Today marks one of the biggest days of the baseball season, as the new HOF class is inducted and celebrated for their incredible careers. After years of classes without huge names, this year’s class is packed with players who DOMINATED their era. This is also the first time where I have been old enough to have pulled their rookie cards from packs, and that makes me feel old. I digress, as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas are the first modern era guys that I have a real hobby attachment to. Here are some thoughts from my experience growing up.
Its hard not to love Maddux for what he was able to accomplish, as he was not a hard throwing pitcher and never blew people away. He was a finesse artist, and maybe one of the best of all time. Not only did he win 300 games, but he won titles and more Cy Youngs than you can count. Today, he would be looked at with contempt, as many of the power pitchers today make Maddux look like he is pitching batting practice. However, no one was better at throwing unhittable strikes, and that is what made him one of the best of all time.
I watched Glavine pitch in the 1991 World Series and was awestruck at how he could hit his spots. As a lefty, he was already much more difficult to get a good look, and definitely not easy to hit if you did get your pitch. Glavine debuted during a time of vast overproduction in the hobby, so his rookie cards are worth next to nothing even signed. Its crazy to think that there might be a million Glavine rookies out there, and that is never a good thing for value. People still love his cards though, and I think I still have a few inserts of his laying around.
I wont be shy in saying I hated Frank Thomas growing up. He destroyed my Twins each time they played each other, which only added to the fact that he is one of the most iconic players of the 1990s. His Leaf RC remains one of the most well known cards in baseball, right there with Ken Griffey Jr’s 1989 Upper Deck RC. Thomas has signed a bit recently, which has given new collectors some opportunities to appreciate his immense stature among baseball’s elite. Even though he came around during the Steroid era, he might end up being the only one of that group to get into the HOF.
The Baseball HOF is easily the most prestigious of all of the major sports, as the history is unparalleled. Even though Football has a much tougher process to reach the top echelon, Baseball puts you in company with sports’ most iconic athletes. Once elected, your cards automatically retain more value, and that’s saying something in a hobby with so much going on.
Maddux and Glavine may be one of the last group of pitchers to ever achieve 300 wins, especially now with pitch counts and 5 men rotations. Live it up while you can, these guys come around but once in a generation.