Daily Archives: December 26, 2011

My Ozzie Smith Baseball Card Collection Is Finally Complete!!!

My Ozzie Smith Baseball Card Collection Is Finally Complete!!!

I wanted to save this post, for a special day.  And since today is Ozzie’s birthday, I cannot think of a better suited day for this very exciting announcement:

“My Ozzie Smith Collection Is Complete!!!!!”

That’s right, more than one year into it, and containing more than 100 different cards, my Ozzie Smith collection is finally done.  Containing all major brand releases from his first season in 1979 through to the last few cards from his playing days in 1997 – I’ve got them all!!!

Here is a peek at what the full collection looks like:

Pretty solid stuff right there!!!

And as I do with all newly completed collections, I will seek out my ‘Fab Five’ and show them off to you.  Starting next Monday, you will get to see the five that draw my eye the most.  It will be tough to narrow this group down to five – Ozzie was a very photogenic player, and he has some great looking stuff to choose from!!

See you next Monday (and hopefully before too

Ozzie Smith’s Tough To Find Mint 1979 Topps Rookie Card

Ozzie Smith’s Tough To Find Mint 1979 Topps Rookie Card

There is no bigger card in the 1979 Topps set than Ozzie Smith’s rookie card.

I had one of these cards as a kid and eventually traded it away(I’m sure that I got the short-end of that stick!).

It is very hard to find a well centered Smith rookie card for some reason.  I don’t know if it was a manufacturing defect, but most of the Smith rookies I was able to find back then, and now on eBay as well, are cut pretty badly.  With a large and uneven border on the left, and a thin and slight border on the right being the norm, if you were able to find a well-centered Ozzie Smith rookie card, it carried a hefty price tag.

Today there are no less than 250 of Ozzie’s rookie cards circulating on eBay.  And if you look closely, probably 95% of them are badly centered.

For this card, the quest to find a nice one is certainly worth the wait!!!

Nice ‘Chops’ Ozzie!!!

A Statue To Honor Ozzie Smith!!!

A Statue To Honor Ozzie Smith!!!

Shortly after being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, the St. Louis Cardinals unveiled this status as a tribute to one of the team’s greatest players – Ozzie Smith!

And of course, the sculptor had to feature Ozzie doing what he did better than anyone else, playing defense at shortstop…

What a great piece, huh??  The next time I am in STL, I am going to have to go check this out.  I have seen a small handful of sports statues in person, but never one that appears to literally leap right at you!!!

Baseball Card Companies Love Ozzie Smith!!!

Baseball Card Companies Love Ozzie Smith!!!

Ozzie Smith’s baseball cards are rare.  Rare in the fact that may of them feature him playing defense.  With set after set littered with cards showing offense, it was nice to find an Ozzie Smith card, and more often than not, he was being featured playing ‘D’.

Here he is blocking the sun from his eyes as he prepared to catch a pop-up…

…and here he is bolting to his left in an attempt to stop the ball from leaving the infield.

Here we have Ozzie calling off either a third baseman or left fielder as he prepares to catch a lazy fly ball at Wrigley Field.

And last but not least, we have ‘The Wizard’ turning two as he completes his part of a double play.

See what I mean??  The card companies were probably thrilled that Ozzie was so photogenic while in the field.  It gave them something new to offer everyone!!

Ozzie Smith And The 1982 World Series.

Ozzie Smith And The 1982 World Series.

Ozzie Smith played in three World Series match-ups, winning just one.

In 1982, his Cardinal teammates took on the Milwaukee Brewers.  It took 7 games, but Ozzie’s team was victorious and came away with the championship!!

Ozzie played in 21 World Series games.  And in those games, he compiled a .173 batting average with 13 hits, 7 runs scored, and 4 stolen bases.

Ozzie’s Defense Earned Him 13 Gold Glove Awards!!

Ozzie’s Defense Earned Him 13 Gold Glove Awards!!

Make no mistake about it, Ozzie Smith is one of the greatest defensive infielders of all-time.  And for shortstops, he ranks as #1!!!

Ozzie made playing defense cool.  As a kid, I played first and third base.  But that didn’t mean that I didn’t want to roam around between second and third trying to replicate what Ozzie was doing in St. Louis.  He made playing defense a respected part of the game during the 1980’s and he took the expectations of what a shortstop can do to a whole new level.

Ozzie won 13 consecutive Gold Glove awards, from 1980-1992.  It was said that his range was so vast that he could cover any ground ball hit between the second base bag and third.  With lightning quick reflexes, and feet to match, Ozzie was spectacular in the field.

And while he may not have effected each game he played in with his bat, his glove certainly did the job on a nightly basis!!!

Ozzie Smith Provides A Perfect Signature!!!

Ozzie Smith Provides A Perfect Signature!!!

Truth be told, I respect a player that delivers a consistent autograph.  And if said player happens to deliver a great looking signature, I hold them in even higher regard!!!

Ozzie Smith easily accomplishes that task.

Check out his beautiful signature:

While I cannot tell if he signs quickly or slowly, it’s very obvious that ‘The Wizard’ tries to deliver for his fans.  His signature has some great loops and swirls, but what is most remarkable is how straight Ozzie signs.  It’s almost unheard of that a player gives you such a clean, and sharp ‘graph.

And those ‘Double Z’s’ look amazing!!!

Ozzie Smith Was An All-Star 15 Times!!!

Ozzie Smith Was An All-Star 15 Times!!!

Making the All-star squad in 13 of his final 14 major league seasons, Smith was a fan favorite and an annual selection as one of the league’s best shortstops.

Ozzie Smith was one of the most liked and respected players in the game during his era.  His love for the game was evident each and every time he took to the field. 

Smith’s dedication to defense as well as his talent for base running is what made him a perennial All-star selection during baseball’s mid-summer classic.  And like may of his counterparts, Smith took the role of being an All-star very seriously.

13 All-star selections in 19 seasons – not too shabby!!!

Ozzie Smith Was Great On The Base Paths…

Ozzie Smith Was Great On The Base Paths…

While defense is what made Ozzie Smith stand out amongst his peers, he was also a terrific base runner.

Used at several different spots in the batting order during his 19-year career, Ozzie made the most out of each and every successful plate appearance.  And once he got on base, he stole the show…

Ozzie has 580 career stolen bases which puts him at 21st on the all-time list.  Ozzie collected double-digit steal in the first 16 years of his career and he surpassed 30 swipes in a season 11 times.  He was also great at generating runs for his team.  With 1,257 runs scored, primarily from the 7th or 8th position in the batting order, Smith made other teams pay when he got on base!!

Ozzie Smith, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’

Ozzie Smith, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’

With one of the most fitting nicknames in all of sports, ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ is a perfect one for one of the game’s most talented defensive players.

Ozzie Smith was blessed with incredible footwork and speed.  As a shortstop, he used his skills to make impossible plays look routine.  With unlimited range and a steady and consistent arm, Ozzie was making outs out of balls that were normally hits.

Essentially, he was performing magic on the baseball diamond, like a ‘Wizard’!!!