Sunday, December 4, 2016

Today's Game Era Committee Hall of Fame Ballot

     Tonight at 6 p.m. EST, the 16-person Today's Game Era Committee will vote on 10 different people for the opportunity to be entered into the MLB HOF.  The 10 people on this year's ballot include 5 former players (Mark McGwire, Orel Hershiser, Will Clark, Harold Baines, Albert Belle), 2 former manager (Lou Piniella, Davey Johnson), and 3 former executives (George Steinbrenner, Bud Selig, John Schuerholz).  To be selected into the HOF under this format, the ballot member must receive at least 75% of the committees vote (or 12 out of 16).  Here are my picks if I had a vote:




 


Sunday, September 25, 2016

2016 Topps #118: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins, P

     I was shocked to learn that Jose Fernandez passed away this morning at the age of 24 in a boating accident near Miami Beach.  He was the NL Rookie of the Year (2013) and a 2-time All-Star (2013, 2016) in just his fourth MLB season.  Today's Marlins game against the Braves has been cancelled.  This is a tragic event for the baseball community.








Sunday, September 18, 2016

2016 Topps #250: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers, 1B

     Miguel Cabrera hit a first pitch single to load the bases in the Top of the 3rd inning for his 2,500th career Hit.  According to MLB.com, he was the 100th player to ever reach the milestone, and was the youngest to do so since Hank Aaron did it in 1967.  The Hit came off a pitch from Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, and was fielded by Abraham Almonte in Right Field.



     Averaging 179 Hits during each of his first 13 seasons with 169 Hits so far this year,  there's no telling how far Cabrera will go by the end of his career.  At this rate, Cabrera should reach 3,000 Hits before the end of his 17th MLB season in 2019.  A sure-fire Hall-of-Famer, the 11-time All-Star has a .320 career Batting Average, 1536 RBI, and 441 HR's.  If he were to play a full 20 seasons, Cabrera would have 6 seasons left to play before retiring.  He was the last Triple Crown Winner since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967.



Monday, August 8, 2016

2016 Topps #700: Ichiro Suzuki, Miami Marlins, OF

     Ichiro Suzuki's 3000th hit came as a Triple off Chris Rusin of the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field yesterday.  What's even more interesting about this fact is that Suzuki and Rusin both have the same birthday on October 22nd.  It will forever remain a mystery what could have been if Ichiro had played his entire career in the Majors.



Sunday, August 7, 2016

2016 Topps #566: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, DH

     Alex Rodriguez announced his "release" from the Yankees today; however, he never did not use the word, retirement, and will remain eligible to sign with any interested team.  A-Rod's final game with the Yankees with be on Friday, August 12th.  Although he is not the oldest player left in the Majors (Ichiro Suzuki holds that honor), A-Rod is the last player in the Majors still around from the the 1994 strike season.



     The number of players still around from the 1990's is rapidly dwindling down.  The only other ones I could find based on a quick scan of the 2016 Topps set are: Bartolo Colon ('97), David Ortiz ('97), Carlos Beltran ('98), Adrian Beltre ('98), and A.J. Pierzynski ('98). 




Thursday, July 21, 2016

2016 Topps #637: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals, P

     Strasburg has started the 2016 season 13-0, which hasn't been done since Roger Clemens did it in 1986.  No one has started of a season 14-0 since 1912.  Strasburg will have an opportunity to do so today.



Friday, June 10, 2016

2014 Topps #265: Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals, P

     Yordano Ventura pitched his first full season in the majors during the 2014 season after making only three starts the previous year.  Ventura made 30 starts for the World Series contending Royals in 2014, winning 14 games with a 3.20 ERA and 159 Strikeouts in 183 Innings Pitched.  He made two starts against the Giants in the 2014 World Series, winning 1 game with a 1.46 ERA and 6 Strikeouts in 12.1 Innings Pitched.  He also scored a Run on a Hit in 4 AB's during the regular season.



On June 7th, 2016, Manny Machado charged Ventura on the mound in the 5th inning after being hit by a 99 mph fastball.  Earlier in the game Machado stared Ventura down and taunted him with verbal expressions after popping out in the 2nd inning.  For the altercation, Ventura was suspended for 1 start, while Machado was suspended for 4 games.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

1993 Topps #36: Scott Servais, Houston Astros, C

Scott Servais played for 4 different teams from 1991-2001, but mostly for the Houston Astros.  His 1993 On-Base Percentage was .313 and his Slugging Percentage was .415 for an OPS for .727.  As a Catcher, Servais ranked in the top 5 for Double Plays Turned, Range Factor/9Inn, Range Factor/Game, and Fielding Percentage in 1993.  Servais remained with the Houston Astros until 1995, when he was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Luis Gonzalez.  He would eventually reach the playoffs with the Cubs in 1998.



Scott Servais took over as manager for the Seattle Mariners in 2016.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

1999 Topps #171: Jerry Dipoto, Colorado Rockies, P

     Jerry Dipoto entered into the 1999 season coming off an active year as the Rockies' primary closer the previous year, finishing 51 games in 68 appearance for Colorado.  Dipoto pitched 8 seasons in the majors from 1993-2000 for the Indians, Mets, and Rockies.  After his playing career, Dipoto worked his way up the front office ladder to the General Manager role starting in 2010 for the Diamondbacks, then the Angels, and now the Mariners.




Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2015 Topps Update #US169: Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals, P

Max Scherzer signed a $210 million contract with the Nationals before the start of the 2015 season, securing him in D.C. through 2021.  Scherzer made good on his first year of the contract, receiving 2 Pitcher of the Month awards and reaching his third consecutive All-Star game appearance.  He finished 3rd in Innings Pitched, 2nd in Strikeouts per 9IP, and 2nd in Walks per 9IP.  Scherzer led the N.L. in Strikeout/Walk ratio and Fielding % as P in 2015. 



On May 11th, 2016, Max Scherzer became only the 4th player to strikeout 20 batters in 9 innings pitched.  The other three were: Randy Johnson (2001), Kerry Wood (1998), and Roger Clemens (1986, 1996).  Scherzer's feat came against the Tigers in a 3-2 victory. 



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2015 Topps #491: Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers, 2B

Rougned Odor experienced his first major league playoff series against the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2015 ALDS, where he hit a HR, a Double, and 5 Single for a total of 7 Runs and 2 RBI in 18 AB's for the Rangers.  Odor went from being the youngest player in the American League during his 2014 rookie season, to the 6th youngest during his 2015 sophomore season.  He has rapidly taken over as the primary 2B for the Rangers, playing 65% of the innings in that role in 2014 and 70% in 2015.



Rougned Odor was suspended 8 games for his part in a May 15th, 2016 altercation resulting from an illegal slide by Jose Bautista, who was also suspended for 1 game.



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2006 Topps Pre-Production #PP1: Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, OF

     Ichiro Suzuki had just completed 5 seasons in the majors to start 2006, although already 32 years of age.  He would again be selected to the All-Star team and win another Gold Glove award, both for the sixth consecutive time.  Suzuki led all of the majors with 224 Hits--a category that he would rank top two in for 10 straight years.  His 9 Triples and 45 Stolen Bases were also good enough to rank 3rd in the league that year.   



     The 2006 Topps Pre-Production release contained only 3 cards (I.Suzuki, A.Rodriguez, A.Pujols), and contained nearly identical photographs as the Topps base set.  During the 1990's, the Pre-Production sets often contained 9 cards with variation poses.  Regardless, I continue to integrate the Pre-Production cards with my base sets along with the Traded/Update sets as shown below.  Actually, the Pre-Production cards appear to be less "touched-up" than the base cards, which have always appeared to look dark to me in the 2006 set.  As always, the card backs for the Pre-Production vary a little from the base cards.  It's hard to believe that it's been over 10 years since the release of the 2006 Topps set.  




Wednesday, April 27, 2016

1990 Topps Glossy Send-In #20: Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners, OF

     Here's a more obscure 2nd year Griffey card from the 1990 Topps Glossy Send-in set.  I recently decided to integrate all of the Topps Glossy Send-in sets with my primary collections, and in doing so, came across with one that I decided to post should be posted (with Griffey heading into the HOF this year and all).  Previously, I used to store my 1983-1990 Topps Glossy Send-in sets in the back of their respective set binders, where they would rarely get looked at.

    

     I decided to place the Glossy Send-ins ahead of the base card in the same way that I tend to put today's variations in front of their base card.  Also shown below is Griffey's Debut card behind his base card (newest to oldest format).




     Cards like the one below were originally inserted into each wax pack for ordering the Glossy Send-ins.  




Friday, April 22, 2016

2015 Topps Update #US397: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals, OF

     Bryce Harper had a really big season in 2015, winning the NL MVP award only 3 seasons after winning the NL ROY award.  Harper made his 3rd All-Star team in 4 MLB seasons, and won his 1st Silver Slugger award.  Statistically, Harper led the league in Runs (118), HR's (42), OBP (.460), SLG (.649), and OPS (1.109).  He also batted .330 (2nd) with 99 RBI, 38 Doubles, 172 Hits, and 124 Walks (2nd).  His 2015 salary was $2.5 million.  




Thursday, April 14, 2016

2015 Topps #650: Pablo Sandoval, Boston Red Sox, 3B

     Pablo Sandoval signed with the Red Sox on November 25th, 2014 after 3 World Series championships with the Giants during his 7 seasons with the club.  The deal with Boston was for 5 years and $95 million with an option for a 6th year totaling up to $107 million.  Sandoval played in 126 games for the Red Sox in 2015, starting 122 of them at 3B.