Topps spent a couple of years trying hone in on how they wanted to position their “new” brand before nailing it with 1991 Bowman baseball cards …

Bowman was going to be the place to come for rookie cards.

That’s pretty much an accepted part of hobby life these days, but Topps took slack in some corners for pushing the boundaries of “rookie” by including draft picks and other guys who had never seen the inside of a Major League roster — and some who never would.

And, like everything else in the era, the set was and is way too abundant on the market.

Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re worthless, though, as you’ll see in this list of the most valuable 1991 Bowman baseball cards (based on recent eBay sales for PSA 10 copies).

Batter up!

1991 Bowman Mike Mussina Rookie Card (#97)

1991 Bowman Mike Mussina Rookie Card

Mussina spent just over a year in the Orioles’ farm system before making his MLB debut in August of 1991.

He went 4-5 that late summer, but with a 2.87 ERA that portended good things to come. And soon.

In 1992, Moose went 18-5 with a 2.54 ERA to finish second in American League Cy Young voting.

It was a pattern that would continue for years — great won-loss records, but a paucity of awards.

And, somehow, Mussina didn’t win 20 in a season until his final season, in 2008. By then, he been a cog in the Yankees rotation for eight seasons and had managed to raise his national profile a *smidge* through a slew of postseason appearances.

His 270-153 record made him one of the winningest hurlers of his generation and eventually landed him in the Hall of Fame.

Today, Mussina’s Bowman rookie card sells for around $70 in perfect graded condition.

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1991 Bowman Jeff Bagwell Rookie Card (#183)

1991 Bowman Jeff Bagwell Rookie Card

The Red Sox famously traded Bagwell to the Astros late in the 1990 season in exchange for Larry Andersen.

Hard to say the trade didn’t work, because Andersen was lights-out from the Boston bullpen down the stretch, and the BoSox won the American League East crown.

But Bagwell took over the starting first base job in Houston the next spring and didn’t let go until 2005.

In between, he became one of the most feared sluggers of his generation and an Astros legend.

Bagwell also secured his place in Cooperstown, setting up today’s $50 price tag for his 1991 Bowman RC (PSA 10).

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1991 Bowman Jim Thome Rookie Card (#68)

1991 Bowman Jim Thome Rookie Card

In the midst of the steroid era, Thome was one of the few sluggers who just kept plugging along without huge peaks and valleys … and without the heavy stench of PED suspicions.

We’ll never know for sure who all used and who all didn’t but Thome’s rep seems unassailable at this point, and most see his 600+ home runs as legit.

That’s a big number, and Thome’s Bowman rookie follows suit at $40 in PSA 10.

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1991 Bowman Chipper Jones Rookie Card (#569)

1991 Bowman Chipper Jones Rookie Card

When this card was issued, Jones was still two years from his Major League debut and four years from his official rookie season.

So, yeah, Bowman was ahead of the curve, but it’s all good now since Larry developed into one of the best third basemen of all time and a cornerstone of the great Braves teams of the 1990s.

Today, this Hall of Fame RC is a $40 card in PSA 10 condition.

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1991 Bowman Ivan Rodriguez Rookie Card (#272)

1991 Bowman Ivan Rodriguez Rookie Card

Once upon a time, Rodriguez was a phenom who was the Rangers starting backstop as a teenager.

That was 1991, when this $25 Bowman rookie card was issued.

At the end of his career, in 2011, Pudge was the grizzled veteran brought in to provide leadership for the Washington Nationals.

In between, I-Rod built one of the most impressive catching careers ever and reserved his Cooperstown plaque early on.

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1991 Bowman Nolan Ryan (#280)

1991 Bowman Nolan Ryan

In July of 1990, Ryan won his 300th game.

On May 1, 1991, he tossed his seventh no-hitter.

It was all just par for the course for the Texas Rangers fireballer whose legend exploded once he landed in Arlington in 1989.

It was also all the more reason for Ryan’s 1991 cards to catch on with collectors, and this Bowman version sells for around $20 today.

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1991 Bowman Ken Griffey Jr. (#246)

1991 Bowman Ken Griffey Jr

Griffey was sort of in-between in 1991 …

He was no longer an up-and-coming prospect or rookie, but he wasn’t a fully-baked Hall of Famer, either.

Within a couple of years, of course, Junior would fully blossom into the monster we all thought he’d be, and he took all his cards with him.

This one lines up at about $20 in PSA 10.

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1991 Bowman Kenny Lofton Rookie Card (#565)

1991 Bowman Kenny Lofton Rookie Card

Maybe it’s because he was a speedster in an era that feasted on power.

Or maybe it’s because he was part of those 1990s Indians teams that couldn’t quite get over the hump.

Or maybe it’s that he played one season or less for each of ten teams who didn’t call Cleveland home.

Whatever the case, Lofton never seems to get his due as one of the greatest leadoff hitters of all time and one of the best players of his generation.

At least his Bowman rookie card — with full Astros rainbow — cracks this list, at $15, and you figure it might get a bump if Lofton ever makes the Hall of Fame cut.

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1991 Bowman Cal Ripken Jr. (#104)

1991 Bowman Cal Ripken Jr

After taking a lot of flak for keeping himself in the lineup as he inched closer to Lou Gehrig‘s record for consecutive games played, Ripken lashed back in the best way possible in 1991.

Posting arguably the best offensive season of his career, Cal swept to his second MVP award (the first was in 1983), and cleared a path to Gehrig — the legends traded places on the streak list in 1995.

This Bowman card from Ripken’s shut-them-up summer sells for about $10 in PSA 10 condition.

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1991 Bowman Tim Salmon Rookie Card (#203)

1991 Bowman Tim Salmon Rookie Card

Once upon a time, the Angels featured a young outfielder who was among the best players in the game, one who could hit for average, take a walk, and clear the fences.

And, as if we were living in some sort of fantasy world, dude was named after a fish.

So, yeah, Tim Salmon was a hotshot when he won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1993, and he kept slugging (mostly) through 2006.

(What, you thought I was going to say Mike Trout?)

Salmon’s 1991 Bowman is about a $10 buy in perfect slabbed condition these days.

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1991 bowman baseball box

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1991 Bowman Baseball #68 Jim Thome HOF Cleveland Indians RC Rookie

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1991 Bowman Baseball Factory Sealed Set (704 Cards)

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1991 Bowman Baseball Oakland Athletics Complete 30 Card Team Set

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1991 Bowman Baseball Rod Carew HOF Autograph Auto #3 Twins

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