Juan Marichal is most remembered for his 14 seasons with the Giants, winning all but five of his big league victories with San Francisco. As his career wound down, however, he found himself pitching for Boston and then Los Angeles in 1974 and 1975. He debuted on the Hall of Fame ballot in 1981 with 58.1% of the vote; in 1982 he was a mere seven votes away from immortality. Finally, Marichal was elected in 1983 with 83.7% and was inducted with Baltimore legend Brooks Robinson.
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.
Talk about a killer rotation…how would you like these Hall of Fame pitchers on your staff, being caught by this Hall of Fame catcher?
Juan Marichal, San Francisco Giants
Marichal had an impressive streak of eight consecutive All-Star seasons from 1962-1969, winning 20+ games in all but two of those years. When he retired in 1975, he had compiled 243 wins with a 2.89 ERA and 2303 strikeouts. Marichal had to wait until his third year on the ballot for the Hall of Fame, going from 58.1% to 73.5% to 83.7% in 1983. His son-in-law, Jose Rijo, never had the personal success that Marichal enjoyed, but he did do something Juan couldn’t do during his career: win a World Series.
Carlton Fisk, Boston Red Sox
Catfish Hunter, Oakland A’s
Bert Blyleven, Minnesota Twins