Even though 1982 Donruss baseball cards began life with a few strikes against them, truth is … they have a lot to offer collectors today.

To begin with, Donruss made a big leap forward in card quality from 1981 to 1982.

Now, that may seem like faint praise given that the ’81s were printed on toilet paper and featured photos shot from a periscope on a submarine in Lake Michigan, but still …

1982 donruss baseball cards unopened wax packs box

Second, the card design is pretty baseball-y — again, an improvement from 1981.

And third, the set was loaded with rookie cards.

For years, all three 1982 sets were lively playgrounds for rookie card speculations. And, though some guys like Steve Sax, Gary Gaetti, Mike Witt, and others eventually fell short of superstar status, there are a couple of Hall of Famers in the bunch

So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the most valuable 1982 Donruss baseball cards, ranked by PSA 10 prices reported in the PSA Sports Market Report Price Guide.

(Check out our full series of posts on the history of Donruss baseball cards.)

1982 Donruss Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card (#405)

1982 Donruss Cal Ripken Jr

It didn’t take Ripken long to endear himself to fans and collectors alike.

By winning American League Rookie of the Year in 1982, he served notice that he was a force to be reckoned with at shortstop … or third base.

Young Cal split time between the positions that season before moving to short full-time in 1983, when he won the AL MVP award and helped the Baltimore Orioles to a World Series title.

Meanwhile, pre-boom collectors were setting aside Ripken’s rookie cards from all the 1982 base sets — Topps, Fleer, Donruss.

That Topps number was a three-player card, of course, and that fall, they split off Mr. ROY to create the first really important Topps Traded card.

Cal’s Donruss rookie card is no chopped liver either, though, and it leads off here at about $200 in perfect graded condition.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss Lee Smith Rookie Card (#252)

1982 Donruss Lee Smith

Collectively, we still don’t have a very good handle on what makes for a great closer.

Mariano Rivera is a no-brainer, of course (and the first player to receive 100% support on the Hall of Famer ballot).

But fans have always disagreed on most of the other big names at the position, and advanced metrics haven’t helped the matter much.

Two things are certain, though …

First, several relievers became big-name stars in the 1970s and 1980s — think Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Dan Quisenberry, John Franco, Goose Gossage.

And, second, Lee Smith was right there with that group in name recognition, and ahead of most in pure intimidation from the bump.

At 6’5″ and 220 pounds, Smith filled the mound in the late innings for the Cubs through the mid-1980s and helped them win their first division title in 1984.

He also finished his career with 478 saves, a record at the time that today clearly doesn’t mean what it once did.

Still, Smith made it to Cooperstown in 2019 after a long wait, and his 1982 Donruss rookie card sits at $100 in PSA 10 condition.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss Bronx Bombers Reggie Jackson and Dave Winfield (#575)

1982 Donruss Bronx Bombers R.Jackson-D.Winfield

The Yankees have virtually always been villified for attempting to buy championships by signing top-tier free agents (or trading cash for stars in the old days).

Collectors who weren’t fans of those tactics must have hated this 1982 Donruss card, which showcases two of the Bronx Bombers’ biggest names from the 1980s — Dave Winfield and Reggie Jackson.

That both dudes were signed as free agents and went on to great glory might be a thorn in the side for some, but their collective star power is tough to resist on a swatch of cardboard.

Today, PSA 10 copies of this card sell for around $80.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss Kent Hrbek Rookie Card (#557)

1982 Donruss Kent Hrbek

The 1982 sets were always loaded with promise in terms of rookie cards, which made all three issues popular with collectors when the hobby exploded in the mid-1980s.

Hrbek was one of the guys who drove that RC market, and he lived up to most of the hype by smashing nearly 300 home runs and helping the Minnesota Twins win two World Series (1987 and 1991).

Today, Herbie’s 1982 Donruss is a $55 card in PSA 10 today.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss Nolan Ryan (#419)

1982 Donruss Nolan Ryan

Ryan virtually always appears on a list of the most valuable cards from whichever set he’s in, and 1982 Donruss holds serve in that respect.

Even though he was 35 entering that season, and even though most people probably thought he was about done, The Ryan Express would push on for another 12 full seasons in the Major Leagues.

Today, perfect copies of Ryan’s ’82 Donruss bring in about $50.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss Rickey Henderson (#113)

1982 Donruss Rickey Henderson

Henderson had served notice at age 21 in 1980 that he might be a different sort of baserunner — 100 stolen bases really pop out of the stat lines on the back of a baseball card.

And, even though the 1981 players’ strike busted up the season, Henderson still managed 56 swipes in 108 games.

Then, in 1982, Rickey demolished Lou Brock‘s single-season record for steals when he put up 130.

Of course, in subsequent seasons, Henderson would develop into an all-around threat and probably the greatest leadoff hitter of all time.

In 1982, though, collectors were pulling this now-$50 Donruss card as Rickey ran wild with the Oakland A’s.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss George Brett (#34)

1982 Donruss George Brett

Like Henderson, Brett had done amazing things in 1980 — namely, he hit .390 and won the AL MVP award.

And, while Brett wasn’t able to bounce back from the strike to quite the extent that Rickey did, he still came out as a major offensive force who would remain the face of the Kansas City Royals for another decade.

Brett is still a collector favorite all these years later, and his ’82 Donruss lines up around $30 in perfect graded condition.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss Pete Rose (#168)

1982 Donruss Pete Rose

Love him or hate him, Rose was a dynamo on the field and remains a legendary figure in the game.

He was also maybe the first guy to pull his cards into the stratosphere on the back of a run toward an all-time record …

In Rose’s case, that was his assault on Ty Cobb‘s career hits mark in 1984 and 1985.

Today, Rose’s pasteboards retain a lot of hobby love, and his 1982 Donruss is a $20 card in PSA 10.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss Mike Schmidt (#294)

1982 Donruss Mike Schmidt

Schmidt established himself as a monster power hitter and lock-down defender at third base during the 1970s.

But it wasn’t until the Phillies became perennial contenders with the addition of Rose and others late in the decade that Schmitty really started to get his due.

That due included National League MVP Awards in 1980 and 1981 (and another in 1986), and general recognition as one a handful of the greatest third basemen ever.

Today, Schmidt maintains a strong collector following, and this card pushes $20 in perfect slabbed condition.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1982 Donruss Reggie Jackson (#535)

1982 donruss reggie jackson

Reggie became Mr. October by virtue of his post-season heroics with the Yankees in the late 1970s (even though he’d had plenty of playoff success with the A’s).

In 1982, though, he began the last phase of his career, which started with a move to the California Angels.

That all means his 1982 cards were his last Yankee issues, and the Donruss version sells for $15+ these days (PSA 10).

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

Want to see a video version of this article?