Before the upheaval last week, I had scanned and planned a bunch of posts to try to catch up on all the great packages that have been arriving from bloggers across the country for me. It's been a great month in that respect, and I have a huge pile of envelopes that will be going out in the next few days to try to catch up on all the trades I've been working on over the past couple of months.
One package came in to me from Robért at $30 a Week Habit. It's such a good package that it needs musical accompaniment:
Yeah, that's one of Pearl Jam's most repetitive songs with a bit of an anti-drug (probably) bent to it. Last year, Rob Neyer mentioned it as one of the songs that Fox probably would not use in its baseball coverage -- especially with respect to, as he put it, "a certain power-hitting shortstop who joined the Seattle club in the 1990s and became addicted to the fast life and the easy availability of certain (supposedly) performance-enhancing drugs?"
I was a huge Pearl Jam fan about 10 years ago or so -- I spent a bunch of money on collecting their bootlegs from their shows on their 2000 and 2003 tours -- and I still enjoy their music a great deal. That said, "Habit" is, to me, just an okay song.
That does not describe the package I got from Robért. It was excellent.
It started with a big plastic screw-down holder:
Richie Sexson is a guy who might have been a PC for me if he'd lasted longer in America's Dairyland. A big home run hitter with prodigious power and a birthday two days after mine (though he is 3 years younger than me), the Brewers got him for Jason Bere, Steve Woodard, and Bob Wickman in 2000.
Then, after the 2003 season, Doug Melvin traded him away to the Arizona Diamondbacks (with Shane Nance and Noochie Varner) for half a team -- Chris Capuano, Craig Counsell, Chad Moeller, Lyle Overbay, Jorge De La Rosa, and Junior Spivey. Sexson played 23 games in his one season in the desert before heading to the Pacific Northwest and hitting 105 homers in three-and-a-half seasons for the Mariners.
Sure looks like the Brewers won both of those trades to me.
I also got a shiny golden K-Rod, happily celebrating a save in 2011:
Now, don't get me wrong. Those two cards were awesome and made the package a very good one.
But the final two cards in the package were what made it an over-the-top ridiculously great package for me. I mean, how do you top receiving two cards from the 1960s of the greatest third baseman not named Mike Schmidt to play major league baseball:
Mr. Ed Mathews, ladies & gentlemen. Mathews definitely was the player who made putting a strong-hitting and decent fielding player at third base part of the requirements for baseball teams. I mean, the only one close from Mathews's era would be Brooks Robinson -- and Mathews was a far better hitter than Brooks was (Mathews OBP/SLG: .376/.509; Robinson: .322/.401).
Before Mathews came along, the best third-baseman in the HOF was Home Run Baker. Baker now would be hard-pressed to make it to the Hall. He's been surpassed (using the JAWS methodology) by Graig Nettles, Edgar Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Scott Rolen, and Chipper Jones -- and that just the players who either are active, not yet eligible, or not yet elected to the Hall.
Yes, Mathews was better than Boggs, better than Brett, better than Santo, better than Robinson, and better than Molitor. More importantly, he was a pioneer of sorts in the way that Robin Yount and Cal Ripken were -- showing that you could play an important fielding position and still be a power hitter.
Robért, thank you very much for these cards. I've got my eyes peeled for some good Jays cards that you need!