Sully Baseball Podcast – The Red Sox should NOT covet Giancarlo Stanton plus Remembering 1985 Cardinals – August 23, 2017

Giancarlo+Stanton+Miami+Marlins+v+Philadelphia+ErrxbFMir4-l

Hunter Martin/Getty Images North America


Giancarlo Stanton is having an unbelievable season playing for the Miami Marlins. Should the Red Sox try to trade for him?

HELL NO!!!

Would YOU sign an injury prone player in his late 20’s to an 11 year contract? At the cost of one of your core players?

I hope not.

That plus I call for the name to be changed for Yawkey Way and I figure out which Cardinals team should have won.

Correcting mistakes of the past on this episode of Sully Baseball.

While we are at it, enjoy the In Memoriam video.

Continue reading

Jim Kaat 1978 Topps and Ichiro Suzuki 2017 Topps – Sully Baseball Cards of the Day for August 10, 2017

IMG_1772.JPG

I admit, this is going to be an unusual entry of the Card of the Day. I suppose this will be less biographical and more philosophical.

On the left I have a card for Jim Kaat in 1978. That was the first year I collected baseball cards. Jim Kaat was already a grizzled veteran at the time and he would keep playing into the 1980’s, winning a World Series ring with the 1982 Cardinals. After that, he became one of the best color commentators on TV. Many believe he should have been elected to the Hall of Fame. I would not have a problem with that.

On the right is a card from this year. Ichiro is on it. Notice how he is just “Ichiro” not Ichiro Suzuki. He got 3 hits in last night’s Marlins loss to the Nationals. That gives him 3,064 hits in America and 4342 hits combined between America and Japan.

There is no doubt he is going to the Hall of Fame. I wish a team like the Dodgers or Nats would pick him up for a playoff run. I’d like to see him get a World Series ring.

I got the Ichiro card for this year and I flipped it over.

IMG_1775

OK. They have his stats and some advanced metrics. OPS and WAR have made it to the back of the Topps Card. So has some pretty heady quotes like “Equipment has heart, human heart, inside it.” That is almost a haiku.

But here was my problem. While they show his last 4 years and the grand total of his 16 years in the bigs, it doesn’t tell the whole story of his career. Hell, glancing at the back of the card, you’d think he had split his career evenly with the Yankees and the Marlins.

There is no mention of his 12 seasons in Seattle, let alone his Rookie of the Year and MVP season of 2001.

Compare the back of that card with the back of Jim Kaat’s card.

IMG_1774

EVERY year is included. It doesn’t matter how cramped it gets on the card. It started in 1959 and went all the way to 1977. You can read his whole career including the Senators.

The SENATORS! That seemed like ages before my baseball knowledge began. And to give you an idea of how much his career stretched back, he played for the Senators that became the Twins, NOT the later version who became the Rangers.

He started playing when there was no baseball in Minnesota and only one team, the Yankees, played in New York. The Giants and Dodgers leaving was fresh in everyone’s mind in New York. The Mets did not exist yet.

When he finished playing, the Expos, Padres, Mariners and Blue Jays were all established franchises.

A baseball card was there to tell the entire story of a player’s career, or at least their entire major league history. No matter how many years a player goes on, it will be reflected on the back of their card.

When I started collecting, there were many veterans with long histories on the backs of their cards. Carl Yastrzemski, Phil Niekro, Pete Rose, Willie Stargell, Gaylord Perry, Willie McCovey, Manny Mota and Lou Brock all come to mind.

And the card told their whole story.

I loved that about cards.

But I realize I am being a little bit of Old Man Sully here. “In myyyyyyyyy day, things were different.”

When I collected cards, many times they were how fans like me learned who was who and what their stats were. And of course all the information was a year behind.

Cards do not fulfill that need now. Lord knows I don’t turn to baseball cards to learn someone’s stats! I go to Baseball-reference.com, the single greatest website in the history of the planet Earth. We get stats nearly in real time. I get frustrated when I have to wait until morning for every single active player to have their stats updated.

So I guess the notion of baseball cards being portable biographies is kind of an obsolete notion.

What the hell is their purpose now? I suppose they exist for aging baseball fans like me to have a sense of nostalgia.

Maybe they won’t have any purpose soon.

Oh Crap. I have a hell of a lot of baseball cards.

Cris Carpenter 1993 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for July 20, 2017

IMG_1031.JPG

I wonder what Cris Carpenter thought when he watched Chris Carpenter pitch for the Cardinals.

I mean he HAD to watch Carpenter pitch all those years with St. Louis and shake his head. There is no way he didn’t.

Hell, there is a sports writer named Paul Sullivan who works in Chicago that I check in on from time to time and wonder what life would be like if I were THAT Paul Sullivan and not your pal Sully.

But Cris without an H must look at Chris with an H and long for his career.

Look, I am not going to besmirch Cris without an H. He made it to the majors leagues, played a few seasons and had a couple of good years as a reliever. I can’t say that.

But he was supposed to be a star for the Cardinals. And another person with his exact same name save for the H WAS a star for the Cardinals and was great on the biggest stage.

It is kind of strange.

Cris without an H was born in Florida but went to high school and college in Georgia. In 1987, the Cardinals made him the 14th pick in the draft.

Future All Stars Jack Armstrong, Mike Remlinger, Travis Fryman and Pete Harnisch were all still available. So was Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.

Then again, Chris Myers, Dan Opperman and Kevin Garner were drafted ahead of Carpenter and none of them made the majors leagues. So there is that.

A star reliever in college, the Cardinals tried to convert him into a starter. He split 1988 between AAA Louisville and St. Louis. The goal seemed clear. This was not a long term rebuilding process. They expected him to be part of a staff that won 2 of the previous 3 pennants. Injuries to Danny Cox and Joe Magrane opened up a spot in the rotation that Carpenter needed to fill.

In 1989, the starter experiment seemed over as he began closing games in Louisville with mixed results but still managed to spend in the majors.

On September 17, he made a spot start against the Phillies. There were no shortage of professional hitters on the Phillies that day. Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk, Ricky Jordan, Von Hayers and Darren Daulton were all in the lineup.

But Carpenter had one of his best games, pitching into the 8th and finishing with 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball to earn the win. It was a flash of what could have been.

He split 1990 between AAA and St. Louis but pitched all of 1991 and 1992 with the parent club with some success. He won 10 games out of the bullpen in 1991, not that that tells us anything. In 1992, he threw 73 relief appearances and had an ERA of 2.97 as a set up man.

After the 1993 season, as this card suggests, he was left unprotected in the expansion draft and wound up on the original Marlins squad. He threw a shutout inning in the very first game in Marlins history, helping set up Charlie Hough’s win and Bryan Harvey’s save.

He did not finish the season in Florida as he was dealt for Robb Nen, who would wind up being a part of the Marlins first title 5 years later.

Between the second half of 1993 and 1996, Carpenter bounced between Texas, Milwaukee and the minors before finally retiring.

Right around his retirement, Chris with an H emerged as a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. After 6 years of up and down production in Toronto, Carpenter wound up in St. Louis.

There HE became the Chris Carpenter who pitched the Cardinals into the playoffs, winning a Cy Young and being the ace for 6 World Series champions.

Chris without an H teaches social studies in his home town in Georgia. He said in an interview that he felt like he was rushed to the majors and wasn’t ready for the spotlight.

Chris with an H was a late bloomer and got the glory.