Tag Archives: lee smith

The Evolution Of My Collection – Part 16

The Evolution Of My Collection – Part 16

It has been a long time since I did one of these ‘Evolution’ posts, so I thought it would be a good time to get back and take a peek at my full collection with one single, solitary picture.

The growth of my collection over the last few months has stalled a bit as I have focused more time, energy, and funds into my modern player collections and the start of my 1975 Topps set build.

Still, while the growth in terms of size is not what it has been in the past, the growth of these player collections has been phenomenally fun!!

Between my Dustin Pedroia, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Fernandez, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton collections, each has grown by leaps and bounds.  And while I never thought that I would truly get ‘into’ collecting modern players, I am happy about how rewarding this has been thus far.  And I look forward to seeing how much I can grow each of them in the coming collecting year.

Also, as you can see in the below picture, the three albums that I have dedicated to my Marlins teams sets have filled up nicely.  I don’t yet need to expand to a fourth album, but that may be my reality by the end of 2014.

Lastly, you will also see the binder I am using for my 1975 Topps set build in the lower right corner of the picture.  I have all of the pages pre-loaded, and I am trying to keep it as organized as possible so as I add new cards to my set, I can quickly drop them into the spots reserved for them.



Next time around I will not wait this long to show of the full collection.  It has been too long and I truly enjoy keeping this process rolling as it is a nice way to celebrate the growth and progress of ’30-YOC’.

Oh, and someday soon I see my ‘Ultimate Dawson’ expanding to a fourth box…

Thanks for reading.  Have a nice night.

Happy Birthday Lee Smith!!!

Happy Birthday Lee Smith!!!

Lee Smith turns 56 years old today.

I am a big fan of Lee Smith’s – he is one of my favorite relief pitchers of all-time.

With 478 career saves, good for 3rd place in major league history, I consider Smith to still be a very underrated and underappreciated player.  And with so many records being broken by today’s group of relievers, I have to wonder how Smith would do if he was playing in today’s game.

During his 18-year career, Smith tallied at least 30 saves 11 times and 40 or more saves 4 times.  A closer like that would be an All-star in today’s game and he’d be earning a minimum of $10 million per year.  In contrast, Smith was an All-star just 7 times and the most he made in any one season was $2.8 million.

Happy Birthday Mr. Smith!!!   You are still valued and appreciated by this baseball fan!!!

The Evolution Of ’30-Year Old Cardboard’ – A Pictorial Essay

The Evolution Of ’30-Year Old Cardboard’ – A Pictorial Essay

When I celebrated this blog’s 5th birthday a few weeks ago, I did one of my routine ‘Evolution’ posts to show off how my collection has grown in the lat few months.  Typically, I try to do a ‘Evolution’ post 3 times a year to show the growth and progress I have made towards my collecting goals as the year progresses.  My collection is still small enough to work with this format, though that may change if I maintain this pace over the next 1-2 years.

The feedback on that post was great, and I had several emails from the great readers of ’30-YOC’ asking how I maintain such an organized collection.  It’s nice to see that my hard work is admired at some level, so I wanted to try something similar to my standard ‘Evolution’ series, but amped up a bit.

Here is a look at my collection, from Day 1 to Year 5 – all done in pictures.


evolution 1

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evolution 5

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evolution 15


And there you have it – The Evolution of ’30-Year Old Cardboard’.

Thanks for reading!!





The Evolution Of My Collection – Part 15

The Evolution Of My Collection – Part 15

I figured that today would be the perfect day to look back at how my collection of baseball cards has evolved in the five years that I have been back actively collecting.

For those of you that have been with me since the start (THANK YOU), you may remember seeing this box:

Evolution BOx

This is the box that I condensed my very large collection into when I decided to downsize my stuff.  From more than 100 complete sets, tons of albums, boxes and boxes of traded sets, and more common cards than I ever wanted to see – all of it was downsized into this very small box.

And now, fast forward to August 8, 2013 and this in my collection:


Still as organized as always, the collection has continued to grow and grow.  I’ve been able to add new player collections to my collection so a little re-organization had to take place to accommodate the new cards and empty space that will be needed to hold them, but I was able to get it done.

My Marlins team set collection has also grown very steadily and my second album is starting to reach its maximum allowable size – album #3 is coming in the very near future.

I think that one of my next moves would be to merge my Fergie Jenkins and Jim Palmer collections into one box (currently they’re in two).  I also want to put all of the guys I collect from ‘The Big Red Machine’ and Chicago Cubs into their own boxes.  And from there, I will probably alphabetize the rest of the guys.  Not a tremendous amount of work – just something to be taken care of that I think would be helpful.

And I think that I am going to have to add another ‘Andre Dawson Box’ to my collection in the future too – maybe as soon as 2014.  Right now, we are at three boxes of Dawson cards and I am starting to have less and less space to maneuver as new cards are being brought into the collection.  And trust me when I tell you, that is not a complaint!!!

And there you have it – 5 years of ‘Evolution’ for you.


Hall Of Fame Debate: Lee Smith VS Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage

Hall Of Fame Debate: Lee Smith VS Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage

As I continue to formulate more of these player versus player match-ups for my ‘Hall Of Fame Debate’, I am really trying to dig deeper into the numbers than I normally do.

So far, what I am finding is that some of the guys I am debating about have numbers that are on par, and sometimes better than, other former players that are in the Hall of Fame.

One such player is Lee Smith.  Smith is a curious case – a true closer with a ton of saves.  Yet, he has never really garnered the attention needed to be a serious contender for the Hall.  Personally, I have no doubt that he belongs – and hopefully someday, even if it is via the Veteran’s Committee vote, he gets in.


Smith’s numbers are unreal – he was truly a player before his time.  When I say that, I mean that he was a true relief pitcher; not a player that was eventually was sent to the bullpen to help close games.  From the get-go, Smith’s role was to seal victories.

Guys like Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, and Goose Gossage, (all HOFers) have a good handful of starts between them.  Smith has six.  Yes, six.

For this week’s debate, I would like to compare Smith’s career to that of Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage’s.

Here are the numbers:

Smith Gossage
Seasons 18 22
Seasons as closer 18 21
Wins 91 124
Losses 92 107
Win % 43.60% 53.70%
Saves 478 310
30+ Save Seasons 11 2
40+ Save Seasons 4 0
Innings 1289.1 1809.1
ERA 3.03 3.01
Strikeouts 1251 1502
Walks 486 732
K:Walk ratio 2.57 2.05
K’s per 9 innings 8.7 7.5
All-Star 7 9
Cy Young
Playoff Seasons 2 4
World Series Titles 1


My takeaways from these stats:

  • Gossage’s win % is ten points higher than Smith’s
  • Smith has 168 more saves in four less seasons
  • Gossage worked 520 more innings than Smith
  • Amazing how close the ERA numbers are
  • Gossage has 250 more K’s but also 246 more walks
  • Smith’s 2.57 K:Walk ratio is much higher than Goose’s 2.05
  • Smith is a full 1.0 K per 9 innings above Gossage

For me, I just don’t see much of a difference.

Actually, there is one major difference – SAVES!!!

I should have mentioned that Smith has 11 seasons between 30-39 saves to Gossage’s 2.  And Smith eclipsed the 40-saves mark 4 times while Gossage never topped 33.  And to me, that is very telling.

As a matter of fact, when I look at all of the numbers, the tally of saves is enough to tell me that Smith is at the very least on-par with Gossage, if not better.  Sure, they played on different teams and had different pitching staffs and offenses to help make the save an option or not an option, but Smith sure did make the best of his situation, didn’t he?

And the extra strikeout per nine innings is worth mentioning too.  Especially, when these guys were facing less than 6 batters a game.

For me, I have no doubt that Lee Arthur Smith belongs in the Hall of Fame.  And no offense to Rich Gossage (as  I am a fan of his as well) but Smith just very may well be a more elite relief pitcher than anyone in the Hall of Fame not named Eckersley.


What do you think?  Where does your vote lie between these two relievers?  Who gets your vote??   Let me hear it!!

The Evolution Of My Collection – Part 14

The Evolution Of My Collection – Part 14

It has been a little more than five months since my last ‘Evolution’ post.

I still remain extremely organized with my collecting, and even as the size of my collection grows, I make sure that I take my time to keep things as neat and tidy as possible.

If you have read any of my prior ‘Evolution’ posts, you will notice albums have been recently introduced into the fold.  While my preference is to keep cards in boxes as they are easier to organize and move around, I have introduced albums for a few parts of my collection that do not change all that much.

First, let me show you what my full collection looks like today.  Then, I will offer a breakdown of what you’re seeing…

The picture:


And now for the breakdown…

Top row, box #1 – Willie McCovey, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Jim Abbott, Gary Carter, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Rod Carew, Dennis Eckersley, Orel Hershiser

Top row, box #2 – Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Tim Raines, Kirby Puckett, Bo Jackson, Dale Murphy, Paul Molitor, Ken Griffey, Jr., Pete Rose

Top row, box #3 – Rickey Henderson, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Jr., Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Mike Schmidt, Wade Boggs

Top row, box #4 – Autographs, Subsets, Derek Jeter, Miscellaneous cards

Top row, box #5 – Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Lee Smith, Greg Maddux, Mark Grace, Cubs subsets, Red Subsets, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, George Foster, Ken Griffey Sr., Sparky Anderson

Bottom row, box #1 – Fergie Jenkins, Jim Palmer

Bottom row, box #2 – Dave Parker, Alan Trammell, Rollie Fingers, Eric Davis, Frank Thomas, Dave Stewart, Mark McGwire, Reggie Jackson

Bottom row, box #3 – Andre Dawson: 1977-1990

Bottom row, box #4 – Andre Dawson: 1990-2009

Bottom row, box #5 – Andre Dawson: 2010-2012, autographs, relic cards, cello and rack packs

Grey album – Florida/Miami Marlins team sets

Black album – Pete Rose 1985 Topps limited edition set

WHEW!!!  That was a lot of work!!!!

My Marlins team set album is bulging.  I am going to have to pick up another album and split them up soon.  Also, I am considering moving some more subsets into the one that holds my Pete Rose limited edition set.  This will free up some much needed space in my boxes, and also provide me with a lot more penny sleeves and top loaders to use for future player collections…  We’ll see.

That is it – my full baseball card collection.  With the exception of a few cards that are on my desk that are either to be traded or are going to be written about for the blog in the coming days, you are seeing the whole collection.

Thanks for reading.  I promise to try to do this a little more often.

Have a great night!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Making The Case For Lee Smith

Hall Of Fame Debate: Making The Case For Lee Smith

There are few eligible players for Cooperstown that I feel truly deserve to be enshrined before Lee Arthur Smith.  To be more precise, 2-3 and that is it.

He may have done it quietly, but Lee Smith’s career numbers are on par, if not better (or much better) than his peers from the same era.  Smith took the consistency of closing games to a new level, and he did it over a 18-year major league career.

I am not certain as to what has held Smith out of the Hall of Fame.  But, I think that I can narrow it down to a few things that do get mentioned often: (1) No World Series appearances (2) Losing Record (3) Played for 7 teams in final 3 seasons (4) Lack of true ‘Calling Card’. 

With all of that being said, one cannot simply ignore what Lee Smith has accomplished on the baseball field, specifically the pitching mound.  His numbers are unreal, and in some cases, far more impressive that those of a few other players that have been elected in recent years that played the same position.

So, I thought it would be worthwhile to compare Smith’s career to the careers of Rollie Fingers, Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage, and Bruce Sutter.  I think that is fair company.  I am purposely leaving Dennis Eckersley out of the group – he was a tier above these guys (in my opinion).

So, on to the comparison!!!

  Smith Fingers Gossage Sutter
Seasons 18 17 22 12
Seasons as closer 18 15 21 12
Wins 91 114 124 68
Losses 92 118 107 71
Win % 43.60% 49.10% 53.70% 48.90%
Saves 478 341 310 300
30+ Save Seasons 11 2 2 2
40+ Save Seasons 4 0 0 1
Innings 1289.1 1701.1 1809.1 1042
ERA 3.03 2.9 3.01 2.83
Strikeouts 1251 1299 1502 861
Walks 486 492 732 309
K:Walk ratio 2.57 2.64 2.05 2.79
K’s per 9 innings 8.7 6.9 7.5 7.4
All-Star 7 7 9 6
Cy Young 1 1
Playoff Seasons 2 6 4 1
World Series Titles 3 1 1


Wow, when you look at these numbers it really demonstrates just how well Lee Smith performed in the closer’s role.  The number of 30 and 40-save seasons that Smith put up easily out distances the field.  And the strikeouts per nine innings shows just how dominant Smith was in the ninth inning. 

Ultimately, I think that there are two things that really hurt Smith – (1) lack of World Series wins/appearances (2) the team-to-team movement that occurred very late in his career.

But, is that enough to not induct him into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame?  I don’t think so.  And to be honest, when comparing him to the other three members that I did above, I would call him a HOFer before I would call the names of Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage.  I am not saying that they do not belong, but I feel that Smith’s body of work is more complete and more ‘special’ as compared to theirs.

What do you think?  Is Lee Smith a Hall of Famer?  Should he already be enshrined at Cooperstown?

Does Lee Smith get your vote?  He already has mine!!

Lee Smith photo