Sunday, September 28, 2014

Derek Jeter

I know I'm a little behind on my HOF posts, and on my posts in general for this site.  Having said that, a few words about Derek Jeter, after his last game today at Fenway Park:

--Obvious HOF because of his lifetime stats, most obvious his 3,464 hits, 6th most all-time.

--Also top-10 all-time in ABs, PAs, Runs Scored and Singles.  Considering he batted 1st or 2nd the vast majority of the time, these are excellent things for him to be amongst the greatest of all-time.  Probably the greatest second-in-the-order hitter ever.

--Some surprises (all this is courtesy of

-12th all-time in Times-on-Base.  If you consider the all-time greats of Ted Williams (okay, shorter career), Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, etc., all those you'd think of as all-time super-stars, the fact that Jeter got on base via a hit, walk or HBP 12th amongst all these guys is very impressive.

-His Offensive Winning % is 45th-best, ever.  That includes everybody--pitchers and position players.  That's Clemens, Grove, Cy Young, Pete Rose, people better defensively than he was...everyone.  This is very high.

-His 1,909 Runs Created is 27th-best, all-time.  This is runs scored, runs batted in and everything in between.

-13th-most strikeouts ever.  I know he batted a ton of times, but this is still surprising to me.

-21st-most total bases, ever.  Again, considering all the big boys--Williams, Ruth, Gehrig, Aaron, Mays, Mantle, etc.--being 21st is very high.  Especially when you consider that those guys hit homers and Jeter hit singles and doubles.  That's a lot of singles and doubles to party with those guys in TBs.

-Player of the Week just 3 times--and Player of the Month just once!

-Never won MVP, though he did finish 2nd and 3rd a few times.  But, Pedroia excepted, American League MVPs usually go to the home run guys.

-5 Gold Gloves.  Granted, GGs are given just as much for offensive performance as it is for defensive excellence (though of course it shouldn't be that way), but, still, 5 Gold Gloves is a lot for a guy who's often ridiculed for his defense.

-Having said that, baseball-reference says he owes the Yanks 9.7 games over his career for his defense.

-But he's won them 95.3 games over his career due to his offense.  Divided by 17 or 18 full years, that's about 5 1/2 games a year, just him.  That's a lot.

-He's had 650 post-season ABs.  That's another full season.

-He had a .308 batting average and a .374 OBP during that "extra season."  Keep in mind, this is the playoffs, so this would be against the better pitching staffs in all of baseball.  The .374 OBP is more impressive than the .308 BA considering this.

-The same website has compared him to the HOF shortstops already enshrined, and had this to say:

JAWS Shortstop (12th), 71.7 career WAR/42.2 7yr-peak WAR/57.0 JAWS
Average HOF SS (out of 21) = 66.7 career WAR/42.8 7yr-peak WAR/54.7 JAWS

In other words, he's a little to quite-a-bit better than the average HOF shortstop.  In short, he's a HOFer.

The two things I'll remember most about Jeter:

1) The infamous 2004 game, weeks before Nomar got traded, in a game that Nomar refused to play, Jeter jumped into the stands to catch a foul ball--and got a bloody chin and cheek for it.  At Fenway.  Later in the game, Nomar refused to pinch-hit--for Cesar Crespo, if I'm not mistaken.  I know Salad will correct me if I am wrong about this.  :-)

The story goes that this so angered Red Sox brass that it was the last straw, and they were intent on trading Nomar after this.  In other words, if Jeter hadn't played all-out that game (as he admittedly did for all his games), then the Sox front office wouldn't have shopped Nomar--and the Sox don't win the 2004 World Series.

2.  In a 2001 playoff game against the A's, a throw gets away from the cut-off man and Jeremy Giambi (surely one of MLB's all-time bad baserunners) tries to score.  Jeter, who was roaming the infield, runs about 100 feet out of his shortstop position, grabs the ball that's trickling on the 1st-base line about 15 feet from home, and throws a shovel-pass to the catcher, Jorge Posada, who tags Giambi out.  (Giambi looks back in shock, though the real surprise is his refusal to slide, as he's tagged on his foot.)

This is ballgame with-it-ness that can't be taught.  Not too many guys have his head in the game so much to make that play.  (I played awhile, and I can honestly say that I would've watched with my mouth agape as the ball rolled away and the run scored.)  The Yanks win this playoff game 1-0, too.  Neither of these two plays show up in Jeter's defensive stats, and he was not a particularly gifted defensive shortstop like Alex Gonzalez or many others.  But Jeter has to be one of the headiest ballplayers of all-time, a player for whom the stats will not do total justice.  This says a lot, since he has Hall-of-Fame stats.

More than anything else, worthy of the Hall for his Hall-of-Fame consistency.  Offensively and defensively.  And for just the intangibles, which is usually a BS word, but not in his case.

And, finally, it's oversaid, but it's not wrong: Jeter's a guy who respected the game and the people in it.  He wouldn't have slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand, for example.  Or put pine tar on his wrist, and then on his neck, as did the pitcher who started and won Jeter's last game.  He played the game right, and he has the $600+ million dollars and--soon--the HOF plaque to prove it.

A great player--even if he never made an appearance in my last Fenway game of this season, this past Friday, the day after his You-can't-make-it-up last game at Yankee Stadium.  Still, a great player.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Free Contest to Win A T206--1,400 T206s for Auction at Saco River Auction Co. January 2015

[Free contest to win a free 1909-1911 T206 explained at the bottom of this entry, in the P.P.S.  Contest ends midnight, Sept. 30, 2014.]

Yeah, that's right.  If you're into baseball cards at all, you know the T206s.  I've posted a few pics of the few I have.  This is the set that has the Honus Wagner card, formerly owned by Wayne Gretzky and others, worth literally millions of dollars.

Well, in January 2015, the Saco River Auction House, in Biddeford, Maine, will auction off the Portland Trove of T206s.  One thousand, four hundred of them.  All in good condition, or better.  All of them.  At an average of $50 per card--a very low estimate, considering there are Christy Mathewson cards, Walter Johnsons, Ty Cobbs, etc.--that's still $70,000 worth of T206 baseball cards being sold.  The real fetching price will most likely by ten times that, or more than $700,000.

To show you the awesomeness of this, look at the pics:

Can you believe that?!?  Oh, my goodness.  This makes me want to vomit in jealousy and greed, except I can't stop looking at the pics and wishing I had them.

Of course, since there are only 527 known cards in the set (though variations pop up even now, every so often), there are going to be some duplicates.  My guess is--the piles you see on the tables in the pics are the duplicates of that card.  So if a John Anderson, let's say, (in the second-to-last pic, he's in the second row from the bottom, all the way to the right; looks like he's praying) is on a small stack of three cards, I'm going to bet there are three John Andersons in the collection.  (There's only one John Anderson in the set.)  How did this happen?  Simple: The story is that a gentleman living in NYC in 1909 or so started smoking.  His choice of smoke was the El Principe de Gales--one of the rarest backs in the set!  Anyway, he smoked the stuff and kept the card the pouch came with.  And often, it'll come with a card he already had.  Like getting a duplicate in the wax packs we bought as kids.

So, if you're not doing anything on a particular day TBA in January 2015, and if the weather isn't too bad, I might just take a drive up to 2 Main Street in Biddeford, Maine--about a three hour drive, or so.  Hopefully the auction is on a Friday or Saturday night!  I might save up a little bit by then, and take my list of cards.  If you're into T206s, maybe I'll see you there.  Save your pennies: All of the cards in this trove were graded by SGC, and they're all in good condition or better.

Speaking of card collections, do you have one?  If so, what's your favorite?  Or do you have a favorite specific card, or set?  If you don't collect cards, what do you collect, and which of those is your favorite?

P.S.--Speaking of T206s, I've got a few extras, so I'll be having contests on this blog every now and then and giving one away for free.  Caveat: None of the ones I'm giving away are professionally graded.  They're known as "raw" cards, and they'd list in Poor, Poor / Fair, or Fair condition, but will still be worth at least ten bucks each, even in bad condition.  (I mean, they're free, so waddaya want?)  I'll mail it in a tobacco card toploader.  Stay tuned.

P.P.S.--In fact, what the hell.  I'll have a contest here and now.  Just answer the question(s) above the P.S. in a comment to this blog entry and I'll enter you in a random drawing to win one of my extra T206s from 1909-1911.  Each is worth somewhere between $10 to $25 and can be easily mailed to you.  If you're the winner, I'll ask that you send me an email.  When you do, I'll email you pics of the ones I've got available, and you can pick whatever one you want.  I'll mail it to you free of charge as well.  It can fit in a regular envelope, after all.