“Lost Cards”: The Year After, 2008

14 03 2014

2008

2008 Topps Roger Clemens

Best Player to retire in 2007.   Barry Bonds.

Did he have a 2008 card?   No, not a single card

After breaking the career home run record, Bonds wasn’t offered any type of contract extension by the San Francisco Giants after the 2007 season.  The steroid thing had already made him persona non grata.  I remember where I was when he broke the record – in vacation in Myrtle Beach – and how strange it all seemed.  Anyways, nobody else offered him a contract.  His agent made a few comments about collaboration, but the reality was that no team would want the media headache.   If it was too much in San Francisco – where he was still somewhat loved – it would be too much anywhere else.  I think the reason he didn’t have a 2008 card is for a very similar reason – no card company wanted to touch him.  It may have also been due to his retirement – but Topps did have a card of him in 2007 Update commemorating the home run that broke Aaron’s record.  And I’m pretty sure he signed individual contracts – he didn’t have cards in some sets after 2004 (I think because he opted out of the MLBPA agreement or something like that).

2007 Topps Update Bonds

Apologies to:   Roger Clemens.  Clemens took the first half of 2007 off then signed back with the Yankees to finish off the season – to great fanfare!  

I actually saw his last game – an outing in the first round of the LDS where he didn’t last 3 innings.  He and Bonds will be forever linked as part of the steroid era.  If there was a Mount Rushmore for steroids in baseball, it would need to have 5 faces and those would be McGwire, Canseco, Bonds, Clemens and A-Rod.  Sorry there to Palmeiro, Man-Ram and Sosa!  But Clemens and Bonds are unique in that most people believe a) they were Hall of Famers before they started juicing, and b) if you don’t detract from their accomplishments, they are not only the greatest hitter and pitcher of their generation, but maybe of all-time.  This is why they have been getting over 30% of the HOF vote, whereas guys like McGwire and Sosa are closer to dropping off the ballot than to garnering half of the necessary votes.

Clemens did have a 2008 Topps card – you can see that above.  He had a few others, as well.

This is probably the most accomplished retiring class in the history of baseball.  Aside from Clemens and Bonds, Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Sosa, Kenny Lofton, Steve Finley, Reggie Sanders and David Wells.  The accomplishments of that group are amazing, though obviously there’s some (alleged 🙂 )steroid involvement there.  Regardless of that, consider:

  • Bonds, who holds too many records to count, including the career and season home run record and the season record for OBP and SLG.  He holds the record for 7 MVPs, and probably deserved 9 or 10.
  • Clemens, who won 7 Cy Young awards and 1 MVP.  Along with Greg Maddux and Warren Spahn, he’s one of three hurlers to pitch after WWII to have 350+ wins.  He’s also one of 4 pitchers with over 4,000 strikeouts.
  • Biggio who has 3,000 hits and is the only player of historic notation to play a significant amount of time at 2nd base, catcher and center field.
  • Piazza, the all-time leading home run hitter at catcher.
  • Lofton, who was probably the best leadoff hitter in the 90’s.
  • Between Finley, Sanders and Bonds – all with 300 homers and 300 steals.  That’s 3 of the 8 players in the history of the game who have reached those milestones!
  • A World Series MVP and 3-time champion in Schilling.
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One response

14 03 2014
Matthew

Did Bonds ever “officially” retire? As you said, when the Giants chose not to re-sign him after 2007 no one else wanted to touch him, but he definitely still wanted to play.

My wife and I vacationed in San Francisco in August 2008 and saw a Giants – Dodgers game. The team was celebrating 50 years in San Fran and that night they honored all-time great Giant outfielders. They trotted out guys like Felipe Alou first, and closed with Willie Mays and Barry Bonds coming out together (Mays from the center field wall and Bonds from left). They both addressed the crowd (Willie said, “I’m glad you all got to see me tonight!”), and Bonds made sure to emphasize that he wasn’t retired (to the cheers of the Giants fans). I don’t think any objective person thought there was still a chance he would play again, though.

Keeping with the steroid theme, that game was not long after Manny Ramirez came over to the Dodgers. He went 3 for 5 that night.

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