Daily Archives: August 16, 2013

Roberto Clemente 2004 Fleer Greats

Roberto Clemente 2004 Fleer Greats

I have always been a big fan of the Fleer Greats brand that was issuing cards in the early 2000’s.  Among my favorites from that brand was the 2004 version with its Bronze frame.

This is the Roberto Clemente card from that set:


I like the card, I just wish that the image was presented to us in color.

Personally, I feel that there is a time and place for Black and White imagery in baseball cards.  But, the 2004 Fleer Greats set is not it.  With the Bronze frame and Seipa-tone background, this card needs a few shots of color – like Pirates Yellow and Black.

Just imagine this card if Clemente’s socks, cap, and jersey lettering were bright and bold…



1999 Upper Deck MVP Florida Marlins Team Set

1999 Upper Deck MVP Florida Marlins Team Set

When it comes to team sets, I would love for them to include all of the players on a team’s active roster.  But, that is not something we can expect.  Plus that would make set building and team collecting an already harder task than what it already is.

So, instead, I just go with the flow.  I collect what I can find and I enjoy the process.

But, every once in a while, a team set raises my pulse a bit; takes my breath away, I guess that you could say,

This is one of those sets:

1999 UD MVP

This is the Florida Marlins team set from the 1999 Upper Deck MVP set.  The Marlins set is just seven cards deep but features exceptional photography and nice full-size images.

I love the cards, and I love the action that Upper Deck has shared with us!!

The Cliff Floyd card is superb.   The Derrek Lee card is excellent.  And the Preston Wilson card gives us a very unique angle.

A great addition to my Marlins team set collection!

Did You Know…

Jimmie Foxx hit more home runs during the 1930’s than any other player in major league baseball.  Foxx his 415 round-trippers for both the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox in the decade.

Jimmy Foxx

1984 HEADLINE: Pete Rose Is Coming Home – Traded Back To Cincinnati!!!

1984 HEADLINE: Pete Rose Is Coming Home – Traded Back To Cincinnati!!!

When this headline hit the papers 25+ years ago I am pretty certain that the feeling in the Cincinnati area was one of sheer joy!!!

A former baseball star was coming back to the city to once again play for and now manage the team that he helped become one of baseball’s greatest dynasties.

What a ride Pete took Reds’ fans on once he came back to the team.  From making history by becoming the game’s all-time hits leader to being banished from the game for gambling.

No matter how you look at it and how you feel about Pete Rose today, you must admit that this was a historic day for the sport back in 1984!!!

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Dennis Eckersley VS John Smoltz

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Dennis Eckersley VS John Smoltz

If you were to ask my to name two of my favorite pitchers from the last 30 years, the names of Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz would certainly be in the mix.

And these two dominant starting pitchers turned closers have quite a bit in common when it comes to dominance on the field.

And in my eyes, but are extremely undervalued even with all of the attention and fame that has come their way.

But, let’s get back to my comment about how similar these two guys are.

Take a look at the numbers:

Eckersley Smoltz
Seasons 24 21
Wins 197 213
20-Win Seasons 1 1
Win % 53.5 57.9
Complete Games 100 53
Saves 390 154
30-Save Seasons 4 0
40-Save Seasons 3 2
50-Save Seasons 1 1
ERA 3.5 3.33
WHIP 1.161 1.176
Strikeouts 2,401 3,084
Walks 738 1,010
K:Walk 3.25 3.05
K:9 Innings 6.6 8
All-Star 6 8
Cy Young 1 1
MVP 1 0
Postseasons 7 14
WS Titles 1 1


I told you that they had some things in common…

The standout numbers for me:
* Eck’s career complete games is unreal, but it also speaks to the style of ball played when he was a starter
* In four seasons as a closer, Smoltz averaged 38.5 saves per year, he then returned back to the starting lineup and went 14-7, 16-9, and 14-8 in his next three seasons
* incredibly close ERA and WHIP
* Smoltz dominates in strikeouts despite pitching just 180 more innings
* Smoltz crushes in K’s per 9 innings despite that being Eck’s signature with Oakland
* Very surprised to see Eck have a higher K:Walk ratio

So, who is the better pitcher?  Who has accomplished more?

Well, according to BaseballReference.com, Eck wins the battle as they have him ranked as the 28th best pitcher of all-time, with Smoltz taking the 31st spot.  They also have Orel Hershiser in 26th so take that for what it is worth…

But when I compare these two very talented pitchers, I have to give the slight edge to Eckersley – and it is by a very thin margin; the thinnest since I have introduced this new head-to-head format.

My reasons?  Well, for me it came down to longevity at  both roles – and long-lasting dominance at both as well.  For Eck, he does not get the credit he deserves for being a solid starting pitcher.  He started for the first 12 years of his career, averaging 12 wins a year on some lousy teams.  Smoltz may have averaged more wins per year, but he played on the team of the decade and had a huge offense to rely on for run support.  Eckersley’s 3.25 K:Walk ratio is well above the mendoza-line as well (3.0:1.0) and is surprisingly higher than that of Smoltz, who was known as the power pitcher from the Braves dynasty of the 1990’s.

Lastly, Dennis Eckserlsey is considered to be one of the finest closers of all-time.  When naming them, he is always present – and usually sets in the Top 3 without much argument.  With Smoltz, for as dominant as he was with the Braves, there was a lot of competition for the top spot among starting pitcher during his prime.  Would he get a vote or two? Sure, but so would a dozen other guys.


So, when you compare the careers of Dennis Eckersley and John Smoltz, how do you rank them?   Is one far better than the other in your eyes or do you, too, think that the match-up  is close like I do??

I’m eager to get your thoughts on this one!  Let me hear it.