MLB debut tickets: From Jackie to Junior, the cllct10 ranks the 10 most valuable

After Jackson Holliday's debut this week, the cllct10 examines the most valuable debut tickets

Cover Image for MLB debut tickets: From Jackie to Junior, the cllct10 ranks the 10 most valuable
A ticket to Jackie Robinson's 1947 debut is the most valuable ever sold in sports history. (Credit: Heritage Auctions)

Top prospect Jackson Holliday made his much-anticipated, major-league debut Wednesday night in Boston.

More than 50 tickets from the Baltimore Orioles phenom's first game have already been listed on eBay.

The history of MLB debut tickets is a long and storied one.

In the latest edition of the cllct 10, we count down the 10 most important:

1. Jackie Robinson: $480,000

It’s hard to see any debut topping Robinson's debut from April 15, 1947. There are so few of these tickets, and the cultural impact is so great. Recent sales include the record-setter at $480,000 and others for $300,000 and $230,000.

PSA has graded at least 23 tickets to Mickey Mantle's 1951 debut.
PSA has graded at least 23 tickets to Mickey Mantle's 1951 debut.

2. Mickey Mantle: $141,395

The top ticket from Mantle's 1951 debut set a record price in 2021 — despite the fact there are at least 23 that have been slabbed by PSA.

3. Roberto Clemente: $121,334 For as heralded as Mantle was, Clemente's early memorabilia is much rarer. Plenty of collectors have his last game ticket because of his untimely death. But for those who love debuts, a ticket from Pittsburgh's third home game in 1955 is nearly impossible.

**4. Sandy Koufax: $45,000 ** Vintage tickets are rarely signed. Koufax, now 88, has outlived a lot of the greats and signed the record-setting ticket from his June 1955 debut recently for an auction by his autograph agent Harlan Werner.

5. Ken Griffey Jr.: $43,550 It’s an ugly ticket, but the A’s were pretty proud of putting a bar code on a ticket. Junior's 1989 debut in Oakland has sold for more than $43k, as he’s a modern guy who lived up to the hype and became a Hall of Famer.

6. Derek Jeter: $38,430 Mariners fans didn’t get the first look at Ken Griffey Jr., but they did get to see the debut of Derek Jeter in May 1995. Only 18,948 showed up. The top Jeter sale featured a ticket that was also signed by No. 2.

7. Shohei Ohtani: $31,200 It shouldn’t come as a surprise Ohtani is on this list. In his 2018 debut, Ohtani began the season as a designated hitter and three days later, got on the mound and recorded his first win. While most desire season tickets over box-office printed ones, beggars can’t be choosers. The top Ohtani ticket is from the box office, but it’s a more desirable full over a stub.

8. Mariano Rivera: $31,200 If there’s anyone on this list whose ticket you might have thrown out after seeing him in his debut, it’s Mariano Rivera. Six days before Jeter made his debut, Rivera made his, as a starting pitcher against the Angels. He lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits. The ticket everyone wanted was the ticket to the September 1995 debut of Ruben Rivera, the Yankees No. 1 prospect at the time. His career highlight was stealing Jeter’s glove.

9. Mike Trout: $24,000 The $24,000 price came for a signed version of Trout’s 2011 debut, but the price is still a bit surprising given how many of these tickets are out there. PSA has graded 155 full tickets to Trout’s first game, undoubtedly helped by being part of the digital scanning generation.

10. Pete Rose: $21,900 Rose might be a surprise on this list, but vintage star debuts are few and far between. Did someone save this ticket because it was the debut of Rose? It’s more likely it was saved because it was Opening Day in 1963.

Darren Rovell is the founder of and one of the country's leading reporters on the collectible market. He previously worked for ESPN, CNBC and The Action Network.