Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gosh Maybe I Can Afford One of These Now

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Greatest Common Card Produced in the Early 90's (In Defense of Steve Avery)

When you think of the greatest cards ever produced, a few come immediately to mind: 1952 Topps Mantle, T-206 Honus Wagner, pretty much every card made by Topps from 1953-1956. But personally, I think that the greatest common card produced in during the baseball card explosion era of the early 90’s is this:

1993 Upper Deck #472 Team Stars Subset Strike Force

Is it any surprise that it comes from 1993 UD? Personally, I think this card is perfect. The greatest rotation ever on one card. Maddux with his icy glare, Smoltz and Glavine smiling happily. Avery looking happy to just be there. If there’s one thing that might throw someone off about this card it’s the inclusion of Steve Avery. Most would instantly glance at the card, see 3 sure-fire Hall of Fame players and then some other pitcher. Friends, I come to praise Steve Avery and not to destroy him and show that his inclusion on this card is warranted. First lets look at the raw stats:

1990 - 3-11, 5.64 ERA, 6.8 SO/9 in, 1.67 SO/BB

1991 - 18-8, 3.38 ERA, 5.9 SO/9 in, 2.11 SO/BB (6th in Cy Young voting, NLCS MVP)

1992 - 11-11, 3.20 ERA, 5.0 SO/9 in, 1.82 SO/BB

1993 - 18-6, 2.94 ERA, 5.0 SO/9, 2.91 SO/BB (Made All-Star Team)

I could keep listing stats, but that's what he had accomplished up to the point when the card produced except the 1993 stats as the season was just beginning or in progress when 1993 UD came out. Those came after the card came out. Now if you look at the stats of the Big 3, most of these numbers will seem paltry in some respects, but not in others. In 1991, Avery won 3 more games than Maddux and lost 3 less. His ERA was only 0.03 higher than Maddux in 1991 and had more strikeouts per 9 innings. Of course, the comparisons with Maddux pretty much end there as he went on to win the Cy Young Award from 1992-1995. Looking in comparison with Smoltz, in 1991 Avery's ERA was lower by 0.42 and he won 4 more games than Smoltz and lost 5 less. He also recorded 0.1 strikeouts more per 9 innings than Smoltz. In 1993, Avery's best year, he won 3 more games than Smoltz who had a much higher ERA than Avery at 3.62. Pitting Avery against Glavine, in 1991 Glavine won the Cy Young. He only won 2 more games than Avery and lost 11 compared to Avery's 8. Glavine's ERA was significantly lower at 2.55. Comparing Avery's 1993 year to Glavine's, Tommy won 4 more games to lead the Majors with 22 wins but lost the same number. His ERA, 3.20, was higher than Avery. In 1993, the only one of the four to not make the All-Star team was surprisingly Maddux, that year's eventual Cy Young winner.

I know that often comparing the stats I did doesn't work as there are great pitchers stuck on horrible teams or in a difficult division. However, since all of these pitchers were on the same team, all having to pitch to the same lineups and playing with the same offense and defense, it makes the comparison much easier. In looking at Avery's stats in comparison with the other incredible pitchers, I think that it makes perfect sense to include him on this card. He deserves to be there based on his performance and not just because he was the fourth man in an incredible rotation.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Night in the West End

When I decided to move to Greenville, one thing I was excited about was having a minor league baseball team here in town. Sure, there was one when I was in Jacksonville, but getting to the stadium and going to games always seemed like a chore and not like a time to have fun and watch some ball. In Greenville, they in the past few years have revitalized the West End of downtown with shops, the Reedy River Falls park and Fluor Field at the West End. The Greenville Drive, not the best team name but what can you do, is the Single A affliate of the Boston Red Sox. Prior to the Drive being in Greenville, the Braves had their AA affiliate there for years and years. Due to a quibble between the Braves and the City of Greenville over building a new stadium, the Braves up and moved to Pearl, Mississippi a few years ago. Funny thing is that Greenville DID build a new stadium. And when they learned it was going to be linked with the Red Sox, they made it a minor league replica of Fenway Park with the inside dimensions being the same, yet still allowing for the outside architecture to blend in with the existing buildings.

I went to a game between the Drive and the Kannapolis Intimidators, the Single A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The Intimidators are leading their division of the South Atlantic League right now with an in-division record of 40-18. The Drive tried to make a valiant comeback late in the game, but ended up losing 8-6. The players that really stood out to me were Oscar Tejada for the Drive, who made some great plays at second. He has great range and is lightning quick. However, with Pedroia in Boston he looks to be trade bait or would have to shift to a different position. For Kannapolis, it was reliever Kyle Bellamy. He's not quite a sidearmer, but he gets really, really low in his delivery, had some nasty pitches and ended up getting the save. Overall, it's a really incredible ballpark and a great place to see baseball played. I'll leave you with some pictures that I took at the game.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mail Day

I got a package from Joe over at The Average Joe yesterday and he filled in some needs from my list. Thanks Joe and I'll hopefully be able to fill in some of your needs and everyone should go over to his site and check if you have anything he needs.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Adam LaRoche is coming home

The Braves entered into the Trade Deadline fray and got fan favorite Adam LaRoche back from the Red Sox in exchange for Casey Kotchman. Adam was kind of in limbo on the Sox with no where really to play and with Victor Martinez coming in, they needed more of a bench player. I think Kotchman will do well in that role and Adam would not have. I never really warmed up to Kotchman and I'll be glad to see Adam back in in a Braves' uni.

[h/t ESPN]

I'M DONE! And a contest!

The last day of me taking the bar was Wednesday. Unfortunately, South Carolina doesn't give us our scores until October. Also, yes I have move from Florida to South Carolina for a myriad of reasons, but it also puts me closer to Atlanta and thus allowing me to attend Braves games. I haven't been to a game in 3 years so I'm looking forward to going to one soon. Also I'm in the process of unpacking everything and I'm having apartment issues so I'll be posting more, but they might be sparse here in the next few weeks.

Also, Ryan over at Trader Crack's is holding a great contest for a Razor Sports Icons cut signature. Head over there to check it out!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hey Look! An Actual Card Related Post!

Yes yes, I'm actually posting about something card related. While everyone else is caught up in the mania that is 2009 A&G, I am still stuck on 2008 A&G. Hopefully I'll get my hands on some 2009 once things settle down and once I actually have a job that pays me money. I found a blaster at Target today when I went to pick up a few things. I was quite surprised to see a blaster still available, but it is right outside of a ritzy part of the Charleston area so cards might be below the people that normally shop there. Anywho, I ended up getting 6 cards I needed for the set (Needs List will be adjusted accordingly) as well as this

The material feels like it's from a wind breaker or something of that ilk. The box says that this pull is 1:1,000. Hey I'll take it. Pretty neat pull from a blaster. I always love the oddball inserts.