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Fun Cards: 1988 American League All-Star Outfielders

Henderson

Henderson

The top three vote-getters among American League outfielders were Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, and Jose Canseco.

Winfield

Winfield

Canseco went on to win the AL MVP Award on the strength of the first-ever 40 home run/40 stolen base season.

Canseco

Canseco

Coming in second for the MVP Award was Mike Greenwell, who believes he should be retroactively honored due to Canseco’s admitted steroid use.

Greenwell

Greenwell

Kirby Puckett rounds out (no pun intended) the AL outfield in 1988.

Was anyone snubbed? The players would have added Cleveland outfielder Joe Carter to the roster ahead of Henderson, but since the fans get to select the starters, Carter stayed home.

Puckett

Puckett

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Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Kirby Puckett

Kirby

In his injury-shortened career, the late Kirby Puckett was a juggernaut. The centerfielder was selected to ten All-Star teams in just twelve seasons, and collected 2304 hits while hitting at a .318 clip. Add to that two World Series rings, and I’d say you’ve had a pretty good career. Plus, at the start of his career, Puckett got to wear those glorious powder blue road uniforms.

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.

What makes a Hall of Famer?

Fortunately, not Reggie Jackson‘s opinion. I’m not talking about players involved with the steroid scandal, but guys who are already enshrined in Cooperstown. Jackson said the following to a Sports Illustrated reporter:

I didn’t see Kirby Puckett as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Gary Carter as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Don Sutton as a Hall of Famer. I didn’t see Phil Niekro as a Hall of Famer. As much as I like Jim Rice, I’m not so sure he’s a Hall of Famer.

So you have a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Puckett, a catcher who is considered by many to be among the best ever in Carter, and two pitchers who reached the 300 win and 3000 strikeout plateaus in Sutton and Niekro, and none of them are Hall of Famers? This isn’t a discussion of who isn’t in that should be (Don Mattingly says hello), but of who is in that shouldn’t be, according to Mr. October himself. And that even includes the pitcher who is in fifth place on the all-time strikeouts list, Bert Blyleven. Reggie says, “No. No, no, no, no. Blyleven wasn’t even the dominant pitcher of his era, it was Jack Morris.” Alright, I’ll agree that Morris belongs, but his omission should not distract from Blyleven’s accomplishments.

While the voting process isn’t perfect, requiring a 75% consensus is a pretty lofty standard and one that is hard to achieve. For the most part, the BBWAA has done a pretty good job on their end of keeping the riff raff out of the Hall. The Veterans Committee hasn’t done so splendidly, but most of their choices can at least be rationalized to some extent. If the BBWAA has failed at all, it has failed by its omissions (see also: Tony Oliva, Minnie Minoso). Reggie is simply wrong on this point.

Retired Numbers: #34

Three players, all Hall of Famers, honored by five teams make up the retired #34’s.


Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins

While I wouldn’t call it a “controversy,” there is some debate over the ease with which Puckett was elected to Cooperstown. In a career shortened by eye troubles, Puckett fell short of the “magic numbers” normally accompanying a first-ballot selection. He was a 10-time All-Star in just twelve big league seasons, leading the league in hits four times, batting average once, and thrice topping 100 RBI in a season. His numbers are, however, very similar to Don Mattingly‘s career totals, who has never received even 30% of the Hall vote in eleven years on the ballot. While I do believe Puckett belongs in the Hall of Fame, I also believe there is room for Mattingly as well.


Nolan Ryan, Houston Astros


Nolan Ryan, Texas Rangers


Rollie Fingers, Oakland A’s


Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee Brewers

Fun Cards – 1984 Topps Kirby Puckett

Inspired by GooseJoak‘s fantasy cards, PunkRockPaint‘s “Shoulda Been Sundays” and White Sox Cards‘ “Cards That Never Were,” I have decided to travel back in time to 1984 and create card #133T…the one and only Kirby Puckett. Topps really missed the boat on this one, but Fleer got him in their year-end set. Here’s what the Topps card might have looked like…

I still want to do a 1984 Topps Eric Davis, but haven’t found any photos that I like yet. Eventually it will happen…

Cards that never were (but should have been)

If you followed any of my fun cards posts that I made over the last week, you know that my premise was to use current players on classic card designs. For instance, Kerry Wood on a 1990 Topps design, or Ichiro on a 1989 Donruss Rookies design. But what about all those missed opportunities that card companies missed out on in the past? In 1984, Fleer exhibited some foresight by including Roger Clemens and Kirby Puckett in their year-end update set, while Topps ignored them. Neither company made an Eric Davis card in 1984, despite a May call-up and a decent campaign (10 home runs) as a part-time player. Can you think of other similar examples?

I’ve got a Clemens card I’m working on, but I’m having trouble finding 1984 images of Puckett. I haven’t even begun looking for Davis yet. If you can point me in the proper direction, I would appreciate it.

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