Is Justin Verlander Already A Hall of Famer?

Every night for fun, I like to spend time on the Baseball Reference website looking up undervalued players.  It’s the rabbit hole that is my usual evening.  Last night I started with Sandy Koufax’s stats and started looking up similar players.  Koufax’s career was ridiculous and much like Chris Borland, he retired due to injury concerns regarding his arm in the absolute prime of his career.  From Koufax I went to Ron Guidry who in my opinion is borderline Hall of Fame worthy.  His career led me to Verlander.

Now we all know just how good Verlander is, but thanks to Max Sherzer, his name has fallen a little off the map.  His numbers are astounding.  In 10 seasons, he has won 15 or more games seven times!  He has won the Rookie of the Year, a Cy Young award and a MVP award.  He has 152 career wins and 1830 strikeouts, and he will turn 32 this year.  If he were to retire today, his black ink score is 46, where ~40 should put you in the Hall of Fame.  To give you reference, Tom Glavine’s was a 29 and he got in.  The only pitcher that I found with stats as dominant as his over that long a stretch of time is Mike Mussina (who also deserves to be in the Hall of Fame), who has a 19 black ink score.

There was a time when Justin was younger that his cards were white hot, but that has changed over the years.  With the emergence of so many young dominant pitchers, Verlander’s value in cards has stalled.  You can find his autographed cards on eBay for a staggeringly lower value than they should have.  I’ve seen some of his certified autographed cards go for as low as $9.99 and as high as $31.  For a player of his merit, you would expect o pay much more.  I feel his cards are way undervalued and should see a correction if he ever makes it to the Hall of Fame.

How do you see it? Is his career Hall of Fame worthy at this point? If he retired tomorrow would he be in?

$(KGrHqZHJD!E9!T+!!i8BPbq6EpGsQ~~60_35

The Repercussions of Concussions – Chris Borland’s Effect

Chris-Borland

It’s the NFL’s biggest problem. Concussions have dominated the news for the past few years.  We’ve seen the devastating effects it has on life after football.  From Jim McMahon’s interviews where he frequently gets lost in his day to day life to Junior Seau’s suicide.  If you are an NFL player it’s literally like playing Russian roulette.

Chris Borland was a third round pick in last year’s draft.  He was the 2013 Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year, started for the injured Patrick Willis and did amazingly well as a rookie.  With Willis’s recent retirement, he would become the anchor of the 49er’s linebacking corp.  He would be off to a 10+ year career, making close to 100 million dollars.  So what did he do? He retired! At the age of 24, he did the research, a lot of research and what he read scared him.  He’s had concussions and with each play of the ball he concluded that he was rolling the dice with the remainder of his life.

There has been so much debate of whether or not the NFL should be scared, whether the first shot has been fired and now a lot more people will retire.  I don’t think that’s true.  We had seen this before, people retiring early on in their career.  I immediately though back to the 1990s when running back Robert Smith, who retired even though he seemed to be in the prime of his career.  His retirement didn’t move the needle.  Neither will Chris Borland’s.  What his retirement will do is make parents think twice about letting their children play football.  We may not see the effects of this for 20 years, when sports like soccer, baseball and basketball will be seeing more athletic players.

The real concern in the card world is now down to prospecting.  It was tough enough to figure out who will be good and who will be a bust out of a draft, now you have to figure out who will not retire early due to injury concerns.  Borland’s cards have already taken a hit.  He’s gone form a $20 autograph to a $10 one and will more likely drop from there as the years go on.  I’ve stopped prospecting years ago, I want players that are established as rock solid assets and not one year / amateur wonders.  I am very curious as to how other people feel about not only prospecting NFL players, but also how the Borland announcement will change the football landscape.

Through The Mail Success (Hockey Style) – Larry Robinson

FullSizeRender (33)

FullSizeRender (34)

I’m showing a bit of hockey love today.  Larry Robinson was lightening fast with his return, I think it was just 11 days, he even sent a note saying how much he liked the card which was a bit of a feather in my cap.

Although my Mark Howe autograph attempt fell on deaf ears, Marry Robinson was only too happy to send me his.  Inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995, he is widely considered one of the best defensivemen ever to play the game.  He played from 1971 to 1992 and tallied 958 regular season points in his career.  He has been a successful coach since his retirement as both an assistant and head coach.  He won the Con Smythe Trophy once and the Norris Trophy twice.

Overall a great signing from who many consider one of the nicest guys in hockey.

Example of certified signature:

EpicSignaturesLarryRobinson

Rookie card:

preview_575_27427

Through The Mail Success – Tedy Bruschi

FullSizeRender (12)

FullSizeRender (13)

This one came back about two weeks ago.  As many of you know I am an University of Arizona alumni.  I thought it would be great to post a pro – Wildcat TTM success.  I was at U of A from 1989 – 1993, right in the thick of Desert Swarm.  I met many members of this defense over the years while I was a part of KAMP student radio, serving as the Sports Director.  Bruschi is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.  He was great to do interviews with (of which I did quite a few) and was just so down to earth.  I have a bunch of his autographs that I have gotten over the years, but I wanted one that was on my new design, so off it went on a three week journey.

His awards are as follows:

  • 2× Consensus All-American (1994, 1995)
  • 3× First-team All-Pac-10 (1993, 1994, 1995)
  • Morris Trophy (1995)
  • Pro Bowl (2004)
  • 2× All-Pro (2003, 2004)
  • 3× Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX)
  • 5× AFC champion (1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007)
  • 2× Ed Block Courage Award (2000, 2005)
  • AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2005)
  • PFWA NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2005)
  • New England Patriots All-2000s Team
  • New England Patriots 50th Anniversary Team
  • College Football Hall of Fame inductee (2013)

Where I sent it:

Tedy Bruschi
c/o ESPN
935 Middle St.
Bristol, CT 06010

Turnaround time: 25 days

Number of cards signed in the set: 4

Finally, I hope that U of A gets the number one seed in the west later today.  They deserve it, they won their conference and the conference tournament, unlike both Virginia and Duke.

“Borrowing” From Topps – 2015 Heritage Cuts – Graig Nettles

FullSizeRender (31)

FullSizeRender (32)

I had to do it.  Actually to be honest most of my designs borrow from Topps’s designs.  This one though is completely torn from this year’s set.  I don’t like the way they did the cut autographs, but I do like the design.  Of course I did do some alterations.  Anywhere there was Topps, I replaced it with Bad Wax.  Before you tattle on me to Topps, just realize that I don’t sell these cards.  They are for my personal collection.  I am first and foremost a cut autograph collector and with the scarcity in these sets, the cost per card is astronomical.  So . . . I make my own damn cards.

As for the player, I won this card off eBay, it does come with JSA certification (for whatever that’s worth), and I purchased it for $9.59 including shipping.  A bit steep but Nettles is a fan favorite and for a signed index card of him, it’s actually not a bad price.  I’ve seen the average run about $14-17 shipped.  As many of you know I am a Yankee fan.  When growing up in the late 70s and early 80s, I had a few favorites.  Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry and Graig Nettles.  Those three were my childhood heroes.  They also command a lot of $$$ for autographs.  I have a Gator autograph already, Munson is beyond my means and the Nettles has eluded me for years.

Nettles is borderline Hall of Fame worthy.  His resume includes six All Star games, two World Series rings, an ALCS MVP award, two time Gold Glove winner, one time AL homerun champ, and most importantly he was captain of the Yanks from 1982-1984.  Things holding him back was his 0.248 batting average and 390 home runs.  If either were higher, he would be in.  Make no bones about it though, he was a 3-5 in the lineup hitter for the majority of his 22 year career.

EloRater Rank: #79, before Billy Williams, A-Rod, and Joe Cronin, but after Ken Boyer, Kenny Lofton and Gary Carter.

Baseball Reference Page: Graig Nettles

Wikipedia Page: Graig Nettles

Cards Number: BWHC-GN

Cards in set: 1

Certified autograph:

2014-Topps-Gypsy-Queen-Autographs-Graig-Nettles-215x300

Rookie card:

69-99bFr

Through the Mail Success – Jim Bunning

FullSizeRender (30)

FullSizeRender (29)

Got this one back mid last week. What an amazing through the mail success.  I love players like Jim Bunning who is widely considered one of the top 50 pitchers of all time, take the time to sign and send back ttm autograph requests.  His career was legendary, two no hitters, including a perfect game. At the time of his retirement he had the second most strikeouts, currently he sits 17th. He appeared in 9 All Star games, he won 17 or more games in eight of his 17 seasons, a three time strikeout champion, and a World Series champion.

If that’s not enough he then led a life of a politician for his home state of Kentucky for the next 30+ years.  Including being a member of the US House of Representatives from 1987 – 1999, and a US Senator from 1999-2011. What an amazing life he has led.   I had decided to make the card of him as a Tiger for a few reasons. First, it’s where he won his most games and second he won a World Series there.  However it should be noted that most people remember him as a Phillie.  I apologize Phillie fans, for taking him away from you, but I had to make the card of him as a Tiger.

Turnaround time: 14 days

Player’s Baseball Reference Page: Jim Bunning

Player’s Wikipedia page: Jim Bunning

Current Number of Cards in the set: 5

Card Number: VC-JB

2015 Sport Kings – Allie Reynolds

FullSizeRender (28)

FullSizeRender (27)

Card Set: 2015 Sport Kings

Subject: Allie Reynolds

Card Number: SK-AR

Cards in the set so far:  8

Baseball-Reference Page: Allie Reynolds

Wikipedia Page: Allie Reynolds

I want to preface this post by saying that Allie Reynolds deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.  What’s sad is that most players that played with him are now dead and he has little or no chance of getting in through the Veteran’s Committee.  He is a six time All Star, became only the second pitcher in MLB history to throw two no hitters in a single season, recorded 11 or more wins in 12 straight seasons, owns a career 182-107 record, and a 7-2 record in the World Series.  The most important aspect of his career though, he became the ace on the Yankees rotation, that they sorely needed to start winning World Series.  In fact, he was on SIX World Series Championship teams! Including five straight from 1945-1953.  Oh and to make it even sweeter, most of this was done AFTER he turned 30.  When I told my dad that I was able to get Allie Reynold’s autograph, he told me straight out, don’t fuck that one up!  In fact I’m starting to believe that Reynolds may have been one of his favorite players from his early years as a baseball fan.  I think I know what he’s getting this year for father’s day!

The issue I had while making this card was simple, Reynolds has a big ass autograph!  I actually did very little trimming on the sides to fit his entire signature in.  I have the same problem with a Charlie Gheringer autograph that at some point I have to turn into a card.  I actually had to clip the end of the “s” in Reynolds and came very close to clipping the “A” in Allie, but was able to avoid that by tilting it a little. So glad I didn’t “fuck this one up”.

Player’s certified autograph:

$T2eC16dHJHEE9ny2sqt8BRWF(Q3V1!~~60_35

Player’s card debut:

front (1)

 

1948 Bowman