Let's dive into this week's page and see which cards I chose to represent some of our more recent inductees into Cooperstown.
1990 Topps, #336 -- Ken Griffey, Jr.
Ken Griffey, Jr. is noted for having the sweetest swing of his generation. He was a tremendously gifted athlete and known for robbing sluggers of potential home runs. Griffey was elected to thirteen All-Star games, and he collected ten Gold Gloves and seven Silver Sluggers during his career. He won the AL MVP in 1995 when he helped carry Seattle to the post season for the first time in franchise history. The Kid finished his career with 630 homers, 2,781 hits and a 0.284 batting average. If he could have stayed healthy during the latter part of his career Griffey would have easily topped 3,000 hits and 700 round trippers.
1993 Donruss - Diamond Kings, #15 -- Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza might be known as the best slugging catcher of all-time. 396 of Piazza's career 427 home runs came as a catcher, which rank him #1 at the position. Piazza put together a six year stretch during the beginning of his career where he averaged 33 homers and 100+ RBI while batting 0.335. Those are some ridiculous numbers coming from any position player, let alone a backstop. Piazza, the 1993 Rookie of the Year, was a twelve-time All-Star and he earned ten Silver Slugger awards. He finished his career with 2,127 hits, a 0.308 batting average and an OPS of 0.922
1991 Donruss - The Rookies, #30 -- Jeff Bagwell
Jeff Bagwell's name the first thing that pops into my head is that weird crouch of a batting stance of his. It may have been different, but it provided results. Bagwell was the Rookie of the Year in 1991 and the MVP in 1994, when he had a slugging percentage of 0.750. He only played fifteen years, and if he would have stuck around a few more years his career home run total of 449 probably would have reached 500. Bagwell, part of the Killer B's in Houston, was twice a 30-30 performer and he finished his career with 202 steals and 0.297 batting average.
1982 Topps, #70 -- Tim Raines
Tim Raines, for my money, was an underrated ball player during his prime. There have been only a few ball players who could boast such numbers during their career and Rock Raines just happened to be playing north of the border when Rickey Henderson was starring in the Big Apple. Everyone talks about Rickey, but Raines, during his first seven seasons was as dynamic as any offensive player in the game. The switch hitter hit 0.310 with a 0.396 OBP and averaged 72 steals during that seven year stretch. Overall, he was a seven-time All-Star, a Silver Slugger recipient and he won the NL batting title in 1986. Raines finished his career with 2,605 hits, 170 homers and a 0.294 batting average.
1992 Topps, #78 -- Ivan Rodriguez
Ivan Rodriguez was a fourteen-time All-Star, an MVP in 1999, and he collected seven Silver Slugger awards. Pudge hit 311 homers and batted 0.296 for his career, but it was his defense that I remember best. He could block pitches, call a great game and handle a pitching staff . . . but that arm. Man, that arm. Rodriguez would send rockets down to any of the three bags, without warning, from his knees. In all, he threw out 46% of all would-be-base-stealers and he claimed thirteen Gold Gloves. He was truly a special talent.
1997 Topps, #5 -- Vladimir Guerrero
My favorite card on the page this week is the 1997 Topps Vlad Guerrero. Sure, it's a posed shot, but it's so unique. Plus, a smiling Vlad for the win! Now, if I had an '89 UD Griffey, then that would surely be my favorite, but I've never broke down and bought one.
The '90 Topps Griffey and the '92 Topps Rodriguez both sport the Rookie Cup, which I'm partial to. Honestly, if I had nothing but Rookie Cup cards on any given page I think I would be okay with it. The Donruss Bagwell serves as a nice nod to the many boxed sets from the '90s and I'm glad to finally add a Diamond King to the binder. Throw in a Tim Raines card where he's wearing the powder blue road Expos uniform and I think this page is truly a winner!
Thanks for stopping by this week!