Random Rookie Recap: 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan / Jerry Koosman

randomrookierecapI know what you’re thinking: “Why on earth did he actually put Jerry Koosman’s name in the title. No one calls that card the Ryan/Koosman rookie.” Well, fact is Koosman wasn’t exactly John Hilton. Got me?

Whether you call this card the Ryan rookie or something 1968toppsnolanryanelse, the undeniable fact is that this is one of the greatest cards of the last two decades. No other card during the early 1990s grabbed hobby headlines like the Ryan/Koosman; at its height in popularity, this card held a $1,500 book value. At present, price guides list it at $500.

Upper Deck made splashes with the 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. release, Kevin Maas and his rookies had their 15 seconds of fame. But pound for pound, the Ryan (and Koosman) rookie is an iconic card, one that still captivates men who stopped collecting many years ago.

Over the summer as my wife and I were out hunting for bargains at garage sales, we stumbled upon an estate sale where some cards were being offered for sale. Among the cards, a 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan (and Jerry Koosman) rookie. The price tag said $500, so I laughed and looked toward a stack of not-so-interesting items, but there were a few men in their late 20s — clearly former card collectors — who stopped, starred and continued to talk about the item as if it were still the pinnacle of all cards.

I obtained my copy about three years ago for much less than the price tag affixed to that one at the estate sale. This copy is graded Very Good (3) by Beckett Grading Services — hence the blurry scan. (My scanner has a tough time scanning two- and three- dimentional items.) However, it actually arrived in my little hands one grade higher, albeit slabbed and judged by PSA. It’s no secret I am a BGS/BVG fan, so when PSA cards find their way into my collection, they’re more than likely going to be cracked and re-slabbed by Beckett, whose service I feel offers a much superior — and better looking — graded card case.

In terms of value, I probably lost about $40 in having the card re-graded, but that matters not to me as this is a personal collection item.  Ryan was not the greatest pitcher the game has ever seen, but when he was dominant, there was none better. The strikeouts numbers are tantalizing and the seven no-hitters are an amazing feat.

nd Koosman? He was a 222-game winner who racked up 2,556 strikeouts and notched a 3.36 career ERA over 19 years. I dare you to find me a better dual rookie card.

1968toppsnolanryanback

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2 Responses to “Random Rookie Recap: 1968 Topps Nolan Ryan / Jerry Koosman”

  1. very good point. Ryan was great. But thanks for pointing out Koosman was card worthy! I stopped collecting a long time ago. I probably have 20k cards. Im 26 and my little sister who’s 13 actually put em all in books for me. Pretty funny, and she had fun learning and doing it. Thanks. And God Bless. Baseball, Ryan, and the future of the sport.

  2. i have a nolan ryan/jerry koosman rookie card in mint condition. i also have a bob clemente in mint, frank robinson rookie, and johnny bench rookie. whats the best way to sell them.

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