Daily Archives: January 6, 2011

Signing Results: Hall of Famer Juan Marichal

Signing Results:  Hall of Famer Juan Marichal

Juan Marichal did an autograph signing in the middle of December and the sponsor of the signing offered up a pretty sweet deal on the autograph website that I belong to.

So, I took the bait.  And here I am, the very proud owner of a beautifully signed baseball by the member of the Hall of Fame class of 1983.

Take a look:

Marichal is a very highly respected pitcher from the 1970’s.  And while most if not all of the attention went to guys named Seaver, Ryan, and Palmer during that decade, Juan Marichal had the respect of his teammates and opponents – because he was that damned good.

I read a lot.  I read a lot of baseball books.  And my favorite era to read about is the 1970’s.  And I can tell you that each and every hitter that I read about speaks about how tough he was to face.  And the pitchers from his time?  They were all envious of his amazing stuff.

I am thrilled to add signed baseball number 44 to my collection – signed by the legendary Juan Marichal!!!

Fergie Jenkins 2005 Donruss Champions Impressions – Base

Fergie Jenkins 2005 Donruss Champions Impressions – Base

I wanted to start of my attempt at becoming a Fergie Jenkins Super Collector with a bang.  And I think I may have done that by having this be the first card I am adding to the collection I already have of his cards.

Issued in 2005 by Donruss, this set tagged as ‘Champions’ is probably my favorite of all of the subsets issued in the 2000’s.

Now let me say that I have not seen a ton of these, but I will tell that a player captured on this card in a Cubs’ jersey is simply priceless.

See for yourself:

And now I am on my way!!!


1976 Topps Cincinnati Reds Teams Set – Card #390 – Don Gullett

1976 Topps Cincinnati Reds Teams Set – Card #390 – Don Gullett

Gullett enjoyed a nice 9-year big league career.  Spending 7 seasons in Cincinnati, as part of the Reds, he was able to enjoy the full run of ‘The Big Red Machine’.

A pitcher, used as both a starter and reliever, Gullett has a career record of 109-50.  During his time with the Reds, he went 91-44 – good for a 67.4 win percentage!  In 186 starts, he threw 14 shutouts and 11 complete games.  He also earned 11 saves in relief appearances with the team.

Don Gullett has appeared in 5 World Series, winning 3 titles.  He has 2 championships with the Reds(1975 & 1976) and 1 more with the New York Yankees(1977).  Not a bad stretch, huh???

Ozzie Smith 1982 Fleer

Ozzie Smith 1982 Fleer

I really don’t know what to say about this one, the card just does nothing for me.

Sure, it looks like Ozzie just connected on a pitch and sent the ball headed to the left side of the infield.  But beyond that, this card is pretty awful.

Let’s quickly remove it from our ‘Needs List’ and move on shall we?

Thanks, I thought you’d agree.

Alomar and Blyleven elected to Hall of Fame

Alomar and Blyleven elected to Hall of Fame

By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer 13 minutes ago

NEW YORK (AP)—After a narrow miss last year, Bert Blyleven wasn’t shy in saying voters finally got it right by sending him into the Hall of Fame along with Roberto Alomar.

And he didn’t shy away from talking about baseball’s dark past—the Steroids Era.

All-Star sluggers Rafael Palmeiro, Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire and Juan Gonzalez didn’t come close in Wednesday’s election. No telling if they ever will, either, after Hall voters sent a clear message: The drug cloud isn’t going to cover Cooperstown.

“The writers are saying that this was the Steroids Era, like they have done Mark McGwire,” Blyleven said after finally making it to the Hall on his 14th try. “They’ve kind of made their point.”

Blyleven was chosen on 79.7 percent—it takes 75 percent approval by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to reach the shrine. The great curveballer won 287 games, threw 60 shutouts and ranks fifth with 3,701 strikeouts. He was down to his next-to-last try on the ballot.

“It’s been 14 years of praying and waiting,” Blyleven said in a conference call. “And thank the baseball writers of America for, I’m going to say, finally getting it right.”

Alomar was picked on 90 percent of the ballots. The 12-time All-Star won a record 10 Gold Gloves at second base, hit .300 and helped the Toronto Blue Jays win titles in 1992-93.

Palmeiro, McGwire, Bagwell and Gonzalez fared poorly, with BBWAA members reluctant to choose bulky hitters who posted big numbers in the 1990s and 2000s.

“Guys cheated,” Blyleven said. “They cheated themselves and their teammates. The game of baseball is to be played clean. I think we went through a Steroid Era and I think it’s up to the writers to decide when and who should go in through that era.”

A lot of them have already decided.

“I will not vote for any player connected with steroid use, because I believe cheaters shouldn’t be rewarded with the sport’s highest honor,” Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle said in an e-mail.

“We are asked to consider character when casting Hall of Fame votes and I don’t believe those who used performance-enhancing substances meet that standard,” she said. “They cheated to get ahead, plain and simple, creating an imbalance in the game and a mess for the voters. They can enjoy the big contracts they earned as a result, but they won’t get my vote.”

Bagwell got 41.7 percent in his first year on the ballot. His career stats are among the best for first basemen since World War II—.297 batting average, .408 on-base percentage and .540 slugging percentage. He hit 449 home runs, topped 1,500 RBIs and runs and ran the bases hard. He was Rookie of the Year, NL MVP and a Gold Glove winner.

Bagwell never tested positive, there were no public allegations against him and he was adamant that he never used illegal drugs. Still, many voters and fans aren’t sure yet how to assess the huge numbers put up by the game’s top hitters.

“That stuff’s going to happen in this era,” Bagwell said on a conference call. “People are going to have suspicion in the era I played in.”

“People are going to think what they want to think. If they don’t think that anybody was good in this era, then that’s fine. Like I said, I’m one of the first ones to come up in that era. I’m OK with it,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Palmeiro was listed on just 64 of a record 581 ballots (11 percent) in his first try despite lofty career numbers—he is joined by Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray as the lone players with more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

But Palmeiro failed a drug test and was suspended by Major League Baseball in 2005. The penalty came a few months after he wagged his finger at members of Congress and told them: “I have never used steroids. Period.”

Former Rep. Tom Davis was the chairman of the House committee that held the March 17, 2005, hearing on steroids in baseball at which Palmeiro made that statement and McGwire refused to “talk about the past.”

“The baseball writers are weighing the steroid thing. It’s still got to play out, but at this point they seem to have factored that it into their decisions,” Davis said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

The other leader of that committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., declined to comment through a spokesperson.

“Henry and I did our job. We tried to clean the game up a little bit and tried to help young people who were starting to use that stuff,” Davis said. “The rest of it will be up to history.”

Palmeiro recently reiterated the anabolic steroid that caused his positive test came in a vitamin vial given to him by teammate Miguel Tejada(notes).

McGwire got 19.8 percent, a drop from 23.7 percent last year. This was his fifth time on the ballot, and first since the former home run champion admitted he took steroids and human growth hormone.

Juan Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP implicated by Jose Canseco in steroids use, received 30 votes, just above the 5 percent threshold for remaining on the ballot next year.

Alomar and Blyleven will be joined by Pat Gillick at the induction ceremonies July 24 in Cooperstown. The longtime executive was picked last month by the Veterans Committee. Gillick helped earn his place with a trade that brought Alomar to Toronto.

Smart, graceful and acrobatic on the field, Alomar also was guilty in one of the game’s most boorish moments. He spit on umpire John Hirschbeck during a dispute in 1996 and was suspended. They later made up and Hirschbeck supported Alomar’s bid for the Hall.

“I regret every bit of it. I apologized many times to John,” he said. “I feel good I’ve had a good relationship with John.”

Said Hirschbeck: “I’m very, very happy for him. It’s overdue.”

“I’m not going to comment on why he didn’t get elected the first time. But I forgave him. Maybe the rest of the world has,” Hirschbeck told The Associated Press by telephone.

Alomar drew 73.7 percent last year in his first try on the ballot. Blyleven had come even closer, missing by just five votes while getting 74.2 percent.

“Robbie was an incredible player. He was a pleasure to watch play the game and I am not saying that because he was by brother. He had all the tools and put them all into play,” former Cleveland teammate Sandy Alomar Jr. said.

Alomar got his first major league hit off Nolan Ryan in 1988. Ryan was the last pure starting pitcher elected to the Hall by the BBWAA in 1999.

Blyleven, now 59, pitched against Alomar and his father, Sandy Alomar Jr.

It was quite a climb for Blyleven, who helped pitch Pittsburgh to the 1979 title and Minnesota to the 1987 crown. Many years ago, he drew barely over 14 percent in the BBWAA voting.

Blyleven’s career stats have gotten a boost in recent years by sabermetricians who have new ways to evaluate baseball numbers.

“I could not be happier if it was my own son,” Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew said. “I played in the first game Bert pitched for the Minnesota Twins in 1970. … I wish it wouldn’t have taken so long but now that he is in, it’s wonderful.”

Barry Larkin and Tim Raines showed gains in this year’s voting. Pete Rose received three write-in votes.

Larkin (62 percent) and Jack Morris (54 percent) could get more consideration next year, when Bernie Williams is the top first-year candidate.

AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington contributed to this report.