The only real surprise in right field may be the order of the rankings, as nine of the top ten right fielders are already enshrined in Cooperstown. Two players topped the 300-point mark, with Hank Aaron (362.05) beating out Babe Ruth (331.13) for the #1 spot. Even when removing the awards and All-Star appearances, Aaron still edges out Ruth for the top spot, though only by a mere .42 points.
I feel that Frank Robinson (#3, 289.8) is one of the most under-appreciated ballplayers in history, and his spot on this list supports at least the notion that he was a great right fielder. The man won two MVP awards and was a Triple Crown hitter, but is almost never mentioned among the all-time greats.
Continuing down the list: Mel Ott (#4, 268.80), Al Kaline (#5, 265.82), Roberto Clemente (#6, 264.23), Andre Dawson (#7, 247.13), Reggie Jackson (#8, 244.48), and Dave Winfield (#9, 234.04). That’s right, all you Hawk haters, Dawson beats Mr. October. Granted, it’s because of Reggie’s less-than-stellar fielding; if offense were the only thing considered here Jackson would win the head-to-head battle.
The last name on the top ten list is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame: the recently retired Vladimir Guerrero (#10, 233.95). While there is little doubt Guerrero will eventually have a plaque hanging in the Hall, he may not make it his first time on the ballot considering recent elections. If Craig Biggio, a 3000-hit club member, can’t make it his first try, how can you elect a player who didn’t hit any magic numbers on his first ballot appearance? Only time will tell.
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 19-27…
This page features 1985 AL Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen and Rookie of the Year Ozzie Guillen. Neither are in the Hall of Fame, nor should they be. The only other non-Hall of Famer in the group is Darrell Evans, one of the few pre-steroids era players not in Cooperstown with more than 400 home runs. The knock against Evans was his batting average; he finished his career with a .248 mark and never reached the .300 mark in a full season. Should he be in the Hall of Fame? I would not vote for him, but I don’t think Cooperstown would be harmed by his admittance.
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.
Another group of solid Hall of Famers, all first ballot selections for immortality.
Willie McCovey, San Francisco Giants
McCovey was “the other Willie,” overshadowed by the legendary Willie Mays. However, McCovey accomplished plenty on his own. Rookie of the Year in 1959, MVP in 1969, three other top 10 finishes, 500+ homers and 1500+ RBI. This same photo was used on the Cards That Never Were blog for a custom ’81 Donruss card.
Dennis Eckersley, Oakland A’s
Hank Aaron, Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves
Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Brewers
Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees
Two players among the six #9’s retired are not in the Hall of Fame, though there are some who believe at least one of them should be immortalized.
Minnie Minoso, Chicago White Sox
Minoso was a Negro League star before coming to the majors in 1949 and was named to seven All-Star squads during his big league career. After his retirement from the majors in 1964, Minoso played several seasons in Mexico, and made a brief comeback with the White Sox in 1976, appearing in three games, and another in 1980, playing in a pair. He also made appearances with the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League in 1993 and 2003, becoming the first player in history to play professionally in seven decades.
Bill Mazeroski, Pittsburgh Pirates
Enos Slaughter, St. Louis Cardinals
Reggie Jackson, Oakland A’s
Roger Maris, New York Yankees
Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox
1. The fact that it’s not another Yankees/Phillies World Series. I’m sorry, I can’t really get excited about the Giants or the Rangers, even though those were the teams I was rooting for in the LCS. I’m glad Josh Hamilton is going, and I expect Mickey Mantle-ish things from him. Mantle hit 18 home runs in 65 World Series games.
2. The Dark Knight Rises. That’s the title of the new Batman film. No Riddler, though. The director did provide this bit of insight: “We’ll use many of the same characters as we have all along, and we’ll be introducing some new ones.” Wow. How intriguing.
3. Star Wars in 3D. To be honest, I think this is a terrible idea, but Lucas is a genius so I’m sure he will change my mind about it.
4. This Reggie Jackson baseball card. I was always a Reggie fan. He was on his way out when I started following baseball. Plus I love art cards. The 30-Year Old Cardboard blog just posted scans of the whole subset of Reggie Baseball Heroes cards today. Check ’em out.
5. Halloween. ‘Tis the season, y’know.
6. Speaking of October 31, that’s the launch date for FearNET HD. We just dropped our cable, but one of my favorite On-Demand channels was FearNET, and if it’s being made available as a regular channel, that’s just awesome. If you have HD, then contact your provider and find out when they are planning to add FearNET to their channel lineup.
8. Moving. If all goes well, I’ll be in a new house in a few weeks. We should be closing Friday (still waiting for final word from the bank) and then move a couple of weeks after that. Which means I’ll be able to finally get my baseball cards organized and start some new projects that I have jumping around in my brain.
9. Neil Gaiman’s awesome idea to give scary books to other people on Halloween. Seriously, are you ever going to read “Cujo” again? Let someone else read it.
10. New Star Wars movies. Sorry, let me try that again…
NEW STAR WARS MOVIES!!!!!
Yeah, baby. I don’t even think the Reds in the World Series could top that one.
It’s been a while. I made a decision quite some time ago that I was going to stop buying packs because the prices are so high and the chances of pulling Reds so low. I’ll wait until the end of the year and just pick up the team sets and a few singles here and there. After making this decision though, I lost interest in cards. So I haven’t really bought many this year. Until today.
We stopped at the baseball card/coin store first. Not a lot of selection, and the single cards are pretty high at this particular store. But they did have 1991 Leaf packs for 50 cents a pack. I know, I wasn’t going to buy packs. But 50 cents, man. 50 cents. They only had 6 packs, but I figured with 15 cards per pack, surely I was going to pull a couple of Reds, right? Um, no. Instead, out of one Series 1 pack and five Series 2 packs, I pulled FOUR, yes FOUR Randy Johnson cards. It would be great if I was a Randy Johnson fan.
And THREE, yes THREE Curt Schilling cards. Too bad I don’t really like Curt Schilling.
And ZERO, yes ZERO Reds cards. Bummer.
But with my purchase I also got a pack of twenty Ring of Honor cards for free. They are all of the even #’d cards from 12-50. Jermaine Dye has already been offered to (and now packaged for) Steve, and I’m going to hang on to Clemente, Frank Robinson, and the two Reggie Jackson cards, but the rest are up for grabs.
After the card shop, we drove down the road and decided to check out the Florence Antique Mall. I will definitely be returning to the Antique Mall in the near future as there were several displays of baseball cards, very cool stuff, mostly reasonably priced. Among my purchases were:
Chico Cardenas 1960 Rookie Star
Don Gullett 1971 Topps (rookie!)
Cesar Geronimo 1979 O-Pee-Chee
George Foster 1980 Kellogg’s
Ted Kluszewski/Gil Hodges/Mickey Vernon 1986 Sportflics
Eric Davis 1989 Topps Coin
Fun fact on the back of the coin: “Eric led NL with 21 Game-Winning RBI in 1988.” Of course, as we all know today, GWRBI is no longer an official stat. But wasn’t it one of the most fun stats in the 1980s?
Ken Griffey, Jr. 2009 Topps
I also rolled the dice with a couple of “surprise” packs for 25 cents. Hey, it’s 25 cents. One contained 6 or 7 All-Star stickers from 1981, including the late, great Tug McGraw.
The other 25-cent pack included 10 Pro Set MusiCards. In addition to Nelson, LL Cool J, and a few MC Hammers, I also got a promo card for Bill & Ted…
…and a Vanilla Ice card!!!
That reminds me, Vanilla is coming to Cincinnati soon. I’m still undecided on whether I will go to the show, but I just might go and try to get this card autographed!
In addition to all this, I got two packs of 1981 Donruss for a mere $1 each. Yeah, baby. Vintage cardboard. Gotta love it. 18 cards per pack…let’s rip in, shall we?
461 Larry Gura – Unfortunately the gum was stuck to the front of Gura’s card, and when I ripped the gum off part of the card came with it.
460 U L Washington
465 Bucky Dent – Why was this guy so popular? Was it his tough-nosed play, or his former career as Captain America’s sidekick?
463 Hal McRae – A former Red! But not in a Reds uniform, so who cares?
464 Jim Frey
350 Dave McKay
110 Mickey Klutts – Apparently he lived up to his name. The back of the card informs the collector, “1980 – Avoided the serious injuries that plagued his previous seasons and appeared in his most games ever.” That was, by the way, 75 games. Don’t be such a klutz, Klutts.
120 Mike Heath
238 Rick Langford
237 Wayne Gross
236 Benny Ayala
235 John Lowenstein
234 Mikw Flanagan
233 Dan Graham
232 Rich Dauer
231 Luis Tiant – I had no idea Tiant played for the Yankees. He’ll always be a Red Sox pitcher to me.
360 Brian Kingman – The 20-game loser. What’s amazing is that his ERA was only 3.83 in 1980. Which means the A’s offense must have been terrible when he was pitching.
Pack 1 Team Count: 4 Royals, 2 Yankees, 6 A’s, 5 Orioles, and 1 Checklist. Wow, talk about terrible collation. (Is that even the word I’m looking for?)
582 Dave Stieb – Unfortunately Stieb suffered the same fate as Gura from the first pack.
581 Andy Hassler
580 Mark Littell
579 Greg Minton
224 Clint Hurdle
230 Jeff Cox
229 Oscar Gamble
228 Reggie Jackson – Until I got to this card, I thought, “Wow, these packs have definitely been searched and re-sealed. The collation is terrible, and there are no good players at all.” That all changed with this pack.
227 Ron Guidry – Yeah, big Ron was awesome.
226 Jim Spencer
470 Mike Davis
469 Bobby Brown – Prior to his days as a Top 40 Superstar, Bobby roamed the outfield for the Yanks. I did not know that.
468 Reggie Jackson – Wait, what? How great is this? Two Reggies in one pack! Awesome!
This is the card that commemorates reaching 400 home runs. Back when that number mattered.
467 Ron Davis
466 Dennis Werth
465 Bucky Dent
464 Jim Frey
463 Hal McRae
462 Rich Gale
Pack 2 Team Count: 1 each Blue Jays, Angels, Cardinals, Giants, 2 A’s, 4 Royals, 9 Yankees. NINE YANKEES??? Wow. Too bad I’m not a Yankees collector. Any Yankees fan want them? All but the Jacksons and Guidry I’m willing to part with. Leave a comment or e-mail me.
Driving music was provided today by Black Robot, featuring former members of Buckcherry. Black Robot is a rock band that has a 1970s vibe to it, with shades of The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Aerosmith. Of note are “Cocaine” (a rugged cover of the JJ Cale piece), “Love on a .45,” and “In My Car.” Hear song samples and find more information about Black Robot at myspace.com/blackrobot …if you think you’re cool enough.
While clicking around YouTube this morning, I stumbled across a couple of clips from the 1971 All-Star Game. The first clip is from the second inning, with Vida Blue pitching for the American League. Batting for the National League, we get to see Willie Stargell (hit by a pitch), Willie McCovey (called out on strikes), and Johnny Bench (home run!).
The second clip comes from the third inning, with Dock Ellis on the mound for the National League. Luis Aparicio leads off the inning with a single, and then Reggie Jackson hits the roof with a mammoth home run.
I love this stuff. Does anyone know of a website that is dedicated to old sports clips, specifically baseball? The good stuff is few and far between on YouTube. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.