Wednesday, August 28, 2019

HOF Binder: Page 33

Today we get to finish off the big thirteen player induction class from 2006. Plus, as a bonus, we'll take a look at half of the 2007 class!

No Card -- José Méndez
José Méndez is recognized as the first Cuban born baseball star during the Pre-Negro League era. Although he never played in Major League Baseball, he pitched a number of exhibition games against some of the best pitchers of the Dead Ball Ear, including Christy Mathewson, and always compared favorably well, and in many cases he bested his opponent. Méndez, a wiry pitcher, was known for changing speeds, but he also possessed a hard fastball and a sharp curve. It is said that he was "Walter Johnson and Grover Alexander" rolled into one.

2018 Gavin's Neglected Hall of Famer Custom Set, #13 -- Louis Santop
 Louis Santop, who first starred in the Pre-Negro Leagues is said to be the first big superstar and one of the first great Negro League sluggers. Standing at 6'4", the catcher was nicknamed Big Bertha, after a large piece of German heavy artillery. A bit of a showman, Santop would put on a power display during batting practice by hitting tape measure blasts. It was said he would sometimes call his shot during live play and before the game he would show off his arm by throwing a ball from home plate over the center field fence.

1982 Donruss, #372 -- Bruce Sutter
 Bruce Sutter pitched for twelve years in the majors and recorded 300 saves during that span. The six-time All-Star lead the league in saves five times, won a Cy Young award with the Cubs in 1979, and helped the Cardinals to a World Series in 1982. Sutter was one of the dominate relievers in baseball during the late 70's and early 80's. For what it's worth, Sutter now comes in tied with Jason Isringhausen for 28th on the all-time saves list.
Fun stuff: My favorite memory of Sutter is from the Sandberg Game!
If I recall correctly, Willie McGee was named the Player of the Game before Sandberg hit the first homer and Bob Costas was in the middle of reading the names of the production crew when Sutter gave up the second homer. Baseball is a funny game.

1986 Larry Fritsch Negro League Baseball Stars, #115 -- Mule Suttles
 Mule Suttles played in the Negro Leagues for twenty-three seasons as a first baseman and outfielded. He was a soft-spoken gent who was just as talented as Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, but because he didn't seek out the limelight he was often overlooked by the press despite having a career average of 0.325 and prodigious power.

2018 Gavin's Neglected Hall of Famer Custom Set, #10 -- Ben Taylor
 Ben Taylor's career lasted twenty-two years and he is remembered as great teacher of the game and for exhibiting a scientific approach on the field. A career 0.300 hitter, Taylor would hit to all fields and execute the hit-and-run to perfection. He was known as "Old Reliable" for his slick glove work at first base as well as being a tremendous clutch hitter.

2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions, #137 -- Cristobal Torriente
 Cristobal Torriente was once given the moniker "The Black Babe Ruth" because he out-performed the Babe in Cuba during a nine game barnstorming series. Torriente, a Cuban, was a five-tool player who patrolled center fielder. He was known for hitting in the high 0.300's and swatting dramatic home runs to all fields. Torriente dabbled with pitching and according to the incomplete stats in he won twenty-one games during his career. A former manager of his in the Negro Leagues once said, "If I should see Torriente walking up the other side of the street, I would say ‘There walks a ballclub.'"

1994 Ted Williams Card Co., #116 -- Jud Wilson
 Jud Wilson, served in World War I, and then took to battle on the ball fields of the Negro and Cuban Winter Leagues. He was known as a fiery competitor who had just as much power as Josh Gibson, but he was more of a line drive hitter who would easily blast balls off the walls for doubles. Wilson, a third baseman, owned a career average north of 0.350 in the Negro Leagues and better than 0.370 in winter ball. He had a reputation throughout baseball, which can be summed up in this manner, "There were no pitchers who wanted to face him and few umpires that wanted to call ball and strikes for him."

1985 Topps, #660 -- Tony Gwynn
Tony Gwynn, or Mr. Padre, played twenty seasons and racked up 3,141 hits during his career. Gwynn went to fifteen All-Star games, won eight batting titles and was awarded seven Silver Sluggers. The strike shortened season of 1994 still bothers me for two reasons: 1. missing out on the Expos (74-40 record) in the post season and 2. Tony Gwynn may have hit 0.400.  Gwynn finished his career as a 0.338 hitter and never struck out more than 40 times in a season.
Here's one of my favorite tweets of all-time:
Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs are probably the two best contact hitters I've been fortunate enough to watch play during my lifetime.

Gavin's wonderful customs aside, my favorite card on this page is the 1985 Topps Tony Gwynn. I absolutely love the gold and brown color scheme the Padres used to sport on a regular basis. Plus, flip-down sunglasses for the win!

For the record, José Méndez has a card in the 2014 Goodwin Champions set, but I just haven't secured a copy yet. Sooner or later I'll make my way to Sportlots and place one in my cart.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Great page, former Brave in Sutter, shame Gwynn tore my Braves up back in the day. 2 more sneak a peek customs too.

  2. This set is so cool- I am sorry (not that sorry) but I will be stealing this idea. It's been so fun to see which cards you're picking (when there's an option). I bet it has been a blast to put it together! Don't know if I'll post mine or if/when I will finish it, but I am grateful for the idea.

    1. I can't take credit here. I stole the idea from Red Cardboard.

  3. This was quite an interesting page. Love the Sutter even if he's on the Cardinals and not the Cubs, but my favorite card would have to be that '85 Topps Gwynn.

  4. Gwynn and Boggs were the best contact hitters I've ever seen too... although I'm not positive I actually saw Boggs play in person. If I take him out of the equation... I'd throw Ichiro into his spot. That guy could put the ball into play whenever he wanted in his prime.

    Btw... any idea who ended up winning the Cubs/Cardinals game?

    1. The Cubs won it on a Dave Owen pinch-hit single in the bottom of the 11th.