Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Newest Smoltz Auto

A few weeks ago I came across a Smoltz auto I've yet to own. Seeing that it was still at a decent price, I picked it up from eBay.

The card is from 2014 Topps Tribute Traditions and is #'d 75/99.

This is the first card I've bought in a while (the last card I bought was this Warren Spahn autograph that I picked up last month). The card has more of a shine to it than I had originally thought. The only thing I don't particularly care for is the background design. Referring back to the topmost picture, the guy on the far right (with his back facing you) looks like he's taking a leak on the baseball field. One thing I do love about this card, though, is that it's another on-card autograph. Usually I'm not too concerned whether it's a sticker or on-card, but who doesn't prefer an on-card signature at least slightly more?

Another thing worth noting is that I actually planned on posting this sooner, but once the sad news came about Tony Gwynn, I kept this in drafts and wrote about Mr. Padre instead. After that I was busy for a little while (also discovering a card for a new post to be written after this one) and finally found the time today to do a little editing and complete this post.

Anyways, I have a few things on the horizon (briefly mentioned above) and possibly something from ebay depending on how the auction turns out, so we'll see what happens.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Tribute To Tony Gwynn

Photo by ESPN
The news was a bit alarming (and surprising) as I hadn't heard much about him in a while. I found out minutes after it was announced late this morning, that Tony Gwynn had passed away at age 54 (just a day after Father's Day).

Gwynn was a career .338 hitter and had 3,141 hits, 1,138 rbi, 319 stolen bases, and scored 1,383 runs. Another statistic I'd like to point out was that he only struck out 434 times (in 10,232 plate appearances). The most strikeout's he had in a season was 40 back in 1988 and still hit .313 that year. His highest average in a season was in 1994 when he hit .394. His lowest average in a season was his rookie year back in 1982 when he batted .289. The lowest average in his career (following his rookie season) was when he hit .309 in 1983 and 1990.

Photo by ESPN
Here's a picture of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. during their HOF induction back in 2007. My first trip to the baseball Hall Of Fame was back in 2007, when these two men were inducted. I remember it as if it happened yesterday. I saw a bunch of Orioles and Padres jerseys, and I even saw cut-outs of both Gwynn and Ripken. I never saw the actual induction ceremony, though. I went there August 7th and 8th (I think I missed them by about two weeks). Nevertheless, it was a fun experience. I could go on in more detail but this isn't about my trip to Cooperstown, but about a baseball legend that was lost earlier today. Although I have never met Mr. Padre, I've only heard great things about him. He was very humble and had incredible knowledge of the game. He played the game the right way and many people within the baseball community will miss him and the accomplishments he gathered: he was a 15-time All-Star, won 7 Silver Sluggers, won 5 Gold Glove awards, and won 8 NL batting titles in a 20-year playing career. His #19 was retired by the Padres, the only team he ever played for, on September 4, 2004.

Heaven receives another induction today. Rest in peace, Mr. Gwynnn.

Tony Gwynn 1960-2014

Photo by Sports Illustrated

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Kimbrel Passes Smoltz For Braves' All-Time Saves Record

Photo by ESPN

After missing the 2000 season, John Smoltz returned in 2001 recording 10 saves and going 3-3 while starting 5 games for the Braves. Upon becoming the teams' closer, Smoltz added 55 saves the following season, 45 in 2003, and 44 in 2004. In those four years as Atlanta's closer, he piled up 154 career saves, which stood as the most in franchise history.

Skip forward to 2014 where the new closer, Craig Kimbrel, passes Smoltz for the all-time saves record on June 6th. Since winning Rookie Of The Year in 2011 (above teammate Freddie Freeman who finished 2nd in voting), Kimbrel now holds the franchise record with 155 career saves.

It was inevitable that Kimbrel would eventually surpass the mark, so it was only a matter of time for when it would happen. He makes this accomplishment shortly after his 26th birthday which was back on May 28th. The Braves have him under contract through 2017, with a team option for 2018. If he were to pitch the full four years for the Braves, if he can average around 40-50 saves a season like he has, by the time his contract ends he should easily have 340+ career saves.