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Breaking Down The Top Rookie & Prospect Cards Of 2024 Hall Of Famer Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer 2011 topps

Sometimes, things work out the way they’re supposed to. A team drafts the star of the local high school with the 1st overall pick in the draft.

The player quickly rises through the minors and plays for 15 years, leading them to the playoffs four times. Along the way, the player puts together a career that is Hall of Fame worthy.

That is the story of Joe Mauer and the Minnesota Twins. But who is Mauer? What are his Hall of Fame credentials? And what are his rookie cards? And what other early career cards are worth chasing?

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Who is Joe Mauer?

As mentioned above, Mauer was taken 1st overall by his hometown Minnesota Twins in 2001. By 2004, as a 21-year-old, he was in the big leagues. He’d remain a mainstay of the Twins for 15 seasons.

For his first 10 big league seasons, Joe Mauer was a catcher, and a very good one at that. He won 3 Gold Glove awards behind the dish, and hit like few catchers before or since. During his days behind the plate, he made 6 All-Star teams, won 5 Silver Slugger awards, and 3 batting titles. One of those batting titles came in his monster 2009 season, when he put up a line of .365/.444/.587 while hitting 28 home runs, and winning the American League MVP Award.

Concussions pushed Mauer to first base after he turned 30, and sapped some of his offensive might, but he still put up 10.6 WAR during the last five years of his career. Overall, Mauer hit .306/.388/.439, for his career, good for an OPS of .827 and OPS+ of 124. While some of his counting stats look a bit light, that’s par for the course for catchers. According to Baseball Reference, Joe Mauer racked up 55.2 WAR during his career.

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Joe Mauer and the Hall of Fame

Joe Mauer will become eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame election, with voting taking place in December of 2023 and the results announced in January of 2024.

His 55.2 career WAR ranks 9th all-time for catchers. All eight catchers ahead of Mauer on the list are already enshrined in Cooperstown. The three catchers immediately below him are also in the Hall. The average WAR for a Hall of Fame catcher is 53.6. Mauer exceeds this average, which is skewed somewhat higher than the mean by Johnny Bench’s 75.1 and Gary Carter’s 70.1 career totals.

So, will Mauer make the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. Will he make it in his first year of eligibility? That’s a bit less clear. Between returning players and fellow new candidate Adrian Beltre, it might be tight in year one.

Where Beltre is a near lock to be elected and should get 90%+ of the vote, Mauer may just miss in year one. Some look at his lower counting numbers and the less productive end of his career as dings on Mauer’s Hall of Fame case, which will cost him some votes. I still expect him to get elected in 2024, probably with a total just over the 75% required for election.

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The Top 10 Best Joe Mauer Rookie Cards

Joe Mauer’s rookie cards appeared in 2002, just a year after he was taken #1 overall in the draft. There are a wide variety of price points and designs to choose from. Also, note that many of these have rarer parallel versions available for an even tougher chase.

Overall, the story here is fairly low total PSA populations across the board, with reasonable PSA 10 percentages. Despite this, prices are still quite reasonable, in my opinion, for 20+ year-old rookie cards of a future Hall of Famer.

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The mainstream Joe Mauer rookie baseball cards

The most populous of the Joe Mauer rookie cards is the 2002 Topps offering. Despite the higher (but far from high) population count, they still are strong sellers in the $150-250 range. There are Home Team Advantage and Topps Limited (Tiffany) versions as well that are tougher to find.

The 2002 Bowman offering is another popular option. The PSA population is significantly lower than the Topps offering, and the card sells at a bit of a premium because of this. Vintage fans will enjoy the 2022 Bowman Heritage card, which has a total pop of only 107 but sells for $85-150 in a PSA 10 slab, which feels like a very good value.

Another vintage-themed offering is the 2002 Topps 206. Again, it’s a low population count but a PSA 10 can be had in the $180-200 range. Mauer appears later in the set on card #400, which is short-printed, and presents a challenge to pull, with only 14 copies graded by PSA (4 PSA 10s).

The high end and deep cuts of Joe Mauer rookie cards

The premium offering is 2002 Topps Chrome. With a high chrome finish and only 215 copies graded by PSA, it’s a strong seller in the $350 range. 2002 Topps Gold Label offers other high-gloss premium offering, again with low PSA populations but a price point that isn’t unreasonable.

2002 Topps Gallery and 2002 Topps Pristine offer two deeper cuts. While these have low population counts, they have a bit less demand keeping prices in check. Not a bad choice if you want to grab a less popular Mauer rookie card on a budget.

The 2002 Topps Total is an interesting offering. A low-cost product with a massive checklist, buying these to try to pull a Mauer would be a challenge, given the checklist size. Only 34 copies have been graded by PSA, with no recent comps. A cool option to consider if you come across one.

Considering the low population points, the price points for all of these feel reasonable. If you’re happy with PSA 9s, the prices get even more affordable. While these are unlikely to see huge increases even when Mauer gets elected, a little jump and then incremental value increases over time would not be unreasonable to expect.

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CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2002 Bowman Joe Mauer #379454PSA 10 = 104PSA 10 = $400
2002 Bowman Heritage Joe Mauer #238107PSA 10 = 27PSA 10 = $85-150
2002 Topps Joe Mauer #622822PSA 10 = 185PSA 10 = $150-250
2002 Topps 206 Joe Mauer #271121PSA 10 = 33PSA 10 = $180-200
2002 Topps 206 Joe Mauer #40014PSA 10 = 4PSA 10 = NA
2002 Topps Chrome Joe Mauer #622215PSA 10 = 55PSA 10 = $350-360
2002 Topps Gallery Joe Mauer #186155PSA 10 = 83PSA 10 = $100
2002 Topps Gold Label Joe Mauer #164133PSA 10 = 44PSA 10 = $200-250
2002 Topps Pristine Joe Mauer #151210PSA 10 = 146PSA 10 = $75-150
2002 Topps Total Joe Mauer #134PSA 10 = 12PSA 10 = NA

Joe Mauer Rookie Autographs

If you’re looking for higher price points and tougher chases, or just love a little rookie ink, Joe Mauer rookie year autographs are a great option.

The story here is again, low PSA population numbers, as these are tough pulls. They really are some great-looking signed cards, though. If you’re a big Mauer fan and your budget allows these would be a great addition to any collection.

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CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2002 Bowman Chrome Joe Mauer #391205PSA 10 = 11PSA 10 = $325
2002 Bowman Heritage Autographs Joe Mauer #BHA-JM73PSA 10 = 21PSA 10 = $500-700
2002 Bowman’s Best Joe Mauer #11089PSA 9 = 26PSA 9 = $100-150
2002 Topps 206 Autographs Joe Mauer #TA-JM54PSA 10 = 12PSA 10 = $825

Joe Mauer prospect & minor league cards

Despite having rookie cards in his second professional season, Mauer appears on a good number of minor league and prospect cards early in his career. While not necessarily tough to find, there don’t seem to be any comps in PSA 10 slabs (or any other PSA slabs, for that matter).

2001

Grandstand went all in on Mauer in 2001. He appears in a variety of sets including the 2001 Grandstand Appalachian League Top Prospects and 2001 Grandstand Appalachian League Top Prospects Update. He also appeared in the team set for his rookie ball team that year, the 2001 Grandstand Elizabethton Twins. With over 150 graded copies, this is the most populous card in this category.

Grandstand then doubled down again, releasing the 2001 Grandstand Elizabethton Twins Update set, which consisted of 10 more Mauer cards. PSA has graded 600 total cards from the set, with over 400 in PSA 10 slabs. I recently bought a set of these off eBay for a crazy low price of $9.62 delivered. 9 of the 10 cards looked gradable to me, so I subbed them on a $15 PSA special. They came back with 5 PSA 10’s and 4 PSA 9’s. I think it’s clear I got some good value out of that particular endeavor.

Mauer also appeared in the underrated 2001 Upper Deck Minors Centennial set in 2001. Fewer than 100 copies have been graded by PSA.

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2002 & Beyond

Mauer appeared in another Grandstand minor league set, 2002 Grandstand Quad City River Bandits. PSA has graded only 4 copies of the Mauer card, all of which are PSA 10s. Two of them reside in my collection. Those four copies are high compared to the 2002 Just Prospects set, from which only 1 Mauer has been graded by PSA (as far as I could find in the registry). I’m not sure what the story is there!

The 2002 Upper Deck Minor League set, another underrated set, also has a couple of Mauer cards that are very low pop.

Mauer continued to appear on a few minor league cards in 2003 as well, which are tough to find as well. If you’re looking for early career post-rookie cards Mauer has a lot of great looking 2003 and 2004 cards that are very reasonably priced to consider.

CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
2001 Grandstand Appalachian League Top Prospects Joe Mauer #NNO77PSA 10 = 32PSA 10 = NA
2001 Grandstand Appalachian League Top Prospects Update Joe Mauer #NNO13PSA 10 = 6PSA 10 = NA
2001 Grandstand Elizabethton Twins Joe Mauer #7156PSA 10 = 81PSA 10 = NA
2001 Grandstand Elizabethton Twins Update Joe Mauer #377PSA 10 = 53PSA 10 = NA
2001 Upper Deck Minors Centennial Joe Mauer #193PSA 10 = 28PSA 10 = NA
2002 Grandstand Quad City River Bandits Joe Mauer #NNO4PSA 10 = 4PSA 10 = NA
2002 Just Prospects Joe Mauer #211PSA 10 = 1PSA 10 = NA
2002 Upper Deck Minor League Joe Mauer #1885PSA 9 = 3PSA 9 = NA

Final thoughts on Joe Mauer’s best rookie & prospect cards

Joe Mauer had an amazing career for his hometown team, one which should see him enshrined in Cooperstown with a Twins hat on his plaque. Whether that is in 2024 or in the near future remains to be seen.

Mauer’s rookie cards are just over 20 years old, making them modern, but maybe also vintage. The PSA populations for most of his early career cards are surprisingly low for a player of his caliber, but prices remain reasonable. Now would appear to be a good time to snap up some Mauer rookie cards before Hall of Fame season starts in earnest this fall.

What do you think of Mauer’s Hall of Fame chances this year? What’s your favorite Joe Mauer rookie card? Tell us all about it at card_lines on X (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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