Tuesday, July 28, 2015

From Hometown to Hall of Fame

As we all know, the baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony was last Sunday.  One of the new inductees is a personal favorite of mine- John Smoltz.  Why? Mostly because he is a local kid who made it good.  I currently live walking distance from his old high school in Lansing, Michigan.

Smoltz was committed to play baseball(and likely walk on in basketball) at my alma mater-Michigan State University before the Detroit Tigers signed him away.  Here is his first professional card for the 1986 Lakeland Tigers. One of the few minor league cards that I own.

Of course Smoltz was a part of one of the most infamous trades in Tiger history.  Trading the pitching prospect for a veteran starter during the pennant race of 1987.  Doyle Alexander did well going 9-0 for the eventual division champs but giving up a future Hall of Famer for a veteran pitcher is hard to swallow for Tiger fans.  I realize if he stayed with Detroit , he may not have end up in Cooperstown.  The Braves had the coaching and team that helped him succeed. Here is first "rookie card". His only card from 1988.
1988 Fleer Update

Soon after debuting from Atlanta, Smoltz came back home and did a fund raising autograph show at his old junior high.  I got him to sign his 1989 fleer rookie card.

My last Smoltz card I will feature today is from my final year collection.  I collect cards from players when they retire.  The cards must be issued when their careers just ended and show their entire career stats on back.  Here is John Smoltz as a ..ugh...Cardinal.
2010 Topps 

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Vintage of the Vintages

I have been a baseball fan and baseball card collector for many years.  I have always enjoyed learning about the Hall of Famers and other players who made their mark on the national pastime.  As a collector, I take the same approach.  I try to get one card of every Hall of Famer (preferably one from their playing days-when feasible) and other stars.   I also try to get cards from various popular sets that are a part of the baseball card history.  It could be your mainstream modern stuff, oldies but goodies, food issues or regional releases.

I always wanted a card from the old tobacco or Cracker Jack sets.  But trying to get a decent one has always seemed impossible.  Hall of Famers are out of my price range.  I never really wanted to get a player where even the die hard fans would say "who is he?".
As a Tiger fan and with their all star cast of starting pitchers of recent years.  A name that I didn't really know kept getting mentioned when a milestone or record was broken or about be- George Mullin.

Mullin pitched for the Tigers from 1902 to 1913.  He was basically the ace of the staff from Detroit's first World Series teams(1907-09).  He had a big league record of 228-196 with an ERA of 2.82.  Mullin led the league with wins in 1909 with 29 and authored the first ever no hitter in Tiger history in 1912.  Mullin was even good hitter, so much so that he once pitch hit for Ty Cobb.
Obviously I found my guy to get and now I found my card on EBay.

1911 T205 Gold Border.  I received it in the mail this week.   It isn't in the best of shape, but still is pleasing to the eye.  Was looking for one with no major creases or paper loss. No writing on or pin holes.  Overall I think it is nice card to say I own from the dead ball era.