Tag Archives: John Franco

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Forgotten Stars Of The 1980s’

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Forgotten Stars Of The 1980s’

I had such a good time, and judging by the reader reaction so did you, working on and writing my ‘Top Ten List’ from last week that I wanted to extend the same subject into the 1980’s.

So, that is this week’s theme – ‘Top Ten Forgotten Stars Of The 1980s’.

Again, like last week, you will not find any Hall of Fame players, although there are several that I think deserve more credit in the overall scheme of things.

You will also not find players that still get a lot of attention in the sport and hobby – Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Fred McGriff, Cecil Fielder, Eric Davis, etc.

What you will find is a list of players that I really enjoyed watching during their primes.

Are you ready?  Let’s do this!!!

Honorable Mention – Andy VanSlyke, Ruben Sierra, Todd Worrell, Chili Davis, Pedro Guerrero, Willie Wilson, John Franco, and Gary Gaetti.

10 – George Bell.  You can call him George or Jorge or ‘Liberty’, but you better add ‘slugger’ too.  One of the decades best home run hitters, Bell was an offensive machine.  The producer of home runs, RBI, and high batting average led Bell to receive 3 All-Star selections, 3 Silver Slugger Awards and the 1987 AL MVP.

9 – Lance Parrish.  Parrish was the core of the Detroit Tigers for most of the early-to-mid 1980’s.  His skill both at the plate and behind it helped make him a perennial All-Star selection.  Parrish is also a 6-time Silver Slugger winner and has 3 Gold Gloves.

8 – Mike Greenwell.  While there may have been other ‘big’ names in Boston that got national attention, if you ask any Red Sox fan from that era, they will tell you that Mike Greenwell was a key contributor to the team’s success.  Greenwell played 12 years for the Sox and retired with a .303 batting average, which included 7 seasons above the .300 mark.  Greenwell was a 2-time All-Star and runner-up for the MVP award in 1988.

7 – Kent Hrbek.  The anchor of the Twins’ offense and defense, Hrbek played 14 solid seasons with the Twins.  A 2-time World Series champion, he hit 293 home runs during his career while driving in 1,086.  Hrbek was the runner up for the ROY in 1982 and MVP in 1984.

6 – Rick Sutcliffe.  An old-school pitcher that was probably a decade or two late to the game, Sutcliffe embodied the ‘mean’ approach that made several pitchers legends in the 1960s.  Used as both a starter and reliever during his playing days, Sutcliffe retired with a 171-139 record.  He was the Rookie of the Year in 1979 and won the 1984 Cy Young Award with his 20-6 record, 9 complete games, and 213 strikeouts.

5 – Harold Baines.  A 22-season veteran, Baines racked up some very impressive stats during his playing days.  A lifetime .289 hitter, Baines collected 2,866 hits.  He also had a knack for power and run production – 48 doubles, 384 home runs, 1,299 runs scored, and 1,628 RBI.  Baines was a 6-time All-Star.

4 – Willie McGee.  Talk about a perfect for a team..  Willie McGee brought the Cardinals instant offense as a rookie in 1982.  In fact, the 23-year old played a large role in the Cardinals World Series win that season.  In 1985 McGee was unreal – .353 batting average, 216 hits, 56 stolen bases, 114 runs scored, 86 RBI, a batting title, All-Star selection, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and MVP!!  In total, McGee was a 4-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glove winner, and one of the most popular Cardinals in team history.

3 – Tim Raines.  Quite possibly the second best lead-off hitter of the last fifty years, there was nothing Tim Raines could not do on a baseball diamond.  He stole 808 bases during his career, scored 1,571 runs, and has a lifetime batting average of .294.  Raines was a 7-time All-Star and has 5 finishes in the Top 12 for the MVP.

2 – Lee Smith.  Smith ranks in 3rd place on the all-time saves list, and he will not give up that spot any time soon.  He ranks ahead of every Hall of Famer to ever be tagged as a ‘closer’.  Smith played in 18 big league seasons, accumulating 478 saves along the way.  Smith reached the post-season only twice, which translates to his role being even more important as we was closing games for teams that were not very competitive.

1 – Jack Morris.  Morris pitched in the majors for 18 seasons.  He won more game than any other pitcher in the 1980s, totalling 254 wins for his career.  He has 3 20-win seasons under his belt and an impressive 7 finishes in the Top 9 for the Cy Young award.  Morris competed in 3 World Series match-ups, winning all three – for three different teams.  He won the 1991 World Series MVP, and finished his post-season career with a 4-2 record.

And there it is.  I’m a bit exhausted, but that was a lot of fun too!!!

Do you think that I missed anyone?  Are my rankings appropriate?  Let me hear it!!!

And for the record – on this list, numbers 3,2,and 1 all deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.  Just my opinion…

Thanks for reading.

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #627 – John Franco & Steve Bedrosian

1988 Fleer Superstar Specials – Card #627 – John Franco & Steve Bedrosian

“Game Closers”

In 1987 the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian and the Reds’ John Franco each enjoyed the best season of their careers.  Both were the ‘stoppers’ of their team’s pitching staffs, and both produced remarkable streaks which highlighted their season.

Bedorsian was the major league leader with 40 saves.  He also had five victories, which means that he had a hand in 45 of the Phillies’ 80 victories.  Between May 10 and July 18 Steve recorded 25 saves in 29 games.  Within that period he notched a save in 13-straight appearances, setting a major league record.  Steve struck out 74 batters for the season, while walking only 24.  He also finished the season with an impressive 2.83 ERA and the Cy Young Award.

Franco had 32 saves, eight victories, and a 2.52 ERA.  He did not allow an earned run in his first 13 appearances of the season.  During that stretch, he pitched 13.2 innings, allowing only three hits, fanning eight, and registering one victory along with eight saves.  John also ended the season in fine style – he earned a save in each of his last five appearances.

Did You Know…

Nine pitchers have appeared in more than 1,000 games, but John Franco and Kent Tekulve are the only two who never started a game in their career.

**factoid courtesy of ‘Big League Trivia’

Looking Ahead: The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2011

Looking Ahead:  The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2011

With the Hall of Fame still on my mind, I started thinking about what the Class of 2011 may look like.

Of the guys that missed the cut this year, I think that it is pretty safe to assume that Bert Blyleven and Robert0 Alomar will gain entry in 2011.  Besides those two, I don’t see anyone else that has been on the ballot prior picking up enough steam to grab 75% of the votes.

But, what about the guys on the ballot for the first time? 

Well, here is that list: 

2011: Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, John Olerud, Kevin Brown, Larry Walker, Juan Gonzalez, Tino Martinez, B.J. Surhoff, Marquis Grissom, John Franco, Bret Boone, Al Leiter, Benito Santiago, Carlos Baerga, Raul Mondesi, Bobby Higginson, Wilson Alvarez, Rey Sanchez, Charles Johnson, Jose Offerman, Ugueth Urbina, Ismael Valdez, Dan Wilson, Paul Quantrill, Cal Eldred, Kirk Rueter, Steve Reed

The list includes All-stars, MVPs, and World Series champions!!!  But once you start to look at the numbers, there are only 2 guys with a real shot at entry into Cooperstown; and for one of them, it may take a few years…

Those two guys are Jeff Bagwell & Rafael Palmeiro.

Lets start with Bagwell.  He’s a likable guy, and his numbers are solid.  A 15-year career that can be compared to the best first baemen from his era, Bagwell has a ROY and MVP award in his pocket.  He is also a 4-time All-star and winner of 3 Silver Slugger Trophies and 1 Gold Glove.  And while Bagwell hit close to .300 during the duration of his career, his 449 home runs and 2,314 hits leaves him well short of a few major milestones that usually guarantee enshrinement.

That takes us to Rafael Palmeiro.  He has all of the personal achievements.  Heck, he is 1 of just a small handful of players to reach both the 500 Home Runs plateau and 3,000 hits landmark.  But Raffy was never considered as the game’s best at any point during his playing days.  Sure, he was an All-star, and he won a few Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards, but Rafael was never elevated to elite status by winning MVP awards.  And then there is the whole steroid issue – it will loom over Rafael Palmeiro in the same manner that it has with Mark McGwire.  And that does not bode well for his chances; especially on his first ballot.

If I were voting, 3 players would get my vote – Blyleven, Alomar, and Palmeiro.  And while I like Jeff Bagwell, and Barry Larkin for that matter, I just need a few more years to think about how they rank among the best to have ever played the game…

1991 Upper Deck Baseball – Pack Break #7

I bring you the seventh of eight packs of 1991 Upper Deck baseball cards that I ripped through this morning…

Notable – Darryl Strawberry, Terry Pendleton, Juan Samuel, John Franco 

Pick Of The Pack – Wade Boggs getting down at the hot corner!

Ripping Open A Pack Of 1990 Score Cards

I received 1 pack of 1990 Score in the contest I won on the Autographed Cards blog.

Here are the results from the pack: 

Eric Anthony, Eric Yelding, Tim Raines, John Moses, Fred Lynn, Dave Clark, Don August, Greg Litton, Matt Williams, Doug Bair, Nolan Ryan Highlights, Randy Bush, John Franco, Gene Larkin, Tom Brunansky, and BJ Surhoff

Can you believe that this is my 1st Nolan Ryan card since I got back into collecting???  The 1990 Score product is a nice design and the cards have great photos.  Of these, my favorites are Raines, Franco, and Surhoff.