ten hof rookies

Top 10 Rookie Cards of Players Not In Baseball Hall Of Fame

Beat the rush! These ten guys deserve a HOF nod and if/when they get in, these rookie cards will surge in value.

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Many great baseball players are still on the outside looking in when it comes to earning a Hall of Fame nod. Of course, big-time stars like Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson made mistakes in blocking any path to the hall and will never get in.

Today, a player with the right credentials can earn a HOF election via either a committee or ballot vote. Yet, baseball has changed the Hall of Fame process in the last few years.

A player only has ten years to earn election through a ballot vote (down from the previous 15 years). Another change was the committee vote process, where MLB has designated which era of players will be voted on through the committee vote each year.

The upcoming 2023 MLB Hall of Fame vote will be announced on January 24th, with some players on this list up for election.  

Let’s look at the rookie cards of ten potential Hall of Famers, whose cards look like an attractive buy right now. We’ve identified specific PSA grades that look attractive based on affordability. 

Even if they don’t get elected this year, their rookie cards are still priced right, especially based on the future chances of getting into the HOF.

1. Scott Rolen – 1995 Bowman’s Best Blue PSA 9 Rookie Card #87


Scott Rolen was a third baseman in the MLB from 1996-2012; he spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies. Rolen is best known for his defense and is rated one of the highest defensive third basemen in baseball history. A new era of baseball defined by sabermetrics and analytics has helped Rolen’s case for being a future Hall of Fame player. Rolen’s career WAR of 70.1 ranks 10th all-time for third basemen. Rolen’s most popular rookie card is his 1995 Bowman’s Best Blue rookie, PSA 9’s are valued at about $125. It is however a challenging card to find in PSA 10 (Gem-Mint) condition, with only 198 graded by PSA. A PSA 10 is worth $525. PSA 9’s are still underrated, especially with Rolen bound to be the newest member of the HOF. The PSA Future HOF RC Registry has declared Rolen’s Bowman’s Best Blue as his key rookie card.

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Rolen received just 63.2 percent of the vote on the ballot last year, but this year he appears a lock to be voted in the 2023 MLB HOF class.

2. Todd Helton – 1993 Topps Traded PSA 10 Rookie Card #19T


Todd Helton played his entire career at 1B with the Colorado Rockies from 1997 to 2013. He has an impressive career average of .316 with 369 home runs and 2,519 hits. According to @NotMrTibbs MLB HOF tracker on Twitter, roughly 50 percent of the ballots are now known, and Helton is currently above the 75 percent threshold. Helton received just 52 percent of the vote last year, but his percentage is tracking in the right direction this year. Helton could be elected to Cooperstown this year. Helton’s numbers indicate he’s a future HOF. However, some voters have yet to vote for him in previous years because they believe he was a product of Coors Field.This year, some voters have evaluated Helton’s value, especially his rank at 15th on the First Base JAWS leaderboard on Baseball Reference with a rating of 61.8. Helton’s most popular rookie card is his 1993 Topps Traded RC; graded PSA 10’s have seen a big increase in value within the last month due to his tracked ballot percentage showing a huge increase. Helton’s PSA 10 rookie has jumped from $125 to $225 at recent eBay auctions within the last month.

The PSA Future HOF RC Registry also declared Helton’s Topps Traded Rookie as his registry card. Helton has a very good chance of getting inducted into the 2023 MLB HOF class and thus his rookie cards look like an attractive buy.

3. Adrian Beltre – 1997 Bowman Chrome PSA 9 Rookie Card #182


Adrian Beltre played third base in the MLB from 1998-2018. Beltre was a Texas Rangers fan favorite who achieved 3,166 career hits and 477 home runs. He was an excellent fielder, winning five Gold Gloves and two Platinum Glove awards. Beltre is a first-year eligible player for the MLB Hall of Fame in 2024. Many baseball experts believe Beltre is a lock to be inducted in his year of eligibility next year. His most popular rookie card is his 1997 Bowman Chrome Rookie; PSA 9 examples are valued between $65-90 at recent eBay auctions. There is a big jump in a PSA 10 example, valued between $300 to $350. Investing in Beltre in a PSA 9 example is a great buy. A year from now, these should see a nice increase in value and are already beginning to trend up, with Beltre’s name appearing on the radar for next year’s HOF ballot.

4. Dick “Richie” Allen – 1964 Topps Rookie Stars PSA 6 #243


Dick Allen played from 1963-1977; his number 15 was most recently retired by the Philadelphia Phillies. Allen had a great career with 351 home runs and 1,848 hits while batting 292. He won the AL MVP award in 1972. Some might be surprised that Allen isn’t in the Hall yet, although Allen wasn’t exactly a fan favorite. Allen’s most popular card is his 1964 Topps rookie card. This card is tough to find in high-grade examples. During the Fall of 2021, there was a big anticipation that Dick Allen would get elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame via the committee vote in 2022.

Dick Allen’s rookie card was trending up in value for months with hopes of him getting into the Hall. Allen came up just one vote short and was not elected. The new committee vote states that it won’t be for nearly another five years before Allen has another shot to be voted into the Hall of Fame. His PSA 6 Rookie is valued at $120 to $185.

In my opinion, now is a good time to buy Dick Allen’s rookie card with a long-term approach that he gets elected in the baseball HOF through the committee vote in the coming years.

5. Lou Whitaker – 1978 Topps Rookie 2nd Basemen PSA 8 #704


Lou Whitaker played second base for the Detroit Tigers for his entire career from 1977-1995. Whitaker also was a part of the Tiger’s 1984 World Series team.

His double-play partner and teammate Alan Trammell was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame through the committee vote just a few years ago.

Whitaker ranks as one of the best second basemen not in the Hall of Fame yet, but it’s only a matter of time before he gets elected through the committee vote.

The PSA Future Hall of Fame Rookie Card Registry has already designated his 1978 Topps rookie on the list.

Depending on the centering, a PSA 8 example is worth about $70. Whitaker is bound for the HOF in the next couple of years and thus I think his rookie card remains a solid investment

6. Thurman Munson – 1970 Topps PSA 8 Rookie Card #189


Thurman Munson was the New York Yankees captain and played catcher from 1969-1979. Munson tragically passed away in a plane crash at the age of 32. His career was still great, winning an MVP, two World Series, ROY, and three Gold Gloves. Munson today remains one of the most popular Yankees in franchise history. 

As a result, PSA 8 copies of his 1970 Topps Rookie card have trended way up in value in the last couple of years. Munson’s PSA 8 rookie sells for about $825. A high-grade Munson rookie is becoming very difficult to find.

According to Baseball Reference, Munson ranks as the 13th-best catcher of all time with a 46.1 rating, which ranks higher than Buster Posey. Munson should, without a doubt, be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame within five years or even sooner.

7. Don Mattingly – 1984 Topps PSA 9 Rookie Card #8


Don Mattingly played first base for the New York Yankees from 1982-1995. He was one of the best players of the 1980s, and if not for a chronic back injury, he would have made the Hall of Fame years ago

Mattingly played with a bad back for several years, which changed his career trajectory. There was a two to three-year stretch in his prime when he was widely regarded as one of the best players in the entire MLB.

Mattingly’s rookie cards (including Topps, Fleer, and Donruss) are among the key rookie cards from the 1980s. During the pandemic card boom in 2020, there was also a surge in nostalgia-driven demand for many 80s rookie cards.

PSA has designated Mattingly’s Topps Rookie card on the Future PSA Hall of Fame Rookie Registry list, making it his most popular and collectible rookie card. Mattingly’s PSA 9 Topps rookie card is valued at between $75 to $100.

Donnie Baseball was a finalist this past year to get inducted through the committee vote. But he will have to wait for another four to five years to have another shot at the Hall of Fame.

8. Dave Parker – 1974 Topps PSA 8 Rookie Card #252


Dave Parker played in the MLB from 1973-1991. He was most famous for his tenure with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Parker has impressive numbers with a career 290 average, 2,712 hits, and 339 home runs.

He would win an MVP award, two World Series Championships, two batting titles, and three Gold Glove awards. Parker’s Topps rookie card was recently added to the PSA Future HOF RC Registry.

His PSA 8 rookie card is around the same value as two years ago, ranging from $120 to $175 at recent eBay auctions. His PSA 8 is already becoming tougher to find, especially centered examples.

Parker is long overdue for induction through the Baseball Hall of Fame committee vote. He has a great chance to get into the Hall within the next four to five years.

9. Dwight Evans – 1973 Topps Rookie Outfielders PSA 8 #714


Dwight Evans played for the Boston Red Sox his entire career from 1972-1991. Evans had 285 home runs while batting 273 with 2,446 career hits.Evans primarily played right field in his career and statistically ranks as the 16th best right fielder of all-time, according to the Baseball Reference JAWS leaderboard. Evans 1973 Topps PSA 8 rookie card is becoming more challenging to find, and only 332 of these have been graded a straight PSA 8. His PSA 8 is valued at around $200 at recent eBay auctions. 

Evans’ rookie card is a nice long-term buy, and a player that should make the Hall of Fame through the committee vote.

10. Billy Wagner – 1994 Bowman PSA 9 Rookie Card #642


Billy Wagner played in the MLB from 1995-2010 and was a seven-time All-Star. Wagner is projecting to see a big increase in voting percentage this year and is trending around 60 to 65 percent.

This means that Wagner will be inducted into the Hall of Fame within the next couple of years through the ballot. Wagner has one of the highest K per 9 ratios for any relief pitcher in the history of baseball. Wagner achieved 422 career saves while pitching to a 2.31 ERA. The PSA Future HOF RC Registry has already declared Wagner’s Bowman Rookie as his registry card.

Wagner’s 1994 Bowman Rookie card featured in a PSA 9 example is very difficult to find. Wagner’s PSA 9 Bowman rookie is valued at around $150, and only 51 of these have been graded a PSA 9 example. 

Wagner is trending to become a future Hall of Famer very soon.

In Conclusion…..

Scott Rolen and Todd Helton are projected to get elected through the ballot vote this year, and Fred McGriff was already announced through the committee vote late last year for this year’s 2023 class.

All of these players have a great chance to be future baseball Hall of Famers within the next five years.

Honorable Mentions

Andruw Jones – His percentage has increased again this year, and he is tracking toward getting the call to Cooperstown in the coming years.Gary Sheffield – His percentage has gone up nearly the most of any player on the ballot jumping nearly 20-25 percent with 50 percent of the vote being known.Kenny Lofton – A guy to watch in the near future and see if his percentage increases in the coming years.Keith Hernandez – Similar to Mattingly, a very beloved player and a great candidate to get in through the committee vote in the coming years.Dale Murphy – was a finalist for the committee vote this year great candidate to watch in the coming years.Steve Garvey – His rookie is featured from the tough 1971 set, and another guy to watch to see if he gets in through the committee vote. 

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