I’m not going to talk about the election today

Yes, I voted. Not the way I wanted to, but I did it. However, there are more important things in my life right now than who will be residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January. I’ll check the news later tonight or maybe tomorrow and find out who “won” (but I’ll tell you right now, regardless of the outcome, America lost).

Instead, I’ll be studying the Bible with someone this morning. I have also scheduled my Twitter account to post some Scriptures throughout the day as a reminder that God is the Almighty, and that neither Trump nor Clinton can take that away from Him.

And, I might post a few pictures of baseball cards as time permits. Because baseball cards are awesome.

But there will be no more election talk on my Twitter account today.

Jose Fernandez, 1992-2016.

Fernandez

One of baseball’s brightest young pitchers, Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins, perished Sunday morning in a boating accident. He was born in 1992. This is a sober reminder that death does not discriminate; death does not care how young or old or rich or poor you are. Make sure you are where you need to be.

Find a local church of Christ in your area. Call them. Ask them to study with you, so that you can learn what you need to do to have a right relationship with God. If you cannot find a local church of Christ, e-mail me and I will try to put you in contact with someone in your area. If I can’t find someone, I’ll study with you on-line via e-mail or Facebook or Twitter.

Think about your soul right now, today. Don’t wait until it is eternally too late.

Hall of Fame “most recent” streaks

I love this time of the year, when the latest immortals are enshrined into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Of the 18,493 players who have made it into a Major League Baseball game, only 217 have been considered worthy enough to be called Hall of Famers. Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were in the spotlight this past weekend.

Griffey

Griffey last played for my Reds in 2008, and if you trace the Reds’ rosters backwards, there was a Hall of Fame player all the way back to 1956 when Frank Robinson made his debut, an impressive 53 consecutive years of at least one Hall of Famer on the field. Interestingly, Tony Perez twice played the role of “bridge” player, first between Robinson and Johnny Bench in the 1960s, then between Bench and Barry Larkin in the 1980s.

This got me thinking about other teams and their Hall of Fame “most recent” streaks. Counting only players, the Tigers have the longest streak, starting with Sam Crawford all the way back in 1903 through their most recent player inductee Al Kaline, who was last active in 1974. That’s 72 straight years of at least one Hall of Fame player on the field, a feat that is absolutely amazing. Although I think Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell should have plaques in Cooperstown, they don’t (yet…keep your fingers crossed for the Veterans Committee).

Crawford

Here’s the run down of the current thirty franchises (with Montreal in the place of Washington, who hasn’t fielded a Hall of Famer yet).

72 years: TIGERS 1903 (Crawford)-1974 (Kaline)
53: REDS 1956 (Robinson)-2008 (Griffey Jr.)
47: ORIOLES 1955 (Brooks Robinson)-2001 (Cal Ripken)
28: ASTROS 1980 (Nolan Ryan, Joe Morgan)-2007 (Craig Biggio)
28: PIRATES 1955 (Roberto Clemente)-1982 (Willie Stargell)
24: BRAVES 1985 (Bruce Sutter)-2008 (Tom Glavine, John Smoltz)
21: ROYALS 1973-1993 (George Brett)
20: BREWERS 1974-1993 (Robin Yount)
15: TWINS 1984 (Kirby Puckett)-1998 (Paul Molitor)
11: METS 1998 (Mike Piazza)-2008 (Pedro Martinez)
5: RANGERS 1989-1993 (Ryan)
4: EXPOS 1994-1997 (Martinez)
3: ATHLETICS 2006-2008 (Frank Thomas)
3: PADRES 2006 (Piazza)-2008 (Greg Maddux)
3: CUBS 2004-2006 (Maddux)
3: INDIANS 1999-2001 (Roberto Alomar)
2: MARINERS 2009-2010 (Griffey)
2: DIAMONDBACKS 2007-2008 (Randy Johnson)
2: BLUE JAYS 2007-2008 (Thomas)
2: YANKEES 2005-2006 (Johnson)
2: RAYS 1998-1999 (Wade Boggs)
1: PHILLIES 2009 (Martinez)
1: RED SOX 2009 (Smoltz)
1: GIANTS 2009 (Johnson)
1: CARDINALS 2009 (Smoltz)
1: DODGERS 2008 (Maddux)
1: WHITE SOX 2008 (Griffey)
1: MARLINS 1998 (Piazza)
1: ANGELS 1997 (Rickey Henderson, Eddie Murray)
0: ROCKIES

The Yankees’ most recent streak will obviously hop up once Derek Jeter is enshrined; Wade Boggs will be the beginner (1993), with Jeter wrapping up in 2014. Though they could get an earlier bump if the voters do the right thing and put Mike Mussina where he belongs; he was in the Bronx from 2001-2008. The Astros will be unaffected by Jeff Bagwell‘s potential induction, as his career ended before Biggio’s.

Raines

Tim Raines could have an impact on the Expos, bringing them down to a one-year streak (2001), while keeping the Marlins at one year (2002), a few years later than Piazza’s week there. His four games in Baltimore will not affect the Orioles, as they occurred in 2001, which is currently the end of their streak. But should Vladimir Guerrero be ushered in, the O’s will get dropped to a one-year streak (2011), as will the Rangers (2010). The Angels, meanwhile, would get a boost to six years (2004-2009), and the Expos would be extended to 2003 and would be unaffected by Raines’ 2001 return.

Trevor Hoffman could extend the Padres’ streak backwards to 1993, but would reduce the Brew Crew to a two-year club (2009-2010).

The Famer-less Rockies’ only chance at dropping the goose egg comes in the form of Larry Walker, who spent ten years in Colorado. In my estimation he has a much better chance than Todd Helton, whose entire 17-year career was spent with the team, but it’s still a longshot.

Difficult decisions

Leave it to Night Owl to inspire me to blog for the first time in over a month. This started as a comment on this post, and I realized that it was probably long enough to warrant an actual post here.

do I need these cards

The patheticness of the Reds this year (and the last couple of years, really) has caused my interest in baseball to wane A LOT. I don’t plan on getting rid of my Reds cards, but do I really need so many cards of Mike Piazza, Jeff Bagwell, Roberto Alomar, etc.? Great players, yes, but from the era of overproduction, so they’ll never be “worth” anything, I don’t ever look at them. I’ve got a 5,000 card box that is begging me to let it go.

Bo

Reggie

There are some non-Reds that I would keep, and would probably put in binders so I could enjoy, if I ever decluttered. Bo Jackson will always be one of my favorite players. And Reggie Jackson. Kurt Stillwell already has his own binder, so why not Reggie and Bo?

Kurt

These are hard decisions to make, though. I’ve had some of these cards for 20-30 years. I already sent off the majority of my commons, and haven’t really missed them at all. Is it really time to just package the up the superstars and Hall of Famers and send them away? Will I ever think, “Oh, I wish I still had that 1993 Donruss Craig Biggio card still”? I doubt it. But I’m not quite ready to pull that trigger. I’m getting close, but I’m just not there yet. Besides, I don’t know anyone who collects Biggio or the Astros.

Biggio

I’m planning to spend some time with my collection on Monday and Tuesday. Perhaps I will start making some decisions then. Maybe I will split my remaining Dodgers between Night Owl and GCRL, or my White Sox between White Sox Cards and 2×3 Heroes.

Fun Cards Submissions: Topps Now Pete Rose

Rose

A lot of people made a big deal of Ichiro Suzuki “passing” Pete Rose with his 4257nd hit earlier this month. They combined Ichiro’s professional Japanese League numbers with his big league totals, but ignored the fact that Rose had another 427 hits in the minor leagues, which is also professional. The Lifetime Topps Project did an interesting breakdown of players with more than 4000 professional hits, including not only regular season play in the majors and minors, but also postseason and All-Star appearances. One name stood out more than Rose, Ichiro, Ty Cobb, and Derek Jeter to me: Jigger Statz. Sounds like a guy that The Infinite Baseball Card Set should profile.

I am not denying that Ichiro’s accomplishment is a big deal. It is! But he is not the professional hit king. Pete Rose is, and probably always will be. Unless Ichiro sticks around for a few more years, which I highly doubt, he will not pass Rose’s professional regular-season mark of 4683.

Rose

TWJ contributor Patrick sent over a couple of great “fun cards” to remind us all that Pete Rose is still the Hit King, and with the Reds Hall of Fame induction happening this weekend, there is no more appropriate time to post them here. I see Ron Robinson, Tony Perez, Dave Parker, and Max Venable in that shot. Can you identify anyone else?

Ichiro’s achievement was commemorated by The Shlabotnik Report recently.

Characters from the Diamond: Wild Events, Crazy Antics, and Unique Tales from Early Baseball by Ronald T. Waldo (2016)

[Review by TWJ contributor Jim.]

Characters from the Diamond

Characters from the Diamond
by Ronald T. Waldo
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016
278 pages

Baseball, at its root, is a game, it’s meant to be enjoyed and to have fun. It’s hard to remember that as the great game of baseball has turned into a business that turns many fans away. Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back and be reminded about how much fun the game of baseball can be? Fun yet played at the highest level?

In Characters from the Diamond: Wild Events, Crazy Antics, and Unique Tales from Early Baseball, you will be reminded of how much fun this game can be. Focusing on the late 19th century and early 20th century, author Ronald T. Waldo does a great job of telling funny stories about those that made the game so great. From players’ high jinx on the field, to fiery managers and hot headed umpires, you will be captivated by stories that will make you laugh and show you how the pioneers of baseball had fun playing the game.

Learn more about Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Purchase Characters from the Diamond: Wild Events, Crazy Antics, and Unique Tales from Early Baseball by Ronald T. Waldo.

R.I.P. Nick Menza

(July 23, 1964 – May 21, 2016)

Former Megadeth drummer who played on some the band’s biggest albums, including 1992’s Countdown to Extinction, Nick Menza passed away Saturday night after suffering from heart failure while performing a concert with OHM.

Baseball cards from Orlando

packs

I have been sitting on this post for absolutely no reason other than laziness. I bought a handful of fifty-cent packs when I was in Orlando at the beginning of the month, and scanned a handful of them, even uploaded the scans, but just haven’t been motivated to post them. I have nothing else planned for today, so let’s see what I got…

Davis

First up is Eric Davis from the 1987 Fleer Star Stickers set. These cards are very similar to the 1986 set, but with a green border instead of maroon. Either way, the border clashes with the red jersey.

Mattingly

The 1988 Fleer Star Stickers went with a gray border sprinkled with colorful stars. This Don Mattingly is the best card I pulled from that pack.

Davis mini

Franco mini

Back to 1987, and a pair of Reds in a pack: the best centerfielder and the best relief pitcher of the second half of the decade. John Franco is criminally underrated.

Benzinger

Benzinger

Clark

Clark

I bought a couple of packs of 1990 Donruss. Don’t look at me like that. I did not have any Grand Slammers cards, and I wanted a couple. I pulled the Todd Benzinger from one pack, and Will Clark from another. If I had found another pack with Bo Jackson on top, I would have bought that one too.

Big Hurt

I did not know the 1992 Fleer “The Performer” cards came in packs of their own. I assumed they were inserts. In a five-card pack, I pulled Nolan Ryan and Frank Thomas. And probably some ‘roiders, I can’t remember now.

Griffey All-Star

Henke

Art cards will always be my weakness. I’m not sure why I picked up a pack of 1992 Score, but I was happy to pull these bad boys.

Ryan

Henderson

Also from the same 1992 Score pack.

Thome

There it is. I knew there had to be something cool showing on the top of a 1992 Score pack for me to buy it, even at only fifty cents. Jim Thome is the man.

Dennys

Kirby Puckett from 1996 Pinnacle Denny’s. Not sure why I bought this one-card pack. Oh well, at least it’s a Hall of Famer.

Double Headers

Double Header

I have always wanted some Double Headers, but have never seen them in person. Vince Coleman is from 1990, while Wade Boggs and Andre Dawson are from 1989.

Brett

candy

Think this candy is still good from 1991?

buttons

Finally, a couple of 1990 Baseball Buttons. I already have several of these, so I probably shouldn’t have bought them, but it was only fifty cents.

Topps Now ignored the biggest opportunity of the season

Jake Arrieta‘s no-hitter was awesome. Max Scherzer‘s 20-strikeout performance was epic. But neither of those events approached the magnitude of “The Punch.” After a supposedly “dirty slide,” Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor clocked Toronto superstar Jose Bautista and Twitter absolutely EXPLODED. Everyone was talking about “The Punch,” putting both a positive and negative spin on it. Even non-baseball fans were engaging in the discussion. IT WAS GREAT.

The record for most Topps Now cards sold so far is 8,826, featuring 42-year old Bartolo Colon hitting his first big league homer. No other card has reached a print run 4,000. Only two others have sold more than 2,000 (Max Scherzer and Noah Syndergaard). I am confident that “The Punch” would have exceeded 10,000 orders. It was an exciting play, and whether you like Odor or Bautista or not, it generated baseball discussion and interest in the sport.

To me, it was a throwback. It immediately made me think of the Eric Davis/Ray Knight scuffle in 1986. Others made reference to the Will Clark/Jose Oquendo/Ozzie Smith fight in 1988. Perhaps the most famous fight between a fielder and runner happened in 1973 when Pete Rose and Bud Harrelson went at it during the 1973 NLCS. And who can forget the time Nolan Ryan hit Robin Ventura with the ball, and then put him in a headlock and went to town when Ventura charged the mound? Twitter wasn’t around during any of those fights, but they persist in our memories. Topps Now didn’t exist back then either, and to my knowledge Topps never created a card to immortalize these fights. But today, with on-demand ordering, the opportunity was there…and Topps did nothing.

Has there ever been a fight depicted on a Topps card? Topps employee Sooz (@yanxchick) asked this question on Twitter, and so far no one has come up with an actual baseball card showing a fight. There was a hockey card in the 1970s, and several fan-made creations, but nothing official from Topps baseball.

I don’t blame Topps. They want to promote a good image for baseball, and bench-clearing brawls don’t exactly do that. But they are exciting. And where Topps is silent, bloggers and Tweeters are loud and sometimes obnoxious. Here are a few of the Odor v. Bautista cards that I saw floating around yesterday:

Of course, the 2016 TWJ set doesn’t shy away from violence on the basepaths either. One of my favorite GameCube games is MLB SlugFest 2003, so of course I wanted to include a card of “The Punch” in the TWJ set. You can see a slightly larger version at TWJ cards on tumblr, along with more than 80 other 2016 TWJ baseball cards.

R.I.P. Sammy Ellis

(February 11, 1941 – May 13, 2016)

Ellis 1966

Cincinnati Reds pitcher and 1965 All-Star, Sammy Ellis passed away on Friday in Florida. Ellis pitched for the Reds (1962-1967), California Angels (1968), and Chicago White Sox (1969), and served as pitching coach for the Yankees (1982–84; 1986), White Sox (1989–91), Cubs (1992), Mariners (1993–94), Red Sox (1996), and Orioles (2000). He was inducted into the Mississippi State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.

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