It’s the World Series! Who is Rooting for the Astros?

The Houston Astros represented the National League in the 2005 World Series and were swept by the Chicago White Sox. In 2017, the Astros will represent the American League against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 2005 team were led by future Hall of Famer Craig Biggio and it was the last season for Jeff Bagwell, also a Hall of Fame inductee and both of whom were lifelong Astros. With the exception of big name free agent pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, the team was pretty much all home-grown.

According to Baseball Reference, Biggio is the all-time Astros career leader in 18 offensive categories including Games Played, At Bats, Plate Appearances, Runs, Hits, Doubles, Total Bases, and Extra Base Hits. Bagwell is the all-time Astros leader in Home Runs, RBI, Walks, Intentional Walks, Sacrifice Flies, and 8 other categories.

The 2017 Astros are also home-grown, a fine testament to the organization’s farm system, and a most exciting team to watch. Three of the current stars: Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer, are all under 28 years of age and their names already appear in the Top 10 Astros Career Statistics list for numerous categories. Altuve leads the current group with 15 Top 10 Career Stats lists including Hits (9th), Total Bases (9th), Doubles (6th), Stolen Bases (4th), and Extra Base Hits (9th).

Correa appears in 7 Top 10 Astros Career lists and currently stands at 8th on Astros career On-Base Percentage (.366), 5th in Slugging Percentage (.498), 4th in OPS (.863), and 9th in At Bats per Home Run (21.0). Springer appears in 4 Top 10 lists and currently stands 9th in Slugging (.478), 7th in OPS (.837), and 6th in At Bats per Home Run (18.9)! Here’s hoping that these three players spend their careers in a Houston uniform and set new standards in these and many more statistical categories as well as joining Biggio and Bagwell in the Hall of Fame.

Go to my Craig Biggio baseball cards page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Indian Head Cent Starter Sets – 4 coins/$10

Share the hobby of coin collecting! Our Indian Head Cent Starter sets make a great gift for a child or grand-child. The coins are in Fine to Very Fine condition, 12 to 20 points. Each set contains four coins of differing dates from 1904 through 1908. Each set is only $10 plus $2.50 for postage and handling.

Indian Head Cent Starter Set

Four Indian Head Cents from four different years, 1904-1908, in Fine to Very Fine condition. Cost includes postage and handling.

$12.50

The Indian Head Cent is such a beautiful coin. It was designed by James Barton Longacre, the Chief Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint.

Longacre advocated his Indian Head design in an August 21, 1858, letter to Mint Director James Ross Snowden:

“From the copper shores of Lake Superior, to the silver mountains of Potosi from the Ojibwa to the Aramanian, the feathered tiara is as characteristic of the primitive races of our hemisphere, as the turban is of the Asiatic. Nor is there anything in its decorative character, repulsive to the association of Liberty … It is more appropriate than the Phrygian cap, the emblem rather of the emancipated slave, than of the independent freeman, of those who are able to say “we were never in bondage to any man”. I regard then this emblem of America as a proper and well defined portion of our national inheritance; and having now the opportunity of consecrating it as a memorial of Liberty, ‘our Liberty’, American Liberty; why not use it? One more graceful can scarcely be devised. We have only to determine that it shall be appropriate, and all the world outside of us cannot wrest it from us.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Head_cent)

 

The 5 Greatest Position Players in Kansas City Royals History

In 1969, Major League Baseball expanded to include four new teams: the Kansas City Royals, the Montreal Expos, the San Diego Padres, and the Seattle Pilots. In the 48 years since, only the Brewers, Padres, and the Royals have made appearances in the World Series and only the Royals have ever won the World Series. The Royals and the Padres are also the only two of the four teams still located in their city of origin with the Pilots lasting only one year in Seattle before becoming the Milwaukee Brewers and the Montreal Expos becoming the Washington Nationals in 2005. These four teams provide an interesting study as a microcosm in the history of major league baseball in regard to the development of the Major League Ballplayers Association and the impact of free agency on the longevity of relationships between players, teams, and fans. This is the first of four essays that will examine each of these teams from this perspective.

Obviously, the Kansas City Royals have been the most successful of the 1969 expansion teams. They have made the playoffs in 9 of their 48 seasons. The Padres, Nationals, and Brewers have done so only 5, 5, and 4 times respectively.  The Royals have won the league pennant four times, twice the number of the Padres, and the Royals have won the World Series twice, in 1985 and in 2015.

The two Royals teams to have won the World Series are separated by 30 years and the dark days of the 1994-1995 work stoppage that transformed both the franchise and major league baseball. However, there can be no doubt that the 1985 Royals were far and away the better team.

According to Baseball Reference, the 1985 team included four players who as a group rank in the top five all-time in team history in the following batting categories: Plate Appearances, At Bats, Times on Base, Total Bases, Hits, Runs Scored, Runs Created, and Triples. These players are George Brett, Frank White, Willie Wilson, and Hal McRae. It is worth noting that Amos Otis, who retired just the year before in 1984, rounds out the top 5 in each of these categories and is therefore considered one of the top 5 Royals of all time.

While members of the 2015 world championship team are still amid their careers and therefore cannot be expected to be among the team career leaders, one should expect to find members of the 2015 team to have set single-season records at some point during their tenure with the Royals. Such is not the case. The only 2015 team member to hold a single season mark is  Mike Moustakas with 38 home runs in 2017.  Alex Gordon is tied for the second most doubles in a season with 51, three back of Hal McRae. Alcides Escobar is tied with Frank White for second most sacrifice hits in a season at 18. By contrast, George Brett holds single-season Royals records in 18 categories, Willie Wilson in 6, and Hal McRae in 2.

Not surprisingly, George Brett is the team career leader in all 8 of the categories mentioned above as well as in 19 others. Brett played all 21 of his major league seasons with the Royals, from 1973 through 1993. He won the American League batting title in 1976, 1980, and 1990. In 1980 he was named the American League Most Valuable Player after posting an incredible slash line of .390/.454/.664/1.118. He struck out only 22 times in 449 at bats (4.9%) that year. He won three Silver Slugger awards, one Gold Glove, and made 13 All-Star Game appearances.

Frank White also played his entire career in Kansas City, from 1973 through 1990. He won 8 Gold Gloves playing second base and recording a career .984 fielding percentage. He won 3 Silver Slugger awards and made 7 All-Star Game appearances. He is the career team leader in Defensive WAR with a 21.4 score and in Sacrifice Hits with 101. Frank White is second only to George Brett in Games Played, At Bats, Plate Appearances, and Hits. Frank White and George Brett are the only two players in Royals history to have their numbers retired.

Willie Wilson patrolled the outfield for Kansas City from 1976 through 1990 before finishing his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1994. He won 2 Silver Slugger awards, 1 Gold Glove, and made 2 All-Star Game appearances. He is the Royals career leader in Stolen Bases with 612 and a margin of 272.

Hal McRae is the only one of these four players not to come up through the Kansas City farm system. He began his career with the Cincinnati Reds, but played 15 seasons for the Royals from 1973 through 1987. He won the Silver Slugger award in 1982 when he led the American League with 133 RBI and 46 doubles. He also made 3 All-Star Game appearances. Hal McRae also managed the Royals from 1991 through 1994.

Amos Otis began his career with the New York Mets and played 14 seasons for the Royals before finishing his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He won 3 Gold Gloves and made 5 All-Star Game appearances. In addition to the 8 batting categories mentioned above, Otis ranks 3rd all time for Royals home runs, 4th all time for doubles, 2nd all time for walks, 4th all time for extra base hits, and 2nd all time for sacrifice flies.

These five players combined for 59 seasons playing for the Kansas City Royals and four of them put in a combined 20 more seasons with the Royals after winning the 1985 World Series. Only time will tell about the careers of the 2015 Royals world champions, but I doubt that the numbers will be anywhere as close.

Thanks for reading and please consider subscribing to my blog, liking my page on Facebook, and/or following me on Twitter: @Big_Bubbo.

George Brett baseball cards for sale.

Indian Head Cents, Set of 6 Extra Fine

Check out this set of six beautiful Indian Head cents from 1900-1905! They are all in Extra Fine condition at 40 points or higher.

The PCGS value on these coins is $13 each or $78 for the set, but I am offering this set at more than a 15% discount of just $65 and free shipping within the U.S.!

I have only this one set in Extra Fine condition, so first come, first served.

Set of 6 Indian Head Cents

Set of 6 Indian Head Cents (1900-1905) in Extra Fine Condition

$65.00

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Set of 6 Indian Head Cents in Extra Fine condition.