Saturday, June 21, 2008

Pack 10, twenty years later...

Pack 10
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
62 Gary Gaetti
67 Mike Boddicker
64 Luis Polonia
162 Bob Walk
178 Mike Kingery

291 Alan Wiggins
309 John Moses
311 Bill Schroededer
440 Graig Nettles
432 Mike Dunne
437 Jack Lazorko
450 Dale Murphy
442 Gerald Young
447 Greg Booker
627 Kirt Manwaring
633 Dave Clark
647 Ron Gant

Pretty good pack today, a nice change from the last two. Where to start, where to start...

Dale Murphy. Why is this man not in the Hall of Fame? Yes, I'm a Braves fan, but that's beside the point. He deserves to be there. But why isn't he? I have a few guesses.

His lifetime batting average was only .265. Excluding 1977, where he played in 16 games, he only hit .300 or better twice: 1983 and 1985. He stuck out, a lot. In 18 years he struck out 1,748 times and walked only 986 times. That's good for 13th place all time.

His 2,111 hits fall well short of the standard 3,000 hit mark that many HoF'ers reached.

While the numbers aren't big, look at his accomplishments. Seven time All Star, five straight gold gloves and four silver sluggers in a row. Pretty good, eh?

But wait, there's more. Mr. Murphy won the National League MVP twice. That alone should put him in the Hall.

The career numbers don't jump out at you like a Mays or Aaron. But you have to realize that Murphy played on a very sub-par team for much of his career. What would his numbers be like had he played in Atlanta during the Maddox-Glavine-Smoltz era? No one can tell.

Should he be there? I think so. Will he? No, probably not.

Moving on to another Brave, Ron Gant.

I always liked Ron Gant, but limited playing time the last several years of his career really hurt his numbers.

This is his rookie card.

But why am I really showing this here? Well, we just heard from Kent Hrbek a few days ago, so we have to see Gant.

Just know this, all of you who aren't old enough to remember Game 2 of the 1991 World Series. Hrbek, despite all his goodness and kindness of soul, pulled Gant off the bag. That's all you need to know about that game, that series, and Kent Hrbek.

These days Gant can be seen doing the pre-game show for the Atlanta Braves on FSN South and SportSouth.

Finally, twenty years is a long time. Most players are lucky to make it ten. Those who make it fifteen are rare. How many make it twenty in this era? Not a lot. There's a few: Glavine, Smoltz, Maddox, Randy Johnson... Jamie Moyer.

I've never been a huge fan of Jamie Moyer, but that's been changing over the last several years. The more I see of him and the more I learn about him, the more I like. A starting pitcher virtually all of his career, his (at the moment) 237 and 182 win/loss mark is impressive. Will he reach 300 wins, I doubt it. But that shouldn't take anything away from his career.

Here's his 1987 Topps card, next to his 2008 Topps Series 1 card. Enjoy.