Tag Archives: baseball hero

Happy Birthday Jim Abbott!!!

Happy Birthday Jim Abbott!!!

Jim Abbott turns 47 years old today.

One of the most inspirational athletes of my generation, Jim Abbott and his amazing story remain as a precious baseball memory for me.

I knew little about Abbott prior to his rookie card debut in the 1988 Topps baseball card set.  Back then it meant quite a bit to be part of the Team USA set so I always tried to spend a little time learning about the players featured.  And with no Internet, this was quite a challenge.  But when Abbott’s second card came out in the 1989 Topps set, he had a reputation and stories about him and his abilities became more available to collectors.

Abbott was a fan favorite in each city he called ‘home’.  And on the road he was quite an attraction.

Happy Birthday Mr. Abbott!!!

1993 HEADLINE – Jim Abbott Hurls No-Hitter For Yankees!!

1993 HEADLINE – Jim Abbott Hurls No-Hitter For Yankees!!

On this day in 1993, Jim Abbott pitched a no-hitter for the New York Yankees.

All major league starting pitchers have the talent to throw a no-hitter.  Yet of all of the guys that I have seen, watched, or read about tossing a ‘No-No’, Jim Abbott’s performance back in 1993 was astonishing to me and remains a bold memory for me 17 years later.

In that game, Abbott was awesome.  In front of 27,000 fans at Yankee Stadium, Abbott’s Yankees team took on the Cleveland Indians.  The Indians roster was stacked with talented hitters like Kenny Lofton, Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome.  Having to battle and overcoming these incredibly talented hitters makes Abbott’s no-hitter more remarkable…

While putting in 9 innings of work, Abbott threw 119 pitches.  And while walking 5 batters and striking out just 3 men through the game, it was Abbott’s competitive nature that helped him through the game which led his team to victory and him into baseball’s record books!!!

Congratulations Jim Abbott!!!

Happy Birthday Ted Williams!!

Happy Birthday Ted Williams!!

Today is Ted Williams’ birthday.

Arguably the greatest hitter of all-time, any player that collects multiple batting titles or maintains an average close to .350 for a lengthy time is compared to Williams.

Williams is the standard for hitting greatness – yet nobody has come close to eclipsing what he has done in the sport of baseball.  A lifetime, .344 hitter, Williams captured six batting titles during his playing days, and amazing had seven seasons in which he finished with a .350 batting average or better.

Williams was a 17-time All-Star, and a 2-time MVP winner for the Boston Red Sox.

And while he did not make a splash during World Series play, Ted Williams was the rare kind of player that was able to take center-stage while not playing on it.

Happy Birthday to ‘The Splendid Splinter’!!

How Sweet Would It Be To Have A Roberto Clemente Signed Ball In The Collection????

How Sweet Would It Be To Have A Roberto Clemente Signed Ball In The Collection????

As I continue to learn more and more about the life and major league baseball career of Mr. Roberto Clemente, I am starting to understand the impact he had not only on the game, but more importantly, on the sport after he passed away.

Tragically killed in a plane crash more than 40 years ago, the Roberto Clemente signed baseball has to be a gem in any collector’s set regardless of how big or small that collection may be.

Because of his death, and the way that autographs were treated while Clemente was able to sign, there are very few clean, crisp, and mint signed Clemente baseballs out on the open market.  And because of that, it makes any piece signed by him instantly cherished.

I would love a ball for my collection, but the price tag that comes along with it is not something that I can stomach.

Instead, I will simply drool over the idea of having one…

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Roberto Clemente’s Superb 1955 Topps Rookie Baseball Card

Roberto Clemente’s Superb 1955 Topps Rookie Baseball Card

For reasons unknown, this 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie baseball card just not carry the same collecting weight as a Jackie Robinson or Mickey Mantle rookie card.

But it should!!

One of the most dynamic players in baseball’s grand history, Roberto Clemente is one of the sport’s most iconic and cherished names.

And of all cards issued since 1950, this one should rank very highly on all ‘Want Lists’.

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Roberto Clemente And The Hall Of Fame Class Of 1973

Roberto Clemente And The Hall Of Fame Class Of 1973

Roberto Clemente is one of just two players elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame without having to wait the requisite five years after retirement to gain eligibility.  The other player was Lou Gehrig.

His Hall of Fame plaque reads:

“Member of exclusive 3,000 hits club. Led National League in batting four times. Had four seasons of 200 or more hits while posting lifetime .317 average and 240 home runs. Won Most Valuable Player Award 1966. Rifle-Arm defensive star set NL mark by pacing outfielders in assists five years. Batted .362 in two World Series, hitting in all 14 games.”

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Roberto Clemente’s Untimely Death

Roberto Clemente’s Untimely Death

From Wikipedia:

Clemente spent much of his time during the off-season involved in charity work. When Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, was affected by a massive earthquake on Saturday December 23, 1972, Clemente (who had been visiting Managua three weeks before the quake) immediately set to work arranging emergency relief flights.  He soon learned, however, that the aid packages on the first three flights had been diverted by corrupt officials of the Somozoa government, never reaching victims of the quake.

Clemente decided to accompany the fourth relief flight, hoping that his presence would ensure that the aid would be delivered to the survivors.  The airplane he chartered for a New Year’s Eve flight, a Douglas DC-7, had a history of mechanical problems and sub-par flight personnel, and it was overloaded by 4,200 pounds.  It crashed into the ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico immediately after takeoff on Sunday December 31, 1972.  A few days after the crash, the body of the pilot and part of the fuselage of the plane were found. An empty flight case apparently belonging to Clemente was the only personal item recovered from the plane. Clemente’s teammate and close friend Manny Snaguilen was the only member of the Pirates not to attend Roberto’s memorial service. The Pirates catcher chose instead to dive into the waters where Clemente’s plane had crashed in an effort to find his teammate. Clemente’s body was never recovered.  Tom Walker, former MLB pitcher (1972-1977), helped Clemente load the plane and because of the plane’s weight load, Clemente told him not to go with him on the flight. Walker’s son is Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman, Neil Walker.

In an interview for the ESPN documentary series SportsCentury in 2002, Clemente’s widow Vera Clemente mentioned that Clemente had told her several times that he thought he was going to die young.  Indeed, while being asked by a reporter about when he would get his 3,000th career hit in July 1971, Clemente’s response was “Well, uh, you never know. I, I, uh, if I’m alive, like I said before, you never know because God tells you how long you’re going to be here. So you never know what can happen tomorrow.”

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