The Dale Murphy Rookie Card and Other Vintage Cards
Dale Murphy Rookie Card Info
A lot of players have multiple cards that can be considered a rookie, but that’s not the case with Dale Murphy who only had one card issued in 1979. That makes identifying his rookie easy, right? Not so fast…it would have been if Topps didn’t also include him on another “rookie catchers” card a year later. In this post we will discuss both Dale Murphy “rookie catchers” cards and a few other early Dale Murphy cards you should know about.
1977 Topps Rookie Catchers #476 (Dale Murphy Rookie Card)
The 1977 Topps Dale Murphy rookie card, #476, is a key card from the 1970s of a player who was considered one of baseball’s best throughout the 1980s. Dale Murphy was a fixture in All-Star Games for the National League and was a power hitter and frequent MVP candidate. His rookie card shows his position as a catcher, but he didn’t achieve stardom in baseball until he switched positions to play outfield.
After his playing career Murphy has kept a relatively low profile in baseball but has been active in humanitarian work. He started a not-for-profit organization, the iWontCheat Foundation, to work with children and convince them to reject steroid use. He has also served in high-level positions for several other humanitarian organizations including Operation Kids, ASCEND: A Humanitarian Alliance, and Operation Smile. In 1915 he was inducted into the World Humanitarian Hall of Fame.
Dale Murphy was a great player, but there are some other factors that make his cards interesting investments:
- One of the Biggest Stars of the 1980s: Dale Murphy isn’t one of the best players in history, but he was one of the biggest baseball stars in the 1980s. Any collector who is focused on this era of baseball is going to take note of Murphy’s accomplishments. Being one of the premier players of a decade helps collectability and value.
- Back-to-Back MVP Winner: Dale Murphy was a dominant offensive force in the 1980s. He is one of the few players to win an MVP award in back-to-back years (1982 and 1983). In addition to his two MVP seasons, Murphy finished in the top 10 in National League MVP voting three other times (1994, 1995, 1997).
- Great Fielder: Although he was mostly known as an offensive player, Dale Murphy became a very good defensive center fielder after changing to the position of catcher. During his career, he won the National League Gold Glove award 5 different times while playing center field for the Atlanta Braves. The card collecting hobby tends to favor offensive excellence in most cases, but if a shift to recognizing complete players ever happens, the Dale Murphy card will increase in value.
One Additional Possibility:
- HOF Hopeful: Dale Murphy was not elected to the Hall of Fame and never received more than 23.2 percent of the vote. This is primarily because he fell short of the lifetime numbers expected and his batting average was only .265. However, a better case for Murphy might emerge. Murphy played in a pitching era (which might help voters get past his low batting average), is not suspected of steroids, and might positively benefit from the “character clause.” When he is reconsidered for the Hall of Fame his 398 home runs, 2 MVP awards, and 5 Gold Glove awards might look better when considering the time he played. If he is elected, his cards will skyrocket in value.
1977 Topps Set Details
The 1977 Topps Baseball card set included 660 standard-size baseball cards. It included rookie cards for Hall of Famers Andre Dawson (#473) and Bruce Suter (#144) as well as star players Dale Murphy (#476), Mark Fidrych (#265), Jack Clark (#488), and Denny Martinez (#491). Due to the thin cardstock Topps used, high-grade cards from this set are both rare and valuable.
- Year: 1977
- Manufacturer: Topps
- Number of Cards: 660
- Card size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ (standard size)
- 1977 Topps Subsets
- League Leaders (#1-8)
- Milestones (#231-234)
- Playoff Highlights (#276-277)
- Turn Back the clock cards (#433-437)
- World Series Highlights (#411-413)
- Rookie Stars (#472-479 & #487-494)
- Big League Brothers (#631-634)
1977 Topps Dale Murphy card # 476 Details
- Card No: #476 of 660
- Misc: Rookies Catchers
- Other players on the card:
- Gary Alexander – San Francisco Giants
- Rick Cerone – Cleveland Indians
- Kevin Pasley – Los Angeles Dodgers
Front of the card
Design: The front of the the1977 Topps Rookie Catchers card (#476) is a vertical layout that features four players. The card only shows a headshot of each player in a square, with the player’s name and team name below each photo. The primary color of the card is white with the word “Rookies” at the top in green lettering with a black outline. The word “Catchers” is in the upper-right corner of the card on a red flag.
The card features:
- Gary Alexander (San Francisco Giants)
- Rick Cerone (Cleveland Indians)
- Dale Murphy (Atlanta Braves)
- Kevin Pasley (Los Angeles Dodgers)
None of the players on this card, outside of Dale Murphy, became stars in the major leagues. Pasley played for three seasons while Alexander and Cerone each lasted several years. None of the three were ever named to an All-Star team.
Note: There is not an O-Pee-Chee version of this card.
Shop for the 1977 Topps Rookie Catchers card #476 on eBay (affiliate link)
Back of the card
The back of the 1977 Topps Rookie Catchers card has a horizontal layout on gray card stock. The card number is in the upper-left corner on a baseball graphic. The top of the card reads “1977 Rookie catchers.” Underneath the card lists the biographical information for the four players in black ink on the green. The details listed include name, team name, size, batting orientation, draft position, birth date, and home.
Dale Murphy Rookie Card Value
The Dale Murphy rookie card is one of the most valuable cards made in the 1977 Topps set. The chart below was pulled from the popular card grading site PSA on 10/07/2021. It shows prices for the Dale Murphy rookie card in various conditions.
Keep in mind that prices fluctuate. While PSA is a great way to find out the value of a card, we recommend going to eBay to see what cards are currently selling for on the world’s most popular auction site. Click here to view current auctions for the 1977 Topps Dale Murphy Rookie card #467.
Other Relevant Dale Murphy Cards
The 1977 Topps Rookie Catchers #476 card is the only card in the hobby that is considered a Dale Murphy rookie. However, this gets tricky because there is another Topps card that is also a “rookie catchers” card that features Dale Murphy. Here’s a look at that card and another very early Murphy card that can be bought at a bargain price:
1978 Rookie Catchers (#708) featuring Dale Murphy
The 1978 Topps Rookie Catchers card #708 features Dale Murphy even though he is also on a rookie catchers card in the Topps 1977 set. This card is not a rookie and is considered Dale Murphy’s 2nd-year card. This card is notable because it is Lance Parrish’s rookie card. Lance Parrish was a star player throughout the 1980s who hit more than 300 home runs and was an 8-time all-star. Bo Diaz and Ernie Whitt, also rookies on this card, both had long major league careers and each made at least one All-Star game.
Note: There is not an O-Pee-Chee version of this card.
Shop for the 1987 Topps Rookie Catchers card #708 (affiliate link)
1978 Coca-Cola WPLO Radio Dale Murphy
The 1978 Coca-Cola WPLO Radio set is an early, unique, and affordable Dale Murphy. This card comes from a set of 14 blue and white line art portraits of Atlanta Braves players. They were originally distributed in the Atlanta area with a coupon for soda.
Shop for the 1978 Coca-Cola WPLO Radio Dale Murphy (affiliate link)
1979 Dale Murphy Topps #39
The 1979 Topps Dale Murphy #39 is the first major-release solo card for Murphy. The photo shows an in-action shot of Dale about to take a swing. This card is relatively inexpensive and is unique because it’s the first card the “Mighty Murph” has all to himself. There is also an O-Pee-Chee version of this card available.
Shop for the 1979 Topps Dale Murphy #39 on eBay (affiliate link)
Dale Murphy’s Legacy
Dale Murphy was one of the biggest stars in baseball during the 1980s. He was a perennial All-Star with 398 career home runs, but his lifetime statistics were not enough to get him immediately inducted into the Hall of Fame. Dale Murphy was initially overlooked by Hall of Fame voters, but his resume looks better over time because of his humanitarian work and because of his reputation as a clean player. If the committee to consider veteran players take Dale’s humanitarian work and era into consideration, along with his outstanding career, he might just get over the hump. Here is a list of some of his accomplishments:
- Inducted into Oregon Sports Hall of Fame
- Inducted into Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
- 1963 National League Rookie of the Year
- 1973 National League Most Valuable Player
- 1 time Runs Scored Leader (1985)
- 1 time Total bases Leader (1984)
- 2 time Home Run Leader (1984, 1985)
- 2 time Runs Batted In (RBI) Leader (1982, 1983)
- 1 time Base on Balls leader (1985)
- 2 time National League MVP (1982, 1983)
- 5 time Gold Glove Winner (outfield)
- 7 time All-Star
- 4 time Silver Slugger
- Inducted into World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame
Get Your Dale Murphy Rookie
Do you want to own a 1977 Topps Dale Murphy Rookie (#476)? If so, we recommend starting your search on eBay – the world’s #1 card trading place. Even if you’re not planning to buy one just yet, it’s fun to look at all the great cards currently for sale.
Want Dale Murphy merch?
Amazon.com is the world’s largest eCommerce marketplace. They have Dale Murphy books, memorabilia, and so much more. See what you can find today.
The links above are Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
All About Dale Murphy Rookies Infographic
Share this Dale Murphy Rookie Infographic on Your Site
<p><strong>All About Dale Murphy Rookies infographic provided by <a href="https://www.rookiesportscards.com">RookieSportsCards.com</a></strong><br /><br /><a href="https://www.rookiesportscards.com/the-dale-murphy-rookie-card/"><img src="https://www.rookiesportscards.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/dale-murphy-rookie-cards-infographic-2-scaled.jpg" alt="All About Dale Murphy Rookies" border="0" /></a></p>
See our web story, Learn All About the Dale Murphy Rookie.