(Check out the rest of our posts on the 2018 Hall of Fame class here.)

Picking out the best Vladimir Guerrero rookie card — or even identifying all available Vladdy rookies — is a challenging task.

See, Guerrero came along just as the hobby was climbing out of the Junk Wax Era and trying to recover from the baseball strike of 1994 (and 1995).

That meant lower production runs in general but also a proliferation of shiny, (super) premium, expensive cards that sort of ended the long-standing collector dreams of owning one of everything.

And Guerrero himself was an unusual sort — a free-swinging bad-ball hitter who raked for both average and power, didn’t draw all that many walks, and had good speed.

He also had a cannon of an arm in right field.

In an era (now) that emphasizes plate discipline, launch angle, exit velocity, and all the rest of the modern metrics, Guerrero looks like an anachronism.

Really, he and his cards were just caught in between epochs, forced to create their own timeless footprints on the game and hobby.

Here is a quick rundown of those Vladdy rookie cards, all of them issued just as the strike-induced fog was starting to lift.

1995 Best Top 100 Albany Polecats (#80)

1995 Best Top 100 Albany Polecats vladimir guerrero

Vladimir Guerrero running right at you as a member of the Albany Polecats. What could be more old-school and hard-nosed than that?

And all for $10 or less most of the time!

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1995 Bowman (#90)

1995 bowman vladimir guerrero

This is arguably Guerrero’s “real” rookie card, as it’s the first widely available base set to show Vlad in a Major League uniform.

Over the years, this image of a young Guerrero in his batting pose has become a classic. You can find these for $10 or less in raw form, up to around $100 for PSA 10 copies.

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1995 Bowman’s Best (#2)

1995 bowmans best vladimir guerrero

Here’s where we start to get into some of the glitz and glamour of the post-strike hobby.

Bowman’s Best is all shiny and foily, and you can find fancy parallels like refractors and “blue” versions, with prices ranging from less than $20 to well into three figures.

Check the Amazon and eBay links below to explore the various versions currently available on the market.

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1995 Classic 5 Sport (#115)

1995 Classic 5 sport vladimir guerrero

Having moved on from their days as a board game manufacturer, with baseball cards thrown into the deal, Classic was casting a wide net by 1995.

Part of that net included this 5-sport offering of athletes from MLB, the NFL, NBA, NHL, and auto racing.

Guerrero shows up in a nondescript uniform and on parallels including a printer’s proof, red version, silver version, die-cut version, autographed version, and probably combinations thereof.

It’s all pretty confusing, but gives you lots of opportunities to snag another Vladdy rookie, generally for less than 20 bucks.

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1995 SP Top 10 Prospects (#7)

1995 SP Top 10 Prospects vladimir guerrero

This card features Guerrero in a cameo shot surrounded by a picture frame sorta deal. It’s hokey and irregular — and comes in a couple varieties — but, again, how can you pass up a smiling Polecats Vladdy?

Prices range from under $10 to $100 or so depending on version and grade.

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1995 SP Top Prospects (#90)

1995 SP Prospects vladimir guerrero

Not to be confused with SP Top 10 Prospects, this SP Top Prospects card shows Guerrero sitting and smiling in his Polecats uniform, and without the burgundy picture frame.

Huge difference.

Trust me.

This one also exists in autographed and promo form.

Sticker prices run up towards $300 for PSA 10 copies.

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1995 SP Top Prospects Destination The Show

1995 SP Top Prospects Destination The Show vladimir guerrero

Another Albany Polecats card, this one takes the prize for Vladimir Guerrero Rookie Card with the Longest Name.

It also seems to be relatively scarce, at least judging by the copies available for sale on eBay and at other online outlets.

The lack of available specimens is reflected in the price tag — folks are asking $200 or so for PSA 9 and around $100 for raw copies.

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1995 Upper Deck Minor League (#127)

1995 Upper Deck Minor League vladimir guerrero

The first Upper Deck card of Guerrero is a “Minor League” issue but shows him sliding in his Expos uniform.

Good looking card that you can generally find with and without the “Future Stock” designation for under $5 raw and less than $10 in PSA 9.

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(Check out the rest of our posts on the 2018 Hall of Fame class here.)

 

 

 

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