The Guy Before The Guy #3: Guys Who Wore 41 And 51

Before Tom Seaver wore #41 for the Mets…

…That number was worn by left-hander Gordie Richardson.
1966 Topps Gordon Richardson
Aside from pitching in three seasons with the Cardinals and Mets, Gordie Richardson also pitched in two 1964 World Series games against the Yankees, a series that the Cardinals would win in 7 games. (I debated on whether I should mention Richardson’s 40.50 World Series ERA, or the fact that he gave up a grand slam to Joe Pepitone).

Other Mets players to have worn #41 include former Dodger Clem Labine (3 games in 1962), Grover Powell (1963), Dennis Musgraves and Jim Bethke (both 1965).

As hard as it may be to believe, before future HOFer Ichiro wore #51 for the Mariners…
2002 Topps Total Ichiro

…that number was worn by HOFer Randy Johnson!
1992 Stadium Club Randy Johnson

I started this post a while ago, and while I was double-checking my research as a step towards publishing, I realized that the last guy to wear #51 before Randy Johnson was a guy I’d included in Monday’s post:  Rey Quinones!

51 must have had some sort of personal significance for Quinones, because he also wore that number with the Red Sox and in a brief stint with the Pirates.

As it turns out, there were only four players to wear #51 for the Mariners, so I figured I may as well scan the forth guy… Bill Wilkinson.

One of the more interesting things about Bill Wilkinson is that he’s from Wyoming, and there aren’t many Wyomingans(?) in MLB history.  16, to be exact.  The most notable ones are Tom Browning, John Buck, Mike Devereaux, Dick Ellsworth, Mike Lansing and Dan Spillner.  Fun fact:  6 of the 16 Major Leaguers from Wyoming were born in Cheyenne.

Getting back to #51… If Wikipedia is to be trusted, no coaches or managers ever wore #51, so these four players are all of the 51’s in Mariner history… And I’d have to think that this will never change.  Ichiro is a sure-fire HOFer, so even if the Mariners never officially retire #51 (which I doubt), they’d probably never give out a number worn by two HOFers who established themselves in Seattle.


Pack Animal: 2013 Panini Pinnacle

I recently bought my third pack of Panini Pinnacle.

“Three whole packs?”, the people at Panini America might be saying, “Now we’ll meet our sales quota for the year!”

2013 Panini Pinnacle Aroldis Chapman Arists Proof

No, no, this is something notable…  Other than last year’s Triple Play, I think this is the only Panini product where I went back for “seconds”.   Everything else I’ve tried with Panini, like this:

2013 Panini Hometown Heroes States Max Scherzer

…was met with a shrug and a lack of desire for more.

There’s something appealing about this set.

It could be the well-chosen action shots that make the lack of logos palatable.

2013 Panini Pinnacle Billy Butler

These cards are also relatively understated – especially for Panini, who apparently never heard the saying “less is more”.

There’s also no foil on the base cards, which is always a good thing.

But I think the main thing it has going for it is that, in my mind, it’s the best baseball product not put out by Topps…. and the “not Topps” part is what makes it refreshing.  It’s different in ways that don’t always register, but still make them “not Topps”.

2013 Panini Pinnacle Rickey Henderson

By far, the biggest thing that works against Pinnacle for me is the price point.  $3 for 8 cards works out to be $0.375 per card;  that’s more than twice the per-card cost of a fully-licensed Topps wax pack.  Even if the price-per-card were $0.25 – maybe $2 for 8 cards or $3 for 12 cards – that would go a pretty long way towards getting me to buy more.

Some of the inserts I’ve pulled are pretty neat.  This Randy Johnson card features clear acetate, which of course doesn’t scan as clear, and the edges are shiny, which of course doesn’t scan as shiny.

2013 Panini Pinnacle Clear Vision Randy Johnson

Even though clear & shiny are two things I don’t normally collect, I would hang on to this card if it were a player I collected.

At this point, I’m looking to get more Pinnacle cards, especially the Matt Wieters.  As he’s not featured on any Topps card, I think his Pinnacle card is the best-looking 2013 Wieters I’ve seen.

…but I’ll likely be looking for it online or at a show, rather than buying more packs.

One other thing I’ve noticed about Pinnacle:  You don’t need a forensics team to see someone’s fingerprint on these cards.  Something about the finish and the black background makes those prints stand out.  Don’t handle any Pinnacle if you’re hiding from the authorities.

I haven’t seen too many posts about Pinnacle.  Has anyone else tried it?  What did you think?