For a lot of years, there wasn’t a ton to love about 1979 Topps baseball cards.

Sure, there was the Ozzie Smith rookie card, but Ozzie was “just” a defensive whiz and would never make the Hall of Fame … right?

Then there were a few lesser rookies like Carney Lansford and Bob Horner, and some fun but sorta gimmicky All-Time Leaders cards, but …

This thing was going nowhere.

Except …

Ozzie became a legend on a beeline to Cooperstown.

Paul Molitor found a way to overcome his injuries and off-field problems to put together an unbelievable late-career run, making his second-year card a hot item.

And we woke up one day to find that this set was 30+ years old and not mass-produced like stuff from the Junk Wax Era.

Suddenly, 1979 Topps was a winner — with some cards being more winning than others.

With that in mind, here are the 15 most valuable cards from the 1979 Topps baseball card set based on PSA 9 selling prices as reported in the Auction Prices Realized (APR) tool.

(Note: The following sections contain affiliate links to eBay and Amazon links for the cards being discussed.)

15) 1979 Topps Eddie Murray (#640)

1979 Topps Eddie Murray

Murray followed up his Rookie of the Year showing in 1977 with an even stronger 1978.

By the end of 1979, the young, slugging first baseman was a key member of yet another Orioles pennant-winner.

Eventually, of course, Eddie would accumulate more than 3000 hits and 500 home runs en route to Cooperstown.

And, of course, all his cards — and especially early ones like this 1979 — are hobby heavyweights.

Value: $85-95

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14) 1979 Topps Mike Schmidt (#610)

1979 Topps Mike Schmidt

Schmidt entered 1979 as a three-time home run champ, but coming off a relatively paltry showing in 1978 that produced just 21 dingers and 78 RBI.

With his 30th birthday looming that September, there were fears Schmidt’s best days were behind him.

He quieted that noise pretty quickly, thanks to his first 40-homer season, then followed up by winning NL MVP awards in both 1980 and 1981, then again in 1986.

Today, this 1979 Topps card — with no All-Star banner — is just another of Schmitty’s classic issues that always makes collectors happy.

Value: $90-100

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13) 1979 Topps Rod Carew (#300)

1979 Topps Rod Carew

Carew won his seventh and final American League batting title, just a year after hitting an unreal .388.

His place in Cooperstown was all but wrapped up by the time this card hit shelves in the spring of 1979, and, like the Reggie, it sports the All-Star banner … what’s not to love?

Value: $90-110

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12) 1979 Topps Thurman Munson (#310)

1979 Topps Thurman Munson

Every year as summer wanes, the baseball world pauses to remember the legacy of Thurman Munson, the Yankees captain and superstar catcher killed in a plane crash on August 2, 1979.

He was one of the few active baseball players to be taken from us during the season and remains one of the greatest catchers not enshrined in Cooperstown.

Will Munson ever make the Hall of Fame cut?

Hard to say, but his 1979 Topps issue is also his last major-brand card as an active player, and it’s become something of a classic.

Value: $90-120

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11) 1979 Topps Jim Palmer (#340)

1979 Topps Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer was sort of like the 1970s baseball version of Tom Brady — part of a tremendously successful franchise, sickeningly good looking, and damn good at his job.

How good?

From 1970 through 1978, Palmer won 20 or more games eight times, nabbed three AL Cy Young Awards, and helped the Orioles to four AL East titles, two AL pennants, and one World Series championship (with pennants in 1969 and 1979 thrown in for good measure).

And he was an underwear model.

After all that, you might have expected all of his baseball cards to have been destroyed in a mass-hysteria jealous rage, but his solid 1979 Topps issue lives on just fine.

Value: $90-125

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10) 1979 Topps Reggie Jackson (#700)

1979 Topps Reggie Jackson

Jackson and the Yankees were coming off their second straight World Series title when this card was issued, and Reggie had definitley cemented himself as “Mr. October.”

This is a pasteboard fitting of the hot dog it features, complete with black shades and the blingy Topps All-Star banner.

Collectors have loved this thing for more than four decades.

Value: $100-125

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9) 1979 Topps Dave Winfield (#30)

1979 Topps Dave Winfield

Dave Winfield could probably have excelled as a professional in any sport he chose and was in fact drafted by the Atlanta Haws (NBA), Utah Stars (ABA), and Minnesota Vikings (NFL).

To the eventual delight of baseball fans everywhere, though, Winfield signed with the San Diego Padres after they made him the the fourth overall pick in the 1973 Major League Baseball draft.

Winfield made his MLB debut that summer without ever suiting up in the minors, and the next 22 years would be a flurry of greatness that eventually landed him in Cooperstown.

In 1979, he was nearing the end of his time with the Padres, as the New York Yankees would snag him in free agency prior to the 1981 season.

This late-Padres Winfield Topps card is still popular with collectors

Value: $125-175

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8) 1979 Topps Dale Murphy (#39)

1979 Topps Dale Murphy

By 1979, Dale Murphy had flashed some good power — he clubbed 23 home runs in 1978 — but was still struggling to find a position in the Majors.

After starting professional life as a catcher, Murph spent most of ’78 at first base and would sort of split 1979 — with reduced overall playing time — between the two.

It wasn’t until the Atlanta Braves shifted him to the outfield in 1980 that Murphy’s career really began to take off.

Before any of that happened, though, he took his hacks on this 1979 Topps card, his third issue and first solo card.

Value: $150-175

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7) 1979 Topps George Brett (#330)

1979 Topps George Brett

By 1979, George Brett was a perennial All-Star and sometimes MVP candidate for the ever-competitive Kansas City Royals, but he had yet to become GEORGE BRETT.

You know, the .400-chasing, .390-hitting, hemorrhoid-suffering, mind-losing-pine-tar-using legend who personified baseball as well as anyone from his generation.

Even so, his 1979 Topps baseball card is awesome, showing a waiting Brett ready to pounce on any ball hit his way at third base, and adorned with the All-Star banner.

Value: $200-225

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6) 1979 Topps Willie Stargell (#55)

1979 Topps Willie Stargell

At 39, Willie Stargell was well past his prime in 1979, but he mustered one last inspiring run to help his “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates win a World Series over the vaunted Baltimore Orioles.

For his efforts, Stargell snagged a share of the National League Most Valuable Player award, along with St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez.

Thanks to Pops’ big season (even if his co-MVP merit was debatable) and subsequent retrospective MVP sets like the 1982 Kmart 20th Anniversary boxed deal, this card has become an iconic symbol of late 1970s baseball.

Value: $200-230

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5) 1979 Topps Nolan Ryan (#115)

1979 Topps Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan would leave the Californian Angels to sign the richest free agent pact to that point (with the Houston Astros) after the 1979 season. In that final season with the Halos, though, Ryan did what he always did — led the league in strikeouts (223), led the league in fewest hits allowed (6.8 per nine innings), and sported a good but not great record (16-14, 3.60 ERA).

Of course, over then next 15 seasons, The Ryan Express would become a bona fide legend, rocketing all his cards into the stratosphere.

His 1979 Topps issue falls right in line.

Value: $250-300

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4) 1979 Topps Paul Molitor (#24)

1979 Topps Paul Molitor

Paul Molitor was always an exciting player with plenty of upside, but injuries and off-field issues lessened his impact during the early years of his career.

Beginning in the early 1990s, though, the Milwaukee Brewers installed The Ignitor as their more-or-less regular DH, and he held that role through the rest of his career, including stints with the Toronto Blue Jays and his hometown Minnesota Twins.

The result was an incredible late-career surge that left Molitor with 3319 hits, more than 200 home runs, 500+ steals, a .306 lifetime batting average, and a Hall of Fame plaque.

This second-year Molitor card is the first to picture him alone — he had to share his 1978 Topps rookie card with some dude named Alan Trammell. The ’79 is a great card but really hard to find well-centered.

Value: $325-350

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3) 1979 Topps Pete Rose (#650)

1979 Topps Pete Rose

Pete Rose left the Cincinnati Reds after the 1978 season, a development which pretty much ended any idea that the Big Red Machine had another lap left in her.

But while Charlie Hustle was helping lay the groundwork for a 1980 World Series title with the Philadelphia Phillies, fans and collectors were still seeing Red — as in Pete’s last Reds card.

Of course, this 1979 Topps classic would lose that designation when Rose returned to the Riverfront five years later, but it’s still a collector favorite that can bring good money in high grades

Value: $400-440

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2) 1979 Topps Dennis Eckersley (#40)

1979 Topps Dennis Eckersley

By the time this 1979 Topps Dennis Eckersley first made its way to collectors’ hands, the young righty was coming off his breakout season — 20-8, 2.99 ERA, a fourth place finish in American League Cy Young voting for the Boston Red Sox.

It was a rocky ride for Eckersley from there through the middle 1980s as he struggled with off-field problems and spotty on-field results that saw him traded to the Chicago Cubs in 1984 and the Oakland A’s in 1987.

And that was the turning point, as A’s skipper Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan moved Eckersley to the bullpen, where he became a dominant member of the Bash Brothers teams and stamped his own ticket to Cooperstown.

Along the way, Eck’s cards climbed toward the top of whatever set they appeared in, and his 1979 Topps issue — the first to show him with the BoSox after three pasteboards with the Cleveland Indians — is no exception.

Value: $450-500

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1) 1979 Topps Ozzie Smith Rookie Card (#116)

1979 Topps Ozzie Smith Rookie Card

This one needs no introdcuction since I already mentioned The Wizard above and because his rookie card is so far ahead of all the other 1979 Topps cards.

Add in Ozzie’s legend, a solo-player rookie, and condition scarcity thanks to tilting and centering problems, and you have a card that knows few bounds when it comes to price limits.

Value: $2100-2400

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(Check out our other posts about baseball card values here.)

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