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Fun Cards: 1988 National League All-Star Outfielders

Straw

Straw

The National League took six outfielders from four teams to the midsummer classic in 1988: starters Darryl Strawberry, Vince Coleman, and Andre Dawson, and backups Willie McGee, Rafael Palmeiro, and Andy Van Slyke.

Vincent Van Go

Coleman

I love the nicknames of the 1980s. The Straw, Vincent Van Go, The Hawk…the nicknames of players today just don’t have the same panache.

Dawson

Dawson

Not everyone liked their nickname, though. Case in point, Willie McGee hated the name “E.T.” He hated it so much, it became a national news story. The New York Times reported in 1982, “Willie McGee won’t elaborate on his dislike for the nickname. Perhaps he thinks that it’s a racial slur since E.T. is dark-skinned. Perhaps he’s embarrassed because he has the hooded eyes and pinched nose similar to that of the little creature; he also wobbles when he walks, as E.T. does in the movie. Whatever the reason, Willie McGee is entitled to prefer his name to that nickname, even though he has virtually landed in the World Series from another planet.”

McGee

McGee

If Palmeiro had a nickname, what would it be? “Finger-pointer”?

Palmeiro

Palmeiro

Kirk Gibson is the only difference between the players’ top six and the actual roster. Gibby was the eventual National League MVP and had one of the most dramatic home runs in World Series history, but his invite to the 1988 All-Star Game was evidently lost in the mail.

Van Slyke

Van Slyke

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Fun Cards: 2019 TWJ Andre Dawson

The Hawk

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are still without contracts*. Andre Dawson didn’t sign with the Cubs until March 9 in 1987. Of course, that was due in part to collusion, a self-imposed, under-the-table salary cap orchestrated by Bud Selig and his cohorts to keep contracts down. Is that happening this year? Honestly, I don’t care. I don’t care if Harper and Machado end up playing in Japan or Mexico or Timbuktu. If this leads to another strike, as Adam Wainwright thinks it will, that’s fine.

I love baseball, but I don’t need baseball. There are plenty of other things to keep me busy. A bunch of whining millionaires (I’m talking about both owners and players) doesn’t sit well with me.

* I wrote this last night, and might be asleep when it actually posts. I probably won’t come back and update it even if a deal with the Phillies or Padres or Yankees or Chunichi Dragons is announced.

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Andre Dawson

Dawson

“The Hawk” was a superstar in Montreal, but nobody knew it. Coming to Chicago in 1987 and receiving daily, national exposure on WGN, though, opened everyone’s eyes. Andre Dawson smashed 49 home runs in the Friendly Confines on his way to the 1987 NL MVP award, though the Cubs spent the season in the cellar. In 21 years, Dawson went deep 438 times while hitting .279. The writers foolishly passed over him for eight years before finally giving him the honor he earned on his ninth ballot.

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.

Fun Cards: 2012 “Taco Bell Softball” Andre Dawson

Consider the awesome nicknames in baseball history: The Hammer. The Cobra. The Babe. The Hawk. You can’t deny the awesomeness of those monikers. Today’s nicknames just don’t measure up.

The Hawk, also known as Andre Dawson, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 after nine years on the ballot. I have to admit that I’m surprised it took him so long to get in, with a .279 batting average, 438 homers and 1591 RBI. His 1987 season was one for the ages, at least in the context of when he played: 49 home runs and 137 RBI for the cellar dwellin’ Cubbies.

Hall of Famer Dawson

Photo credit: Getty Images

Retired Numbers: #10

This group includes a few of the most hotly debated Hall of Famers in Dawson, Rizzuto, and Santo.

Dick Howser, Kansas City Royals

The first person honored with a retired number by the Royals, Howser led the team to a championship in 1985. As the manager of the league champion, Howser was named the manager of the 1986 AL All-Star squad. That would be his final game as he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and could no longer perform his duties. He attempted a comeback in 1987, but was too weak. He passed in June 1987.

Andre Dawson, Montreal Expos

Phil Rizzuto, New York Yankees

Ron Santo, Chicago Cubs

Rusty Staub, Montreal Expos

Sparky Anderson, Cincinnati Reds

Ichiro’s pre-MLB days; a pantsless Psycho; a heated Hawk

While browsing YouTube this morning, I came across some neat videos of Ichiro Suzuki batting against MLB pitchers while still in Japan.

I also found Steve “Psycho” Lyons dropping his pants…

…and Andre Dawson going batty after a bad call…

I love how Dawson says the ump was being unprofessional during the post-game interview. Hello, kettle! Meet the pot!

YouTube is so awesome!

The significance of the first-ballot Hall of Famer

The results were just announced a couple of days ago, and Andre Dawson was the only player chosen by the BBWAA to enter the Hall of Fame in 2010. It was Dawson’s ninth year on the ballot. Some are grousing about his lack of qualifications, while others are ecstatic that he is finally in. To me, Dawson is a Hall of Famer. He was one of the heroes of my childhood due to his exposure on WGN, and it’s hard to erase childhood memories even when statistics are hurled at you.

Another complaint I have seen on several blogs is the concept of “first ballot Hall of Famers.” The line of thought is, “How can someone be a Hall of Famer next year, but not this year? If you’re a Hall of Famer, you’re a Hall of Famer plain-and-simple!” While there is merit to this, I can understand the line of thinking of those who refuse to vote for certain players on their first ballot. The idea is that a first ballot induction is somewhat of a higher honor, and it is. Sure, there were oversights (Ryne Sandberg, Carlton Fisk), and there were some who got in on their first ballot that really didn’t deserve it (Paul Molitor? Seriously?), but in an imperfect system it’s a reasonable line of thought.

That’s why I don’t really have a problem with Alomar waiting a year, and Larkin a couple of years. I’m surprised that Alomar was not elected (especially after the Paul Molitor debacle), but not offended. He’ll get in next year, along with Blyleven, and while that may take a potential vote away from Larkin, I’m confident Barry will be inducted in 2012 or 2013.

Here are my predictions of Hall inductees for the next several years (* = first ballot, ** = final year of eligibility):

2011: Alomar, Blyleven

2012: Larkin

2013: Craig Biggio*, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez

2014: Greg Maddux*, Tom Glavine*, Frank Thomas*

2015: Randy Johnson*, Tim Raines

2016: Ken Griffey, Jr.* (assuming he retires after this season), Mike Mussina

2017: John Smoltz (assuming he retires after this season), Lee Smith**

Bagwell may squeeze through in 2012 on his first try, but to me he just doesn’t qualify as a first ballot Hall of Famer if you are going to limit it to the greatest of the great (Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn). And I’m still not sold on Edgar, but I do believe he will pick up enough steam over the next few years.

2014 will be interesting – all three are more than deserving of first ballot status, but when is the last time three guys went in on their first try in the same year? It’s only happened once (excluding 1936, the first year of voting). You have to go back to 1999 – Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount – just barely. Ryan and Brett both received more than 98% of the vote; Yount got just 77.5%.

Thomas’ latter years may hurt him, but he should still go in on the first ballot with at least 80%. Glavine should also receive at least 80%, although if the writers look back at history and see that Warren Spahn only received 83.2%, a few might hold back their votes. Maddux, on the other hand, should receive 100%. He won’t, but he should. Any writer who fails to vote for Maddux should have his voting rights stripped, taken out into the street and be publicly flogged.

2015 is the year I have Raines finally getting in. The writers have to wake up eventually, right?

The Big Unit will cruise in, as will Junior (I’m assuming he retires after this season). The Moose will have to wait a couple years, and Lee Smith will get in during his final year of eligibility.

You might notice that I didn’t use any statistics in this post, other than the voting percentages that Hall of Famers received. I’m not anti-stat; I think stats are great. But I just get overwhelmed with all the new stuff that has picked up steam in this internet age. WHIP, WAR, Win Shares, OPS+…I don’t understand half of them. I’m more of a counting stat guy. And yeah, I know Molitor had 3k hits. But he still shouldn’t have been in on the first ballot.

The Hawk flies high

So the Hall of Fame vote was released today, and “The Hawk” was the only player who got the required 75% for election. Blyleven fell five votes short; Alomar was eight votes shy of induction. I still don’t get the aversion to voting for Bert. I guess the Alomar snub had something to do with the spitting incident. Larkin’s 50% is a good start; I predict 2012 to be his year. Raines only got 30%…I don’t get that. And don’t even get me started on Dale Murphy. Seriously, don’t.

For those who did not receive the required 5% to stay on the ballot for next year…I’m not surprised. None of them should receive serious consideration for Cooperstown. It’s a great achievement to play in the Major Leagues, and they should be very proud of that.

Here’s the breakdown of the vote:

Andre Dawson 420 (77.9%)
Bert Blyleven 400 (74.2%)
Roberto Alomar 397 (73.7%)
Jack Morris 282 (52.3%)
Barry Larkin 278 (51.6%)
Lee Smith 255 (47.3%)
Edgar Martinez 195 (36.2%)
Tim Raines 164 (30.4%)
Mark McGwire 128 (23.7%)
Alan Trammell 121 (22.4%)
Fred McGriff 116 (21.5%)
Don Mattingly 87 (16.1%)
Dave Parker 82 (15.2%)
Dale Murphy 63 (11.7%)
Harold Baines 33 (6.1%)
Andres Galarraga 22 (4.1%)
Robin Ventura 7 (1.3%)
Ellis Burks 2 (0.4%)
Eric Karros 2 (0.4%)
Kevin Appier 1 (0.2%)
Pat Hentgen 1 (0.2%)
David Segui 1 (0.2%)
Mike Jackson 0
Ray Lankford 0
Shane Reynolds 0
Todd Zeile 0

Who’s going to Cooperstown?

One is a shoo-in. We know this. There is no way the Man of Steal is not headed to the Hall.

The question then becomes, who (if anyone) is going with him? Will Bert Blyleven finally be given his due?

Will Jim Rice’s relationship with writers keep him out on his last chance?

What do you think?

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