Alright, so this is old news now, but one of the best pitchers in the history of the game was voted into the Hall of Fame this week. He is easily the best pitcher that I have ever watched pitch in person. I saw him pitch when he was with the Padres, but have little to no recollection of the specifics of the game, which kinda bums me out. Still, for what I lack in memory, I can begin to make up with baseball cards. That's what they're for, right?
Here, we have Maddux's two Topps base cards during his short Padres tenure. The 2007 card looks very obviously photoshopped (c'mon, the Padres uniforms are lame, but not that lame), while the 2008 photo looks more legit. Still looks like a Spring Training game, however, and you'd think they'd have some actual game photos after pitching in San Diego for a whole year.
Next up, his two cards from the Allen & Ginter sets. Whenever I see Ginter cards from different years side by side (especially from the first handful of years), I'm reminded of how similar they all are in design. I'd give the nod to the '07 version here, though only slightly.
Here are my two favorite Maddux cards as a Padre. The Upper Deck one on the left I picked up from the cheapo bin at a card shop in Austin. The one with the throwback uniform on the right I got in one of the many trades I've done during my time having this blog. As I type this, I'm eating breakfast with my daughter on our little porch, and the glare from the sun is preventing me from getting a good look at these cards to give you more specific details of what they are. Whatever.
While I'm at it, here are all the rest of the Maddux's that I have. These are the only Maddux cards in my collection. I'm just a Padre guy, and I really hated all those Braves teams that dominated the 90's. I used to have some from his Cubbie days, but I ended up sending 'em out in trade packages - nothing worth holding onto for me.
Congrats, Mad Dog. Should've been a unanimous vote, but that never happens because people are stupid.
While I'm on the subject of former Padres who have made it into the Hall of Fame, here are cards from my collection of all of them. Of course, they're all in their Padre uniforms. Think you can name all ten of the guys besides Maddux?
To give you some time to think about it, and to take up space, here are some of my recent baseball related tweets. You know, from twitter.
2011 - Roberto Alomar (90% of the vote, 2nd ballot)
Roberto came up as a rookie with the Padres in 1988, and would make the All-Star team in his third (and last) year with them, in 1990. He would make it for 11 more consecutive years, with the Blue Jays, Orioles, and Indians. He'd bounce around a few more teams after that, and be inducted into Cooperstown as a Blue Jay.
2009 - Rickey Henderson (94.8% of the vote, 1st ballot)
The only one on the list to serve two different terms with the Friars, Rickey stole bases for the Padres from '96 to '97, and again in '01. As great a player as Rickey was, I can't say that I love many of his Padre cards. This is a good one, though. 91 of his 1,406 stolen bases came as a Padre, or 6.47%. Unsurprisingly, Rickey's plaque has him wearing his A's hat.
2008 - Goose Gossage (85.8% of the vote, 9th ballot)
Dick Williams (Veteran's Committee)
A twofer in 2008, as Goose was finally let loose into the Hall, and Dick Williams, who led the Padres to their first World Series appearance in 1984, was elected in by the Veteran's committee. Goose played for nine different teams, but went into the Hall as a Yankee, where he spent seven years of his career. I know very little about Williams' time with the Padres, and even less about what he did before/after, but he went in as an Athletic.
2007 - Tony Gwynn (97.6% of the vote, 1st ballot)
As if there was any doubt that Mr. Padre would be a first ballot Hall of Famer. As I mentioned in one of my tweets, Gwynn, who hit .415 against Maddux in 94 ABs, is 8th all time in Hall of Fame voting percentage, while Maddux finished with 97.61%, good for 8th. Here is the first of a trio of first ballot, Hall of Fame Padre rookie cards. Sweet! Gwynn's 3,141 hits place him 19th on the all-time MLB hit list
2002 - Ozzie Smith (91.7% of the vote, 1st ballot)
Even though it's beat up and off center, I love this card. While at first, I kinda got why people weren't big fans of the brown and yellow, the more I've immersed myself in Padres history (mostly via baseball cards), now it is definitely my preference. The Padres traded The Wizard to the Cardinals for Garry Templeton, and while he helped lead them to the World Series in '84, Ozzie was the one who had the Hall of Fame career (though Tempy would be the Padres leader in hits for people not named Tony Gwynn). I'm not bothering looking this one up, he went in as a Cardinal.
2001 - Dave Winfield (84.5% of the vote, 1st ballot)
I'm still surprised that I stumbled upon the Winfield and the Smith rookie cards for less than $5 shipped. Maybe it's because it's all I can afford, but I think I prefer them in this condition. At least I know that if something happens to it, I'm not "ruining" some pristine piece of cardboard - I'm just adding more to it's character. Winfield was the first player to choose to go into Cooperstown wearing a Padre hat. There seemed to be some controversy over this, as I believe that the committee now chooses what hat goes on the plaque. While I would've preferred that Tony be the first, I guess I can't complain too much about somebody wanting to associate themselves with the Padres.
1992 - Rollie Fingers (81.16% of the vote, 2nd ballot)
I chose this card of Rollie Fingers because I think it has the best shot of his mustache. Fingers was with the Padres for four seasons, from '77 to '80, and recorded 108 of his 341 saves wearing the classic brown and yellow (36.7%). He ended his career with four more seasons in Milwaukee, but he went into the Hall as an Oakland A, where he spent his first nine seasons in the majors.
1991 - Gaylord Perry (77.2% of the vote, 3rd ballot)
I've found out that, when compared to your average sports fan, I'm pretty knowledgable about baseball. When compared to people who know a lot about baseball, I'm reminded that I really only know a lot about the Padres. Case in point: I knew that Gaylord Perry had been on a bunch of teams (eight, as it turns out), but I couldn't tell you which ones besides the Padres and the Yankees. Well, turns out that he also spent time as a Giant (10 years), Indian (4), Ranger (4), Brave (1), Mariner (2), and Royal (1). Do you know how many 20+ win seasons he had? FIVE! When he was season ages 27, 31, 33, 35, and 39. He was actually 40 at the end of the '78 season, when he won the Cy Young award with the Padres, the second in his career. Perry's plaque has a Giants cap on his head.
1986 - Willie McCovey (81.4% of the vote, 1st ballot)
Last but not least, here is the first former Padre to be enshrined. Willie Mac is obviously better known for his days as a Giant, but he was a Padre for two and a half seasons at hit 52 of his 469 homers as a Friar. When I was a kid, I read a Hall of Fame book that my grandparents got me, found out about McCovey and vowed to have a card of his. I posted about it here, and it is still one of my all-time favorite cards.
Well, there you have it. The answer to the question that was never asked: How many former Padres are in the Hall of Fame.
Put 'em together, and you've got a pretty good team! Alomar & Smith as the double play combo. Henderson, Winfield, and Gwynn in the outfield. Have McCovey man first. Maddux and Perry at the top of your rotation with Gossage and Fingers in the bullpen to close it out. Just need a catcher and a third baseman and they'd be all set.
Anyways, congratulations are also in order for Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, the other two guys who made it in. Both sure-fire, first ballot types. Not to take anything away from Thomas, but while perusing the all-time hit lists, here are a few notable former Padres who had more hits than Frankie (who placed 101st all time with 2,468) that aren't in the Hall of Fame:
Gary Sheffield (66th all time with 2,689)
Steve Garvey (79th all time with 2,599)
Steve Finley (89th all time with 2,548)
Fred McGriff (98th all-time with 2,490)
I'll end with a fact that I wouldn't have believed unless I had looked it up:
Omar Vizquel has more major league hits than Babe Ruth. Only by four (2,877 to 2,874), but still!