Archive for August, 2013

Forgotten Award Winners

Posted on August 30th, 2013 by Matt | Posted in Players

Often the most valuable collectibles are the ones that most other people never thought to pick up. The rarity makes them valuable, and if you are willing to think outside the box you just might end with with a piece that appreciates greatly in value as time goes by. One place to look for just such items is on the list of award winners over the last 30 years in baseball history. These are players that won either an MVP or Cy Young award despite not having the traditionally great career that goes along with those accomplishments. Consider the following four award winners from the last thirty years as good candidates to add to your collection.

1989 NL MVP – Kevin Mitchell – San Francisco Giants

The career of Kevin Mitchell is certainly nothing to sneeze at. He posted a total OPS of .880 from 1984 through 1998. He hit 234 home runs in the major leagues, and got on base at an impressive .360 clip. However, as far as MVP winners go, Mitchell is a step below what you might expect. He only made two all-star games in a 14 year career, those coming in 1989 and 1990. Kevin Mitchell-Giants-Baseball Card

2003 NL Cy Young – Eric Gagne – Los Angeles Dodgers

Closers are a notoriously fickle group – seemingly great one year and lousy the next. Eric Gagne had a longer run of performance than that, putting up three outstanding years as the Dodgers closer where he recorded 52, 55, and 45 saves respectively. However, he would only end up pitching 643 innings in his entire career and would be followed by steroid rumors after his physique dramatically changed from one season to the next. Those who win the Cy Young are often Hall of Fame contenders when they finish their careers, but such is not the case for Gagne who struggled to catch on anywhere around the league after his 2004 season with the Dodgers.

1990 AL Cy Young – Bob Welch – Oakland Athletics

Bob Welch only made two All-Star teams during a productive 17 year career, but one of those years was 1990 and he pulled down a Cy Young award to go with it. Welch had a career ERA of 3.47, which was good but not great in a time of lower scoring games. He was, however, a workhorse, posting a career total of more than 3,000 innings pitched. Considering other Cy Young winners from that time include Roger Clemens, Dennis Eckersley, Bret Saberhagen, and Greg Maddux, Welch doesn’t really fit in with his peers for this award.

2012 NL Cy Young – R.A. Dickey – New York Mets

There may be no more unlikely Cy Young candidate than Dickey, whose career was off track and saw him completely out of baseball in 2007. He resorted to the knuckle ball and found incredible success with the Mets, posting a 2.73 ERA in 2012 and being named the Cy Young award winner. This is his only All Star season to date, and he is currently suffering through the 2013 year with an ERA near 4.50. There is a high likelihood that 2012 will be the only great season in the career of R.A. Dickey, but it is one that many people will never forget.




The Greatest Series of All-Time?

Posted on August 25th, 2013 by Matt | Posted in Games

When you think of the greatest series that have been played in baseball history, your mind probably first goes to the World Series. Certainly there have been many legendary Fall Classics over the years, most recently in 2011 when David Freese and the Cardinals stunned the Rangers when Texas looked to have it all sealed up.

However, despite the World Series being played for the ultimate prize, it can be argued that the first round ALDS in 1995 between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners is the greatest series in baseball history. Between the drama of the games themselves, the players that were on both rosters, and the impact that the outcome would have, this series has it all. Derek Jeter-Rookie-Yankees

Hall-of-Fame Rosters

A quick look at the rosters for the Mariners and Yankees in that series will have you shaking your head in disbelief. On the Seattle side, you would find future Hall of Famers Ken Griffey Jr. and Randy Johnson, should-be HOF’er Edgar Martinez, and would have been HOF’er Alex Rodriguez (if not for drugs and scandals). That doesn’t even mention other outstanding players like Jay Buhner, Norm Charlton, Tino Martinez, and more.

In the Yankee dugout, the groundwork for incredible success was just starting to be laid. On his way out was Don Mattingly, but even more legendary names were just getting their start. Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera would make up the core that would take the next four World Series titles. HOF’er Wade Boggs, John Wetteland, and other notable names also filled out the roster. It is hard to imagine a series of recent vintage with anything close to the star power seen in the 1995 ALDS.

Epic Drama

In a series that went all five games, each game told its own story and had no lack of drama throughout. The Yankees won the first two games in New York, the second on a 15th inning walk-off homer by Jim Leyritz. The series would head back to Seattle with the Mariners need three straight wins to survive. The M’s would get games three and four by three runs each, game four being highlighted by two Edgar Martinez homeruns.

Game five is one of the all-time classic playoff games in baseball history. Looking back on that game today, it is incredible to see all of the legendary players that were involved in one 11-inning contest. After the Yankees scored a run in the top of the 11th off of Randy Johnson, who came on in relief, the Mariners wouldn’t even make an out in the bottom of the inning. A Joey Cora bunt single and a Ken Griffey Jr. single would set the stage for Edgar Martinez, yet again. Jack McDowell hung an 0-1 splitter and the rest is baseball history. Martinez punished it into the left field corner and Griffey stormed home with the game winning run.

A Collection All Its Own

You could easily base an entire memorabilia collection around this one series in 1995 and be doing quite well for yourself. Many of the great players involved were just rookies at this time, and had not yet become the stars we know them as today. Regardless of which side you were on, the 1995 Mariners vs. Yankees ALDS will always be remembered.

Miguel Cabrera – Twice the King?

Posted on August 20th, 2013 by Matt | Posted in Player Photos

It had been 45 years since Carl Yastrzemski and the last Triple Crown to be achieved in baseball when Miguel Cabrera reached the feat for the Detroit Tigers in 2012. Incredibly, he is having an even better season in 2013 and just might reach that staggering mark for the second consecutive year. If he can hit a few more home runs, and get Chris ‘Crush’ Davis to slow down a bit, Cabrera could find himself in even more rarefied air.

With all of the accomplishments that Cabrera has had in Detroit, it is easy to forget that his career started with the then-Florida Marlins a decade ago. While he has always been an impressive hitter, his career didn’t hit another gear until he landed in Motor City. In the last four seasons, he has only had one with an OPS of under 1.000, and that was in the Triple Crown year of 2012 when he posted a .999!Miguel Cabrera-Florida Marlins

What makes Cabrera such a standout at the plate? Well, just about everything. He hits for power to all fields, walks almost as much as he strikes out, and seems to come through in the clutch time after time. It surely doesn’t hurt that he has an excellent supporting cast around him in the Tigers lineup, but Cabrera could hit like a Hall of Famer on an island by himself. Considering that he is only 30 years of age currently, the numbers that he could theoretically end up with might place him as the best right handed hitter of all time. Those are big words, but that is just how good Mr. Cabrera has become in recent years.

The Early Years

In terms of collectibles, it stands to reason that his early days Florida Marlins memorabilia will be the most desired products on the market. In the last few years, Cabrera has been a superstar and his likeness has been everywhere. However, he flew somewhat under the radar with the Marlins even though they won the World Series in his rookie year. Those early cards, autographs, and more could find themselves to be worth a great deal as his career continues to he eventually ends up in Cooperstown.

The Future is Bright

Where will Miguel Cabrera head from here? There is no way to know, but nothing seems impossible for this guy. Could he hit .400 in a full season? That would seem absurd for a man with his kind of raw power, but then again he is hitting a career best .360 at the moment with no signs of slowing down. I wouldn’t bet on a .400 season from Cabrera – but then again, I wouldn’t have bet on back to back Triple Crowns, and that just might happen.

For Miguel Cabrera fans and collectors, finding early years pieces will be the best way to build value in a collection and round out the whole picture of his career. He spent almost five full seasons in Florida before moving on to Detroit, yet his time with the Tigers is what will make him a legend. Make sure to find a good selection of Florida Marlins collectibles to go with your Tigers collection and you will have a Cabrera collection worth bragging about.