Most baseball card fans know about the 1989 Upper Deck #1 Ken Griffey Jr rookie card and his other major release rookie cards (Bowman, Donruss, and Fleer). But folks who aren’t die-hard Griffey Jr. fans may not be aware that there are quite a few minor league and promotional cards released up to two years before his incredibly popular rookie cards came out. Here are 14 such cards collectors may find interesting.
1989 Bellingham Team Issue Ken Griffey Jr. #15 and Team Card #33
Griffey Jr. was drafted first overall in the MLB amateur draft on June 2, 1987. Shortly after that, he joined the Bellingham Mariners for a 54-game Class A minor league season. Griffey dominated, hitting .313 with 14 home runs, 40 runs batted in, and 13 stolen bases. The team issued a set, and one card featured Griffey individually, but he also made an appearance on the team card.
1988 Best #1 Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit
1988 Best Platinum #1 Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirt
1988 Cal Cards #34 Ken Griffey Jr. San Bernardino Spirit
1988 Cal League #26 Ken Griffey Jr. All-Stars
In 1988 Griffey played with the San Bernardino Spirit in the Class A-Advanced California league for 58 games. Again, he was a beast, with a .338 batting average, 11 home runs, 42 runs batted in, and 32 stolen bases.
1988 Procards Ken Griffey Jr. Vermont Mariners
Griffey was promoted to Class AA to play with the Vermont Mariners later in 1988, where he played 17 games and hit .279 with 2 home runs and 10 runs batted in.
1988 Star Promos Ken Griffey Jr. Blank Back Blue/White Borders
1988 Star Promos Ken Griffey Jr. Blank Back Yellow Borders
The Standard Catalog of Baseball cards describes the 1988-89 Star Promos set as a lengthy series of 11-card sets issued by Star in 1988-89 in the company’s new format and included one promo card for nearly every player’s set. The promos are blank-backed but otherwise similar in design to the regular cards.
1988-92 Star Ad Cards Ken Griffey Jr. Purple
Star distributed the Ad cards to give dealers and hobbyists information about their upcoming baseball issues. The purple Ken Griffey Jr. issue came out in 1989, and there is a green issue that was a 1990 release.
1988-89 Star Nova Edition Ken Griffey Jr. Promo
1988-89 Star Nova Edition #119 Ken Griffey Jr. Career Info
The 1988-89 Star Nova Edition set was limited to only 500 sets and 40 promo cards for each player. Ken Griffey Jr. was featured on cards 118-126 in the release.
1988 Star Ken Griffey Jr. Silver Edition – Promo
1988 Star #3 Ken Griffey Jr. Silver Series
Star only included 10 players, and they only printed 2000 serial numbered sets of their 1988-89 Star Silver Edition cards to go along with 400 promo cards for each player. Ken Griffey Jr. is featured on cards 1-9 in the release.
If you collect Ken Griffey Jr. cards, let me know if you consider these “master set” cards “must-haves” over on Twitter or in the comments; happy collecting!