Tag Archives: baseball

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?

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

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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:

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Rookie card:

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2015 Sport Kings – Allie Reynolds

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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:

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Player’s card debut:

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1948 Bowman

Sport Kings Cut Autograph – Johnny Sain

Spahn and Sain and Pray For Rain

By: Gerald V. Hern

First we’ll use Spahn
then we’ll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

That poem was written by Boston Post’s Sports editor Gerald Hern in 1948.  I found it while doing some research for this post.  Part of the fun of making these cards is finding some of what I like to call the hidden gems of baseball history.  Some of you who love baseball as much as I do, know who Johnny Sain is, but for the rest of you who have no idea, I’ll try and fill you in.

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He was just one of those dominant pitchers of the mid fifties, but thanks to his participation in World War II,  the world never really got to see just how good he could have been.  He made it to the majors in 1942, then lost three seasons to just military service from 1943-45. He would have been 25-27 during those seasons.  As many of you know, that’s when pitchers usually start to peak.  Instead his career really started in 1946 when he went 20-14 with a 2.21 ERA with the Boston Braves.  He would end up with a career 139 wins over 11 seasons.  He even switched to a reliever later in his career and led the league in saves one season as a Yankee.  He remained on the Hall of Fame ballot until 1975 but never got more than 34% of the vote.

After his playing career, he became one of the most successful pitching coaches in baseball history.  He coached the A’s, Yankees, Twins, Tigers, White Sox and Braves from 1959-1986.  He finished with six World Series rings, three as a player and three as a coach. Three All Star appearances and the 1948 The Sporting News NL Player of the Year award.  I feel as though if he had those military years back, he would have been a Hall of Fame player.

Card Number: SK-JS

Number of cards in the set: 8

Player’s Wikipedia page: Johnny Sain

Player’s Baseball Reference page: Johnny Sain

Player’s certified autograph:

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Player’s Rookie Card:

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1948 Bowman

Multiple Through The Mail Successes – Cory Snyder / John Cappelletti

Cory Snyder

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This one I chased after, even though it doesn’t fit into my personal collection profile of All Stars and Hall of Famers.  It doesn’t even matter though because it’s Cory Freaking Snyder.  Anyone from the 80s knows why this autograph is awesome!  Snyder is from the heyday of my childhood collecting.  I still have north of 50 of his cards, and I will probably not get rid of them.  He has long since left the sport and the value of those cards will remain at a constant 50 cents a piece (a full dollar less than I paid for them), but I can’t let them go.  He was my first prospecting card.  After Mark McGwire’s cards went through the roof, I started gobbling up those beautiful orange and blue cards, Shane Mack, John Marzano, and Odibie McDowell.  I couldn’t get enough of them, they were going to be my college education.

In the end though, they all became good players, but not super stars and certainly not Hall of Fame members.  Cory Snyder is a reminder to me, never fall for prospecting, ever!  One out of a thousand prospects turns into a star, an even smaller percentage become superstars and a minuscule amount become Hall of Famers.  Just ask all those Dice-K collectors.  Still, this autograph will be among my favorite in the collection. It will go right up there with Kevin Elster’s when I get that one back.

John Cappelletti

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Before there was Reggie Bush / Darren McFaddon / Adrian Peterson, there was John Cappelletti.  I know you’re all like who? Here is a list of awards won during his senior year (1973) at Penn State, Heisman, Maxwell, Walter Camp, Chic Harley, UPI Player of the Year, and first team All American.  He was the 11th overall pick of the 1974 NFL Draft.  Joe Paterno once said that of all the players he has ever coached, Cappelletti was his favorite.  He was one of the best college players of all time and in 1993 he was inducted into the College football Hall of Fame.

He had a decent NFL career, nothing spectacular.  He played for the Rams and the Chargers, never amassing more than 700 yards in any one season.  His NFL career is not why I went after his autograph, it was his college play.  Growing up in NJ, you hear of all the great PSU players and I always knew about Cappelletti as one of the best running backs in PSU history and that’s saying a lot since for years it was known as Running Back U.

Both of these autographs are special to me since they bring me back to my childhood.  I’m so happy to have gotten a chance to get a through the mail success with either of these guys, and yes if they would have asked for a donation to their charity, I would have done it in a heartbeat!  In fact if either is reading this now, email me using the envelop in the top left corner of my site and tell me your favorite charity to donate to.

Their Autographs

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Their Rookie Cards

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New Through The Mail Design – 1987 Topps Future Stars Mini

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During my snow days the past week, I had some time to create a new through the mail mini heritage card.  Since I am a child of the 80s, and I have unwrapped many, many 1987 wax, one of my all time favorite designs was the 1987 Topps Baseball Future Stars.  I needed to do a TTM card for that set and as you can see (or might have seen on Twitter), I knocked it out of the park!

The hardest part was finding the right wood grain nfor the front of the card.  As good a match as I had, I still don’t think I did a great job with matching colors, but it’s good enough that you won’t give it a second glance.  The Future Stars logo was lifted from a 1987 Topps Tiffany BJ Surhoff card.  The back was traced from the same card (although shrunk to fit a 2 inch tall card).

I wanted a card that I could send to minor league guys.  I’ve always enjoyed collecting cards of guys in the minors. In the above case I made one of local (for me) Duke player Michael Matuella.  He is probably the best pitching prospect in college right now.  Most publications pick him as the top college player.  Overall the front and back came out great.  I wanted to put a team logo on there somehow, and while not on the front of the card, the back of the card is good enough.  Although the color of the Duke logo and the color of the back blue is the same in real life, my goal is to use that color for other logos placed on the back as well.  I plan on making a few of these to send out to college and minor league players.  Usually I try to stick with the team USA aspect, however I am open to try and collect any player.

Let me know what you think of this one….

Hall of Fame Cuts – Johnny Bench

 

Set: Sport Kings Cut Autographs

Card Number: SK-JB

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This one is awesome.  I set my spending limit on acquiring autographs to a total of $10 shipped.  So that severely limits who I can afford.  I’m not going to be able to snag a Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth.  Also I can forget about contemporaries like Cal Ripken, Kirby Puckett or even Roberto Alomar.  Which is why when a cut Johnny Bench came up on my low end I was shocked.  I watched this one for six days.  I knew it was not pristine, so I figured it would stay low.  In the final 15 minutes it went from $3.50 to $7.50 and in the end I said screw it, set my bid to $15 and crossed my fingers.  I actually won it for $8.25 but with $3.25 shipping (which is ridiculous by the way), pushed it to $11.50 a little above what I set at my limit, but i’m ok with it because it’s Johnny freaking Bench!

I have a stack of cards that need to be made into cut autographs but when this one arrived, I processed it through quickly!  The cut itself is slightly creased, and quite old from the yellowing of the paper.  Looks to be cut from a program is my guess.  I could have gone with the Vintage Cuts design, which had a full boarder but I thought it would look so much better without the side boarders, so I opted for the Sport Kings look and I think it came out looking quite good.  I am actually shocked at how cheap I got this one for.  In reality it should have gone north of $12, as that’s just how rare his cut autograph (not as a card) is going for.  When I originally showed this on Facebook, I got an offer for $40.  I didn’t take it because I don’t think I could replace it much cheaper than that.

As for my total Baseball Hall of Fame totals:

I am now at 5 of 310, a very, very long way to go!

For reference, here is a picture of a certified Johnny Bench autograph:

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Of course I have to put on his rookie card:

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