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The Top Rookie & Early Career Cards Of Orioles Phenom Gunnar Henderson

When the arrival of promising young players helps a team with a long-suffering fan base turn things around, fans and collectors alike tend to take notice.

The Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs in 2023 before falling against eventual champions, the Texas Rangers and young third baseman Gunnar Henderson is a big part of their turnaround.

And now he’s been named 2023 AL Rookie of the Year in the first of the MLB awards to be announced in November 2023. He’s joined by Corbin Carrol, who wins the 2023 NL Rookie of the Year award.

But who is Gunnar Hernandez? And what are his best early career and rookie cards?

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Who is Gunnar Henderson?

Third baseman (and sometimes shortstop) Gunnar Henderson was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2nd round of the 2019 MLB draft. Henderson quickly shot through the minor leagues, ranking as a top 100 prospect going into the 2022 season and winning the 2022 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year.

On August 31st of that year, he made his big league debut and played in 34 late-season games, putting up a line of .259/.348/.440, good for an OPS of .788 and OPS+ of 126. He was worth 0.9 WAR across those 34 games, an impressive rate.

In 2023, at 22 years of age, Henderson has continued his success, putting up a .244/.341/.450, good for an OPS of .791 and an OPS+ of 121 through his first 91 team games (80 games played). He’s added 13 home runs and has been worth 2.4 WAR to this point.

Along with other impressive young players like Adley Rutschman, Henderson was a big part of the Orioles going from AL East basement to contention. His efforts during the 2023 campaign, led to Henderson becoming the unianimous winner for the 2023 AL Rookie of the year honors.

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How many Gunnar Henderson baseball cards are there?

According to the Trading Card Database at TCDB.com, Gunnar Henderson has appeared on 1,472 at the point of this writing. That number is sure to rise throughout 2023, as more products are released.

These include pre-draft cards, the always popular 1st Bowman, true rookie cards, and many in between.

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Gunnar Henderson 1st Bowman

Gunnar Henderson’s 1st Bowman cards came a year after he was drafted, in 2019 Bowman Draft. These include both the standard paper and chrome versions, as well as a rainbow of Refractor parallels. Autograph versions also are available.

The Chrome version has been graded nearly 1,300 times by PSA, with the vast majority of all copies receiving a PSA 10 grade. In that condition, they sell for between $50-60.

The Chrome population is significantly higher than the paper version, which has a PSA population south of 500. Despite the lower PSA population, a paper version sells for less than the Chrome, settling into the $20-40 range (with most recent sales in the neighborhood of $25).

The 1st Bowman is typically the most desirable early card of a player, and I expect nothing else with Henderson. So, if you’re looking to buy in on Henderson, these are good cards to explore (along with their related parallels).

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CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2019 Bowman Draft Gunnar Henderson #BD-22483PSA 10 = 273PSA 10 = $20-40
2019 Bowman Draft Chrome Gunnar Henderson #BDC-221,274PSA 10 = 969PSA 10 = $50-60
2019 Bowman Draft Chrome Draft Pick Autographs Gunnar Henderson #CDA-GH638PSA 10 = 296PSA 10 = $375-450

Gunnar Henderson rookie cards

After Henderson made his major league debut in late 2022, it set up 2023 as the year for his “true rookie cards”. The number of rookie cards is likely to continue to expand as the year progresses. And of course, PSA population counts will continue to rise as more cards are submitted.

The PSA populations here are all over the map, most likely because of the various release dates of the product. The 2023 Topps has been graded almost 2,000 times, while the Bowman approaches 100.

Both sell in the $25-35 range in a PSA 10 slab. The 2023 Heritage has a much lower pop that is barely into double digits, with the few recent sale examples in the $40-45 range. The 2023 Topps Finest will be one to keep an eye on once some graded examples start to sell.

While these cards are unlikely to match the price points of the 1st Bowman, they are an important collectible in a player’s early career. The lower price point offers both an opportunity to supplement your collection of 1st Bowman or to buy in more cheaply.  

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Other early Gunnar Henderson baseball cards of note

Even before being drafted, Gunnar Henderson appeared on several cards in 2018, including the 2018 Bowman Under Armour All-America Game Autograph. Even ungraded, this card sells in the $100 range.

After his 1st Bowman in 2019 and before his true rookie cards in 2023, Henderson appeared on several Bowman Prospect cards in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Generally speaking, these mid-prospect cards tend to share several qualities. They tend to have lower PSA population counts. They tend to not be in huge demand by collectors. And they tend to sell for very reasonable prices.

While these may not have huge upside, if Gunnar Henderson has a long and successful career, they likely have some room for growth.

In addition to the Bowman cards, Gunnar Henderson appeared on a number of unlicensed cards. The first being in 2018 with Leaf Metal. Leaf and Panini produced a number of Henderson cards over the next several years.

If you don’t mind the lack of logos, these open up a large number of somewhat lower-priced options for the Henderson collector.

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CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2018 Bowman Under Armour All-America Game Gunnar Henderson #UAA-10NANARAW = $100-110
2020 Bowman Chrome Prospects Gunnar Henderson #BCP-13454PSA 10 = 27PSA 10 = $15-25
2021 Bowman Chrome Prospects Gunnar Henderson #BCP-4977PSA 10 = 43PSA 10 = $15-20

Final thoughts on Gunnar Henderson’s rookie and early career cards

Gunnar Hernandez is a young player off to a very promising start to his career and a major honor to show for it. With close to 1,500 cards already available released, there’s a lot to chase. With so much variety, there’s something for every collector, but hopefully, with some help from this article, you can target some key cards.

What’s your favorite Gunnar Hernandez early career card? Do you think the Orioles will go deep into the playoffs? Let us know at card_lines on Twitter.

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More Cardlines top baseball card rookie coverage

Mike D.

Mike D

Mike D. has collected cards for over 35 years, since he bought his first pack of Topps at the corner store in 1987. His fandom,  collecting interests, and contributions to Cardlines center around baseball in general and the Baseball Hall of Fame specifically.

Mike's collecting focus is centered on graded cards, mostly rookie cards, of Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers. Lately, he's been enjoying dabbling in graded minor league cards. A collector/investor with a "buy and hold" approach, Mike takes the long-term view with his collection.
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