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400

Only five players who are eligible for the Hall of Fame have hit 400 or more career home runs without being elected. Only two of those are still on the ballot. Of course, this number will go up in years to come, if others accused of using PEDs become eligible (Palmeiro, Sosa, Bonds, etc.) fail to garner enough support for election. Here’s a run-down of the current five:

1. Mark McGwire – With 583 home runs, good for eighth on the all-time list, the steroid allegations have hit McGwire the hardest so far. The only one on this list who was considered a shoo-in prior to the scandal, he is struggling to receive even a quarter of the votes needed. Only time will tell if the voters’ stance will soften and let McGwire in. If he makes it, expect Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens to follow him in. Should he fall off the ballot, then he will be counting on the Veterans Committee, most of whom are against the idea of the enshrinement of supposed cheaters (at least to this degree).

2. Jose Canseco – The other “bash brother” from Oakland played longer than he should have, trying to reach the formerly magical number of 500. He ended up with 462. He is also known as the first 40 homer/40 stolen base man, and was a major part of Oakland’s 1988-1990 successes. Jose is still trying to get to 500, apparently playing in independent leagues and trying to catch the eyes of major league teams to give him another look. Hey, I hear Tampa Bay is looking at Barry Bonds…how about giving Jose a shot? (No, not that kind of shot.) Canseco was on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2007, but only received 6 votes.

3. Dave Kingman – “King Kong” was a monster at the plate…when he made contact. He led the league in homers twice, finishing second 4 other times. He was voted in to start the All-Star game twice, and was selected a third time by the All-Star manager. Despite his power, Kingman struck out a lot and finished with a .236 career batting average. In his sole appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot (1992), Kingman received only 3 votes (0.7%).

4. Andre Dawson – “The Hawk” toiled for eleven years in Montreal before hitting the national spotlight in 1987 with the Chicago Cubs, when he hit 49 round-trippers. That was good for a National League MVP award, despite the Cubs’ last place finish and a very solid season by Cardinals’ slugger Jack Clark. Dawson’s 438 career dingers have garnered him serious consideration on the Hall of Fame ballot, receiving at least 50% each year except his first. In 2008, he was third on the list with 65.8%, behind Goose Gossage and Jim Rice.

5. Darrell Evans – The last man on the list was the most surprising to me. I never thought of Evans as a power hitter, though he lead the American League in 1985 with 40 homers. Evans was only twice selected for the All-Star game (1973 and 1983), and never finished in the top 10 for MVP voting. He finished his career in 1989 with 414 longballs, but his .248 career batting average undoubtedly ruined his call to Cooperstown. Like Kingman and Canseco, Evans was only on the ballot once, pulling in eight votes in 1995.

Perhaps in a few years we will need a post dedicated to players with 500 career home runs who are not in the Hall. However, they will be locked out for a much different reason than some of these guys.

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My trip to the card shop…

My son and I visited one of the local card shops this afternoon, and I walked away pretty happy (as did he). He picked up some singles…Ken Griffey Jr., Chone Figgins (have no idea why he picked him out), Warren Spahn, another baseball guy (can’t remember who though), and Michael Jordan (normally, I’m against basketball cards, but I make an exception for MJ). I picked up several packs, including a few from the dollar bins. Here’s what I got…

1988 Topps

I grabbed two cello packs of these bad boys, even though I already have a ton. I just couldn’t resist the shiny All-Star cards on the top (pictured above). Add to that a Bo Jackson showing through the back of one of the packs, and it was a no-brainer. $1 per pack and 42 cards in each. Even if they are all doubles (which is quite possible), I still got Eric the Red and the HOF 3B Mike Schmidt.

1989 Fleer League Leaders

This is actually a set, 44 cards, and was only a buck. Again, Eric Davis is in the set, as well as Mark Grace, Don Mattingly, Jose Canseco…lots of late 1980s/early 1990s superstars. I would have picked up two if I had seen another box of them, but this was all I saw.

2006, 2007, and 2008 Topps

The 2006 and 2007 packs were $1 each, I think they were series 2, and there wasn’t much to brag about in them. I think I did score a Mantle (I don’t care how much they’re worth, I just like pulling the Mantle cards). I also got a Mantle out of the 6 packs of 2008 I got, as well as the Joey Votto A&G card, a couple of the All-Star Rookie 50th Anniversary cards, an Ichiro base cards and the A-Rod pictured above.

I was pretty happy with my purchases today. And I almost bought…

1988 Donruss Baseball’s Best

I’ve already got this set, but I was thinking the other day about how nice these cards would look autographed. The set was only $5, which I thought was a steal, but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it.

When I got home, I hopped on Beckett.com and looked it up (using the “My Collections” tool). The 336 cards in the set all add up to $70.90. $70.90!?!? The guy was selling it for $5…what’s wrong with him? I then headed over to eBay, and found this. Go down to the very bottom, and there’s a “Buy It Now” for $74.99…and that’s for a whole CASE of sets. Not sure how many came in a case, but I’m betting at least 12 or 15.

In any case, I will be making a purchase the next time I’m at the store, just because I really think they would look nice autographed and don’t want to break the set in case someone doesn’t return the cards.

They also have some old wax boxes cheap…1988 and 1989 Score for $5, 1988 and 1990 Donruss, and some football and basketball stuff too. I can’t wait for my tax refund to hit the bank.

Cards in the mail

When I originally started this blog, it was intended to kickstart my novel by typing out my frustrations, but soon found I was too apathetic to do that. I shifted to a more general posting style, talking about politics, sports, and other things that were of interest to me for more than three seconds. As I surfed other blogs, I found several baseball card sites. I haven’t seriously collected cards since high school, but I really enjoyed the walk down memory lane many of these sites offered.

One of the first baseball card blogs I clicked on was Wax Heaven. I found out that Mario was a Canseco fan, and I happened across an old Panini sticker of Canseco and Fielder. I fired off an e-mail asking if he had the card, he said no, I told him to give me his address and it was his. He was grateful, and returned the favor by sending me a few cards of one of my favorite players…

Another great site is Awesomely Bad Wax Packs (or Bad Wax for short). He recently opened a pack of 1994 Skybox and found all the cards inside bent, and offered them up to anyone who e-mailed him. Well, being a Reds and Cubs fan, I couldn’t resist asking for the Griffey and Sosa cards.

They arrived in the mail today, and yes they are bent (from left to right in the middle of the card), but I didn’t have them yet. I’m not sure what I’ll be sending back to him yet (his favorite players are young, and I haven’t bought a pack of cards in at least 2 years), but I have a couple of ideas.

Have you had some good trade experiences via blogging? Feel free to post your comments on your best internet trade, or worst, or most fun…whatever!

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