Breaking Down The Best Bo Jackson Rookie Cards
Bo Jackson was an icon who transcended sports. While his career was short, the two-sport superstar was on top of the world for a period of time.
Bo Jackson’s rookie cards remain popular with collectors and fans to this day. But what are the best Bo Jackson Rookie Cards? Join us to explore. Bo Knows…and now so will you!
What’s the big deal about Bo Jackson?
If you look at Bo Jackson’s career stat line, you’ll see he played fewer than 700 major league games, hit .250, put up a career WAR of 8.3, and made one All-Star team.
If you then realize he also played 38 NFL games, and made a Pro Bowl, you might be impressed that he was the only player ever to play in both All-Star games.
Even that, though, doesn’t begin to tell the story of Bo Jackson. He was an athlete like we may have never seen prior, and may not ever see again. Beyond that, he was a cultural phenomenon.
Bo knows baseball. Bo knows football.
Jackson was BIG (6’1, 227). He was FAST (his 4.12-second 40-yard dash remains the fastest verifiable time ever at the NFL combine). And he had an amazing arm. Plus, he hit for power (including a monster homer to lead off the 1989 All Star game). He did things nobody ever saw before.
Jackson was a human highlight reel. Whether he was throwing out a runner from the warning track, or climbing an outfield wall, or hitting a monster home run, he was must-see baseball.
And then, in the off-season, he played football….really, really well. His combination of speed and size made him an explosive player on the field, whether he was making a long touchdown run or leveling defenders.
Bo Jackson, Icon
Nike picked up on Bo’s potential to transcend sports, and made him a household name with their “Bo Knows” ad campaign. Pairing Jackson with athletes across all sports, Spike Lee, and Bo Diddley, these commercials became (and remain to this day) popular and iconic.
Even Bo’s downfall was epic. On Jan. 13, 1991 in the AFC Division playoffs, Bo was tackled and fractured and dislocated his hip. He managed to get into 23 major league games that year and hit 3 home runs. He then missed the entire 1992 season to get his hip replaced.
Shockingly, Jackson played parts of two major league seasons AFTER having his hip replaced, hitting 29 home runs in 160 games. With an artificial hip.
Top 5 Bo Jackson rookie cards
Bo Jackson baseball rookie cards appear in the 1986 update/traded sets, as he made his big league debut that September. His football rookie card appeared two years later, in 1988. Here’s a summary of Bo Jackson rookie card value.
|Card||PSA Pop||Recent Comp Grade||Recent Comp Price|
|1986 Donruss Rookies Bo Jackson #38||2,874||PSA 10 = 686||PSA 10 = $150-200|
|1986 Topps Traded Bo Jackson #50T||10,425||PSA 10 = 1,116||PSA 10 = $400-550|
|1986 Topps Traded Tiffany Bo Jackson #50T||776||PSA 9 = 37||PSA 9 = $800-900|
|1986 Jennings Southern League All-Stars Bo Jackson #13||418||PSA 10 = 62||PSA 10 = $750|
|1988 Topps Football Bo Jackson #327||9,974||PSA 10 = 552||PSA 10 = $1,000-1,300|
The 1986 Donruss Rookies and 1986 Topps Traded have either the same photo, or one pretty much the same. Both were released in small box form late in 1986. PSA has graded roughly 3 ½ times as many of the Topps card, but 24% of the 1986 Donruss card have been graded PSA 10, while only about 11% of the Topps card attained the same grade.
Of course, if you’re looking an especially low-pop option, the 1986 Topps Traded Tiffany is always a favorite – Tiffany is almost always a great choice when it comes to any junk wax era Topps rookie.
Even lower PSA pop is the 1986 Jennings Southern League All-Stars minor league issue. We’ve explored minor league cards at Cardlines before, and I think they can be a fun alternative to the bigger major league offerings.
Despite coming two years later, being in a flagship product, and having a healthy PSA pop, the 1988 Topps Football is Jackson’s highest price rookie card, especially when it comes to PSA 10s.
Bo also appears on a 1986 Sportflics Rookies card, which sells for between $90 and 115 in PSA 10 condition. That one doesn’t make our Top 5, but if you’re a fan of Sportflics, it may make your list. Here at Cardlines, we don’t judge.
A few other cool Bo Jackson baseball cards
While these aren’t rookie cards, they are Bo Jackson baseball cards that are notable for a variety of reasons.
|Card||PSA Pop||Recent Comp Grade||Recent Comp Price|
|1986 Donruss Highlights Bo Jackson #43||1,839||PSA 10 = 1,090||PSA 10 = $55-65|
|1990 Score Bo Jackson #697||11,686||PSA 10 = 2,657||PSA 10 = $200-275|
|2022 Top2022 Topps Definitive Collection Bo Jackson/Deion Sanders #DAC-JS||2||PSA 10 = 2||PSA 10 = $1,300|
1986 Donruss Highlights was a small box set that featured different key accomplishments from the season. Card #43 features Bo Jackson, for hitting the longest home run in Royals Stadium history. A shocking 1,090 of 1,839 copies (almost 60%) graded by PSA are PSA 10s.
1990 Score is the ultimate junk wax set. Card #696 is Nolan Ryan. It’s been graded 288 times by PSA. Card number #698 is Rickey Henderson. It’s been graded 81 times. Card #697 is Bo Jackson. It’s been graded 11,686 by PSA. Despite that massive PSA pop, a PSA 10 sells for $200-275.
Why? The card features an absolutely iconic photo of Jackson with his football shoulder pads and a bat.
Bo Jackson was the first athlete to excel at baseball and football at the same time. Deion Sanders was the second. On the 2022 Topps Definitive Collection card, they are paired together on a dual-autographed card. Pretty epic.
The final word on the Top Bo Jackson Rookie Cards
Bo Jackson was bigger than life, and one of the most famous athletes on the planet in the late 1980s and early 1990ss.
For a player with a relatively short career well below the Hall of Fame standard, with rookie cards in the junk wax era, Bo still demands respect from collectors.
Whether you were a fan during Bo’s heyday and want to capture a bit of that aura, or you’re just hearing about Bo Jackson for the first time, there’s a place for a Bo Jackson rookie card or two in your collection.