Thursday, July 17, 2014

Random All-Star Game and Other Thoughts

The All-Star game has come and gone, and I have a few random thoughts.

This year’s game featured some sure fire Hall of Famers like Derek Jeter and Miguel Cabrera, but it mostly featured young talent like Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, Andrew McCutchen, Dee Gordon, Salvador Perez, Paul Goldschmidt, Carlos Gomez, Yoenis Cespedes, and Yasiel Puig. When I see the names left off the teams roster like Joe Mauer, Dustin Pedroia, Albert Pujlos, Ryan Howard, Joey Votto, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, Josh Hamilton, and Ryan Braun I wonder if we are not seeing a changing of the guard amongst baseball’s top players.

I noticed the lack of young Twins star players on the above list. The Twins have only three players on their 25 man roster who are age 25 or young (Danny Santana -23, Oswaldo Arcia -23 and Eduardo Escobar -25). For a team that is supposedly in rebuilding mode this is not a good sign!

I went to All-Star Fan Fest on Monday for only $10 (regular price was $35). It was a pretty good experience though my hope of getting some of the free autographs was dashed by the long lines (people had to be in line 3 hours ahead of the signing time). However, with a donation to charity I got Tony Oliva to sign a card for me. I also was able to pick some of the popular and free Charlie Brown baseball cards Topps was giving away.

Look at this comparison:

Player A was a .294 career hitter with 272 home runs and a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 37.6. He was a 10 time All-Star and won the league MVP award.

Player B was a .304 career hitter with 220 home runs and a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 43. He was an 8 time All-Star and won 3 batting titles.

Player A and Player B have something in common; neither is in the Hall of Fame. In fact they were on the ballot every year of the eligibility, but never made it. Who are they? Player A is Steve Garvey who started for the National League in the 85 All-Star Game at the Metrodome. Player B is Tony Oliva of the Twins who played in the 65 All-Star Game here Met Stadium. While I was watching the 2014 All-Star game at Target Field I wondered which player(s) would be the Garvey/Oliva player who was really good, but not consider Hall of Fame worthy. It is hard to say who it will be, but we will know by the time the next All-Star Game comes to Minnesota in say 20 years.

The 2014 Allen & Ginter baseball cards were released earlier this month. A & G’s have been my favorite baseball card the last few years. However, this year was a major downer because there were only 3 Minnesota Twins (Mauer, Arcia, & Nolasco) in the set. From 2006 to 2012 the A & G sets average 10 Twins cards per set. Year last there were 7 current and former Twins in the set.

The Twins have been a bad team of late, but really could Topps (who produces A & G) have not least thrown in a card for Brian Dozier or Glen Perkins. Guess not. I would have like A & G to produce at least one card of Rod Carew in a Twins uniform instead of always putting him in an Angel uniform. Carew won 7 batting titles and was a MVP as a Twins for whom he played for twice as long as the Angels. Also why is there no Kirby Puckett card yet? One of the most loved players of his time finds himself one of the very few modern HOFers not to have an A & G card yet.

On a positive note, this year’s Topps Heritage set is real good this season. I hope to get some of them autographed yet this year.