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Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Jim Thome

Thome

How times have changed. When Harmon Killebrew retired in 1975, he was fourth on the all-time home runs list behind Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays. Yet, it took the BBWAA four years to decide he was worthy of Cooperstown. Jim Thome‘s 612 home runs put him eighth on the all-time list, but he flew right into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe Thome is a Hall of Famer…I just question the sanity of the voters in the 1980s who kept Killebrew waiting so long.

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Hall of Fame polls on Twitter

In advance of the results, I’m running a few polls on Twitter…log in and vote!

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.

Who is the greatest first baseman of all-time?

Foxx

I had no idea what to expect when I plugged in the numbers for first basemen. I couldn’t even guess at a top five list, except to say that Lou Gehrig would likely be near the top. When all the statistics were plugged into the spreadsheet, Gehrig (294.01) was near the top, but not at the #1 position. That spot was claimed by Jimmie Foxx (294.89), who beat out the Iron Horse by .88 points. This was easily the closest contest at any position.

Pujols

However, it is likely that the #1 position will be claimed by another player in the very near future. Albert Pujols (285.0), with only twelve years in the majors, is at #3 on the list, behind both Foxx and Gehrig by less than 10 points. Just one monster season with an MVP award could push Pujols to the top.

Rose

Pete Rose (253.18) falls in at the #4 spot. Now, before you start yammering on about how Rose spent most of his time in the outfield, let me point out that he split that time between the three outfield spots. Rose played more games at first base than he did in left field, right field, or center field. Thus, he is included here for the sake of putting him somewhere. That is the same reason Joe Torre was included among the catchers yesterday. Had Torre been thrown in among first baseman, his 206.33 score would put him at #15 all-time, just below Willie McCovey and ahead of Hall of Famers Roger Connor and Orlando Cepeda.

Murray

The number five guy threw me off. I knew Eddie Murray (248.5) was great, but the fifth best first baseman ever? Who else saw that coming? For a long time he was an American Leaguer overshadowed by his teammate at shortstop and then bounced around quite a bit during the second half of his career, so it’s not difficult to overlook him in that regard. But you would think that a member of the 500 home run club would be a little more celebrated by baseball fans. Thankfully, the writers were paying attention and allowed him first-ballot entry into Cooperstown in 2003.

Thomas

Besides Rose and Pujols, there are three other non-Hall of Famers in the top ten: the should-be-inducted-next-year Frank Thomas (#6, 241.48), the unfairly-treated-because-of-unfounded-suspicions Jeff Bagwell (#8, 234.71), and the still-employed-though-mostly-just-a-designated-hitter Jim Thome (#9, 225.5). The other two spots in the top ten go to Cap Anson (#7, 238.74) and Harmon Killebrew (#10, 220.02).

Thome

Take away the awards, and again the order gets mixed up and #10 drops off the list. Without awards and All-Star seasons, the top ten reads Gehrig, Foxx, Anson, Pujols, Murray, Thome, Rose, Bagwell, Thomas, and Hall of Famer Roger Connor. On both lists, Tony Perez comes in at #11.

Gehrig

Fun Card: 1985 Donruss “Highlights” Jim Thome

Only the fifth big leaguer in history to legitimately hit 600 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Ken Griffey Jr. Congrats Jim Thome on your spectacular accomplishment!

Here are a few other tributes around the baseball card blogosphere to Mr. Thome:

Reds-White Sox, June 19 photos

I was looking for tickets to Saturday’s game against the White Sox, but wasn’t really willing to pay the scalpers’ prices on them. So I decided to forgo the series. I’ve already seen the ChiSox a couple of times (once at Old Comiskey in 1989, again at New Comiskey in 1992). But as I was leaving work a couple of mornings ago, a co-worker asked if I wanted tickets to Friday’s game. I asked the question, of course, “How much?” His answer: “Free.” My answer: “Of course.”

My son had a baseball game tonight, so I knew I wouldn’t make it to the whole Reds game. As it turned out, I ended up umping the little leaguers because the high school kid they hired didn’t show up. I’m a terrible ump, and the little league game took about two hours to play. TWO HOURS FOR FIVE INNINGS. I was exhausted, but I knew we could still catch a few innings of the Reds game, so I dropped off my son, picked up my wife, and we were on our way…

We got to the game during the top of the seventh inning, just in time to see Jim Thome bat!

He ended up popping out I think. But hey, it was pure luck that we saw him at all…he was pinch hitting, and it turned out to be his only plate appearance of the night.

We also saw Jermaine Dye ground out…

…and Paul Konerko hit a long shot…

And some other stuff. I’m not sure. I was exhausted, still sweating from my umpire duties, but kept clicking away. Here’s a few of the other shots I took during the game…

Oh, and there was some dude standing down the first base line…I think there is some other blogger that thinks this guy should be a Hall of Famer or something…

One last thing. For those who are interested…THE REDS WON! Eat it, Steve. 🙂

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