When Roberto Alomar rookie cards first hit the hobby, they weren’t necessarily the most popular pasteboards going.

This was 1988, remember, right at the dawn of the Bash Brothers — Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire had lit up the American League with their rookie home run exploits for the Oakland A’s the previous two seasons.

And they were joined by fellow big swatters like Wally Joyner, Pete Incaviglia, Ruben Sierra, Eric Davis, Kevin Mitchell, and a host of others who threatened to bring big power back to the game.

Most fans were hungry for it, too, after a decade of small ball that saw plenty of station-to-station success for teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals.

Against that backdrop of homer mania, then, Alomar was an interesting character since his father was longtime MLB denizen Sandy Alomar, but he was also a second baseman.

One who hadn’t shown a ton of power in the minors.

So … Alomar might develop into a quality Major Leaguer, but he wasn’t going to tilt the hobby on its ear.

Of course, Alomar ratcheted his game up several notches from “quality” and turned in a Hall of Fame career over the course of 17 MLB seasons.

Along the way, he built a solid hobby following, and his cards have steadily gained a hold with collectors.

Not surprisingly, that goes double (and triple and more) for Robbie’s rookie cards. In case his first-year cardboard has sneaked past you to this point, here’s the complete rundown of Alomar’s RC lineup.

1988 Donruss Rated Rookie Roberto Alomar (#34)

1988 Donruss roberto alomar

Roberto was among a wave of second-generation players who swept through the Majors during the hobby boom. It was a group would include guys like Ken Griffey Jr., Brian McRae, Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Bonds, Ed Sprague, and more.

One of those, of course, was Roberto’s brother, Sandy Alomar Jr., who took a few years to get rolling but eventually won the American League Rookie of the Year award for the Indians in 1990.

Roberto never claimed that sort of individual hardware, but he did beat Sandy to a Rated Rookie distinction by a year despite being two years younger.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1988 Donruss Baseball’s Best Roberto Alomar (#42)

1988 Donruss Baseball's Best Roberto Alomar

Roberto was pretty highly touted for a middle infielder coming up in the late 1980s, what with solid minor league performances and his solid MLB bloodlines.

Donruss seemed especially enamored of the youngster and included him everywhere they could, like their “Baseball’s Best” set.

This was a 336-card issue sold at retail outlets in complete-set form. It came out late in the season and featured orange and black borders, all of which helped it gain the nickname of the “Halloween” set.

Roberto shows up here at #42, which coincidentally just so happens to be the uniform number of a truly groundbreaking second baseman from a bygone era.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1988 Donruss The Rookies Roberto Alomar (#35)

1988 Donruss The Rookies Roberto Alomar

Yep, another 1988 Donruss card dedicated to young Mr. Alomar.

This one comes in the company’s third rendition of their “The Rookies” set — it was a full-on, unapologetic acknowledgement that the hobby was rookie crazy.

And, gosh darn it, Donruss was going to capitalize with a separate 56-card set every year. So there.

And so here — a 1988 Donruss Roberto Alomar card with blue-greenish borders.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1988 Leaf Rated Rookie Roberto Alomar (#34)

1988 Leaf Rated Rookie Roberto Alomar

This Leaf parallel is just like the 1988 Donruss base version (above), except it has the Leaf logo on front and the bilingual treatment on the back.

Both show Alomar in his original Padres uniform.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1988 Score Rookie and Traded Roberto Alomar (#105T)

1988 Score Rookie and Traded Roberto Alomar

Score, too.

As in, Score also wanted to capitalize on the rookie card craze, and they started right from the beginning of their run. Or at least the back half of the beginning of their run.

To wit, Score rolled out their inaugural Rookie and Traded set after the 1988 season, and it naturally matched the design of their base 1988 issue.

This was a 110-card set, with the first 65 cards dedicated to players with new teams, and a full 45 going to rookies — guys who hadn’t made the cut in Score’s base set for whatever reason.

Checking in at card number 105T is Roberto Alomar, at bat in his Padres pinstripes and wrapped in an orange Score border.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

1988 Topps Traded Roberto Alomar (#4T)

1988 Topps Traded Roberto Alomar

Of course, Topps was an old hat at Traded sets by the time the fall of 1988 rolled around.

After all, the grand old gum company had dabbled with “now with” designations for much of its 35-plus years in the industry, and had rolled out their first dedicated 132-card box of Traded cards in 1981.

In between, they took a couple of more limited trial runs in 1974 and 1976.

Here in 1988, Topps issued their by-then customary end-of-year set showcasing 132 traded players and rookies who made an impact in the season just passed.

Cards had the same design as the base 1988 Topps set, but card stock was creamier and brighter.

Topps ran these things in alphabetical order, so Alomar is up near the front … #4T.

This card has become a hobby classic over the years and is a must-have for any Alomar collector.

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on Amazon (affiliate link)

Want to see a video version of this article?