Mike Trout baseball cards should be objects of desire for just about every collector … even us old-timers.

After all, this guy is probably the greatest all-around player most of us will witness in our lifetimes. He was a bona fide legend way before he ever reached the age of 30, and a lock for the Hall of Fame as soon as he clears ten years in the Big Leagues.

Problem for old-school hobbyists is that Trout toils here in the era of indecipherable baseball card issues with names like Chrome and Onyx and Inception and Optic and, um, Now.

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What’s it all mean? Heck if I know … may never know.

But I do know that there are some really good looking baseball cards out there among all the new stuff. Some of them are good looking because they look like the cards from my youth — those are the Heritage/Archives things that rehash old designs almost exactly.

Helps when he shares space with a legend from my era, like Carl Yastrzemski:

2017 Topps Heritage Carl Yastrzemski Mike Trout

Others look good on their own merit.

So, knowing there are cherry new cards out there featuring the greatest talent in the game, I set out on a mission — to find ten Mike Trout cards that even old-school collectors can love.

The ground rules are … 1) each card has to be available for (hopefully much) less than $50, and 2) I can choose only one design rehash per brand.

Other than that, I’m picking these babies purely on how they make me feel, with no real notion about the sets they’re part of.

Got it? Ready?

Good.

Here, then are ten Mike Trout baseball cards even an old-timer can love.

2018 Topps Throwback Thursday Mike Trout (#3)

2018 Topps Throwback Mike Trout

Technically, this card does reach back to take advantage of a classic Topps design, but it’s not from a baseball card set.

Rather, this beauty shows Trout as he might have looked in Bo Jackson mode on a 1968 Topps football card.

Therefore, on a technicality, this does not count as my one Topps design rehash.

Regardless …

It’s a clean look with that cheesy, clean-cut 1960 feel that almost makes you feel like you’re watching an episode of The Brady Bunch.

And, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine the fire-hydrant build of Trout stomping down the gridiron, either.

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2011 Bowman Mike Trout (#101)

2011 Bowman Mike Trout

If your first go-round in the hobby carried you into the mid-1990s, then you for sure think of Bowman whenever talk turns to rookie cards and jump-the-gun rookie cards.

After struggling for a few years to find an identity for the line it resurrected in 1989, Topps settled on making Bowman the place to go for a player’s first card.

By the time Trout was hitting collector’s wallets, Bowman had evolved to feature all sorts of parallel issues and inserts, and most featuring the Angels’ Rookie of the Year also feature big price tags these days.

This base issue can get pricey, too, but you can usually find nice raw copies for $100-150.

Right.

Yes.

That’s 2-3 times my self-imposed spending limit of fifty bucks, but this is the Mike Trout rookie card we’re talking about here. It’s also a solid, basic card, like something you might have pulled from a wax pack in 1985.

It stays.

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2013 Topps Batting Average Leaders (Miguel Cabrera/Adrian Beltre) Mike Trout (#294)

2013 Topps Batting Average Leaders Cabrera, Beltre, Trout

There’s nothing special about this card except …

  1. You get three future Hall of Famers on one hunk of cardboard
  2. You get Miggy fresh off his Triple Crown season
  3. You get Trout in his Rookie of the Year form
  4. You get Beltre turning on the gas in his second season with the Rangers, ready to sprint toward Cooperstown

Oh yeah … you also get a throwback to those great old Topps League Leader cards of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

This one, in particular, is shades of that 1966 beauty featuring Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays.

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2015 Topps Opening Day Franchise Flashbacks Mike Trout (#FF20)

2015 Topps Opening Day Franchise Flashbacks Mike Trout

This thing is hideous in an exquisite 1980s sort of way.

A Perma-Graphics credit card sort of way.

Or, for heaven’s sake, in a Hills Team MVPs boxed set sort of way.

It’s loud and crowded and features Trout with a sort of Boz-like hairdo.

It’s just awful.

It makes me feel like it’s 1986 again.

It’s just wonderful.

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2015 Topps Update All-Star Game Mike Trout (#US374)

2015 Topps Update All-Star Game Mike Trout

So, why is Mike Trout in an update set? Did he get traded and I just missed it?

Nah, when you have a talent like Trout running around, or when you run a baseball card company in general, you tend to find as many reasons as you can to crank out another issue.

For this one, Trout made the All-Star team (surprise!), and Topps included All-Stars in their update set.

There seem to be a bunch of nuances to this set, including “stat back variations” and photo swap-outs, but my old-man heart is content with the updatedness and All-Star throwbackness this Trout card provides.

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2015 Panini Donruss Mike Trout (#100)

2015 Panini Donruss Mike Trout

Yeah, right, if you take a stack of these Donruss cards, you’ll notice a bunch of holes … like on the player’s uniforms and caps.

As in, there are no team logos.

It’s odd looking, I’ll grant you.

But it’s not much of an issue for this Trout card, where the phenom has his head turned to the side during a powerful, swinging follow-through.

You really don’t even notice the missing Halos cartoon on his batting helmet.

More than that, though, you can tack this card to the center field wall and plant a random Little Leaguer at home plate, and he’ll tell you this baby is a Donruss card.

Heck, even your mom could tell you this is a Donruss card.

Maybe more than any other brand, Donruss had a feel and a smell in the 1980s that was unmistakable, and this one has it — from the baseballs in the top-and-bottom red bands, to the Atari stripes on the sides, to that honkin’ Donruss logo.

This is what 1988 Donruss would have been if Donruss had stayed Donruss, and then we’d all be drinking caviar and smoking champagne instead of social distancing (in this version of Spring 2020).

It’s the Butterfly Effect, or something.

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2020 Panini Donruss Diamond Kings Mike Trout (#9)

2020 Panini Donruss Diamond Kings Mike Trout

Now this one … yeah, you notice the missing logo right away.

I mean, Trout’s round red Angels batting gear makes his head look like a cherry Tootsie Roll Pop, partially licked down already.

But it doesn’t matter.

This is a freaking 1986 Donruss Diamond Kings card of the greatest player in the game. It slides right in there beside that Pete Rose King of Kings number and gives it a sideways glance … “that’s my title, Bub.”

Maybe it will be, someday.

In the meantime, just enjoy the 1980s splendor of this new old card.

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2019 Topps Heritage Mike Trout (#357)

2019 Topps Heritage Mike Trout

There are tons of Topps Heritage/Archives/Throwbacks/Use-to-Be/Ancestry.com issues that I could have tabbed for my one Topps design rehash.

Most of them look great. A few look spectacular. A couple … well, even Joe DiMaggio struck out every once in awhile.

Really, though, you could put a bunch of these old-school Trout cards into a hat and pull out a winner.

My winner is this 2019 Heritage pasteboard that shows a head-and-shoulders Trout bursting out of a newspaper, just like a real 1970 Topps All-Star card.

This card gives you some bonus feels, too, if you’re a fan of the 1960s and 1970s Spider-Man, who always seemed to be leaping out of his comic strip.

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2016 Topps Throwback Mike Trout (#TBT 3)

2016 Topps Throwback Mike Trout

You’re right … I’m skirting the rules again here.

But how can you not include a 1955 Bowman Mike Trout in your lineup of old-school Mike Trout cards that old-school collectors will love?

You can’t.

Besides, this is a Bowman design rehash, not a Topps design rehash, even though it says “Topps.” And it’s Bowman’s last design before Topps bought them, too, except for those 1956 prototypes.

To top it off, Trout looks every bit the 1950s baseball idol here, complete with towering stadium lights against a blue sky in the background.

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2010 Tri-Star Obak 31st National Promo Mike Trout

2010 Tri-Star Obak 31st National Promo Mike Trout

There’s all sorts of reasons to love this card, starting with the fact that it’s a 2010 model, issued nearly a full year before Trout made his Major League debut.

Not only that, but Trout turned 19 — nineteen! — while this card was being issued at the 2010 National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore from August 2-8.

Of course, the card is also gorgeous, splashing an artwork version of young Mr. Trout onto a sparkling tobacco-or-candy-styled card — clearly modeled after the T212 Obak Cigarettes (1909-11), but brighter and with more prominent sponsorship.

And, if you were around the hobby in 1990s, you likely remember the massive Anaheim show in 1991 that purportedly drew over 100,000 attendees and made headlines for all the collectible swag card manufacturers gave away.

The freebies became an enterprise unto themselves during that summer gathering, and any mention of “National promo” should take old-time collectors right back.

Or, Obak, as the case may be.

And, as long as you’re remembering all that, here’s something else to make you feel old — Trout was still a belly bump (probably a big one by then) when that National went down about a month before his actual birthday.

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