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Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Trevor Hoffman

Hoffman

One of the biggest questions of the 2018 Hall of Fame class was Trevor Hoffman. The debate rages on the value of relief pitchers, but Hoffman proved himself over a long 18-year career that he was worthy of serious Cooperstown consideration and the BBWAA deemed him worthy of the honor in 2018. His 601 saves rank him second to Mariano Rivera on the all-time list. However, the JAWS system ranks him the 21st best reliever in history, behind a bunch of guys I’ve never even heard of.

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Hall of Fame polls on Twitter

In advance of the results, I’m running a few polls on Twitter…log in and vote!

Reds junk from the Barves Junkie

Griffey

There has not been a new post on the Cardboard Junkie website in four months. But Dave is still quite active on Twitter as @CardJunk, and after telling him that I wanted to send him some Barves cards, he said he had some Reds set aside for me. His package arrived last week. Here’s some of the awesomeness contained inside:

Hamilton

Perez

A couple of “1st Home Run” inserts from 2015 Topps featuring Josh Hamilton and Tony Perez. I don’t recall seeing any of these last year, and if I did, I certainly didn’t notice that some were silver and some were gold.

red

Lutz

Leake

Cueto

Some parallel goodies. Red-bordered Jonathan Broxton from 2014, and man, Reds players sure look good on red-bordered cards. The emerald green borders look sharp too, but I bet Donald Lutz would look better in an A’s uniform on that card. The Mike Leake is a mini, alternate-colored bordered Gypsy Queen. And a black-bordered Johnny Cueto Heritage. Are there any sets that don’t have some sort of parallel anymore?

Pineda

Autographed goodness! Luis Pineda only played two seasons in the bigs, and only one for the Reds. But I got his scribbles now!

Hoffman

Future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman never played for the Cincinnati Reds, but he spent some time in the organization before going to Miami Florida in the 1992 expansion draft.

Franco

Another fantastic reliever, John Franco, from the 1987 Topps sticker set.

Larkin

Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, from the 1987 Classic green border set. I already had the yellow border card from the travel edition, but the green border features a different photo and everything.

Perez

Nolan

Cline

Now we’re starting to get vintagey with a trio of ’70s cards. Tony Perez, 1976. Gary Nolan, 1972. Ty Cline, 1971.

Cardenas

Even more vintage. Leo Cardenas, 1968. This card is going to look fantastic with Leo’s scribbles on it. The only question is whether I wait until December at Redsfest or try to catch him at the Reds Hall of Fame this summer.

There was a ton of other stuff in the package…

Junk

…including a card that I didn’t even discover until I went to scan them last night. In addition to all the Reds goodies, Dave included a special 1/1 sketch card of one of my very favorite vampires…

Nosferatu

NOSFERATU!

A pleasant surprise slid in between two other cards in one of the hard cases. I absolutely love this sketch card!

Retired Numbers: > #50

This will be the last of the Retired Numbers posts that actually feature numbers, but there are a couple more posts to follow, so stayed tuned!


Don Drysdale, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers

Did you know that Drysdale only received 21% of the vote in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot? That it wasn’t until his tenth year on the ballot he eclipsed the required 75% for enshrinement? He won a Cy Young Award and was an All-Star several times, but the coolest thing Drysdale ever did was appear in an episode of “The Brady Bunch” in 1970. Barry Williams (who played Greg Brady) has said several times that Drysdale was his favorite guest star.


Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres


Carlton Fisk, Chicago White Sox


August Busch, Jr., St. Louis Cardinals


The Fans, Cleveland Indians

Your all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman

Yesterday, the only man in the history of baseball with 600 saves (until Mariano Rivera surpasses him at some point in the next two seasons), Trevor Hoffman, announced he was retiring. The question now becomes one of his place in baseball history.

Only a handful of relief pitchers have been inducted into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. Goose Gossage (2008), Bruce Sutter (2006) and starter-turned-reliever Dennis Eckersley (2004) are the most recent, while Rollie Fingers skated in on his second ballot way back in 1992. Should Hoffman join them? Or is the recent shunning of Lee Smith indicative of the way voters will treat the (for now) all-time saves leader?

Before Hoffman, starting in 1993, all the way through 2005, Smith was on top. When his name first appeared on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot, he received 42.3% of the vote. A very solid number for his first year, most expected him to make big gains and be ushered in within a few years. But that didn’t happen. His percentage has gone up and down, but has remained in the 35-45% range with the exception of 2010, when he was able to draw just over 47%. His percentage in the most recent tally? 45.3%. It looks more and more unlikely that Smith will be immortalized in Cooperstown by the BBWAA, and his fate may be left to the Veteran’s Committee.

Prior to Smith, the all-time leader in saves was Jeff Reardon, who overtook Fingers in 1993. He didn’t hold the title long, as Smith passed him in 1994. How did the BBWAA reward Reardon’s longevity and effectiveness? He was one-and-done on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2000, albeit only one vote shy of getting a second chance. Out of 499 ballots, “The Terminator” was named on 24 for 4.8%.

With Mariano Rivera just 42 saves away from the all-time lead, it’s doubtful Hoffman’s name will be at the top with he appears on the ballot. Will the writers remember his dominance? For that matter, was he dominating?

It will be a few years before these questions will be thoroughly examined and answered. We’re too close to his career right now to make that call. But it does give one something to think about. Whatever the case, he had a very good career for an 11th-round draft pick.

(BTW, is this a 1991 card or a 1992 card? It has ’91 stats on it, but also a ’91 copyright date. Donruss always threw me off with their 1982-1984 Diamond Kings the same way.)

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