Tag Archives: Cooperstown

2014 Topps Series 1 “Topps All Rookie Cup Team” – Ken Griffey Jr.

2014 Topps Series 1 “Topps All Rookie Cup Team” – Ken Griffey Jr.

Topps’ All-Rookie Team means a lot of different things to a lot of different collectors.  But, one thing is for certain – If your card is tagged with the All-Rookie Team logo, you did something during your first season in the big leagues to make yourself stand out from the rest.

And for that reason alone, I can totally support a set of cards that picks ‘The Best Of The Best’ from these teams.

In 2014, Topps issued a subset in their Series 1 release that took one player at each position, naming them to the ‘Topps All Rookie Cup Team’.

Representing the catcher is Ken Griffey:

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Ken Griffey Jr. has a lot of lofty expectations placed on him prior to his first at-bat as a major league player.

And during his debut season, he did not disappoint.  He played in 127 games for the Mariners during his rookie campaign.

The numbers:  120 hits, .264 batting average, .329 on-base percentage, 23 doubles, 16 home runs, 16 stolen bases, 61 runs scored, 61 RBI.

A very solid debut for Junior!

1989 HEADLINE: Ken Griffey Jr. Hits First Big League Home Run!!!

1989 HEADLINE: Ken Griffey Jr. Hits First Big League Home Run!!!

During the collecting days of my youth, I cannot recall a rookie that received more attention from the hobby than Ken Griffey Jr.  And it all started before he suited up for one game.  Now I saw my share of rookie phenoms – Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, Jerome Walton…  But none of these guys carried the hobby prior to making their major league debuts.

But Griffey did!!!

So when Junior stepped to the plate in just the 7th game of his big league career and belted a home run to deep left field, collectors around the world sighed.   At home, and in front of close to 34,000 fans, Griffey launched home run #1 off of White Sox pitcher Eric King.  And as they say, the rest was history…

Today, Griffey sits in 5th place on the all-time home run list with 630.  Exactly 30 homers behind one of his baseball idols, Willie Mays.

Happy Anniversary to ‘The Kid’!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Will ‘The 500 Home Run Club’ Ever Guarantee Enshrinement Into Cooperstown Again?

Hall Of Fame Debate: Will ‘The 500 Home Run Club’  Ever Guarantee Enshrinement Into Cooperstown Again?

For a good stretch of baseball’s grand history, ‘The 500 Home Runs Club’ was full of elite and immortal players that defined the role of run producer and slugger.  Sure, some of the players were quite a bit more than that, but all of them were responsible for driving in a tremendous amount of runs via the long ball.

Then, the steroid era hit.  And pretty soon, new members of the once-elite club were springing up all over the place.  And quite often.  The one-time uber-elite group was getting cloudy and crowded.  All of a sudden, ‘The 500 HR Club’ began to look a little different.  And being in the club did not hold the same level of esteem as it once did.

Today, with the game ‘cleaned up’, can that perception change?  Will the ‘500 Home Runs Club’ once again define offensive greatness?

There are only three eligible members of the ‘500 HR Club’ that have not been inducted into Cooperstown.  And they have all been linked to steroids – Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro.  We also have two future possible electees that have been linked to steroids and climbed past 500 home runs – Gary Sheffield and Manny Ramirez.  I am purposely keeping Alex Rodriguez’s name out of the conversation as he is still considered to be ‘active’.

But, after that, are we in the clear?

Frank Thomas’ 2014 Hall of Fame election certainly helps.  And the future election of Ken Griffey, Jr. adds some serious weight to the ‘Club’ again.  And while I may not be his biggest supporter, Jim Thome’s 600+ home runs is certainly going to add some gusto to the club as well when he gets electecd into the Hall of Fame.

3-Time MVP, Albert Pujols is on his way.  Adam Dunn is going to get there.  World Series MVP, David Ortiz has a solid chance too.

So, my question tonight is this – Can the ‘500 Home Runs Club’ once again be what it once was???

500 home run club

My 2011 Topps ‘Prime 9 Players Of The Week’ Redemption Set Is COMPLETE!!! Come See!!!

My 2011 Topps ‘Prime 9 Players Of The Week’ Redemption Set Is COMPLETE!!!  Come See!!!

Well friends, another subset has been completed at ’30-Year Old Cardboard’.

And this one is superb!

Just like the ‘Prime 9 Home Run Legends’ set I built last year, this one boasts great color, sharp graphics, and a supremely high-gloss finish.

The 2011 Topps Prime 9 ‘Players Of The Week’ set features 9 players – 1 for each defensive position.  And the roster is loaded with major, major talent.

Here is a look at the whole set:

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By completing this set, I have now finished both of the Topps ‘Prime 9’ redemption sets.  And I have to say that I wish that this was a series that never stopped.  The ‘Prime 9’ theme is one that could easily continue with new themes – and with solid production that matches the 2011 and 2012 sets that they already issued, the quality was definitely there!

Cheers to another completed subset!  Hip-Hip-Hooray!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Assessing Mike Mussina’s Vote Tally From His First Ballot

Hall Of Fame Debate: Assessing Mike Mussina’s Vote Tally From His First Ballot

Well, as we all know by now, Mike Mussina did not get anywhere close to gaining entry into the Hall of Fame Class of 2014 when the votes were announced a few weeks back.

Actually, he did far worse than what I expected.  Of a total of 571 votes cast, Mussina secured just 116 good for 20.3% of the total, and well below the needed 75% to gain election.

So, what happens now?  Where does the voting for Mike Mussina go from here?

Does he follow the path of Jack Morris and hang around for a long time picking up votes year after year but never gaining access?  Or does, he slowly start to lose votes as new possible inductees take more votes from him, a la Fred McGriff?

Me – I think he will stick around for a while – but never get over the 55-60% mark.  There are a few pitchers on the ballot right now that I think are just as worthy, or possibly more, as Mussina.   And with the guys coming up on future ballots, I think he will be stuck in the shadows for a few more years before he may get a bigger bump from the voters.

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What do you think happens?

Hall Of Fame Debate: Looking Ahead To The Possible Class Of 2015

Hall Of Fame Debate: Looking Ahead To The Possible Class Of 2015

Ok, so now we know what players made the cut with the ‘Class of 2014’ and which ones will have to wait at least one more year to see if they earn election in 2015.

And we also know the players that will be eligible for the first time in 2015.

They are:  Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone, Paul Byrd, Tony Clark, Carlos Delgado, David Dellucci, Jermaine Dye, Alan Embree, Darin Erstad, Kelvim Escobar, Cliff Floyd, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Randy Johnson, Mark Loretta, Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez, Doug Mientkiewicz, Kevin Millar, Troy Percival, B.J. Ryan, Jason Schmidt, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz, Julian Tavarez, Jarrod Washburn, David Weathers

The list is interesting to say the least.  It is packed with All-stars, memory makers, and World Series champions.

But, is it packed with future Hall of Famers as well??

Well, at first glance, there are a few names that stand out for me – and probably you as well.  The names of Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz stand out among the pitchers on the list.  And while there is no ‘top-tier’ offensive player on the ballot for the first time in 2015, the name of Gary Sheffield should make you at least pause for a few minutes.

To be honest, of the four guys mentioned above, not one of them can hold a candle to the single at-bat that Aaron Boone had in the World Series a few years ago.  But, when looking at the full careers, both regular and post season, this ballot is stacked at the top and then there is a major drop-off.

There is no Mike Piazza on this list.  Or Mike Mussina.  Or Jeff Kent.

So, what do you think – Four contenders and a bunch of pretenders or am I missing something??

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Hall Of Fame Debate: Will There Ever Be A Unanimous Election??

Hall Of Fame Debate: Will There Ever Be A Unanimous Election??

Johnny Bench did not do it…

Nolan Ryan did not do it…

Rickey Henderson did not do it…

And most recently, Greg Maddux did not do it.

Will it ever happen?  This is certainly a good topic for debate.  And timely too!

Ultimately, I think that there are just way too many voters in the Hall of Fame election process for all of them to agree to a 100% vote for any single player.  Will players get close?  Sure.  But, 100% of the vote is going to be very, very tough – especially when the voters seem to have such differing views as to what amounts to a Hall of Fame player.

At times over their careers, it seemed like guys like Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey Jr, and Albert Pujols were all lined up to amass incredible numbers when their time for election was due.  But, things change.  And they change rapidly.  Injuries, change of scenery, rapid drop-off in production, etc. all lead to someone taking a vote or votes away.

Personally, I don’t believe that it will ever happen.

But, of all of the future eligible players, I think that the player with the best opportunity to get close to 100% is Mariano Rivera.  Numbers-wise, he is heads and shoulders above all relief pitchers.  Plus, he did it in the biggest media city in the US.  And he did a majority of it in pressure situations.  The biggest knock against him is that he ‘is just a closer’.  And that horrible phrase may be enough to keep a few votes out of his pocket too…

What do you think?  Will we ever see a player earn 100% of the votes cast for Hall of Fame induction?  Does that player exist today?

Let me hear it!!!

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