Struggling to figure out which 2019 Bowman Chrome prospects to watch out for? Looking for a few potential sleepers this year? We have complied together a list of 10 prospects in the 2019 Bowman Draft product. This list contains everything from first round draft picks to potential sleepers that you may not know about, yet.
1. Adley Rutschman (Orioles) – With being the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, the top spot obviously had to go to Adley. The 6 foot 2, 216-pound catcher from Oregon State was a great pick up for the Baltimore Orioles. With only playing in 37 minor league games in 2019, he blasted 4 home runs, had 26 RBIs’ and added 33 hits. He also caught a combined no-hitter, so he is not lacking on the defensive end either.
2. Greg Jones (Rays)- This may be the most unique player in the draft. Jones is a switch-hitting shortstop that will most likely trend towards being a centerfielder. He is extremely athletic and puts that on display when running the bases as he took him 19 stolen bases in only 48 minor league games. He batted for an average of .335 and an OPS of .874. One thing that he will need to work out his striking out. He totaled 56 strikeouts.
3. Hunter Bishop (Giants)- Drafted 10th overall, Hunter brings in a ton of power batting from the left side of the plate. He is the younger brother of the Seattle Mariners prospect, Braden Bishop. Hunter stands at 6 5’ 210lbs which helped him tally 22 home runs his final season at Arizona State University. He is listed as an outfielder, but his home is centerfield.
4. Braden Shewmake (Braves)- Shewmake is not going to win the eye appeal, but he is going to be a fantastic shortstop for the Atlanta Braves. Unlike the other guys we have named, Braden does not have the big-time power bat. However, in 65 minor league games he was able to keep a .300 batting average, bat in 40 runs and total 74 hits. This kid knows how to hit without power.
5. Josh Jung (Rangers)- A very talented 3rd baseman out of Texas Tech had an outstanding batting average of .316 over the course of his 2019 minor league games (42 games, 2 teams). Jung is a great balance between an all-or-nothing player and all-around good player which makes him a safe bet to someday be a solid pro.
6. Riley Greene (Tigers)- Although drafted 5th overall by the Detroit Tigers, Greene fell on our list simply due age. At 19 years old, it could be awhile before we see him play any Major League Baseball. However, he did have an average to above-average minor league season with a .271 batting average, 60 hits and a .749 OPS. If you’re okay with waiting a few years, Greene is one to watch.
7. Rece Hinds (Reds)- Rece was a mid-2nd round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds out of IMG Academy. He suffered a quad injury early in the season which limited him to only playing in 3 minor league games. With only being one year out of High School this type of injury should not worry potential Rece Hinds investors. He has plenty of pop in his bat and should put that on display this upcoming season.
8. Matthew Lugo (Red Sox)- A late 2nd round draft-pick out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, Lugo has endless potential. He is only 18 years old and has shown to have a very strong arm at shortstop. Although not a power hitter, he did post a decent .257 batting average in his 41 minor league games.
9. Tyler Callihan (Reds)- A potential sleeper in the draft, Callihan has shown to have a bright future. With 57 games played in the minors last year, we got a good sample size of what Tyler has to offer. He posted a .263 batting average, .422 slugging percentage an added 6 home runs. He still needs to develop the power which he was scouted to have in High School, but at age 19, he has plenty of time to mold himself.
10. Peyton Burdick (Marlins)- Another sleeper in the draft, Burdick fell to the Miami Marlins in the late 3rd round but has already shown to the other MLB GMs’ that they missed out. Burdick played in 69 minor league games and hit a modest 11 home runs, .308 batting average, .407 OBP and a slugging percentage of .542. These are eye popping numbers for someone to fall almost to the 4th round. Expect to see Peyton in the Majors sooner than later.
(Editor’s Note: With the end of the calendar year approaching, we like to take a moment on the COMC Blog to look back at some of our favorite and most memorable posts of the year. Topps Living Set is still going strong, and card #300 should come our way on February 5th, 2020 if the three cards per week model that TLS has utilized since it’s inception stays true. Rest assured we’ll be back in a few months with our favorites from 201-300!)
Last year Topps surprised the trading card industry with a unique one-of-a-kind set like no other produced before. The baseball card set was called ‘The Living Set‘, and each week three new trading cards would be released and sold only online for a seven day span. Once that window was over, the cards would never again be printed. Players could only be featured in the set one time per team they’ve played for, and the set would feature rookies, veterans, and legends. Produced entirely using the artwork of legendary sports card artist Mayumi Seto, the set is stylized after the iconic 1953 Topps baseball design.
The set started off extremely strong with Aaron Judge (Print Run 13,256) earning the coveted first card in the set. The set was overall met with optimism and speculation, as many of the key rookie cards in the set produced huge print runs, such as Ronald Acuna Jr. (PR: 46,809) and Gleyber Torres (PR: 28,550). While superstars, rookies, and hall of fame players still generate large numbers (such as #200 Mike Trout with a print run of 22,017), the set has come back to earth in weeks, with most print runs hovering in the 3000 range.
COMC Communications Manager James Good and Senior Business Analyst Grant Wescott each own a copy of the full set from #1 to #200 and counting. Some 30 plus weeks ago, we asked them to talk about the set and give their 10 favorite cards from the first 100 in the set. You can read that blog here. With the set now surpassing 200 cards, we’ve asked them to chime in with their 10 favorite cards from #101 – 200.
Grant Wescott (In no particular order)
Topps Living Set Card #200 – Mike Trout – Print Run: 22017
Topps has historically saved round numbers on many of their checklists for the very best in the game. Remember Babe Ruth at #100? I don’t think there was much doubt leading into the card #200 release day who would be featured on it.
Topps Living Set Card #193 – Ken Griffey Jr. – Print Run: 8369
Beautiful card of my all-time favorite player. That swing never gets old.
Topps Living Set Card #180 – Nelson Cruz – Print Run: 3581
The Nellie you see on this card is the Nellie you see in every game he plays, defying multiple laws of nature while wearing a grin.
Topps Living Set Card #173 – Fernando Tatis Jr – Print Run: 10099
One milestone for any young professional baseball player is
when they get to see their first Topps card. There has to be a little extra
appreciation from this 20 year old star when that card happens to be such an
amazing hand-drawn portrait.
Topps Living Set Card #154 – Stan Musial – Print Run: 4575
One of baseball’s good guys, Stan the Man was famous for making people happy both on and off the field.
Topps Living Set Card #132 – Daniel Mengden – Print Run: 3250
Topps Living Set has seen a few errors along the way, but none so blatant as the Rollie Fingers wrong name error (I kid).
Topps Living Set Card #127 – Kris Bryant – Print Run: 5361
A striking image of Kris Bryant, who appears is now back to his 2016 MVP form.
Topps Living Set Card #192 – Wade Davis – Print Run: 2605
Nick Markakis famously held the long-standing record for low print run since week 2 of TLS with 2,678 copies. That is, until Howie Kendrick came along at card #183 with 2,633 copies. That is, until just a few weeks later when Wade Davis set the new low with this card. As someone who plans to buy the set forever, it’s kind of fun to watch my complete set become even rarer.
Topps Living Set Card #109 – Nolan Arenado – Print Run: 4065
Artist Mayumi Seto captured some big emotion on this one. Arenado is one of the elite players in the game today, yet for some reason still a bit overlooked in the hobby. I love this card.
Checklist Card 1-100 & 101-200 – Print Run: 4393
I’m going a little off script here because 1) these are two
cards, not one, and 2) they aren’t technically part of the set. Doesn’t matter.
I was more excited than I had reason to be when these were released. I’ve never
checked a single box on a checklist. I’m not about to start now. Why does this
make me happy?
James Good (Ranked in order of favorites)
Topps Living Set Card #193 – Ken Griffey Jr. – Print Run: 8369
There was no other pick for me. Griffey was an unexpected surprise at #193, and tops my list as my favorite TLS card in the entire set, surpassing Babe Ruth (#100) and Mitch Haniger (#54) in my top 3. That iconic Jr. smile is infectious.
Topps Living Set Card #179 – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Print Run: 27749
This was clearly a landmark card for Topps and Seto, so I’m guessing that she had plenty of time to work on this portrait. It clearly shows in the photo-realism of Vladdy Jr.’s first true Topps RC. The level of detail of this card, especially when it’s in-hand, is unreal. The hat logo, the hair, the Nike swoosh logo. I’ll take this card all day long over his first flagship Topps RC in series 2.
Topps Living Set Card #200 – Mike Trout – Print Run: 22017
We all knew that Mike Trout was going to be #200, and the card delivered exactly what we wanted, and what the set needed. The huge print run was a shot in the arm to TLS at the right time.
Topps Living Set Card #127 – Kris Bryant – Print Run: 5361
I love the sideways glance of Bryant in this card. The Cubbies deep blue jersey is among my favorite jerseys of all-time, so I might be a bit partial here.
Topps Living Set Card #156 – Ryon Healy – Print Run: 2765
Healy has a lot of critics here in Seattle, but I’ve been a big support since the day we traded for him. This card that broke a 102 card drought for the Mariners in Topps Living Set and also captured Healy’s positive personality and his professed enjoyment for the game the baseball so very well. It’s a shame he’s dealing with spinal stenosis, the same ailment that shortened the career of fellow 3B David Wright.
Topps Living Set Card #136 – Mariano Rivera – Print Run: 8945
The timing of this card was impeccable – right after Mariano became the first player to unanimously be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the first year eligible.
Topps Living Set Card #118 – Nolan Ryan – Print Run: 6745
Ryan’s career spanned the course of 4 different decades. Ask 10 different fans about Ryan, and you might get 10 different memories. My earliest memories as a fan of the game were of ‘The Ryan Express’ as a non-nonsense 40-something fireballin’ Texan. This card brings me back to all those early 90’s junk wax cards of him that helped kick start my passion for the hobby.
Topps Living Set Card #178 – Xander Bogaerts – Print Run: 3776
I’m not much of a Red Sox fan. Correction, I slightly despise most Boston-area teams (Ya’ll aren’t the underdogs, ever, just stop). But I love this card of Bogaerts. Again, the artwork on this card when it’s in-hand truly makes me appreciate the card so much more.
Topps Living Set Card #106 – Cal Ripken Jr. – Print Run: 6423
Similar to my memories of Nolan Ryan, I best remember Cal Ripken Jr. during his iron man stretch, with the gray hairs on the sides of his head becoming more prominent each year. That said, I love the throwback artwork on this card, and the white Orioles cap really seals the deal.
Topps Living Set Card #121 – Buster Posey – Print Run: 3990
Catchers get the short end of the baseball bat when it comes to trading cards, often depicted wearing their full gear. This card steps away from that, giving us an excellent portrait of Buster that shows a side of him that few cards have. Now let me get on my soapbox…
Buster Posey is one of the most underappreciated players of this era. Even Giants fans will credit the team’s three World Series in six years to their stellar pitching, pointing to Madison Bumgarner, and I don’t disagree. But who do you think called all those games behind the plate? Three Rings, Four Silver Sluggers, 2010 ROY, a Gold Glove, and a Batting Title later, I can’t wait until Cooperstown calls for Buster Posey.
We’re 200+ cards into the set, and yet there are so many players who haven’t earned a spot into the coveted Living Set yet. Who do you want to see in the next 100 cards? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have ever spent any time in waiting rooms, the odds are pretty good the television station was playing HGTV. The reason is pretty simple: these programs are designed to appeal to everyone, and have no political or religious viewpoints which might upset some of the patients or guests waiting.
Recently, the house which was used for the Brady Bunch series was purchased by that network, and all the living members of the cast have reunited as part of a series titled: “A Very Brady Renovation”. I should point out there is no mention if Cousin Oliver is going to show up near the end of the production.
But what this really proves to all of us is that we still long for the memories of seeing what appeared to be a perfect family, which for years was part of the pre-cable world, and seemingly always in reruns somewhere on our daily television dial. We do have the memories of the original show, just as we’re also fortunate to have our memories from the sports world (some of which were kept and are still available) of our youth.
Growing up in the New York Metropolitan area in the 1970’s, we were always enthralled by the exploits of the New York Yankees and seemingly everyone in the organization, including the boisterous owner, George M. Steinbrenner. Since the Yankees were one of the best teams of baseball from 1976-81, and had all those personalities, let’s take a look back at some of the fun we had in New York in those days.
Here’s some footage of George Steinbrenner in the early days, including the introductory press conferences. Look how uncomfortable Mike Burke, the previous Yankees head honcho is during Steinbrenner’s speech.
For the next couple of decades Steinbrenner continued to be embroiled in controversy, and was actually suspended from baseball twice in his first two decades as the Yankees owner. The first time was for improper political donations, and the second was when Steinbrenner was involved in a scandal where he was trying to dig up dirt on Hall of Famer Dave Winfield. Here is some audio of John Sterling, who has been a Yankees announcer for the past 30 years (albeit, he took some much deserved time off this year) breaking the news of the 1990 decision.
Of course, 1990 was such a fine season for the Yankees that Andy Hawkins pitched a no-hitter (at least according to the rules of the time) and lost on an error by Jesse Barfield. But I digress.
Although Steinbrenner hired and fired managers like a grandparent handing out cookies, the manager who kept recurring in the first 15 years of his rule was Billy Martin. Now, there might have never been anyone who loved being a Yankee more than Martin, and how he put up with indignities big and small to keep in George’s good graces was legendary. Billy had plenty of his issues, as he never met a punch he did not like to throw, or a drink he could pass up. That combo led to some interesting experiences and interesting publicized stories. Without delving too far into details, let’s just say Billy enjoyed the not-so-quiet night life and debauchery a little too much.
So instead of writing of such events on this blog, here is a newspaper account of some of the Yankees highlights of his off-field exploits. This does not even mention the barroom fight he got in with Baseball in 1969 while managing the Minnesota Twins.
Billy;s favorite player protagonist was Reggie Jackson, the Hall of Famer who played on many post-season teams during his career. One of the myriad quotes Reggie came up with was “If I played in New York they’d name a candy bar after me“.
Well after some twists and turns that we’ll get to later on, Reggie hit 3 homers in the final game of the 1977 World Series, and by the next opening day the Reggie candy bar was created. Having had some of those back in the day (no, it did not unwrap itself and tell you how great it was), I can assure you that it was perfectly edible, but a not great chocolate bar. In my opinion, the Pro Set Puck Chocolate was actually better, but that’s a different argument for a different day.
And now for some of the bumps along the way that Reggie faced on his way to hitting those 3 famous World Series homers. First was this infamous quote in a Sport Magazine article released a couple of months into the season. This was in a pre-social-media world where newspapers and magazines mattered just as much as the modern day facebook and twitter.
You can imagine just how well that statement went over in the Yankees clubhouse, especially since Thurman Munson was coming off an MVP season in 1976, and was a beloved figure with both teammates and fans. Supposedly by the end of the season, Reggie’s only person he could really turn to was Fran Healy. Healy was able to parlay his positive presence for all concerned to a 40-year post-playing career working in the New York area as a baseball personage.
And of course, there was some playing drama on the field in both 1977-78. There was this famous incident where Billy Martin wanted to fight Reggie in the dugout because Reggie did not apparently hustle after this ball in the outfield.
But at the end of the season all was forgiven after 1977 World Series game 6.
If you have ever seen the footage of the game, note the top of the 9th inning. The fans are actually sitting on the fence waiting to jump on the field and celebrate/riot after the final out. Thankfully, no baseball came close to the fence, so what could have been a real disaster never occurred.
The next season Billy and Reggie had round 2. Billy got so worked up over everything that he uttered this famous line one night: “One’s a born liar and the other one is convicted.”
Yes, seemingly we can use that line about politicians then and still today, but calling your owner “convicted” is a pretty good way not to be working in the near future. So Billy got let go, but the fan reason was so anti-Steinbrenner that a few days later at old-timers day this event occurred:
The ovation lasted a long time and is still remembered as of the seminal moments of that era. Here are clips of some of the other famous late 1970’s moments:
No, Chris Chambliss never touched home plate, but under those circumstances who was going to take away the homer!
And I love to tease my Red Sox friends about this one:
Bill White’s understated call is still great to hear. “Deep to Left”.
Sadly the next year, the Yankees lost Thurman Munson in a tragic plane crash in 1979. Jerry Narron told us at a SABR meeting that having to catch in that game was the hardest and most emotional game he ever participated in his life.
A year earlier Munson had hit this massive homer in the American League Championship Series. He was broken down, and every bone in his body was hurting, but he had that one great moment left:
A few games later the final out of the World Series was this play:
Looking back over 40 years, we can’t even imagine all the sub-plots which the Yankees were involved with. This became the theme for the Bronx in 1977. On top of everything else, New York City was having major issues in the 1970’s:
The Bronx was indeed burning, and the Son of Sam was shooting innocent people:
And in 1976 the Daily News had this unforgettable headline:
And we had songs written about those pre-1970 older days in NY City:
When I first heard this Simon and Garfunkel song I understood the importance to both singers, because of the break-up they had a few years earlier. Listen to the wonderful lyrics of Paul Simon and this song, which was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals studio.
This was the only top 40 single for Cashman and West, who were better known as Jim Croce’s producers in those days. In case you didn’t know, Cashman is the same Terry Cashman who recorded Talking Baseball just in time for the 1981 season.
And with that, we’ll always remember baseball is part of our life today, it was part of our life in the 1970’s and 80’s, and it was part of our life even before any of us were born.
Earlier this year we introduced you to our latest iteration of fantasy sports meets trading card collecting concept when we presented our 2019 Topps Opening Day Fantasy Pack Team. If you missed that blog, you can check it out here and learn about this fun and unique way to play fantasy sports using packs of trading cards! Today we want to share with you how our team did now that the 2019 MLB regular season has concluded.
If you remembered how scoring works, or read the blog linked
above, you’d know that points are calculated as WINS. The ultimate goal of the game
is to have more wins than the other players in your league if you’re playing
with friends. If you’re playing alone, the goal is to have more wins than any
team in the Major Leagues this season.
Hitting Scoring Every 40 runs = +1 win Every 15 Home Runs = +1 win Every 15 Stolen Bases = +1 win Every 30 RBI’s = +1 win Every 50 walks = +1 win
Pitching Scoring: Every 5 Wins = +3 Wins Every 5 losses = -1 Win Every 5 Saves = +1 Win Every 75 Strikeouts = +1 Win
All in all, our team put up a total of 122 wins, which is six wins above the all-time record of 116 set by the 2001 Seattle Mariners. Our win total is a little bit inflated thanks to the stellar performances of Verlander and Cole, as well as our team being stacked with top-tier talent on rookie contracts. For that reason, in future years, we’ll propose a rule to the salary cap where all players on a rookie contract will automatically be bumped to $5 million.
We know that some readers of the COMC Blog were also playing along at home. How did your teams
do this season? Did you beat us? If you weren’t playing along, have you found a
different way to turn your trading card
collecting experience into a game? We want to hear about it! Drop a comment
below and let us know!
Over the course of our 12 plus year existence, we’ve seen A LOT of cards. In many cases, we first saw a superstar’s cards long before they became a household name. As a result, this lends itself to some pretty hilarious completed sales in our historical sales history. Whether these buyers are cardboard Nostradamus’s, or simply happened to pick up a card before it’s value skyrocketed into oblivion, one thing is for sure: they got a crazy good deal!
We’ve scoured our sales data and are ready to unleash our next wave of cards that make for some pretty good laughs. We don’t need to talk up the greatness of Ronald Acuna Jr. If you’ve been following baseball at all, you know that the 21 year old is on a meteoric rise to super stardom. At this point the only question is whether or not his rookie cards will reach Trout-esque levels in the next 2-3 years!
Let’s get right into how silly the trading card industry can be with just a little bit of hindsight:
A great debate in our hobby will always rage about non-original Bowman Chrome parallels. Whether you like ‘Shimmers’ or hate them, we can all agree that for $145 this Gold Shimmer numbered to 50 copies of Acuna’s first Bowman Chrome would be an absolute steal present day. BGS 9.5 copies of this card have sold for around $500, and that’s before the huge September bump the Acuna market saw.
Were you one of the five lucky collectors who were able to snag this card for under $160 on the COMC Marketplace? How about the collector who bought the very first one to hit our marketplace for $53.07? It’s very likely that we’ll never see a $50 Ronald Acuna Jr. autograph of any kind on the COMC Marketplace in a very long time, if ever again. BGS 9.5 copies of this base auto are now selling for around $1500. While they still have a long way to go to reach the levels of Mike Trout’s 1st Bowman Auto, they’re still up 10x from the last copy to sell on the COMC Marketplace!
Oh, you thought we were done with Acuna’s 1st Bowman Autos? Not yet! Had you been able to predict the future, and had $500.99 to spend on COMC on 7-7-2017, you could have been the lucky (notice all of those 7’s!) owner of this beautiful tried-and-true blue gem! This card recently fetched nearly $11,000 earlier this month at auction. We can’t imagine where this card will be if Acuna and the young Atlanta Braves team is able to bring a championship back to Georgia.
Similar to the argument about non-traditional Bowman Chrome parallels, another argument in the hobby rages on about unlicensed cards. With Topps having an exclusivity agreement with the MLB, Panini and other manufacturers are relegated to creating cards that do not infringe on MLB copyrights such as team logos. Even without the logos, Acuna’s Panini cards are still trending upwards, with this encased Flawless auto numbered to 25 being sold for nearly double what the COMC buyer originally paid for it just three months ago.
Without question this is one of the hottest trading cards on the planet today, and probably will be for a very long time. With Acuna posed in a follow through swing, and it being an extremely tough pull out of a Topps Series 2 product, it has all the makings of an iconic trading card. While the card is a short print, we have seen significant volume of the card bought and sold, with over 50 total copies changing hands. One thing is for sure, nobody is acquiring this card for under $50 anymore, and the two lucky individuals who were able to get their hands on one for under $25.00 certainly have a story to tell around the hobby!
As rare as the 2018 Topps Series 2 Bat Behind Back SP Variation is, there is an even more elusive Acuna Jr. rookie card – the super short printed white jersey variation from 2018 Update! This is a card that is rarely seen in the wild that most collectors aren’t even aware it exists! The card has already found it’s home in the high-end section of the hobby, where raw copies have recently sold at auction for nearly $2,000! Not a bad come-up for the two COMC buyers who were able to snap this card up for 1/3rd of that price just three months ago!
Now we want to hear from you! What Ronald Acuna Jr. trading cards did you not hold onto just quite long enough? Do you have a stash worth the equivalent of a new sports car that you’re hoping will one day be worth a new house or boat? Share your best investment and #collectfail stories with us!
Why do teams become legendary in our sports collecting hobby? Sometimes the reason is the cast of characters are a unique bunch mixed around. Think of the great New York Yankees teams of the late 1970’s. They had enough oversized personalities on and off the field that the moniker “The Bronx Zoo” worked for that team. For others, it was because they were a right place, right time team. Example of this was the 1969 New York “Miracle” Mets who went on a run the last 2 months of the 1969 season and post-season and won their first World Series. For others. the amount of time a team was dominant mattered. A good example is the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers, who won four Super Bowls within a six season period.
And sometimes, there is a little bit of all of the above including fortuitous timing and how they brought a community together. A great example of this scenario is the 1968 Detroit Tigers ,who truly were the last of their era. Five decades later we can say that because they did not have to go through a post-season gauntlet to win a World Series, nor did have to play any night games in the post-season.
And how did they get to the 1968 World Series? First, their ace pitcher was a youngster named Denny McLain. McLain won an astounding 31 games that season. No one has won more than 27 games in a season since. In fact, very few starters even get to 31 starts anymore, so you’d basically have to win most every start to even be in a position to win 30 games. While we knew 30 games was quite the accomplishment for a pitcher, we all thought in 1968 there might be another one to reach the milestone. Many teams still used four man rotations, and that gave pitchers 40 starts in a season, which meant 30 wins was not the impossible target that it is today.
What made McLain even more interesting was his career as playing the organ and flying an airplane. Did all those outside interests shorten his career? One could argue between the known gambling issues and the just as well known outside interests, the odds were he would have had a longer career if he had focused more on his pitching career. We do know a few things today.
1) His career was over before he reached 30. 2) He is a great guest at a card show.
Their second best pitcher was Mickey Lolich, who would go on to win 3 games in the World Series that year. In 1968, the concept of a pitcher winning 3 World Series games was not considered unusual, as three pitchers had reached that total over the previous 22 seasons. After Lolich, no pitcher has won 3 games in a World Series since. On the other hand, George Frazier actually managed to lose 3 games in the 1981 World Series. Maybe some reliever will win 3 games in a future World Series. Lolich owned a donut store and rode a motorcycle, but he was always serious about his pitching. To show what a fluke 1968 was, Lolich also blasted his first career homer during that World Series.
It was not just the pitchers who were interesting . Bill Freehan, who was the best American League Catcher from about 1964 through 1971, could have won an MVP award if things had broken a bit differently. Freehan did everything well for the Tigers, and as such garnered much MVP support in 1967 and 1968. He was a force both offensively and defensively. Today, he is battling a long-term illness, but we all remember him fondly for his time on the diamond.
The starting first baseman was Stormin’ Norman Cash. Cash, is a player who helped define the term career year. Look at his 1961 season (.361 batting average and 40+ homers) and compare that year to the rest of his career. Cash also had a great sense of humor, and in Nolan Ryan‘s first no-hitter brought up a piano leg as his bat as he figured he could not hit Ryan with a standard bat.
At second base was Dick McAuliffe, who set a record which can be tied, but never broken. After a 1967 season in which he only grounded into 2 double plays, he improved that in 1968 by never grounding into a double play. This record can surely be tied, but never broken indeed. Also, he had a nasty on-field brawl with Tommy John that injured John’s shoulder and prematurely ended his season. Could that fight have been part of the reason John later needed the surgery now named for him?
The shortstop with the most playing time for the Tigers was Ray Oyler, who batted all of .135 that season. Yes you read correctly, .135 was his batting average. To me, Ray Oyler is best known for a classic line within the book Ball 4, which I blogged about last month. That line was not family friendly, but if you want to look it up for yourself, search out “bridges completed in 1929”. Meanwhile, here is Ray posed with a bat in the bunting position. And when he came to the plate, posing to bunt might have been his best way to get on base.
When you hit just .135, which was absurd for any player, including most pitchers, you probably are not going to play much in the post-season. And that’s what occurred to Oyler, as Mickey Stanley transitioned from the outfield to play shortstop during the World Series. Purportedly, the move was to get Al Kaline‘s bat into the lineup, and who can argue with subbing a future Hall of Famer for a guy hitting all of .135? Yep, all of .135. I don’t know how many times I can repeat that number, but it only gets more awesome each time it’s mentioned. Stanley played error-less ball in the World Series, and having Kaline in the lineup gave extra length as well. Jim Northrup and Willie Horton were also the other starting outfielders and for 1968, boy that was quite an explosive team at the plate.
Note the position on the 1969 Mickey Stanley card. :
Of course there was plenty of controversy during the series, but one of the oddest ones had to do with the National Anthem. Jose Feliciano was just beginning his career, and did not perform a traditional Star Spangled Banner. I did not understand back then why it was so criticized, and I don’t today but let’s listen and see what you think.
And this is a version done in 2010 to honor the original version by Jose.
We leave you with one final image of the 1968 Tigers, which is of their 3rd base coach Joe Schultz. It was known during the series that Joe would take over managerial duties for the 1969 Seattle Pilots, but who knew just how legendary Joe would become within two years of the series?
(Editors Note: Please welcome Austin Ward to the COMC Blog! Austin’s blog comes to us courtesy of our encouragement of guest blogs a few months ago. Austin has been collecting cards since his youth, and still finds as much joy in the hobby now as he did back then. He recently started Crown Card Connection as a way to engage with the trading card collecting community. He encourages anyone interested in discussing the hobby to join in on the action that Crown Card Connection has to offer!)
Collecting cards brings all sorts of thoughts and feelings to people’s minds. Joy, excitement, risk, and nostalgia are just several of the many for me. Today, I want to share seven favorites from my collection. While a number of them do hold strong value, the memories attached to them are greater still. Here we go:
One of ones are big in the hobby today, but haven’t been something I’ve really chased after. While browsing some cards online, I came across this Sam Darnold and sent an inquiry to the seller. We ended up getting a deal done, which allowed me to add the first NFL printing plate of my collection.
6. 2018 Select Josh Rosen Tie-Dye Autograph RC
Despite being a San Francisco 49ers fan, Josh Rosen is someone who I’ve decided to personally collect. Due to comparably low value as a rookie, I’ve been able to compile a pretty strong collection of Rosens (around 20 cards and growing). Convinced that Rosen is going to have a strong career in the league, I’m taking my own advice and stockpiling.
Although the card itself is pretty unimpressive (and could be purchased for next to nothing), this was the first autograph I ever got. I vividly remember standing on the third base side with a stack of Colorado Rockies baseball cards during a family trip to Colorado. I was convinced that I was going to get Larry Walker or Vinny Castilla to sign my cards (which clearly didn’t happen), but was thrilled when Perez took the time to make my day.
During his freshman campaign, Trevor Lawrence impressed me as a quarterback and as a person. I didn’t anticipate finding much available with him being a freshman in college, but I’m glad I looked when I did. Shortly after I got my Lawrence card, his value spiked during the NCAA Championship run.
This one is clearly for the sentimental value, but I can’t count how many times I’ve looked back at the binder that contains the first set I was able to put together. Each time I do, I’m reminded of the hours that went into sorting through my childhood collection and the countless trades that I made with my brother to finish out my set.
After a few years of not making many purchases, I bought a random box of cards at an auction and was shocked to find a Mike Trout rookie card inside. I was even more amazed to find out what the card was selling for, but have preferred to hold as a keepsake instead.