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Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star First Basemen


Following his record-setting rookie campaign in 1987, Mark McGwire was voted by fans to start at first base in the 1988 All-Star Game in Cincinnati.


On the bench were Don Mattingly, who the players thought should have been the starter, and future Hall of Famer George Brett, who had just made the switch to first from third in 1987.



USA Today surveyed the players in each league on who they thought should start the game. Players were only allowed to vote for their own league, and could not choose teammates. Results for American League first base were as follows:



The 1988 All-Star Game is special to me because it was held in Cincinnati. I started making these cards two years ago and finally finished the complete rosters (front and back, including managers) earlier this year. I plan to post them here over the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy!

Please note that these are NOT real cards. There are no physical copies and they are not for sale. They exist only in digital form.


Baseball cards from Orlando


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…


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.


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.





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


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.



Also from the same 1992 Score pack.


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.


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.



Think this candy is still good from 1991?


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.

Fifteen (or more) years on the ballot, but not a Hall of Famer

Some of the hoopla surrounding the Hall of Fame vote has died down now, with three players and three managers all set to be inducted this summer. No doubt these individuals recognize what an honor is being bestowed upon them.

The rules for Hall of Fame balloting has evolved over the years. Currently, a player can stay on the ballot for fifteen years without election as long as he maintains greater than 5% of the vote. This has not always been the case. One player lasted longer on the ballot than fifteen years, while several survived for several years without gaining 5% of the vote.

That said, not many players have lasted fifteen years. One has to be pretty good, but not good enough, to stick around for so long. Jack Morris joined this illustrious group this year, while Don Mattingly, Alan Trammell, and Lee Smith are likely to be added over the next three years (assuming Trammell and Smith continue to receive greater than 5% support).

Murphy All-Star

Below is a list of the players at each position that survived for fifteen years on the BBWAA ballot; their years on the ballot and highest support are indicated in parenthesis. There are a few guys on this list that I believe should be in Cooperstown; Dale Murphy is at the very top of my list, with players like Dave Concepcion, Ken Boyer, and Dave Parker trailing him. It boggles my mind that Murph has been excluded and I hope the Veterans Committee rectifies his omission when his name comes before them. All of these players had fine careers, and this would make a pretty powerful team, even if none of them are in the Hall of Fame.

Catcher:Howard catcher Yankees

  • Joe Torre* (1983-1997; 22.2% in 1997) [Torre will be inducted as a manager in 2014, but stayed on the ballot for fifteen years as a player]
  • Thurman Munson (1981-1995; 15.5% in 1981)
  • Elston Howard (1974-1988; 20.7% in 1981)
  • Hank Gowdy (1937-1939, 1942, 1945, 1947-1956, 1958, 1960; 35.9% in 1955)

First Base:

Second Base:

    • Bobby Thomson** (1966-1979; 2.8% in 1975) [No 2B lasted fifteen years on the ballot without election; Thomson was on the ballot for fourteen years]


Shortstop:Boyer 1964 MVP

  • Dave Concepcion (1994-2008; 16.9% in 1998)
  • Maury Wills (1978-1992; 40.6% in 1981)
  • Al Dark (1966-1980; 18.5% in 1979)

Third Base:

  • Ken Boyer (1975-1979, 1985-1994; 25.5% in 1988)


  • Dale Murphy (1999-2013; 23.2% in 2000)
  • Dave Parker (1997-2011; 24.5% in 1998)
  • Minnie Minoso (1969, 1986-1999; 21.1% in 1988)
  • Tony Oliva (1982-1996; 47.3% in 1988)
  • Curt Flood (1977-1979, 1985-1996; 15.1% in 1996)
  • LarsenVada Pinson (1981-1983, 1985-1996; 15.7% in 1988)
  • Harvey Kuenn (1977-1991; 39.3% in 1988)
  • Roger Maris (1974-1988; 43.1% in 1988)


Too big for a binder: Donruss All-Stars

I love the oddball sets of the 1980s, from the 33-card boxed sets you could find at Kmart, Toys R Us, and just about everywhere else, to the cards you had to cut out from Kraft Macaroni & Cheese boxes. But these cards absolutely drove me insane: the big Donruss All-Star cards from 1983 through 1987. Sure, there were plenty of great players included in these issues, but they were too big for a binder and difficult to store. I still haven’t figured out exactly what to do with them.

The 1983 version was horizontal, such as this Reggie Jackson:

Mr October 1983 Donruss

Donruss flipped the card right-side-up in 1984 and kept them that way the rest of the run, as this 1985 Don Mattingly shows:

Donnie Baseball 1985 Donruss

But they were still too big at 3.5×5. There were also the “pop-up” cards featuring the starters from the game, such as this 1986 Jack Morris:

Morris Donruss All Star

In 1988, Donruss finally wised up and shrunk the cards back down to regular size and they fit nicely into standard baseball card pages.

Falling off the ballot

Later today, the Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will be announced. Most people will be interested to see who receives the 75% support to gain induction, but in this age of the internet the likely outcome has already been revealed: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas will fly in on the first ballot, with Maddux challenging Tom Seaver’s record of 98.6% support. Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Jack Morris are all in the gray area; I believe Biggio will likely get in this year. But I’m more interested in seeing who fails to receive 5% of the vote, thereby falling off the ballot for future consideration by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

This 5% rule has only been in effect since sometime in the 1980s; I have been unable to pinpoint the exact year it was introduced or enforced. Bobby Thomson was on the ballot for fourteen years (1966-1979) but never received even 5% of the vote in any single year; several other examples could be cited of players that hung around for a few ballots but only garnered a handful of votes.

Mattingly New York YankeesThe so-called “stacked ballot” this year puts several big names in danger of falling below 5%, such as steroid poster boys Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and the very popular (but not popular enough for Hall of Fame voters) Don Mattingly. Sosa, if he were to fall below the 5% threshold, would make history as the biggest drop in support between his first and second years on the ballot. Only two two-timers have lost more than 5% support between their debut and sophomore year on the Hall of Fame ballot. In 2013, Bernie Williams fell from 9.6% to 3.3% (losing 36 votes); in 2007, Orel Hershiser went from 11.2% to 4.4% (losing 34 votes).

[Update: Mattingly, McGwire, and Sosa all exceeded the 5% threshold. The only holdover to fall below 5% was Rafael Palmeiro, who was in his fourth year.]

Mattingly is in his fourteenth year, while McGwire is being considered for the eighth time in 2014. Several other players throughout the history of the institution have fallen below the 5% for support after more than two years of consideration.

One of the greatest oversights of the BBWAA is Dwight Evans, who was on the ballot for a measly three years (1997-1999). His percentage went up his first two years from 5.9% to 10.4%, but was dealt a blow in 1999 with only 18 voters checking his name for 3.6%. To be fair to the writers, that was a tough year with a lot of big names, including inductees Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount, and eventual Hall of Famers Carlton Fisk, Tony Perez, Gary Carter, Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter, and Bert Blyleven.

HernandezBobby Bonds, better known nowadays as Barry Bonds’ father, was considered by BBWAA writers eleven times, but never exceeded 10.6%. Rusty Staub hung around for seven years, but never topped 7.9%. The final stop for both Bonds and Staub, as well as multi-timers Fred Lynn and Graig Nettles, was 1997.

Keith Hernandez received enough support for nine tries on the BBWAA ballot, topping 10% of the vote twice, but finally falling below the 5% threshold in 2004. Ron Guidry also stuck around for nine ballots; his highest support was 8.8% in 2000 and he fell off in 2002.

Harold Baines hung on for five years, but his highest percentage was 6.1% in 2010 before falling to 4.8% in 2011. The six-time All-Star was somewhat of a trailblazer as a designated hitter, and collected 2866 hits in his 22-year career. Perhaps if the strikes of 1981 and 1994 never happened, he could have reached 3000. Never a dominant player, but very good at what he did.

A surprise to me was Bob Boone, who received more than 5% support from 1996-1999. In 2000, he finally dipped below the 5% line and was removed from consideration. Yet, Ted Simmons was dismissed after only appearance in 1994? For shame, writers. For shame.
One of the strangest situations is that of Jose Rijo, who appeared on the ballot twice, but failed to receive 5% either time. In 2001 he received 1 vote for 0.2%. In July 2001, he signed a contract with the Reds and pitched in 44 more games during the rest of that season and 2002. His name came back up for Cooperstown consideration in 2008, but he failed to garner a single vote.

I will be sad to see Mattingly fall off the ballot, whether it happens this year due to a lack of support or next year after his eligibility runs out. His baseball cards always had a spot in my “Future Hall of Famer” shoebox when I was a kid, along with other eighties giants like Alan Trammell and Dale Murphy still waiting for that phone call.

1986 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars Cards #10-18

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. This week, we’re looking at the cards in the set; today we have cards 10-18…

1986 Quaker Chewy Granola Bars 10-18

This page almost looks like a dream line-up of 1980s stars…first baseman Don Mattingly, second baseman Ryne Sandberg, third baseman Mike Schmidt, shortstop Ozzie Smith, outfielders Darryl Strawberry and Tim Raines, and pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. Pete Rose was nearing the end of his career, having just broken Ty Cobb‘s hits record in September 1985. Many thought Nolan Ryan‘s best years were behind him, but he would actually pitch two more no-hitters in the next decade.

The Hall of Fame count for this group is four: Ryan, Sandberg, Schmidt, and Smith. Raines will probably join that group eventually, and really should already be there. As the premiere leadoff hitter in the National League, Raines was a seven-time All-Star for the Expos and is currently fifth on the career stolen base leaderboard. He received 52.2% of the vote in 2013 for Cooperstown, more than double the support he received in his first year on the ballot.

Retired Numbers: #23

Only one Hall of Famer in this group, though there is quite a lot of support among fans for Donnie Baseball.

Willie Horton, Detroit Tigers

A member of the 1968 World Champion Tigers, Horton spent the first fifteen seasons of his career in Detroit. He went to the All-Star Game four times and finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting twice. His 325 home runs were not enough to keep him on the Hall of Fame ballot for very long though; he was one-and-done in 1986 with only four votes. His Wikipedia entry says, “Sources show that he gives great hugs according to his young nephew.” He also has the misfortune of sharing a name with a convicted murderer.

Don Mattingly, New York Yankees

Ryne Sandberg, Chicago Cubs

2011 Fan Pack Challenge: Los Angeles Dodgers

In 2009, I couldn’t find a good e-mail address to contact the Dodgers. I’m glad I did this year, though, because they sent over a ton of awesome goodies. I’m also going to make an exception to the “only 1 point for pocket schedules, no matter how many a team sends” rule, because the Dodgers pocket schedules aren’t all the same! But the pocket schedules were only the beginning…this fan pack was loaded. Line Drives magazine is basically an advertisement to coming to the Dodgers games this year, but instead of a little brochure it’s more like a magazine. If I were traveling to LA this summer, I would definitely try to make it July 26 so I could get a Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead. The pencil and pocket steno pad notebook were nice touches, too. I might start doodling and posting my doodles to the blog. You would love that, wouldn’t you?

Here’s their score:
The inclusion of pocket schedule(s) = 2 points (one featuring James Loney, another featuring Don Mattingly)
Stickers = 0
Baseball cards = 0
High-quality promotional items = 10 (4 temporary tattoos, postcard of Andre Ethier, postcard of Brent Leach, fridge magnet schedule, pencil, notebook, Line Drives magazine)
Other stuff = 0
Timeliness = 10 points

Request your own Dodgers fan pack here!

Thanks, Joe Torre!

This blog has experienced a surge in visits over the past couple of days thanks to Torre’s retirement announcement. Everyone is searching for Don Mattingly Dodgers and winds up here.

No relation to this at all, I discovered this song recently and really like it. Listen to it. NOW.

Fun Cards – 1982 Donruss Don Mattingly

I remember 1982 Donruss included coach’s cards because I had a Vada Pinson card, who was coach for the White Sox. So I decided to make a Don Mattingly coach card for the Dodgers, since he hasn’t been pictured in anything but pinstripes previously. I’m no Dodgers fan (sorry Night Owl and GCRL), nor am I a Yankee fan (far from it), but I like Mattingly. Hopefully he’ll become a manager somewhere and have a spectacular career so he can go into the Hall of Fame (where he belongs as a player).

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