Blog Archives

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Joe Torre

Torre

Joe Torre spent fifteen years on the BBWAA ballot as a player, but only received more than 20% of the vote once in that entire time. His time as the Yankees manager, however, made him a no-brainer selection for the Hall of Fame. Under Torre’s leadership, the Yankees won four World Series in five years, and two additional AL Pennants.

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Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Jacob Ruppert

Ruppert

Jacob Ruppert bought the New York Yankees in 1915, acquired Babe Ruth at the end of 1919, and began a winning tradition in the Bronx by building the team that would win the first of 27 World Championships (so far).

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Joe Gordon

Gordon

Joe Gordon hit 18 homers and drove in 103 runs while hitting .322 in 1942, winning the AL MVP award over Ted Williams. He was named to nine All-Star teams in 11 years, and gave up two seasons to serve in the United States Army in World War II. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 as a Veterans Committee selection.

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Lee MacPhail

MacPhail

He is part of the only father-son duo in the Hall of Fame, but neither Lee nor his father Larry MacPhail played baseball. I have never understood why executives (or other non-players) are included among the players in the Hall of Fame. I realize they played an important role in the game, but believe they should have a separate wing, like broadcasters and writers.

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Phil Rizzuto

Rizzuto

“Scooter” was a dependable shortstop for the New York Yankees, but was he really a Hall of Famer? Phil Rizzuto‘s offensive numbers are lacking, even if you account for three years away from baseball to serve in World War II. His JAWS score puts him at 35th among shortstops, which is well short of Cooperstown territory. Ranked above him are Tony Fernandez, Jimmy Rollins, Bert Campaneris, and Nomar Garciaparra—all fine players, but not Hall of Famers. Rizzuto’s highest support from the BBWAA in 1976, his final year on the ballot, when he received 38.4% of the vote. It was not until 1994 that the Veterans Committee voted to induct him into the Hall of Fame.

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Tony Lazzeri

Lazzeri

One of the top-hitting second baseman of his generation, Tony Lazzeri was overshadowed by his teammates Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. He batted at a .292 clip in 14 seasons, collecting 1840 hits and driving in 1194 runs. Lazzeri was only 42 years old when he died, and was selected for the Cooperstown honor in 1991, 45 years after his death.

Goodbye, Don Baylor

(June 28, 1949 – August 7, 2017)

Baylor

Slugging outfielder and 1979 American League MVP, Don Baylor passed away today from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of plasma cells. Baylor his 338 home runs in his career, was an All-Star in 1979, and won the World Series with the Minnesota Twins in 1987. He presided over the Boston Red Sox’s kangaroo court, and fined Roger Clemens $5 for giving up a single to Spike Owen on an 0-2 count during his 20-strikeout game in 1986. He was also the Colorado Rockies’ first manager.

The New York Times Story of the Yankees 1903-Present edited by Dave Anderson (2017)

Yankees

The New York Times Story of the Yankees 1903-Present
edited by Dave Anderson
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2017

Regardless of your personal opinion of the New York Yankees, there can be no denying the rich history of one of baseball’s most storied franchises. In The New York Times Story of the Yankees 1903-Present, nearly 400 articles are presented for the reader to peruse, covering many of the most famous names in baseball history. Tales of their accomplishments on and off the diamond, battles with health, battles with each other, good times and bad times are all presented to present a baseball yet human narrative.

Major events such as Babe Ruth’s 60-homer season, Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series, Billy Martin’s hiring and firing and hiring and firing ad nauseam can be found within these pages. Tributes to the greats like Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Casey Stengel at their passing are present. The reprinted articles span from September 1902 through December 2016, presenting as full a picture as a 542-page book will allow.

The casual baseball fan will recognize many of the stories presented here, and it is certainly interesting to read them in the context of when they happened, rather than decades later. The evolution of newspaper reporting and use of language is also clearly seen. For instance, an article from 1910 reporting Willie Keeler’s retirement called him “the most scientific of batsmen.” Such a turn of phrase may have sounded clever in the early twentieth century, but now seems quaint and antiquated.

The New York Times Story of the Yankees 1903-Present is a highly recommended anthology for fan of baseball’s history, especially the history of the New York Yankees.

Learn more about Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.

Purchase The New York Times Story of the Yankees 1903-Present edited by Dave Anderson.

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.

Becoming Babe Ruth written and illustrated by Matt Tavares (2013)

Becoming Babe Ruth

Becoming Babe Ruth
written and illustrated by Matt Tavares
Candlewick Press, 2013
40 pages

The very talented Matt Tavares has written and illustrated several children’s books about baseball players, including Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Pedro Martinez. His book about the most famous baseball player of all, Babe Ruth, was originally released in 2013, and is now available in paperback. Becoming Babe Ruth tells of the ballplayer’s roots at Saint Mary’s Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore and his ascension to greatness in Boston and New York.

More than that though, Becoming Babe Ruth shows the Sultan of Swat’s generosity and heart toward those who helped him along the way. Tavares does a wonderful job of painting a picture—both figuratively and literally—of this positive aspect of Ruth’s personality. As in his other baseball books, Tavares’ artwork is second-to-none.

For those who have young children, Tavares’ books are a wonderful introduction to both the sport and the personalities that play it. Becoming Babe Ruth is recommended for readers 5-8 years old.

Learn more about Candlewick Press.

Purchase Becoming Babe Ruth by Matt Tavares in hardback or paperback.

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