Daily Archives: April 26, 2013

2000 Topps Stadium Club Chrome Florida Marlins Team Set

2000 Topps Stadium Club Chrome Florida Marlins Team Set

This set was sent to me as a gift from blogger, unlcemoe.  We pretty much have a deal going where I send him any Diamondbacks that I get and he reciprocates with Marlins cards for me.

Well, unclemoe recently did some team set shopping and secured two Marlins team sets for me.

This set is from the 2000 Topps Stadium Club Chrome set.  There were 7 Marlins cards in that set and they are as shiny as any baseball card in my collection.

I really tried to capture the shininess of the cards with my scan, but it really did not do the cards justice.

Have a look:

2000 STADIUM CHROME

The seven players selected by Stadium Club for this set is a bit odd, but I like that some of the picks are unique.  And as usual, the photos selected for this set by Stadium Club are fantastic – my favorite is the one of Alex Gonzalez going to his right deep in the infield.

Thank you unlcemoe!!  I’ll show off the other team set next week!!

2002 Donruss Elite – ‘Passing The Torch’ With Fergie Jenkins & Mark Prior

2002 Donruss Elite – ‘Passing The Torch’ With Fergie Jenkins & Mark Prior

A few weeks ago, I showed off the base card of Fergie Jenkins from this 2002 Donruss set. 

And after doing a little more research and shopping, I discovered that the the card had another version – and a unique one at that!

The card is serial numbered as 49/500 and it features two legendary Chicago Cubs hurlers – Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins & Mark Prior.

While Jenkins can easily be regarded as the best pitcher in franchise history, Mark Prior will certainly go down as one of the most talented with an asterisk for ‘What Could Have Been’.

It’s nice to see both players featured on the same card.

Have a look:

Front:

JENKINS PRIOR FRONT

Back:

JENKINS PRIOR BACK

I like it.  The whole ‘Passing The Torch’ theme is pretty neat.  And while the bar that Jenkins set for Cubs starting pitchers has yet to be challenged or overtaken by any pitcher for the Cubs to this point, Prior appeared to have the stuff needed to take a shot at it.  Too bad that injuries derailed his career after just four full seasons…

And since I don’t have a Mark Prior collection, I will happily add this card to my collection that honors my favorite pitcher of all-time, Ferguson Arthur Jenkins!!

YES!!!

Jose Bautista 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen ‘Moonshots’

Frank Robinson 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen ‘Moonshots’

I am slowly ramping up my set building of the 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen ‘Moonshots’ subset.

I have just a few cards to go now that I have tackled the card of Jose Bautista.

Here is the card:

MOONSHOTS BAUTISTA

Bautista is a great addition to this set, and I really like the image used of him with this card – you can actually see him watching the ball he just crushed as it appears to be leaving the playing field.

Bautista led the American League in home runs during the 2010 and 2011 baseball seasons connecting for 54 and 43 home runs respectively.  He had an injury-filled season in 2012 and still amassed 27 homers, so I am really looking forward to seeing what he does this season.

Nolan Ryan 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen

Nolan Ryan 2011 Topps Gypsy Queen

I keep scooping up singles from the Gypsy Queen brand of baseball cards – and I am loving every minute of it!!

Taking a small break from the 2013 GQ set, I recently picked up this card of Nolan Ryan from the 2011 debut set of Gypsy Queen.

Here is the card:

VINTAGE RYAN GQ

And check out the high leg-kick of Ryan.  It is no wonder that he was able to pitch effectively for such a long time.  His use of his lower body to deliver power in his pitching was perfectly captured in this shot.

A fantastic card for my collection!!!

Keith Hernandez 1985 Donruss Highlights

Keith Hernandez 1985 Donruss Highlights

Gotta love baseball cards that celebrate both player and team achievements – I know that I do!!

This card comes from the 1985 Donruss Highlights set and it acknowledges Keith Hernandez’s winning of the July Player Of The Month for the Mets in 1985.

And while I would be happier to see an image featuring Hernandez either connecting for a big hit or making a great defensive play at first base, at least we get to see one of the great mustaches in baseball history…

Have a look:

HERNANDEZ 5

Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Joe Torre VS Bobby Cox VS Tony LaRussa

Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Joe Torre VS Bobby Cox VS Tony LaRussa

I think that it is safe to say that in time the trio of Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony LaRussa will all be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

If I was a betting man, and this was a bet with any kind of odds, I would bet the house on this one.  Each of these managers left an impression on the sport, on the fans of the teams that they coached, and maybe most important – they left impressions on the teams and fans that were battling against them.

I could comfortably state that Torre, Cox, and LaRussa are the cream of the crop as it relates to successful major league managers from their eras.

With that all being said – how easy is it to say which one is better?

It’s not.

Because what the manager does is not measured in numbers.  At least not in any numbers in which they are awarded for good decisions and penalized for bad ones.

But the good ones, the really good ones, seem to get the best out of their best players and the best out of the ones that are lower on the totem pole as well.

Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa can all take great pride in the team and individual successes of the players that the managed as they certainly had a hand in that success.

For tonight’s ‘Hall of Fame Debate’ I am asking for you to give me the order in which these three great coaches should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  They’re all going to get in – it’s just a matter of time before that happens.

But, who deserves to get in first, second, and third??

While you cannot judge all that a manager does by the numbers his teams put up, it is nice to compare both players and managers in similar categories.

So, here is a side-by-side-by-side comparison of the trio:

  Cox Torre LaRussa
Years 30 30 35
Wins 2504 2326 2728
Losses 2001 1997 2365
Win % 0.556 0.538 0.536
100-win seasons 6 4 4
1st place finishes 15 13 11
Last place finishes 4 4 2
Division Championships 15 13 11
League Championships 4 6 6
World Series Titles 1 4 3
Manager Of The Year 4 2 4

*

The numbers stack up pretty well for these three guys, huh?  For me, the only thing that really stands out is how close to a .500 winning percentage each manager is over the course of their careers.  Deemed as uber-successful, they are all very close to 50%.

And now, time for me to divulge my rankings.

First, a little chatter about each guy:

  • Cox – you cannot ignore the consecutive seasons in which his Braves teams won their division.  I find it to be one of the most impressive feats in baseball history.
  • Torre – he had to manage a ton of egos during his run as the manager of the Yankees. He did it with grace, and it looked like all of his players valued his style.
  • LaRussa – he did it twice, with two clubs.  And he did it with the game’s greatest players on his roster both times (Canseco & Pujols).  His bullpen use is highly criticized, but it resulted in a lot of wins.

But who ranks the highest? 

If you had to select the order in three consecutive induction years in which these three former managers would be inducted, what order would you place them in??

Cox.Torre.LaRussa

Here is my ranking:

  1. Tony LaRussa
  2. Bobby Cox
  3. Joe Torre

When I think back to LaRussa, I never saw him as a ‘losing’ manager.  He took hold of the A’s and Cardinals franchises and took them both to the pinnacle.  I witnessed both Cox and Torre manage losing clubs before they got their ‘breaks’ with the Braves and Yankees.  And while they both had a ton of success, they also had ridiculous lineups – Cox with his Hall of Fame pitching rotation and Torre with his All-World offenses.

For me, LaRussa did the most with the least.  He gets top-billing in my book!!!

LaRussa

How about you?  How would you rank these managers if you had to pick the order in which they entered the Hall of Fame?

Yes, it is splitting hairs as all are deserving – but it is fun nonetheless!!!

Thanks for reading.