Monday, June 29, 2020

HOF Fergie Jenkins

Fergie Jenkins had a 19-year baseball career. Strange, because the back of his 1984 Topps card doesn't really look to contain so many lines. He pitched his last game in 1983 in his second stint with the Cubs. That's how I think of him: as a Cubs. Which is probably how most of us do? He had ten years with them and the also pitched for the Phillies, Rangers (also two stints), and Red Sox. 

Jenkins won a Cy Young, was a three time All-Star, and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 earning 75.4% of the vote in his third year of eligibility. Squeaking in.

He pitched 4500.2 innings and faced exactly 18,400 batters. His Cy Young came in 1971 with the Cubs. He had 30 complete games and pitcher 325 innings. His team that year finished 3rd with a record of 83-79 in the NL East behind the juggernaut, World Series winning Pirates and persistent Cardinals. 

Jenkins played with four teams but who do you most associate him with? Me, it's these Cubs.

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Friday, June 26, 2020

Two Kruks from P-Town Tom

P-Town Tom hoodwinked me. I got a surprise envelope from him one day and so naturally I was really excited. I opened it up and saw John Kruk. I was excited. But the cards looked really familiar and I ran to check my collection and sure enough. Both of these cards were in there. So I was a little disappointed.

But Tom does something awesome. He sends a note with the cards. Which is a nice touch and is something I like to do too; though Tom's notes are more thoughtful than mind. And it was upon reading Tom's note that the extent of his thoughtfulness came through because he explained two things to me. First, that these weren't the cards that I had in my checklist: he had checked it. Second, that these were the Gold Hologram parallels for 1992 Upper Deck. A ha! Two new cards for my collection. Nice.

Thanks Tom!!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: 1990 Fleer Canadian

What a beautiful card. I wish Strawberry's bat pierce the blue border like his helmet did. And the back of this card is crisp and bright and delicious: like a ripe, big apple. (See what I did there?)

This joins the American printed one from "Phila." that I got from Tom/Angels in Order back in 2017. If you're curious, then please go to that post and just look at the difference in the colors on the verso.

Strawberry was coming off a down year in 1989, which, from his 134 games we can deduce was hindered by some injuries. And in 1990, he rebounded many of his offensive numbers, finishing 3rd in the MVP race, finishing distantly behind Pirates teammates Barry Bonds (1st) and Bobby Bonilla (2nd).

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Monday, June 22, 2020

HOF Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer is the kind of player I like best. Long career and all with one team. He played 19 seasons from 1965 to 1984 all with the Baltimore Orioles. He missed the 1968 season...missed being the wrong word for it as he was in the Minors the whole year trying to figure things out. Though the stats for his first three years don't look too bad, it's clear the year down had an effect on his final 16 years.

Palmer won 3 Cy Young awards, was on 3 World Series winning teams, won 2 ERA titles, was voted to 6 All-Star games, and won 4 Gold Gloves. His 268 wins was impressive and it's a shame he wasn't a 300 game winner; his career ERA is a sting 2.86. Imagine that. He had 211 complete games. Imagine THAT!

Palmer was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1990 which was his first year of eligibility. He went in that year with last weeks guy, Joe Morgan. Palmer secured 92.6% of the vote. A no-doubter. I knew him as a pitcher as I grew up in the Baltimore market. I probably saw him live at least once, I imagine. But I did know him as an underwear model. I guess we probably found it funny.

This is Jim Palmer's final Topps card for the 1983 season. He appeared in five games in 1984 going 0-3 with a 9.17 era.

The text on the back of the card is a bit lame, but I guess Topps had to put something there.

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Friday, June 19, 2020

John Kruk: 1988 Topps Stickers

Some people might be more interested in the back of this sticker showing Jeffrey Leonard of the San Francisco Giants. They would be hugely wrong because of the late twilight photograph of John Kruk gracing the front. 

By 1988, stickers were fully ensconced in the baseball card and collecting world. What a great way to get boys and men to partake in something that might have been more marketed towards girls. I got the stickers and I got the sticker books but those books, which may more may not have been filled, no longer are a part of my collection and I suspect I tossed them in college. 

When you were a kid did you collect stickers? Scratch and sniffs, and otherwise? I did. Hated the one that smelled like diesel!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: 1989 Red Foley

Who was Red Foley? Why did he want to make stickers? There was a singer called Red Foley. But I'm not sure that was him. There was also a sportswriter and official baseball scorer by that name. That seems more likely. I was going to do some original research for this blog post, but Wrigley Wax did such a nice job and included everything and more than I could have come up with. Read that blog post here.

This is Darryl Strawberry's 1989 Red Foley sticker. These bad boys are actually sneaky expensive on the market. Which is fine, I guess, as they likely were printed in smaller quantities than Panini? Maybe? Nice photograph showing a strong right biceps. But the back is a bit bland but that's ok because they were meant to be thrown away. Which is funny that some companies put the sticker number on the back. Duh. These suckers are small. 

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Monday, June 15, 2020

HOF Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan. I was only a baseball fan for the later part of Joe Morgan's career. So I think I mostly remember him as a broadcaster. His smile is radiant. And I always enjoyed his game. He has a great literal voice for that kind of thing.

He won two MVP awards (back-to-back in 1975 and 1976), was a 10 time All-Star, won two World Series (also back-to-back in 1975 and 1976), five Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and was an All-Star Game MVP. 

His career started with ye old Colt .45s. He finished second in the 1965 Rookie of the Year race finishing a distant second behind the winner Jim Lefebvre of the Dodgers. Those interested in WAR will shit their pants and become revisionist to know that Morgan should have won the Rookie of the Year in 1965 because his WAR was 5.7 and Mr The February's was 4.6.

He led the league in a number of categories through the years, the peak period being 1971 to 1976. His 1982 Silver Slugger award was more deserving than Ozzie Smith's lone award in that category! It was a newish category then and maybe 

This 1985 Topps card was his last printed in a base set my the now monopoly-holding card company. In a feat of inconsistency, they did issue a card for Morgan whose last game was in the 1984 season. 

Who else now is in the mood for a donut?

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Friday, June 12, 2020

John Kruk: Pimping is easy

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PS: Like, honestly. Why would you even need to put words in a post with a photograph on a sticker like that.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Darryl Strawberry: 1990 Fleer Baseball All Stars

Are you a Topps person. Or you a Donruss person? Or are you a Fleer person? Something else. Do you like red wine over white wine? Cats or dogs? These are things that are more divisive than politics and religion.

I'm largely a Topps person. Always have been. Though I obviously dabbled in packs of everything in the 1980s and early 1990s. But one thing I was "pro-" was all the little 44 card or so sets that Fleer was putting out back then. I was a little surprised this card was missing from my collection but it was. So from Sportlots it let someones house and came to mine. The "strawberry" toned color & shading on the card back tickles me senseless. 

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Monday, June 8, 2020

HOF Tony Perez

Do you like 1986 Topps? I do. More and more. I liked it as a 12 year old and I really like it now. I think it's a fun design; the player name and position are in crystal clear font as if to juxtapose against the full bold and blockish team name in strong color against a black ground. The diamond in the corners on the card back are symmetrical and the layout is very beautiful.

This is Tony Perez's final Topps card, photo-bombed by 1985 Rookie star Eric Davis. Perez play for four team in his 23 year career: 16 with the Reds, three with Boston and Montreal, and 1 with Philadelphia. He was a two time World Series champion and a seven time All-Star, winning the MVP in one of those All-Star appearances. He averaged just over 2 stolen bases a year for his career. But I'm not sure how much that weighed on his Hall of Fame candidacy.

Perez was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2000. This was his 9th year of eligibility. His standard batting stats are largely bereft of the expected league leading italics (on the baseball card) and bold (on Baseball Reference). Although in 1980 he lead the league in ground into double-plays.

In fact, looking into his stats he seems largely a very average player who played for a long time.

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Friday, June 5, 2020

John Kruk: 1987 Topps Stickers

John Kruk. The man, the myth, the slap-hitting first baseman and outfielder for the San Diego Padres here. This is the 1987 Topps Sticker. Or, half of it. For .18 cents. Not bad, but I wouldn't have paid .36 cents for the whole thing. Naturally I thought I was getting the whole thing from Sportlots, but I guess that's a minor set back to ordering without photographic evidence.

Kruk's sticker-mate on this was the Minnesota Twins Mickey Hatcher who played third, first, and outfield in his 12 year career with the Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles, California. 

Not sure I ever noticed it before but the sticker was Made in Italy. 

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Monday, June 1, 2020

HOF Rod Carew

Rod Carew had a long 19 year career in the major leagues playing for the Minnesota Twins and the then California Angels. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1967, an MVP ten years later in 1977, and a seven-time AL Batting Champion, winning his first title in 1969 and then being selfish and dominating in the 1970s, winning it from 1972-1975, and then again in 1977 and 1978. He finished third in 1976 with a .331 average behind young upstart George Brett (.333) and Hal McRae (.332). Very close! He was also an 18-time All-Star, missing only 1985, his final season.

This is his last Topps card from 1986. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in the Class of 1991 on his first year of eligibility earning 90.5% of the vote. Way to go! If he had more career GW-RBI he would have gotten more votes. That's a scientific fact.

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