Kelloggs Cards

Kelloggs Cards

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Did the Roberto Clemente Award Start in 1971? Did Any Kellogg's Set Players Win This Award?

While checking the Lahman database, I noticed that the Roberto Clemente Award was first given out in 1971.  That seemed odd since he died tragically on 12-31-1972.  Time for me to learn a little bit more about baseball history.

It turns out that this award began in 1971 as the Commissioner's Award.  It is given to a player for sportsmanship, contribution to the team and community involvement.  The award was renamed after Clemente who died trying to bring aid to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua.  I remember hearing this on the news and then finding it odd to get his 1973 Topps card.  He didn't appear on another regular-issue Kellogg's card, but he did appear a few more times in special sets.

From 1971 to 1986 as well as in 1988 and 1989 the winner was someone who appeared in at least one Kellogg's set.  That certainly shows that the Commissioner's Office really focused on giving the awards to top players who contributed off the field.

In 1987 Rick Sutcliffe stopped the streak.  He was Rookie of the Year after going 17-10 in 1979.  But the 1980 Cey already had Dodgers Steve Garvey, Ron Cey and Davey Lopes so I guess there was no room for the Red Baron.

Sutcliffe had another good season in 1982 with the Indians, finishing 5th in the Cy Young voting.  That didn't get him into the Kellogg's set on his last chance.  His best season was 1984, just a bit late for Kellogg's set glory.

Here is the list of winners and if they got into the Kellogg's set the following year I pictured the card.

1971 Willie Mays

1972 Brooks Robinson

1973 Al Kaline

1974 Willie Stargell

1975 Lou Brock

-------------oops.  I "forgot" to add this card.  After hearing how Brock was traded by the Cubs, I had a hard time cheering for him.  Plus he was on the Cardinals.  
1976 Pete Rose

1977 Rod Carew

1978 Greg Luzinski

1979 Andre Thornton

1980 Phil Niekro

1981 Steve Garvey

1982 Ken Singleton

Seven of the 12 players appeared on a Kellogg's card in the year after winning the prestigious award.  In future posts I will examine how these players were chosen for the Roberto Clemente Award.

The following players won the award but couldn't appear on a Kellogg's card the following year since Kellogg's stopped making sets in 1983.  All six players did have at least one Kellogg's card.

1983 Cecil Cooper
1984 Ron Guidry
1985 Dan Baylor
1986 Garry Maddox

1988 Dale Murphy
1989 Gary Carter

1994 Dave Winfield
1995 Ozzie Smith

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