Did you know that 1994 Topps baseball cards were once approved as treatment for chronic disappointment?

Yeah, well, that’s as true as you want it to be, but the fact is, fans and collectors had to have something to salve our wounds when the baseball season vanished in August, taking the World Series with it.

The Strike.

Bleh.

But, as was always the case — as is still always the case — we had our pasteboards to keep us connected to the game, and to feel better for just a little while.

Here, then, are the ten most popular 1994 Topps baseball cards, as ranked by the number of cards submitted for grading according to the PSA Population Report.

1994 Topps SS Prospects Miller-Wilson-Jeter-Neal (#158)

1994 Topps SS Prospects
Miller-Wilson-Jeter-Neal

Man, that 1994 Topps rookie shortstops class was loaded, huh?

I mean, Mike Neal, Brandon Wilson, and Orlando Miller were destined for big things.

Derek Jeter? Never heard of him.

Good thing those other guys have been there to carry the weight of his card over the years, though. I mean, the three combined for a healthy 244 big league hits, thanks to the 244 that Miller put up.

No wonder this rookie card remains the most popular in the set.

Jeter?

Don’t know. Might be interesting to look him up someday.

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1994 Topps Nolan Ryan (#34)

1994 Topps Nolan  Ryan

This card sort of broke with Topps tradition, as the old gum company hardly ever issued a career-capper card for a player the year after he retired.

Not for Willie Mays…not for Mike Schmidt…not for Sandy Koufax.

But Ryan was still maybe the hottest commodity in the hobby in 1994, so how could Topps resist? They couldn’t, and collectors still can’t even all these years later.

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1994 Topps Cal Ripken Jr.(#200)

1994 Topps Cal Ripken Jr

There was some fear during the 1994 strike that Ripken’s consecutive games streak would go by the wayside if Major League Baseball decided to restart the season with scabs.

As it turns out, that worry was moot since the game stayed on hiatus from August all through the fall, canceling the World Series.

Those were dark days for baseball, but Cal helped bring the game roaring back when he surpassed Lou Gehrig in 1995, appearing in his 2131st game in a row.

Cal was already a hobby favorite, but the way he helped lift the game from the depths elevated his own cardboard profile.

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1994 Topps George Brett (#180)

1994 Topps George  Brett

Seems Topps found their soft spot for retired legends in 1994, as they issued this beauty of a career-capper for Brett, who also retired in 1993.

Robin Yount got the same treatment, though his cards have had trouble keeping up with Brett’s in terms of hobby popularity, and that’s the case here, too.

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1994 Topps Ken Griffey Jr. (#400)

1994 Topps Ken  Griffey  Jr.n

Griffey had the power breakout in 1993 that everyone had always predicted for him, slamming 45 home runs for the Mariners while driving in 109 and batting a robust .309.

This card captures a maturing Griffey, just beginning to fulfill what seemed like his destiny — becoming one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

A hobby icon from the time his 1989 Upper Deck rookie card found the light of day, Junior continues to delight collectors today.

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1994 Topps Don Mattingly (#600)

1994 Topps Don  Mattingly

Donnie Baseball was still a relatively young 33 when this card was issued, but back problems had derailed his once otherworldly production.

Collectors and fans kept holding out hope, though, that Mattingly could reclaim his former glory, and that kept his cards in the spotlight, even if they were bumped slightly out of the center by the likes of Griffey and Ryan.

Now in the midst of a successful managerial career, Mattingly has never completely lost his collector appeal.

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1994 Topps Mike Piazza (#1)

1994 Topps Mike  Piazza

This isn’t quite a rookie card, as Piazza had landed some cardboard appearances in 1992 and 1993.

But this one does celebrate the Dodger catcher’s Rookie of the Year campaign in ’93, and it shows his Topps All-Star Rookie trophy to good effect.

One of the greatest hitting catchers of all time, Piazza sailed into the Hall of Fame (as expected) and still has plenty of fans in the hobby.

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1994 Topps Ryne Sandberg (#300)

1994 Topps Ryne  Sandberg

This triple-exposure Sandberg card was Topps’ answer to Sportflics (I guess), but it looks much, much better than anything the Magic Motion folks could muster.

Sandberg, of course, was one of the most popular players of the 1980s and early 1990s, but he would play in only 57 games for the Cubs in 1994 before the strike and a temporary retirement sidelined him until 1996.

A two-year comeback bumped up his stats enough to solidify Ryno’s spot in Cooperstown and his status as one of the greatest second basemen the game has ever seen.

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1994 Topps Rickey Henderson (#248)

1994 Topps Rickey  Henderson

By 1994, Henderson had already rewritten the baserunning record book and was busy adding to his other stats — hits, home runs, runs, RBI.

He was maybe baseball’s greatest hot dog and, by most accounts, its greatest leadoff hitter, so you can usually count on Rickey’s cards to show up on “most popular” and “most valuable” lists like this one.

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1994 Topps Chipper JonesRyan Klesko (#777)

1994 Topps Chipper  Jones-Ryan  Klesko

By 1994, the Braves already had three straight division titles under their belts, and they had other prospects in the pipeline who would eventually help them run that streak to about a hundred.

Two of the brightest youngsters in the Atlanta system were Chipper Jones and Ryan Klesko, who both provided plenty of wattage for the Braves’ offense in the years to come.

And Chipper, of course, went down as an all-time great third baseman and a bona fide Braves legend.

So, yeah, this early card featuring the youngsters together has always been a keeper.

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1994 Topps Gold Derek Jeter #158 Baseball Card

$4.99
End Date: Thursday 12/24/2020 13:04:17 EST
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