Most Valuable Frank Thomas Cards
As a football and baseball standout from Columbus High School in Columbus, Ohio, Frank Thomas was destined for greatness. Thomas carried his high school baseball team to a state championship his senior year, where he later waited to be selected in the 1986 Amateur Draft. Because Thomas's name was never called, he enrolled at Auburn University. As a college baseball player, Frank Thomas put up numbers at Auburn where he would no longer go unrecognized. Frank Thomas was selected as the 7th overall pick in the first round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. While Thomas began his career in the minor leagues, he was quickly called up to the White Sox, where he converted into the everyday first baseman.
Frank Thomas was a five-time All-Star, including a four-time Silver Slugger. He was awarded the American League Most Valuable Player in both the 1993 and 1994 season and became only the 21st player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs. As one of his most extraordinary feats, Frank Thomas became the first player in MLB history with seven consecutive seasons while accumulating 100 RBIs, 100 walks, 20 home runs, while batting over .300.
Frank Thomas remains one of the greatest hitters ever to play the game, where he was one of the most feared players in the batter's box. The influence of Frank Thomas on America's Pastime has correlated with the value of his baseball cards. Taking into account baseball hobbyists desire for acquiring The Big Hurt's sought-after collection, listed below are the most valuable Frank Thomas cards:
1997 Flair Showcase Frank Thomas Legacy Collection - Row 0 #35
Recent sale: $360
1997 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection stars Frank Thomas Row 0 card, which is categorized as Showcase Showpiece, highlighted by the glove icon on the bottom right of the reverse of the card. Because Frank Thomas is starred here in the Legacy Collection, his card is emphasized with a reflective blue foil on both the front and back of the card.
While 1997 Flair shares Frank Thomas had 26 intentional walks in 1996, he ranks as having the 36th most intentional walks in MLB history with 168. Although mainly perceived as a DH, Frank Thomas won a Silver Slugger Award for two different positions on two occasions. In 1993 and 1994, he won the award for 1B, and in 1991 and 2000, he won the Silver Slugger as a DH. Frank Thomas's 1996 season emphasizes his second-highest Batting Average with .349.
Frank Thomas's card from 1997 Flair Showcase Legacy Collection is exceptionally rare, illustrated by the population figures from both PSA and BGS, where they have this card graded a combined total of five times. 1997 Flair Showcase that highlights Frank Thomas has been submitted to PSA three times, where none merited a PSA 10, and just two of them received a PSA 9. From the two hobbyists who preferred to present this Frank Thomas card to BGS, only one card warranted a BGS 9.5. Despite being the least valuable Frank Thomas card on the list, it remains one of his rarest cards.
2000 Skybox E-X Frank Thomas E-Xceptional Blue #15XC #'d/250
Recent sale: $371
2000 Skybox was designed by Fleer/Skybox that features a 90 card set where every card was printed on glossy white card stock. E-Xceptional Blue cards were issued in 1 of every 288 packs. The front of the card highlights Frank Thomas as a member of the Chicago White Sox that emphasizes the teams' black and white colors and a holographic design.
Frank Thomas earned the support of the Chicago White Sox fans by his play on the field and his generosity off the field. Thomas learned how to play baseball at the Boys & Girls Club of America as a child and has continued to give back. He also established the Frank Thomas Charitable Foundation and awards scholarships to prospective students at Illinois University.
Frank Thomas set various career highs in the 2000 season that featured his highest RBI production with 143, most runs scored with 115, and his highest number of hits in a single season with 191.
2000 Skybox featuring Frank Thomas is deeply cherished, and collectors are always keeping an eye out for this card to surface. While 14% of all the cards graded have earned a PSA/BGS 10, that figure represents only one card since 2000 Skybox debuted 20 years ago. The demand for this Frank Thomas card becomes more significant each year as few have emerged, revealing the significance of this card.
2018 Topps Luminaries Frank Thomas Hit Kings Autograph Relics #HKARFT
Recent sale: $383
2018 Topps Luminaries was released in September of 2018, 10 years after Frank Thomas' last game in the majors. 2018 Topps Luminaries illustrates an autographed Frank Thomas card, in the "Hit Kings" series. "Hit Kings" is the perfect phrase for Frank Thomas, where he is tied for the 20th most home runs in MLB history with 521.
While the card cites Frank Thomas as having the 4th most hits in Chicago White Sox history with 2,468, he currently has the 108th most hits in MLB history. On top of his home run achievements and the massive number of hits he posted, Thomas also excelled with a superb batting average throughout his career. He was a lifetime .301 hitter, with .353 being his highest batting average in the 1994 season, where he went on to win his second consecutive MVP award.
2018 Topps highlights a fresh concept, where there is just one card per box, with only 15 of each card produced. The remarkably low print run demonstrates why we haven't seen any cards pass through PSA, and only one card analyzed by BGS. While the lone card that passed through BGS warranted a BGS 9.5, we could see a few more 2018 Topps Luminaries featuring Frank Thomas in the upcoming years that could achieve a higher grade.
2000 Skybox Frank Thomas Star Rubies Extreme #109
Recent sale: $460
Released in May of 2000, Frank Thomas is starred in 2000 Skybox swinging for the fences. Skybox issued this 250 card base set in 10 card packs, with 24 packs in each box. The Star Ruby Extreme series presents red foil on the card's face and was serial numbered from 1 to 50, signified by the SRE under the 109 card number.
Thomas owned a subdued bat in the 1999 season, where many skeptics began writing him off. Frank Thomas had other ideas and rebounded with a monstrous follow-up season, where he posted career highs in both home runs (43) and RBIs (143). Frank Thomas would barely lose the 2000 MVP race to Jason Giambi, who put up nearly identical numbers. Frank Thomas captured the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award in the 2000 season coming off his struggling 1999 season.
Like 2018 Topps Luminaries, hobbyists are longing to possess the first PSA or BGS 10 featuring Frank Thomas from 2000 Skybox. Because of the low print run, collectors have had a tough time coming across this card. PSA has shown no data of this card yet, with BGS grading only one, where it earned a BGS 9.5. While 2018 Topps Luminaries was released just a few years ago, 2000 Skybox was released 20 years ago, so the chances of coming across this Frank Thomas Star Rubies Extreme card become slimmer each year.
1990 Score Traded Frank Thomas #86T
Recent sale: $500
1990 Score Traded pictured Frank Thomas playing at first base for the Chicago White Sox in his rookie season. Frank Thomas was the headline of this 1990 Score Traded set, which displays a comprehensive reverse, which presents a considerable photo of him while sharing a ton of information about him as a player, including a scouting report of his potential in the big leagues.
Frank Thomas is the only Auburn player to win the Triple Crown twice while posting a .722 slugging percentage and .527 on-base average, which remains the best in school history. Thomas also ranks in the top 5 of home runs, RBIs, and extra-base hits. After briefly playing in the minor league system in 1989, Frank Thomas was called up to the majors on August 2, 1990.
The condition sensitivity of Frank Thomas 1990 Score Traded cards is much more apparent with BGS than PSA. Collectors have submitted this Frank Thomas card from 1990 Score Traded to PSA a massive 1,849 times, with 636 earning a PSA 10, which depicts that 1 in every 2.9 cards have received a PSA 10. However, BGS shares a different story, where 579 cards have been graded, but just eight cards earned a BGS 10. These figures reveal that 1 in every 72 Frank Thomas cards examined by BGS from 1990 Score Traded has obtained a BGS 10. Overall, 27% of 1990 Score Traded that feature Frank Thomas has earned a PSA/BGS 10.
1990 Bowman Tiffany Frank Thomas #320
Recent sale: $500
1990 Bowman was released as a 528 card set that highlighted Frank Thomas card as a Tiffany, which increases the value of Frank Thomas card due to the more alluring white card stock and glossy finish. The print run for Frank Thomas 1990 Bowman Tiffany card is recognized as 10,000.
1990 Bowman exhibits none of Frank Thomas's stats, but that would soon change, as Thomas exploded onto the MLB scene. Frank Thomas's first career hit was a triple; however, he would post just 12 throughout his 19 year MLB career. Thomas would post a .330 batting average over his first 60 career games in the majors.
From the start of Frank Thomas's career, he would use a steel bar as his warmup in the on-deck circle, which was over 3 feet long and weighed over 7 pounds. To put this into perspective, the heaviest MLB donuts weigh 28 oz, and the heaviest bat tops out at 36 oz, which comes to 4 pounds, whereas Frank Thomas was swinging a 7 pounds steel rod.
1990 Bowman Tiffany depicts one of the more condition sensitive Frank Thomas cards. PSA has graded this card on 961 occasions, with 102 obtaining a PSA 10. The figures from BGS signify that this card is even more condition sensitive, where 106 cards have been graded, including just two receiving a BGS 10. These numbers represent that the likelihood of earning a PSA 10 is 10%, whereas achieving a BGS 10 is only 2%.
1990 Procards Glossy Frank Thomas #818
Recent sale: $566
Frank Thomas is presented playing with the Birmingham Barons in this 1990 Procards Glossy card. The Chicago White Sox drafted Frank Thomas with the 7th overall pick in the 1st round of the 1989 draft, where he soon signed with the White Sox for $175,000. Heading into the 1990 season, Frank Thomas was ranked as the #29 prospect by Baseball America.
The Barons were Thomas's last stop in the minor league system before being called up to the majors by the Chicago White Sox in the 1990 season. In 109 games with the Barons, Thomas hit .323 with 18 HRs and 71 RBIs. Thomas had an OBP of .487 in 1990 with the Barons, which marks the highest OBP in his professional career along with his 1994 season with the White Sox when he won his second consecutive MVP award.
1990 Procards Glossy is one of Frank Thomas's most condition sensitive cards, highlighted by BGS having no record of this card in their population report. There have been 72 cards graded by PSA, where only six cards earned a PSA 10, which represents just 8% of all graded cards. The value of this card featuring Frank Thomas with the Birmingham Barons strengthens considerably by the year.
1993 Topps Finest Frank Thomas Refractor #102
Recent sale: $600
Referred to this as one of the most significant modern baseball card sets, 1993 Topps Finest is a 199 card set, with Frank Thomas's card estimated at only 142 in existence. The majority of 1993 Topps Finest cards of the set were star players that reveal the first known refractor cards. Despite the card's lamination, centering issues and scratches on the front of the card have caused many problems with receiving it in a high grade.
Frank Thomas dominated as a first baseman while keeping his name in the AL MVP race for the 2nd straight season, where he would eventually finish 8th. Frank Thomas posted the most doubles in his career in 1992 with 46.
1993 Topps Finest is slightly more condition sensitive than 1990 Bowman Tiffany. With 282 cards graded by PSA, earning a PSA 10 is expressed as every 1 in every 10 cards. BGS has graded significantly fewer cards than PSA at 30; however, both grading companies have awarded the top grade at a 10% clip. Some collectors have gone as far as to say that 1993 Topps Finest may be harder to collect than numerous vintage sets due to the high popularity of collectors interested in the series and the low print run of 241 of each refractor. Frank Thomas's prominence should anticipate this 1993 Finest card to soar in value.
1992 Donruss Elite Frank Thomas #18
Recent sale: $600
Donruss made adjustments to their approach and shared innovative ideas with their 1992 Donruss series. They enhanced their aesthetics, printed their cards on a higher quality card stock, presented new inserts, and offered packaging that made it more complicated to be tampered with, which later grew into an industry standard.
Donruss advertised this Frank Thomas card as a limited release, however, in the modern card collecting world, having 1 of 10,000 isn't regarded as limited. 1992 Donruss also advertised a puzzle piece of Hall of Famer Rad Carew in each pack, with 21 pieces to complete it.
The elite series only represented the top players in the game, which only starred ten players, including Ken Griffey Jr. and the late Tony Gwynn. When the series came out, the Elite Series was the most sought after of the whole series, with the Frank Thomas card being the prime card of the set.
Hobbyists have presented this card to PSA on 189 occurrences, where a substantial 20% of collectors have received a PSA 10. In contrast, BGS has graded 81 cards; however, collectors are still anticipating to become the first to obtain a BGS 10. The improvements Donruss made with their 1992 series has made an impact, as this Frank Thomas card continues to hold interest.
1997 Pinnacle Home/Away Frank Thomas Home #8
Recent sale: $650
Released as a 200 card set in February of 1997, Pinnacle presented a refreshing segment called Home/Away. The Home/Away series starred 12 of the top players in the game, each featured in their Home and Away jersey. This 1997 Pinnacle card showcases Frank Thomas in his Chicago White Sox home uniform.
Comiskey Park, the home of the Chicago White Sox, opened in 1991, which was Frank Thomas' first season with the franchise. The first Chicago White Sox home run in Comiskey Park in 1991 came off the bat of Frank Thomas. In his first full season in the majors, Frank Thomas hit .318 with 104 runs, 32 home runs, and 109 RBIs. He also led the American League in walks with 138. The 138 walks were the most Thomas had in a single season in his career. Thomas's 138 walks in 1991 place him as the 31st most walked player in a single season in MLB history.
1997 Pinnacle Home/Away starring Frank Thomas is one of his rarest cards, with only two cards passing through PSA. As of today, BGS has yet to acquire this scarce Frank Thomas card that was issued over 23 years ago. With a population of two for this Frank Thomas card that was distributed years ago, the likelihood of this card surfacing is extremely slight.
1987 Baseball USA Frank Thomas Pan-Am Games Blue #36
Recent sale: $1,195
While penned into the Auburn University record book, this 1987 Baseball USA Pan-AM card highlights Frank Thomas as a part of Team USA. 1987 Baseball issued this Frank Thomas card in this 35 card set, along with Team USA teammates, Tino Martinez and Jim Abbott.
1987 Baseball emphasizes Frank Thomas 1987 stats from Auburn University, where Thomas won the triple crown twice and remained the only player from Auburn to do so on two occasions. Over his three seasons on the Auburn Tigers, Frank Thomas led the way in both home runs and RBIs. Thomas led the SEC in batting average in 1988 while hitting .385 and .403 in 1989. He was a member of the All-SEC team in each of his three seasons with the team. Thomas also became only the second player from Auburn ever drafted in the 1st round of the MLB Draft.
The population report from PSA shares that 195 cards have crossed through their grading service, with only 12 earning a PSA 10, which lands at just 6%. The BGS population report represents 86 such cards graded, with none deserving higher than a BGS 9.5. Ranking as the second most condition sensitive Frank Thomas card, 1987 Baseball is one of his most memorable and rare cards, where it has remained quite costly.
1997 Topps Finest Embossed Gold Die-Cut Frank Thomas Refractor #160
Recent sale: $1,214
1997 Topps released this 350 card set among two series throughout the collection that each presented 175 cards. Frank Thomas's card features an embossed front, with a refractor finish, that is profoundly sought after by collectors.
It is estimated that there may only be between 25 and 40 of each card in the 1997 Finest Embossed Gold Die-cut series, where Frank Thomas card was only inserted in 1 of every 1,152 packs. The scalloped edged designed from 1997 Topps was an uncommon sight in the collecting world.
Frank Thomas 1996 season features his 2nd most RBI in a single season throughout his career with 134. The 1996 season also features Frank Thomas 2nd highest batting average in a season where he hit .349. Additionally, Frank Thomas was an All-Star in the 1996 season.
With the perception that there are between 25 and 40 cards from 1997 Topps Finest Embossed Gold Die-Cut Refractor for each player, there have been seven Frank Thomas cards submitted for grading between PSA and BGS since the series released in 1997. There has been a respectable 14% likelihood of submitting this card and earning a top grade; however, that signifies just a single card. As each year passes, the chances of encountering this card become narrower, as this Frank Thomas card is most likely stored in private sports collections. Because of this Frank Thomas card's rarity, few collectors have seized hold of this masterpiece.
1998 Donruss Preferred Frank Thomas Precious Metals #2
Recent sale: $1,230
1990 Donruss showcases a 200 card set recognized for the brand's packaging with the appearance of collector tins. Of the 200 cards in the set, 30 were signified as Precious Metals, where there are only 50 copies of each card. Collectors have been fascinated by the precious metals collection of the series, where Frank Thomas's card 1998 Donruss card features 1 gram of genuine platinum.
At the age of 30, Frank Thomas's 1998 season was certainly a year to forget. Over Thomas 19 year career, he averaged .301, but in his 1998 season, his average plunged to .265. On a positive note, Frank Thomas's 1998 season tied a career-high with 160 games played while having the most at-bats in his career in a season with 585 and plate appearances with 712. Additionally, Thomas stole the most bases in 1998 with 7, where he only produced 32 SB over his 19-year career.
While 17% of this 1998 Donruss Preferred Frank Thomas card have earned a PSA/BGS 10, this represents one card of the six graded cards since it was released in 1998. Because there are only 50 copies of this card in existence, collectors are keen to acquire it when one reaches the market. The current price for 1 gram of platinum is $31.06, which is of value in itself, but this Frank Thomas card is worth more than 1 oz of platinum or 30 times the price of 1 gram of platinum.
1990 Topps Tiffany Frank Thomas #414
Recent sale: $2,247
Frank Thomas's third most valuable card appears from 1990 Topps Tiffany that features his rookie card. 1990 Topps issued a massive set of 792 cards; however, this Frank Thomas card is featured as a high-end Tiffany. While Topps 1990 was printed on a grey card stock and had a non-glossy finish, the Tiffany version was printed on white cardboard stock and featured a glossy finish. 1990 Topps continued their theme of stats, along with trivia surrounding each player.
This card features and highlights all of Frank Thomas's collegiate stats, where he was both an All-SEC team member for all three years, while also becoming an All-American in the 1989 season.
Frank Thomas was called up midway through the season in his rookie year with the Chicago White Sox. Frank Thomas made his debut on August 2, 1990, the first of his 15-year relationship as a Chicago White Sox. Once being called up, Thomas quickly earned the starting 1B role and didn't let go for over a decade.
1990 Topps Tiffany features Frank Thomas's third most valuable card. If you combine the population reports from both PSA and BGS, earning a PSA/BGS 10 has occurred 9% of the time. This Frank Thomas rookie card from 1990 Topps Tiffany is a treasure in any sports card collection, where the worth of the card is expected to climb.
1998 Donruss Frank Thomas Crusade Red #'d/25
Recent sale: $4,041
1998 Donruss features Frank Thomas's second most valuable card to date, which was an insert with a collaboration between Donruss, Donruss Update, Leaf, and Leaf Rookies & Stars. The series features 130 insert cards that are very tough to find and are highly sought after, where even the most active collectors have a challenging time trying to possess this card. Hobbyists demand serious capital to part with this card as there are only 25 of this Frank Thomas card ever produced.
The 1998 Donruss set features green, purple, and red versions, where the red version is the rarest. The green versions were serial-numbered to 250, purpled to 100, and red to 25. After Pinnacle purchased the Donruss brand, Pinnacle filed for bankruptcy in the summer of 1998, which interfered with the plans of continuing the plans for Crusade. 1998 Donruss Crusade Red continues to be the most sought after collection of all of the inserts from the 1990s.
1998 Donruss Crusade Red showcasing Frank Thomas has reached PSA a total of zero times since it's inception over 20 years ago and has only been graded by BGS twice. The card that earned a BGS 9.5 has demanded serious attention where there are no limits to the value of this Frank Thomas gem.
1990 Topps Tiffany Frank Thomas NNOF #414
Recent sale: $7,099
1990 Topps Tiffany NNOF features the most valuable Frank Thomas card to date. While it is also a 1990 Topps Tiffany card, this card features Frank Thomas with missing ink on his name on the front of the card, hence the phrase "No Name on Front." Because Frank Thomas's name wasn't printed on this card, it became regarded as a rare gem with exponential value. Experts have stated that a printing issue occurred with the 1990 Topps set, which created this variation of Frank Thomas's rookie card.
It took a few years before this card began to get recognized and receive mainstream attention from sports card hobbyists. There is estimated to be only 200 of this card in existence, which makes this Frank Thomas printing error quite the commodity.
1990 Topps Tiffany featuring Frank Thomas with "No Name on Front" is the most condition sensitive, as well as the most expensive Frank Thomas card. PSA's population report shares that 206 cards have been submitted with only one meriting a PSA 10. BGS's population report shares that 108 Frank Thomas "No Name on Front" cards were examined, with the highest grade obtained being a BGS 9. The 1990 Topps Tiffany printing mishap has led to the most valuable Frank Thomas card, where it will continue to surge in value.
The Big Hurt After Baseball
On July 27, 2014, Frank Thomas was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, after receiving 83.7% of the votes on his first ballot. While not being a foreigner to the Chicago White Sox, in 2016, Thomas was given a front-office role with the franchise he called home for 16 years.
Thomas has since become a FOX MLB Studio Analyst, where he is featured during pregame, and postgame shows in the regular season, including throughout the postseason and World Series. While he started the business venture in Chicago back in 1994, Frank Thomas owns a record label called W2W, which stands for "Will 2 Win." Thomas has remained active with his entrepreneurship, where he launched a beer company, titled "Big Hurt Beer."
As a Chicago White Sox legend and a Baseball Hall of Famer, along with forming a meaningful impact on the baseball world, Frank Thomas' card value will have continued growth for the ensuing years.