a few weeks ago i noted that i was pondering the idea of adding a number type mini-collection to my collection. of the options i considered - 190, 272, 350, or none at all - i decided to go with 350. i am posting the cards by ten-year increments, and so far i've done the 8s and 7s. today, i think i'll move on to the 6s.
1966 topps #350
mel stottlemyre had the good fortune to be a part of the 1964 yankee pennant winning team, contributing to their success and, as the card back says, starting three games in the fall classic. he also had the poor fortune of being a part of the yankees after that, as they failed to return to the postseason for the remainder of stottlemyre's pitching career, which lasted into the 1974 season. his 1965 season was one of his best, although he posted similar numbers in a couple of other seasons down the line. he was second in wins in the american league in '65, falling one behind the twins' mudcat grant.
1976 topps #350
lefty grove represents the first subset we've seen representing number 350. part of the 10-card all-time greats subset, grove represents the team in the left-handed pitcher category. even by today's advanced metrics, grove ranks as the best lhp in baseball history, ahead of randy johnson and warren spahn and all the others. because of this card, i think of him as an "old-timey" player, which he sort of was, but he lived almost up to the point when this card was produced unlike most of the other players included in this subset.
1986 topps #350
jack clark hit a big home run for the cardinals in the 1985 nlcs against the dodgers even though first base was open at the time. it was the first time that i completely abandoned the national league and cheered for the american league champion to win the world series. thank you, don denkinger.
1996 topps #350
jay payton was, to me, the oddibe mcdowell of number 350. i mentioned in a previous 350 post that i would always look at the checklists as i pulled them from packs to see who was given the hero numbers. this is before i could look up checklists online before the product was released. in 1985, i saw oddibe mcdowell's name at card 400 and was completely confused. only later did i find that the olympic team subset was placed in and around that part of the checklist. here, payton was given the number as a "now appearing" prospect who didn't actually appear in the majors until the end of the 1998 season, and he didn't become a regular until 2000.
2006 topps #350
joe nathan was acquired by the twins in one of the greatest trades in their history. they sent a.j. pierzynski to the giants for nathan, boof bonser, and francisco liriano. the trade opened up a position for joe mauer and also brought them a potential hall of fame closer in nathan. when this card was released, he was coming of back-to-back seasons of more than 40 saves, and he would go on to post 159 more saves in the next four seasons. had he not missed the 2010 season due to injury, he may have reached 400 saves for his career. as it is, he amassed 370, which is the 8th highest total all-time. his 43 saves in 2005 tied him with mariano rivera for the third highest total in the american league, behind francisco rodriguez and bob wickman.
2016 topps #350
kris bryant was the reigning nl rookie of the year in 2015, and i've added that to the list of things i am tracking below. as good as his 2015 season was, his 2016 was better as he was voted the league's mvp and became a world champion as well.
i am tracking a few things in an effort to find any consistency with number 350, although there really isn't any. still, i am keeping track of the following occurrences, now through two posts:
number of reigning rookies of the year: 1 (kris bryant)
number of reigning mvps: 0
number of reigning cy young winners: 0
number of reigning world series champions: 1 (keith hernandez)
number of reigning pennant winners: 4 (steve garvey, jack clark, keith hernandez, clayton kershaw)
number of reigning league leaders: 6 (mel stottlemyre - complete games; keith hernandez - walks; kenny lofton - sb; chase utley - runs; david ortiz - doubles, rbi; clayton kershaw - wins, era)
subset types: 1 (all-time all-stars)
number of repeat players: 0
number of dodgers: 2 (steve garvey, clayton kershaw)
frequency of teams: cardinals (3), dodgers (2), astros (2), braves (2), mets (2), white sox, giants, indians, phillies, red sox, yankees, a's, twins, cubs
i will have another post with another run of cards soon - stay tuned!