As mentioned yesterday, I bought the 2012 Leaf Memories 49-card set on eBay. The cards, numbered to 99, feature the 1990 Leaf design and are numbered as if they continue the original set – 529 to 577. The first half of the set features Rookie League drafted prospects who were just drafted or just signed. The second half consists of retired players. As you’ll see, the logos are airbrushed out since Leaf doesn’t have an MLB license. Some of the pictures are decent, some not so much. One thing I forgot to mention yesterday, the card stock is certainly thicker for these cards than the original.
There are 3 members of the Big Red Machine in the set – Joe Morgan is the lone holdout of the HOF (and HOF-caliber) players. The Johnny Bench card is probably my favorite card from the whole set.
There is also one of the few cards out there of last year’s HOF inductee, Pat Gillick. Pretty good move to show him throwing out a first pitch.
There are two current players in the set – two future first-ballot Hall of Famers. Ichiro and Pujols are both spokesman for Leaf – Ichiro was particularly notable because he’s a hard autograph to find. His card obviously looks better, the photo doesn’t really suffer from photo shopping.
There’s two recent retirees – Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Piazza, the two greatest catchers of my lifetime. Piazza is up for the Hall of Fame this year for the first time. I’ve been hearing it’s possible no one will get in this year from the regular vote, though I don’t understand any reason for Piazza or Biggio not to make it – there just hasn’t been a steroid tie to either of those guys, and they’re truly great players.
Here’s 6 more cards from the set that I thought were pretty cool. Some of these don’t do quite as bad with the photoshop effect. The LaSorda card is also up there with Bench as one of my favorite cards in the set.
All told there are 25 retired / active players in this section of the set. 19 of them are in the Hall of Fame, there are 2 current players mentioned above, and 4 retired players who aren’t in the Hall.
Hall of Famers – Al Kaline, Bill Mazeroski, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Ernie Banks, Gaylord Perry, Jim Bunning, Jim Palmer, Johnny Bench, Lou Brock, Luis Aparicio, Pat Gillick, Paul Molitor, Red Schoendienst, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Tommy LaSorda, Tony Perez, Whitey Ford
Current Players – Albert Pujols, Ichiro
Other Retired Players – Ivan Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, Pete Rose, Mike Piazza