Posted by Andy on July 28, 2010
(click images for larger versions)
This is our first entry from 1983 although I'm going to pretend it's not. This was a very good year for baseball cards and each of the big three sets deserves a little love. I picked this card because of its subject, Ted Simmons, and because it is a cool Super Veteran card.
Topps included a 35-card subset in their regular 792-card set featuring veteran players in a recent photo and a photo from the past. The old photo was always shown in black-and-white. The Simmons card is a great example, in particular because although he played for the Cardinals in the late 1960s, Simmons didn't get his first Topps card until 1971. Their choice to use a photo from 1968 was inspired.
You can view the entire Super Veterans subset here at 30-Year Old Cardboard.
Be sure to check out the back of the card, too, posted below. Great stuff.
I chose Simmons so I could sneak in a discussion about his Hall of Fame candidacy. He appeared on the ballot in 1994, got 3.7% of the vote, and therefore was dropped from consideration. Many folks feel that he is one of the top catchers of the last 40 years and deserves more votes.
Let's take a very quick look:
- One of just 130 players since 1901 with at least 9,000 plate appearances
- Of those 130, only 4 were catchers and Simmons and Carlton Fisk are tied with the best career OPS+
- From 1975-1980, Simmons was tied for 12th in best OPS+ among players with at least 3,000 plate appearances. The guys he was tied with? Joe Morgan and Dave Winfield. Uh huh.
- MVP votes in 7 different seasons and an 8-time All-Star
- A bunch of career rankings in the top 100: hits (96th), doubles (67th), total bases (100th), RBI (71st), intentional walks (18th), WPA (92nd).
- Take a second look at his ranking in intentional walks--18th all-time. This is not a guy who batted 8th in front of pitchers--he hit in the middle of the order and was a feared hitter.