Daily Archives: February 8, 2013

Dennis Eckersley 2005 Donruss Team Heroes

Dennis Eckersley 2005 Donruss Team Heroes

I have not picked up too many cards of Dennis Eckersley since I completed my player collection of his last year.

It’s not for lack of effort, I have simply had my eyes on other things….

But, when recently scanning through a quarter box of cards at the local card shop, this one made me stop.

Have a peek:

VINTAGE ECKERSLEY

The card is sharp.  The Green really stands out, and I like the design – it works very well with the photo of Eckersley that was chosen.

Dave Winfield 2003 Donruss 20th Anniversary – 1983 Donruss Design

Dave Winfield 2003 Donruss 20th Anniversary – 1983 Donruss Design

When I first came across this baseball card, I simply skipped right past it and said ’83 Donruss – cool’ and moved right on by.

I paused for a second and realized that the card was in immaculate condition, and a little shinier than what I recall the original 1983 Donruss cards being.

After looking at the back, I realized what I had.

In 2003, Donruss issued a 20th Anniversary set – and this is the Dave Winfield card from that set.  It is sharp, and it takes me right back to when ‘Big Dave’ was driving in runs for the New York Yankees at a rampant pace!!!

 

VINTAGE WINFIELD ANNIVERSARY

As a kid, it was the 1983 Donruss brand that really first got me excited about them making baseball cards.  The 1981 design was very boring, and the ’82 release was pretty dull.  But the glove and bat graphics of the 1983 set made me giddy!!

I love this card!!

1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice Florida Marlins Team Set w/Bonus Cards

1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice Florida Marlins Team Set w/Bonus Cards

I’m having a lot more luck finding affordable Marlins team sets from the early days of the franchise versus more recent times.

And that is just fine for this collector, as the Marlins of the 1990’s are the teams that I really got attached to.

This set was issued in 1996 and is the Upper Deck Collector’s Choice set.  I have the 1994 and 1995 versions, so this one accompanies those other two very well.

On to the cards:

1996 UD CC A

1996 UD CC B

1996 UD CC C

When I bought this one, I was very excited to find all of the ‘extra’ cards that were included with the set.  Not only did I get the full team set of the 16 Marlins that made an appearance in the set, but I got every card from every subset in that issue that also featured a Marlins player.

The Red, White, and Blue ‘Rookie Class’ cards are fantastic.  And you know that I gotta show some love for the Andre Dawson ‘Tribute’ card!!

GO FISH!!!

Eric Davis 1987 Donruss Highlights – ‘May Player Of The Month’

Eric Davis 1987 Donruss Highlights – ‘May Player Of The Month’

Eric Davis had a very strong start to his 1987 baseball season.  After starting off the season on a tear, many thought that he was the front-runner for the National League’s MVP Award.

Alas, the baseball season is a long one, and his numbers eventually tapered off.  Still, extremely respectable, but not MVP-worthy.

Davis would finish in 9th place for the MVP Award in 1987, the highest finish of his career.

I’m happy to see that Donruss honored him in this 1987 Highlights set.  The card is sharp, and that Bright Blue border really allows for the Red of Davis’ uniform and helmet stand out!

Great work, Donruss!

Felix Hernandez Becomes Baseball’s Richest Pitcher

Felix Hernandez Becomes Baseball’s Richest Pitcher

From ESPN.com

Felix Hernandez has agreed to a new seven-year, $175 million contract with the Seattle Mariners, USA Today Sports reported Thursday.

The deal would make Hernandez the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history. The reported value of the contract easily would surpass the record $161 million deal CC Sabathia signed with the New York Yankees prior to the 2009 season.

Hernandez agreed to a $78 million, five-year contract in January 2010 and has earned an additional $2.5 million in escalators and $300,000 in bonuses. He is due $20 million this year and $20.5 million in 2014, which would be superseded by the new deal.

Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said he could not comment when reached on Thursday by The Associated Press, and Hernandez’s representatives didn’t immediately return messages.

The contract is expected to be finalized before spring training, according to USA Today Sports.

If the deal is finalized, it would leave Detroit’s Justin Verlander and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw as the most attractive pitchers eligible for free agency after the 2014 season. Tampa Bay’s David Price is eligible after the 2015 season.

Hernandez’s new contract will start this season, according to USA Today Sports, and will pay the three-time All-Star an annual average salary of $25 million, which would surpass Zack Greinke’s $24.5 million under his new contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Largest Pitcher Contracts by Total Value In MLB History

Pitcher Value Years
Felix Hernandez $175M* 2013-19
CC Sabathia $161M 2009-15^
Zack Greinke $147M 2013-18
Cole Hamels $144M 2013-18
Johan Santana $137.5M 2008-13
Matt Cain $127.5M 2012-17
Barry Zito $126M 2007-13
* According to USA Today Sports ^ Opted out in 2011 — ESPN Stats & Information

Hernandez has become the face of Seattle’s struggling franchise, transforming from a curly-haired 19-year-old who wore his hat crooked to one of the most dominant and exciting pitchers in baseball.

His fiery enthusiasm on the mound and his willingness to first sign a long-term deal in 2010 have endeared him to fans in the Pacific Northwest who have gone more than a decade without seeing postseason baseball.

Hernandez went 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA and 223 strikeouts last season, his fourth consecutive campaign with at least 200 strikeouts. The right-hander pitched the first perfect game in Mariners history on Aug. 15, striking out 12 in a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner, Hernandez has pitched at least 232 innings in each of the past four seasons and owns a career record of 98-76 with a 3.22 ERA in eight years, all with the Mariners.

His career record would be even better if he didn’t play with one of baseball’s worst offenses. Seattle had the lowest batting average in the major leagues in each of the last three seasons. Hernandez has taken 10 losses during that span when he’s given up two earned runs or less.

For his career, Hernandez has allowed two earned runs or less in 141 of 238 starts, but the team is only 99-42 in those games due to the offensive problems.

Hernandez will anchor an inexperienced Seattle rotation that likely will include 24-year-old Blake Beavan, 22-year-old Erasmo Ramirez and second-year Japanese starter Hisashi Iwakuma.

The Mariners also boast a pitching-rich farm system that features Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Brandon Maurer and James Paxton.

Locking up Hernandez long term won’t solve all of the problems that have left Seattle looking up at Texas, Oakland and the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West for most of the last 10 years.

The Mariners have tried to address some of those issues this offseason by trading for Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse to provide more punch to go along with young prospects Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero, who have all shown flashes early in their careers.

Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Tim Raines!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Tim Raines!!!

Not counting any of the players that were on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2013 for the first time, it is Tim Raines that I feel is the most deserving of Hall of Fame enshrinement among eligible players.

Unfortunately for him, his career has been overshadowed for two primary reasons. (1) Raines spent the first twelve seasons of his major league career playing in Montreal (2) He played at the same time that Rickey Henderson was revolutionizing the lead-off spot.

Still, even with those two obvious issues getting in the way of Raines being recognized properly by the BWAA, his career numbers are fantastic.  And they are on par with some of the best base runners of all-time.

Here is a quick comparison between Tim Raines, Rickey Henderson, and Lou Brock:

  Raines Henderson Brock
Seasons 23 25 19
Games 2,502 3,081 2,616
Hits 2,605 3,055 3,023
Doubles 430 510 486
Triples 113 66 141
Home Runs 170 297 149
200-Hit Seaons 0 0 4
Batting Average 0 0 0
.300 Seasons 9 8 9
On-Base % 0 0 0
Runs Scored 1,571 2,295 1,610
100-Run Seasons 6 13 7
Stolen Bases 808 1,406 938
100+ Steals Seasons 0 3 1
80-99 Steals Seasons 1 3 0
Caught Stealing 146 335 307
Success Rate 84.7% 80.8% 75.3%
Strikeouts 966 1,694 1,730
Walks 1,330 2,190 761
All-Star 7 10 6
Batting Titles 1 0 0
Gold Gloves 0 1 0
Silver Sluggers 1 3 0
MVP 0 1 0
Postseasons 5 8 3
World Series Wins 1 2 2

Clearly, there are parts of the game in which Rickey Henderson is heads and shoulders above these other two players, all of baseball for that matter.

But, when you look at other aspects of the game, like on-base percentage, stolen base success rate, Raines holds his own with these two Hall of Famers.

Also, take a look at the number of times Raines struck out over the course of his career compared to both Henderson and Brock – he was supremely disciplined at the plate; just what you want from your lead-off hitter.

Raines photo

1980’s baseball is the foundation of my love for the sport.  I watched Tim Raines and Rickey Henderson change the way that the game was played from the lead-0ff position.  I could not imagine how players from the 1990’s and 2000’s would have played the game had it not been for what Raines and Henderson contributed to the game.

Sadly, Lou Brock retired from the sport when I was just six years old.  I never got to see the impact he made on the game, just read about it.

Taking all of that into consideration, and having a very strong passion for the history of the game, I would never say that Tim Raines was better than either of these two Hall of Famers.  But, he can be compared to them.  And for the most part, he can hold his own when being judged in many of the fields that make for an elite lead-off hitter.

So, yes, I am very surprised by the lack of support Raines gets from the BWAA.  Garnering just 52.2% of the vote that he picked up in his sixth year of eligibility.

What do you think?  Does Tim Raines deserve to be elected into the Hall of Fame?  Does he belong at Cooperstown with the other players that helped define baseball of the 1980’s?

Let me know your opinion.  Cast your vote for Tim Raines now!!

Consider this my vote, YES!!!

Gavel