Saturday, January 28, 2017
Top Five: Tom Seaver
All this recent Hall of Fame talk led me to a question I can't believe I'd never asked myself before: who was elected to Cooperstown the year I was born?
Turns out the HOF welcomed four new inductees in 1992. The Veterans Committee put umpire Bill McGowan and longtime Tigers hurler Hal Newhouser into Cooperstown, while Rollie Fingers (2nd ballot) and Tom Seaver (1st) were elected by the writers.
Seaver, in fact, received 98.8 percent of the vote, a record that stood until just last year when Ken Griffey Jr. notched 99.3 percent of the total vote. (Though it's still hard to believe no one has ever been unanimously voted into Cooperstown.)
It's for this special birth-year link that I've decided to showcase my five favorite cards of Tom Terrific this week.
#5 -- 1981 Kellogg's #38 Tom Seaver
Tom Seaver is most well known as a Met, but he did have some fine seasons with the Reds later on in his career.
I've been lucky enough to find a few of his oddball issues over the years, but this '81 Kellogg's beauty has remained my absolute favorite. It represents the lone year Kellogg's decided to produce standard-sized cards, and seriously, how sweet are those yellow borders?
I say it time and time again: I really wish baseball cards came with my cereal when I was a kid.
#4 -- 1972 Topps #446 Tom Seaver IA
This is a favorite of mine for the pure oddity of it.
I've owned this card for years and I still have no clue what I'm looking at. What kind of "action" is going on here? What's Tom Seaver doing? Laughing? Expressing discontent? Doubling over in extreme pain?
You tell me, because I sure as heck don't know.
#3 -- 1976 Topps #5 Tom Seaver RB
A classic card of Tom Terrific, though not without its share of confusion as well.
This is Seaver at the top of his game -- hence the "Record Breaker" subset -- staring down a helpless soul in the batter's box. The hitter is what makes me scratch my head here. Specifically, his helmet, which looks airbrushed to the point of resembling a construction worker's hard hat. But why alter the cap of a mere bystander in the first place?
It's notable that Stadium Club used this same image for Seaver's card a few years ago, though the helmet didn't look in the least bit airbrushed that time.
Once again, a card of Tom Terrific befuddles me.
#2 -- 1971 Topps #160 Tom Seaver
No confusion here, just my oldest Topps card of Mr. Seaver.
I seem to have an uncanny ability to remember when and where I obtained many of my cards, but I can't for the life of me tell you where I got this one. All I know is that I've had it for a long time and that it was probably one of the first of the 200+ Tom Seaver cards I now own.
If only my collection could talk.
#1 -- 1974 Topps #80 Tom Seaver
The top slot for Tom Terrific wasn't a contest: I knew it'd be this one all along.
Between the full crowd, ready-positioned first baseman (Ed Kranepool?), and the ferocious follow-through, it's one of the best action shots ever produced by Topps, plain and simple.
This was also one of the last of its kind: it would be 17 years before Flagship would go horizontal again.
If there ever comes a day where a Baseball Card Hall of Fame becomes a reality, this better be one of the first inductees.