For those who have their baseball card collections exclusively built around players in the Baseball Hall of Fame, you may be missing an opportunity to acquire some important cards from the hobby's past. Dale Murphy is one of those players who has the career stats and the baseball card history of a great player, but he has not been honored by Cooperstown yet. This top ten list wades through Murphy's early cardboard years, his "junk wax" appearances and recent high-end autographs. The guide zeroes in on some of the best Dale Murphy cards, with the ultimate goal being an overall strong and valuable collection.
Collectors interested in Dale Murphy's cards have a wealth of interesting cards to choose from including one of the most popular and important rookie cards from the 1970s. To further illustrate that point, Murphy's rookie card was featured on the front cover of the first ever Beckett Monthly Baseball Card Price Guide in 1984.
Some noteworthy Dale Murphy cards that didn't make the top ten, but should be considered in a comprehensive collection, include his appearance in Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars set from 1983, his mini card variations from 2014 Topps Allen and Ginter, and his unique photo used in 2015 Topps Stadium Club. Murphy also regularly appears in high-end products like Topps Triple Threads and Panini National Treasures, giving collectors a chance to own limited-run signature cards and autographed jersey relics.
Generally quite affordable, the following lists highlights a wide mix of Dale Murphy cards that are also noteworthy for collectors.
Top 10 Dale Murphy Baseball Cards
Click on the card titles or images to shop for specific cards on eBay.
During the mass overproduction of trading cards in the late 1980s, there are few opportunities for collectors to find variations or limited cards of their favorite players. However, Murphy collectors are able to find one as he had a card featured on the bottom of 1986 Topps wax boxes. It is rare to find a mint copy of this card as the boxes were easily damaged in transport or while being opened by overzealous collectors. Additionally, the cards were actually cut from the box, so finding a perfect copy is tough. The more common base card is also a solid option and is shown below on the right.
Way back when a relic card was still a relatively new concept, Topps included the first jersey relic cards for many superstars in their groundbreaking 2002 Topps Archives set. Dale Murphy was one of those players. The front features the relic piece and a mini version of Murphy's 1983 Topps base card while the back is identical to his 1983 card and adds a Topps hologram sticker for authenticity.
A more recent release, 2015 Topps Tier One offers some great on-card autograph opportunities for collectors looking to add a high-end Dale Murphy card to their collection. All the Tier One relic cards are numbered below 399 copies, with some having a much smaller print run. Atlanta Braves super fans can even try to track down a Dale Murphy/Jason Heyward dual autograph book card from this set.
Murphy was featured as a Donruss Diamond King in 1983 and 1987 and both cards should be included in any Dale Murphy collection. His 1983 appearances is listed here because of the superior Dick Perez painting and the overall design that accentuates the artwork better. More than 20 years later, the 2005 Donruss Diamond King set offers some more great Murphy artwork on jersey relics, patches cards, and autographs.
Dale Murphy has a great signature and when you combine that with a well-designed card that accentuates the autograph, it can make for something amazing. The Legendary Signatures series found in 2000 Upper Deck Legends has a vertical design with a large autograph space. This makes it an ideal stop for Murphy autograph seekers. While Murphy is a frequent signer in high-end products, these older autographs offer a mid-range alternative.
This is the one card on the list from the four seasons that Murphy spent away from the Braves. It is also an oddity from the days of the first Gulf War. Topps sent gold foil stamp sets of 1991 Topps to soldiers overseas taking part in the Desert Shield operation and individual cards from those exclusive sets trickle onto auctions sites regularly.
The 1980 season saw Dale Murphy blossom from a highly-touted prospect to the All-Star outfield. However, his 1980 Topps card has him listed as a catcher and first baseman still. Murphy surpassed 30 home runs in a season for the first time, setting the stage for the amazing seasons that would follow and make him the Braves' leader for years to come.
Unexpectedly, it is Dale Murphy's card from 1989 Upper Deck that is one of the most popular options in the iconic set. This is because the cards printed earlier in the production run feature a reverse image, making Murphy look like he batted left handed. You can also tell the image is reversed as "Braves" is backwards on his jersey. The error cards is still one of the most collectible cards in the set and is often sold at higher prices than Ken Griffey Jr.'s famous rookie card. The error was corrected in the later printings, making Murphy a "righty" again.
Like many promising rookie stars of the era, Dale Murphy's rookie card from 1977 Topps is shared with three other prospects. Interestingly, he has two of these prospect cards as he was featured in a nearly-identical card in the 1978 set. This might result in confusion among casual collectors as to which one is his true rookie card.
You might notice that Murphy is grouped with three other rookie catchers on his first card as a professional. While Murphy played that position in the minor leagues, he only caught a handful of games in the majors before being moved to the outfield. Highly graded version of this card go for $60+.