Had a little free time to do some scanning this morning, and it’s been a while since I did one of these COMC “virtual blasters”. So, I hit up my card chest where I store my backlog of to-be-processed cards from past COMC orders and grabbed and sc…
I’ve driven hundreds of miles the past couple of days for work, and have a 16-hour stress-filled day today, so this will be brief. Just a quick quartet of buybacks that I picked up a few weeks back on eBay…1967 Topps #375 – Jake GibbsI don’t kn…
I’ve been a little heavy on the buyback franken-set posts lately, so let’s take a break today and look at another virtual “blaster” from COMC. Besides, I need to make some room before my Black Friday shipment arrives in a few weeks.Simple concept…
The other day Joe Shlabotnik posted a couple of multi-player vintage rookie cards. It made me ponder what might be the best duo on such a card. I’ve seen some suggestions online and I think of the cards I have this one might be the best (an…
And now, the thrilling conclusion to yesterday’s after-work stop at my local hobby shop, Central Sports Cards in Pawtucket, RI…First up, some more quarter box loot. Nolan Ryan, Will Clark and Cal Ripken were the three players I collected most a…
If you’ve been reading along in recent weeks then you know the drill at this point, let’s take a look at another ten buybacks and see if they make the cut for my newly formed franken-set. I’m still getting through the large lot on I won on eBay t…
Wow, this week really went by in a blur. This seems to be becoming a common theme unfortunately, but a hectic work week left me literally no time for my hobbies. As a result, I owe quite a few folks return emails, thank you posts, and most …
Today I will finally get up to speed with thanking at least one of the many great folks I exchange cards with, my friend Jeff S. As I was scanning and cropping the last batch of cardboard Jeff sent just a few weeks ago, another package rolled in….
A few weeks ago now I had the good fortune to attend a local card show. I posted the first portion of my spoils earlier this month, time to wrap it up with the rest today. Today’s round of pick-ups is brought to you by the woman I’ve begun …
Since I struck out looking for 2016 Heritage tonight you are getting an unenthusiastic posting on a Blaster of 2016 Topps. The first pack of the blaster can be found here. Blaster All-Stars – Battery2016 Topps #50 Salvador Perez#300 Buster Posey#…
I just shipped myself the last few months worth of cards from my COMC inventory, so I need to make some room in my card chest before they arrive. Towards that end, I pulled and scanned some individual cards this afternoon from the drawers holding…
2015 was another great year here on Shoebox Legends. A seemingly infinite number of awesome cards became part of my collection, I traded more cards to more people than any previous year, and I beat my highest post total for a year by more than 70…
I pulled this unopened pack that had been waiting patiently for me for 35 years from a quarter box at the recent Atlanta area card show. I had never opened a pack of these 5×7 photo cards and after doing a little research on the product it is no surpri…
Our 1991 Year of the No-Hitter coverage will always be a work in progress. I started the series focusing on the 1991 Score No-Hit Club subset, but it has become more interesting as I have found other cards related to that years no-hitters. 1992 P…
I haven’t made a trade with John from England for awhile but I got an email from him last June proposing our usual trade, Red Sox cards for Astros cards. We finally got it pulled off. John writes a card blog “The Pursuit of 80’s (ness)” but hasn’t post…
Probably 2-3 times a year I ship myself the cards I’ve purchased on COMC over the few months prior. When they show up, they just go into the box with the rest of the COMC cards. On days when I don’t have time for a longer or more creative p…
I’ve posted six trade packages since the beginning of August alone, yet I still find myself falling further and further behind. I’m trading more frequently in 2015 than I have in any previous year, by far and away. Let’s kill two birds with…
Thanks for indulging us with Four postings on the Ryan Express today. During a season in which we are producing a series dedicated to the Year of the No-Hitter I felt that honoring the man who authored Seven of them was warranted. 1991 Donruss Bonus Ca…
This is the third of four postings on cards dedicated to Nolan Ryan’s 6th No-Hitter. 1991 Topps #6 Record Breaker – Nolan Ryan Topps chose to honor the fact that Ryan became the oldest pitcher to throw a No-Hitter, rather than to honor that …
There are at least Four Cards in the Phungo Collection dedicated to Nolan Ryan’s 1990 No-Hitter against the Oakland A’s. This 1993 Pacific Card is my favorite of the lot. 1993 Pacific Texas Express #63 Last Pitch No-Hitter #6This is a great bas…
As noted earlier in this series there are some great names and stories among the pitchers who were involved in the year of the No-Hitter, none of those pitchers was bigger than Nolan Ryan. 1991 Score No-Hit Club #701 Nolan RyanNolan Ryan only had 7 spr…
Hey everyone, Drew back here. This week, I decided to write the riskiest post in the history of drewscards. Feelings will be hurt. People will be up in arms over some of what will soon follow. But I have to decided to make my case for ten players in the National Baseball Hall of Fame who I find overrated. Keep in mind, I already wrote a list a few weeks ago about who should not be in the Hall of Fame at all, and none of those players will be featured on this list today. Every single player on this list is worthy of induction, and some may very well be considered some of the greatest to ever play the game. You may not agree with everything I say, and you may let your biases and personal ties to players get in the way of the cold hard facts. However, if I can name three former Yankees on this list like I’m about to do, you are all more than capable of throwing all of your ties aside for the sake of what I’m attempting to achieve with this column.
There is a difference between being worthy and being overrated. Remember that.
Top 10 Overrated Players in the Hall of Fame
Honorable Mention – Pete Rose
Utility, Cincinnati Reds / Philadelphia Phillies / Montreal Expos
Pete Rose will have a place on this list if and when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. This man’s name alone has been hyped up ever since he was banned from baseball, and he even uses that to his own marketing advantage. He has built up a huge crowd of baseball fans, myself included, who view baseball as the villain after he broke the rules. Rose is a genius for what he has been able to do; parking next door to every Hall of Fame induction and constantly making headlines.
But if he never cheated, and he went into the Hall five years after his retirement on his first ballot, how often would he stand out to this extent? Sure, he is the all time hits leader, and there is something to be said about that. 3,215 of those 4,256 hits were singles, and he was never much of a power threat. He prolonged his career by becoming a player-manager, which helped him manipulate his team to collect more hits even if it meant benching someone more deserving of a place on the lineup card. He was never a great fielder, and despite playing like his hair was on fire for almost a quarter century, he came up short of 200 stolen bases.
I’m not trying to say this man is not a Hall of Fame caliber player. But only a select few players should receive the attention that Rose currently receives, and he does not belong in that upper echelon. Without cheating, he would get one of the better applauses at each year’s Hall of Fame induction, but never much more than that. I hope Pete finally gets his wish from Commissioner Manfred one day for the sake for baseball, but it will forever be easy to call “Charlie Hustle” overhyped and overrated.
10 – Ozzie Smith
SS, St. Louis Cardinals
The first player on this week’s list was one I had a very difficult time configuring. I have always loved watching Ozzie Smith’s highlight reel plays, and I view him as the greatest defensive shortstop in history. But when comparing his statistics alongside Pee Wee Reese, who, although rated poorly with advanced fielding statistics, was a much better offensive producer with an above average glove, I could not keep “The Wizard of Oz” off this list. Smith’s career on base percentage was .337, which ranks closely to Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken Jr. among shortstops, but when you fathom Banks’ inclusion in the 500 Home Run Club and Ripken’s in the 3000 Hit Club, their statuses are boosted up a notch.
Ozzie was a slightly above average hitter for shortstops of his era, and the best defensive player around. He is adored in St. Louis and is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. Just watch the Pepsi Max commercial from a few years back and tell me he didn’t steal the spotlight with his signature flip. And unfortunately, it’s things like that which bring him onto the overrated lists. He is generally comparable to almost any other shortstop in the Hall, yet his persona and likeness as a Fan Favorite bring his stature to a level higher than what his performance may have yielded.
It isn’t a bad thing for us to love Ozzie, just as it isn’t for Brewers fans to love Robin Yount, Padres fans to love Tony Gwynn, and Tigers fans to love Al Kaline. But you need to be careful analyzing these players and avoid common biases when deciding who belongs more than another. Smith is an unquestionable Hall of Famer, well deserving of his place as an immortal. But every player has its downfall, and considering he only batted over .300 once in his illustrious 19 year career; offense was certainly that.
9 – Rollie Fingers
CP, Oakland Athletics / San Diego Padres / Milwaukee Brewers
Speaking of signature attributes, what would Rollie Fingers be without his handlebar mustache? Sure, Fingers had a dominant career, and was one of the first relievers to revolutionize the closer role into what it has since become. I view his career as perhaps the greatest of any of the closer-type pitchers currently in the Hall, as his period of dominance is the longest (until Mariano Rivera is inducted). Many know him for his impressive MVP and Cy Young victories in the 1981 season. What many don’t realize is that he was 34 years old at that time, and had already pitched effectively for thirteen years!
8 – Reggie Jackson
OF/DH, Oakland Athletics / Baltimore Orioles / New York Yankees / California Angels
I can already smell the hatred spilling out of some of your eyes as you glance over the names I have thus far deemed to be overrated. The first Yankee to make the list, Mr. October transcended the game in a unique way. He, along with contemporaries Dave Kingman and Bobby Bonds, reinvented the slugger in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Players now did not have to excel defensively to earn playing time, as long as they were capable of hitting the ball out of the stadium at the right time. This change even called for the Designated Hitter rule in the American League, which some people have hated from the very start. Now, players did not even have to play the field if they were liabilities on the defensive side. Jackson was a horrible outfielder, retiring with 142 errors as an outfielder, despite playing over 600 of his 2,820 games as the DH.
The hate parade for closers is not finished yet, unfortunately, although I can say that Dennis Eckersley is ranked as my most overrated closer in the Hall of Fame. “Eck” was a troubled, inconsistent starting pitcher for much of the first half of his career, until Tony LaRussa moved him into the bullpen with the Oakland A’s. From that point forward, he was indestructible for about a six year stretch. But like newly inducted HOF’er John Smoltz, he may receive a bit too much credit for having retired with almost 200 wins and 400 saves. Some give these pitchers credit for being able to make a “significant” adjustment, and if that is any part of the reason they are rewarded, that is absolutely bogus. Even Eckersley said that the closer position is overrated, saying that it isn’t as hard to transition into as one may think.
6 – Don Drysdale
SP, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Here is where things begin to get a little dicey. Don Drysdale was as dominant as can be when he was on his game. However, the simple fact that he shared the spotlight with Sandy Koufax is his ultimate downfall. Some may view Koufax as overrated because he didn’t have the longevity, but this doesn’t matter to me when it comes to starting pitchers. In fact, I’m much more content in knowing that we never got to experience Koufax past his prime, as it could have partially diminished his legacy.
As for Drysdale, he was always a very good pitcher, but he may have been forgotten had he pitched in almost any other city. His career ERA of 2.95 is good, but not great. His career record of 209-166 is good, but not great. With the exception of his fantastic 1962 campaign in which he finished with a 25-9 record, 2.83 ERA, and a league leading 232 strikeouts, Drysdale belonged in the Hall of Very Good. He wasn’t the best postseason performer, either. Basically, the guy earned his place in the Hall, but he’s closer to Juan Marichal and Fergie Jenkins than Whitey Ford and the aforementioned Koufax that he is more frequently mentioned among.
5 – Dizzy Dean
SP, St. Louis Cardinals / Chicago Cubs / St. Louis Browns
Dizzy Dean has one of the stranger stat-lines of any pitcher in the Hall of Fame. And, upon further review, it feels like something is left to be desired, especially since he has always been so highly regarded among baseball historians. Dean’s career was ruined by injuries, and he only managed six full seasons. Granted, they were six phenomenal years, especially his MVP winning performance in 1934. He won 30 games that season with a 2.66 ERA, and followed up the next year with another 28 wins to bolster his statistics. But as we know, the “What Could Have Been” players generally have never produced enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame. Thurman Munson, Dwight Gooden, Dave Parker, and modern day stars like Josh Hamilton all had the talent to one day be enshrined, but the tragic truth to it is that they fell short.
It’s one thing to feel for someone who was one of the more colorful men in the game in the early 20th century, but it’s another to honor him for what he did not quite achieve. I have no problem with Dean being in the Hall of Fame for his dominant short career and legacy as a color commentator, but I do think he is over-recognized by fans. He may have been one of the best, but he wasn’t, so he should not be spoken of as if he was.
4 – Joe DiMaggio
OF, New York Yankees
Woah, boy. I bet you didn’t see this coming. Joe DiMaggio is one of the most famous baseball players in history. Heck, he dated Marilyn Monroe and Paul Simon wrote a song about him! For a while after his retirement, he was voted baseball’s greatest living player, ahead of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams. After comparing his statistics alongside those three, I would have to take all 3 before choosing DiMaggio. Now don’t get me wrong, “Joltin’ Joe” would easily fall in my All Time Top 25, but advanced metrics as well as a shortened career would move him closer to my #25 than to my #1. His 56 Game Hitting Streak is one of the most impressive milestones throughout sports history, but some of the older folk will say he is the greatest player of all time because they had the pleasure of watching him play. I’ve seen Derek Jeter do some impressive things at games I have attended, but I cannot say he was better than Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, or even Joe DiMaggio for that matter. Sabermetrics have also hurt his case for being one of the greatest to ever take the field, as they say he was not quite as spectacular a defender as he was praised to be. I always take sabermetrics with a grain of salt, but this may make sense considering how people have practically described the man as a superhero prior to these further evaluations.
If DiMaggio was able to play in his prime rather than serve in World War II, perhaps he would deserve the enormous amount of baseball respect he already has. This sacrifice he made should be recognized and appreciated; don’t get me wrong. He’s as surefire as it gets for the Hall of Fame, but his reputation as one of the most famous sports figures ever should be up for debate.
Sorry, Yankee fans. It hurt me to say all that. Sorry Joe.
3 – Cy Young
SP, Cleveland Spiders / St. Louis Perfectos / Boston Americans/Red Sox / Cleveland Naps / Boston Rustlers
Denton True Young was baseball’s first ace. Perhaps this is why the annual Cy Young Award is named in his honor, but I always got the impression that it was because some believed he was the greatest pitcher of that era. Winning 500 games is a ridiculous accomplishment, one I believe will never be paralleled thanks to the way baseball has changed since his retirement over a century ago. When Young pitched, he would often pitch consecutive days in a row, not receiving much rest between games. He threw the most innings of all time at 7,356, and it really is marvelous that his arm didn’t fall off (talk about Tommy John Surgery). Let’s not forget that along with those 511 wins, he is one of only two pitchers to lose over 300 games (316) as well. There were some good hitters in that period of time, especially Ty Cobb, Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker and Honus Wagner; but it was called “The Dead Ball Era” for a reason. Until Babe Ruth came around, pitchers rarely allowed home runs, which helped glorify their ERA’s in the history books.
The final Yankee inclusion on this list just so happens to be one of our most beloved, Phil Rizzuto. “Scooter” was an electrifying player on one of several of baseball’s all time greatest teams, and added to his resumé much like Dizzy Dean, as a broadcaster. In 1950, he was the American League’s MVP; his .324 average, .418 OBP, and 200 hits far exceeding any of his previous heights. Unfortunately, one season of this caliber is not normally enough for any player who did not take the spotlight of New York. Rizzuto was a wonderful baseball man who could have been a Hall of Famer for his broadcasting exploits alone, but by putting him in the Hall of Fame for his playing career, it opens the floodgates to the “if Rizzuto is in, then ______ should be in as well”. While it is more than okay to honor players of the past, there simply is not enough room in the Hall of Fame for all of the players with similar career statistics to Rizzuto’s.
1 – Nolan Ryan
SP, New York Mets / California Angels / Houston Astros / Texas Rangers