Wednesday, August 4, 2010

#2 - Hank Aaron Special

The second card of the Aaron special set is the first one that shows all his Topps cards sequentially, four old cards to one new one. I guess Topps could have gone either way on this card, landscape or regular. This card has his true rookie card as '54 was Aaron's first year in the majors. The '54 set was Topps' fourth and it was a beautiful one. The back of that original card may be seen at, a very nice site to view and review 1950's Topps cards. I like those old cards - they were very colorful. The back of the '55 card was very similar in color and had fielding stats with a cartoon that was a true/false type with a general subject. In '56 the card backs were all cartoons and all about the subject on the front. In '57 Topps went back to one cartoon and the stats included all Hank's seasons for the first time. Meanwhile on the card fronts, one of Aaron's best baseball traits - his consistency - apparently applied to his poses; he didn't move a muscle for his first three years! Of course, that gets shot to pieces with his '57 card when he mysteriously turns up as a lefty, but that's just Topps reversing the image. That should have been an easy pick-up by those guys given Hank's number, but what are you going to do?

The back of the card is loaded with data. Topps lists a bunch of records held by Aaron at the time, from the obvious to the surprisingly obscure. Who even kept track of data like "Extra bases on long hits" in that pre-Bill Jamesian time? Topps, I guess.

I thought it would be interesting to see where Hammerin' Hank stands currently in regard to these records, so here goes:

Most Total Bases, Lifetime - Aaron, with 6,856 is the leader. The closest active guy is ARod, but he is 1,900 back.

Most Seasons, 30+ Home Runs - Aaron, still with 15. Barry Bonds has 14. ARod has 13 and may not get there this year.

Most Seasons, 20+ Home Runs - Aaron tied with Bonds at 19. ARod should have 15 soon (he has 17 as of today).

Most Consecutive Seasons, 20+ Home Runs - Aaron with 19 again. Bonds and ARod are or will be at 15.

Most Sac Flies, Lifetime - Aaron tied for fourth (with Frank Thomas) at 121. Eddie Murray leads with 128.

Most Intentional Bases on Balls, Lifetime - Aaron is second with 293. Bonds is first - no surprise - with 688!!!

Most Long Hits, Lifetime - now called extra base hits, Aaron leads with 1,477. Manny Ramirez has 1,118.

Most Seasons, 100+ Runs - Aaron has 15. ARod has 13.

Most Consecutive Seasons, 100+ Runs - Aaron tied at 13 with ARod and Lou Gehrig (yay!). ARod has 52 this year.

Most Home Runs at Age 37 - this won't change, Aaron had 47, Bonds had 46.

Most Home Runs at Age 39 - Aaron at 40. Bonds beats him with 45.

Most Seasons Leading league in Total Bases - Aaron with 8. Ruth, Cobb, and Williams did it 6 times, ARod 4 times.

Most Seasons, 300+ Total Bases - Aaron with 15. ARod has 9.

Most Seasons, 100+ Total Bases on Long Hits - the one I love. Aaron, with 19, I don't even know how to check.

Most Consecutive Seasons, 100+ Total Bases on Long Hits - Aaron again. See the last one.

Most Seasons, 150+ Games - Aaron with 14 gets beat by Rose, with 17. Cal Ripken Jr. had 15.

Most Home Runs for One Club - please!!!

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