CSG Certifies High-grade 1982 Topps Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie Card

Posted on 4/5/2023

The Iron Man still holds the record for most consecutive games played in MLB history, with 2,632.

Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®) has certified a high-grade example of one of baseball icon Cal Ripken Jr.'s rookie cards, which is rarely seen in near-perfect condition like this example. The 1982 Topps #21 Orioles Future Stars Bob Bonner/Cal Ripken/Jeff Schneider features three rookie teammates, and it earned a grade of CSG Gem Mint 10. It is one of only four recognized rookie cards of Ripken and is one of the toughest to find in excellent condition four decades after its release.

1982 Topps #21 'Orioles Future Stars' Bob Bonner/Cal Ripken/Jeff Schneider graded CSG Gem Mint 10
Click images to enlarge.

This is one of two cards from Ripken's rookie season that are in the 1982 Topps baseball set. The enormous 792-card set from that year was the largest offering Topps had ever produced (at the time). Among an extensive list of regular issue cards of players from across the MLB were rookie cards and American League and National League leaders subsets. However, the highlight of the huge set is the Topps #21 rookie card highlighting Ripken and his teammates.

On the horizontal card, Ripken was placed in between the other two Orioles rookies. Since there were three players, there wasn't enough room on the back for their statistics. So, only the card number, team and the players' personal information are displayed there.

Although neither Bonner nor Schneider lived up to their 'Future Stars' billing, Ripken went on to become an all-time great, earning the nickname "Iron Man." Over 21 seasons, all in Baltimore, Ripken played consistently great baseball and practically never missed a game. He was selected to the All-Star team 19 times, earned two AL MVP Awards (1983, 1991) and won two Gold Glove Awards (1991, 1992) during his amazing career. Ripken ended his MLB tenure with 3,184 hits, 431 home runs and 1,695 RBIs.

Ripken also broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak, which no one thought was possible. Yet, 56 years after Gehrig set the mark with 2,130 games played in a row, Ripken would break the decades-old record and far surpass it with 2,632 consecutive games played. Ripken retired in 2001 and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. In what was his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility, Ripken received 98.53% of possible votes, which was the sixth-highest election percentage ever.

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