This isn’t really a baseball card post – I don’t really have any scans of cards to talk about today. Just some random musings on what’s going on in my world of baseball lately.
Today I moved out of the house my wife and I have lived for the past 11 months. Our landlord decided to sell our house, so I’ll no longer be a block and a half from Wrigley Field. That means this view isn’t just a hop, skip and a jump away:
I can still get to Wrigley via a quick cab ride, though – we’re moving just two miles away.
A cool thing about living in Chicago means I’m very close to the biggest baseball card show out there. So, I’m going to attend the National Sports Collector’s Convention this week. I will definitely be going Wednesday, and then probably on one of the days Thursday or Friday. I can’t go on the weekend – we’ll be back in Ohio celebrating my son’s first birthday. I’m pretty excited to go to the National – this is only the second time I’ve been. I also went to the one in Baltimore three years ago. I’m probably going to break my rule of no more retro sets after Topps Archives – just because I figure if I’m going to the Convention, I want to take part in some of the promotions. This requires busting packs! Goodwin Champions is the front-runner here, though Panini Golden Age is sparking a little interest, too.
Here are some of the things I want to try to do/get while there. I really haven’t bought much over the past few months, so I’ve got quite a bit in the budget just for this event.
1) Get some autographs. I got a VIP pass just for fun. That means I can get quite a few guys for “free” – and by free I mean free except for the $130 fee I paid. Most notable is Doc Gooden! I will be going to the VIP thing on Wednesday afternoon.
2) Participate in some of the promotions. I get some promo cards as part of the VIP goodies, but I also want to try to get some of the wrapper redemptions as well.
3) Buy a box of Topps series 2. Because I haven’t bought one yet. Hopefully I can merge that into goal #2 somehow.
4) Buy a few boxes for the Lifetime Topps project. That would mean early-mid 2000′s.
5) Fill some holes on the wantlists. This is actually the biggest goal – I probably should have put this #1 if I was going by priority! I’m excited by the number of dealers that will be there, and I hope to find some harder to find cards like inserts from the late 90′s.
6) Look at some interesting stuff. There will be plenty of stuff that I have no intention of buying (except in my wildest delusion). But I’ll sure want to check it out and maybe even post about it here on the old blog!
The Hall of Fame
I watched the Hall of Fame induction ceremony this weekend – it was quite different from previous seasons. The floodgates are far from open in Cooperstown of late – in the last 6 inductions (since Ripken & Gwynn), there’s only been one player (Rickey Henderson) who I’d think of as going in that mythical “special wing” of the Hall. Next year should be quite different – but I think some change should be considered. Could they have a bit more clarity on the steroid thing? Maybe, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I actually understand the wait-and-see approach on steroids. Not only are we finding out more about steroids and the steroid era than we knew, but I firmly believe that the baseball fan world is still developing its collective conscience on how we view the matter. In 1998, the country was in a bit an attitude of “just don’t tell me and I can say I never knew”. In 2001 as it became more apparent that things were amiss, there was a mix of denial and reluctant acceptance as baseball plugged on. Since then, people have tended to pick sides, with some wanting to asterisk everyone who played in that era and some wanting to consider it as an era of the game just like the dead ball era or the roaring offense of the 20′s and 30′s. Personally, I think someday in the future that collective conscience will look back and think it wasn’t all that big of a deal to begin with. I’d bet on Bonds getting in the Hall ahead of Charlie Hustle.
Personally, I’d favor something closer to football’s approach to the Hall of Fame, but I think at least the rules should be amended to allow for more votes. Kenny Lofton is, in my mind, deserving of strong Hall of Fame consideration. Barring a rules change, he will never appear on another BBWA ballot as he got less than 5% of the vote. Alan Trammell is a step above – in my mind, he’s a no-brainer Hall of Famer. Yet he’s never received more than 37% of the vote, and his numbers are starting to trend down. I believe this is fully because of the rule of 10 – that limits writers to only 10 spots. Because of this, there are many writers who take a stance of not judging based on steroids. They vote for Bonds, Clemens and even McGWire. But then they’re forced to keep someone like Trammell off (or Lofton from consideration) just due to sheer numbers. When 75% is such a high hurdle to climb – this backlog will make it more and more difficult for the non-Rickey Henderson’s of the world to get in. I’m glad guys like Dawson, Blyleven, Larkin and Alomar got in when they did – because they’d have more trouble now than they did two or three years ago.
I also hope there is no overlap among the 10 or so guys who don’t vote for Greg Maddux and the many guys who say they won’t vote for Bonds or McGwire because of steroids. If you are adamant that the steroid era boosted offensive numbers and puts them notches below Schmidt, Aaron or Ruth, I think you should appreciate that what guys like Maddux or Randy Johnson did may have been more impressive than the accolades of Seaver, Koufax or Walter Johnson.