So, three more guys are going into the Hall of Fame this year according to the announcement earlier today. Two of the three, I don't give a rat's patootie. But Greg Maddux, well, Greg Maddux is different.
Maddux is the best pitcher I have seen in my lifetime of watching baseball. That lifetime goes back to the final days of the 1976 season, so I've seen a few decent pitchers. Maddux, trust me, was better than all of them. He was my kind of pitcher. Hell, he was my kind of ballplayer. When I see other pitchers fumble and stammer out there on the mound, I think, "why can't you be like Maddux?" But it's pretty obvious no one can be like Maddux because I'm talking about him like he's one in a trillion.
Maddux was the smartest guy in the room, and while others may resent that, I never will. Intelligence rules. Maddux also had artistry and, god knows, I think artistry rules. So, Maddux had intelligence and artistry AND talent. Damn, that's brilliant.
Of course, Maddux had the misfortune of playing most of his career for two teams that I'd prefer not succeed. I'm not going to repeat my feelings about the Cubs and the Braves -- they're all over the blog -- but it's safe to say I've rooted for both teams combined maybe 12 times in my life. And all of those times were probably when they were playing the Giants.
But despite that, you probably still want a Maddux card. Because he's in the Hall of Fame now. And my first response to that is, "what took you so long, loser?"
My guess is Maddux cards will rocket now that he's been voted an HOFer, like that made a difference in his stats. And the cards that will rocket the highest will be his rookie cards and whatever super mojo cards he has out there (I wouldn't know). And all of those cards show him with the Cubs and the Braves.
What are you gonna do?
You get a cheap card of Maddux as a Dodger, that's what you do.
A quick look online shows that there really aren't any expensive cards of Maddux as a Dodger -- and that's perfect for me.
You might think there aren't that many Maddux Dodger cards, since he spent only 2006 and 2008 with L.A. But I counted up my Dodger Madduxes and I found 22 different cards.
I'm going to show them and there is one thing you will notice about them very soon.
Here is the first Dodger Maddux that I ever saw. It's a disaster. Did you know the Dodgers wore pinstripe pants? Of course they didn't. That is Maddux as a Cub, photoshopped horribly into a Dodger uniform.
To get a decent Dodger card of Maddux -- with Maddux in an actual Dodger uniform -- you had to go to Upper Deck in 2006. That's where you would find one.
Maddux also showed up in a legitimate Dodger uniform in Upper Deck's Sweet Spot product that year.
And he's also wearing Dodger blue in UD's super snazzy Ultimate Collection set of '06 (same photo as UD base).
You could even find Maddux wearing real live Dodger blue in UD's shiny Starquest series. There's also an orange and green parallel (and probably others -- I'm not made of enough money to care).
And, there's another insert from UD that celebrates Maddux's very first appearance with the Dodgers. Is that a photo of that appearance? I don't know. BUT HE'S WEARING A DODGER UNIFORM.
OK, let's move on to 2007. Maddux signed with the Padres in December 2006, but it was too late to get him in a Padres uniform in a lot of cases.
I knew that. So I was hoping for my first Topps card of Maddux in an actual Dodger uniform in the 2007 set.
Instead I got this:
It's Maddux photoshopped into a Dodger uniform.
It's a much better job of photoshopping than on the 2006 Topps Update card -- and I sometimes have doubts that it's photoshopped -- but I'm pretty sure it is because of another card that you'll see in a moment.
Oh, and there's the red-letter version just because they did stupid things in 2007 and collectors did stupid things like buy them.
Topps did recognize Maddux's team change to the Padres in an insert set that year.
As you can see, it's the same Dodger image as the one on the previous card. And that "Los Angeles" script still looks off.
Fleer, meanwhile, also put out some Dodger Madduxes in 2007. It was actually Upper Deck, though, as they owned the Fleer name.
It also owned Topps with this fantastic item ... of Maddux in a real Dodger uniform.
Here is an '07 Fleer card with Maddux as a Dodger (same shot as above) but acknowledging the team change.
Maddux spent a little less than two years with the Padres until he couldn't stand it no more and returned to the Dodgers for the end of the 2008 season. It would be his last season in the majors, and there was one card company that was astute enough to get him in a Dodger uniform in a 2008 product.
Yup, Upper Deck. In 2008 Sweet Spot.
Meanwhile, card companies were lining up for a final tribute in their 2009 sets.
Upper Deck, as usual, did an excellent job.
That's a nice shot of Maddux in action, as a Dodger, in both the base set and the cheapie set from 2009.
I couldn't wait to see the Topps 2009 card of Maddux. Sure, he pitched in only seven games for the Dodgers, but after a couple of years, certainly Topps could have tracked down some photo of Maddux in a real Dodger uniform, right?
More photoshopping malarkey.
This was the first Dodger card I pulled in 2009 and while I was happy it was Maddux, I was not happy with how it looked. Topps still hadn't been able to put Maddux in an actual Dodger uniform.
It could put out lots of parallels of the card, but it's still just Maddux photoshopped.
This card also convinces me that the '07 Topps base card is photoshopped, otherwise I wouldn't be bagging on Topps for another photoshopped showing in 2009.
But there was one more opportunity.
Maddux was in the 2009 Topps Heritage set. So let's have a look at that.
The blue is all wrong on Maddux's cap and there's something off on where the "Dodgers" script is placed on his jersey.
And if the pose looks familiar, maybe this will jog your memory.
There's that same Maddux stare in a Padres uniform.
So, if you're keeping score on who wins the "Maddux in a Real Dodger Uniform" game, here are the standings:
Upper Deck/Fleer: 10
But wait ...
I missed one other card. It's from 2008.
You remember Stadium Club, right?
Here is the Maddux Stadium Club card:
I think that's Maddux in real, live Dodger gear! The cap looks legitimate. And he appears to be in a Dodger facility, judging by the interlocking LA behind him. He's suspiciously covering up the front of his jersey top, but I'm gonna say, yes, that's Maddux as a Dodger. For real.
But why isn't he in a Dodger uniform in the 2009 set?
I don't know. It's still a shame that Topps couldn't find more opportunities to have Maddux in a real Dodger uniform. I mean, having Upper Deck beat you 10-1 in this category is not good. The guy's a Hall of Famer!
Anyway, if you want a nice, cheap card of Maddux, I recommend him as a Dodger. And I recommend Upper Deck. Or this Stadium Club card.
You don't want one of those cards where he's wearing the creepy mustache anyway.
(P.S.: There's also this horrible thing):