OK – get ready for a bunch of Goodwin. I’ve read a decent amount of bashing about this product, and I’ve got to say I fall in the camp of someone who does likes the product. Is it perfect? Heck, no. The Military insert set is a reach, as is much of the product – that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. The idea of the hand-painted Goodwin Originals is very cool – I’ll get into those more later. Some of the “paintings” for the base cards look pretty far off from the subject (the Pete Rose is a borderline abomination). But some are very nicely done – and I don’t mind seeing guys out of their uniforms for one set a year. In fact, it’s kind of neat to figure out where they are. The design is really nice, the minis look nice, and it’s an interesting set to collect.
Last year, my first post about Goodwin Champions covered athletes that had cards in both the original 1888 Goodwin Champions set and the 2011 set released by Upper Deck. There were 6 guys who fit the bill last year; 3 baseball players (King Kelly, Dan Brouthers, Cap Anson), 1 boxer (John L. Sullivan), 1 horse jockey (Isaac Murphy), and 1 Cowboy / Wild West Showman (Buffalo Bill Cody).
Unfortunately, I can’t do a similar post this year – there are no figures from the 1888 set who are also in the 2012 set. There is a super-rare (#/10) insert set where Upper Deck commissioned hand painted artist renditions of the original cards – so every single card has a hand-painted “reprint” inserted into this product. I wonder if that set had something to do with Upper Deck choosing not to put any of those 50 guys into this year’s set (though, I’m unsure exactly why it might). Regardless, what I’ll do is move on to some other posts about the product – which is compare people from the same sport across the two years. There were 8 baseball players in the 1888 set – here’s the first 5; I’ll cover the other 3 a couple of days from now. I did this last year, so I’m using similar write-ups, though the current year card (and maybe the player) will be different.
Jack Glasscock was the best defensive shortstop of the 1880’s. During the 1888 season, he was in his second of 3 years with the Indianapolis Hoosiers of the National League. It’s crazy to me that Indianapolis had a baseball team back in the day. Glasscock followed the franchise through many of its changes. He was with the franchise when it was the St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association, which only existed in 1884. When the Union Association folded, the Maroons moved to the National League. It was tough to gain a foothold in St. Louis, though, because the American Association’s most successful franchise (the Browns) was already located in St. Louis. In 1887, the club moved to Indy, but then folded after the 1889 season.
Glasscock was actually an underrated hitter, and should have received more Hall of Fame consideration than he’s gotten. He led the NL in fielding percentage 7 times and assists 6 times. These were both records until another St. Louis defensive wizard came along at shortstop 100 years later. The wizard himself, Ozzie Smith, was included in the 2011 set – and as an SP card in the 2012 set. This is obviously a picture from when he was much younger. It’s hard to tell, but I’m guessing this may have been from wonder if this is from his days at Cal Poly.
I’m going with the same guy I went with last year – the best analogy I could find for Keefe was Phillies and Cardinals great Steve Cartlon. These two pitchers sit right next to each other on the career Wins list. Carlton’s 329 wins places him 11th all-time, while Keefe’s 342 wins ranks him 10th (and 3rd in the 1880’s). Both pitchers maintained dominance deep into their careers. Keefe almost always found himself on pennant contenders, while Carlton is often thought of as having been a dominant pitcher on poor teams. That said, both pitchers were on two teams that won World Championships.
I didn’t pull a base card of Cartlon, but I did get a mini – so that’s what I’m going with here! I wonder who he’s on the phone with?
Bob Caruthers was a good hitting pitcher who also played the field. He started off with the St. Louis Browns in the American Association, and was an important part of 3 of their 4 consecutive American Association titles. In 1885 and 1886, he became one of the team’s two primary pitchers, winning 40 games to lead the league the first year. He got the nickname Parisian Bob for negotiating his contract from Paris in 1886. That year, he began playing the outfield when he wasn’t pitching, and he actually became one of the better hitters in the league, leading St. Louis to the only win by an American Association team over an NL squad in the World’s Series. He placed in the top 5 in batting, slugging and OBP in both 1886 and 1887, including leading the league in OBP and OPS in 1886. But when St. Louis lost the World’s Series in 1887, owner Chris von der Ahe blamed Caruthers, and sold his contract to Brooklyn. The team’s other pitcher/hitter/fielder, Dave Foutz, was also sold to Brooklyn.
Bob’s hitting suffered over the next few years, but he was still a great pitcher. He again led the league in wins, yet again reaching 40 victories in 1889 and getting back to the World’s Series for his 4th time after leading Brooklyn to the American Association title. The next year, Brooklyn defected to the National League, and Caruthers helped them to the NL pennant. He was the third pitcher that year, and as the team primarily went with 2 pitchers, he only played the field in the World’s Series. However, he and Foutz are the only 2 players to make it to 5 of the World’s Series. They won 1, tied 2 and lost 2 of those attempts. Caruthers finished his career with an incredible winning percentage and a record of 218-99.
I went with Jose Canseco last year, because he’s viewed as a malcontent and because he threw an inning in the Majors. For this comparison, I went with Kid Gleason, who is most notable for being the manager of the 1919 team that threw the World Series – the “Black Sox”. But what’s not well-known about Gleason – he was a good pitcher in the early 1890’s, winning 38 games in 1890 and 20+ for 4 straight years. But when his pitching declined, he became a solid 2nd baseman, playing for the Baltimore Orioles who won the pennant but lost the Temple Cup in 1895. He played the next decade for the New York Giants, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies before retiring to coach and manage.
Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap is never going to be confused with a Hall of Famer, but he was an excellent second baseman for a number of years in the 1880’s. He had one truly great season leading the St. Louis Maroons to the pennant in Union Association’s ony year of existence. He led the league in batting, runs scored and home runs, and most certainly would have been the league’s MVP if they had such an award. St. Louis moved to the National League the next year, and their performance is the best evidence that the decision to acknowledge the Union Association as a Major League is not a great one – they finished in last place in their first year in the senior circuit. Dunlap never had nearly the year he’d had in 1884, but he was still a solid defender and the best player on a bad team. Later in his career, he was a grizzled veteran on a World Champion Detroit ballclub.
Ryne Sandberg again seems the best choice, as he was last year. He’s a second baseman who was always great defensively and at times had some great offensive seasons. Unlike Dunlap, he’s certainly deserving of the Hall of Fame, and was inducted in 2005.
The 1888 and 2011 sets both had a baseball player who just didn’t seem to belong. Ed Andrews was a lifetime .257 hitter who never played on a pennant winner. He might be most famous just for the fact that he has a card in the Goodwin Champions set. This was an easy choice in the 2011 set, too. Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd fit that bill in 2011 – but there isn’t really a comparable guy in 2012. So I’m just going to go with the Greg Maddux card because it just doesn’t look right to see him throwing a wiffle ball, and it really doesn’t look right for wiffle ball to be spelled “whiffle”. But this is a legit picture from a celebrity golf invitational he did with Butch Harmon.