Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Second Look

I've got a lot of catching up to do here on the blogs, and I wanted to wait until my entire card collection was cataloged on TCDB (done) and neatly organized (not done yet) ..but then Doug sent me a surprise mailer of Devils cards and UConn alums he picked up at the Expo..
and then I got my very last PSA order..
and a smaller batch of vintage from eBay..
and then Bart Starr died and Bill Buckner died..
and Dustin Pedroia all but announced his retirement..
and the Stanley Cup Finals started..
and I really can't put off posting another day because sooo much is happening. 

I'll sprinkle some stats about my card collection into future posts, but as expected I have more Devils cards than any other sports team. Thanks in part to Doug I'm at 3,443 different Devils - good for 4th place on TCDB.

The same three collectors ahead of me on the list are also in the top four when it comes to collecting Martin Brodeur. I'm in second place on that list, with 483 unique singles.

I definitely want to reach 500 this year, and eventually I'd like to have one card for every one of his 691 regular-season career wins.

Former Devils such as Marcus Johansson, John Moore, and assistant coach Jay Pandolfo are a secondary reason why I'm cheering for the Bruins to win the Stanley Cup - even though the Blues have never even won a game in the final. It's not easy to go against the underdog, not when a tween girl with a rare disease is inspiring the squad, or the anthem singer is battling MS, or the bookies taking bets could lose millions if the Blues win. Boston has won enough titles, we should let St. Louis have this one..right?

Naah. Sorry, can't do it. There's no one to root for on this Blues team. They don't have any hateable players like the Bruins do with Brad Marchand, but they don't have anyone like Joe Thornton that neutral fans can get behind. There's no Brett Hull or Al MacInnis or Chris Pronger on this Blues squad. Vladimir Tarasenko is really good, but he's not an all-time great. And their OGWAC is...Jay Bouwmeester?!? Meh.

So yeah, I hope the Bruins win, I hope the name McAVOY is engraved on the Stanley Cup and I hope that Titletown gets another parade. It's been a looong drought after all.

Even with the Game 1 win, it was a sad weekend in Boston sports. 

It's impossible to mention Bill Buckner's name without bringing up Game 6, which is almost as unfair as the way he was treated by Red Sox fans. At least the Nation came to appreciate him while he was still alive and well - but we all know he deserved better.

Bill Buckner was 36 in the fall of 1986. Dustin Pedroia will be 36 this fall - and he may have played his last game. Pedey's left knee was shattered by Manny Machado's bush-league slide two years ago, and hasn't healed since. He's been my favorite player for over a decade and last year's World Series title was significantly less enjoyable with him sitting on the sidelines.

I'm holding out hope that Pedey can play again, but if he does it probably won't be much more than a David Wright-style send-off. The Sox had a rule that only Hall of Famers could have their number retired - but Johnny Pesky and David Ortiz have received the honor. I think #15 should hang from the Fenway facade one day - whether he makes it to Cooperstown or not.

If Pedroia has played his last game, most baseball fans would agree that his career falls short of the HOF standard. After 2016 or so I figured Pedey was about three good years and one or two mediocre ones away from serious Cooperstown consideration. But it doesn't look like he'll get there, and there are better second basemen ahead of him:

Lou Whitaker.276/.363/.426244108414375.1ROY, 4x SS, 3x GG
Dustin Pedroia.299/.365/.43914072513851.7ROY, MVP, 1x SS, 4x GG

Lou Whitaker should have been a Hall of Famer years ago. Instead he fell off the ballot after receiving 2.9% of the vote in 2001. That year, two players were elected - including one whose career was cut short at age 35:

Kirby Puckett.318/.360/.477207108513451.1LCS MVP, 6x SS, 6x GG
Dustin Pedroia.299/.365/.43914072513851.7ROY, MVP, 1x SS, 4x GG

Pedroia's numbers are..kinda close to Kirby's. And Puck was a first-ballot HOFer. That doesn't mean he should be enshrined - but I sure hope he gets a better look than Sweet Lou did.

This is not the first time one of my favorite athletes has had a potential Hall of fame career abruptly ended by injuries.

Sterling Sharpe played just seven NFL seasons before a neck injury forced him to retire after the 1994 season. If he could have played two more years he'd have earned a Super Bowl ring and a bust in Canton.

I didn't think Sterling played enough to be considered a "Hall of Fame Contender" as Panini did, but if Calvin Johnson and Rob Gronkowski are certain HOFers then perhaps it's not inconceivable.

Were any of your favorite athletes forced to retire due to injury (or illness)? 



  1. Congrats on getting all of your cards entered on TCDB! That's a really nice bunch of Devils there, especially that Pinnacle Game Savers insert.

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  3. Marian Hossa. He'll be a HOFer and had a long career but it ended rather mysteriously a couple of years ago due to an undisclosed skin condition. I think the Blackhawks really miss him.

  4. So are you back back? Or just temporarily back?

    I'm sure I've been a fan of a lot of guys who had to retire early, but the only two that I can think of right now are: Larry Johnson (basketball) and Brandon Roy, both of whom would've been HOF worthy had their careers not been cut short by injury.

    1. I'm back to posting on a semi-regular basis (once a week) which will hopefully become twice a week soon. I'll be back to commenting regularly after my daughter's birthday/soccer season is over.

  5. 4th place on TCDB is very impressive. Congratulations! The guy I would like to have seen play longer was Bo Jackson. Man that guy could run over people... and crush a baseball.

  6. I wonder how Pedroia feels about the fate dealt to him with that injury. He may be financially secure but sitting on the sidelines after the contributions he's made to the team - that has to hurt as much as his knee. Hate to see his career ending.

  7. I didn't realize that the Red Sox had that rule for retiring numbers. Regardless, Pedroia should be an exception. I had the same idea as you; that Boston will do a David Wright-style sendoff for Pedey, but I highly doubt he'll ever play more than 3 more games.