When I started this blog, I didn't actually intend for it to be tied in to the Padres as much as it is now (believe it or not). Yeah, I know that the color scheme screams "Padre fan", but I thought (at the time), "who would want to read a blog about just Padre cards?"
After a handful of posts, I realized that Padre cardboard was mostly what I wanted to write about, so I threw caution into the wind (okay, may be getting a little over dramatic here) and decided to dedicate it to my Friar fandom. Props to the 60 (!) official blog followers. Way more than I ever thought I'd have.
That being said, I actually do have a small binder of non-Padre related cards. There are a handful of players who were never Padres that I like to collect, and other cards that I just think are cool. To commemorate any cards that I deem praiseworthy, I've started a "Hall Of Fame" feature on the blog. Requirements may vary, but I can vouch for the panel of judges; they're all completely crazy.
The inaugural inductees: the "Defensive Gems"
Starting off with some cardboard from this year's Topps flagship set.
This is easily my favorite non-Padre card of this year's main set. Revere is known for his stellar "D", but to get the full extension dive - with the shades on, grass flying in the air - onto a horizontal card? Can't beat that.
The next two entrants from 2012 are a pair of fence-climbers. Fittingly, this awesome card of Ichiro is his last as a Mariner. Ryan Kalish looks like he's trying to swim up the wall like a trout. Don't you know you can only do that in Anaheim?
Not a lot of catchers get included in the "Defensive Gems" category (they have the "Play at the Plate" cards, which are amazing in and of themselves), but how can you not like the focus and balance that McKenry is displaying here? Looks like a gymnast who stuck the landing. El Presidente shows that not all great defense has to be played in the outfield. You actually don't even have to have your eyes open to be able to make it. With the true skill that it takes to be a great defender, when you're sixty feet from a guy with a bat hitting 90 mph leather right back at you, luck plays a part as well.
Next up, a blast from the past. Like I said, catchers don't often make it into the "Defensive Gems" category, but when they do, it's pretty freaking awesome. One of my favorite cards of all time, and a 50 cent LCS pickup as well.
C'mon, you didn't think there'd be a "Hall Of Fame" post without at least one Friar, did you? Khalil Greene was a great Padre. Well, not in the "he was a great player" sense, but in the "he's our guy, and we love him" sense. I know it says "SI for Kids" on it, but hey! I'm a kid at heart! I can still enjoy this!
Last, but not least, the final inductee into the inaugural HOF class: Tony Plush. Just to show that there is no bias in the admittance process (unless you're a Dodger), I put a player in the Hall that I couldn't stand on a personal level. But how can you not love this card? Don't recall seeing the actual play, but I can guess that Mr. Morgan is in for a pretty rough landing after this catch.
Well, that's a wrap for the inaugural inductees. There's a pretty big gap between when I stopped collecting as a kid (1996) and when I picked it back up again (2012), so that's why there isn't a greater representation of variety across different sets/years. Congrats to those who got in, and stay posted for the next wave of inductees.
Any that I missed? What other "defensive gems" do I need to include?