A lot of people call Pete Rose‘s hit total or Cal Ripken‘s game streak the most unbreakable baseball records, but I have a feeling Nolan Ryan‘s 5714 strikeouts will never be approached. The second guy on the list is Randy Johnson, who finished his career with 4875, nearly 1000 fewer K’s. The current active leader is CC Sabathia with 2846, and we all know he ain’t hanging on long enough to sniff 4000. He’ll be lucky to get to 3000.
There were seven Hall of Fame inductees in 1999: three from the BBWAA and four from the Veterans Committee. Nolan Ryan narrowly missed the highest voting percentage of all-time; Tom Seaver received .05% more support in 1992. He still ranks third today, as Ken Griffey surpassed both in 2016 with 99.32%.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also from the same 1992 Score pack.
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.
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.
Think this candy is still good from 1991?
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.
This morning I posted 15 “fun cards” in the style of 1938 Goudey baseball cards that I drew 25 years ago at twjfuncards.tumblr.com. I have posted these here before, but the image links expired long ago, so I decided to re-upload them to tumblr for posterity.
I remember working on these at my desk in my bedroom, and a few nights ago I told my son to go find some index cards and colored pencils for me. But I am hesitant to try again. When I get up the courage to attempt a new drawing, I will post it here for everyone to laugh at. In the meantime, enjoy the 25-year old “fun cards.”
In 1986 Topps teamed up with Quaker to issue a 33-card set full of superstars, including a nice handful of future Hall of Famers. This week, we’re looking at the cards in the set; today we have cards 10-18…
This page almost looks like a dream line-up of 1980s stars…first baseman Don Mattingly, second baseman Ryne Sandberg, third baseman Mike Schmidt, shortstop Ozzie Smith, outfielders Darryl Strawberry and Tim Raines, and pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. Pete Rose was nearing the end of his career, having just broken Ty Cobb‘s hits record in September 1985. Many thought Nolan Ryan‘s best years were behind him, but he would actually pitch two more no-hitters in the next decade.
The Hall of Fame count for this group is four: Ryan, Sandberg, Schmidt, and Smith. Raines will probably join that group eventually, and really should already be there. As the premiere leadoff hitter in the National League, Raines was a seven-time All-Star for the Expos and is currently fifth on the career stolen base leaderboard. He received 52.2% of the vote in 2013 for Cooperstown, more than double the support he received in his first year on the ballot.
The Essential Games of the Texas Rangers
New Video, 2012
Approx. 9 hrs., 6 mins.
The Texas Rangers are headed into the 2012 playoffs with their third straight division title, hoping to make it to the grand stage of the World Series for the third consecutive year. With The Essential Games of the Texas Rangers, fans have the chance to relive their pennant-winning 2010 and 2011 seasons, as Game 6 of the ALCS from each of those years is highlighted. In addition to those exciting moments of Texas baseball, fans can also watch the team’s first-ever postseason game from the 1996 ALDS against the New York Yankees. With three great playoff games in the set, what else could one want?
How about Nolan Ryan‘s seventh career no-hitter, a 1991 contest against the Toronto Blue Jays? Quick trivia: who was the final batter in that game? It was none other than 2011 Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, who struck out swinging against the Ryan Express.
One of the excellent things about this set is the packaging. Each DVD is nestled in its own thin case, and each case features artwork from the year of the game, either a program or yearbook cover. The 1991 case is especially nice, as it features a Vernon Wells painting of Nolan Ryan and several other former Rangers, including Fergie Jenkins, Charlie Hough, Gaylord Perry, and Buddy Bell among others.
Texas Rangers fans will absolutely love this set, and Nolan Ryan fans will savor every pitch against the Blue Jays in his astonishing seventh no-hitter.
Games included in the set:
- May 1, 1991, vs. Toronto Blue Jays – Nolan Ryan’s Seventh No-Hitter
- October 1, 1996, vs. New York Yankees – 1996 ALDS Game 1
- October 22, 2010, vs. New York Yankees – 2010 ALCS Game 6
- October 15, 2011, vs. Detroit Tigers – 2011 ALCS Game 6
How amazing is it that Nolan Ryan pitched for twenty-seven years in the majors? Or that only twice he posted an ERA above 4.00…in his first year, when he only played two games, and in his final season, when he was forty-six years old? The guy was a beast and never seemed to slow down.
Yes, I am aware of the allegations that are out there, but I am also aware that Jose Canseco has never made any of those allegations. So until Canseco speaks on the matter, I refuse to listen.
I always liked Ryan best as a Houston pitcher with those beautiful rainbow jerseys. In 1987, he posted a dismal 8-16 won-loss record, but led the league with a 2.76 ERA, showing just how awful that Astros team was. Cy Young voters took note and threw a few votes his way, good enough for a fifth-place finish. Steve Bedrosian won the award that year.
Large photo credit: unknown
Inset photo credit: unknown
*It is much more difficult to find the proper credit for pictures taken before the internet. If you know the source, please let me know!
Astros 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition:
The Essential Games of the Houston Astros
and Astros Memories
New Video, 2012
5 discs; 11 hrs. 46 mins. + extras
Every team has them. Games that define a franchise, that will be talked about for decades after the last pitch is thrown. In this special collection by New Video due to be released May 15, the Houston Astros take the starring role as four of the most important games in the history of the team are on display.
- Nolan Ryan‘s 5th career no-hitter (September 26, 1981)
- Mike Scott‘s no-hitter, clinching the NL West (September 25, 1986)
- 18-inning NLDS clincher over the Braves (October 9, 2005)
- Craig Biggio‘s 3,000th hit (June 28, 2007)
This set is great not only for Houston fans, but for baseball history lovers. To watch one of Ryan’s no-hitters, against a lineup full of consistent Dodger hitters like Steve Garvey and Pedro Guerrero, is a great experience. One can relive the emotion on the field after Biggio’s 3,000th hit, as his family came onto the field and his teammates hugged him, and then the impromptu reunion with former teammate Jeff Bagwell. Mike Scott’s no-hitter clinched the division for the Astros in 1986, facing the San Francisco Giants and a young Will Clark. And then there is the longest playoff game in history, an 18-inning marathon victory over the Braves in 2005.
A fifth disc called Astros Memories rounds out this fine collection, featuring the legends of Astros baseball: Cesar Cedeno, Jimmy Wynn, Jose Cruz and more. Highlight reels and interviews are woven together as the story of Houston baseball is told from the days of the Colt .45s, featuring no-hitters, All-Star games, and playoff appearances. Larry Dierker provides several anecdotes in the form of “Dierker’s Diary,” while Bob Watson shares his heartfelt thoughts on the Houston franchise.
Baseball fans who love the Astros, Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio, or just history in general will love the opportunity to watch these games again.
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
Three Hall of Famers, and one guy who might be the best non-steroid player outside the Hall (that won’t get voted in this election)…
Tim Raines, Montreal Expos
Raines was the National League’s answer to Rickey Henderson in the 1980s, the best leadoff hitter the senior circuit had to offer and a speedster on the basepaths. Still waiting for his call from Cooperstown, Raines received 37.5% of the vote last year as his support grows. It will be interesting to see how that vote changes in the years to come as some clear-cut Hall of Famers come onto the ballot (Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey), as well as some of the more controversial names (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens).
Rod Carew, California Angels
Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins
Nolan Ryan, California Angels
Orlando Cepeda, San Francisco Giants
I drew these back in 1990. I even made backs for the first few, but my handwriting is so awful I’ve decided to keep those backs off the ‘net. You can click on the thumbnails below to see a much larger scan.
And speaking of “fun cards,” don’t forget to visit this post at Awesomely Bad Wax Packs and tell us who you would like to see in the “fun card” set!