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A Guide To The Top Lou Gehrig Baseball Cards

lou gehrig baseball card

Lou Gehrig is one of the great vintage names from the game’s storied history. From his workmanlike consecutive game streak to his unparalleled excellence to the tragic end of his career.

Like his life and career, his cards are iconic and have been popular with collectors for nearly a century.

But who was Lou Gehrig? What are the details of his career and legacy? And what are the top Lou Gehrig baseball cards worth chasing?

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Who is Lou Gehrig?

Lou Gehrig is, quite simply, one of the most iconic players in the history of the game. Batman to Babe Ruth’s Superman, Gehrig was part of some of the great Yankees teams of the 1920s and 1930s.

Gehrig was a product of New York City and played his college ball at Columbia.  After a couple of short stints with the Yankees at ages 19 and 20 in 1923 and 1924, Gehrig took hold of first base at Yankee Stadium in a way nobody had seen before.

On June 1, 1925, Gehrig got the start at 1st base. He’d not miss another Yankees game until May 2, 1939, a staggering 2,130 consecutive games. The streak would remain the longest in baseball history until it was broken by Cal Ripken Jr. 59 years later.

Gehrig wasn’t just consistent, but he was also spectacular. For his career, he hit .340/.447/.632, good for an OPS of 1.080 and a 179 OPS+. He hit 493 home runs and drove in 1,995 runs. He was worth 113.7 WAR in his career, the highest mark among 1st baseman in history.

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Gehrig was a two-time MVP (on a team with Babe Ruth), won a hitting triple crown, a batting title, and was an All-Star 7 times. He also was a 7-time World Champion during the Yankees’ first dynasty.

Lou Gehrig’s career numbers may have been even loftier, but unfortunately, it was not to be. Gehrig put up a strong 1938 season at age 35, but clearly wasn’t right over the 2nd half of the season.

He came back for the start of the 1939 season but struggled mightily in limited time in April. On May 2nd, he removed himself from the lineup before the game, ending his record consecutive game streak. He’d never play another game.

Gehrig was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a rare neuromuscular disease that became known as Lou Gehrig’s disease in the popular consciousness.

Lou Gehrig’s Legacy and Lou Gehrig Day

Lou Gehrig played his final game on April 30, 1939, at 35 years old. It was quickly evident that his illness would end his career and potentially his life. On July 4, 1939, the New York Yankees held Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium.

On that day, Lou Gehrig got one more moment in the sun and gave his famous “Luckiest Man Alive” speech. Gehrig’s story and the famous speech are recreated in the film “Pride of the Yankees,” with Gary Cooper playing Gehrig.

Lou Gehrig passed away on June 2nd, 1941, at the tender age of 37 years old. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame that same year as part of a special election, with the usual 5-year waiting period waived.

Since 2021, Lou Gehrig Day has been celebrated by MLB on June 2nd, the anniversary of Gehrig’s death in 1941 at only 39 years old. In addition to honoring the memory of Lou Gehrig, the day raises awareness and funding for research related to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the disease that took Gehrig’s life.

You can visit the Lou Gehrig Day at MLB.com to learn more or donate to this worthy cause.

The fact that to this day, over 80 years after Lou Gehrig passed away, the disease that took is life is still referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” is both a testament to the rarity of the disease and Gehrig’s fame and enduring popularity in the popular consciousness.

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The Top Lou Gehrig Baseball Cards

Lou Gehrig Baseball Cards

According to the Trading Card Database (TCDB.com), Lou Gehrig has appeared on a total of 5,151 cards. Of those, a scant 73 were released in during Gehrig’s lifetime.

The long history of Gehrig appearing in cards in the decades since is a testament to his status as an all-time great and collector favorite. In 2023 alone, Gehrig appeared on 164 cards, more than double what he appeared on during his lifetime.

The good news is that all those Gehrig cards mean there’s a Gehrig card for every taste and every budget. Are you able to swim in the deep end of the hobby pool and love vintage? Some of the Gehrig cards on our list below may be for you.

If you like vintage cards but aren’t in the market for cards from Gehrig’s playing days, plenty of cards produced after his playing days are now decades old and tough enough in their own right.

These include cards like the 1960 Fleer Baseball Greats, 1960 Nu-Cards Baseball Hi-Lites, 1980 Cramer Baseball Legends, and many more.

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Junk wax enthusiasts will enjoy the affordable fun of Gehrig appearances in 1987 Hygrade All-Time Greats, 1989 Swell Baseball Greats, 1991 Conlon Collection, and many others.

And for ultra-modern collectors, there are cut signatures, game-used relics, and levels upon levels of colorful parallels to chase.

The top Lou Gehrig baseball cards

So, there’s a Lou Gehrig card for every taste and every budget. But let’s look at some of the iconic, vintage cards of Gehrig that were released during his playing career.

These are old school, with many being very hard to find, and when they can be found, they go for top dollar even in low grades. In some cases, recent comps are tough to come by.

Another note: while we are giving prices for graded copies, note that with pre-war vintage the range within a grade can be significant, and collectors will pay a premium for a card with better eye appeal.

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1928 Yuengling’s Ice Cream Lou Gehrig #26

Yuengling is the longest-operating brewery in the United States, but back in 1928, during Prohibition, they had pivoted to making ice cream to stay in business.

The 1928 Yuengling’s Ice Cream set features 60 cards and measures 1-3/8” by 2-1/2”. They were included in ice cream bars and other products from several regional distributors.

The card back advertises that Babe Ruth cards can be exchanged for a free ice cream bar, and a complete set can be exchanged for a gallon of ice cream. This offer, plus thin stock and the ravages of time, make these tough to find.

PSA has graded only 48 copies of Lou Gehrig’s 1928 Yuengling’s Ice Cream card. That includes no PSA 10s, no PSA 9s, and 5 PSA 8s. Even in a PSA 1, these sell for around $3,000.  

1934 Butterfinger Lou Gehrig

1934 Butterfinger pushes the definition of what is a baseball card. The 65-card set are 7 3/4″ x 9 3/4″ and printed on thin stock, making them closer to an 8×10 photo than a traditional card.

Despite the large size, the rarity and the fact that roughly half of the set features Hall of Famers, make these very collectible.

PSA has graded only 57 total copies of the 1934 Butterfinger Gehrig.  Of those, 22 are in PSA 1 slabs. Even in that condition, they fetch $1,700-2,000. The highest graded copy is a PSA 6, with only one. There is also only one five, and two fours.

1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig #37 / 1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig #61

The follow-up to the popular 1933 Goudey release, 1934 Goudey is slightly less chased than its 1933 predecessor, but maybe the better looking of the two sets. At least the two Gehrig cards in the set feature different designs and images.

Gehrig appears on cards #37 and #61 in the set, with the latter slightly more difficult. Card #37 has been graded 1,055 by PSA, with no PSA 10s and 3 PSA 9’s. In a PSA 4 slab, these have sold recently for around $5,000.

Card #61 has been graded 858 times by PSA, with 0 PSA 10s and 4 PSA 9s. Even in a PSA 2 slab, these have sold recently for around $3,800.

1932 U.S. Caramel Lou Gehrig #26

The 1932 U.S. Caramel set is another pre-war set that is downright tough to find. If not for a small stash of these found in the late 20th century, there would likely be no higher-graded examples in existence.

PSA has only graded the Gehrig from the set a total of 99 times, with no PSA 10’s, no PSA 9s, and only 8 PSA 8s. A handful of copies in PSA 6 slabs have sold in the $21,000 to $28,000 range.

1925 Exhibits Lou Gehrig

The 1925 Exhibits sets are more postcard-sized than modern card size, with blank backs. This set represents Gehrig’s first cardboard appearance. PSA has graded a scant 44 copies of the card, with the highest graded being two PSA 6s.

Even in a PSA 2, of which only 8 exist, these sell for around $125,000 and they don’t come up for sale very often.

1933 DeLong Lou Gehrig #7

1933 DeLong was the only card set that DeLong ever produced, in direct competition with the Goudey. While the DeLong Gum Company only produced one set, they managed to produce one that is loaded with stars and are nice-looking cards. The set consists of only 24 cards but has 16 Hall of Famers.

The biggest name is Lou Gehrig. In addition to being great-looking cards, these are also tough to find. PSA has graded fewer than 250 of these total. There are no copies in PSA 9 or 10 slabs, and only eight PSA 8s. Even in a PSA 4, of which only 33 copies exist, the card sells for around $25,000.

1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #92 / 1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #160

When you think of iconic pre-war baseball cards, the 1933 Goudey set is on just about any list you’ll find. Lou Gehrig appears on two cards in the 1933 Goudey set, cards #92 and #160. Interestingly, the two cards are identical in design other than the card number.

In terms of total PSA population and overall value, card #160 has a lower pop and higher value. It also has fewer high-grade cards, with no PSA 10s and only 1 PSA 9. Meanwhile, card #92 has 1 PSA 10 and 5 PSA 9’s.

The last sale of card #92, in a PSA 3, was for around $4,000. The last sale of card #160 in a PSA was for around $3,375.

By the numbers: The top Lou Gehrig baseball cards

CardTotal PSA PopRecent Sale PopRecent Sale Price
1928 Yuengling’s Ice Cream Lou Gehrig #2648PSA 1 = 4PSA 1 = $3,000
1934 Butterfinger Lou Gehrig57PSA 1 = 22PSA 1 = $1,700-2,000
1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig #371,055PSA 4 = 127PSA 4 = $5,000
1934 Goudey Lou Gehrig #61858PSA 2 = 112PSA 2 = $3,800
1932 U.S. Caramel Lou Gehrig #2699PSA 6 = 15PSA 6 = $21,000-28,000
1925 Exhibits Lou Gehrig44PSA 2 = 8PSA 2 = $125,000
1933 DeLong Lou Gehrig #7246PSA 4 = 33PSA 4 = $25,000
1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #921,699PSA 3 = 215PSA 3 = $4,000
1933 Goudey Lou Gehrig #160956PSA 2 = 155PSA 2 = $3,375

Final thoughts on the Top Lou Gehrig Baseball Cards

Lou Gehrig is one of those icons, like Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson that transcends baseball to hold a place in the collective consciousness. Thankfully, there is a Gehrig card for just about every taste and collecting budget.

The Gehrig cards highlighted above would have taken a serious sweet tooth to collect back when released (seriously…ice cream, gum, caramel, and candy bars?) Today, they take a healthy budget, a keen eye, and patience. Cards from Gehrig’s playing days represent some of the most sought-after in the hobby.

What is your favorite Lou Gehrig card? Do you chase vintage Gehrig’s? Enjoy his appearances in modern products? Tell us about it at card_lines on Twitter.

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More Cardlines coverage of baseball’s all-time greats

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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