At the time he hit his 500th home run on September 6, 1996, Eddie Murray was just the 15th player in history to reach the milestone. Murray, though was more than just a power hitter. He won three Silver Slugger Awards, three Gold Gloves and collected 3,255 hits in a career that lasted from 1977 to 1997. Eddie Murray rookie cards began appearing in 1978 and unlike most players from that time, he appears on several different issues during that first season.
Here’s a look at four of them. Click the title of each to see any that are offered for sale and auction on eBay.
1978 Topps Murray Rookie Card
Murray has a standalone rookie card thanks to that early season debut. You won’t find him sharing it with other “prospects” unlike Paul Molitor and Alan Trammell, Jack Morris or Lou Whitaker from that same set. Card #36 is what helps drive the value of the 1978 Topps set. High-grade examples are relatively common with PSA grading 12 10s, 553 9s and over 2500 8s thus far. SGC has graded one Topps Murray rookie at 98 with 24 96s and 81 92s. Mint Murrays have increased in value lately with 9s often selling for $600 and up.
Canadian collectors found Murray rookie cards in their packs, too. Except for the “OPC cut” and the French and English text on back, this one is essentially the same as his Topps rookie. He’s #154 in the OPC set and it’s much tougher to locate than the Topps version, especially in higher grades. PSA has graded only five 10s and 75 9s as of this writing.
Pricing doesn’t always reflect scarcity. OPC still lags behind Topps in collector interest. While there are over 270 8s or 8.5s, you can buy an OPC Murray rookie in an 8 holder for around $50, which seems like a steal.
Eddie’s Rookie of the Year season in 1977 didn’t go unnoticed in Battle Creek. Murray’s Kellogg’s card from 1978 makes it among the more attractive of the 3-D sets produced after 1971. There are only a little over 100 9s and 10s on PSA’s Pop Report but remarkably, 9s can still be found for under $30 and ungraded, NM/MT examples aren’t likely to cost you more than $10-15.
Murray appears on a 1978 panel with Rennie Stennett and Gary Lavelle. Not many collectors have chosen to grade either the panel or the single cards so far and when they’re offered, they often sell for a remarkably high price. Yet even ungraded ’78 Hostess Murray cards and panels seem far more difficult to find than any of his other 1978 issues.
There are only 16 1978 Murray Hostess cut cards including (1) PSA 5, (2) PSA 6; (1) PSA 7; (4) PSA 8 and (8) PSA 9.
The panels are certainly the rarest Murray rookie card with only a total of nine having been graded including (4) PSA 5; (3) PSA 6; (1) PSA 7 and (1) PSA 8.
Murray also appears as part of a strip of cards produced by Topps for insertion in a 1978 issue of Dynamite Magazine, a publication aimed at young people that covered all types of pop culture.