Alan Trammell’s election to the Hall of Fame has created a baseball card unlike any other. His debut on the “Rookie Shortstops” card in the 1978 Topps set also features a young Milwaukee Brewers prospect named Paul Molitor. That card (#707) is the first in a long line of Topps’ multi-player rookie cards to feature two Hall of Famers.
From their debut in 1962 through 1982, there have been 21 of those multi-player rookie cards that feature a Hall of Famer and a few have some pretty good talent around them (Jerry Koosman with Nolan Ryan in 1968 and Cecil Cooper with Carlton Fisk just to name two). The Molitor/Trammell rookie, though, is the lone card—so far—to have a pair of Cooperstown inductees.
The card’s value has ticked up a little bit since Sunday, when the announcement of Trammell’s election became official, but prices were already strong for high-grade examples. In fact, it’s always been considered one of the top baseball rookie cards of the 1970s. Two PSA 10s sold last month for over $9,300 each (only 21 exist). Mint 9 examples are selling for $450-$500 while 8s sell for $70-$100. One issue is that on early print runs, the black ink on the lower portion of the card is smudged. There are significantly more high-grade Eddie Murray rookie cards in the ’78 set than Molitor/Trammell.
Morris’ card adds another Hall of Famer to what’s become a fairly impressive ’78 set. Despite being double printed, collectors have been jumping on the card (#703) since his election, with PSA 10 selling prices on eBay climbing from under $300 in October to $425-$465 in recent days. Several mint 9s sold Sunday for $60-$75 each. There are more graded Morris cards than Molitor/Trammell or Murray and that number will likely climb now that he’s a Hall of Famer. Collectors have been used to buying minty, ungraded Morris rookie cards for a few bucks, but that’s not likely to be the case anymore.
Interestingly, in addition to their “official” rookie cards, both Trammell and Morris had cards of their own in the 1978 Burger King Tigers set, also produced by Topps. Produced in far less quantities (PSA has graded fewer than 100 Morris cards), a set that once sold for less than $20 (plentiful and less than $10 in the 1980s) has a much bigger appeal. Mint 9 examples of the Trammell card have pushed north of $250 with better raw cards at $50 and up.
In any case, if you’ve been hoarding the earliest cards of two guys who used to seem like fringe Hall of Fame candidates, Sunday was a really good day.