Between the mass production of the tobacco cards featuring baseball players in the late 1880's, and the solidification of the hobby in the 1900's, the 1890's were not a decade for the collectors.
The main set for this decade was the Mayo Tobacco Works Company 48 card set. Referred to as the Mayo's Cut Plug set, Cap Anson and Ed Delahanty are the highlights. Cap was one of the best players in the league at the time. Anson had a 27 year playing career that ended in 1897 before baseball cards became a popular commodity. He featured two impressive feats: first player to 3,000 hits and retired as the all time leader in errors with 976. Anson was also credited with the invention of the hit and run which eventually led him to capture five titles. The PSA9 value of his card is roughly $93,000
Ed Delahanty was considered as the best player in the 19th century, hitting over .400 three times. He led the league at some point in his career in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, stolen bases, batting average, OBP, SLG, OPS, and total bases. Delahanty was practically Mike Trout in the 19th century. His career and life ended during the 1903 season when he was allegedly pushed off of a moving train over the Niagara Falls. A PSA9 value of this card would net you $70,000.
One notable "card" from this decade that wasn't a part of a set, rather a small portrait of a very important player in baseball history. Cy Young is and will be baseball's most winning pitcher. He notched 511 wins throughout his 22 year career, which is why we name each respective leagues best pitcher with the Cy Young award. He started his career in 1890, but his first full season was in 1891. These cabinet cards where a part of new furniture that typical would feature family members, but in these John H. Ryder cabinets, they had Cy Young and his teammate Jake Virtue. These cards were sold as a set for $250,000 back in 2018.
We'll hit the 20th century next!