Saturday, November 29, 2014

2015 Golden Era HOF Ballot: Tony Oliva

The 16-person Golden Era Committee will have the opportunity to vote for Tony Oliva to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015.  Oliva lasted 15 years on the BBWAA HOF ballot between 1982-1996.  The closest he ever came to HOF induction occurred in 1988, when Oliva received over 47% of the voter's approval.  Oliva played all 15 of his major league seasons with the Minnesota Twins from 1962-1976.  He won the A.L. Rookie of the Year award in 1964, and was the runner-up for the A.L. MVP award in 1965 and 1970 (years in which his team made the playoffs).  Oliva led the league in Batting Average (3x), Hits (5x), and Doubles (4x) during his career.  He also led the league in Total Bases, Runs, and Slugging.  Oliva made the All-Star team in 8 consecutive years.  Oliva appeared during all 7 games of the 1965 World Series and all 3 games of each of the first two ALCS's against the Orioles in '69 and '70.  His career .304 batting average is most notable among his body of work accomplishments, falling short on the typical triple crown categories.  Perhaps Oliva falls a little short in HOF qualifications, but out of the 10 eligible names, he's one of my Top 3.  Here are all of the regular-issue Oliva cards in my collection (missing '63, '65, '69).
 
1964 Topps
 

1966 Topps


1967 Topps


1968 Topps

 
1970 Topps
 
 
1971 Topps
 

1972 Topps


 1973 Topps


1974 Topps


1975 Topps


1976 Topps


Friday, November 28, 2014

2015 Golden Era HOF Ballot: Gil Hodges

On December 8th, the results from the 16-person Golden Era Committee will be announced.  The committee will vote on a 10-person ballot for Hall of Fame election for players and other baseball personnel that have passed their eligibility for HOF election on the BBWAA ballot.  75% of the 16 votes are required for HOF election on the Golden Era Ballot.  Who will I be pulling for?  Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, and Gil Hodges.  Here are all of the regular-issue Topps Hodges cards I have from his playing and managerial career that lasted between 1943-1971.  Hodges played for the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles from 1943-1961.

1951 Topps #A-31


1952 Topps #36 (1983 Topps reprint)


1953 Topps #296 (1991 Archives "Card that Never Was" reprint)


1954 Topps #102 (1994 Archives reprint)


1957 Topps #80


1962 Topps- Hodges finished off his playing career for the Mets during the team's 1st two seasons as an expansion franchise between 1962-1963.


1966 Topps- Hodges managed the Washington Senators (Nationals) team between 1963-1967.  I have a '65T Hodges on way.


1967 Topps


1968 Topps- Hodges finished off his managerial career managing the Mets between 1968-1971.


1969 Topps (1989 Topps "Turn Back the Clock") I'm still looking for a decently priced '69T Hodges card, representing the year he took the start-up Mets all the way to a World Series championship.


1970 Topps


1971 Topps


1972 Topps-  Hodges' final regular-issue Topps card was 1972, although he did not manage during that year.  Apparently, the off-centering to the left issue was common for this card, but I was able to find a nicely centered version for an upgrade (on the way).


Sunday, November 23, 2014

2003 Topps Traded baseball card set #1-275


Finally, after more than a decade of waiting, the 2003 Topps Traded set is now part of my collection.  Headlining this set is the Robinson Cano RC, but there are tons of star rookie and veteran cards to be found in this outstanding set.      
 

 
Now, Seriously--What's a 2003 Topps baseball card set without Jack McKeon (#T119), Ivan Rodriguez (#T27), and Miguel Cabrera (#T126)?  The Marlins won the World Series that year.  These are must-have cards for this set.  Other '03 Traded Marlins cards include Ugueth Urbina (#T87), Juan Pierre (#T1), Josh Willingham (#T222), Jim Kavourias (#T134), Matt Demarco (#T259), Eric Reed (#T266), Denny Bautista (#T143), and Tyson Graham (#T251).
 



Yes, that's a 2006 Topps Mickey Mantle #MM2003 integrated into my 2003 Topps set.  In 2006, Topps went back and replaced the retired #7 cards from 1996-2005, which I've been able to complete.

 
Of course, the key to this set is not the Mick, but Cano.
 

How about David Ortiz's (#T52) first card as a Red Sox player...
 

...or Hanley Ramirez's (#T181) first card ever?  The 2003 Topps base set didn't even have a Manager card for the Cubs, until Dusty Baker (#T116) came along, fresh off of a World Series appearance with the San Francisco Giants team in 2002.  He even took the Cubs to the playoffs in 2003.

 
The Braves had plenty of rookies and prospects in the '03T Traded set like Adam Wainwright (#T159), Brian McCann (#T209), and Adam LaRoche (not shown) among some others below.
 
 
1980's stars Rickey Henderson (#T73) and Fred McGriff (#T99) were showing they still had what it took to complete in the 2000's. 


There are plenty more great cards in this set, but not enough time for me to list them all. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2004 Topps #T144: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners, RHP

As this year's runner-up for the A.L. Cy Young award, Felix Hernandez has really been making some noise out in the Pacific Northwest throughout the past 10 seasons.  He last won the award in 2010, and was a runner-up again the year before in 2009.  Hernandez is quickly becoming a familiar face at the All-Star Games every year, having been selected during 5 of the past 6 years.  He led the league in ERA twice, posting a career best this year with a 2.14 ERA.  He's averaged over 30 starts and 200 innings pitched each year for the past decade with a .576 win percentage.  Hernandez is still only 28 years old, and is on pace for over 250 career win by the age of 38 (if he can maintain current pace for 10 more years).  Could he be the next 300 game winner?
 
  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2015 Hall of Fame Ballot: Randy Johnson 1988-2009

     The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot will be announced by Major League Baseball on Monday, November 24th, 2014.  Headlining this year's ballot will most likely be Randy Johnson.  His career spanned 22 seasons with 6 different teams: Mariners, Diamondbacks, Expos, Yankees, Giants, and Astros.  Johnson has a career 303 Wins, 3.29 ERA, and 4875 Strikeouts in 4135.1 Innings Pitched.  He has 5 Cy Young awards and made 10 All-Star teams during his career.  Of Johnson's 603 career starts, 100 of them were complete games, and 37 of those were shutouts.  He pitched in 8 Division Series, 4 League Championship Series, and 1 World Series in 2001.  Randy Johnson is my first pick for selection to the 2015 Hall of Fame.
 





1990 Topps #431.



1991 Topps #225.


2015 Hall of Fame Ballot: Randy Johnson 1988-2009

The 2015 Hall of Fame ballot will be announced by Major League Baseball on Monday, November 24th, 2014.  Headlining this year's ballot will most likely be Randy Johnson.  His career spanned 22 seasons with 6 different teams: Mariners, Diamondbacks, Expos, Yankees, Giants, and Astros.  Johnson has a career 303 Wins, 3.29 ERA, and 4875 Strikeouts in 4135.1 Innings Pitched.  He has 5 Cy Young awards and made 10 All-Star teams during his career.  Of Johnson's 603 career starts, 100 of them were complete games, and 37 of those were shutouts.  He pitched in 8 Division Series, 4 League Championship Series, and 1 World Series in 2001.  Randy Johnson is my first pick for selection to the 2015 Hall of Fame.
 
1989 Topps #647.
 


1989 Topps #57T.









1984 Topps: Active Season & Career Leaders subsets

Here's an interesting look back at the active season and career leaders from 30 years ago: 1984-2014.
 





Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2014 MLB Cy Young Award Winners: C.Kluber & C.Kershaw

Congratulations to Clayton Kershaw ('14T#400) and Corey Kluber ('14T#279) on winning this year's Cy Young award for their respective leagues.


 
Last year's Cy Young award winners were: Max Scherzer ('14T#630) and Clayton Kershaw ('14T#604).