The first thing I notice about this page is there are only four different card designs out of the eight cards. Ugh.
Second on my list are the names. Combs, Haines, Bancroft, Beckley, Hafey, Hooper and Kelley aren't exactly the names I think of when I picture Cooperstown. All seven of these players were elected by the Veterans Committee to the Hall of Game in either 1970 or 1971. Honestly, I don't know if any of them make it by today's standards.
1998 Fleer - Legends of the Game, #5 -- Lou Boudreau
Lou Boudreau, a slick fielding shortstop, went to eight All-Star games and earned MVP votes in ten different seasons. He played fifteen seasons, thirteen with Cleveland, and was a 0.295 hitter with a 0.380 OBP. Boudreau won a batting title in 1944 and the MVP and World Series in 1948. Of the eight players in today's post, Boudreau is only one I could name off the top of my head.
1992 Conlon, #583 -- Earle Combs
Earle Combs, a career 0.325 hitter, played only twelve seasons, all of them with the Yankees, from 1924 to 1935. He was part of three World Championship teams and earned MVP consideration in two separate seasons. He was part of the 1927 Yankees' Murderers Row as the everyday center fielder. That season he lead the AL in plate appearances (726), at-bats (648), hits (231) and triples (23). He also scored 137 runs, walked 62 times to only 31 strikeouts and hit 0.356. Combs was third on the team that year in WAR behind Ruth and Gehrig.
1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #118 -- Jesse Haines
Jesse Haines' career lasted nineteen seasons and he collected 210 wins while posting a 3.64 ERA. He toiled in the minors for six years, pitched in one game for the Reds in 1918 at age 24, and then pitched for the Cardinals exclusively from 1920 to 1937. His best season was in 1927 when posted a 24-10 record, a 2.72 ERA and lead the league with twenty-four complete games and ten shutouts. He is the only Cardinal to play for each of the franchise's first five NL pennant winning teams. Jesse "Pop" Haines pitched until he was 43.
1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #119 -- Dave Bancroft
Dave Bancroft, a 5'9" shortstop, played for the Phillies, New York Giants, Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Robins from 1915 to 1930. He won two World Series titles with the Giants and was a career hitter of 0.279, but he had a career OPS under the league average and accumulated over 40 errors per season over the length of his career. In fact, he had 62 errors in 1922 when the Giants won their second straight championship. Baseballrefence.com compares him to Ozzie Guillen. Nothing against Ozzie, who had a fine career, but he was not a Hall of Fame caliber player.
1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #120 -- Jake Beckley
Jake Beckley played twenty seasons in the Major Leagues from 1888 to 1907. The first baseman played a majority of his career with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati while amassing 2,938 hits and a 0.308 batting average. In five consecutive seasons he laced exactly 19 triples!
1992 Conlon, #657 -- Chick Hafey
Chick Hafey won two World Series with the Cardinals, earned one trip to the All-Star Game, and won one batting title. Hafey was a career 0.317 hitter with some good pop in his bat, but he only played 100+ games in seven of his thirteen big league seasons. He finished with 1,466 hits and 164 homers, which are far cries from the magical 3,000 and 500 plateaus. Baseballreference.com likens him to Mike Greenwell.
2018 Panini Diamond Kings, #8 -- Harry Hooper
Harry Hooper was the right fielder for four Red Sox World Championship teams in the early part of the twentieth century. He once topped the league in sacrifice hits and garnered MVP votes in two separate seasons, but he was a career 0.281 hitter with a little pop. Baseballreference.com compares him to Willie McGee, minus McGee's MVP and batting title.
1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals, #123 -- Joe Kelley
Joe Kelley was a career 0.317 hitter over a 17 year career for the Orioles, Reds and Brooklyn Superbas. He started out as an outfielder, but moved into more of a super utility role during the second half of his career. Kelley logged five seasons in the Top 10 in home runs and once lead the league with 87 stolen bases. In 1894, at age 22, he batted 0.393 and his on-base percentage was a cool 0.502 in over 600 plate appearances.
How many players, besides Boudreau, would you put in The Hall of Fame? Beckley because he was so close to 3,00 hits? Combs because he was so dominant during his short twelve year career? Joe Kelley because he was a solid contributor during the Dead Ball Era?
My favorite card from this page is easily the Lou Boudreau card. The 1998 Fleer Legends of the Game set only makes one appearance in my HOF Binder and the horizontal card of Boudreau fielding is a treat.
Thanks for stopping by this week. I'll see if I can't get some more star power lined up for next Wednesday!