After decades as the St. Louis Browns, the team moved to Baltimore and became the Orioles in 1954. The team has become one of the more prominent squads in the American League, peaking in the late 1960s and the early 1980s. There have been several prominent members of the organization and their cards are highly collectible. Here are some key first-year issues for the most iconic players.
Brooks Robinson 1957 Topps
In 1955, the Baltimore Orioles signed Brooks Robinson out of a high school in Arkansas. Just a few short months later, he was in the big leagues, playing third base for the team. Robinson soon became the Baltimore-based franchise’s first-ever star.
Robinson had a long career that saw him make a total of 18 All-Star games and win a staggering 16 Gold Glove Awards. The third baseman also led the Orioles to World Series titles in 1966 and 1970. Robinson’s first card is featured in the 1957 Topps set. The card sells for around $700 in PSA 5 condition.
Jim Palmer 1966 Topps
The great Oriole teams of the late 60s and early 70s featured strong defense and solid bats. They also had Jim Palmer, the best pitcher in franchise history. He set a standard for excellence over the course of the 1970s, taking home the Cy Young Award in 1973, 1975, and 1976.
Palmer was also a great winner for the Orioles. He was a member of the World Series-winning teams of 1966, 1970, and 1983. The right-hander was easily elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. Palmer’s rookie card is included in the 1966 Topps set and can be had for $800 in PSA 8 condition.
Eddie Murray 1978 Topps
The Orioles drafted Eddie Murray out of a Los Angeles high school in 1973 and he would make it to the big leagues in 1973. An outstanding hitter, he would become the backbone of Baltimore’s lineup for the next 12 years. He was a World Series winner in 1983 and an All-Star 8 times.
Murray is one of only 7 players in league history who have notched both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. While he played for the Dodgers, Mets, and Guardians later in his career, the first baseman will always be remembered as an Oriole. Murray’s 1978 Topps rookie card goes for around $1200 in a PSA 9.
Cal Ripken Jr. 1982 Topps Traded
The Orioles selected Cal Ripken Jr. with the 48th selection of the 1978 draft. He would go on to become the most renowned player in franchise history. Ripken Jr., an MVP during both the 1983 and 1991 seasons, would change the way scouts felt about bigger shortstops.
Ripken Jr. famously broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak during the 1995 season. A true icon of the sport, the shortstop would continue his career until 2001. Many of Ripken’s rookie cards are sought after, but number one is certainly the 1982 Topps Traded card. PSA 9 copies sell for around $475.
Adley Rutschman 2019 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects
It certainly feels like it is too early to put Adley Rutschman on this type of list, but the proof is in the pudding. In his first full year in the bigs, the catcher has established himself as an All-Star and the Orioles are leading the AL East. This is exactly what Baltimore had envisioned when they made Rutschman the first overall selection of the 2019 draft.
Adley made his major league debut during the 2022 season. The catcher looks to be a mainstay in the American League and now is a good time to invest in his early cards. One of his best rookie issues is the 2019 Bowman Chrome Draft prospect cards which can be had in a PSA 10 for less than $150.