Sunday, April 17, 2011
Time: 63 Days
Item Sent: 1987 Topps Traded, 1991 Fleer All-Star
Item Received: 1987 Topps Traded, 1991 Fleer All-Star. Both signed in black Sharpie.
In my version of baseball history, Matt Williams was the last challenger to Roger Maris' single-season home run record. The Giants All-Star had 43 home runs through 112 games when the season was suspended and ultimately canceled due to the players' strike. The '94 strike prematurely ended a season that many believe could have been historic on many levels... Tony Gwynn was hitting .394 when the strike hit, leaving fans to wonder if that could have been the year someone hit .400. The Montreal Expos, boasting a young roster that included Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom, John Wetteland, and many more young stars, had the league's best record. The Expos were dissolved after the strike and never did recover. Would they still be in Montreal? Arguably the biggest question of all though, was this: Could Matt Williams have broken Roger Maris' record? (And if so, was he doing it clean?) We'll never know, but we do know this: Matt Williams was a tremendous ballplayer. He was selected to five All-Star teams. He won four Gold Gloves, four Silver Slugger awards, and had four top-ten finishes in the MVP voting. He appeared in three World Series for three different teams (1989 San Francisco Giants, 1997 Cleveland Indians, and 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks - the final one being his only time on the winning side). He was one of my favorite players of that era, and I am thrilled to have his autograph!