Barry Larkin’s baseball card basics

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Barry Larkin will be the only living player taking the stage to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown, N.Y., where he’ll revisit the memories of a career, the memories of a lifetime dedicated to the sport that he made his profession.

You can do that, too, though his baseball cards.

Here are the basics on the baseball cards of the former Cincinnati Reds shortstop, as found in the (Need a Larkin-only checklist or OPG? Click here.) database. First, his cardboard statistics:

Total cards: 3,505     Teams: USA Baseball, Cincinnati Reds
Total value: $23,541.99*     Memorabilia cards: 552
Rookie Cards: 3     Autograph cards: 396
Serial-numbered cards: 1,575     (* not including cards too rare to price)

Get Olds’ picks for a few notable cards to track down … after the jump.


Rookie Card to Get: 1987 Donruss #492, $4. Sure, the 1987 Fleer card is twice as valuable — and people love those blue borders — but there’s something about the Donruss card that’s just more interesting. Maybe it’s the old silk-style coat or maybe it’s the criss-cross taped pattern on his bat. Aw, who are we kidding … Larkin’s RCs are so cheap you can afford to get them all, not just this one. (A copy of this one in high grade is a bit more impressive than the others, though.)

Autograph Card to Get: 1997 Donruss Signature Autographs Millennium #79 /1,000, $50. Today, players have certified autographs sometimes years before they make the majors — if they even make it to The Show at all. In Larkin’s case. he’d been on cardboard for a decade before signing his first certifieds. While this card may seem plentiful based on its print run, it’s not as easy to find as you might think. A lot of these cards have been tucked away through the years. This was his first — and he hasn’t signed a lot of cards since compared to other stars of the era.

Memorabilia Card to Get: 2010 Panini Century Blast from the Past Jerseys #7 /99, $10. We know what you’re thinking (What?!?) but this card isn’t really about its value as much as it is its story. Larkin is a true Cincinnati product, a 1982 graduate of the well-known Archbishop Moeller High School, which also produced Ken Griffey Jr., Buddy Bell and several other former big-leaguers. If you look closely, this Panini America card shows Larkin in his Moeller uniform while showcasing a swatch from a game-used Reds jersey. There simply aren’t that many cards out there that do that (other than those from this product) … and the design is pretty striking, too.

Oddball Card to Get: 1986 Sportflics Rookies #34, $5. While prospects will have cards for years before making their debuts, Larkin actually doesn’t appear on a single minor-league card in the database. That makes this 1986 Sportflics card (from a boxed set, so not an RC), the closest thing to a pre-rookie or prospect card. In case you don’t remember them, these cards are printed on lenticular plastic so you can see a couple of photos of the player on the card’s front.

What are your picks for memorable Larkin cards? Tell us below — we may run a selection of answers in the next issue of Beckett Baseball.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

When you click on links to various merchants on this site, like eBay, and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission.

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  1. Nick Tegeler 21 July, 2012 at 22:30

    There are a ton of players in the mass production years of cards that are affordable for that reason. Just think what some of these cards would be worth if they were as rare as the cards from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.

  2. JasonP 22 July, 2012 at 10:05

    I was surprised to see that Barry Larkin has no minor league cards! He spent 1985 in Vermont and 1986 in Denver, but neither team had sets issued in those years.

  3. ned waitt 25 July, 2012 at 10:41

    It is a shame he is a hall of fame players and his cards are worth zilch but yet there are many players not in the hall of fame or cheated with steroids and their cards are worth more. It does not matter to me Barry Larkin was a symbol of a humble player that enjoyed the game and played his best everyday. I collected his cards as a kid and have most of his early cards. I am not concerned with their value to my collection they are priceless.

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