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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1980s&90s STAR/HOF BASEBALL ROOKIE RC CARDS BO JACKSON MADDUX BAINES VG-EX+*YCC*

Watchers: 19  
# of Bids: 4
Current Bid: $3.58
Auction Ends: 07-Dec-2022 02:12
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1989 Topps #647 HOFer Randy Johnson PSA Gem Mint 10 Rookie Card

Watchers: 10  
# of Bids: 4
Current Bid: $4.25
Auction Ends: 06-Dec-2022 00:12
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5 Complete Sets Factory Sealed RUN Topps 1988-192 Baseball Cards Mint!

Watchers: 10  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $49.99
Auction Ends: 02-Dec-2022 15:12
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1989 DONRUSS BASEBALL BOX 36 UNOPENED PACK 540 CARD KEN GRIFFEY JR

Watchers: 8  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $4.25
Auction Ends: 02-Dec-2022 23:12
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Huge Sports Card Lot - JORDAN SHAQ KOBE NOLAN -Auto, Patch, Rookie Gold Vintage

Watchers: 8  
# of Bids: 8
Current Bid: $10.5
Auction Ends: 05-Dec-2022 03:12
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Randy Johnson Mariners 1989 Topps Traded Baseball Rookie Card #57T PSA 10

Watchers: 8  
# of Bids: 4
Current Bid: $5.5
Auction Ends: 05-Dec-2022 22:12
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1989 Fleer #381 Randy Johnson Rookie baseball card PSA9 Mint

Watchers: 6  
# of Bids: 2
Current Bid: $1.25
Auction Ends: 04-Dec-2022 16:12
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14 Card Randy Johnson 1989 Upper Deck Topps Traded Donruss Fleer Rookie card

Watchers: 6  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $10
Auction Ends: 03-Dec-2022 00:12
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Baseball card set lot 1986-1990. Griffey Jr, Maddux, Biggio, Johnson RC HOF

Watchers: 5  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $49.99
Auction Ends: 07-Dec-2022 02:12
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VINTAGE 1975 - 1989 (9 cards) Baseball Card Lot. Various players, mostly HOF

Watchers: 4  
# of Bids: 3
Current Bid: $2.25
Auction Ends: 05-Dec-2022 02:12
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20 Oneil Cruz 2022 Topps Rainbow foil 17 Topps 2 Chrome RC rookie card

Watchers: 3  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $19.99
Auction Ends: 07-Dec-2022 00:12
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Big 1980's & Up Star Hall of Fame Card Lot with Multiple Randy Johnson rookies

Watchers: 3  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $2.99
Auction Ends: 03-Dec-2022 19:12
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Lot of 27 1989 Donruss Rack Pack Baseball Cards.  Possible Griffey Jr. Rookie

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $49.99
Auction Ends: 03-Dec-2022 02:12
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1989 Fleer MLB Baseball Cello Box 24 Sealed Packs, 36 Cards Per Pack, Orig Owner

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $94.99
Auction Ends: 03-Dec-2022 01:12
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1989 Randy Johnson Topps #647 Rookie Card RC Montreal Expos HOF NM

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $0.5
Auction Ends: 03-Dec-2022 20:12
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⚾️ 1989 Topps RC RANDY JOHNSON ROOKIE CARD EXPOS #647 BIG UNIT

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $0.58
Auction Ends: 07-Dec-2022 05:12
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⚾️ 1989 Donruss RC RANDY JOHNSON ROOKIE CARD # 42 Rated Rookie Expos

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 5
Current Bid: $0.58
Auction Ends: 07-Dec-2022 05:12
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1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson Rookie Card No. 25 Montreal Expos

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 4
Current Bid: $7.5
Auction Ends: 02-Dec-2022 17:12
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Rookie Card Lot Ken Griffey Jr Bo Jackson Derek Jeter Johnson Chipper Maddux

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $9.99
Auction Ends: 04-Dec-2022 23:12
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1989 Randy Johnson Fleer Baseball Card #381

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $1
Auction Ends: 10-Dec-2022 23:12
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All 4 Randy Johnson ROOKIE cards 1989 Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Score

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $10000
Auction Ends: 07-Dec-2022 22:12
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Randy Johnson Rookie Baseball Card Lot (3) 1989 D Rookies, Topps, Fleer NM-Mt

Watchers: 2  
# of Bids: 0
Current Bid: $2.99
Auction Ends: 04-Dec-2022 01:12
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1989 Upper Deck #25 RANDY JOHNSON Montreal Expos Mariners Rookie Card HOF

Watchers: 1  
# of Bids: 1
Current Bid: $12
Auction Ends: 02-Dec-2022 22:12
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