Pedro Martinez rookie cards had the misfortune of starting life during the baseball card production explosion of the 1990s.

As a consequence of that unfortunate timing of birth, Pedro rookie cards were:

  • Tough to discern
  • Scattered
  • Lost in the crowd
  • Overproduced
  • Not all that valuable.

That’s just the way cardboard life was in the early 1990s, when a new set hit the market seemingly every day, and when every card was about as plentiful as those old 1-900 “party line” commercials.

In Pedro’s case, it all amounted to a handful of cards issued in both 1991 and 1992 that might rightly be called “rookie cards” depending on who did the defining, but that all had their drawbacks.

Some showed the Dodgers’ prospect as a minor leaguer, some were issued in sets that were pretty esoteric, and some came after others issued by the same company … ugh.

All of them were issued before Pedro was an actual rookie, which happened in 1993,

And none of them was particularly valuable, even though Pedro himself came with plenty of hype. The same holds true today — none of Martinez’s RC’s are all that pricey, even though the man himself is not just a Hall of Famer, but one of those rare birds who almost no one doubted would find his way to Cooperstown.

So, what to do when you’re putting together a guide to Pedro Martinez rookie cards?

As it turns out, I just so happened to have gone through that exercise very recently (i.e., right now), and here are the criteria I landed on: to be included below, cards had to …

  • be issued in 1991 or 1992, since you could find at least one issue that fits just about any definition of a rookie card in each of those years …
  • show Pedro with the Dodgers and not a minor league team (with one notable hedge, as you’ll see below) …

AND

  • be issued through at least some sort of national distribution channels (no striclty regional issues, in other words)

Got all that?

Cool, then here’s one other thing to keep in mind: values listed are based on actual recent selling prices for PSA 9 copies of the cards being discussed.

OK, then …

Welcome to the complete (by my definition) guide to Pedro Martinez rookie cards. Enjoy the ride!

(Note: The following sections contain affiliate links to eBay and Amazon listings for the cards being discussed.)

1991 Classic Series III Pedro Martinez Rookie Card (#T55)

1991 Classic Series III Pedro Martinez Rookie Card

As they had since 1987, Classic issued a set of baseball cards in 1991 to go along with – and to ostensibly help play – their diamond-themed board game.

Actually, they sort of issued four sets in 1991 – the 200-card base set that came with the game, and then three 100-card “update” sets later in the year. Pedro was part of Series III, the final run that also included established stars like Don Mattingly, Nolan Ryan, Eddie Murray, and others.

If something looks a bit odd about this Pedro rookie card, it’s probably his Dodgers cap, with just a bit of white scratching its way through the blue field.That’s likely an artifact of an airbrusher’s handiwork as he attempted to obscure the “B” on Martinez’s hat.

Wait, what? Like the Brooklyn Dodgers?

Nah, like the Bakersfield Dodgers, for whom Pedro toiled during part of the 1991 season.

Value: $8-12

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1991 Upper Deck Final Edition Pedro Martinez Rookie Card (#2F)

1991 Upper Deck Final Edition Pedro Martinez Rookie Card

This is probably the first Pedro Martinez baseball card that most veteran collectors remember coming across.

See …

In 1991, Upper Deck issued their first and only Final Edition set, a standalone late-year run pushed out as a box set. It was UD’s answer to Topps Traded and Fleer Update, but they would return to their standard practice of issuing a high-numbered series through packs in 1992.

When it came time to print a Pedro Martinez rookie card, though, it was Final Edition or nothing. So, as with the 1991 Classic set, we got to see young Pedro wrapped in the same design as his brother earlier in the set.

As 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition was readily available nationally, and since it came from one of the then-Big 5 card companies, this is often considered Petey’s only true rookie card.

Value: $8-12

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1992 Bowman Pedro Martinez Rookie Card (#82)

1992 Bowman Pedro Martinez Rookie Card

By the spring of 1992, we were starting to hear plenty of whispers about Pedro Martinez, about how Ramon’s younger brother might be even better than the then-current Dodgers ace.

That was a pretty exciting thought considering that Ramon had just reeled off records of 20-6 and 17-13 and seemed to be in the early stages of a Hall of Fame career.

The building hype around Pedro was also a bit esoteric since most of us had never seen him throw a pitch or even caught a glimpse of his face, for that matter (save for collectors who scored copies of his 1991 Classic or Upper Deck Final Edition cards, that is).

But then along came the “new” Bowman cards, revamped yet again as the still-young brand resurrection thrashed about for identity.

In 1992, that meant an upgraded to more premium white card stock, lots of rookie cards, and a lots of cards of guys who were a few hopes and prayers away from even being a rookie.

As it turns out, it was the winning formula for Topps (via the Bowman brand).

As it also turns out, one of those still-early guys with a rookie card in 1992 Bowman was Pedro Martinez.

Value: $12-20

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1992 Donruss ‘The Rookies’ Pedro Martinez Rookie Card (#69)

1992 Donruss 'The Rookies' Pedro Martinez Rookie Card

Not only did Donruss not make Pedro Martinez a Rated Rookie in 1992, they didn’t even include him in their base set at all.

They apparently were impressed enough with his two-game cup of coffee that September to include him in their late-year “The Rookies” box set, though.

This turned out to be a last hurrah of sorts for The Rookies, even though Donruss gave it a good last shot. Since the set debuted in 1986, it had been a diminutive 56-card affair, but Big D bumped that up to 132 for 1992.

For his part, Pedro appears on card #69.

Alas, even the checklist expansion and the revamped design for 1992 (to match the base set) couldn’t save The Rookies, and they disappeared until 2001, when Donruss was Donruss-Playoff.

Value: $9-12

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1992 Leaf Gold Rookies Pedro Martinez Rookie Card (#BC-3)

1992 Leaf Gold Rookies Pedro Martinez Rookie Card

Card companies tried just about everything during the early 1990s to make their issues stand out from the ever-expanding crowd of sets, gadgetry, funkiness, and hype that defined the era.

Much of the time, those trials were brought to collectors in the form of inserts – indeed, these years form the nucleus of insert mania, chase cards, and the modern obsession with breaking, busting, ripping, kabooming, or whatever other gerund you prefer.

Not every insert was a big hit, but they all bumped up a player’s master-set count and provide ready fodder for moder collectors to chase.

This 1992 Gold Leaf Rookies Pedro card is a case in point.

Inserted with packs of 1992 Leaf, the 24-card Gold Rookies set was inserted in packs of Leaf cards (surprise!) that summer. Pedro, checking in at #BC-3, was one of the cards included in Series One packs.

There were and are plenty of these gold-foil-laced and gold-backed deals to go around, but this one is still a strong early-career Petey card.

Value: $12-20

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1992 Upper Deck Pedro Martinez Rookie Card (#18)

1992 Upper Deck Pedro Martinez Rookie Card

Depending on your definition of “rookie card,” you could make the case that the 1992 Upper Deck set holds Martinez’s only true RC.

Why?

Because it’s the first solo Martinez card issued in a manufacturer’s main base set and that’s not an insert, that’s why.

Of course, most definitions – including the one we’re using here for this list – aren’t quite that strict, but the 1992 UD Pedro is still the first of its kind.

(Note that this card exists with both the standard silver hologram on card backs, and the gold version that was affixed to all cards in the factory-set version of the issue. There’s not much difference in value between the silver- and gold-hologram versions.)

Value: $12-15

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1992 Upper Deck Pedro & Ramon Bloodlines (#79)

1992 Upper Deck Pedro & Ramon Bloodlines

The Pedro-and-Ramon-in-the-same-rotation hype was really ramping up as 1992 dawned. And, though it would take all summer before we saw the younger Martinez in Dodger Blue for real, Upper Deck gave us a head start.

By the time this card was issued, collectors were starting to realize that pretty much every new card was immensely and immediately overproduced, which meant this one would never hit the big time, value-wise.

Still, it’s a pretty cool and striking early card of a legend and a could-have-been legend.

Value: $10-15

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Pedro Martinez 1991 Upper Deck 1st Rookie Card #2F Expos , Red Sox HOF

$5.00 (8 Bids)
End Date: Thursday 12/01/2022 21:45:01 EST
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1992 1993 Bowman Pedro Martinez PSA 9 Rookie Dodgers Red Sox HOF

$8.99 (2 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday 12/06/2022 16:40:25 EST
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