Baseball history in a box

hall of fameBaseball cards. A lost tradition. I’m not sure exactly when or why I started collecting them. I mean, sure, I played little league, starting in 3rd grade, so 1972, and sure enough, with the exception of a few I have purchased on eBay, that’s when my collection started. My purchases were limited to whenever we would stop at 7-11, and I would grab a pack and bug my mom and dad to buy it for me. In 1973, though, nothing. Hmm. Well, actually I have two from 1973, obtained in a trade consummated in middle school, but then starting in 1974, through the rest of the decade, well past little league, I was a nerd about my cards. And on Saturdays, watching the NBC Game of the Week with Tony Kubek and Joe Garagiola, I would spread out my cards and watch the game. I obviously didn’t save them hoping I could one day sell them. If you look closely at my Willie Mays card, it is dog eared and has a hole in it where I had it pinned up on my bulletin board! Likewise, the noticeable crease in Yaz’s card.

It’s funny though. For every 1976 Hank Aarons or Pete Roses, you end up with five Dave Lemanczyks. But the strange thing is I still have those five Dave Lemanczyk cards from his stint with the Tigers, as well as one from his time in Toronto. My friend Dave asked me the other day what was my most valuable card. At first I somewhat joked that it was my Ed Kranepool 1963 rookie card! I got to thinking, though. To me, they are all my favorites. Even the Dave Lemanczycks!

That said, I pulled my boxes of cards out and wanted to know how many hall of famers I had. I was pleasantly surprised to find I have 57 hall of famers, including multiple years for a handful of them. Fifty eight if I count a card from 1964 with the old pefessor Casey Stengel teaching Ed Kranepool. But that was a special purchase. Not to mention many other famous but not in the hall players. My next project might be how many MVP winners do I have. In any case, I thought I would share my hall of famers through my card collection. Some of them I have multiple cards from multiple teams. Randomly I saved the multiples for this photo collection, like Seaver and Jackson. Others, like Yount, for some reason I didn’t pull their multiple cards. And I should note that for the most recent classes of inductees, I pulled their cards from mint boxes that I purchased for my son starting in 1992 when he was born, thinking he might want to collect them some day. Sadly they didn’t come with bubble gum! Now, on to the collection, including the year(s) of the card(s), the year they were inducted, and the percent of vote they garnered. Unless otherwise mentioned, they were inducted on their first ballot. I should also note that with the exception of Sutton and Fingers, the “autographs” on the cards aren’t real, they were printed that way. The autographs obtained on my Fingers and Sutton cards were obtained at a Potomac Nationals and Washington Nationals game, respectively.

It may be strange that an almost 51 year old (omg, that’s tomorrow!) still has baseball cards, but like the theme of this blog, they remind me of the innocent days of growing up playing baseball and chewing stale gum!

Hank Aaron
1982
97.83%
IMG_2358
Roberto Alomar
2001
90.0% (second ballot)

IMG_1459Sparky Anderson
2000
Veterans Committee
IMG_1460
Johnny Bench
1989
96.42%
IMG_1461Wade Boggs
2005
91.9%
IMG_1463Bert Blyleven
2011
79.7% (14th ballot)
(side note: under current rules, players drop off after 10 years)
IMG_1548George Brett
1999
98.2% (fifth highest ever)
IMG_1467Rod Carew
1991
90.5%
IMG_1468Steve Carlton
1994
95.8%
IMG_1470Gary Carter
2003
78.02% (sixth ballot)
IMG_1473Bobby Cox
2014
100.0% (Expansion Era Committee)
IMG_1474Andre Dawson
2010
77.9% (ninth ballot)
IMG_1476Dennis Eckesley
2004
83.2%
IMG_1477Rollie Fingers
1992
81.16% (second ballot)
IMG_1478Carlton Fisk
2000
79.6% (second ballot)
IMG_1551Tom Glavine
2014
91.9%
IMG_1482Rich “Goose” Gossage
2008
85.8% (ninth ballot)
IMG_2359Tony Gwynn
2007
97.6%
IMG_1486Rickey Henderson
2009
94.8%
IMG_1556Jim “Catfish” Hunter
1987
76.27% (third ballot)
IMG_1489Reggie Jackson
1993
93.6%
IMG_1557Ferguson Jenkins
1991
75.4% (third ballot)
IMG_1494Randy Johnson
2015
97.3%
IMG_1495Barry Larkin
2012
86.4% (third ballot)
IMG_1496Tony La Russa
2014
100% (Expansion Era Committee)
IMG_1497Greg Maddux
2014
97.2%
IMG_1498Juan Marichal
1983
83.7% (third ballot)
IMG_1499Pedro Martinez
2015
91.1%
IMG_1500
Willie Mays
1979
94.7%
IMG_1501Willie “Stretch” McCovey
1986
81.4%
IMG_1558Paul Molitor
2004
85.2%
IMG_1502
    Joe Morgan
1990
81.8%
IMG_1503Eddie Murray
2003
85.3%
IMG_1506Phil Niekro
1997
80.34% (fifth ballot)
IMG_1508Jim Palmer
1990
92.6%
IMG_1509Tony Perez
2000
77.15% (ninth ballot)
IMG_1559Gaylord Perry
1991
77.2% (third ballot)
IMG_1512
Kirby Puckett
2001
82.14%
IMG_1513Jim Rice
2009
76.4% (15th and final ballot)
(side note: under current rules, players drop off after 10 years)
IMG_1514
Cal Ripken, Jr.
2007
98.53% (third highest ever)
IMG_1515Brooks Robinson
1983
91.98%
IMG_1516Frank Robinson
1982
89.16%
IMG_1518Nolan Ryan
1999
98.79% (second highest ever)
IMG_1520Ryne Sandburg
2005
76.2% (third ballot)
IMG_1522
Mike Schmidt
1995
96.5%
IMG_1528Red Schoendienst
1989
Veterans Committee
IMG_1529
Tom Seaver
1992
98.84% (HIGHEST PERCENTAGE EVER)
IMG_1526
Ozzie Smith
2002
91.7%
IMG_1530John Smoltz
2015
82.9%
IMG_1531
Charles Dillon “Casey” Stengel
1966
Veterans Committee
IMG_1560Bruce Sutter
2006
76.9% (13th ballot)
(side note: under current rules, players drop off after 10 years)
IMG_1533Don Sutton
1998
81.6% (fifth ballot)
IMG_1534Frank Thomas
2014
83.7%
IMG_1538Joe Torre
2014
100% (Expansion Era Committee)
IMG_1539Dick Williams
2008
Veterans Committee
IMG_1540Dave Winfield
2001
84.5%
IMG_1541Carl Yastzremski
1989
94.63%
IMG_1545Robin Yount
1999
77.5%
IMG_1546

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Nice baseball cards! I remember when I was young, we used to put the cards in the spokes of our bicycles. I don’t collect cards but probably should.

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  2. Happy (belated) Birthday! What a fun collection to still have and look back on! 🙂

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  3. What a great collection! I loved collecting cards in the early 80’s, and like you wish I’d taken a little better care of them other than stuffing them in a shoe box. I loved the uniforms and logos, and collecting was the best hobby. The worst thing to ever happen was release of the Beckett, and a hobby became a business overnight, even for kids. Happy belated birthday, too!
    -Mike

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  4. gregprescott says:

    Thanks everyone, especially for the birthday wishes! Sadly I was travelling on business on my birthday. But at least it’s another year on this side of the grass! 🙂

    I got a few baseball books for my birthday, to add to my collection. The one I started this past weekend, which is an awesome read so far, is “Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball” by John Feinstein. Regarding life on a AAA team, one coach’s motto is “If you don’t like it here, play better!” hehe

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