On August 29, 1989, Nolan Ryan cut down Rickey Henderson for his 5000th career strikeout. In 1990, Topps commemorated the event with a special run of baseball cards to start its base set.

Card #1 features the “normal” Ryan card, with the Texas Rangers.

Then, cards #2-5 feature the Ryan Express with each of his four teams against a repeating “5000” banner:

#2 New York Mets

#3 California Angels

#4 Houston Astros

#5 Texas Rangers

That fifth card shows Ryan doffing his cap after the monumental strikeout made him the only pitcher to ever whiff 5000 batters.

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These cards were a fitting tribute to a guy who was rewriting the record books on a nightly basis.

And, most likely, Topps figured they would be a good way to send Ryan off into retirement — the career-cappers to end all career-cappers.

But ol’ Nolan fooled everyone and just kept right on pitching, all the way through the 1993 season. Those four extra seasons pushed his strikeout total north of 5700 and way out of reach for mere mortals.

So … what is the 1990 Topps Nolan Ryan 5000 strikeout card value today?

Well, like every other pasteboard in the 1980s and 1990s, there were plenty of them produced.

You can buy individual cards in nice raw condition, or even in PSA 8, for about a buck each on eBay.

If you go for the high grades — we’re talking GEM-MT PSA 10s — then you might expect to pay around $20 each.

Just goes to show you that Nolan Ryan never goes out of style!

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