The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Six

It has been awhile since I posted on this collection. Mostly because of a new baby arriving and a move to a larger place of residence. But now that all the upheaval has settled I can continue where I left off.

With the move, I now have a larger space for my man cave. This led me to change the way I am collecting the HOF cards. With so much space I was able to dedicate two walls to showing off the HOF cards I have, and even the ones I don’t, well empty screw-downs with the names printed on them anyway.

Before, with limited space, I decided to go year by year in order from the newest members back to the original five. This saved space as I just needed to put up the year or two I was working on, adding only as I purchased or traded for more cards in the order. But now with the whole HOF players fitting on the two walls, I can be more flexible.

I added the cards I had of the players who I didn’t reach yet in the reverse chronological order I was using at the old place including ones that are mostly jut placeholders until I purchase a better representative card.

I now can look for cards from every year which will lead, I assume, to finding better deals on cards as no specific order needs to be adhered to. I will still try for a player’s first card until it becomes too expensive for my budget whereby I will look for alternatives.

Here are some images of the new wall. As you will see there are many empty screw-downs. But it makes the challenge much more fun as you can see the collection’s development each time you enter the room.

hof1

Picture 1 of 8

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Ungraded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Ungraded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Graded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Graded cards

I received my latest cards from COMC and eBay today (shown above). With these cards I finished the wall of all the cards from 2016-2014. I still need a few graded cards for storage, but for the wall it’s all done. The five cards I added to the wall to complete 2016-2014 are:

  1. 1987 Donruss Greg Maddux RC #36
  2. 1988 Score Tom Glavine RC #638
  3. 1990 Bowman Frank Thomas RC #320
  4. 1990 Topps Frank Thomas RC #414
  5. 1962 Topps Joe Torre RC #218

With the completion of 2016-2014 I can now move on to the next three years (2013-2011). Here are the inductees and the cards I will pursue:

2013

Hank O’Day

Hank O’Day was a Pitcher / Umpire / Manager back in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. He was voted in by the Veterans Committee as an umpire. As he was a pitcher originally he does have cards in the a few of the early pre-1900 sets (1887 N172 Old Judge and the 1889 Hartley Studio Cabinet set (see below)):

Pre-1900 Hank O'Day Cards

These cards rarely are seen for purchase and when they have shown up at various auction sites they usually command over $1000.00. As triple digit priced cards are above my pay grade, I will have to search elsewhere of an O’Day card. In 1994, the Conlon Collection pictured Hank O’Day so it will be that card I will pursue.

  1. 1994 Conlon Collection Hank O’Day #1201

Jacob Ruppert

Ruppert was the owner of the New York Yankees from 1915 until his death in 1939. He was voted in by the Veterans Committee as an Executive. He was never a ballplayer so he didn’t have any cards for that purpose. Once he entered the Hall the card companies began producing cards of the man. I personally liked his 2013 Panini Golden Age card (you gotta love the top hat) so I chose it as the card to add.

  1. 2013 Panini Golden Age Jacob Ruppert #29

Deacon White

Mr. White was a catcher from the pre-1900s who also played third base. Like Hank O’Day, he has cards back in the pre-1900 days that are out of reach for most collectors both for rarity and price.

Since these cards are out of my price range I decided to look for an alternative. The one that caught my eye was in the 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions set. The image on the card copied the one on the 1888-89 Old Judge card which I liked so I chose it to add.

  1. 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Deacon White #182

2012

Barry Larkin

Larkin’s first cards came out in 1987. Donruss, Fleer and Topps all had a card for the Red’s shortstop.

  1. 1987 Donruss Barry Larkin RC #492
  2. 1987 Fleer Barry Larkin RC #204
  3. 1987 Topps Barry Larkin RC #648

Ron Santo

Santo did not gain enough votes from the Writers so he had to wait until the Veterans Committee voted him in. He has only one first card from Topps back in 1961.

  1. 1961 Topps Ron Santo RC #35

2011

Roberto Alomar

Alomar’s first cards came out in 1988 but everyone except Donruss waited until their year-end Rookie/Traded sets to include him. Therefore he has only two first cards, the Donruss card, and Donruss’ Canadian counterpart Leaf.

  1. 1988 Donruss Roberto Alomar RC #34
  2. 1988 Leaf Roberto Alomar RC #34

Bert Blyleven

Blyleven reached the hall after being on the ballot since 1998 (14 years). His first cards came out in 1971 in Topps and O-Pee-Chee.

  1. 1971 O-Pee-Chee Bert Blyleven RC #26
  2. 1971 Topps Bert Blyleven RC #26

Pat Gillick

Gillick went in as an executive for his work on bringing the Blue Jays two World Series titles back in the 90s.  He never played major league baseball so it wasn’t until his induction that baseball cards started to appear of him. One of the more attractive cards put out of the man was in the 2014 Panini Hall of Fame Signatures set so I decided on that one to be added to the wall.

  1. 2014 Panini Hall of Fame Signatures Pat Gillick #47

In total that is twelve cards for the years 2013-2011 that will be collected and added to the wall. I purchased the Gillick, White, and Ruppert cards which came in the latest deliveries from COMC and eBay. I bought the Topps Blyleven card a few months ago, the Donruss Alomar card and the Topps Larkin card I’ve had for over a decade. That leaves six remaining to find and purchase. Once that is done I can move on to 2010 and beyond.

Here is the latest picture of the wall:

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five the Wall

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five the Wall

If you would like to see all the cards I have collected, both graded and ungraded, and the price I paid for each just go to the menu at the top left of each page (The Hall of Fame Table) or click here.

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Four

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Four

My latest purchases came in and with it I am coming closer to finishing the cards I need for the inductees from 2016 back to 2014.

The Hall of Fame Challenge Post Four, Graded

The Hall of Fame Challenge Post Four, Graded

The Hall of Fame Challenge Post Four, Ungraded

The Hall of Fame Challenge Post Four, Ungraded

The ones that will be added to the wall are the following:

1990 Leaf #300 – Frank Thomas RC
1990 O-Pee-Chee #414 – Frank Thomas RC
1987 Leaf #36 – Greg Maddux RC
1988 Fleer #539 – Tom Glavine RC

As a reminder, here is the list of all HoF members and their cards from 2016 to 2013 (I’m collecting chronologically backward in years as you remember):

2016

1989 Bowman Ken Griffey Jr. RC #220
1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. RC #33
1989 Fleer Ken Griffey Jr. RC #548
1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. RC #1
1992 Bowman Mike Piazza RC #461

2015

1988 Fleer Update Craig Biggio RC #U-89
1988 Score Rookie/Traded Craig Biggio RC #103T
1989 Donruss Randy Johnson RC #42
1989 Fleer Randy Johnson RC #381
1989 O-Pee-Chee Randy Johnson RC #186
1989 Score Randy Johnson RC #645
1989 Topps Randy Johnson RC #647
1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson RC #25
1991 Upper Deck Final Edition Pedro Martinez RC #2F
1988 Fleer Update John Smoltz RC #U-74

2014

1969 Topps Bobby Cox RC #237
1988 Donruss Tom Glavine RC #644
1988 Fleer Tom Glavine RC #539
1988 Score Tom Glavine RC #638
1988 Topps Tom Glavine RC #779
1964 Topps Tony LaRussa RC #244
1987 Donruss Greg Maddux RC #36
1987 Leaf Greg Maddux RC #36
1990 Bowman Frank Thomas RC #320
1990 Leaf Frank Thomas RC #300
1990 O-Pee-Chee Frank Thomas RC #414
1990 Score Frank Thomas RC #663
1990 Topps Frank Thomas RC #414
1962 Topps Joe Torre RC #218

I highlighted in orange the cards I have for the wall. That means I have only five cards remaining (ungraded) before I move on to 2013 and before.

If you wish to check my progress (including graded cards for this collection and prices I paid for all the cards) just click here

Here is the updated wall with the new cards added:

Hall of Fame, The Wall, Post Four

Hall of Fame, The Wall, Post Four

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Three

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Two

1952 Bowman #11 Ralph Kiner

1952 Bowman #11 Ralph Kiner

With over half of the set completed it has become more difficult to find bulk lots of cards that don’t include numerous (usually over half) duplicates to my collection. Time will tell if I find any more.

Not one to do nothing I decided to begin buying more of the star cards in the mean time. These cards usually are not included in bulk lots anyway (it’s usually just commons) and these star card purchases will bide the time until another lot comes my way.

The first of these purchases became the #11 card in the set. I found the Hall of Fame Ralph Kiner at COMC for $15.00. It was in good shape and should look pleasing alongside all the other cards on the wall.

With the Kiner card it brings the count up to 145 cards. (145/252,  57.54%)

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post One

Collecting Challenge, 1952 Bowman, Post Three

The Hall of Fame, The Last Word

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame has always been a conversation piece for fans of baseball. Especially when it comes to who deserves and does not deserve entry. Many hours have passed between friends of mine and myself arguing the merits of certain players. I am the most exclusionary, my friends, less so.

My friends argue what is, I argue what should be. They argue from the perspective of the BBWAA and VC, I argue from an elitist perspective. I find the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) and especially the VC (Veteran’s Committee) too lenient, to inclusive, not rigorous enough in its choices, my friends don’t have this arrogance.

My thoughts are quite simple, my criteria is quite easy. It still has a touch of an argument and opinion to it, but it is definitely not as lenient as the BBWAA or the VC.

BBWAA

BBWAA

In order for the reader t get a better idea of what I speak, let’s give a basic criteria of what the BBWAA thinks merits a player to enter the Hall. Although it is not an exact science, you can, if you review selections over the decades, see a tendency, a loose but still limited criteria, that the BBWAA use as a whole, to allow entry into the Hall. Here are what seems to be the minimum points:

1) Don’t cheat or gamble – See Pete Rose, Roger Clemens, and Joe Jackson on this point.

2) Become the best or thought of as the best at a particular part of the game over a long period of time (at least 7 years usually) – See Ozzie Smith, Nolan Ryan, and Rickey Henderson as examples.

3) Be good enough to stay in the game for a long period of time gaining 300 wins, 3000 hits, 500 Home Runs etc. or coming very close to it – See Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Bert Blyleven as examples.

Now if you include the VC you can expand that further to include the players who fit this criteria but were not thought great enough by the BBWAA. Guys like Ron Santo, Joe Gordon and Bill Mazeroski are examples of this.

Now that we have a pretty good idea of what the BBWAA and the VC consider worthy, I’s time to show what my criteria involves. Mine is much simpler. The starting point, the default point of view so to speak, is no one deserves entry. It’s like a driver’s licence, it’s a privilege, not a right.

My first point is the same as the BBWAA. If you cheat or gamble you stay out. My second point is you must be thought of as the greatest at your position in either or both leagues for your generation of ball players. If it can be argued that you were the best, then you are in.

Since about 35-40% of the league is pitchers, they fall under a different criteria. For starting pitchers, did they rise above the winning level of the teams they played on, and did they do it over a long period of time (around a decade or more). For relief pitchers, return to the criteria of the players in that if they were considered the best in their league, or both leagues, for their generation then they enter.

Hall of Fame Plaques

Hall of Fame Plaques

Different people have different opinions on what is great. What I mean by great is those abilities that directly lead to an increase in wins for the team. For example, if you steal 200 bases in a year which leads to your team scoring an extra 100 runs for the year, which created an extra 10 wins for the team but you also got caught stealing 200 times which cost your team 10 wins, then you, in this particular category, are an average player not a great player. Another example is if you won 30 games as a starting pitcher but lost 30, and your team went 81-81 then you are, in this category, an average pitcher.

With my criteria, the Hall of Fame would shrink by almost half. Borderline players would be out. Those players who have flashy stats but never really contributed to their team’s improvement would be out.

When speaking to my friends and other who have a good, if not great, knowledge of the game, about this subject, I usually have agreement for the most part up to this point in my argument. But once I show it being implemented, I lose almost everyone. Since I am writing a post not a book, I will cut to the chase and show you how quickly I lose people (and probably you as well) by using just one example. It’s the example that will show in a bright shiny light whether you are actually in agreement with my criteria or not.

Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan

The example is Nolan Ryan. If you want to draw a line in the sand and state those that think my criteria is correct, both in theory AND PRACTICE, then the line starts with Nolan Ryan. Do you think a pitcher who doesn’t contribute anything more than what an average pitcher would contribute deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? With all of Ryan’s seemingly super-human feats of baseball greatness, the man was never more than an average pitcher with a stellar fastball. Have I lost you yet?

Nolan Ryan, Angels

Nolan Ryan, Angels

Ryan is in the Hall for two main reasons: his strikeouts and his no-hitters, neither of which contributed to his teams winning anymore than they would’ve if Ryan wasn’t there and an average .500 pitcher was there instead. With all of Ryan’s flash, the man was the most famous .500 pitcher in history. When Ryan won 20 games he lost 17, when he struck out 300 he walked 150. For every shutout, no hitter, one or two hitter he threw, he also would lose because of a home run or walk given up in places where the great pitchers of the game would get the out.

Nolan Ryan, Astros

Nolan Ryan, Astros

You might say, as dozens have said to me before, “Ryan was always on bad teams so no wonder he lost so many games.” This is the lamest argument I have ever heard. A great pitcher, one who is Hall-worthy, takes his team, puts it on his back, and carries it to the post-season, or at minimum wins at a better average than the team does generally. Ryan saw this first hand as a rookie back in 1969 when Tom Seaver brought the Mets to the World Series. If Ryan was a great pitcher his teams would have done better when he was pitching for them. They didn’t. In fact with Ryan being a strikeout pitcher, his reliance on his teammates is reduced. More strikeouts means less ground balls and fly balls that bad defensive teams might misplay into errors or extra hits.

Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver

When Ryan played he was never thought of as the greatest pitcher of his generation. Men like Seaver, Palmer, Carlton, Jenkins, Hunter, Blue, Richards, were thought of as better, and only the first three deserve Hall entry using my criteria, with Jenkins at the borderline. Lets compare what a typical season for the great pitchers of the ’70s and compare that to Ryan’s:

Compare with Nolan Ryan

PlayerW-LIP/HK/BBE.R.A.
Nolan Ryan14-13232/169246/1203.19
Tom Seaver16-11250/207190/732.86
Jim Palmer17-10249/211139/832.86
Steve Carlton15-11245/219194/863.22
Fergie Jenkins15-12243/224173/543.34
Catfish Hunter16-12240/206140/663.26
Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer

As you can see all the pitchers stats are comparable, but only Palmer and Seaver stand out. But Ryan, with a better strikeout count, a better hits to innings pitch percentage than all the others still couldn’t rise above those pitchers in wins. It was the walks and untimely home runs. Even Jenkins, also on a bad team, pitching in an offensive park (Wrigley) managed to win on a more frequent basis. It was because of his lower walk total and tenacity. Ryan, with his 3.19 E.R.A. should’ve won many more games than he did, if he is a great pitcher. If his team scored 1 run He should find a way to pitch a shut out. If his team scored 2 runs then he should find a way to give up one. The greats do this with much more frequency.

Ryan is on a level below these pitchers. Here are four more Hall of Fame pitchers:

Compare with Nolan Ryan II

PlayerW-LIP/HK/BBE.R.A.
Nolan Ryan14-13232/169246/1203.19
Gaylord Perry15-12248/229164/643.11
Don Sutton14-11235/209159/603.26
Phil Niekro14-12233/217144/783.35
Bert Blyleven14-12245/229183/653.31

Again Ryan fails to achieve what they achieved, although he is coming closer.

How about some non Hall of Famers:

Compare with Nolan Ryan III

PlayerW-LIP/HK/BBE.R.A.
Nolan Ryan14-13232/169246/1203.19
Luis Tiant15-11224/198155/713.30
Mickey Lolich14-12229/212178/693.44
Jim Kaat13-11202/206110/483.45
Vida Blue15-11233/205152/833.27
Tommy John13-11219/223105/593.34

All the pitchers above had had some Hall of Fame interest from the VC, some may make it in the future. But even these pitchers looked over and rejected by the BBWAA win at a better rate than Ryan. We didn’t even include comparisons to many other pitchers during the ’70s who were considered better than Ryan but did not last long enough to reach the Hall. Pitchers like J.R. Richard, who played on an awful Astros team yet won 60% of his games for a decade. Ryan couldn’t do that with the Angels or the Astros.

Nolan Ryan, Rangers

Nolan Ryan, Rangers

Ryan was a fan favourite, his longevity was amazing, especially because he didn’t need to change from a power pitcher to a control pitcher later in his career (he was unique in this). His strike out totals and number of no-hitters is also great (better than every pitcher mentioned in this post, better than every pitcher in the history of baseball). But those feats are meaningless if they don’t translate into an improved team winning percentage. Ryan was the Vince Coleman of pitchers (if Coleman lasted another decade). If Coleman stayed in the league longer, was less injured, and stole 100 bases each year for 15 years, it still wouldn’t merit Hall entry because his lack of hitting skill and low walk totals always more often than not cost his team as much or more than the stolen bases added.

Vince Coleman

Vince Coleman

In the end, who would you rather have pitching on your team for a pennant run, Seaver, Palmer, Koufax, Gibson, Marichal, Drysdale, Ford, Spahn, and the list goes on and on, or Ryan? It’s a simple and obvious answer and makes what I said in my criteria have merit. If I still haven’t lost you anyway.

2001 Topps – Through the Years Reprints

2001 Topps - Through the Years Reprints

2001 Topps – Through the Years Reprints

This 50 card insert set is a fun set to collect. The cards have that vintage feel to them without the vintage price. Personally I wouldn’t collect a reprint set as a set itself but somehow it being an insert in this situation makes all the difference. It’s because it’s only a small part of a regular issue that gives the incentive to collect it. If Topps came out with a reprint set as the set itself I wouldn’t understand the point of spending the money on it. Once you collect all the cards all you have is a reprint set, you may as well collect the original set instead, or collect a newer non-reprint set.

Anyone else collect or have collected these inserts?

The Curious Case of Clark and Palmeiro

Clark and Palmeiro Graded Cards

Clark and Palmeiro Graded Cards

Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro will always be linked since they both were team mates of and both came to the Majors through Mississippi State University. They were nicknamed “Thunder & Lightening” at the time. Both born in 1964 (Clark March 13th, Palmeiro September 24th, they were both drafted in 1985. Clark went in the 1st round, 2nd pick by the Giants, and Palmeiro followed 20 picks later by the Cubs. Both took the first basemen’s job when they settled in the Majors. Clark stayed with the Giants most of his career (with a few years in Baltimore) while Palmeiro left Chicago to play most of his career as a Ranger (with some of his best years also in Baltimore).

Clark & Palmeiro Mississippi State Baseball

Clark & Palmeiro Mississippi State Baseball

When Palmeiro left Texas to join the Orioles in 1994, Clark took over the position (leaving San Francisco). When Clark left Texas after the 1998 season, Palmeiro returned to the Rangers to replace him. And where did Clark go? You guessed it, he went to Baltimore to replace Palmeiro.

In so many ways the two were interlinked and carbon-copied. Both hit for average, both hit for extra bases, both were left-handed, both were great defensively at first base (gold gloves for both). And both it ended up, but for different reasons, were dropped quickly from Hall of Fame voting. Clark received only 4.4% of the votes in his first year of eligibility (2006) so was dropped from the ballot (you need at least 5% to stay on the list.. Palmeiro survived his first year (11% in 2011) but failed the following year with, you guessed it, 4.4% of the vote.

Clark & Palmeiro at Mississippi State

Clark & Palmeiro at Mississippi State

1989 Fleer #631 Clark & Palmeiro

1989 Fleer #631 Clark & Palmeiro

In college, Clark was the star, Palmeiro the shadow. In the Majors it seemed the same would occur. Clark got the headlines, the All Star votes, and MVP considerations, while Palmeiro got little press in Chicago. Palmeiro, in 1994, was not resigned by Texas because the Rangers signed Clark. And that was where everything changed. Palmeiro went on to find a power stroke (most likely with the help of steroids) hitting 569 HRs for his career (compared to Clark’s 284), had nine straight years with over 100 RBIs (10 total), Clark had one (4 total), and became a force in the A.L. while Clark, from injuries and wear-and-tear (and because he didn’t juice) slowly declined in production until he retired at 36 after the 2000 season. Palmeiro continued playing until 2005 at the age of 40 before retiring, becoming one of only five players in the history of baseball to achieve 500 HRs and 3000 Hits (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray and Alex Rodriguez).

Will Clark, later on, through the Veteran’s Committee, might get a 2nd look, but that i think is remote althugh he did have some great years:

1988 .287 29 HR 109 RBI
1989 .333 23 HR 111 RBI
1991 .301 29 HR 116 RBI
1998 .305 23 HR 102 RBI

But his career totals, low HRs without reaching 3000 hits show he is just under the threshold to be inducted, perhaps:

15 Yrs, 2176 Hits, 284 HRs, .303 AVG

As for Palmeiro, his lie to congress about steroid use will keep him out just like it has with Bonds, McGwire and others. Palmeiro was always a doubles hitter with some power, just like Clark, then out of nowhere, past his prime years, he begins to hit HRs in the 40s, not the 20s which would be his norm, not the 30s which would happen occasionally when he did reach his prime in his late 20s, but totals like 39, 39, 38, 43, 47, 39, 47, 43 and 38 (ages 30 to 38). There is an outside chance he just developed into a better hitter over time, but going from the high tens and low twenties when he was younger, to the 40s when he was reaching the end of his career seems implausible. If you look at Bonds you see the same trajectory.

Palmeiro Testifying

Palmeiro Testifying

Many collectors in the late 80s early 90s were all over Clark (and then later in the 90s Palmeiro) collecting all their rookie cards and first cards but like Mattingly before them, they both wound up disappointing these collectors. Myself, not collecting for investment purposes, wasn’t upset with them at all, I just had fun watching them on TV. Although I would’ve put money down back in the early 90s that Clark would eventually reach the Hall. Although it’s remote, I still might end up right.