Tuesday, March 24, 2020

ozzie smith is in my hall of famer collection

ozzie smith played college baseball near where i grew up. it would be a nice story to say that i followed him from his collegiate days, but i was too young at that time to know about baseball, much less that which was being played at the college ranks.  ozzie is, however, in my hall of famer collection, with this card as his entry:
that is a 2019 topps finest finest origins autograph.  here's the back:
while he had a greater impact on my fandom as a cardinal, i went with a padre card for my collection since that was how he was depicted in the 1979 set which was really my introduction to him. i am guessing that the first time i ever saw him in action was on the final day of the 1978 season when i watched the dodgers play the padres on tv. however, that game was only memorable because of gaylord perry - i can't say i recall anything about ozzie. same goes for the only time i saw him play in person. it was april 24, 1981, and the padres were at dodger stadium. i was more excited that it was baseball card giveaway night for the second annual dodgers/lapd set than anything else, and don't recall seeing ozzie do anything in particular (baseball reference tells me that he was 0 for 4 and double-switched out late in the game). instead, steve garvey hit two home runs and davey lopes hit one of his own and i was a happy camper.

unfortunately, i recall quite a bit about ozzie smith from his time with the cardinals.  in particular, i recall his heroics in the 1985 nlcs against the dodgers. the dodgers had taken a two games to none lead in the series at home, then dropped the next two on the road. in game 5, also played in st. louis, the dodgers came back in the fourth inning from an early deficit to tie the game at 2 runs apiece. it stayed that way until the bottom of the ninth inning, when ozzie took tom neidenfuer deep to end the game. it was ozzie's first home run hit from the left side of the plate in his entire career. it was brutal.

two days later, with the series back in los angeles, tommy lasorda brought neidenfuer in to the 7th inning of game 6 to relieve orel hershiser and face ozzie with one out and willie mcgee on first. mcgee had just hit a two-run double to chase hershiser and reduce the dodger lead to just one run.  smith greeted neidenfuer with a game-tying triple. he was stranded on third after neidenfuer intentionally walked tommy herr and then struck out jack clark (this will be important later) and andy van slyke to end the inning.  in the 9th, after mike marshall homered in the 8th to put the dodgers up by one, neidenfuer was back out there to try to close out the game.  with one out and mcgee on second, smith coaxed a walk and came around to score the winning run on jack clark's three-run home run - a home run clark hit even though first base was open because neidenfuer had struck him out two innings prior.

as a side note, if i were to rank the five most disappointing dodger postseasons from my time as a fan, the order would likely be 1978, 1985, 2019, 2017, 1995.  1978 was tempered by the title in 1981, and i suppose that the loss to the cardinals was relieved by the 1988 championship. still, i have not cared for the cardinals much at all since october of 1985.

i never did see ozzie play in person as a cardinal when he was playing his best baseball, and when he retired, i realized that that was a stain on my baseball fandom. it was his retirement following the 1996 season that inspired me to attend a bunch of games in 1998 (it was during the 1997 season that i realized i hadn't seen him play since he was a padre), and i wound up seeing every american league team that visited the metrodome that year.  i also made it a point to get to the ballpark in future seasons to see specific players when they came to town, including several in this collection.

here's my hall of famer collection as its been documented so far:

babe ruth - 2003 topps tribute world series edition world series tribute relic 351/425

honus wagner - 2001 topps tribute relic

tris speaker - 2011 topps tribute dual relic green parallel 53/75

george sisler - 2004 topps tribute hall of fame tribute relic

dizzy dean - 2001 topps tribute relic

bob feller - 2001 topps archives

jackie robinson - 2004 topps clubhouse collection clubhouse relic

yogi berra - 1998 donruss signatures significant signatures 1640/2000

roberto clemente - 2005 donruss greats hall of fame souvenirs relic

warren spahn - 1999 upper deck century legends epic signatures

mickey mantle - 2000 upper deck legends legendary game jerseys relic

willie mays - 1997 topps willie mays reprints autograph

al kaline - 2001 fleer greats of the game autographs

duke snider - 2003 upper deck sp authentic chirography hall of famers 144/250

bob gibson - 2001 fleer greats of the game autographs

hank aaron - 2004 topps originals 1979 topps all-time record holders rbi 03/32

frank robinson - 1995 upper deck autographs

harmon killebrew - 2000 upper deck legends legendary signatures

pee wee reese - 2001 topps tribute relics

jim hunter - 1998 donruss signature series significant signatures 0736/2000

willie stargell - 2000 upper deck legends legendary signatures

gaylord perry - 2003 topps finest finest moments autographs

rollie fingers - 2018 topps archives signature series 1978 topps buyback 1/3

reggie jackson - 2018 topps tier one tier one talent autographs 19/60

steve carlton - 2018 topps five star career year autographs

mike schmidt - 2002 topps archives autoproof 1980 topps buyback 048/147

don sutton - 2001 fleer greats of the game

tony perez - 2004 fleer national pastime 2002 fleer greats authentic autograph buyback 30/59

dave winfield - 2003 upper deck sp authentic chirography hall of famers 121/350

ozzie smith - 2019 topps finest finest origins autograph

gary carter - 1999 fleer sports illustrated greats of the game autograph collection

dennis eckersley - 2017 topps archives signature series 1984 topps buyback 47/99

paul molitor - 2016 topps museum collection archival autographs 021/125

bruce sutter - 2003 topps all-time fan favorites

jim rice - 2005 upper deck past time pennants past time signatures

andre dawson - 2000 fleer greats of the game autographs

tim raines - 2018 topps tribute tribute autographs green parallel 26/95

alan trammell - 2001 fleer greats of the game autographs

roy halladay - 2017 topps archives signature series 2004 topps buyback 15/23

pete rose* - 2018 panini flawless legendary signatures 15/25

barry bonds* - 2001 bowman heritage autographs
you can find the full list of hall of famers (and some not - yet) that i aim to include in this collection at my want list site.

*not currently a member of the hall of fame


  1. Wow, after the angst Ozzie put you and your Dodgers through I'm surprised you let him into your HOF collection! LOL

  2. Very cool card. I have a few Ozzie autographs... but only one of them features him with the Padres and it isn't a certified pack pulled card. It's good to see Topps starting to have him sign Padres cards more. Hopefully I'll be able to add one to my collection too.

    1. I agree. I'd rather see him on cards as a padre.