Joey Votto baseball cards can be a lot like the man himself — a nice blend of old-school and new-school sensibilities, offering up something for everyone.

Don’t believe me?

Consider how Votto plays the game — intense and hard-nosed, like the old-timers, but with a keen eye for adding “value” to his team … getting on base above mere contact, strikeouts as a by-product of getting on base, an appreciation for three-true-outcomes baseball.

With that in mind, I decided to dredge up a cadre of Votto cards that should appeal to old-timers like me, with a couple of restrictions: they have to be available for under $50, and I can only choose one directly-copied design from the past (Archives, Heritage, etc.) for each company.

Here, then, are 11 Joey Votto baseball cards that even old-school collectors will love.

2017 Donruss Retro Variations Joey Votto (#RV-8)

2017 Donruss Retro Variations Joey Votto

The first year I actively collected baseball cards — rather than just getting a pack here or there and tossing them in a corner — was 1983.

In my neck of the woods, we could get Topps in a few places, Fleer almost nowhere, and Donruss just about everywhere.

And that was just fine with me.

Because those blazing white borders with the green inner piping and – mercy! — the bat and glove underneath the player photo just screamed “baseball” to me. They were right there beside me as I learned about the game and fell in love with everything related to it.

So, yeah, this Joey Votto card in the style of 1983 Donruss floats my boat, even with no Reds logo on his batting helmet.

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2019 Panini Donruss Joey Votto Diamond Kings Heroes Joey Votto (#24)

2019 Panini Donruss Joey Votto Diamond Kings Heroes Joey Votto

That same summer, 1983, my parents dragged me to some antique shops in a small town. Not a card in sight, but we also stopped at a little soda-shoppe store straight out of the 1950s.

And there, on the candy rack between the Mars bars and the candy cigarettes were these packs of “old” baseball cards. I managed to wrangle enough from Dad’s budget for a pack.

I busted that bad boy open as soon as we were in the car, and what I found inside blew me away — painted cards of these old, old, ancient Hall of Fame guys, with names like Luke Appling and Early Wynn and Josh Gibson.

I’d hit the mother lode, and I had to have more. I finagled some deal with Dad, and we went back inside to buy the rest of the box — maybe ten packs.

Think I still owe him a first-born or something.

Anyway, this Votto seems to be modeled after those great Perez-Steele cards, and that’s more than good enough for me.

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2003 Multi-Ad Sports Dayton Dragons Joey Votto (#9)

2003 Multi-Ad Sports Dayton Dragons Joey Votto

The Dayton Dragons are a Class-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, and they have one of those quaint and shiny new(ish) stadiums that make minor league games so fun.

It’s mind-blowing to think about how cool it must have been to watch a young, young Joey Votto ply his trade there at Fifth Third Field in 2003 and 2004

Also makes you wonder what future Major League talents you’re missing out on every day you don’t spend at the local MiLB park.

Anyway, while Votto-matic was in Dayton, he landed on this 2003 Multi-Ad Sports Dragons card. It’s an obvious homage to the 1984 Topps design, and it’s spectacular … even if seeing Votto wear anything other than Cincinnati Red is a bit jarring.

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2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Joey Votto (#145)

2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Joey Votto

This set was pretty much Upper Deck’s “response video” to Topps’ Allen & Ginter issues.

Adopting the basic design of the 1888 Goodwin Champions (N162) cigarette set, this beauty featured 210 cards in the base issue, done up in bright, clear artistic fashion.

Votto is a budding superstar here, rocking on with a raised fist in apparent celebration of gripping the barrel of his bat real hard. Bonus points for being the only one of these Joey Votto baseball cards to be staged in front of a local diamond that you and I might visit any Saturday afternoon.

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2010 Bowman Joey Votto (#180)

2010 Bowman Joey Votto

Nothing special to see here, really. Just a base card of a dude who was about to put together his National League MVP season.

But … it’s also loaded with calls out to classic baseball cards, like …

Black borders, a la 1971 Topps and 1985 Donruss …

Red pinstriping, further dredging memories of that special ’85 Donruss set …

Cloud-fade around the image, reminiscent of 1988 Fleer, 1987 Topps team leaders, and other blasts from the past …

A horizontal format with the “Bowman” logo looming overhead … who wouldn’t think of 1955 Bowman when you see this thing?

Add in a photo of Votto crouched down and zeroed in on a ball coming toward his frame-centered glove at first, and it’s hard not to love this card.

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2008 Topps National Baseball Card Day Joey Votto (#7)

2008 Topps National Baseball Card Day Joey Votto

Those 2008 Topps baseball cards sure do have a lot of white border space on them, huh? They can be almost blinding in the right light!

But all that bright, open real estate makes the cards feel really clean, even though the size of the pics suffers as a result. And the multicolored balls that hold the individual letters of the team name give the whole design a decidedly old-school feel.

The National Baseball Card Day set was a joint venture between Topps and Upper Deck, with each company contributing eight cards featuring different pictures from their base issue.

Add all that together — the classic design, the oddball nature of the set, the Votto follow-through, the ROOKIE CARD logo — and you have a winner even geezers like me can love.

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2011 Topps Joey Votto (#5)

2011 Topps Joey Votto

Another nothing-special-about-it baseball card that just happens to show the reigning NL MVP (when it was issued, that is).

To these old eyes, though, this design is a cleaned-up, streamlined version of the 1985 Topps base set, right down to the Topps logo in the upper left-hand corner and the team logo in the lower right.

These cards also sport the old-school thick white borders.

So, squint your eyes just a little bit, and you’ll swear Votto is Nick Esasky or Ron Oester, and you’ll wonder why the image looks so clear.

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2014 Donruss Joey Votto (#282)

2014 Donruss Joey Votto

This Votto card feels about as a Donruss-y as a Donruss card can feel, from the huge Donruss logo to the red border splotches filled with little baseball stencils.

With Votto turned sideways to the camera, ready to field whatever comes his way at first base, you hardly even notice the missing Reds logo on his cap.

And with the script “Cincinnati” at the bottom hearkening back to 1978 Topps and Votto’s tablecloth of a uniform hearkening back to the era of oversize togs, there’s plenty of nostalgia packed into this cardboard swath.

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2009 O-Pee-Chee All-Rookie Team Joey Votto (#AR2)

2009 O-Pee-Chee All-Rookie Team Joey Votto

These cards can say “O-Pee-Chee” all they want, but to me, they scream “Bazooka!”.

And that takes me back to the time I saw a grainy picture of the 1959 Bazooka Hank Aaron and fell in love.

And later, to that summer of 1989, when I was able to pull real, live baseball cards — Shining Stars — from real, live boxes of Bazooka gum.

It was great.

So are these 2009 OPC All-Rookie Team cards, in the same sort of gaudy, bright, Red-White-and-Blue, over-the-top, All-Star sorta way.

And a smiling, waving Joey Votto?

Sign me up for this most patriotic of Joey Votto baseball cards.

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2017 Topps Series 1 – Reds Salute Mother’s Day Joey Votto (#S24)

2017 Topps Series 1 - Reds Salute Mother's Day Joey Votto

In a recent poll over on Twitter, I asked, “Did your mom throw out your baseball cards?”.

About 85% of the more than 700 respondents said, no, Mom did not throw out their baseball cards.

I could have told you that, because moms rule, generally speaking — but I had to ask, with Mother’s Day on hand and all.

A few years ago, Topps pushed out these modern-looking cards to honor mothers, again with Mother’s Day on hand.

So, why does this Joey Votto fit our theme of a card even old-school collectors can love?

Well, moms, for one thing.

And, Joey looks like he was carved right out of the 1950s, or maybe the 1910s, for another.

It’s the crouch and the steely stare and the Mr. Red on the uniform sleeve and the black & red & white Reds logo.

It’s the whole, and ribbons … and the moms.

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2018 Topps Archives Joey Votto (#288)

2018 Topps Archives Joey Votto

Speaking of moms, mine bought me my first baseball cards in 1981.

And, even though I didn’t like them, didn’t want them — she kept buying cards … Topps, Fleer, Donruss … in 1981 and in 1982.

By the spring of 1983, I was ready to embrace the game and the hobby, and Mom probably cowered in fear at the cardboard monster she had created.

That beast cut his baseball and baseball card chops largely on the (by then) beat-up 1981 Topps specimens squirreled away in an old shoe box.

So, of course, seeing this Archives Votto card brings it all back — the green borders for Reds players, the posed shots, the little baseball cap that defined the 1981 Topps design.

It’s all right there and, cheesy as it is, I love it all.

You probably will, too, if you’re of a certain age.

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Which of these Joey Votto baseball cards is your favorite? And which is your favorite Joey Votto baseball card overall? I’d love to hear your picks!

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