Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sports Card Soothsayer

When I was in high school, my mother and a few of her friends went to a tarot card reader.  I wish I could tell you that it was for pure entertainment purposes, but they actually believed in what the cards revealed.

Today... I figured I'd experiment with my own cards and see if they're able to predict the 2016 World Series Champion.  Since I don't have tarot cards, I used some of the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians cards in my collection instead.

I started by pulling some of my favorite cards from each team and sorted them into their respective positions.  Then I compared them and determined which team had the advantage.  I wish I could tell you that I used some detailed formula, but lack of time forced me to keep things simple.  I took the player's abilities, my fanfare for each player, and used the overall card design to help me decide.

Let's start off with the pitching rotations.  I chose four starters and two closers to determine the stronger pitching staff.  All of the extra pitchers would be added to the bench roster.







vs.





Pitching Rotation Advantage:  Cleveland Indians

You have no idea how badly I wanted to go with Greg Maddux and the Chicago Cubs pitching staff, but it was hard not to side with the pitching staff made up of six hall of famers.

Up next are the men behind the masks and the plate...



Jody Davis might have hit more home runs and is featured on a nicer card design, but Sandy Alomar Jr. was often considered the second best catcher in the American League behind Ivan Rodriguez.  I'm not sure if Davis was ever considered the second best catcher in the National League.

Catcher Advantage:  Cleveland Indians

Picking a first baseman was a little more challenging...


But it wasn't that hard.  Nine out of ten times, I'd go with the contact hitter over the slugger... and I always enjoyed watching Grace play.  But c'mon...  612 home runs always trumps a .303 career batting average.

First Baseman Advantage:  Cleveland Indians

Second base is a completely different story.


I actually spent a few minutes going back and forth between these two guys.  Both guys could hit.  Both guys could field.  Both guys are enshrined in Cooperstown.  But only one guy was loyal to one franchise his entire career.  The fact that the 2008 Sweet Spot Signatures is one of my favorite designs was the icing on the cake.

Second Baseman Advantage:  Chicago Cubs

Making my way around the horn...


I'm sure the majority of neutral fans out there would go with Mr. Cub, considering he was a first ballot hall of famer.  But I'm a huge fan of Vizquel.  In fact, he's probably my favorite Cleveland Indian of all-time.  The tie-breaker?  The 1999 UD Century Epic Signatures set is another personal favorite.

Shortstop Advantage:  Chicago Cubs

Next stop, third basemen...


We have another pair of hall of famers.  One retired twenty years before I was born.  The other only played the first two years of my life.  In short... I have no connection to either, so I turned to card designs and career statistics.  Boudreau's 1950 Bowman card is more aesthetically pleasing than Santo's 1965 Topps Embossed inserts.  However Santo's numbers beat out Boudreau's.

Ultimately... I went with Santo, because he played most of his career at third... while Boudreau only played one game at that position.

Third Baseman Advantage: Chicago Cubs

There are only three more positions left before the my baseball cards reveal the 2016 World Series Champion.  It originally looked like the Cleveland Indians were going to walk away without being challenged, but after being down three positions to none, the Chicago Cubs have bounced back to tie things up.

Let's see which team's trio of outfielders can secure the lead for their team...




vs.



As I mentioned earlier in this post, I've always had a deeper appreciate for guys who hit for average... than power.  Tris Speaker has the 6th highest career batting average in MLB history.  Unfortunately his supporting cast of Tito Francona and Albert Belle just wasn't enough in terms of star power and career stats when pitted against Lou Brock, Billy Williams, and Andre Dawson.

Outfielders Advantage:  Chicago Cubs

Holy cow!  The Cubs have taken the lead.

But with Cleveland having more experience in using the designated hitter, my gut is telling me they're not going down without a fight...

 

And I was right.  Eddie "Mother F'n" Murray and the 2008 UD Masterpieces Captured on Canvas card design make this the easiest decision of the day.  Sorry Kong.

Designated Hitter Advantage:  Cleveland Indians

After eight innings... they're tied up again and will turn to their bench to determine this year's World Series winner.  I should preface things by stating that the Indians had a slight advantage, because of sheer numbers, so I decided to narrow the bench down to five players each... making it a modified twenty man playoff roster.

Here are the results:




vs. 



Wow.  This is a really tough decision, because Cleveland's bench is made up of mostly pitchers... while the Cubs have none.  It's like comparing apples to oranges.

Ultimately... I decided to go with the Cubs, because both the 1975 and 1960 Topps designs are two of my all-time favorites.  Aramis is featured on one of my favorite relic sets.  And Monday is a real American hero.  Throw in Sosa's 609 career MLB home runs and the baseball cards have officially spoken.

Congratulations Chicago Cubs fans!  Based on the cards, it'll be a tight series... but your team will walk away as the 2016 World Series Champions.

Cleveland Indians fans... don't shoot the messenger.  Remember... it's in the cards!

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

5 comments:

  1. Who knows but lots of great cards there. Fun to look at them no matter what they say. I need to trot out some of my Boudreau's before the Series is over. Or maybe after. We'll see. He had a significant connection to both teams. Between them, Santo and Boudreau worked the WGN radio Cubs games for most of the years between 1960 and 2010.

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  2. This was a neat concept - and you have a LOT of awesome cards! Given that this is just two teams out of 30 I can only imagine how many other autos and jerseys you have of star/HOF players. And you have a Tris Speaker bat card - very impressive!

    I'm curious to hear your thoughts on Omar Vizquel's HOF chances? My gut tells me that he should get in, but the stats (and the experts' early analysis) are less favorable.

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  3. I mean Cleveland's 3Bman HAS to be Al Rosen....

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  4. Great post Fuji! You had some WOW cards in there for sure.

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  5. hackenbush - haven't had much time to read blog posts lately... but i'll definitely head over to your blog and see if you posted those boudreau cards

    chris - i'm a big fan of topps archives autographs, so i have a lot of those fan favorite kind of autographs. overall... i don't have too many high end cards in the collection, but when i find a cool relic at a good price, i'll pick it up. as for vizquel, i think he'll get in under the wizard of oz rule.

    greg zakwin - send me a card of him and i'll update the post ;)

    matthew scott - thanks

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