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?
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
Card Number: VC-AP
Card Subject: Clarence “Ace” Parker
Ebay link: Cut autograph
Football Reference Link: FR Link
Player information: Living in Durham, NC, the hometown college is Duke University. There aren’t a whole lot of football players coming out of Duke and being elected to the Hall of Fame. However if you go back far enough (to the 1930’s) you’ll come across an amazing individual, Ace Parker. Not only was he a great football player in the pre-passing world of football, but he also played professional baseball, and became the head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Duke. From there he became the Durham Bulls (minor league baseball) manager before his retirement. He along with Bobby Doerr were the last living players ever to appear on the same field with the likes of Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby. He is also the only member of the Football Hall of Fame to survive to be over 100 years old. This card was signed at an event I attended in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. The signature was easy enough to fit inside the window, the hardest part of this card was finding the logo for his old football team. I went with the Tigers, only because I couldn’t find what the old Brooklyn Dodgers football team’s logo looked like.
What the original signature looked like:
Image of a certified autograph:
Image of one of his cards: