Mike Schmidt 1974 #283
by William Szczepanek
Mike Schmidt is considered to be the greatest third baseman to ever play the game. This is the 1974 rookie card of Mike Schmidt which was produced during his third year in the Majors. He was up for 13 games in 1972 and batted .206 with 1 home run. He played full time in 1973 and batted .196 with 18 home runs and 136 strikeouts. Schmidt came into his own to stay in 1974 when he belted 36 home runs to lead the league, batting .282 with a league leading slugging percentage of .546. In 1974 he also set a record for most assists by a third baseman in a season with 404.
Playing for the Philadelphia Phillies for his entire 18-year career, Schmidt led the league in home runs 8 times and RBIs 4 times. He was a 12-time All Star, 10-time Gold Glover and 3-time MVP. His 548 career home runs currently rank him 15th all time. In 1986 he led the league with 25 Intentional Base on Balls and did the same in 1981 with 18. He led the league in walks 4 times. From 1973 to 1989 he led the Phillies to five National League playoffs and two World Series.
Schmidt batted with a closed stance and rarely was off-balance. With a relatively short stride he seemed to easily generate tremendous power though his arms shoulders, legs and back. On June 10, 1974 in the Houston Astrodome Schmidt hit the public address speaker suspended above the Astrodome, which was 329 feet away from home plate and suspended more than 100 feet in the air. The ball fell back onto the playing field and was still in play allowing him to only get a single on a drive that would have travelled over 500 feet if it were not impeded.
"If you could equate the amount of time and effort put in mentally and physically into succeeding on the baseball field and measured it by the dirt on your uniform, mine would have been black." ─ Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
You can check out Schmidt's statistics at Baseball Reference.com.