Monthly Archives: May 2009

1983 Topps Super Veteran – Tony Perez

1983 Topps Super Veteran – Tony Perez

 2,732 hits.  379 home runs.  1,652 RBI.  1,272 runs scored.  7-time All-star.  Member of ‘The Big Red Machine’.  2-time World Series Champion.  I would say without question that Tony Perez is a ‘Super Veteran’.

Perez enjoyed a long, 23-year career in the big leagues.  A solid player that put up impressive numbers annually, Perez was a strong contributor and was one of the reasons that his teams played in 5 World Series match-ups.  Perez is a winner – and the teams he played for benefited from his talents.  From 1970-76, Tony’s team played for the World Series title 4 times.  And although they only captured 2 titles in those 4 chances, Tony Perez and ‘The Big Red Machine’ are still talked about today as one of the greatest dynasties in baseball history. 

Perez

Happy Birthday Kenny Lofton!!!

Baseball great Kenny Lofton turns 42 years old today.

One of the most underrated players from his era, Kenny Lofton was a throwback-type of player that oftentimes reminded you of the players from the generation prior to his.  With lightening fast speed and great defensive skills, Lofton enjoyed a wonderful 17-season career.

Lofton was the kind of player that every team needs on their roster.  A guy that can do it all, and will make the same level of effort when playing for a first place team with a 10-game divisional lead as he would for a last place team 20 games behind in the standings.  Lofton’s desire to win and help his team was unmeasurable.   And along the way, he racked up some very impressive career statistics.

A lifetime .299 hitter, Kenny lofton finished his career with 2,428 hits.  He also captured 781 RBI, 1,528 runs scored, and an amazing on-base percentage of .372.  He currently ranks 15th all-time with 622 stolen bases.  When it comes to recognition around the league, Lofton tallied 6 All-star appearances and 4 Gold Glove awards.

In total, Kenny Lofton played for 11 different teams over the course of his career.  Of his 17 seasons, 10 were with the Cleveland Indians.  For his birthday I would like to give Lofton a little more appreciation.  Let’s give him a career with just 1 team and make him an everyday player.  Had that occurred, I think we could be looking at another member of the 3,000 hits club and possibly just the second guy to break the 1,000 steals mark.

Happy Birthday Mr. Lofton!!!

Funny Cardinals Commercial – ‘Being Bruce Sutter’

I love this stuff!!! 

1982 Topps Rickey Henderson

1982 Topps Rickey Henderson

This card could be an award winner.  The 1982 is not a favorite of mine, but this card does stand out to me more than the other cards from this set.

It’s amazing what a great photo can do…  Here we see Rickey getting ready to blast off.  Or maybe he’s just toying with the pitcher, catcher, and second baseman he’s playing against.  Either way, this photo captures Rickey doing what he did better than anyone else in the game – disrupting his opposition!!

And while Pink and Green may not be the best color pairing ever used on a baseball card, for this one it works very well.  The Green is a perfect compliment to Rickey’s Oakland A’s uniform.  And the Pink goes well with the Green.  While Pink may not be your standard accent color on a card, for this specific issue Topps made a great choice!!

82T RH

Just 1 more Rickey Henderson card to go and my player collection will be complete!!!

Happy Birthday Manny Ramirez!!!

The most exciting man in the sport turns 37 years old today.

And even while he is serving a suspension for steroid use, Manny Ramirez stands alone as baseball’s biggest personality and one of it’s best players.  I cannot recall a time in this decade that Manny’s name has not been a headline.   He is an extremely talented player with a persona to match.

And while my intent was to give him a vacation for his birthday, I did not want it to be in the manner in which his current break from the game is a result of.  We all know that Manny can hit the ball as well as any of today’s superstars.  We also know that his dedication to the sport and his teammates has been in question for years.  But, we cannot argue that as a single player in a team game, he makes his team perform to a higher level when he is around, and his teammates excel when he is on the roster.

For Manny’s 37th birthday, I give him a new slate for the second half of this 2009 season.  Watch out, because the Dodgers are coming and Manny will be the one driving the train!!!

Happy Birthday Man-Ram!!! 

Chicago Cubs Greats Of The Game – Ryne Sandberg

Chicago Cubs Greats Of The Game – Ryne Sandberg

Finally, #23 is home.  Strictly because I was always looking for a better deal, this card escaped me for months.  I am happy to announce that it is now part of my collection at last. 

No player since Ernie Banks defines the Chicago Cubs team the way that Ryne Sandberg does.  The loyalty that the fans had to Ryno during his playing days and well after is remarkable and well deserved.

Although Ryno did not have the pleasure of playing on too many winning teams with the Cubs, his effort on a nightly basis is what made him a fan favorite in the ‘Windy City’.  A superb defender with a knack for delivering incredible offense, Ryno was the glue for the Chicago Cubs franchise for 16 terrific seasons. 

A classy player.  A Chicago favorite.  A Hall of Famer.

Ryno

Happy Anniversary Michael Jack Schmidt!!!

20 years ago today, Mike Schmidt retired from the game of baseball. 

Watching this video still gives me chills…

I remember this press conference like it was yesterday.  Even as a 13-year old kid, I understood how hard it was for a player like Mike Schmidt to leave the game of baseball.  One of the game’s biggest stars for close to 2 decades, Schmidt solidified himself as one of the greatest power hitters of all-time.

With a resume filled with elite milestones, Schmidt was able to leave the game as one it’s greatest players but that did not make the final decision any easier for him.

Cheers to you Mike Schmidt – A baseball hero and a class act!!! 

Happy Birthday Eric Davis!!!

Amazingly, Eric Davis turns 47 years old today!!!

Wow, I remember the hype around Eric Davis as he began his career with the Cincinnati Reds.  He was a ‘5-Tool player’ that could do it all and he was going to rescue the Reds franchise and deliver them back to baseball glory.  Davis had the speed, power, charisma, and personality to carry the franchise to the promised land!!!

After 7 remarkable seasons with the Reds that were littered with All-star appearances, Gold Glove trophies, Silver Slugger awards, and even a World Series championship, Davis was on his way to becoming one of the games biggest stars.  Talk about becoming baseball’s second ’40/40 Man’ was a daily occurrence in baseball circles.  As one of the game’s premier players, ‘Eric The Red’ was riding high.

Unfortunately, a terrible string of injuries and then an unfortunate battle with cancer stalled Davis’ ability to dominate the game.  This 1-time hero became just a regular role player.  On occasion, Davis gave us more memorable moments to add to his impressive highlight reel, but he was never able to recapture and string together seasons of success like he had in the late 1980’s when he was on top of the baseball world.

For his birthday, I would like to give Eric back the 1987 season.  I believe that this was his best all-around effort, and he only played in 129 of the team’s 162 games.  In those 129 contests, Davis hit .293 while collecting 37 homers and 50 steals.  Something tells me that if he had been healthy for the entire year we could be referring to him as the original ’40/40 man’ and quite possibly the lone ’50/50 Guy’ too.

Happy Birthday to ‘Eric The Red’!!!! 

‘Now That’s A Book I’d Read’ – Book #1 – ‘The 4th Wheel’

This book is the 1st book in this new feature at ’30-Year Old Cardboard’.

Title – ‘The 4th Wheel’

Synopsis – A tell-all book featuring all of the pitchers that pitched in the 4th spot for the Atlanta Braves while playing in the shadows of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz.

Jacket  Content – Being a major league pitcher is a tough job.  The team’s success depends on your performance each and every time you take the mound.  The pressure is enough to end careers.  Now imagine trying to perform when you have to follow the excellence of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz.

‘The 4th Wheel’ tells the stories of those men with the un-enviable task of doing just that.  The 4th guy in the pitching staff that dominated baseball for more than a decade.  Some did well, while some floundered.  This is their story of how they dealt with playing under the magnifying glass as they tried to live up to the performances of their All-star playing, Cy Young Award winning, future Hall of Fame teammates.

Starting with the 1992 season, ‘The 4th Wheel’ allows the Braves’ ‘other guy’ to share how it felt to play alongside this talented trio.  Some of the stories are hilarious; some are gut-wrenching; and some are a roller coaster of both emotions.  The feelings you will emote as you read through this book will differ with each and every player you get re-introduced to.  But the ultimate feeling you will leave with is that the 3-headed monster of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz may have made up the greatest pitching trio of all-time.

Chapters

1 – The 3-Headed Monster

2 – Steve Avery & Charlie Leibrandt

3 – Steve Avery & Pete Smith

4 – Steve Avery & Kent Mercker

5 – Steve Avery & Kent Mercker

6 – Steve Avery & Jason Schmidt

7 – Denny Neagle

8 – Denny Neagle & Kevin Millwood

9 – Kevin Millwood & Odalis Perez

10 – Kevin Millwood, John Burkett, & Andy Ashby

11 – Kevin Millwood, John Burkett, & Odalis Perez

12 – Kevin Millwood, Jason Marquis, & Damian Moss

13 – Hall of Fame Bound 

fouraces

1983 Topps Super Veteran – Tug McGraw

1983 Topps Super Veteran – Tug McGraw

Although he may ultimately be best known as country music superstar Tim McGraw’s dad, Tug McGraw enjoyed a successful 19-year baseball career.

In 19 seasons, McGraw appeared in 824 games primarily as a relief pitcher.  As a member of the New York Mets for the first 9 years of his career and then spending the next 10 seasons with the Phillies, McGraw established himself as a dependable role player.  With a career record of 96-92 along with 180 saves, McGraw did not figure into too many decisions, but he did help his teams wins games and reach the playoffs quite often. 

McGraw’s team made it to the playoffs 7 times which included 2 trips to the World Series.  In 1973 his Mets team lost their opportunity to win the championship, but 7 seasons later while with the Phillies, McGraw won his lone World Series title.  In that series, Tug appeared in 4 games and collected 2 saves while working 7 2/3 innings.  His sold efforts helped solidify the Phillies bullpen which ultimately landed the team with the World Series title.

Tug McGraw was a 2-time All-star.  And although he was never considered to be an elite pitcher, he did finish in 5th place for the Cy Young award during the 1980 season.  In that season Tug went 5-4 with 20 saves.  He had a 1.46 ERA and struck out 75 batters while walking just 9.

Tug McGraw quietly put together an impressive career.  And the term ‘Super Veteran’ is a fitting one!!!

mcgraw