Kurt Stillwell returned to Riverfront Stadium for the first time since the Reds traded him to the Royals for Danny Jackson over the off-season. By all appearances, he enjoyed seeing Barry Larkin again. Stillwell was added to the All-Star roster as an injury replacement for Chicago’s Ozzie Guillen.
Here are the results of the USA Today players poll:
There was little doubt that 2007 would see two first-ballot Hall of Famers inducted; the question was who would get more votes. Cal Ripken edged out Tony Gwynn by five votes, both flying into Cooperstown their first year. Other first-timers on the ballot in 2007 included Mark McGwire, Harold Baines, Paul O’Neill, and Eric Davis.
Cal Ripken started thirteen straight All-Star games at shortstop…and then three more at third base. In 2000, Travis Fryman was the starter at third base, and Derek Jeter at shortstop. In his final MLB season, Ripken was again the starting shortstop for the American League. Nineteen All-Star appearances; 17 as a starter. What an amazing career this guy had.
But Topps didn’t put him in the All-Star subset in 1988. Alan Trammell got the nod. Trammell was a fine shortstop, and in my opinion should be in the Hall of Fame. His 1987 season was phenomenal, and the Tiger should have been selected as the AL MVP over George Bell. That is likely the reason Topps included him here, breaking Ripken’s short streak of Topps All-Star cards. In fact, Trammell was again given the All-Star card in the 1989 set. It was back to Cal in 1990, then Tram in 1991, then Cal in 1992, Travis Fryman (?!?) in 1993, Cal in ’94…and I had stopped collecting baseball cards by this point, so I’m done.
I don’t know when Ripken received the “future Hall of Famer” tag, but it seems pretty clear that Topps dropped the ball on numerous occasions when it came to deciding who would be the American League shortstop in the All-Star subset.
With the retirement of Derek Jeter, I thought it would be appropriate to ask the BBBWARAOAAE, “Who is the greatest shortstop of all-time?” In an extremely close race, Cal Ripken edged out Honus Wagner 48-47, with Jeter finishing third. As of this writing, all eligible shortstops named in the poll have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
|1. Cal Ripken||6||48|
|2. Honus Wagner||4||47|
|3. Derek Jeter||–||18|
|4t. Ernie Banks||–||14|
|4t. Ozzie Smith||–||14|
|4t. Barry Larkin||–||14|
|7t. Alex Rodriguez||1||5|
|7t. Luis Aparicio||–||5|
|9. Luke Appling||–||4|
The shortstop position seems to evolve every few years. At times, the shortstop is expected to be a defensive genius such as Ozzie Smith; at others an offensive powerhouse like Ernie Banks; sometimes he is expected to be a jack-of-all-trades such as Cal Ripken, who, according to my calculations, is the greatest shortstop ever with a score of 314.62.
Ripken beats out legends Honus Wagner (272.75), Banks (261.93), Robin Yount (242.25), and modern-day sensation Derek Jeter (231.11) who still has time to improve his #5 position on the list. The Wizard of Oz (226.72), Barry Larkin (220.78), George Davis (219.01), and Joe Cronin (213.3) come in at #6-9. The only eligible non-Hall of Famer in the top 10 is Alan Trammell (210.61), affirming my long-standing belief that he should have a plaque among the greats.
Other Hall of Fame shortstops that fall outside the top ten include Luke Appling (#11, 210.46), Luis Aparicio (#12, 208.77), and Pee Wee Reese (#14, 205.02). Bill Dahlen, a late-nineteenth/early-twentieth century star, comes in at #13 with a score of 207.99. When we remove awards and All-Star seasons, Dahlen jumps all the way up to #6 on the list, ahead of Jeter, Smith, Larkin and more.
Since Dahlen played so long ago, he is all but forgotten when discussing overlooked greats. In 2012, the Veterans Committee voted to induct Deacon White into the Hall of Fame this year. Dahlen received 10 of 16 votes, 2 votes short of election. This is an improvement over past elections; perhaps his time will come soon.
In 1986 Topps teamed up with Quaker to issue a 33-card set full of superstars, including a nice handful of future Hall of Famers. Today we have the final six cards in the set…
Five out of the last six cards feature Hall of Fame players. Tom Seaver received the highest-ever percentage of votes when he was inducted in 1992 with 98.8%, and it was thought that Cal Ripken might challenge that mark when his name appeared on the ballot. Ripken ended up with 98.5% of the vote, which landed him third on the list behind Tom Terrific and Nolan Ryan. Jim Rice struggled the most to get into Cooperstown, finally garnering the 75% required in his fifteenth and final year on the BBWAA ballot.
The lone non-Hall of Famer here is Dan Quisenberry, one of the best closers in the majors in the first half of the 1980s and especially famous for his submarine style of delivering the ball to the plate. He finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five times, and top 10 in MVP voting four times. Quisenberry retired in 1990 and passed away in 1998 from a brain tumor. In addition to his baseball career, Quisenberry is known for his writing; a book of his poetry was published in 1998.
All seven men who have been honored with the retirement of uniform #8 are in the Hall of Fame, and two served as catchers for the New York Yankees.
Bill Dickey, New York Yankees
Dickey played 19 seasons in the Bronx, going to the World Series nine times (and winning eight). Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1954, his uniform number was retired in 1972 when Berra, who also wore #8, was selected for enshrinement in Cooperstown.
Yogi Berra, New York Yankees
Cal Ripken, Jr., Baltimore Orioles
Carl Yastrzemski, Boston Red Sox
Gary Carter, Montreal Expos
Joe Morgan, Cincinnati Reds
Willie Stargell, Pittsburgh Pirates
My son and I took a little trip north after church today for a card show at a Holiday Inn. It was free to get in, and by the time we got there several of the dealers had already packed up and left. It is NFL Sunday after all. But there were still a few around, and we got some pretty good stuff (in my opinion).
First, a few cards to knock off my set want lists…
And quite a few Cincinnati Reds cards for 5-10 cents (only a handful pictured)…
A cool little set featuring “The Big Red Machine” players…
A Kurt Stillwell card I had never seen before…
An Eric Davis “Collectible Plaque” (display easel included)…
(Trying to decide whether I should free this thing from the beat up packaging or not.)
And a box of 1990 Pro Set Series I…
The box is already busted. Took us less than 10 minutes to rip open all the packs. I’ll be honest, I was looking for the Jeff George draft pick card. I never got it as a kid, and it would have be sweet to pull it out of this box (even though it’s worthless). Alas, it was not to be found. Not in the box, anyway. I found it on eBay and overpaid for it, along with the Jeff George Falcons, Jeff George Patriots, and Keith McCants Falcons cards. We did get the whole Super Bowl subset out of the packs, but we’re missing a few of the base cards. I’ll be posting a wantlist as soon as I have them sorted for the Pro Set cards we’re missing from both Series I and II (I already had some of those in the closet).
After doing some Googling, I was surprised to see how many variations are in the set. There are probably even more than are listed there (for instance, there are two versions of Super Bowl card #22, one with a 1988 date and the other with a 1989 date…and we pulled both from this box).
Maybe this is why Pro Set disappeared after only a few years. I loved the cards, but there were so many errors and variations…it can be very disheartening for someone who wants to complete a master set. I haven’t decided yet whether we’re going to try to get all the errors and corrections or just one for each card number. What would you do?
It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of modern-day baseball. With all the cheats in the game, and so few class acts left, it’s just difficult to retain my interest. But because of the internet, I can relive the days of baseball that I fell in love with.
I started collecting baseball cards in 1985. I got my first complete set in 1986 for Christmas (Topps, of course). And I started learning about the game’s history because of a man named Peter Edward Rose.
You see, when I started following baseball, Rose was chasing Ty Cobb’s career record for hits. That immediately created a strong desire to learn about Ty Cobb, and eventually other old-timers like Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Jackie Robinson, and so on.
And now, when I want to relive the glory days of the 1980s, all I have to do is fire up YouTube. Here’s a clip of Reggie Jackson and Howard Cosell running down the starting lineups, position-by-position, for the 1983 World Series teams, the Phillies (featuring Rose, Morgan, and Schmidt) and the Orioles (featuring Murray and a youngster named Cal Ripken Jr).
I don’t remember the ’83 Series (’86 was the first one I really paid attention to). But it’s cool to look back on it now. Five Hall of Famers in the infield alone…has that happened since?
Oh, that we could see the game played like it was back then…when it was still (for the most part) a game.