Wednesday, August 18, 2021

350 is a magic number - we're number 1s

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 cards from the same year of each decade, and so far i've shown the 8s, 7s, 6s, 3s, and 2s. this post will be all about the 1s.

1961 topps #350
ernie banks failed to win his third mvp in a row in 1960, but he did lead the national league in home runs. i haven't shown the 9s yet, but this is banks' second turn at number 350 in three years. 

1971 topps #350 
billy williams makes it back-to-back cubs a decade apart. williams was second in the nl mvp voting in 1970, and led the league in runs and hits. as the card back notes, his consecutive game streak ended at 1,117 games and would stand as the league record until steve garvey passed him in 1983.

1981 topps #350
jr richard was as dominant of a starter as you will see. it seemed like he always shut the dodgers down, and the abrupt end to his 1980 season and career was startling and tragic. i believe the astros would have made an appearance in the fall classic in 1980 had richard still been pitching.

1991 topps #350
glenn davis brings us back-to-back 'stros! he was one of those semi-stars in the late 1980's that commanded some attention but not enough to get too excited about. he was a big part of the 1986 astros' success and wound up finishing in second place in the mvp voting that year. unfortunately, he was in decline by the time this card was issued, and had actually joined the orioles for the 1991 season.

2001 topps #350
bruce bochy drew the lucky straw in 2001 when topps decided to start the manager cards at #322 and run them altogether. i stop short of calling this a subset, however. bochy took over the reins for the padres following the 1994 strike, and led them to the pennant in 1998. he later won three world series titles with the giants, so he will probably be inducted in to the hall of fame at some point.

2011 topps #350
francisco liriano stormed out of the gate in 2006 as the card back says, and finally returned to a similar form in 2010. again, the card back tells the tale of him winning the comeback player of the year in 2010 which is sort of strange given that he pitched in a similar number of games in 2009, and the award usually goes to guys who missed much of the previous season. anyway, liriano was probably more deserving of 350 in 2007 (he got number 449).

2021 topps #350
d.j. lemahieu won his second batting title in 2020, making him the second player ever to lead each league in that category, just like the card back states. he was a decent choice for 350 this year, especially given how topps has once again been using card number 1 for standout stars the last few years.

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: 2 (frank robinson, robin yount)

number of reigning cy young winners: 0

number of reigning world series champions: 2 (keith hernandez, joe carter)

number of reigning pennant winners: 7 (frank robinson, steve garvey, robin yount, jack clark, keith hernandez, joe carter, clayton kershaw)

number of reigning league leaders: 10 (ernie banks - home runs; mel stottlemyre - complete games; billy williams - runs, hits; robin yount - hits, doubles; keith hernandez - walks; kenny lofton - sb; chase utley - runs; david ortiz - doubles, rbi; clayton kershaw - wins, era; dj lemahieu - batting average)

subset types: 2 (all-time all-stars, postseason highlights (2))

number of repeat players: 0

number of dodgers: 2 (steve garvey, clayton kershaw)

frequency of teams: cardinals (4), astros (4), cubs (3), mets (3), twins (3), dodgers (2), braves (2), a's (2), reds (2), brewers (2), yankees (2), white sox, giants, indians, phillies, red sox, blue jays, angels, rangers, orioles, rays, padres

i will have another post with another run of cards soon - stay tuned!


  1. "I believe the astros would have made an appearance in the fall classic in 1980 had richard still been pitching."

    Wow. Et tu?

    1. they just needed one more win in the nlcs, and i would take richard's chances over vern ruhle's or whomever else it was that was in the rotation then. don't get me wrong, i was happy that the phillies won.

  2. #350 was well honored in '61 & '71!

    1. too bad the cubs didn't have a hofer on the squad in 81 (other than sutter, i guess) to keep the run going.

  3. Great start with Banks and Williams. Things started to come back down to earth with JR Richard. Although had he not suffered that stroke... he may have been the third hall of famer in a row.

    1. i don't disagree with your assessment fuji!