are culled from actual selling prices for copies in PSA 9 condition as of September 2022.

Now, let’s dig in to some Greg Maddux rookie cards and see if any of them hint at the Cy Young Awards to come.

(Note: The following sections contain affiliate links to eBay and Amazon listing for the cards being discussed.)

1987 Donruss Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#36)

1987 Donruss Greg Maddux Rookie Card

If you were one of the few collectors who were actually in the market for a Greg Maddux rookie card, then this was the only ticket in town.

Problem was, Donruss – like Fleer – was suddenly hard to come by in the early going in 1987, driving up pack prices right off the bat. Eventually, supplies seemed to make it to most parts of the country, but by then, the “scarcity” perception had stuck and, besides, Mark McGwire was tearing the cover off the ball.

Prices for 1987 Donruss wax packs never really came down, in other words, and certainly not to the level of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. No 40-cent packs for you Maddux chasers!

But, even though Maddux snagged a coveted “Rated Rookie” slot, his Donruss RC didn’t command much if any premium in those early days.

Times have changed, of course, and those 355 career victories and the string of Cy Young Awards and Gold Gloves have positioned this card as a junk wax classic that is as much the face of the set as Big Mac’s own Donruss RC.

Value: $20-25

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1987 Leaf Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#36)

1987 Leaf Greg Maddux Rookie Card

Leaf was the Canadian version of Donruss cards for much of the 1980s, much as O-Pee-Chee was the Canadian parallel to Topps.

In 1987, the Leaf parallel was not direct, as the Great White North set contained only 264 cards, as compared to 660 in the full Donruss set.

Still, Maddux and the rest of the Rated Rookies made the cut on the Leaf checklist, setting up a Maddux RC that’s more scarce than many of the others on this list … including its Donruss counterpart.

That scarcity is reflected in the selling prices.

Value: $90-100

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1987 Fleer Update Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#U-68)

1987 Fleer Update Greg Maddux Rookie Card

Fleer missed out on issuing a Maddux rookie card in their base 1987 set, but he sort of forced their hand after making 27 starts for the Cubs that summer at the tender age of 21.

The design of 1987 Fleer is sort of a love-it-or-hate-it affair, but this Update card features a nice action shot of young Maddux following through on a pitch in Cubbies pinstripe.

Fleer also issued a glossy version of their 1987 Update set in a tin box and, though, it’s more scarce than its “flat” counterpart, they sell at around the same price level.

Value: $15-20

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1987 Sportflics Team Previews Chicago Cubs Greg Maddux & Rafael Palmeiro (#22)

1987 Sportflics Team Previews Chicago Cubs Greg Maddux & Rafael Palmeiro

Like Fleer, Sportflics didn’t include Maddux in their base 1987 set, though they also didn’t have much room, thanks to a checklist that numbered just 200.

Sportflics did expand their lineup in 1987, though, to include a “Team Preview” set of 26 cards – one for each team, each featuring four panels with three dudes in each one thanks to the super-special Magic Motion lenticular technology.

The Cubs card included Maddux, along with Jody Davis, Shawon Dunston, Leon Durham, Dennis Eckersley, Dave Martinez, Keith Moreland, Jerry Mumphrey, Rafael Palmeiro, Ryne Sandberg, Scott Sanderson, and Lee Smith.

Value: $5-10

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1987 Topps Traded Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#70T)

1987 Topps Traded Greg Maddux Rookie Card

Topps baseball cards spent the summer of 1987 being everywhere, as usual, and also fueling dreams of future riches among collectors as we pulled card after card of big-name rookies from every wax pack we opened.

Who needs pitching when every card represents a potential hunk of homer history, right?

Right.

So, hardly anybody noticed that Greg Maddux was missing from the mix, or even that he showed up on the mix that fall in the 1987 Topps Traded box set. Heck, hardly anybody noticed that set much at all, seeing as all the rookie thunder was in the base set.

Sure, it was cool to get first looks at Matt Nokes and Kevin Seitzer, but we pretty much just skimmed over Maddux to get to those guys.

Not so much any more.

Like Fleer, Topps also issued a glossy version of their 1987 Traded set, a “Tiffany” version in the vernacular. That one is much tougher to come by, leading to prices about 4-5 times higher than what the base version draws.

Value: $15-25

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Oddball Cards

The cards below weren’t issued in wax packs or box sets (mostly), and they weren’t rookie cards in the strictest sense of the term.

But they were — and are — early-career Greg Maddux baseball cards, so they deserver a place on our list.

Some are more odd than others, but they all did their part to merit the “oddball” tag.

1986 ProCards Pittsfield Cubs Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#14)

1986 ProCards Pittsfield Cubs Greg Maddux Rookie Card

Though Maddux spent a couple of seasons in the lower reaches of the Cubs’ minor league system, he didn’t land on any baseball cards down on the farm in either 1984 or 1985.

And, though the pre-tenured version of The Professor spent more time with Triple-A Iowa than with Double-A Pittsfield before his September call-up to Wrigley Field in 1986, the timing didn’t work out for him to land on an Iowa card, either.

But all the cardboard stars aligned while Maddux was hurling his way through Massachusetts (well, Pittsfield, at least), and he ended up as part of the 25-card ProCards Pittsfield set.

Technically a “pre-rookie” card, this is one of Maddux’s tougher and pricier early issues.

Value: $200-400

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1987 Canon Chicago Cubs Photocards Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#)

1987 Canon Chicago Cubs Photocards Greg Maddux Rookie Card

This one’s probably even tougher than the ProCards Maddux issue, and the oversize stature and non-card cardstock won’t help in your search for a copy in top condition.

And, considering all 38 of these team-and-Canon-issued cards feature black-and-white headshots and blank backs, this probably isn’t the most exciting Greg Maddux rookie card you’ll ever lay eyes on, either … if you ever do.

But it’s a charmer in the way that all scarce oddball cards from days gone by are, and it gives you a dead-on look at the Ferris Bueller version of young Maddux.

Value: $200-500

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1987 David Berg Hot Dog Cubs Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#31)

1987 David Berg Hot Dog Cubs Greg Maddux Rookie Card

David Berg Hot Dogs (what do you *mean* you never heard of them?!?!) teamed up with the Chicago Cubs in the summer of 1987 to give away a set of 26 cards featuring players on the active roster, plus the manager (Gene Michael) and coaches.

As with the Canon set, the David Berg cards were oversize at 4 ¼” x 2 ⅞” but at least they were colorful!

And had backs!

The Cubs were awful in 1987 (sorry, Andre Dawson), but they were a bit better in 1988, and David Berg was back with more baseball cards.

Greg Maddux was there for the whole thing.

Value: $50-100

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1987 Donruss ‘The Rookies’ Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#52)

1987 Donruss The Rookies Greg Maddux Rookie Card

Donruss was just downright greedy with their rookie cards in the mid-to-late 1980s. Take 1987, for instance …

Not only did they have those heralded Rated Rookies, they also outdid Topps and Fleer in the rookie-card race by issuing the lone wax-pack RCs of guys like Mark McGwire, Benito Santiago, and, of course, Greg Maddux.

And then, just to rub salt in the wounds, they kept rolling with the second version of their “The Rookies” set that fall, featuring 56 cards of – yes! – nothing but rookies.

It was Big D’s boxed-set answer to Topps Traded and Fleer Update, only with a tighter focus and a bit more swagger. These weren’t just rookies, after all – they were THE rookies.

Even if some of them were repeats from the 1987 Donruss base set.

Like Greg Maddux.

This first-year Maddux card is a bit less oddball-y than the others in this section, but it’s certainly not a base card, so here it lies.

Value: $15-20

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1987 Venezuelan League Stickers Greg Maddux Rookie Card (#233)

1987 Venezuelan League Stickers Greg Maddux Rookie Card

Like so many players before and after him, Greg Maddux spent time in the Venezuelan winter leagues.

And, also like so many of them, he ended up with his likeness on a baseball-card-type product issued in Venezuela and capturing the moment.

In this case, Maddux was part of the 1987 Venezuelan League Stickers, a 240-piece behemoth that’s nigh impossible to come by and even harder to find in any kind of condition.

To wit, PSA has recorded only nine sales of the Maddux sticker, and none of them graded higher than a “5.” The most recent sale as a PSA 3 that brought more than $700 in July of 2021.

Good luck finishing off your complete run of Greg Maddux cards/stickers in PSA 9, in other words.

Value: $-

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