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Mike Schmidt – 1976 Topps #480

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Michael Jack Schmidt (born September 27, 1949) is a Hall of Fame third baseman popularly considered among the greatest third basemen in the history of Major League Baseball. He played his entire career for the Philadelphia Phillies. Schmidt had an unusual batting stance, turning his back somewhat to the pitcher and waving his posterior while waiting for the pitch. By standing far back in the batter’s box, he made it impossible to jam him by pitching inside. Schmidt was one of the best athletes of his time; teammate Pete Rose once said, “To have his body, I’d trade him mine and my wife’s, and I’d throw in some cash.” Schmidt’s best season may have been the strike shortened 1981 season. His 31 home runs were seven more than anyone else in the league. He also led the NL in runs scored, RBIs, total bases and walks, and sett personal highs in batting average, on-base average and slugging average. He won his second consecutive MVP award, this time with 96% of the vote. Injuries to Schmidt’s rotator cuff caused him to miss the last month and a half of the 1988 season. He returned healthy for the 1989 season, however, after a poor start, Schmidt suddenly chose to announce his retirement in San Diego, on May 29. He demonstrated little emotion on the field, and was known as “Captain Cool” by many in Philadelphia sports circles, however, Schmidt surprised many with an emotional, and occasionally tearful, retirement speech. His last game was May 28, 1989, against the San Francisco Giants.

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2 responses »

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