MLB Stars of the 1980s: Key Rookie Cards

by Todd Neikirk

091823B-1024x536 MLB Stars of the 1980s: Key Rookie CardsA lot of people who collect cards today were kids during the 1980s. And those people have fond memories of several players from that decade. Now that they are older, they are seeking out these cards, once the grails of their youth. Below are some cool examples of cool rookie cards from ’80s stars.

Dale Murphy 1977 Topps 

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Image via PSA

It’s hard to remember a time when the Braves were bad. The Atlanta franchise has consistently churned out winners since the early 1990’s. But during the late 70s and early 80s, the team was quite bad. The guy that kept fans coming to the ballpark, however, was Dale Murphy.

A power-hitting force who also played an outstanding defense in the outfield, Murphy won back-to-back National League Most Valuable Player Awards in 1982 and 1983. For many fans in the Southern part of the country, Murphy was their first baseball idol and he is fondly remembered today. His first card comes in Topps’ 1977 set and it sells for around $300 in PSA 9 condition.

Eric Davis 1985 Fleer 

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Image via PWCC

The 1980s saw several players who could hit for both power and run the bases with abandon. Eric Davis was an extreme example. In the 1986 season, he hit 27 home runs and stole 80 bases. During the PSA 1987 season, he hit 37 home runs and stole 50 bases.

While he had a long career, he didn’t quite reach those numbers again. He fought cancer in 1997 and was able to return to the game. The Cinnatti Red has a rookie card in the 1985 Fleer Set. PSA 9 copies are pretty affordable at $30 while a PSA 10 copy will run for around $400.

Don Mattingly 1984 Donruss 

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Image via PSA

Like the Braves, the Yankees had a rough and tumultuous time in the 1980s. Their saving grace was Don Mattingly, an offensive and defensive powerhouse at first base. Mattingly won the league batting title in 1984 and led the American League in RBIs in 1985. He made the All-Star game every year between 1984 and 1989.

Sadly, the Yankee was tormented by constant back problems. Those injury issues ended his career prematurely. He has remained in the game as a manager and is still a beloved Yankee. His Donruss rookie card comes in the 1984 set and sells for $100 in PSA 9 condition.

Jack Morris 1978 Topps 

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Image via PSA

Drafted in 1976, Jack Morris made the Tigers starting rotation during the 1979 season. He became one of the league’s best starters throughout the 80s, making 4 All-Star teams and helping Detroit win the World Series in 1984. He became more of a mercenary in the 90’s winning titles with Minnesota (1991) and Toronto (1992 and 1993).

The question of whether Morris belonged in the Hall of Fame or not was a popular one with fans for many years. He was eventually inducted in 2018. Morris’ rookie card is included in the 1978 Topps set. Expect to spend $100 on a PSA 9 copy.

Julio Franco 1983 Topps Traded 

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Image via eBay

Julio Franco isn’t just fondly remembered by one team’s fanbase, he’s fondly remembered by fans of all of the 9 teams he played for. The shortstop and second baseman became a .300 plus hitter almost immediately. As his career went on, he added more power, winning 4 Silver Slugger Awards.

Many fans recall Franco due to his odd batting stance and whip-like swing. The infielder played in the major leagues until he was 48 and amassed 2,586 hits with a .298 career average. His 1983 Topps Traded rookie card sells for $50 in PSA 10 condition.

AAAA-Footer-Plain-1 MLB Stars of the 1980s: Key Rookie Cards

*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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