When Randy Johnson rookie cards made their debut in 1989, the hobby heaved a collective and moderate sigh, then went about our business.

Oh, Johnson was interesting, to be sure. Towering over the field at 6’10”, the Montreal Expos lefthander had spent four summers in the minor leagues terrifying hitters with his blazing fastball and “control” that had seen him walk more than seven batters per nine innings in three of those seasons.

And, considering he was already more than six months past his 25th birthday by the time the 1989 season began, Johnson’s “prospect” days were pretty much behind him.

After a late-season call-up in 1988, though, Johnson opened the new campaign with the big league Expos, making six starts and one relief appearance through the first week of May.

That stint didn’t pan out so well, though, and Johnson was sent packing to Triple-A Indianapolis with an 0-4 record and 6.67 ERA.

Whatever hopes collectors might have had for Johnson’s rookie cards dimmed as those RCs slid ever closer to the commons bin.

But then, on May 25, before he ever came back to Montreal, the Expos traded Johnson, along with Gene Harris and Brian Holman, to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Mark Langston and (later) Mike Campbell.

The Mariners gave Johnson a start against the New York Yankees on May 30, and he struck out six in six innings at Yankee Stadium to notch his first victory of the season.

Seattle manager Jim Lefebvre left Johnson in the rotation the rest of the summer, and the lefty struck out 104 batters in 131 innings, crafting a 7-9, 4.40 ERA line with the M’s.

Things were looking up, even if just a bit, and the next few seasons saw Johnson establish himself as a legitimate major league starter, albeit one who led the bigs in walks allowed every year from 1990 through 1992.

Then, a late-season confab with the legendary Nolan Ryan in 1992 brought delivery and mindset adjustments that changed the game for Johnson … and for the rest of baseball.

He struck out 18 batters in a game before the end of that 1992 campaign, then uncorked for an 19-win, 308-strikeout performance in 1993.

That was good enough for a third-place finish in the American League Cy Young Award balloting, and Johnson started to look like he just might live up to the nickname that Expos great Tim Raines had hung on him back in 1988 — “The Big Unit.”

Collectors started to take notice, too, and we started pulling his 1989 rookie cards into the hobby limelight, fitting companions to the already-blistering RCs of Seattle teammate Ken Griffey Jr.

Indeed, the Big Unit didn’t let off the gas for another 17 summers, finishing his career with 4875 strikeouts (second all-time to Ryan), nine K crowns, five Cy Young Awards, a World Series title, 10 All-Star berths, 303 victories, and on and on and on.

It was no surprise that Johnson sailed into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 2015.

And it’s also no surprise that Johnson’s rookie cards became Cooperstown-worthy in their own right along the way, and that they still loom as hobby superstars today.

As active, vivid proof of that, here are the hottest, most watched Randy Johnson rookie cards on eBay right now. This list is updated every few minutes, too, so check back often!

Also: Check out the rest of our series listing the Hottest Baseball Cards on eBay.

(NOTE: The section below contains affiliate links to eBay listings for the card shown.)

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1989 Topps Tiffany Rookie Card #647 Randy Johnson PSA 9 MINT Baseball RC HOF

Watchers: 31  
# of Bids: 9
Current Bid: $155.5
Auction Ends: 27-Feb-2024 02:02
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17 Card Lot 1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson RC Rookie PSA 8 HOF Investor Grading

Watchers: 16  
# of Bids: 3
Current Bid: $4.25
Auction Ends: 06-Mar-2024 02:03
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10 Baseball Card Lot Including PSA GRADED Randy Johnson Griffey Gwynn Rookie +

Watchers: 10  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $40
Auction Ends: 28-Feb-2024 01:02
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1989 Donruss Randy Johnson Rookie Card RC #42 GMA 10 GEM MINT Expos

Watchers: 8  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $4.25
Auction Ends: 26-Feb-2024 20:02
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THREE 1989 Topps Unopen Wax Box 36 Packs Sealed GREAT rookie cards MUST HAVE!!!

Watchers: 5  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $35.99
Auction Ends: 26-Feb-2024 22:02
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Huge Lot of ~3000 Baseball Cards Medium Flat Rate Box HOFers RCs Auto Ball LOOK!

Watchers: 5  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $0.99
Auction Ends: 03-Mar-2024 23:03
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1989 Fleer Randy Johnson Rookie Card RC #381 SGC 96 MINT 9 Expos

Watchers: 5  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $5.55
Auction Ends: 29-Feb-2024 03:02
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1989 Topps Randy Johnson #57T Seattle Mariners Baseball Cards (2) Rookie RC HOF

Watchers: 4  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $9.99
Auction Ends: 28-Feb-2024 00:02
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PSA 8 NR MINT BASEBALL CARD 1989 FLEER UPDATE RANDY JOHNSON ROOKIE MARINERS HOF

Watchers: 4  
# of Bids: 7
Current Bid: $5.5
Auction Ends: 27-Feb-2024 23:02
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1989 Topps Traded Randy Johnson Tiffany Rookie Card RC #57T Mariners

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $3.95
Auction Ends: 02-Mar-2024 18:03
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340 Card Vintage Baseball Bulk Lot LOADED w/ HOFer RCs Estate Find!!!

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $499.99
Auction Ends: 06-Mar-2024 03:03
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1989 Official Topps Baseball Cards Complete Set of 792 Cards New Open Box

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $0.99
Auction Ends: 02-Mar-2024 20:03
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1989 Fleer Randy Johnson Blacked Out Ad Graded Rookie Card RC #381 UCZ 9.5 Expos

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $0.99
Auction Ends: 02-Mar-2024 19:03
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1970s-80s-90s Baseball Card Lot (54) HOFers/RCs/Tiffany! Ryan, Griffey! Look!

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $4.25
Auction Ends: 03-Mar-2024 01:03
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Randy Johnson - 1989 Topps Big #287 Rookie Card RC 🔥

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $25
Auction Ends: 27-Feb-2024 21:02
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1989 Fleer MLB Baseball Cello Box 24 Sealed Packs, 36 Cards Per Pack, Orig Owner

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $94.99
Auction Ends: 02-Mar-2024 01:03
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1988 CMC Randy Johnson Rookie Card - RC - MLB HOF - SGC 8.5 !!!

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $79
Auction Ends: 03-Mar-2024 02:03
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1989 Fleer Baseball FACTORY SEALED Complete 660 Card Set w/ KEN GRIFFEY JR RC ⚾

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $0.99
Auction Ends: 04-Mar-2024 00:03
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Randy Johnson, 5 Card Lot - 2x Donruss RC Rated Rookie, Fleer 2x, Topps

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $1
Auction Ends: 03-Mar-2024 07:03
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1989 Fleer Randy Johnson Marlboro Ad Partially Obscured Rookie Card #381

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $1
Auction Ends: 28-Feb-2024 03:02
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1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson Rookie Card With Red Tint Marlbolo Error Card

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $0.99
Auction Ends: 02-Mar-2024 14:03
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1989 Topps Traded, Randy Johnson, #57T, Rookie Card, BGS 9 Mint

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $36.99
Auction Ends: 26-Feb-2024 21:02
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RANDY JOHNSON, PEDRO MARTINEZ, BERNIE WILLIAMS, JIM THOME ROOKIE CARDS!!!

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $0.01
Auction Ends: 02-Mar-2024 21:03
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1989 DONRUSS BASEBALL KEN GRIFFEY JR. "RATED ROOKIE" CARD #33 NM/MT

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $1.99
Auction Ends: 01-Mar-2024 01:03
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1989 Score Baseball Complete Hand Collated Mint Set Cards #1-#660 NM

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $0.99
Auction Ends: 01-Mar-2024 00:03
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