In the era of free agency, it is rare to find a player remain with the same team for his entire career, but there are a few Hall of Famers that refused to desert their devoted fans. Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Jim Rice, Tony Gwynn, and Cal Ripken are a few of the lifers in the Hall. Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter will join them in future elections. And, of course, there is the Cincinnati-born Barry Larkin, who was one of three shortstops on the 1988 National League All-Star roster.
Yesterday, we featured Shawon Dunston, the hard-throwing shortstop of the Cubs. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (who was not a lifer) was featured in the actual 1988 Topps set. But Barry Larkin was forced to wait until 1991 to make his All-Star cardboard debut.
As I said last week, I would love to see Topps actually do this next year, either as an insert set or in Archives. Give every 1988 All-Star a 1988 All-Star card. I have two more lined up this week, and am trying to track down usable “mugshots” for more. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.
April 28, 1964
One would think that it would be difficult to find a shortstop to replace the fan favorite Dave Concepcion in Cincinnati in the late 1980s, but Barry Larkin confidently stepped into the hole left by #13 and quickly established himself as one of the premier offensive and defensive shortstops in the majors. Twelve All-Star games, nine Silver Sluggers, and three Gold Gloves—a number that likely would have been higher had his career not overlapped with Ozzie Smith’s. Larkin was the 1995 NL MVP and waltzed into the Hall of Fame on his third ballot in 2012.
There has not been a new post on the Cardboard Junkie website in four months. But Dave is still quite active on Twitter as @CardJunk, and after telling him that I wanted to send him some Barves cards, he said he had some Reds set aside for me. His package arrived last week. Here’s some of the awesomeness contained inside:
A couple of “1st Home Run” inserts from 2015 Topps featuring Josh Hamilton and Tony Perez. I don’t recall seeing any of these last year, and if I did, I certainly didn’t notice that some were silver and some were gold.
Some parallel goodies. Red-bordered Jonathan Broxton from 2014, and man, Reds players sure look good on red-bordered cards. The emerald green borders look sharp too, but I bet Donald Lutz would look better in an A’s uniform on that card. The Mike Leake is a mini, alternate-colored bordered Gypsy Queen. And a black-bordered Johnny Cueto Heritage. Are there any sets that don’t have some sort of parallel anymore?
Autographed goodness! Luis Pineda only played two seasons in the bigs, and only one for the Reds. But I got his scribbles now!
Future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman never played for the Cincinnati Reds, but he spent some time in the organization before going to
Miami Florida in the 1992 expansion draft.
Another fantastic reliever, John Franco, from the 1987 Topps sticker set.
Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, from the 1987 Classic green border set. I already had the yellow border card from the travel edition, but the green border features a different photo and everything.
Even more vintage. Leo Cardenas, 1968. This card is going to look fantastic with Leo’s scribbles on it. The only question is whether I wait until December at Redsfest or try to catch him at the Reds Hall of Fame this summer.
There was a ton of other stuff in the package…
…including a card that I didn’t even discover until I went to scan them last night. In addition to all the Reds goodies, Dave included a special 1/1 sketch card of one of my very favorite vampires…
A pleasant surprise slid in between two other cards in one of the hard cases. I absolutely love this sketch card!
I love blind trades. I sent a handful of Tampa Bay Rays cards to @JDaniel2033, a Twitter friend in Indianapolis, and he sent back a handful of Reds. Lots of Barry Larkin and Hal Morris cards, Jose Rijo, and Hall of Famer Tony Perez were included among them. But he also sent a vintage Reds card that I needed:
Former Reds outfielder Bernie Carbo (who also played for the Cardinals, Red Sox, Brewers, Pirates, and Indians).
But he didn’t stop there. He also sent me a non-Reds card from 1972…
Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan!
There are a few players that are always welcome in my collection, whether they are wearing Reds uniforms or not, and that includes any of the Big Red Machine’s Great Eight.
Thank you for the awesome cards @JDaniel2033, and I will certainly be sending some more Rays your way whenever I come across them!
I recently sent some Dale Murphy and Atlanta Braves cards to Steve of The Card Chop, and he responded with a package of Reds cards. Always happy to receive an envelope full of Reds, especially when I need every single one…
Let’s start with this Joey Votto/Brandon Phillips “Back to Back” card from the new 2016 Topps flagship. I like this card. A lot of people are hating on this particular insert set, and while it’s not the most fantastic card ever, I still like it. Plus, Topps was smart by using two players that were pretty much guaranteed to still be on the Reds roster when the season opens. As opposed to this guy…
…who will be sitting out the first thirty games serving a domestic violence suspension. I’m not sure how much the Reds will actually miss Aroldis Chapman this year, since he is a closer and expected to save games. The Reds probably won’t have very many games to save.
And then there is this guy, who was almost a Blue Jay last week. Jay Bruce has been the subject of trade rumors since the All-Star break last year, and I still would not be surprised to see him in another city for opening day. He has a big contract that Cincinnati would love to get rid of, despite being one of the league leaders in homers and RBI just a few years ago…
Speaking of league leaders…
…when is Billy Hamilton going to get on base enough to lead the league in stolen bases?
Keeping with the league leaders theme…
…Aaron Harang had the most strikeouts in 2006. That kinda blows my mind. He’s still looking for a job this spring, after finishing the 2015 season in Philadelphia. Another former Reds pitcher…
Steve sent over a slew of 2006 Topps Reds that I didn’t have yet.
Brandon Phillips is the only player from the 2006 Reds team that is still in Cincinnati in 2016. 2006 was before Votto and before Bruce. One of the players on that roster is now deceased. It seems like an eternity ago, when Ken Griffey and Adam Dunn still roamed the outfield at Great American Ballpark.
Steve sent several other 2006 Topps Reds, but I don’t remember half of them. I did want to show one other card in the package, going way back to 1995…
Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, punched out of a Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine. I loved the 90s.
Donruss created “The Rookies” boxed set in 1986, featuring some of the brightest young stars in baseball, including Bo Jackson, Jose Canseco, and Will Clark. The borders were green rather than the blue of the base set, but the scanned card appears more blue than green and I didn’t take the time to adjust it. Donruss missed a couple youngsters here and there, though, including Reds shortstop and future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. Lark played in 41 games in 1986, hitting .283 with three homers and 19 RBI. The Reds were still deciding between him and Kurt Stillwell at the shortstop position; Larkin played three games at second base and 36 at short, while Stillwell played 80. For his first two big league seasons, Larkin wore uniform #15; once Stillwell was traded, Barry took #11 for himself.
Alright, so technically these are not 2015 Reds…but it is certainly a 2015 highlight for this dismal Reds season. Announced before the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Barry Larkin, along with should-be Hall of Famer Pete Rose, took the field to a thunderous ovation as the Franchise Four of the Cincinnati Reds.
I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for Tuesday’s festivities. I have to say, if you ever get a chance to attend the MLB All-Star Game, it is worth it. I had an amazing night.
This morning I posted 15 “fun cards” in the style of 1938 Goudey baseball cards that I drew 25 years ago at twjfuncards.tumblr.com. I have posted these here before, but the image links expired long ago, so I decided to re-upload them to tumblr for posterity.
I remember working on these at my desk in my bedroom, and a few nights ago I told my son to go find some index cards and colored pencils for me. But I am hesitant to try again. When I get up the courage to attempt a new drawing, I will post it here for everyone to laugh at. In the meantime, enjoy the 25-year old “fun cards.”
I’m a baseball card junkie, I’ll admit it. But I don’t like the shiny, nor do I go nuts over the latest certified autographs or “can’t miss” prospects. I’m all about the cheap stuff featuring players I like and guys from the Reds. If I can buy it for under a buck, I might be interested.
Last week in Myrtle Beach, I stopped at a card shop called Baseball 17. As soon as I walked in, I knew I would be spending a bit of time there. It was just like the baseball card shops I grew up with…boxes upon boxes of cheap cards, 25 cents each or five for a dollar. Other boxes boasted, “Stars 50 cents!” I immediately dove in to a box, and started pulling Reds.
I’m not talking about 2013 Topps or 2014 Heritage. I’m talking old-school…1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s. Five for a dollar! Barry Larkin, Ken Hunt, Don Blasingame, Leon Wagner. Here’s a sample of just a few of the Reds I picked out…
I also spied a 1989 Broders Rookies Ken Griffey card. I have a couple of the 1988 sets, but had never seen a 1989 series before…
You just can’t beat that, can you?
Actually, yes you can. This card, featuring three Hall of Famers, set me back twenty cents…
I also visited the “Stars for 50 cents!” box, and pulled a couple more Gibsons…1969 and 1975.
I remember the 1975 Gibson card from my grandmother’s house. She had a nice stack of 1975 cards, not sure who they belonged to but I was never allowed to ask if I could keep them. I recall looking at those cards, and I remember seeing the Gibson in that stack. I probably had no idea who he was at the time, but I always liked the card anyway.
The 1969 card has an amusing cartoon on the back, highlighting one of Gibby’s many extraordinary feats from the 1968 season…
I had a great time in Myrtle Beach, and Baseball 17 made it even better. I only dropped about $10 there in two visits, but it was great reliving the memories of the card shops of my youth. I can’t wait to go back next year and see what else I can find in the bargain bins.
Sparky Anderson, Jim O’Toole, Eric Davis, and Barry Larkin will be the first four bobbleheads offered to Reds Hall of Fame visitors on select days this season. A photo of the Davis figure was posted on the Reds Hall of Fame Twitter account today…
Pretty nifty, eh?
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