How many different Kirby Puckett rookie cards do you think there are?

Three, four? Couldn’t be more than five … right?

What if I told you there were no less than 107 distinct baseball cards (and related) that could be classified as Puckett RCs?

Well, I’d be lying, for one thing.

So I won’t do that.

Instead, I’ll just say that there are a lot of different Kirby Puckett rookie cards running around out there, which seems right for a guy who spread smiles and fun everywhere he went in the game.

Here, then is a rundown of the first cards of the Minnesota Twins legend and Hall of Famer … all the Kirby Puckett rookie cards!

1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett (#U-93)

1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett

Nobody knew who Kirby Puckett was when he appeared in Fleer’s first ever Update set in the late fall of 1984.

I mean, sure … his family and friends knew, and maybe a few folks in Minnesota, but …

At that point, Puckett was heading toward 25 years of age and had played a grand total of 128 games in the Majors. Sure, he hit .296 in those games, but with very little power.

And his three minor league seasons looked pretty much the same — good average and speed, little power.

So, Puck got lost in the shuffle of Dwight Gooden and Roger Clemens and a few others in the 1984 Fleer Update set until roughly the midway point of the 1986 season.

That’s when he pushed his average well over .300 and made his first All-Star team. Also finished the season with 31 dingers.

From there it was more gaudy hit totals, good power, World Series titles, and legend-making.

And, predictably, collectors flocked to this first Puckett card and turned it into a hobby icon.

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1984 7-11 Twins Kirby Puckett (#1)

1984 7-11 Twins Kirby Puckett

This is one of those great (very) regional team sets from the 1980s that just screams … well, it just screams 1980s.

And “fire prevention.”

And Minnesota Twins.

And Kirby Puckett.

This thing was issued before the Fleer Update, so by all rights, it’s the very first Puckett card featuring the spark plug in a Major League uniform.

And just what did Puckett do to land card #1 in this 13-card issue (12 players and a checklist)?

Hard to say, but …

Maybe they started with the shortest guy on the team and worked their way up?

Or started with the rookie(s) and went from there?

Or maybe it was Puckett’s winning smile?

Personally, I think it’s because he was built like a fullback and wore #34 … there just might have been some Walter Payton fans hiding out in those Minnesota summers back then.

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1985 All-Star Game Program Inserts Kirby Puckett

1985 All-Star Game Program Inserts Kirby Puckett

So, you might have noticed that I mentioned up there (^) that Puckett made his first All-Star cut in 1986.

What the heck was he doing in the All-Star Game program in 1985, then?

Well, those foldout paper-not-really-card things included the All-Star nominees, not just the dudes who actually made the team.

And Puckett was starting to look pretty good out there in center field for the Twins, as well as playing every day, racking up the at-bats and hits, banging out triples, and stealing a few bases.

Good enough to get on the ballot, and on this poster-like doohickey. The Pucketts you find as singles were hand-cut, so your quality will vary depending on the suredness of the hand you were dealt.

Cool card, though, especially when you consider the game was played at Puckett’s hometown Metrodome.

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1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett (#438)

1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett

Now we’re getting to the goods.

I mean, nobody had that 7-11 card, and only a few kids had the Fleer Update Puckett … and there was no way in the Metrodome they were busting up their set to trade Kirby to you.

But in 1985, you could finally (right) pull a Kirby Puckett rookie card from wax packs. And this black-bordered beauty from Donruss quickly became the cream of the crop … in 1986.

Riding high on the scarce-and-revamped image of the beloved 1984 Donruss set, the ’85 issue was popular right from the get-go, and tougher to find than Fleer or Topps.

So, when Puckett broke out in 1986, it felt like you hit the lottery if you were able to go back to your commons stack (you didn’t have enough for a “bin”) of 1985 Donruss and pull a Puck rook.

All these years later, it’s still a great card, displaying awesome colors and a young Puckett with his best seasons ahead of him.

Even if he does look slightly suspicious of your intentions.

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1985 Fleer Kirby Puckett (#286)

1985 Fleer Kirby Puckett

Puckett doesn’t look all that happy on his 1985 Fleer RC, either. Certainly not the jovial dude we’d all come to know and love a few years later.

He’s not really dubious, like on the Donruss card … more a deer-in-headlights expression. Maybe he was having visions of facing Randy Johnson somewhere down the line.

Anyway, this one generally slotted between the more common Topps and the less common Donruss back in the day (as the kids say), but those value differences have attenuated to a large degree here in this modern, sophisticated world of ours.

Whatever, you still have to have 1985 Fleer if you want to get *all* the Kirby rookies.

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1985 Fleer Star Stickers Kirby Puckett (#122)

1985 Fleer Star Stickers Kirby Puckett

In 1981, Fleer treated collectors to a set of Star Stickers that were card sized, had card backs complete with statistics, looked better than the base Fleer set … and yet were stickers.

In 1986, they offered up the same sort of eye candy.

In between?

Paper stamp-sticker things in 1982 and 1983, followed by tiny Star Stickers on card stock in 1984 … and 1985.

That’s where Puckett comes in, with a sticker as diminutive as the superstar himself and a patriotic color scheme that Fleer would revive with their base set in 1988.

No great shakes, but another Puckett card (thing).

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1985 Leaf Kirby Puckett (#107)

1985 Leaf Kirby Puckett

Just like the Donruss card above, except with a nifty little Leaf leaf on the card front and French words on the back.

The Donruss equivalent of O-Pee-Chee, Leaf was a 264-card parallel of a sub-selection of the “main” set, this one intended for the Canadian market.

In addition to the nearly identical carryovers from the American version, the Leaf set also offered up two Canadian Greats painting cards, of Tim Raines and Dave Stieb.

For his part, Puck looks as suspicious as ever on his Leaf RC, maybe because he knows about the smaller print run and the trouble he’ll have finding his own rookie.

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1985 Minnesota Twins Postcards Kirby Puckett

1985 Minnesota Twins Postcards Kirby  Puckett

This team-issued set featured 33 Twins players, each in full-color, oversized postcard glory.

Now, with All-Star Game logo!

Besides Puckett, this set includes the likes of Tom Brunansky, Frank Viola, Ron Washington, Tom Kelly, and even Tony Oliva.

And it finishes up at #33 with the always uncomfortable question of “Rich Yett?”.

As for Kirby, he looks good in Twins white, posed batting in front of some empty stadium seats.

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1985 Minnesota Twins Team Issue Kirby Puckett (#24)

1985 Minnesota Twins Team Issue Kirby Puckett

Another team issue, this one is the “standard” baseball card size (2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″) rather than postcard size.

Like the postcards, though, this issue features really nice photography and and the 1985 All-Star Game logo. It also adds on a little cartoon jersey with the player’s number in the lower right corner of card fronts.

Young Kirby is shown kneeling with a bat, still not smiling, still a bit in the headlights.

Great looking card all around, though.

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1985 O-Pee-Chee Kirby Puckett (#10)

1985 O-Pee-Chee Kirby Puckett

This looks like the iconic Topps Puckett rookie card you’re used to — young Kirby dug in at the plate, mouth hanging open, intense focus on the pitcher.

Waiting to pounce. Waiting to become a legend.

And then you notice the honking yellow box in the upper lefthand corner, and the text inside — “O-Pee-Chee.”

You might also notice the creamier, nicer card stock, too, and surely the French words here and there on the card back.

And the different card number.

It’s then you realize you’re looking at the Canadian version of Puck’s Topps rookie card, and you remember yet another reason why you love the hobby and the cards that came from the 1980s.

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1985 Topps Kirby Puckett (#536)

1985 Topps Kirby Puckett

This may be the most classic of all Kirby Puckett rookie cards, depending on your memories and preferences.

It definitely seemed to be the easiest to come by once we started digging through those back stacks after Puckett ascended to superstardom, and it features the best game action of any of Puckett’s RCs from the Big 3.

And, while the value of this Topps card has lagged behind its Fleer and Donruss counterparts for most of the last few decades, you just might find that a PSA 10 copy of this beauty demands a higher price than the others these days.

Regardless, it’s a great, iconic card of a great, iconic player.

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1985 Topps Stickers (w/Garry Maddox) Kirby Puckett (#121)

1985 Topps Garry Maddox, Kirby Puckett

Want a gander at two of the most beloved center fielders of the last 50 years? Well, look no further than this 1985 Topps sticker.

See, before Kirby Puckett ever laced up his professional spikes, two-thirds of the earth was covered by water, with Garry Maddox taking up the slack.

And then, when Puckett came along, he started winning Gold Gloves, too, and added all that offensive spark and Kirby exuberance that only Kirby could bring.

Puckett may not have been quite the wizard that Maddox was in CF, but both were astounding in their talents, and the combo make this one of the more underrated items on our list.

And, as a bonus, you can find an OPC version that is virtually identical to this one.

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1985 Topps Stickers Kirby Puckett (#376)

1985 Topps Stickers Kirby  Puckett

This sticker from the same set as the Kirby/Garry entry above features Puckett alone, which means the image is almost big enough to actually be able to discern who it is.

Just kidding … mostly. While those two-player stickers are pretty tiny, the photography is generally crisp, bright, and clear.

In any case, this Puck rookie sticker shows the youngster wrapped in red, white, and blue All-Star borders.

How festive!

(And, like with the two-man entry above, there is an OPC version — bonus!).

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