2.26.2012

Lineage: Six Months Later

In a few upcoming posts, I'll highlight some cards I have for trade from various recent sets. If you're still looking for anything, shoot me a note.

First up, Lineage.

At the bottom of the trade list, I have a short list of cards I'm still seeking. I should add here that if you have any Reds, Tigers or Cubs 75 minis for trade, I probably would be interested in them.

However, I don't have to trade Lineage for Lineage.

For trade:

2 Derek Jeter
3 Jimmie Foxx
4 Buster Posey
20 Justin Morneau
21 Edinson Volquez
28 Aramis Ramirez
32 Jon Lester
33 Tony Perez
35 Hanley Ramirez
43 Victor Martinez
44 Jay Bruce
51 Hunter Pence
55 Nolan Ryan
59 Duke Snider
65 Josh Johnson
67 Nelson Cruz
72 Rickie Weeks
84 Clayton Kershaw
85 Al Kaline
85 Al Kaline
89 Eddie Murray
98 Evan Longoria
98 Evan Longoria
100 Babe Ruth
101 Madison Bumgarner
106 Cy Young
110 Thurman Munson
112 Johnny Cueto
112 Johnny Cueto
112 Johnny Cueto
115 Chipper Jones
118 Todd Helton
121 Roy Halladay
126 Shin-Soo Choo
132 Nick Markakis
133 Zack Greinke
137 Johnny Bench
143 Miguel Cabrera
145 Adrian Gonzalez
146 Freddie Freeman
148 Aroldis Chapman
148 Aroldis Chapman
149 Kevin Youkilis
152 David DeJesus
153 B.J. Upton
159 Yonder Alonso
159 Yonder Alonso
159 Yonder Alonso
162 Brandon Belt
162 Brandon Belt
169 Cliff Lee
173 Adam Dunn
178 Albert Pujols
183 Brian McCann
184 Josh Hamilton
192 Willie McCovey
195 Chipper Jones

Mini 75s
165 Jose Reyes

Rookies
6 Jake McGee
10 Zach Britton

Here's what I need:

5 Felix Hernandez 
13 Cal Ripken Jr.
19 Larry Walker
40 Stan Musial
52 Andre Dawson
76 Roberto Alomar
108 Hank Aaron
158 Monte Irvin

2.25.2012

Missspellins

I posted this card the other day with my descriptions of Orioles nominated for the Fun-Time Hall of Fame but it got me wondering just how common this was in the '70s and if it happens much nowadays.

If you didn't notice, Mike's surname is mispelled.

How pathetic was quality control for Topps during this era (rhetorical). Did they not have even one good copy editor on staff?

Meanwhile, if you missed the post about the Orioles and the Fun-Time Hall, please check it out here and then I'd be thrilled if you'd cast your votes. Feel free to let me know if you vote, or have already.

2.24.2012

Venti Votto

Juuust wanted to show off a cool card sent by my blogging friend Kyle of Juuust a Bit Outside. Shortly before we moved into our new home in December, Kyle added this with some cards from his draft juuust because he's that kind. I believe this is called "box topper"  juuust because he's that kind of guy. 
I have nothing like this in my collection and I'm thrilled to add it. Votto is one of my top 5-10 current players, with his status as a Red a key factor in that ranking.

I almost feel like I should frame this bad boy. Seriously, maybe I should as I have no idea how to properly store it.

Thanks again, Kyle. You've since sent me a slew of great cards over the months and I'm very grateful for them all.

Meanwhile, if anyone has any oddball Votto cards - non-base, non-goofy inserts - let me know. I honestly don't know if any exist but I might be interested in some if they do.

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't interrupt this Votto post and ask you to vote for Orioles in the current Fun-Time Hall of Fame balloting. Check out my last post for more.

2.23.2012

Fun-Time Baseball Hall: Baltimore Orioles

Complete rules of the Fun-Time Baseball Hall are at the bottom of this post. This is a franchise specific hall. Please keep in mind a player's body of work for the team and vote for no more than eight - fewer if you wish. 

It's your call whether key deciding factors are longevity and counting stats or a player's overall impact, even if accomplished in a relatively short time. 

Write-ups on the candidates for the Orioles / St. Louis Browns begin below the franchise records. 

Franchise Records
Wins: Jim Palmer (268), Dave McNally (181), Mike Mussina (147), Mike Cuellar (143), Mike Flanagan (141)
Strikeouts: Palmer (2,212), Mussina (1,535), McNally (1,476), Flanagan (1,297), Cuellar (1,011)
Home Runs: Cal Ripken (431), Eddie Murray (343), Boog Powell (303), Brooks Robinson (303)
Triples: George Sisler (145)
Doubles: Ripken (603), B. Robinson (482), Murray (363), Sisler (343)
Hits: Ripken (3,184), B. Robinson (2,848), Sisler (2,295), Murray (2,080)


Paul Blair (OF)
Played for the Orioles from 1964-76. Played for the Yankees from 1977-79, 1980. Spent part of 1979 with the Reds.
  • Baltimore totals: .254, 126 home runs, 567 RBIs, 1,426 hits and 167 stolen bases
  • Career totals: .250, 134 home runs, 620 RBIs, 1,513 hits and 171 stolen bases
  • Two-time All Star (1969, 1973)
  • Four-time World Series champion (1966 and 1970 with Orioles, 1977-78 with Yankees)
  • Blair batted .400 in the 1969 ALCS and .474 in the 1970 World Series.
  • Eight-time Gold Glove winner (1967, 1969-75)
  • Starting CF for the Orioles when they won two World Series and four AL pennants from 1966-74. Considered one of best defensive players at his position.
  • Career high .293 batting average in 1967 with 11 home runs and 64 RBIs, along with an AL leading 12 triples. After slumping to .211 in 1968, had perhaps his best season in 1969 when he hit .285 with career highs in home runs (26), RBIs (76) and runs (102).
  • In 1966 World Series, played major role in Game Three's 1-0 win when he hit a 430-foot home run off Claude Osteen. Again played critical role in Game Four's 1-0 shutout win, robbing Jim Lefebvre of an 8th-inning home run.

     Mike Cuellar (SP)
    Pitched for the Orioles from 1969-76. Started career in 1959 with the Reds then spent the next five years in the minors and Mexican leagues. He was acquired in 1964 by the Cardinals, where his record was 5–5, primarily as a reliever. Went to the 1964 World Series. Pitched for Houston from 1965-68 and California in 1977.
    • Baltimore totals: 143-88, 3.18, 2,028 IPs, 1,011 strikeouts
    • Career totals: 185-130, 3.14, 2,808 IPs, 1,632 strikeouts
    • Four-time All Star (1967, 1970-71, 1974)
    • Two-time World Series champion (1964, 1970)
    • Cy Young winner (1969)
    • Best years were spent with the Orioles, helping them capture five AL East titles, three consecutive AL pennants and the 1970 World Series. Shared the AL Cy Young award in 1969 and won 20 or more games four times from 1969 to 1974. 
    • Cuellar ranks among Baltimore's top five career leaders in wins (143), strikeouts (1,011), shutouts (30) and IPs(2,028), and trails only Dave McNally among left-handers in wins and shutouts.
    • In 1974, Cuellar finished 22–10, with a 3.11 ERA, but with just 106 strikeouts. He pitched 20 complete games, including five shutouts, yet earned just sixth place in the Cy Young voting that year. 
    Mike Flanagan (SP)
    Pitched for the Orioles from 1975-87, 1991-92. Pitched for the Blue Jays from 1987-90.
        •    Baltimore totals: 141-116, 3.89 ERA, 2,317 IPs, 1,297 strikeouts
        •    Career totals: 167–143, 3.90 ERA, 2,770 IPs, 1,491 strikeouts  
        •    AL Cy Young winner (1979) when he won 23 games with a 3.08 ERA.
        •    All-Star (1978)
        •    World Series champion (1983)
        •    Joined Orioles' starting rotation in 1977, finishing 15-10. 
        •    Flanagan suffered two major injuries during his tenure with the Orioles, a knee injury in 1983, and a torn achilles tendon from a pick-up basketball game.
        •    Returned to Baltimore as a free agent and pitched well in 1991 as a reliever. Retired after poor 1992 season.

    Dave McNally (SP)
    this card, i don't have, but it would be really cool if i did
    Pitched for the Orioles from 1962-74. Pitched one more year (1975) for the Expos. He won more than 20 games for 4 consecutive seasons (1968-71)
    • Baltimore totals: 181-113, 3.18 ERA, 2,652 IPs, 1,476 strikeouts
    • Career totals: 184-119, 3.24 ERA, 2,730 IPs, 1,512 strikeouts
    • Three-time All-Star (1969-70, 1972)
      Two-time World Series champion (1966, 1970)
    • Only pitcher other than Roger Clemens to win 12 decisions in a row 3 times, including 17 consecutive at one time. After winning the last 2 decisions of the 1968 season, he opened the 1969 season with a 15-0 record.
    • Was one of four 20-game winners for the 1971 Orioles (Pat Dobson, Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar were the others.)  
    • Was in the rotation directly behind Jim Palmer for nine seasons. His numbers were similar to Palmer during those years. Both whiffed exactly five batters for every nine innings pitched. McNally actually had a better strikeout-to-walk ratio, 1.83 to 1.69.
    Eddie Murray (1B)

    Played for the Orioles from 1977-88, 1996. Played for the Dodgers (1989-91, 1997), Mets (1992-93), Indians (1994-96) and Angels (1997).
    • Baltimore totals (13 seasons): .294, 2,080 hits, 343 home runs, 1,224 RBIs
    • Career totals: .287, 3,255 hits, 504 home runs, 1,917 RBIs
    • Between 1977-88, Murray averaged 28 home runs and 99 RBIs and was a perennial candidate for AL MVP, twice finishing second in the voting. His best season was 1983 with the Orioles when he hit .306, 110 RBI and a career-high 33 home runs. Known as one of the most reliable and productive hitters of his era. Is regarded as one of the best switch hitters ever.
    • His, 1,917 RBIs rank him first among switch-hitters all-time.
    • Eight-time All-Star, including seven as an Oriole (1978, 1981-86). Last AS appearance came in 1991.
    • World Series champion (1983)
    • Three-time Gold Glove (1982-84)
    • Finished 2nd in AL MVP voting (1982-83). Finished 4th in AL MVP voting (1984). 5th in AL MVP voting (1981, 1985). Three other top 10 finishes.
    • Three-time Silver Slugger (1983-84, 1990)
    • 1977 AL Rookie of the Year when he hit .283, 27 home runs and 88 RBIs. Played 160 games that season.
    • Played in three World Series (1979, 1983 - both with Orioles) and (1995 with Indians)
      Mike "Funky Cole" Mussina (SP)
      Pitched for the Orioles for 10 seasons, from 1991-2000. Pitched for the Yankees from 2001-08.
      • Baltimore totals: 147-81, 3.53 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 2,009 IP, 1,535 strikeouts
      • Career totals: 270-153, 3.68 ERA, 1.192 WHIP, 3,562 IP, 2,813 strikeouts
      • Five-time All-Star (1992-94, 1997, 1999 - all with Orioles)
      • Seven-time Gold Glove winner (1996-99, 2001, 2003, 2008)
      • Mussina, whose actual nickname was Moose (much less original than mine up there), of course spent his entire career in the high-scoring AL East. He won at least 11 games in 17 straight seasons - an AL record. The only other pitchers to match that are Cy Young, Steve Carlton, Warren Spahn, Don Sutton and Greg Maddux.
      • His early-career arsenal included a four-seam fastball that topped out at 95 mph, a two-seam fastball, slider, change-up and knuckle-curve. He often was compared to Jim Palmer - and he was known for his ability to make in-game adjustments to compensate for off days.
      • As career went on, he added a splitter and replaced his knuckle-curve with a more conventional curveball. He became more skilled at changing speeds with his breaking pitches and using different arm angles to confuse batters as well as to compensate for the diminishing speed of his fastball.
      • Placed in the top five of voting for the Cy Young Award six times.
      • One 20-win season (2008), two 19 win seasons, three 18 win seasons and two 17 win seasons.
      • Career .638 winning percentage.
      • Ranks 19th in career strikeouts.
      • Ranks 33rd all-time in wins with 270.
      • Ranks 33rd in games started.
        Jim Palmer (SP)
        Pitched entire career with the Orioles (1965-84).
        • Career totals: 268-152, 2.86 ERA, 2,212 strikeouts, 521 games started, 211 complete games, 53 shutouts, 3,948 IPs
        • Six-time All Star (1970-72, 1975, 1977-78)
        • Three-time World Series champion (1966, 1970, 1983)
        • Three-time AL Cy Young winner (1973, 1975, 1976)
        • Four-time Gold Glove winner (1976-79)
        • Pitched no-hitter on Aug. 13, 1969.
        • Palmer was a mainstay in the rotation during Baltimore's six pennant-winning teams in the 1960s (1966 & 1969), 1970s (1970, 1971 & 1979) and 1980s (1983).
        • Only pitcher in MLB history to win World Series games in three decades (1966, 1970–71, 1983). Retired in 1984 as a member of the defending World Champions. 
        • Won 20 games in eight different seasons (1970-73, 1975-78) and in four other seasons went 15-10 (1966), 16-4 (1969), 16-10 (1980) and 15-5 (1982).
        • He was one of four 20-game winners in the Orioles starting rotation in 1971, only the second rotation in major league history to include four 20-game winners.
        • He led the AL in wins three times.
        • Never allowed a grand slam nor did he ever allow back-to-back homers.
        • Career ERA (2.86) is the third lowest among starting pitchers whose careers began after the advent of the "Live Ball Era" in 1920, behind only Whitey Ford (2.75) and Sandy Koufax (2.75). 
        John Wesley "Boog" Powell (1B)
        Played for the Orioles from 1961-74, then two years with the Indians and one with the Dodgers.
        • Baltimore totals: .266, 303 home runs, 1,063 RBIs
        • Career totals: .266, 339 home runs, 1,187 RBIs
        • Four-time All Star with the Orioles (1968-71)
        • Two-time World Series champion (1966, 1970)
        • AL MVP (1970)
        • Two-tie AL Comeback Player of the Year (1966, 1975)
        • Besides World Series titles, was with Orioles' AL Champion teams in 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971, and the American League East Division Champion teams in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973 and 1974.
        • In 1964 posted a .606 slugging percentage to lead the American League. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed, playing first base, outfield and DH.
          Cal Ripken (SS/3B)
           
          An Oriole for his entire career (1981-2001)
          • Career totals: .276, 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, 1,695 RBIs
          • Two-time AL MVP (1983, 1991)
          • 1982 AL Rookie of the Year
          • 19-time All Star
          • World Series champion (1983)
          • Two-time Gold Glove winner
          • Eight-time Sliver Slugger winner
          • Best known for breaking Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played, an "unbreakable" record. He hit a home run in the previous night's game that tied Gehrig's record and another home run in his 2,131st record-breaking game. Fans later voted his 2,131st game as Major League Baseball's "Most Memorable Moment" in MLB history. 
          • Played in an additional 501 straight games over the next three years, and his streak ended at 2,632 games when he voluntarily removed his name from the lineup for the final Orioles home game of 1998.
          • At 6 ft 4 in, 225 lb. Ripken pioneered the way for taller, larger shortstops to be successful. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, he was a first ballot inductee with the third highest voting percentage (98.53%) in history, behind Tom Seaver (98.84%) and Nolan Ryan (98.79%).

          Brooks Robinson (3B)
          Played entire 23-year career (1955-77) with the Orioles.
          • Career totals: .267, 2,848 hits, 268 home runs, 1,357 RBIs
          • 18-time All Star
          • Two-time World Series champion
          • 16-time Gold Glove winner. 16 consecutive seasons - 1960-75.
          • 1964 AL MVP
          • 1970 World Series MVP
          • 1966 All-Star Game MVP
          • Widely acclaimed as the greatest defensive third-basemen in MLB history.  
          • Had best offensive year in 1964, hitting. 318, 28 home runs and leading the league with 118 RBIs. Received 18 of the 20 first-place votes, with Mickey Mantle finishing second.
          • In 1970 post-season, hit .583 in ALCS. In World Series, against the Cincinnati Reds, hit .429 with two home runs. But it was his defensive prowess at third base that stood out, making several impressive plays during the series that robbed the Reds of apparent base hits.
          • Led the AL in fielding percentage a record 11 times, and at the time of his retirement, his .971 career fielding average was the highest ever for a third baseman.
          • His totals of 2,870 games played at third base, 2,697 putouts, 6,205 assists, 8,902 total chance and 618 double plays, were records for third basemen at the time of his retirement.
          • His 23 seasons with one team set a new major league record. Only Yastrzemski (3,308), Hank Aaron (3,076) and Stan Musial (3,026) played more games for one franchise.
          Frank Robinson (OF)
          A superstar for the Cincinnati Reds from 1956-65, Robinson went to the Baltimore Orioles from 1966-71, continuing a stellar career. He ended his career (1972-76) with the Dodgers, Angels and Indians.
          • Baltimore totals (6 seasons): .300, 179 home runs, 882 hits, 545 RBIs
          • Career totals: .294, 586 home runs, 2,943 hits, 1,812 RBIs
          • During his time in Baltimore, averaged 30 home runs, 92 RBIs, a .300 average, a .401 on-base percentage and a .543 slugging mark.
          • While there, he won a triple crown, a World Series MVP award, a regular season MVP and finished third in two other seasons.
          • 14-time All Star (including five of six seasons while in Baltimore)
          • Two-time World Series champion (1966, 1970) both as an Oriole.
          • 1956 NL Rookie of the Year (Cincinnati)
          • 1961 NL MVP (Cincinnati)
          • 1966 AL MVP (Baltimore): Became only player to be named MVP in both leagues.
          • 1966 World Series MVP
          • 1971 All-Star Game MVP
          • Amassed the fourth-most career home runs at the time of his retirement (he is currently ninth).
          • Was the first African-American hired to serve as manager in MLB history. He managed the Indians during the last two years of his playing career, compiling a 186–189 record. He then managed the Giants (1981-84), Orioles (1988-91) and Expos/Nationals (2002-06). 
          • He won Triple Crown in first year in Baltimore, leading AL with a .316 batting average (the lowest ever by a Triple crown winner), 49 home runs (the most ever by a right-handed Triple crown winner) and 122 RBIs.
          • On May 8, 1966, he became the only player ever to hit a home run completely out of Memorial Stadium. Until the Orioles' move to Camden Yards in 1991, a flag labeled "HERE" was flown at the spot where the ball left the stadium.
          George Sisler (1B)
          Played for St. Louis Browns (Orioles' forerunner) from 1915-22, 1924-27. Missed 1923 with severe attack of sinusitis that caused double vision. Played for Washington Senators (1928) and Boston Braves (1928-30). Managed Browns (1924-26).
          • Career totals: .340, 102 home runs, 2,812 hits, 1,175 RBIs
          • AL MVP (1922)
          • AL batting champion (1920, 1922)
          • Held the MLB record for most hits in a single season from 1920-2004, a mark that stills stands for a 154-game season. (Ichiro had 262 hits in 2004.)
          • Hit .420 in 1922, including hits in a then-record 41 straight games. Led AL in hits (246), stolen bases (51), triples (18) and was generally considered the best fielding first baseman in the game. 
          • His 1922 season is considered by many historians to be among the best individual all-around single-season performances in baseball history. His average was the third-highest of the 20th century, surpassed only by Rogers Hornsby's .424 in 1924 and Nap Lajoie's .426 in 1901.
          • Led league in runs in 1922 (134). Led league in hits in 1920 (257) and 1922 (246).
          • Led league in stolen bases in 1918 (45), 1921 (35), 1922 (51) and 1927 (27)
          • Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. In 1999, he received the eighth-largest number of first base-category votes in fan balloting for the MLB All-Century team and The Sporting News named him 33rd on their list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players."
          • In 1920, Sisler played every inning of each game, stole 42 bases, had 257 hits and batted .407. Ended the season by hitting .442 in August and .448 in September. Finished second in the AL in both doubles and triples, and second to Babe Ruth in RBIs and home runs.
          More rules of the Fun-Time Baseball Hall (and some background).


          The Hall was created to help me build my knowledge of the game's past. All franchises will be featured in 2012. Voting will continue annually. There is built-in exclusivity for first-ballot induction, described below. Percentage voting will come into play in subsequent years. 

          For first-ballot induction:
          • For teams in existence since 1920 or before, the top 7 will win first-ballot induction.
          • For teams established between 1921-1940, the top 6. 
          • For teams established between 1941-1960, the top 5.
          • For teams established between 1961-1975, the top 4.
          • For teams established between 1976-1990, the top 3.
          • For newer expansion teams, ballots will be grouped and the top 3 total will be inducted.
          • In 2013, a second ballot will be held. 
          • Maximum of three more players will enter the Hall for each team in existence since 1960 or before. Maximum of two more for teams established between 1961 and 1990. Maximum of one more for combined teams established after 1990. 
            • A secondary requirement for future ballots is players must earn at least 65% of the vote.

            2.21.2012

            Numbskull

            My wife has always accused me of being hard-headed, not so much literally actually, but moreso figuratively.

            When I was 20, with some college buddies from Indiana University, we spent traveled to Columbus, Ohio one weekend to check out the bar scene there - a change of pace. We had a great time meeting new people. Late that night, around 2 a.m., I walked a girl I met home. My intentions, seriously, were honorable. She had told me her friend had been attacked on campus not long before that night.

            While walking her home, and now on a pretty dark street off-campus, five or six guys came the other way heading our way.

            I woke up the next day at Ohio State University Medical Center. I heard tell that they brushed up against her, and that I turned around, apparently just a glance and saying nothing, and was then attacked by them. It seems one was carrying a board and used it well. I was knocked out immediately but they kept hitting. She, apparently, screamed and was left alone as some people came out of a house and threatened to call police.

            I had a severe concussion and a badly swollen face and bruised mid-section for two months but nothing broken.

            So, quite a lead in, right?

            Back to the hard head. A couple of weeks ago, I went to bed feeling great and woke up two hours later horribly sick. I thought it must have been food poisoning, but it proved to be a bad stomach flu. I got up to hit the lue and, once inside, fainted.

            Head met ceramic tile floor.

            I tell you all of this as part of the biggest lead-in to an excuse ever for not posting some swell trades, some amazing trades actually. You see, in the few days I spent going in for some tests, coming home, recovering, seeing visitors, etc., several trade packages came my way. I didn't even think this time to set them aside for later scanning. I opened them, enjoyed and they all got mixed together.

            I owe thanks to Juuust A Bit Outside (yet again!), Crinkly Wrappers, Tomahawk Chopping, Cardboard Collections, Play at the Plate, $30 a week habit, and, well, I'm certain there's another here somewhere I'll find to file soon.

            Oh, I'm fine, by the way. I came out pretty lucky all things considered. I was back online within a couple of days and back at work pretty quickly too. I even still got out several trade packages and ramped up a couple of fantasy baseball drafts that I run each year and that are going on now.

            I'll endeavor to still feature some cards from these trades in upcoming posts - even if it's just one or two key cards - as I can jog my memory of what came from who by reviewing old e-mails - but I just wanted to apologize for anyone who is inadvertently left out. Major apologies too to the two bloggers still waiting on me to get back to them about some cards they've set aside!

            Please know I've been thrilled with all of my trades lately and I've been equally thrilled to hear that the recipients have been as well. Trading remains an incredible part of blogging and this hobby. 

            A couple of new trades have arrived in the past few days, so I'll feature those too. As a matter of fact, here's one now.

            Look at this! Would you just look!

            My very first Frank Robinson relic. Mr. Robinson is a huge favorite of mine. He's a Tier One player for me. Currently, I have a bead on another Robinson relic. Can't wait. I'm not a huge relic kind of guy overall but ones like these of favorite players, or Hall of Famers in general, are really swell.

            This fine card comes from my great blogging friend, Ryan - formerly Reader Ryan and now the proprietor of the truly fine upstart blog, Ryan's Pitch. Ryan featured our trade the other day and mentioned he feels like he got the better end of the deal. Not at all, Ryan. I'm feeling the same way. I guess that's a sign of a great trade.

            Ryan sent more cards from teams I like and players I collect (Frank Thomas) and a cool purple Topps Chrome Victor Martinez, as well.

            Ryan and I have completed a handful of trades but this was Ryan's first completed deal as a blogger.

            Ryan, I'm glad to read I played a role in you jumping into the blogosphere. In your very short time blogging, I'm already thoroughly enjoying your thoughts about the hobby and your collection. Thanks again for the deal.

            Collect what makes you smile, everyone.

            2.20.2012

            Fun-Time Baseball Hall: Your First-Ballot Astros

            It's time to announce the latest members of the Fun-Time Baseball Hall. Per the rules based on the age of a franchise, four from the Houston Astros were selected as first-ballot inductees. 

            The four who will join the Tigers and Angels in the Hall are:

            Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, J.R. Richard and Nolan Ryan

            For more about the winners, as well as the full slate of nominees, check out this story.

            And this results mean after featuring just three teams, Mr. Ryan has made the Fun-Time Hall for two MLB teams. Can he make it three? Four?

            Here's the voting breakdown:

            Jeff Bagwell
              13 (76%)
            Craig Biggio
              14 (82%)
            Cesar Cedeno
              7 (41%)
            Jose Cruz
              5 (29%)
            Larry Dierker
              2 (11%)
            Joe Morgan
              3 (17%)
            Joe Niekro
              5 (29%)
            J.R. Richard
              10 (58%)
            Nolan Ryan
              10 (58%)
            Mike Scott
              5 (29%)
            Billy Wagner
              2 (11%)
            Jim Wynn
              4 (23%)



            Stay tuned, coming soon will be an opportunity to vote for the best Orioles of all-time. Seven players from that franchise will join the Hall as first-ballot inductees.

            Rules, etc.:
            • For teams in existence since 1920 or before, 7 players - the top vote-getters - will win first-ballot induction.
            • For teams established between 1921-1940, 6 players will win first-ballot induction.
            • For teams established between 1941-1960, 5 players will win first-ballot induction. 
            • For teams established between 1961-1975, 4 players will win first-ballot induction.
            • For teams established between 1976-1990, 3 players will be inducted. 
            • For newer expansion teams, the ballots will be grouped and the top three from all of these teams will be inducted.
            • Roughly one year after a team(s) is featured, a second ballot will be held. 
            • Four more players will enter the Hall for each team in existence since 1940 or before. Three more for teams established between 1941 and 1975. Two more for teams established after 1976. One more total for the combined newer expansion teams.* 
            • * I intend to fully adhere to these rules but I possibly will add a percentage requirement also for second-year induction, which I know for sure I'll implement in subsequent years.
            When voting, please keep in mind a player's body of work for the team featured - and not simply the full career. It's your call whether longevity for a franchise and counting stats is the biggest deciding factor or if you prefer judging a player's impact on the franchise - even made possibly in a relatively short time. 
             

















               

            2.13.2012

            Fantasy Baseball: A Rare Opening

            I competed for many years in fantasy baseball leagues - starting in 1991 when I graduated from Indiana University and moved to West Texas. I joined an existing six-team league operating from The Bar in downtown Midland, Texas. My Cross-Dressing Left Fielders won the league and I was hooked.

            Today, I still enjoy the hobby. I had pared back my involvement drastically through the years until I was down to a single league that had been around awhile. Unfortunately, it wasn't as competitive as I would have liked. Too many owners who simply never got back about trade proposals or didn't set their lineups and thus skewed the competitive field.

            So, three years ago I decided to form a large free league and I went about "interviewing" interested potential owners found on a couple of different good sites. The result was the formation of a 20-team league. I wanted us to go deep into the player pool. I love that kind of competition and challenge.

            Once we had everyone in place, I got the idea for a second free league - this one with an MLB franchise hook. We would chose MLB franchises as they existed in 1977 - thus the Montreal Expos for the Nationals - and then chose four players from those franchises (current players of course) plus one "prospect keeper" - a player who has not appeared in an MLB game. We then drafted other players just like any fantasy league.

            This free ESPN league has worked great and been hugely popular. This is where you may or may not come in. We lost just two of 20 owners after Year One and, now, it seems we will lose 1 owner before our draft scheduled to start ASAP.

            It's an outstanding group of quality guys. The competition is a blast. Very knowledgeable baseball guys - active owners who adjust their rosters daily as needed.

            The open team is the Atlanta Braves. Braves on the team are McCann, Hanson, Heyward, Uggla, Hudson, Venters and Teheran. At all times, we must have four players from the MLB franchise - plus 1 "prospect keeper" - on our rosters. That's the gist. There's slightly more to it - but not much more.

            Prior to our slow e-mail offline draft, which needs to start immediately, the owner can choose one "prospect keeper" (a Brave who has not appeared in an MLB game) to add to their list of 20 keepers.

            It's a head-to-head league. Last year the team finished 6-12 and second to last in the five-team NL West (ahead of the Dodgers). The league champion was the San Diego Padres - a team that finished last in Year One.

            If it sounds interesting, then let me know only by e-mailing me at: dw.reds@gmail.com. You'll then see the full slate of rules. Please, only if you are a bit of a fantasy baseball junkie who's been looking for a higher level of competition. Also, be an active owner. I haven't had to do it, but I've promised everyone that if a team goes dormant for a period of time and the owner fails to respond, then I'll find a quick replacement to keep the competition high.

            We had intended to start the offline draft - done through the league chat box and/or message board - yesterday but I was holding out for the last guy to rejoin as promised.

            2012 Topps: Needs and Availables

            I have updated what I still need and what I have available from 2012 flagship. I'm not collecting the set, but I am seeking certain favorite players and, of course, those on my favorite teams. I'm also looking to finish the Gold Standard inserts.

            First, my various needed cards. Below them, my list of available cards. Send me a note or leave a comment if you see something.

            Along with the following needs, any gold-ish parallels of Reds, Tigers, Cubs or others perhaps (ask me if you have some) would be swell.

            And, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I'm interested in relics for Reds, Tigers and Cubs and, perhaps, others if you have any.

            BASE NEEDS
            35 Eric Hosmer
            54 Jhonny Peralta
            65 Delmon Young
            69 Dee Gordon RCup
            149 Chris Sale
            200 Miguel Cabrera
            205 Justin Masterson

            GOLD STANDARD NEEDS
            GS-2 Stan Musial
            GS-15 Ty Cobb
            GS-16 John Smoltz
            GS-19 Andre Dawson
            GS-21 Chipper Jones
            GS-22 Nolan Ryan
            GS-23 Tom Seaver
            GS-24 Mickey Mantle
            GS-25 Willie Mays

            GOLD FUTURES NEEDS
            GF-1 Michael Pineda
            GF-3 Brandon Belt
            GF-4 Freddie Freeman
            GF-13 Anthony Rizzo
            GF-17 Dee Gordon

            GOLDEN MOMENTS NEEDS
            GM-1 Tom Seaver
            GM-8 Andre Dawson
            GM-20 Ryne Sandberg
            GM-35 Frank Thomas
            GM-42 Al Kaline

            MINIS
            TM-2 Mike Stanton
            TM-6 Dustin Ackley
            TM-7 Joey Votto
            TM-9 Jason Heyward
            TM-14 Ichiro Seattle
            TM-19 Lance Berkman
            TM-40 Andrew McCutchen
            TM-43 Mat Latos
            TM-44 Troy Tulowitzki
            TM-47 Starlin Castro

            AVAILABLE BASE
            1, 1, 1, 4, 4, 19, 21, 22, 22, 41, 46, 56, 57, 66, 66, 82, 89, 93, 107, 110, 114, 121, 121, 124, 125, 125, 135, 135, 135, 136, 142, 142, 142, 143, 143, 146, 151, 151, 151, 169, 176, 179, 195, 196, 197, 206, 208, 210, 213, 220, 220, 221, 222, 226, 255, 255, 262, 262, 265, 268, 268, 270, 272, 272, 282, 287-walmart blue, 293, 294, 299, 306, 308, 326, 326, 327,

            AVAILABLE GOLDEN GREATS
            GG-41

            AVAILABLE GOLDEN MOMENTS
            GM-18

            AVAILABLE GOLD FUTURES
            GF-8, GF-15

            AVAILABLE MINIS
            TM-31, TM-31

            2.11.2012

            Nominate Your Orioles: The Fun-Time Baseball Hall

            First, just two days left to vote Astros into The Fun-Time Baseball Hall. Who's going to join the seven Detroit Tigers and four members of the Angels' franchise. See inductees so far here.


            Meanwhile, it's time to start nominating past members of the Orioles franchise, which includes the St. Louis Browns dating back to 1902. In the comments, please provide a few names of players from the  franchise's past that you think should be put up on the first-year ballot.

            Reminder about the Hall: I'm looking for players who surely would make an All-Star squad for the franchise in question or strong players who spent many years with the franchise (and thus have the counting stats) or even players who didn't spend many years but made a lasting impact with the team (perhaps in a relative short period). It's your call who you nominate and, later, how you vote.

            Thank you for the help.

            2.06.2012

            New Blog Alert

            One of my favorite trading friends - Ryan L. - took the plunge last week and opened up a blog. I wanted to do my little part in making sure you find him.

            Go visit Ryan's Pitch when you get a chance.

            Meanwhile, if you haven't voted for the Fun-Time Baseball Hall's Astros, please take a look at this post and then cast your votes in the poll. Much obliged and have a great week.

            2.03.2012

            Cardboard Hero: Joe Morgan 1981


            See that up there? The one on the right?

            I loved that card. That very card. You can tell I'm not exaggerating. Look at it! That wear and tear across the front came courtesy of this guy. I'm pointing my thumbs at myself.

            It was these very same thumbs (considerably less aged) that caused the damage. At 12, I was crazy for Joe Morgan and the way he played the game. I didn't even mind that he had left my beloved Reds. To this day, he is still an all-time favorite firmly ensconced in my Tier One Player Collection.

            But, beyond the actual player and his unique talents for a second basemen in that era, I loved the card itself.

            I don't know what happened moments before this picture was taken. Maybe a double to shallow right-center field. Just a guess. Doesn't matter really. To me, the card sums up how Morgan played the game - an engine ready to go full boar. A "sparkplug" is probably more apt to describe Morgan. The point is, he's all fired up.

            That's just how this card always struck me.

            I love the Houston uniform in this shot - not too gaudy, but just gaudy enough. I love the big star - that kind of sums up Morgan's career. I love the traditional high pants. I love the bold orange hat.

            I loved the shot itself with the blurry background helping to isolate Morgan. If there was one flaw to my card it was this. Too dark. I could never really see Morgan's expression.

            And that's where Kyle from the fine Juuust A Bit Outside (JABO) blog comes in. JABO sent me the card on the left and, oh, I don't know, dozens and dozens more. Soon, I'll post some of the favorites from that trade package. Suffice to say, JABO knocked healthy chunks off of both my 1981 list and my 1983 list. He is, most decidedly, the man!

            I had no idea that there were lighter versions of the '81 Morgan. It's nice to have a fresh copy in hand for my 1981 box that one day will go into a binder.

            As for my original copy, it stays in my Morgan binder.

            It is, after all, one of my cardboard heroes.

            Note: And a new sign-off is born!!!!! No? Sigh.

            Note II (Return of the Note): Thus begins Cardboard Heroes, a new blog feature looking at the favorite cards in my collection. One of these days, when I've done enough of these, I may just rank my 100 favorite, or 200, or 1,000. Nah, probably not 1,000.

            Note III: Insert obligatory Fun-Time reminder here.

            Note IV: Rest assured, my true heroes are people I actually know, mostly linked to me by blood. Except for Buddy Biancalana. 






            2.02.2012

            Fun-Time Baseball Hall: Houston Colt .45s/Astros

            Try to vote for at least 5 - but less if you wish - and no more than 7. Based on our rules related to franchise age, 4 will win first-year induction. The Colt .45s began play in 1962 and became the Astros in 1965.

            Full career performance should matter somewhat but the impact on the specific franchise up for vote is of utmost importance. This is a team specific Hall. Example: Steve Carlton has an amazing Phillies career but shouldn't be inducted to the Fun-Time Baseball Hall as a White Sox player.

            It's your choice whether longevity and counting stats are key deciding factors or if you prefer judging a player's overall franchise impact, even if made in a shorter period. Thanks for voting.


            Franchise Leaders
            Games: Craig Biggio (2,850), Jeff Bagwell (2,150), Jose Cruz (1,870)
            Hits: Biggio (3.060)
            Home Runs: Bagwell (449), Lance Berkman (326), Biggio (291), Jim Wynn (223)
            Wins: Joe Niekro (144), Roy Oswalt (143), Larry Dierker (137)
            Saves: Billy Wagner (225)

            Note: Berkman and Oswalt will be eligible three full seasons after their last appearance as an Astro.

            Jeff Bagwell (1B) 
             
            • Played his entire 15-year career (1991-2005) with the Astros.
            • Four-time All-Star (1994, 1996, 1997, 1999)
            • NL MVP (1994)
            • NL Rookie of the Year (1991)
            • Gold Glove winner (1994)
            • Three-time Silver Slugger (1994, 1997, 1999)
            • Had nine seasons with more than 30 home runs, eight seasons with 100 or more RBI and nine seasons with over 100 runs scored. In six consecutive years, from 1996 through 2001, he reached all three marks in every season. He drew at least 100 walks for seven straight seasons, and had six seasons with a .300 batting average.
            • Compiled a career .993 fielding percentage and was considered strong fielder through bulk of career until an arthritic condition in his shoulder developed.
            • Had above-average speed and baserunning skills for a first baseman, stealing 202 bases during his career, including two seasons (1997, 1999) when he stole at least 30 bases, and five seasons (1994, 1996–99) when he stole at least 15.
            • Astros career leader in home runs (449), RBIs (1,529), Walks (1,401) and  Intentional Walks (155).
            • Holds franchise season records for average (.368 in 1994), on-base percentage (.454 in 1999), slugging percentage (.750 in 1994), OPS (1.201 in 1994), runs (152 in 2000), total bases (363 in 2000), home runs (47 in 2000), walks (149 in 1999) and at-bats per home run (10.3 in 1994)
            • Unique batting stance made him vulnerable to inside pitches. His left hand was broken by pitches in 1993, 1994, and 1995. He began wearing a heavily-padded protective batting glove. Stance allowed him to shrink his strike zone and walk more often.
             Career totals (15 seasons): .297, 449 home runs, 1,529 RBIs, 1,517 runs, 202 stolen bases

            Craig Biggio (2B/C)
             
            • Played entire 20-year career with the Astros (1988-2007).
            • 3,060 career hits and ninth player in the 3,000 hit club to get them all with same team. First player in franchise history to get 3,000 hits
            • Seven-time All-Star (1991-92, 1994-98).
            • Four-time Gold Glove winner
            • Five-time Silver Slugger winner
            • Became starting catcher in 1989. Because he was fast, team management was concerned catching would sap his speed. Biggio finally converted to second base in 1992 - an extremely rare position conversion in MLB history.
            • Holds NL record for most home runs (50) to lead off a game. 
            • Ended career with 668 doubles, fifth on all-time MLB list. Holds record for doubles by a right-handed hitter. Only player in MLB history with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs.
            • Biggio fell nine home runs short of joining the career 300-300 club (300 homers and 300 stolen bases). He would have become only the seventh player to achieve the feat. This also caused him to fall short of the 3,000 hits, 300 homers and 300 stolen bases mark. He would have been only the second player (Willie Mays being the first) in history to reach that club.
            • Played 1,800 games without a trip to the DL until August 2000, when he tore MCL and ACL in left leg.
              Career totals: .281, 291 home runs, 1,175 RBIs, 414 stolen bases

              Cesar Cedeno (OF)
               
              • Played for the Astros from 1970-81. Played for the Reds, Cardinals and Dodgers from 1982-86.
              • Four-time All-Star (1972-74, 1976). Beat out Robert Clemente for starting NL spot in 1972.
              • Five-time Gold Glove winner (1972-76).
              • His 550 stolen bases rank him 27th on the all-time MLB list. The 487 steals he had with the Astros ranks him first on the franchise's all-time leader list.
              • Hit for cycle in 1972 and 1976.
              • Batted .310 in his rookie season (1970) and .320 in both 1972 and 1973. A five-tool player that his manager Leo Durocher once suggested would become the "next Willie Mays." His aggressive playing style, in part, may have cut his career well short of realizing that.
              • He possessed a combination of great speed, power and good defense. Became the second player in MLB history (after Lou Brock) to hit 20 home runs and steal 50 bases in one season.
              • Accomplished that feat three straight seasons (1972-74).
              • Also stole 50-plus bases next three seasons (1975-77).
              • Twice led league in doubles.
              Houston totals (12 seasons): .289, 163 home runs, 343 doubles, 778 RBIs, 890 runs, 487 SBs

              Career totals (17 seasons): .285, 199 home runs, 436 double, 976 RBIs, 1,084 runs, 550 SBs

               Jose Cruz (OF) 

              Played for Houston from 1975-87. Began his career with the Cardinals (1970-74) and then finished with one season (1988) with the Yankees.
              • Two-time All-Star (1980, 1985)
              • Two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1983, 1984)
              • Finished 3rd in NL MVP voting in 1980 when he hit (.302, 11 home runs, 91 RBIs, 36 SBs), 6th in 1983 and 8th in 1984.
              • Consistently put up double-digit home runs (high mark 17 home runs), with 80 or more RBIs. Classic multi-tool threat.
              • Had played in more games than any player in the history of the franchise (1,870) before Craig Biggio passed him. In 2000, Cruz coached from first base as Biggio passed many of his other long-standing franchise records, including at-bats, hits and total bases.
              • Eighty triples remains an Astros' record.
              • Stole 20 or more bases eight times during his 13 seasons in Houston, including five seasons with 30 or more.
              • Involved with all nine of Houston's postseason appearances, three as a player (1980, 81 and 86) and six as a coach (1997–99, 01, 04-05).
              • He hit .400 in the five-game series against Philadelphia in the 1980 NLCS. 

              Houston totals (13 seasons): .292, 1,937 hits, 335 doubles, 80 triples, 138 home runs, 942 RBIs, 288 stolen bases
              Career totals (19 seasons): .284, 2,251 hits, 165 home runs, 1,077 RBIs, 317 stolen bases

              Larry Dierker (P) 

              Drafted by the Colt .45s at age 17. Made his MLB debut on his 18th birthday – and struck out Willie Mays in the first inning.
              • Two-time All-Star (1969, 1971)
              • In 1969, went 20-13, 2.33 ERA, his best statistical season, becoming the Astros' first 20-game winner. Pitched 20 complete games that season.
              • 15 Wins Seasons: 3 (1969, 1970, 1972)
              • Pitched no-hitter against the Expos on July, 9, 1976.  
              • Returned to manage the Astros from 1997-2001. 1998 NL Manager of the Year.
              • In 1971, only 25 but a 7-year veteran with 1,250 innings, he developed a sore arm the first of several ailments. After a 10-1 start that earned him a spot on the 1971 All-Star team, he finished 12-6 that year.
              • In 1972, recuperated, he made 31 starts, completing 12 and winning 15, pitching 214 innings. Shoulder problems flared up in 1973, limiting him to three starts. He again recovered and in 1974 pitched 224 innings with a 2.89 ERA, earning his 100th career win.
              • His career quickly trailed off at age 28 and he retired at 30.

                Houston totals (13 seasons): 137-117, 3.28 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, 2,294 IP, 1,487 Ks
                Career totals (14 seasons): 139-123, 3.31 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 2,333 IP, 1,493 Ks

               Joe Morgan (2B)
            • Played 10 seasons (1963-71, 1980) with Houston but achieved greatest fame and numbers as a member of the Big Red Machine (1972-79) in Cincinnati. Ended his career (1981-84) with Giants, Phillies, Athletics. Widely ranked as one of the top second basemen in MLB history.
            • Ten-time All-Star including two times (1966, 1970) in Houston.  All-Star Game (1972) MVP.
            • Two-time World Series champ in Cincinnati. Two-time NL MVP in Cincinnati.
            • Five-time Gold Glove winner (all during Cincinnati years.
            • NL Comeback Player of the Year (1982) as a Giant.
            Houston totals: .261, 972 hits, 72 home runs, 327 RBIs, 219 stolen bases
            Career totals: .271, 2,517 hits, 268 home runs, 1,133 RBIs, 689 stolen bases



            Joe Niekro (P)
            Pitched for Houston from 1975-85. Pitched for Cubs, Padres, Tigers and Braves before Houston; Yankees and Twins after. His career spanned 1967-88.
            • One-time All-Star (1979). Named TSN NL Pitcher of Year (1979)
            • His 221 career wins make him one of the most successful knuckleball pitchers ever. He and brother, Phil, combined for 539 total wins, making them the most successful brother combination of pitchers in MLB history.
            • Became a dominant pitcher in Houston after perfected his knuckleball. Went 21-11 in 1979 and 20-12 in 1980, to became the first Astros pitcher to win 20 games in consecutive seasons. In 1979, led the league in wins and shutouts (5) and finished second in Cy Young voting behind Bruce Sutter. 
            • In 1980, Houston played the Dodgers in a one-game playoff. Niekro allowed six hits in a 7–1 Houston win that led the Astros to their first postseason. He then pitched 10 shutout innings in Game 3 of the NLCS and the Astros won 1–0, though they lost the series to the Phillies.
            • World Series champ in with Minnesota in 1987. Set a record for the longest period of time between a major league debut and a first appearance in World Series.
            • Trivia: On May 29, 1976, Niekro hit the only big league home run of his career (973 lifetime at bats), and it came against his brother Phil.
            Houston totals: 144-116, 3.22 ERA, 1.264 WHIP, 2,270 IP, 1,178 Ks
            Career totals: 221-204, 3.59, 1.319 WHIP, 3,584 IP, 1,747 Ks
            J.R. Richard (P)
             
            • Pitched his entire career (1971-80) with the Astros.
            • Premier MLB pitcher from 1976-80, twice leading the NL in strikeout, once in ERA and three times in hits allowed per nine innings. He won at least 18 games each year.
            • From 1971-75, had a limited role on the team, throwing no more than 72 innings in a season.
            • His 313 strikeouts in 1979 is a franchise record. Had 303 in 1978.
            • Suffered a stroke on July 30, 1980, collapsing while playing catch before a game. Condition brought a sudden end to his career at age 30. Record to that date was 10-4, 1.90 ERA.
            • Comeback attempt failed as stroke slowed his reaction time and harmed his depth perception. Scuttled in Astros minor leagues before being released in 1984.
            Career totals (10 seasons): 107-71, 3.15 ERA, 1.243 WHIP, 1,606 IPs, 1,493 strikeouts

            Nolan Ryan (P)
            • Recently inducted into the Fun-Time Baseball Hall as a California Angel, Ryan is again on the ballot. By the time he arrived in Houston in 1980, he was already a big-leaguer since 1966.
            • Pitched nine seasons (1980-88) in Houston (eight with the Angels and five each with the Mets and Rangers). Eight-time All-Star, including twice while in Houston (1981, 1985).
            • Finished in top 10 of Cy Young balloting three times during his years in Houston.
            • Pitched one of his seven no-hit games as a member of the Astros, Sept. 26, 1981 against the Dodgers. Pitched four during his eight years with the Angels.
            • 5,714 career strikeouts (MLB record)
            • After leading the AL in strikeouts seven out of his eight seasons in California, led NL in strikeouts twice during his eight seasons in Houston (his final two seasons there, 1987, 1988). In 1987, at age 40, he led the majors in both ERA (2.76) and strikeouts (270) —but finished 8–16 because of poor run support. Despite his .333 winning percentage, he tied for 5th place in the 1987 Cy Young voting.
            • World Series champion (1969): Ryan saved Game 3 as a New York Met, pitching 2.1 shutout innings against the Orioles. The Game 3 win gave the Mets a 2–1 lead in the Series, which they went on to win in five games. It would be Ryan's only World Series appearance.
            • MLB All-Century team
            Houston totals: 106-94, 3.13 ERA, 1.206 WHIP, 1,854 IP, 1,866 Ks
            Career totals: 324-292, 3.19 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 5,386 IP, 5,714 Ks


            Mike Scott (P)
            Pitched for Houston from 1983-91. Began his career with the New York Mets (1979-82).
            • NL Cy Young award winner (1986)
            • Three-time All-Star (1986, 1987, 1989). Started 1987 game.
            • NL TSN Pitcher of the Year (1986)
            • NLCS MVP (1986) - first time in NLCS history that a member of the losing team was so honored.
            • Scott is part of a small group of pitchers who have thrown a no-hitter and struck out 300 in the same season. 
            • In 1986, he went 18-10, 2.22 ERA, 306 strikeouts (led league). Threw his no-hitter on Sept. 25 against the Giants.
            • The Astros lost the NLCS 4-2 to the Mets. The two Houston wins were a result of Scott's starting pitching in Games 1 and 4. 
            • In Game 1, Scott allowed just five hits and walked one while striking out 14 in a complete-game effort as the host Astros prevailed 1–0. (Dwight Gooden allowed one run in his seven innings.)
            • In Game 4, Scott pitched a complete game three-hitter in a 3-1 win.
            • Scott struggled with the Mets and in his first two seasons with the Astros, when he went 15-17. His career turned around in 1985 when pitching coach Roger Craig taught him the split-finger fastball. Scott won 18 games in 1985.
            • Finished seventh in Cy Young voting in 1987.
            • Scott won 20 games and finished second in NL Cy Young Award voting in 1989, behind reliever Mark Davis of the Padres. Injuries began to plague him soon afterwards and he retired in 1991.
            • Houston totals (nine seasons): 110-81, 3.30 ERA, 1.144 WHIP, 1,704 IP, 1,318 Ks
            • Career totals (13 seasons): 124-108, 3.54 ERA, 1.201 WHIP, 2,068 IP, 1,469 Ks
            Billy Wagner (P)
            • Pitched for Houston (1995–2003), then for the Phillies (2004-05), Mets (2006-09, Red Sox (2009) and Braves (2010).
            • Seven-time All-Star, including first three on the list as an Astro (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010)
            • Franchise all-time saves leader (225)
            • Recorded 30 or more saves nine times in career, including five times in Houston
            • In 1999, finished fourth in Cy Young balloting when he saved 39 games and recorded 124 strikeouts in 74 innings.
            • Fifth on all-time saves list (422).
            Houston totals (nine seasons): 26-29, 2.53 ERA, 1.039 WHIP, 504 IP, 694 Ks, 225 Saves
            Career totals (16 seasons): 47-40, 2.31 ERA, 0.998 WHIP, 903 IP, 1,196 Ks, 422 Saves

            Jimmy Wynn (OF)
            • Played for the Astros from 1963-73, then two years with the Dodgers before finishing his final two seasons with the Braves, Yankees and Brewers.
            • A shortstop primarily during his debut year, he struggled with the position and was moved to center field.
            • Three-time All-Star (1967 with Astros, then 1974, 75 with Dodgers)
            • NL Comeback Player of the Year (1974, Dodgers) when he hit .271, 32 home runs, 108 RBIs
            • Fixture in Astros OF for 11 seasons. He was a power hitter who likely lost many home runs to the spacious Astrodome. Hit career high 37 home runs in 1967, two behind Hank Aaron (who commented that he considered Wynn the season's home run champion.
            • Two-time NL Bases on Balls Leader (1969 & 1976)
            • 20-Home Runs Seasons: 8 (1965, 1967-1970 & 1972-1974)
            • 30-Home Runs Seasons: 3 (1967, 1969 & 1974)
            • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1967 & 1974)
            • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 4 (1967, 1969, 1972 & 1974)
            • He was traded to a competitive team for the 1974 season, and his performance (he was 5th in the MVP voting) helped the Dodgers win the pennant. Teammate Steve Garvey was NL MVP that year, but Wynn had a higher on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
            • His 1,224 walks put him #46 on the all-time list, and his 1,427 strikeouts put him # 52 on the all-time list.
            Houston totals: .255, 223 home runs, 719 RBIs, 180 stolen bases
            Career totals: .250, 291 home runs, 964 RBIs, 225 stolen bases

            2.01.2012

            Fun-Time Baseball Hall: Your First-Ballot Angels

            It's time again to announce the latest members of the Fun-Time Baseball Hall. Per the rules based on the age of a franchise, four Angels were selected as first-ballot inductees. There were a couple of players I thought would make it who did not.

            The four Angels who will join these Tigers in the Hall are:

            Nolan Ryan, Tim Salmon, Rod Carew and Garrett Anderson.

            Here's the breakdown:

            Jim Abbott
              8 (40%)
            Garrett Anderson
              12 (60%)
            Bob Boone
              4 (20%)
            Rod Carew
              13 (65%)
            Dean Chance
              5 (25%)
            Brian Downing
              9 (45%)
            Chuck Finley
              4 (20%)
            Jim Fregosi
              7 (35%)
            Bob Grich
              10 (50%)
            Wally Joyner
              7 (35%)
            Troy Percival
              6 (30%)
            Francisco Rodriguez
              3 (15%)
            Nolan Ryan
              19 (95%)
            Tim Salmon
              15 (75%)
            Frank Tanana
              4 (20%)

            Nolan Ryan (P)

            Pitched for the Angels from 1972-79. Corresponding K totals (329, 383, 367, 186, 327, 341, 260, 223).
            • Threw four no-hitters as an Angel. Seven for his career (three more than anyone in history).
            • 5,714 career strikeouts (MLB record)
            • Eight-time All-Star (1972-73, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1989).
            • World Series champion (1969): Ryan saved Game 3 as a New York Met, pitching 2.1 shutout innings against the Orioles. The Game 3 win gave the Mets a 2–1 lead in the Series, which they went on to win in five games. It would be Ryan's only World Series appearance.
            • MLB All-Century team
            • Led the league in Ks 7 of 8 seasons while in California but also led the league in walks in six of those years, and finished second the other two seasons. Aside from Bob Feller in 1938, Ryan is the only man since 1900 to walk 200 batters in a season, which he did twice during his Angels' years.
            • Ranks high on the list for four "negative" records: first all-time in walks allowed (2,795), first in wild pitches (277), third in losses (292—most in the post-1920 live-ball era), and ninth in hit batters (158).
            • Traded from Mets in 1971 in a deal bringing Jim Fregosi to the Mets. Fregosi had been an All-Star in six of seven seasons. The deal was not controversial at the time.
            • Ryan had a league-leading 329 Ks in his first season with the Angels, nearly a third more than the runnerup, and to that point, the fourth-highest total of the 20th century. Within five seasons, it would only be Ryan's fourth-highest K total. He also set a still-standing Major League record by allowing only 5.26 hits per nine innings, and posted a 2.28 ERA, to date the second-lowest in franchise history, trailing only Dean Chance's 1.65 in 1964. 
            • Angels' totals: 138-121, 2,181 IPs, 2,416 strikeouts, 3.07 ERA, 1.294 WHIP
            • Career totals: 324-292, 5,386 IPs, 5,714 strikeouts, 3.19 ERA, 1,247 WHIP
            Tim Salmon (OF)
            Played entire career (1992-2004, 2006) with Angels. Known as King Fish and Mr. Angel.
            • Held status as one of the AL's elite power-hitting OFs throughout the decade. He finished seventh in MVP voting for the first time in 1995, when he finished third in AL with a .330 average, 34 home runs, 105, RBIs and posted an OPS above 1.000. Seventh in MVP voting again in 1997 (.296, 33 home runs, 129 RBIs.)
            • AL Rookie of the Year (1993)
            • Silver Slugger award (1995)
            • World Series champion (2002): Crucial part of the team's playoff and World Series run, hitting two key home runs in Game 2 of the World Series against the Giants and batting .346 with a 1.067 OPS in the series overall.
            • AL Comeback Player of the Year (2002) after career lows in 2001.
            • Despite franchise record for home runs (299) and finishing with more than 1,000 RBIs, he was never selected an All-Star. Career HR total is the highest for any player (who played most of his career after the first All-Star game in 1933) to have never been selected to appear in an All-Star game.
            • From 1993 to 2000 he only had two OPS lines below .900 and he never finished below .860.
            • Career totals: .282, 299 home runs, 1,016 RBIs, 986 runs scored.
            Garret Anderson (OF)
            Played most of his career (1994-2008) with the Angels (appearing with the team under all three of its recent names - California/Anaheim/Los Angeles).
            • Played with Braves (2009) and Dodgers (2010).
            • Due to longevity, Angels' franchise leader in GPs, ABs, hits, total bases, singles, doubles, grand slams, extra-base hits, career RBIs, single-game RBIs, and consecutive games (12) with an RBI. Classic "counting stats vs. rate stats" case.
            • Three-time All-Star (2002, 2003, 2005). 2003 All-Star Game MVP (Potch was there!). 2003 Home Run Derby Winner.
            • World Series champion (2002). Hit a key bases-clearing double in Game 7.
            • Two-time Silver Slugger Award winner (2002-03)
            • In 2002, finished fourth in AL MVP voting after hitting .306, 29 home runs, 123 RBIs. Scored career-high 93 runs. Never scored 100 or more in a season, hinting at his main weakness as a player: an inability to take walks and thus a low OBP.
            • On August 21, 2007, he drove in a team-record 10 runs, including a grand slam and a three-run homer, in an 18-9 win over the Yankees. He became the 13th player in history to have 10 RBIs in a game.
            • Began experiencing chronic ailments, including arthritis and plantar fasciitis in his feet, in 2004 that limited his playing time/production.
            Angels' totals: .296, 272 home runs, 2,368 hits, 1,292 RBIs, 1,024 runs
            Career totals: .293, 287 home runs, 2,529 hits, 1,365 RBIs, 1,084 runs

            Rod Carew (1B/2B)
            Played for the California Angels from 1979-85. Played for the Minnesota Twins from 1967-78. Had seven good seasons in California after a phenomenal run in Minnesota.
            • 18-time All-Star - every year of his career except his last. With Twins won the AL MVP (1977); AL Rookie of the Year (1967). A second basemen until late 1975, Carew moved to first base for his final 10 years in the league. In 1991, Carew became only the 23rd player elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. 
            • Achieved greatest success, by far, as a Twin. In 12 seasons, had 200 or more hits four times and batted .334. Finished top 10 in AL MVP voting six times. Won 7 batting titles.
            • In 7 seasons as an Angel, highest hit total was 179 and batted .314. Hit better than .300 five times. Highest MVP voting was 26th. Did not win a batting title in California. After 8 straight years in Minnesota playing 140 or more games, his totals in California were: 110, 144, 93, 138, 129, 93, 127.
            • As a Twin, Carew won the AL batting title in 1972 (.318) without hitting a single home run. Carew batted .388 in 1977 (his MVP season), the highest since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.
            Minnesota totals: .334, 74 home runs, 733 RBIs, 950 runs, 271 SBs.
            California totals: .314, 18 home runs, 282 RBIs, 474 runs, 82 SBs.
            Career: .328, 3,053 hits, 1,015 RBIs, 1,424 runs scored, 353 SBs.


            Note: Vladimir Guerrero was not eligible until next year based on our Hall's requirement that a player must be three full seasons removed from suiting up for the team in question. A couple of borderline candidates who did not make the first-year ballot - Don Baylor, who won the AL MVP as an Angel, and Mike Witt, who threw a perfect game with the club and had some solid Angels counting stats, likely will join the ballot for Year Two.

            Rules, etc.:
            As always, when voting, please keep in mind a player's body of work for the team featured. It's your call whether longevity for a team and counting stats is a key deciding factor or if you prefer judging a player's impact on the franchise made possibly in a relatively short time. 
             


            First-year balloting will differ from subsequent years, when percentage voting will come into play.
            • For teams in existence since 1920 or before, 7 players - the top vote-getters - will win first-ballot induction.
            • For teams established between 1921-1940, 6 players will win first-ballot induction.
            • For teams established between 1941-1960, 5 players will win first-ballot induction. 
            • For teams established between 1961-1975, 4 players will win first-ballot induction.
            • For teams established between 1976-1990, 3 players will be inducted. 
            • For newer expansion teams, the ballots will be grouped and the top three from all of these teams will be inducted.
            • Roughly one year after a team(s) is featured, a second ballot will be held. 
            • Four more players will enter the Hall for each team in existence since 1940 or before. Three more for teams established between 1941 and 1975. Two more for teams established after 1976. One more total for the combined newer expansion teams.* 
            • * I intend to fully adhere to these rules but I possibly will add a percentage requirement also for second-year induction, which I know for sure I'll implement in subsequent years.
               

            Nostalgic Wax: 1981, The High Point

            When Fleer and Donruss returned to the baseball card scene in 1981, I was annoyed. They were cheap imitators - never mind that I never actually bought a pack of either.

            At 12, I wasn't quite paying attention. I had pre-pubescent things on my mind by this time. Don't ask. I knew nothing of card company court cases and monopolies. I think I mostly feared that Topps would go away and, to me, Topps was (ahem) tops.

            I cherished my 1981 Topps. They were, well, groovy.
            I loved the hat with the team name, position and team colors within it. I thought the photography was an improvement, certainly from the year prior.
            I still love 1981 Topps. Even the still shots - and there are plenty.
            In 1981, I was at the zenith of my childhood obsession with baseball cards. I collected for two more years but my interest was likely never higher than in 1981. I turned 13 that summer. Girls had hit my radar. By 1984, I was out of the hobby - returning only briefly with random pack purchases in 1988, 1989 and 1994 before coming back full steam last year.

            In 1981, I spent countless hours toting around baseball cards, studying them. I was still concocting elaborate games - sort of my own private Strat-o-matic - using my cards. I'm certain that my 1981s spent more time in my hands than any other set. I know this because while 99.9% of the cards I collected as a youngster are in the best possible condition one could expect, several of my '81s show much wear and tear.

            Clearly the cards directly above were among my most loved/most frequently used in my various games. No, I wouldn't mind crisp, clean versions of those cards - although I'll of course always hold these exact cards dear to me.

            Stay tuned, in the next day or so I'll highlight a recent trade involving a fine shipment to help my growing '81 set collection. I'm still dozens and dozens and dozens away but considerable progress was made this week and I'm grateful for that.

            1981 is currently my number three priority set to chase and once I find the final dozen 1976 cards I need, '81 will move to number three. At that point, 1978 will move into the top spot.



            Search Me *shrugs*