Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 Tigers - If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will.

Elias Sports Bureau brings us this gem of a stat. "The Tigers are the second team ever to field two players under 30 years old with 200 career home runs. The other was the 1961 Milwaukee Braves, with Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews." The Braves also featured legendary ace Warren Spahn and revising that role is Justin Verlander for the Tigers. 

In 1961, Hank lead the league in Total Bases and Eddie lead the league in walks. Warren lead the league in Wins, ERA, CG, Shutouts and WHIP and finished SECOND in Cy Young...wait what?

Anyhow, before I investigate that award voting it's a safe bet to think Miguel, Prince & Justin could replicate those accomplishments. And there is no reason to think that these three won't also make there way to Cooperstown. They all have the eye of the tiger.

About The Cards
On this blog I haven't delved into the history of Chrome or Refractor cards but I loved both concepts when they first appeared but have since become annoyingly over done.

In a future post we will examine both trends and what they've meant to the hobby.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1982 Topps Traded: A Change of Scenery

1982 Topps Traded is primarily known for the Cal Ripken, Jr. card. But why was Cal in this set anyhow? He was already in the 1982 Regular Issue and he wasn't traded. Cal was considered a "promising rookie" so why not double down a card for him.

Ozzie Smith on the other hand was traded. A change of scenery and managers landed him in Cooperstown. That smile on Ozzie's face is legitimate. Ozzie had been in contract dispute with San Diego since he signed. The problem reached absurd heights when his agent, Ed Gottlieb, placed an ad in the San Diego Union, it read "Padre Baseball Player wants part-time employment to supplement income. College education, willing to work, prefer PR-type employment. Needs hours tailored to baseball schedule, but would quit baseball for right opportunity."

The truly disturbing part is that apparently Ozzie had blown most his money and his wanting a raise had nothing to do feeling underpaid. [1]

Anyway you look at it, he wasn't getting a raise. And regardless of his out of the world defense the way he hit he didn't deserve a raise. Ozzie Smith was the leadoff hitter for the Padres leading the league in plate appearances with a .294 OBA. The reason I think manager Frank Howard never noticed Ozzie was an out machine is because the entire team couldn't hit. Regardless, once Ozzie got to St. Louis he improved his hitting enough that you could live with it.

In 1982, major league baseball had two other Hall of Fame shortstops playing who could rake and play defense. Robin Yount in Milwaukee & the aforementioned Cal Ripken. The very next year all three would be playing in the All-Star game.

About the Card
1982 Topps borrows a lot of its design style from Activision, an at the time, wildly popular video game maker. I like the design but it does resemble a hockey stick a little too much for my liking.
[1] Scorecard, Sports Illustrated, Kirshenbaum, Jerry, May 5, 1980

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1981 Topps The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In 1981, on the back of the position player cards, Topps introduced three statistical categories - Slugging Percentage (SLG), Walks (BB), and Strikeouts (SO). 1981 also saw the return of Stolen Bases (SB) which has been absent since 1971.
For Ozzie Smith, the stolen bases and walks helped him look a little more valuable at the plate but oh goodness look at that slugging .276! Yikes that's awful. 
Although his reputation as a defensive 'wizard' is well entrenched Topps continued to show Ozzie batting or posing every season except the lone exception of 1987 Topps where he looks to be camped under a harmless pop up.