When Randy Johnson rookie cards made their debut in 1989, the hobby heaved a collective and moderate sigh, then went about our business.

Oh, Johnson was interesting, to be sure. Towering over the field at 6’10”, the Montreal Expos lefthander had spent four summers in the minor leagues terrifying hitters with his blazing fastball and “control” that had seen him walk more than seven batters per nine innings in three of those seasons.

And, considering he was already more than six months past his 25th birthday by the time the 1989 season began, Johnson’s “prospect” days were pretty much behind him.

After a late-season call-up in 1988, though, Johnson opened the new campaign with the big league Expos, making six starts and one relief appearance through the first week of May.

That stint didn’t pan out so well, though, and Johnson was sent packing to Triple-A Indianapolis with an 0-4 record and 6.67 ERA.

Whatever hopes collectors might have had for Johnson’s rookie cards dimmed as those RCs slid ever closer to the commons bin.

But then, on May 25, before he ever came back to Montreal, the Expos traded Johnson, along with Gene Harris and Brian Holman, to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Mark Langston and (later) Mike Campbell.

The Mariners gave Johnson a start against the New York Yankees on May 30, and he struck out six in six innings at Yankee Stadium to notch his first victory of the season.

Seattle manager Jim Lefebvre left Johnson in the rotation the rest of the summer, and the lefty struck out 104 batters in 131 innings, crafting a 7-9, 4.40 ERA line with the M’s.

Things were looking up, even if just a bit, and the next few seasons saw Johnson establish himself as a legitimate major league starter, albeit one who led the bigs in walks allowed every year from 1990 through 1992.

Then, a late-season confab with the legendary Nolan Ryan in 1992 brought delivery and mindset adjustments that changed the game for Johnson … and for the rest of baseball.

He struck out 18 batters in a game before the end of that 1992 campaign, then uncorked for an 19-win, 308-strikeout performance in 1993.

That was good enough for a third-place finish in the American League Cy Young Award balloting, and Johnson started to look like he just might live up to the nickname that Expos great Tim Raines had hung on him back in 1988 — “The Big Unit.”

Collectors started to take notice, too, and we started pulling his 1989 rookie cards into the hobby limelight, fitting companions to the already-blistering RCs of Seattle teammate Ken Griffey Jr.

Indeed, the Big Unit didn’t let off the gas for another 17 summers, finishing his career with 4875 strikeouts (second all-time to Ryan), nine K crowns, five Cy Young Awards, a World Series title, 10 All-Star berths, 303 victories, and on and on and on.

It was no surprise that Johnson sailed into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 2015.

And it’s also no surprise that Johnson’s rookie cards became Cooperstown-worthy in their own right along the way, and that they still loom as hobby superstars today.

As active, vivid proof of that, here are the hottest, most watched Randy Johnson rookie cards on eBay right now. This list is updated every few minutes, too, so check back often!

Also: Check out the rest of our series listing the Hottest Baseball Cards on eBay.

(NOTE: The section below contains affiliate links to eBay listings for the card shown.)

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1989 Upper Deck Premium Edition Factory Sealed Complete Set 1-800 Griffey RC

Watchers: 39  
# of Bids: 34
Current Bid: $77
Auction Ends: 21-Apr-2024 23:04
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1989 Topps Tiffany #647 Randy Johnson Expos RC Rookie HOF PSA 10 GEM MINT

Watchers: 34  
# of Bids: 20
Current Bid: $456
Auction Ends: 26-Apr-2024 03:04
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1990 Topps Baseball CELLO Box! Frank Thomas, etc Super Clean & Factory SEALED!

Watchers: 27  
# of Bids: 11
Current Bid: $22.5
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 01:04
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1990 Topps Baseball Hobby Box! Frank Thomas, etc Super Clean NO RESERVE!

Watchers: 26  
# of Bids: 13
Current Bid: $27
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 01:04
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Corbin Carroll 2023 Bowmans Best Randy Johnson 92’ RC Auto SP 43/250

Watchers: 24  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $26
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 03:04
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1989 Fleer Baseball BOX 24 Cello Packs Biggio Randy Ken Griffey RC Ripken FF 🔥

Watchers: 23  
# of Bids: 13
Current Bid: $60
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 00:04
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1991 Upper Deck Baseball Hobby Box FACTORY SEALED SP Jordan FIND THE NOLAN AUTO!

Watchers: 23  
# of Bids: 10
Current Bid: $41
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 01:04
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RANDY JOHNSON 1989 Upper Deck Baseball Rookie Card RC #25 Graded PSA 10 GEM MINT

Watchers: 21  
# of Bids: 12
Current Bid: $86
Auction Ends: 21-Apr-2024 16:04
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2022 Topps Finest Baseball Factory Sealed Hobby Box 12 Packs 2 Autographs!

Watchers: 20  
# of Bids: 13
Current Bid: $112.5
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 03:04
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1989 UPPER DECK BASEBALL Wax Box Low Series 36 Packs 🔥 Ken Griffey Jr RC

Watchers: 19  
# of Bids: 10
Current Bid: $146.5
Auction Ends: 27-Apr-2024 22:04
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1990 Leaf Series 1 Unopened Wax Box Factory Sealed! Nolan Ryan, Look for SOSA RC

Watchers: 19  
# of Bids: 19
Current Bid: $37
Auction Ends: 25-Apr-2024 01:04
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1989 Fleer Randy Johnson Marlboro Ad Scoreboard #381 Rookie Card Error NM Mint

Watchers: 19  
# of Bids: 3
Current Bid: $27
Auction Ends: 23-Apr-2024 23:04
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1988 Topps Baseball Hobby Box! Tom Glavine, etc Super Clean NO RESERVE!

Watchers: 18  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $10.39
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 01:04
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Randy Johnson 1989 Fleer Rookie RC Obscured Marlboro Ad #381 PSA 10 GEM MT

Watchers: 17  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $53
Auction Ends: 24-Apr-2024 23:04
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1989 Fleer Baseball Hobby Box! Ken Griffey Jr. Randy Johnson Ripken NO RESERVE!

Watchers: 17  
# of Bids: 10
Current Bid: $47.69
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 01:04
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1989 Fleer Randy Johnson Rookie HOF RC Marlboro Ad On Scoreboard #381 NM-MT++

Watchers: 17  
# of Bids: 3
Current Bid: $3.26
Auction Ends: 24-Apr-2024 17:04
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TOPPS CHROME 2023 Baseball Jumbo HTA Trading Card Box, WORN BOX

Watchers: 16  
# of Bids: 6
Current Bid: $122.5
Auction Ends: 24-Apr-2024 12:04
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1989 Topps MBA GOLD Randy Johnson Rookie PSA 10 #647 GEM MT

Watchers: 15  
# of Bids: 13
Current Bid: $41.99
Auction Ends: 27-Apr-2024 01:04
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1991 Topps Stadium Club Wax Box, Series 1 Look for Nolan Ryan in a Tux Card etc

Watchers: 14  
# of Bids: 4
Current Bid: $2.84
Auction Ends: 25-Apr-2024 01:04
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1989 Upper Deck Star Rookie #25 Randy Johnson Expos RC HOF PSA 10 GEM MINT

Watchers: 14  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $22.5
Auction Ends: 26-Apr-2024 03:04
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1991 Topps Baseball Hobby Box Chipper Jones, etc 36 Sealed Packs NO RESERVE!

Watchers: 13  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $7.5
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 01:04
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1989 Upper Deck Star Rookie #25 Randy Johnson Expos RC HOF PSA 10 GEM MINT

Watchers: 13  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $23.5
Auction Ends: 26-Apr-2024 03:04
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Shohei Ohtani, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens (15 Star Rookies Lot)

Watchers: 12  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $40
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 00:04
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1989 UPPER DECK RANDY JOHNSON ROOKIE CARD #25 PSA 10 GEM MINT

Watchers: 12  
# of Bids: 7
Current Bid: $16.5
Auction Ends: 27-Apr-2024 03:04
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1989 Donruss Baseball Card Wax Box 36 sealed packs Ken Griffey Jr. Randy Johnson

Watchers: 12  
# of Bids: 6
Current Bid: $15.5
Auction Ends: 22-Apr-2024 23:04
See full listing on eBay (affiliate link)