Luis Polonia was a journeyman outfielder/designated hitter who is best known for his time with the Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Angels (then known as the California Angels), and three stints with the New York Yankees. He also played for the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, and Detroit Tigers. One major highlight of Polonia’s career was when he was traded to the Yankees by the A’s to reacquire future Hall-of-Famer Rickey Henderson. (That one worked out better for the A’s.)
Polonia was actually a very good contact hitter who didn’t strike out much and would take walks occasionally. He also had a lot of speed and stole 50 bases twice, although during his best stolen base years he also led the league in times caught stealing, as well. The one downside to Polonia was that he was not a very strong fielder. In fact, TotalZone has him at 57 runs below average on defense in his career.
But, for a guy with a .293 career batting average and 321 stolen bases, Luis Polonia was a useful player. With baseball cards, we don’t care about defense. We just want to remember his strong points. So, are Luis Polonia baseball cards worth anything?
Luis Polonia’s first baseball card is from the 1984 T&J Sportscards Madison Muskies set. It’s extremely rare. Terry Steinbach and Tim Belcher are the only other future Major Leaguers of note from that set.
An easier one to find is the team-issued 1985 Team-Issued Huntsville Stars Burger King pre-rookie card. The set is best known for its Jose Canseco card. Polonia’s card is worth between $0.50 to $0.75. It’s not worth much, but for a serious collector of pre-rookie cards of long-term Major League ballplayers, it’s worth having. Another pre-rookie card is the 1988 ProCards Tacoma Tigers #638. It’s a bit hard to find.
The more valuable Luis Polonia rookie cards are the 1988 Score Rack Pack Young Superstars #22 and the #24 card from the 1988 Topps Toys R Us Rookies Box Set. If you’re looking to collect Oakland A’s rookies, these are the ones that are probably the best to collect.
Other interesting Luis Polonia baseball cards include:
1988 CMC Tacoma Tigers #16
1993 King B Discs Square #7 (Very Oddball!)
1993 Pacific Beisbol Amigos #2 w/ Stan Javier
1993 Pacific Spanish Prism Inserts #19
1995 Pinnacle Artists Proofs #445
While not every baseball card collector will be interested in Luis Polonia cards, there are definitely those out there who would be happy to have his rookie cards and rarer oddball cards, as well. He was a good hitter at the plate and burner on the base-paths who unfortunately gave away a lot of his overall value in the outfield. While his cards aren’t necessarily great investments, they are definitely inexpensive additions to the serious team collector or rookie card collector.