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Old 12-07-2018, 06:55 PM
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jchcollins jchcollins is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: NC
Posts: 1,393

Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
The comparison with Ryan is one I hadn't considered but is very useful for collectors of my generation (X) to consider the question through. I am a huge Ryan fan. I recognize that there were better pitchers in his generation. Doesn't matter. Statistics do not define the appeal of Nolan Ryan. It was just so exciting every time he went to the mound. Seaver or Carlton was a better pitcher but there wasn't the potential for a 10+ K no-no whenever he went up there. With Ryan, you never knew, other than you were going to see an explosive fastball and a wicked curve and the hitters were going to catch him or not. He was a gunslinger as a starter. What appealed to me is that from 72-79 he led the league in K's seven times but also walked the most batters six times and is #1 all time in fewest hits per 9 innings. He has the most Ks and the most BBs and the most no-hitters in history. It was crazy fun whenever he went out there: if a player got on it was rare for the next guy to do much with it. I suspect Mantle was the same way: he might not have been the best in the game (though for a couple of seasons, I think he was), but there was always the possibility that he busts one out of the stadium.

It's charisma: you can't fake it. Mantle had it. Mays not.
Agreed on the Ryan comparison. Ryan was the closest thing my generation had (I'm also X but late X...) to Mantle. I'm 41 and started collecting in 1986. My first person in the hobby like that was, well...Mantle - because he was still alive, doing shows, and routinely graced the "hot" list in each month's Beckett when it came in the mail. When I was about 10 or 11 years old, the kid down the street traded me an absoulety destroyed, water-damaged '65 Topps Mantle #350. I was on cloud 9 for weeks - figuring I had just landed something that should be on display in Cooperstown. After Nolan went to the Rangers in '89 and the handwriting on the wall for all the marks he stood to break became apparent, he was solid gold. There was no more popular player in the sport of baseball - and even after he retired in the hobby - for the next 5-7 years probably.

I never thought of it this way, but yes - there are some players, a select few per generation - that can transcend like that. Mantle and Nolan are probably the two most notable in the card hobby today - that would be my argument at least.
I collect prewar commons, a few postwar sets I say I'm working on and may never complete, but mainly HOF postwar singles. Preference on mid-to lower technical grades with eye appeal. Cubs fan!
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