Eric Davis Rookie Card, Minor League and Other Early Cards Guide

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Once upon a time, if you had an Eric Davis Rookie Card, you were in the power position of any potential deal. In the mid- to late-1980s, few players were more exciting to watch than the Reds outfielder. Possessing both power and speed, Davis was a major threat at the plate and on the base paths.

Jose Canseco became baseball’s biggest star in 1988 after becoming the sport’s first 40/40 Club member. But Davis almost beat him a year earlier, hitting 37 home runs and swiping 50 bases.

Like Canseco and many other players, injuries eventually cut Davis’ production and ate away at his career numbers. Despite many setbacks, including colon cancer, Davis didn’t retire until 2001 finishing with 282 homers, 982 RBI and 349 stolen bases.

Eric Davis cards aren’t nearly as popular as they once were, but he’s still one of the most famous players from a time when the hobby came into its own. Landing all of his Rookie Cards is easy and affordable. But if you look outside of the usual mainstream subjects, there are some tough early Eric Davis cards that could keep you hunting for a while.

Eric Davis Rookie Card Guide

1985 Donruss Eric Davis Rookie Card #325

The 1985 Donruss Eric Davis is his only RC to feature an action photo. It’s not the most exciting shot, but it is certainly better than what came before it and distinct from his other rookies. As far as

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1985 Donruss Eric Davis Rookie Card

1985 Fleer Eric Davis Rookie Card #533

It might not have a lot of “wow” factor, but 1985 Fleer Baseball delivers a clean first-year Eric Davis. The color-match border adds a lot of pop to the prominence of the slugger’s uniform as well. Today, there’s not a lot of value in it but the same can be said for virtually every Davis card. That’s not a knock on him. It’s more how plentiful 1985 cards are.

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1985 Fleer Eric Davis Rookie Card

1985 Topps Eric Davis Rookie Card #627

By virtue of history and the overall popularity of the set, this is the most recognizable Eric Davis Rookie Card. That said, it’s also the drabbest from a photo standpoint. The background is dark and the portrait doesn’t show much personality. Still, when a lot of collectors are looking for the RC of a player, it’s often going to be Topps. With Davis, all three can be had for the price of a pack or two of current-year cards so landing the trifecta is certainly feasible at all budgets.

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Topps Baseball Cards - 1985 Eric Davis Rookie Card

Other Key Early Eric Davis Cards

The following list of cards highlights Eric Davis minor league cards and other early releases that don’t carry the RC tag of a traditional Rookie Card.

1982 Cedar Rapids Reds TCMA Eric Davis #20

The very first Eric Davis baseball card is a train wreck — and maybe that helps make it more memorable today. If you blink in your Grade 4 photo, your mom’s going to take advantage of retakes. Today, it’s extremely unlikely a full blink is going to make it past any level of approvals. But 1982 was a different time, both in baseball cards and licensing.

Although not extremely rare, the 1982 TCMA Eric Davis is a lot harder to find than his 1985 Rookie Cards. Despite its niche status, it also carries much stronger values.

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1982 Cedar Rapids TCMA Eric Davis

1983 Waterbury Reds TCMA Eric Davis #15

Looking tough on his second-year minor league card, the dominating feature here is the black and white photo. It’s not eye blink-level bad, but it’s not exactly artistic, either. Part of a team set for the Double-A affiliate, approximately 1,600 copies were made. It’s likely there are basements in various parts of America with more copies of Davis’ three Rookie Cards.

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1984 Reds Borden’s Eric Davis #44

This regional rarity has the distinction of being the first MLB Eric Davis card. That also makes it his first Cincinnati Reds card. The full 1984 Reds Borden’s set is a small one with just eight cards. They came as a pair of four-card sheets with perforated edges. The one with Davis also has Dave Parker, Mario Soto and Ron Oester.

These don’t show up often and could be considered overlooked.

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1984 Reds Enquirer Eric Davis #26

It’d be a stretch to call this a card. Rather, it’s from a series of clippings printed in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Still, for major Davis collectors and fans, tracking one down may be of interest. Over time, different Reds players were profiled throughout the month of May with the 2 1/2″ by 4 1/4″ cut. Factor in the numbering and it’s definitely part of a set, just not necessarily baseball cards.

1984 Wichita Aeros Rock’s Dugout Eric Davis #15

The final Eric Davis minor league card came as part of the Triple-A Wichita Aeros team set. It’s another black and white photo that’s not all that inspiring. But like his other minor league cards, it’s not the easiest to find so there’s still some value to be had.

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1985 Reds Yearbook Eric Davis

This is another oddball issue that was originally issued in sheet form. In fact, the easiest route for this one may be to simply buy the actual yearbook. Just double check to make sure that the cards are still in tact. You’ll get the bonus of a gorgeous painted Pete Rose cover commemorating his pursuit of Ty Cobb’s all-time hits record.

Due to its rarity, this is one of the most valuable early Eric Davis cards.

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1985 Topps Tiffany Eric Davis #627

Think of this as an upgraded version of the 1985 Topps Eric Davis Rookie Card. Not available in packs, it was a part of a special limited edition factory set. It’s estimated that 5,000 sets of 1985 Topps Tiffany Baseball were produced.

Outside of the much smaller print run, the big difference is how the card is made. Fronts use glossy stock, making them slick to feel. Today, many have a yellow tinge as well but that’s not always the case. Backs are easier for spotting. Standard 1985 Topps Baseball cards have dark backs while Tiffany backs are bright white.

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1985 Topps Tiffany Eric Davis

A big thanks to Jason T. Carter of The Writer’s Journey for help with some of the images in this article and his expertise.

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.

Ryan Cracknell

A collector for much of his life, Ryan focuses primarily on building sets, Montreal Expos and interesting cards. He's also got one of the most comprehensive collections of John Jaha cards in existence (not that there are a lot of them). Got a question, story idea or want to get in touch? You can reach him by email and through Twitter @tradercracks.

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1 comment

  1. Debra swain 25 April, 2024 at 09:51

    I have approximately 30.000 baseball cards 2021-2024 what is the best way to sell my cards I don’t want to collect anymore way to time consuming I’m 64 years old I love my cards but I am divorcing my husband so I can use the cash, do you have any suggestions. I also have some basketball ball and football cards. Topps,
    Topps chrome Panini and all the other’s lots of rookies.if you have any suggestion please email if you can find the time THANK YOU,Debra Swain Debra Swain

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