1973 Topps Mike Schmidt
Schmidt has always been a pretty popular player collect across the hobby. One of the most feared hitters of the 70s and 80s and a class act. Schmidt earned a good following, not only with Phillies fans, but across the hobby with fans across baseball. As a Cardinals fan, I remember Schmidt being one of the first autographs I added to my collection in the late 90s when I started to really get into finding certified autographs.
I am not a huge fan of Schmidt's rookie card. Ron Cey is okay. John Hilton? Hmmm. As cool as the 70s and 80s prospect cards were to collectors something about them always bothered me about these cards when they would include a really scrubby player. It's not like these cards were like the Bowman cards of today and Topps was projecting players out from Rookie League and A Ball. Topps has done several reprints of this card in Topps Archives sets and they always cut off Cey and Hilton.
The coolest thing about Schmidt in my opinion is his autograph. Schmidt is one of those guys who takes a lot of pride in what he signs and how he signs it. Take five minutes on Ebay to scroll through some Mike Schmidt autographs and you will be hard pressed to find one that is the least bit shaky. In fact, Schmidt spent a little bit of time last year blasting modern players for their poor and hard to read signatures. Here's a look at one of his autographs.
2002 Topps Team Legends Mike Schmidt Autograph
On The Field Impact-
As stated earlier, Schmidt was the most feared power hitter of the seventies and eighties. The Phillies third baseman won a total of 8 home run crowns during his eighteen year career. His totals for his home run titles were as low as 31 in the strike shorted 1981 season and as high as 48 in 1980 on the way to helping the Phillies win their first World Series. While it seems commonplace for power hitters to slug thirty home runs out in a season nowadays, Schmidt hit his thirty home runs when the number was still an impressive plateau.
In fact, when Schmidt hit his 500th home run the feat had only been accomplished a dozen times. The size of the 500 home run club doubled after Schmidt's retirement. Besides the home runs, Schmitty also picked up ten Gold Glove awards and also managed to snag three MVP awards. The JAWS rating system has him rated as the best third baseman of all-time. Here's a look at Schmidt's sweet home run swing on the final dinger of his career.
This is my well loved 1977 Topps Mike Schmidt card. It's always been my favorite Mike Schmidt card. I remember seeing Schmidt play when I was a kid, but he was an old guy by that point. The prime of Schmidt's career really happened when I was probably a little bit too young to remember much about him. Despite being a little too young, I think this card gives a good picture of Schmidt in his prime. The shaggy air, cool 70s mustache. I dig the powder blue Phillies uniform with the cool bi-centenntianal patch and zipper. I think the Phillies were the only team to wear uniforms with zippers. Maybe. The batting gloves are also clearly from yesteryear and the bat is an older style Rawlings Power Stick with the color ring much lower. I am pretty sure this card was taken in Shea Stadium, powder blues were road jerseys, and the background shows a triple deck on the stadium. Really cool card in my opinion.