Saturday, January 20, 2018

Farewell Randal

The Cardinals traded for Randal Grichuk after the 2013, picking him up from the Angels in exchange for David Freese.  Peter Bourjos and Fernando Salas were in there too.  Most Cardinals fans were excited about the trade.  The Cardinals do not really dabble in speedy players these days, quite a departure from the 1980s teams, so Bourjos was an exciting player, and Grichuk seemed like he was a good prospect with a lot of tools.

The tool most often mentioned with Grichuk upon his arrival in St. Louis was his power.  Well, also he was drafted one spot in front of Mike Trout in the 2009 MLB draft.  As a card collector, I was intrigued.  I sipped the Kool-Aid, dipped my toe into the pool, and picked up a Randal Grichuk autograph.



I had some high hopes for this card.  He was not the cheapest rookie card floating around out there, and if he were on any other team I would have passed on this card by in a second, but for a Cardinals player I was all in.  I am usually really good with buying and passing on Minor Leaguers, I completely missed here.  I was thinking as a fan of the Cardinals and not from the numbers on the stat sheer.

It was easy to get excited about Randal.  He hits home runs.




His first time up with the Cardinals for an extended period of time was in 2015.  He hit 17 home runs in just over 300 at bats.  What's not to love about that?  Sure, he struck out more than 100 times in those 300 at bats, didn't walk, but I was willing to look the other direction a little bit longer.  

Plus, he had even more cool baseball cards.  




That's a nice looking card and it cost way less than my Bowman autograph of him.  I was still feeling pretty good about the prospects of Randal hitting a lot of home runs and becoming a good player.  

Really, he was the same player the entire time.....  




even while he was in the Minors.  

Randal does hit home runs.  Randal does strike out.  That's what he does, that's what he has always done, and it's likely what he is to do when he gets to Toronto.  It's not the worst thing in the world, but at the moment the Cardinals have Tommy Pham, Marcell Ozuna, and Dexter Fowler as starters, with Harrison Bader and Jose Martinez as reserves.  They also have a few good outfield prospects in the high Minors.  

It's right there at the bottom of his stat sheet on Baseball Reference where they average out what Randal would do in a 162 games....


which seems to perfectly match what the numbers above say Randal has done during his time with the Cardinals.  

Which brings me to one more baseball card.  

I feel like this has happened before in the past with Shelby Miller.  As I recall with Shelby, I was watching a card that I wanted on Ebay, the seller had an autograph of the former Cardinals pitcher with no bids, so I typed in something just above the minimum $0.99 bid.  I won the card.  By the time it got to my mailbox, he was traded.  

So, earlier this week I was mailing out a few cards to people on Twitter.  Cleaning out the closet, take my cards kind of stuff.  Sometimes people mail me stuff back, but since I am trying to lessen the number of cards in my collection I usually try to discourage this practice. 

Welp, I had someone insist that they had a card with my name on it and it was just one card.  You already know who it is....




I must say that this is a really nice card.  Five Star cards are always quality and this is actually the Grichuk card that I am most likely to keep in the long run.  On card signature, thick card stock, cool picture of Randal with his well groomed facial hair.  It's nicer than my other two Grichuk autographs.  The card showed up Thursday and he was traded Friday, which is a better story than the other two cards.  Not sure if it's even that great of a story.  

Anyway, farewell Randal. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Current Cardinal, Former Cardinal, Bay Area Teams.

Just two random baseball cards for this evening.  Just clearing a few things off of my desk.  The Cardinals have had a quiet offseason compared to what the fan base was really hoping to see this winter.  The trade for Marcell Ozuna was nice, but seems to be the only splashy move the team is going to make in an effort to catch the Cubs.

The team also traded Stephen Piscotty, but that was because the outfield is really crowded and he has some things going on off the field that would be better dealt playing close to home with the A's.


Hope he does well with the A's next season.  

In the meantime, the trade gave me two new players to track down.  One of the players is Max Schrock, who is from Raleigh, and the other is Yairo Munoz.  I will do something with Schrock at some point, but Munoz actaully has some really nice cards floating around.  I picked up my first, a Bowman autograph, recently in a trade from a fellow collector.  




Munoz made it all the way up to Triple A last year with the A's and showed a little more pop in his bat than in he did in previous seasons in the lower Minors.  He had 13 home runs, 26 doubles, 4 triples, 68 RBIs, and 22 steals.  Not a great walk rate, but he's still just 22.  Really inexpensive card, good one to hold on to for awhile.  Let's hope he shows up at Busch Stadium sometime in the near future.  

Last card for tonight is a childhood favorite that I picked up in the same trade.  Just an interesting card that was sitting in someone's photo album.  Did not have to give up too much in trade for this Jack Clark autograph......




Always liked these Upper Deck Trilogy cards which were put out in 2005.  It's actually a sticker autograph, boo, but you can barely tell it's a sticker autograph when you scan the card.  Yes!  When you look at it in person it's clearly a sticker autograph.  Did I mention that this card didn't cost me very much in trade?  It lessened my Cubs cards if nothing else.  

This is actually my second Clark autograph out of this set.  I also have the version with the relic pieces on the bottom.  Tiny, tiny relics.  




This was several scanners ago thankfully.  This version of Clark's autograph is signed on card, which means it will probably remain my favorite Giants card of Jack Clark.  Overall, a pretty nice pair of cards for my Cardinals collection.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

One Odd Pig

There has been a recent craze in the Minor Leagues with goofy/ridiculous team nicknames.  It's always been there to some degree, but recently it feels like teams are just trying to one up each other with the bizarre and unusual.

RailRiders?  Baby Cakes?  Jumbo Shrimp?  Sigh.  

There is one goofy nicknamed Minor League team that I have some appreciation for.......




The Iron Pigs replaced the Ottawa Lynx in the International League in 2008.  They have been the Phillies Triple A team for their entire run over the last 10 years.  

What makes this "unique" nicknamed team more acceptable than teams like the Baby Cakes?  

There are so many places I could go here.  I think my favorite thing about the Iron Pigs has to be their uniforms.  If you are intrigued with the team you can go check out their Twitter pages, one of them is at @PorkCenter, or the teams various mascots, racing and non-racing, which are borderline scary.  

Back to the uniforms.  You can find all of these on their webpage.  There are the standard unis which you can frequently see the team wear if you follow along with Triple A baseball......


Pretty standard looking uniform.  There is obviously a road grey version, and an alternate blue with the word "Pigs" written across the front in a cursive like script, but with a name like the Iron Pigs you know there is also going to be something goofy.  

There most well known is the Bacon USA jersey.....


I believe that this was the team's first sort of "different" uniform.  It might have actually started with just the bacon hat though.  I didn't do a ton of research on this post.  You're welcome to comment at the bottom if you know the answer.  

Which brings me to some of their uniforms which have more of a fun take on something that has to do with the Phillies, again their parent club.

My two favorites are their powder blue alternate jerseys....


 


which are a variation on the 1980s Phillies powder blue road uniforms.  This is how I remember the Phillies looking when I first started watching baseball.

If you prefer something older, I also like their take on the Whiz Kids......



which is a play on the 1950s Phillies teams and the city of Philadelphia's love of cheese steak sandwiches.  Not a huge fan of the cheese-wiz variations, but they are fine for the sake of making this alternate uniform a winner.

Again, goofy name, but I like that they can draw on some history.

All of this brings me to my latest Minor League baseball card.  Obviously it's an Iron Pigs card.  It's a little bit of an oddball too.  I think I have been here with a Topps Heritage Minors coin card before.....




I like the front of the card with the picture of Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford donning an Iron Pigs jersey.  Crawford is a pretty intriguing prospect and pretty enjoyable to watch.  The whole coin/card thing has become a standard feature in many of the different Topps sets, all of those things are a positive.

Which brings me to the oddness of "Cubs Break The Bank" above J.P. Crawford's name on the bottom of the card.

This is a Phillies card?  Excuse me, Iron Pigs?  Right?



Wrong.

It appears that the card, I should have posted yesterday so it would be on the date on the card, is actually all about two Cubs players signing a contract before the 1967 season.  One of the players is an outfielder, one is a third baseman, and J.P. Crawford is a shortstop.

I am failing to see how Crawford, Billy Williams, and Ron Santo have anything to do with each other.  It wasn't an expensive card, and since I wanted an Iron Pigs card, I am going to go ahead and ignore all of the Cubs names on the card.

Perhaps someone at Topps was watching that episode of Cheers where Cliff goes on Jeopardy.  Great episode and perhaps the only thing that these three baseball players have in common......




Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Post About Cats

I am really not a cat person.  I had pets as a kid, but they were all dogs.  I could handle having a dog as a pet now, but my wife does not do well with pet fur, or dander, so we currently have a pet fish for my seven year old.

This is Ben.  He's a Beta.



So much easier to care for than a cat, or a dog.  

Unfortunately, I still have to deal with cats on a nearly daily basis at work.  You may say, if you are a long time reader, don't you work at a school as a teacher?  How are there cats at a school?  Great question.  I would be happy to answer.  


This is the view from my window of my classroom.  There are at least three cats in this picture.  One is on top of the trash can and two are next to the trash can.  The picture is also a year old, so I can tell you that there are actually more cats that hang out at this picnic shelter.  I do not have any recent pictures though, I shut my blinds when the cats are outside this year.

Last year's class didn't care about the cats.  This year's class cares a lot about the cats.

The school I work at is in the middle of a subdivision on one side.  Pretty cool for the kids who live there and they can just walk down the street and be at school.  The other side of the school has a bunch of random houses.  One of them is a wiener dog breeder.  Another one of the houses has a ton of pets, including outdoor cats that come over to the school during the day.




Regrettably, a co-worker last year decided that feeding the cats would be a good idea.  Now, it seems like we are stuck with the cats.




There is only one kind of cat that I really like.  Not really a cat, just a basketball player who has the nickname "Cat", but he uses it in place of his real first name.  He has basketball cards, which say Anthony Barber, but that's just not right.

He just signs Cat.




This is my newest Cat Barber card.  I have posted two other cards on here over the past few months.  I am slowly building up a small collection of his cards as the slowly get cheaper.  I was never quite sure why they were sort of expensive, $20 or so, in the first place.  The last time I checked Cat was prowling the floor over in Italy for Brindisi.  It's on the heel of the boot.  

He has been out of school for two years, but was a very talented point guard for three years at NC State.  Very quick player, very fast.  He is from the Hampton/Tidewater area of Virginia and spent most of his college career getting compared to Allen Iverson.  



So, a quick review.......

Cat.  



Scratches stuff, smells funny, pees in a box.  Not a good pet, or good to have roaming around work.   


Cat.  


Shifty, elusive, and very quick.  Good basketball player.


Stray Cats.





I like this song, even if it's about the smelly cats.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

I Love The 1990s Cardinals Part 18 - Geronimo Pena

Maybe you've heard of Geronimo Pena, maybe you haven't.  He was a Cardinals second base prospect in the early 1990s after the team gutted away most of the WhiteyBall era players like Vince Coleman, Willie McGee, and Terry Pendleton.  Pena was supposed to be a part of a group of young talented players that were going to be teamed up with Ozzie Smith to make the Cardinals a competitive team again.

I think that Geronimo Pena's place in the world of 1990s prospects can best be demonstrated by his appearance on the Cardinals 1993 Upper Deck team card.




Bernard Gilkey and Ray Lankford had established themselves as everyday players by the time that this card was put out in 1993.  Both outfielders showed talent that made Cardinals fans believe that they could eventually be All-Star level players.  Pena had that sort of potential too, but he just didn't stay on the field long enough to show it for more than a half season.

Pena's injuries included:


  • 1989 Spring Training - Broken wrist on a hit by pitch 
  • 1992 Spring Training - Broken collarbone by stepping on his own glove 
  • 1992 Regular Season - Nerve injury in shoulder 
  • 1993 Regular Season - Broken foot on a foul ball 
  • 1994 Regular Season - Broken elbow hit by pitch 
  • 1995 Regular Season - Hamstring pull on ground rule double 

Cardinals manager Joe Torre best summarized Geronimo Pena in 1995 when he said:

"That's been the question about him, can he stay healthy?  We don't know that.  He never has.  But you keep looking at his ability and you say you hope he does.  We're still doing that."

So, how talented was Geronimo Pena as a player?  

In his first season, in 1991, the Cardinals had Pena split time at second base with Jose Oquendo.  When you look at his overall numbers, he was a replacement level player, but Pena really had two separate seasons in that year.  During the first half of the year Pena hit just .222/.297/.333 with only 7 extra base hits in 102 plate appearances.  During the second half of 1991 Pena hit .263/.345/.463. 

 Just for reference, Ryne Sandberg won the Silver Slugger Award in the National League that season amongst National League second baseman.  His Slugging Percentage for the season was .483.  Sandberg was in the prime of his career at that point, Pena was a rookie, so for him to be within 20 points was a positive.   

Which brings us to 1992.  Geronimo Pena only played 62 games that season, but it might have been the only season, outside of 1991, where he played a long stretch of games without missing multiple months during the middle of the season.  The two month stretch of healthy Geronimo Pena hit .305/.386/.478 with 7 home runs, 12 doubles, 31 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases.  Pretty nice numbers, that if he could have maintained over the course of a season, could have earned him some more recognition.  Maybe an All-Star Game appearance at the least.  

Unfortunately, during the next three seasons the Cardinals could not keep Pena on the field.  He was released by the Cardinals after the 1995 season.  He ended up signing with the Indians, but only was able to play in 5 games during the 1996 season.  

You get the point, on to baseball cards.  

Pena was a pretty good prospect which means he got some pretty nice cards.  My favorite Geronimo Pena card will always be the 1993 Upper Deck Cardinals team card at the top of the post.  I know he's the least successful player on the card, but given his level of play while healthy, I cannot help but think that the person who made that card thought they were making the first of many cards that would have Geronimo Pena and Ozzie Smith together.  The Cardinals really wanted that to be their middle infield in the early and mid 1990s.  

Second favorite.  




His 1993 Upper Deck base card.  I like the action shot of him hitting.  The photo on the back of the card is nice too.....



Pena was a switch hitter and I like that they have him batting righty on the front of the card and lefty on the back.  I actually prefer the picture on the back of the card a bit.  Wrigley always makes a nice backdrop on baseball cards.  The top looks like Riverfront in Cincinnati.  Hello, cookie cutter.  

Last card is another action shot.  



Nice base running photo.  

Pena could steal bases, although the Cardinals did a lot less running once Joe Torre started managing the team.  In 1987, while he was in A Ball, Pena had an 80 steal season.  He definitely had some good speed.  

The back of the card is nice too.  


Again, another base running photo.  I like the backs of these Leaf cards from the early and mid 1990s.  The stadium picture is probably a little dated for 1994, but it's still nice to see the Busch Stadium where I grew up watching games.  The arches around the top were very distinct, and while the Arch view is better in the new version of Busch, it was still there if you were sitting in the infield. 

Not sure exactly what Geronimo is up to these days, but his son is a sophomore on the baseball team at the University of Maine.  




Saturday, January 6, 2018

Project Durham Bulls #27 - James Houser



2009 Durham Bulls 


Background- 
Houser was a 2nd Round Draft Pick of the Devil Rays in 2003 after winning "Mr. Baseball" in the state of Florida as a high school senior.  He spent a few seasons in the lower Minors before reaching the Bulls in Triple A during the 2009 season.  Houser was mainly used as a starter with the Bulls recording a 4-5 record with a 5.16 ERA.  While he appeared in a total of 18 games for the Bulls, he did not make it the whole season with the team.  The Rays released him on August 2, 2009 to make room on their 40 man roster.  Houser ended up on the Marlins the following season in 2010.  He spent the majority of the season with their Triple A affiliate in New Orleans, but did get into one game in the Majors that season.  He pitched in relief of Nate Robertson in an Interleague game against the Orioles.  In all, he pitched one and one-third innings and gave up three earned runs, all on a Miguel Tejada home run.  



To be fair to Houser the home run landed in the first row at Camden Yards, which means it would have been 10 feet short of the wall in any other park.  He should probably have a 0.00 career ERA.  Most likely.  

Card- 
Houser never appeared in any Baseball America or Prospectus prospect rankings, but someone thought highly of him because he has a decent number of baseball cards.  He is in almost of the Bowman products between 2003 and 2005, along with a few other random Topps sets and Upper Deck Prospect Premiers.  Since I was looking for an autograph for this post, I stayed away from his Upper Deck, which is a sticker, and went with one of his Bowman cards.  Houser cards are not hard to find, and not expensive, so I went with the first really cheap autographed card of his that I could find.  I really do like this card though.  The 2004 Bowman cards were really nice and I have a few other autographs out of this set that I enjoy.  

Thursday, January 4, 2018

If I Had A Hall Of Fame Ballot...

I do one of these posts every year, so let's look at this year's Hall of Fame ballot.  There are 33 former Major League players on this year's edition of the ballot.  Every voter can put a maximum of 10 on their ballot.  If I had an actual ballot, not just a blogger site, I would work backwards from 33, eliminate 23 players, and have 10 Hall worthy players at the end.

So, let's start getting rid of those 23.  

1.  Brad Lidge 
2.  Isringhausen 
3.  Aubrey Huff
4.  Hideki Matsui
5.  Kerry Wood 
6.  Billy Wagner  

Let's pause at Billy Wagner for a second.  He was a great relief pitcher for the Astros, Phillies, and Mets.  Threw really hard, struck a ton of people out, was everything that you'd want out of a closer.  He never really gets any love for the Hall of Fame like Trevor Hoffman does even though their WAR, WAR7, and JAWS are basically identical.  Between the two, Wagner actually has a better ERA+, more strikeouts, and a better K/9 ratio.  Hoffman has saves.  That's it.  One stat.  

7.  Trevor Hoffman  

Since it will probably cause a stir, here is a Trevor Hoffman baseball card.  Not sorry.  






















8. Carlos Lee
9. Kevin Millwood 
10. Orlando Hudson 
11. Livan Hernandez 
12. Chris Carpenter 

Which gets me a little more than half way to 23.  I will take a pause here at Chris Carpenter to say I wish he had stayed healthier during his career.  Carp had Hall of Fame type seasons, but just not enough of them to get my vote.  






















13.  Zambrano 
14. Omar Vizquel  

I could probably list a dozen shortstops, whose careers intersected with Vizquel's career, who are better than Vizquel.  Let's try.

Vizquel played from 1989 through 2012.

Ozzie Smith, Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell, Tony Fernandez, Cal Ripken, ARod, Jeter, Nomar, Jimmy Rollins, Tulo, Miguel Tejada, and Andrelton Simmons.

I know that there are people who always talk about Vizquel as being a Hall of Famer, but I simply do not see it.  Not to say that Vizquel was not an excellent fielder during the prime of his career.


15. Jamie Moyer 
16. Johan Santana 
17. Fred McGriff 
18. Jeff Kent 
19. Johnny Damon 

Which brings us to the point where I actually have to start making some hard decisions.  

20.  Andruw Jones 

Jones had a great career and was a very good player on one of his generations best teams.   He has more than 400 home runs, almost 400 doubles, more than 150 steals, and 10 Gold Gloves.  I liked Andruw Jones a lot.  He was a fun player to watch, but I have always thought he was in the second tier of center fielders from the 1990s and early 2000s behind players like Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Edmonds, and Kenny Lofton.  Andruw gets a baseball card in the post.  Also a former Durham Bulls player, but not a Hall of Famer.  






















21.  Gary Sheffield 

I could possibly support Sheffield being in the Hall of Fame, but there are 10 players on the ballot this year who are better than him.  500 home runs, 250 steals, and almost 3,000 hits are all nice numbers.  So many good right fielders from the 1990s/early 2000s on this year's ballot (Sosa, Guerrero, Sheffield, and Walker).  

Sheff gets a baseball card.   





















22.   Sammy Sosa 

There might be a point at which I might put Sosa in my Top 10.  I am not against him being in the Hall of Fame, but he's not one of the ten best players on the ballot.  In fact, it always surprises me when I go and look at his numbers how he is not actually a complete slam dunk.   As a Cardinals fan, I remember Sammy well and have a great appreciation for his good years.  My biggest problems with Sosa are the fact that he wasn't as good as people think he was before he started hitting all of the home runs and once he started hitting home runs he lost a lot of his other positive attributes.  He walked less and less, ran the bases less and less, and did not field as well.  

Sammy can have a baseball card and I will bunny hop during a kickball game at work between now and the end of the school year.  

















Sammy's autograph should be in the Hall of Fame.

23. Mike Mussina

I like Mussina and I would like to vote for Mussina.  However, there are more than 10 players on the ballot who belong in Cooperstown.  It makes it really hard to figure out who should get votes and who should be skipped over for another year.  In a perfect world, there would be 10, or fewer, deserving Hall of Famers on the ballot and I could give players like Mussina, Sheffield, and Sosa a little more love.  As for Mussina, he pitched his entire career in the tough N.L. East, in offensive ballparks, and all he did was win.  He ended his career at 270 wins and was at 2,800 Ks.  I know those are both short of the slam dunk 300 wins and 3000 strikeouts, but he's really close. I hate arbitrary numbers too.  His metrics are in line with Tom Glavine and Nolan Ryan, so I say put him in.  Well, if I had more than 10 votes.

Moose gets a baseball card.























Which brings us to the Hall of Famers, or at least in my opinion.  I am going to go the opposite direction on the 10 players I would vote for, assuming that I had a ballot, from most deserving to least deserving.  Some of my slam dunks don't have a lot of explanation, my later choices have a bit of salesmanship.  My Hall of Famers are......


1.  Barry Bonds 

The Hall of Fame is not a Hall of Morals.  There are plenty of players in Cooperstown with all sorts of flaws.  I do not care about steroids, perjury, or anything else that you think Barry Bonds did wrong over the years.  He's supposedly not the friendliest person and I could care less.  Here is what I do know about Barry Bonds..... He's the best player that I ever watched in person.  700 home runs, 500 steals, the single season home run record, and a career slugging percentage north of .600.  I would vote for Barry Bonds any year that he's on the ballot.  End of story.
















2.  Roger Clemens 

350 wins, 4,500 strikeouts, and two World Series rings makes Roger Clemens another shoe-in for the Hall of Fame.  Why is he not in yet?  Not sure he's the best pitcher I ever saw in person, but I am not sure that the old guy who pitched for the Astros was the best version of Roger Clemens.  Still a very very good player.

















3.  Chipper Jones 

Should easily be the second Durham Bulls player to get into the Hall of Fame behind Astros/Reds/Phillies/A's second baseman Joe Morgan.  Chipper had more than 450 career home runs, 500 doubles, and 2,700 career hits.  One of the beset third baseman I have ever seen in person.  I know the Braves went to the playoffs every year for the first decade of his career, winning only 1 World Series in 1995, but he did a lot of damage in the Postseason too.  In roughly 300 career postseason at bats Jones hit 13 home runs, 18 doubles, drove in 47 runs, and had a .287/.409/.456 slash line.  Put him in. 
























4.  Curt Schilling 

3000 strikeouts and a great Postseason resume.  I know the 216 wins bother a lot of people, but lets not forget that he spent a long time playing for some pretty bad teams.  He won more games in the 8 years he pitched for the Diamondbacks and Red Sox, good teams, than the 12 years he pitched for the Phillies, Orioles, and Astros.  Schilling has got an 11-2 Postseason record with a World Series Co-MVP in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.   Again, I am not voting on morals.






















5.  Jim Thome 

600 home runs with a .276/.402/.554 slash line.  Pretty hard to argue against 600 home runs, does not matter whether he hit them as a first baseman or a DH.  Thome is a pretty one dimensional player, which I have no problem voting for if they are really good at what they do.  Thome had 9 seasons with more than 35 home runs with a high of 52 in 2002 with the Indians.  That's a lot of dingers.  I know he's second all-time in strikeouts just under Reggie Jackson for the all-time mark, but that list is littered with modern players.  Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds, Jose Canseco, etc.  Put him in.





















6.  Larry Walker 

Larry Walker was one of the best all-around players of the 1990s.  I know the phrase "5-Tool Player" gets tossed around fairly often, but Walker was an actual good example.  He won three batting titles in a four year stretch starting in 1998, led the National League in home runs in 1997 with 49, had several seasons with more than 20 steals, and frequently registered double digit assist totals as a right fielder for the Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals.  The biggest problem with Walker's Hall of Fame resume is counting numbers.  He's barely above 2,000 hits, even though he's got almost at 1,000 walks, only got 383 home runs, and 471 doubles.  A lot of his metric numbers are actually really close to Reggie Jackson's totals, Walker has 72.6 career WAR versus 73.8 for Jackson.  Walker has a career OPS+ of 141.  Jackson finished his career at 139.  The biggest difference between the two players is that Jackson played 2,820 games and Walker player 1,989 games.  Almost 1,000 games difference there.  If you compare Walker and Jackson's slash line, Walker has an advantage in every category.  Walker has .313/.400/.565 and Jackson has .262/.356/.490.  You don't like Coors?  Great.  Larry Walker, on the Expos, hit .281/.357/.483, or right in line with Reggie Jackson.
















7.  Scott Rolen 

Rolen has some of the same problems as Larry Walker with longevity.  Plus, there were two halves of his career:  There was the player who played for the Phillies and a three and half years for the Cardinals before he messed up his shoulder and there was the Scott Rolen who played two seasons with the Cardinals after messing up his shoulder, had a brief stop over with the Blue Jays, and finished his career with the Reds.  If you just look at the end of his Cardinals career, the year and a half with the Blue Jays, and the final four years with the Reds you would have a hard time putting him into the Hall of Fame.  However, his 1996 season through the middle of 2005 were worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.  He won the Rookie of the Year in 1997 with the Phillies and posted a .282/.373/.504 mark with the team in five full season with 150 home runs, 200 plus doubles, and 500 RBIs.  That's about 30 home runs a season, 40 doubles, and 100 RBIs.  His first few seasons on the Cardinals were also Hall worthy with his best season coming in 2004.  He was probably the third best Cardinals player on the team that year with 34 home runs, 32 doubles, 124 RBIs, and a slash line of .314/.409/.598.  Again, his counting numbers do not match up to players like George Brett, Adrian Beltre, Mike Schmidt, and Chipper Jones, but everything else is right there.  I know there is a good chance he's going to be done after one year on the ballot and that stinks.


















8.  Manny Ramirez 

I know there were steroid issues with Manny, he failed drug tests, and a lot of people think he's a really weird guy.  I can go with weird, but he could hit the baseball.  I know there are a lot of baseball fans who credit Thome and Roberto Alomar with being the players who really made the 1990s Indians teams good, but Manny was the best player on those teams and it's not even close.  So, here is what Manny has going for him: He hit more than 500 home runs, had more than 500 doubles, 2,500 hits with 1,300 walks, and a .312/.411/.585 slash line.  There are not a lot of modern left fielders in the Hall of Fame, and the ones who are there are very good (Rickey Henderson, Bonds should be), so it's somewhat hard to look at Manny in that same class.  He's not that good, but still a Hall of Famer.  He fits in well with Willie Stargell with slightly better counting numbers and a high batting average.

Plus rookie cards photos were taken on Duke's campus.






















9. Edgar Martinez 

How did Frank Thomas get in the Hall of Fame so fast, but Edgar Martinez is still hanging out on the ballot?  500 doubles, 300 home runs, and a .312/.418/.515 slash line.  He walked more than he struck out over an 18 year career.  He won two American League batting titles.  Yes, he spent most of his career as a designated hitter on the Mariners.  Yes, he spent the prime of his career playing in the shadows of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Randy Johnson.  Being the fourth best player on your team still sometimes means that you are a Hall of Famer.  I've seen several comparisons of Edgar and Harold Baines, not a Hall of Famer, but very good.  Edgar is a lot better than Baines.  I go back to Frank Thomas from the top of the blurb.   He's actually a little different player than the aforementioned Frank Thomas, less power, but great ability to get on-base, hit for average, and drive the ball.  Edgar's were doubles, Frank's were home runs.  Edgar is a Hall of Famer.






















10.  Vladimir Guerrero 

Last one is a little tougher sell than some of the other players on my list whom I put in, and those I would like to put in.  It actually looks like Vlad has a really good chance of making it sooner than later, which also makes some of the doubt with Larry Walker and Scott Rolen a bit of a head scratcher.  So, here goes.  Guerrero spent most of his career playing for the Expos and Angels.  He ended his career with almost 450 home runs, almost 500 doubles, and a .318/.379/.553 slash line.  Vlad did win an MVP with the Angels in 2004, but didn't win a batting title, career high was .337 with four seasons above .330, or significant statistical category at any point during his career.  His  numbers though were always very good.  His OPS+ has him as an above average player every single season he played full-time in the Majors save for his final year with the Orioles.  I like WAR, which doesn't make Vald seem like a slam dunk, but his OPS+ does measure up well with Hall of Famers, or players who belong in the Hall.  With an OPS+ of 140 he's in line with Reggie Jackson, Larry Walker, and Gary Sheffield and slightly ahead of Tony Gwynn, Roberto Clemente, Dave Winfield and Al Kaline.