Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

PC Hall of Fame Spotlight: Dennis Eckersley

The PC Hall of Fame is my way of highlighting the cards that are most important in my collection, and why they're in the collection to begin with. Players don't need to be in the MLB Hall of Fame (or even played a sport) to be in this collection. You'll see what I mean soon enough.
I thought I might start this series off with one of the best pitchers from my childhood. When I first found interest in baseball, the year was 1989, and the two local teams would face each other in the World Series. Back then, the Giants was a team full of scrubs and minor stars. The best players on the team were Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell, and Matt Williams, none of which had a Hall of Fame career. The A's, on the other hand, were in the middle of a dynasty, with sluggers like Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, speedy Rickey Henderson, Rookie of the Year Walt Weiss, and a former starter turned closer Dennis Eckersley. (Interestingly, the Giants are in the middle of what could be a dynasty for them, though they don't have truly big names other than Lincecum and Posey, while the A's are a struggling low-market bottom-of-the-standings group of nobodies and has-beens, other than Gio.)

Dennis Eckersley was born in Oakland, but he looks like someone who would rather hang out with Jeff Foxworthy, sporting a mullet and mustache while with the A's. He played with five teams in his career, originally as a starting pitcher, then moving to the bullpen with Oakland. It was in the Coliseum's pen that he was most dominant, becoming the best closer in baseball from 1988-1992. Since I gained interest in baseball and became an A's fan in 1989, Eckersley was the first pitcher I really became interested in (Dave Stewart fell in there somewhere). Sure, he gave up the game winning home run to Kirk Gibson in the first game of the 1988 World Series, but he has done things no other closer has. In 1990, he had more saves (48) than baserunners (45). His ERA that year was 0.61. In 1992, he had 51 saves, winning the AL Cy Young Award and AL MVP award. No other pitcher has won the MVP award since. By 1992, though, I was losing interest in the A's, because I moved to Atlanta early in the year. I was able to follow him through cards and sports newscasts, but the A's were a world away.

Eckersley was elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility (2004), and his uniform number (43) was retired by the A's in 2005. He would finish with 390 saves - fifth all-time - and a 197-171 record, striking out 2401 batters.

The Dennis Eckersley autograph above is in my PC because of his involvement with the A's when I was first getting into baseball. While he's not my favorite pitcher of all time, he was the first star pitcher I knew about, and for that he is the first person inducted in my PC Hall of Fame.

I should note that he's only first because I chose his card first, not because he was the first one on the list. What am I, crazy? Some rednEck-lookin' (pun intended, obviously) guy as the highlight of my collection? HA! If you've read my blog enough, you know who the two favorite players are in my collection, and their time here will come.


  1. Ek was a truly great pitcher in his day and hung arounf for some time to prove. I collect him too but I don't have any auto's yet but that one is a beauty.

  2. Eck was a great pitcher indeed! Cool PC Card.