Wednesday, August 9, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

Last time we checked in, I was on vacation in St. Louis, where my grandmother gave me her autograph book. Today I want to share the autographs that were waiting for me when I returned home:
As I've mentioned before, I already had Greg Brock's Dodgers card from the regular set thanks to my friend Alex Hyde, but Brock also had a Brewers card in the Traded set. I figured I might as well send off one of the Dodgers cards with it to have available for trade if nothing else. Brock spent his ten-year career split evenly between the Dodgers and Brewers, but had his best success in LA where he was a decent power hitting first baseman, hitting a home run every 21 at bats on average.
 I remember back in the mid 80s when Rick Schu seemed to be the heir apparent to Mike Schmidt at the hot corner in Philadelphia. In 1985, Schmidt was even moved to first base to give Schu the job at third. Schu only hit .252 with 7 HR and 24 RBIs. Schmidt was moved back to third and Schu became a part-time player, which hewas for the remainder of his nine-year career. He currently serves as the hitting coach for the Washington Nationals, a position he has held since 2013.

Among the returns I got while on vacation were two from Hall of Famers. The first of these was from Tony LaRussa. After managing the White Sox to an AL West championship in 1983, he led the A's to three straight AL Pennants (1988-90) and won the 1989 World Series. It was during the second half of his career that I became a huge fan of LaRussa's though. In his 16 years with the Cardinals, he won seven division titles, three NL pennants (2004, 2006 & 2011) and two World Series (2006 & 2011). He finished his career as the third winningest manager in MLB history (and the winningest of anyone to begin their managerial career after 1900).And to top it all off, he and I share a birthday!

My other Hall of Fame return was from Wade Boggs. A five-time batting champ and twelve-time All Star, Boggs retired with a career average of .328. As good as that is, it pales in comparison to the first eight seasons of his career. As the 1980s came to a close, he had a career average of .352 and an OBP of .443. He would finish his career with eight Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, and 3,010 base hits, the 3,000th of which came on a home run, making him the first player to have such a designation.

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