Kirby Puckett Rookie Card Guide and Other Early Releases

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If you have a Kirby Puckett Rookie Card, you’ve got one of the most iconic baseball cards of the 1980s. Whether it’s from one of the big three in Donruss, Fleer or Topps, or you look north of the border to a couple of Canadian releases, each has its own draw. The big one is the fact that it’s from one of the most beloved players of the era, not to mention one of its greatest hitters.

But once you get beyond the RCs, there are several other interesting and cool early Kirby Puckett cards as well. From regional and team releases to quirky things like stickers, the Hall of Famer has plenty of things to chase between 1983 and 1985.

Here’s a full breakdown of every Kirby Puckett Rookie Card as well as his minor league cards and other rookie-related releases.

Kirby Puckett Rookie Card Guide and Other Notable Early Cards

1983 Visalia Oaks Fritsch Kirby Puckett #6

Like a lot of players, Kirby Puckett’s first baseball card is a minor league card. It’s also his only minor league card. Highlighting his stint in Single-A, the 1983 Visalia Oaks Fritsch Kirby Puckett is part of a 25-card team set. Although not scarce, it is relatively tough to find. Not a lot have been graded, either. While prices on the card are strong, it could be argued that it still falls into the overlooked realm.

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1983 Visalia Oaks Fritsch Kirby Puckett

1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett XRC #93

The 1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett is one of the undisputed kings of 1980s baseball cards. Not only is it his first MLB card, it’s his only one from 1984 so there really isn’t anything to compete with. It’s also part of the coveted 1984 Fleer Update Baseball set. The company’s first foray into the “traded” box set realm also has the first MLB card of Roger Clemens. Factor in a relatively limited print run (for the time) and you’ve got a classic set as well. It’s a bit of a “chicken and egg” scenario as part of 1984 Fleer Update’s popularity is Puckett’s inclusion.

So why an XRC and not an RC tag? For much of the 1980s, traded sets were limited in their distribution and only available through select hobby channels. They weren’t quite mainstream enough for full Rookie Card status. In today’s market, many may see this differently. No matter the label, Rookie Card or XRC, this is Puckett’s most important card.

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1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett XRC

1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett Rookie Card #438

Classy and understated — that’s one way to sum up Puckett’s 1985 Donruss RC. The big factor with this card is the black borders. For those looking for a copy that’s in top condition, finding one that’s well centered on all sides and doesn’t have any significant dings or nicks can be tricky.

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1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett Rookie Card

1985 Fleer Kirby Puckett Rookie Card #286

There’s just something about those baby blue Twins jerseys. It probably shouldn’t be a focal point on a Hall of Fame RC, but it (and the matching border) adds a lot of pop. Of Puckett’s three most prominent Rookie Cards — this one, Donruss and Topps — none holds a major advantage or price difference.

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1985 Fleer Kirby Puckett Rookie Card

1985 Fleer Star Stickers Kirby Puckett #122

Stickers might not get the same attention as mainstream baseball cards, which is a shame. Sets like 1985 Fleer Star Stickers were a gateway for many into broader collecting. But not getting a lot of attention means reasonable prices as well, so it’s not all bad for those looking to build a Kirby Puckett collection. This particular sticker is smaller than a traditional baseball card, measuring 1 15/16″ by 2 1/2″.

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1985 Leaf/Donruss Kirby Puckett Rookie Card #107

You can think of the 1985 Leaf/Donruss Kirby Puckett Rookie Card as Donruss’ O-Pee-Chee. Produced for the Canadian market, it’s virtually identical to the Donruss card except for the tweaked logo on the front and bilingual text on the back.

However, because it’s made for Canada, there isn’t the same quantity out there, both raw and graded. Yet, it doesn’t carry much of a premium, if any. For that reason alone, some might consider this overlooked.

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1985 Leaf Kirby Puckett

1985 O-Pee-Chee Kirby Puckett Rookie Card #10

Sticking in Canada, Puckett’s OPC RC looks very similar to its Topps counterpart. There are a few differences though. On the front, it’s the logo. The back of the O-Pee-Chee card has lighter card stock and bilingual English/French text.

Already printed in smaller quantities than Topps, finding one with good centering and sharp edges all around.

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1985 O-Pee-Chee Kirby Puckett RC

1985 O-Pee-Chee Stickers Kirby Puckett #307

Puckett’s pair of 1985 O-Pee-Chee album stickers are some of his toughest early releases to find. The first is a mini that Puckett shares with Garry Maddox. The sticker itself is the same as the Topps version. The backs for these mention O-Pee-Chee, though.

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1985 O-Pee-Chee Stickers Kirby Puckett #376

If you’re going to rank the two 1985 OPC stickers Puckett has, this is probably going to be the more appealing one for most. With Kirby going solo, it’s bigger. There’s also the added star elements that give it a little more life.

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1985 Topps Kirby Puckett Rookie Card #536

Of the Kirby Puckett Rookie Cards, this might be the most iconic. Does it stand out that much from Fleer or Donruss? On its own, not necessarily. But between Topps’ history and the fact that it’s one of their most popular sets of the decade, it gives it an edge.

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1985 Topps Kirby Puckett

1985 Topps Stickers Kirby Puckett #307

Virtually identical to it’s O-Pee-Chee counterpart, the difference can be found on the back (it says “Topps”). The actual sticker is exactly the same.

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1985 Topps Stickers Kirby Puckett #376

It’s the same situation as above. While not apparent on the stickers themselves, collectors should have an easier time finding Topps versions of both versus the O-Pee-Chee stickers, which were distributed in Canada.

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1985 Topps Tiffany Kirby Puckett #536

The 1985 Topps Tiffany Kirby Puckett is basically a premium version of his Topps card. Released as part of a special factory set, it was never in any packs. It’s also a lot more rare with a print run that’s believed to be 5,000 copies. For 1985 standards, that’s a minuscule amount.

As for telling the Tiffany version from the regular one, there are a couple of ways. The main one is that Tiffany cards are glossy. But that doesn’t help a lot if you don’t have both next to each other. Many today have at least a little bit of yellowing, but the amount can vary. Backs make it a little easier from a visual standpoint. Tiffany backs have bright card stock versus the dark green of regular 1985 Topps cards.

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1985 Topps Tiffany Kirby Puckett

1985 Twins 7-Eleven Kirby Puckett #1

Puckett is part of a regional set that was available locally at the convenience store chain. Done as a partnership with the Fire Marshall’s Association, the back also has some fire safety tips. A reported 20,000 team sets were produced. It’s not exactly a scarce card, but it’s not overly plentiful on the secondary market, either.

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1985 Twins 7-Eleven Kirby Puckett

1985 Twins Postcards Kirby Puckett

Puckett is one of 33 Minnesota Twins to have a team-issued postcard. He’s also the biggest name. The posed batting stance photo not only offers one of the clearest looks at Puckett from his early issues, but it’s also a nice tribute to the Twins’ uniforms.

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1985 Twins Postcards Kirby Puckett

1985 Twins Team Issue Kirby Puckett #24

Another team set put out by Minnesota, this is a traditionally sized baseball card. Like Puckett’s postcard, there’s the 1985 All-Star Game logo as it was the Metrodome. This is one of the toughest early Kirby Puckett cards to find.

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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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