Sunday, February 22, 2009

1978 Topps Rookies: Murray, Molitor, and Morris

One of my favorite Topps sets is 1978, the year I was born. The look is classic Topps, and the set was quite large at 726 cards. The set is littered with Hall of Famers, 31 base cards if my math is correct. The most noteworthy cards are the Topps debuts of two Hall of Famers and one pitcher that should be in the Hall. Finally, I'll share my favorite card in the set, which is not one of the aforementioned cards.

Eddie Murray was one of the biggest sluggers of the 1980s and is one of a handful of player to accomplish both 500 home runs and 3000 hits. One of the most professional hitters in the game, his 1978 rookie card, #36, is a classic.

The other Hall of Fame debut in the set is Paul Molitor. Molitor had over 3300 hits, which ranks him ninth all-time. His career was somewhat overlooked because he played the majority of it in Milwaukee, and he garned nationwide recognition following his 1993 season with the Blue Jays (.332 BA, 22 HR, 111 RBI, 2nd in MVP voting). Molitor's rookie, #707, is shared with fellow shortstops Alan Trammell, Mickey Klutts, and U.L. Washington.

Jack Morris makes his Topps debut on card #703. Morris has come up short in Hall of Fame voting thus far, but I feel his Hall of Fame case is solid. His career stats are good, but he is best known, and understandably so, for pitching in probably the best game of the past 30 years--game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Morris pitched 10 scoreless innings against the Braves, clinching the Series for the Twins.

Finally, I promised to share my favorite card. Although he is not yet in the Hall, Andre Dawson's 1978 card, #72, was his first solo card after his 1977 debut on a card with three other outfielders. Appropriately, Dawson was a member of Topps' All-Star Rookie team. Dawson's Hall of Fame candidacy is undeniable, and I cannot wait to go to Cooperstown for his induction speech.

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