Grand Papis: 10 Awesome David Ortiz Cards

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1997 Donruss Signature Series Autographs David Ortiz

By Ryan Cracknell | Hobby Editor

The Hall of Fame has yet to enshrine someone who spent the majority of their career as a designated hitter. David Ortiz is making a case for himself that’s tough to overlook, even after getting implicated for PEDs. Not only are his career numbers strong, but he’s been a leader on multiple championship Red Sox teams.

While certainly one of the more popular players in the hobby, he’s still a step below the top-tier stars. Room for growth might be tough at this point. However, becoming a part of the 500 Home Run Club definitely helps cement his legacy with collectors. Induction into Cooperstown is really all that’s left for the slugger during what’s likely the twilight of his career.

With that in mind, we’ve selected 10 key cards from David Ortiz’s career.

Top 10 David Ortiz Cards Worthy of Your Attention

1996 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Midwest League All-Stars Best David Ortiz

What’s more shocking — that fact that David Arias Ortiz looks so young or that there’s a card of him fielding? One of Ortiz’s first major cards is somewhat ironic. It’s also not very easy to find. Like many minor league cards, it falls under the category of overlooked gems. Ortiz also has a tough 1996 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Best card as well.

1996 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Best David Ortiz

1997 Donruss Signature Series Autograph David Ortiz /3900

This card carries quite a bit of significance. Most will go right to the signature as it’s the slugger’s first signed card. It’s also the first card to have ‘David Ortiz’ instead of ‘David Arias.’ The base version (red background) of the insert has 3,900 copies while the Millennium parallel (green background) has 1,000 copies. If you’re looking for the most valuable David Ortiz cards, the 1997 Donruss Signature Series Century Autograph (blue background) will be near the top of almost any list. It’s numbered to 100, which made it a rare find, even back then. The one knock on this card, in all of its versions, is that Ortiz failed to sign in the designated area. All appear to be towards the side of the card instead of at the bottom.

1997 Donruss Signature Series Autographs David Ortiz

1997 Flair Showcase Wave of the Future David Ortiz

Here’s an early David Ortiz card that looks cool but doesn’t cost a lot. As an insert, it doesn’t get the rookie card tag. However, the embossed design has a certain charm to it, particularly if you’re a fan of how loud things got in the 1990s. This is the easiest insert set in the popular product, landing 1:4 packs. This means there are still plenty available.

1997 Flair Showcase Wave of the Future David Ortiz

1997 Fleer David Ortiz RC

This is one of only two David Ortiz rookie cards. Found in 1997 Fleer Series 2 packs, the basic version of the card has a throwback matte finish, which makes it stand out in a glossy-heavy era. The Tiffany parallel, which brings that glossy look and feel, is extremely tough to find. As a result, it’s one of the more valuable David Ortiz cards out there.

1997 Fleer David Ortiz RC

1997 Fleer Ultra David Ortiz RC

The other David Ortiz rookie card, which is from 1997 Fleer Ultra, has a simple full-bleed look to it. From the slightly more upscale brand, it commands a bit of a premium over the regular Fleer card. One of the most interesting things that 1997 Fleer Ultra did was use different photos for the parallels so that it feels more like and entirely new card instead of just having a bit of different foil. The Gold Medallion version is the easier parallel. The 1997 Fleer Ultra Platinum Medallion David Ortiz is limited to 200 copies.

1997 Ultra David Ortiz RC

1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Crusade David Ortiz /250

Crusade is considered by many to be one of the great insert sets of the 1990s. It was memorable enough to inspire Leaf’s Valiant line almost 15 years later and for Panini to bring it back not long after that. While the regal look of the cross-brand insert set stands out, it’s the rarity of the cards that push it over the top. The Ortiz, which is found in 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars, comes in three colors. Green is the most plentiful, numbered to 250. Parallels are Purple (/100) and Red (/25).

1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Crusade Green David Ortiz

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Autographs David Ortiz

Collectors have no shortage of David Ortiz autograph cards to choose from. He hasn’t signed as much as a lot of other players, but there are still a lot of options out there. So what makes his card in 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter stand out? The big thing is the brand. Allen & Ginter is one of the most popular lines for signed cards. The framed look is also synonymous with Allen & Ginter. With a print run of 49 copies, there’s demand from player, team and set collectors. Already short in supply, it’s likely that most of the copies have long since found their way into personal collections.

2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Autographs David Ortiz

2013 Topps David Ortiz Variation #595

The greatest cards are the ones that have some sort of story connected to them. The variation version of Ortiz’s 2013 Topps card comes from one of the most emotional moments of the season. Ortiz took to the field following the Boston Marathon bombing and made an impassioned speech. And while it included some colorful words, it came from the heart and embodied the city’s resolve. Of all the variations in 2013 Topps Baseball, this is easily one of the most popular and is something of a rarity on the secondary market today.

2013 Topps David Ortiz Variation 595

2013 Topps Triple Threads Autograph Relic Combos Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Nomar Garciaparra

Pairing up autographs and relics from Ortiz, a Hall of Famer and a Red Sox fan favorite. While Garciaparra wasn’t with the team when they broke Boston’s World Series drought, the three teammates were big parts in the franchise’s return to excellence. The base version of the card is numbered to 36 with a handful of additional low-numbered parallels.

2013 Topps Triple Threads Auto Relic David Ortiz Pedro Martinez Nomar Garciaparra

2014 Topps World Champion Autographs David Ortiz

David Ortiz was a huge factor in Boston’s 2013 World Series win over the St. Louis Cardinals. During the six-game series, he hit .688 with a pair of home runs and six runs batted in en route to being named the World Series MVP. This came after some dramatics in both the American League Divisional Series and ALCS. This card is part of the popular World Series autographs and relics line that has become a regular part of Series 1 for the flagship Topps Baseball release. Numbered to 50, it’s tough to find given the product’s print run.

2014 Topps World Series Champion Autographs David Ortiz

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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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  1. Trey 14 September, 2015 at 23:28

    It would be nice if Topps copied 1997 Fleer Ultra’s concept of using multiple photos on their parallels. The use of different border colors for all their different parallels in their current product is getting tired.

  2. Doc 15 September, 2015 at 09:21

    Ryan, did you bother reading the article you linked to?

    “Ortiz is a cheater in the eyes of many. They care little that he has not failed a test since Major League Baseball officially launched a drug screening program in 2004. He remains hostage to the taint of ’03, before there were rules to enforce.”

    You going to stick with “busted for PEDs”?

    • Ryan Cracknell 15 September, 2015 at 10:00

      Fair enough. Busted may be on the strong side, but definitely implicated. Fair or not, it’s those implications that have kept several out of the HOF thus far — even when it has been whispers quieter than those connected to Ortiz.

  3. willie 16 September, 2015 at 20:55

    Wierd, I thought there would be more cards more valuable then some of these.

    Ummm, so I guess these the the only good ones from when he was with the Twins era

    Also yea the “tainted” legacy of Ortiz should not go sight unseen, he did break the code of baseball by using PEDS, even if he hasnt used it since 03′ 04 season he still used them.

  4. Shaun Thompson 9 August, 2016 at 13:44

    David ortiz is the real deal and not a lying weasel like Braun or Rodriguez stop hating on papi

  5. Ken Wood 25 January, 2017 at 13:35

    As is the case with several others he never was suspended by MLB. He was “suspected” of using. However, unlike the admited users his production remained high even at an age when others all off drastically! Doesn’t it make you wonder? I’ll give him the benefit of doubt unless someone has proof of him being a user!

  6. Mike Zito 13 September, 2017 at 14:01

    What never ceases to amaze me about the supposed failed drug test, is that it happened in 2003 – and it seems that most people forget that Ortiz didn’t really reach his best years until 2004. So, if he was a cheater, why did he get better AFTER he stopped using the drugs and passed dozens more tests? Some people just don’t think before they open their mouth.

  7. BradytheK9 18 April, 2022 at 16:52

    Sounds like its the same little group that runs around during NFL season chanting “Tom Brady is a cheater” or they cant stand Bellichick, Patriots are cheaters, etc”. But as a fan of all 3 (TB12, Belichick and Pats) we know all the hate its understandable after their teams been destroyed by New England sports domination for so many years its caused unimaginable pain and suffering to the fan bases in certain places. Lol

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