2000 Legends of Baseball
The Postal Service issued the Legends of Baseball Classic Collection pane of twenty 33-cent commemorative stamps in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 6, 2000. The players embody the glory and tradition of our national pastime. Tales of their extraordinary abilities and larger-than-life personalities have made them much more than just ballplayers.
In partnership with major league baseball teams, USPS honored twenty legendary baseball stars. Taken from the Major League’s 100 nominees for the All-Century Team, they occupy a unique and important place in the history of our national pastime. Ten players appearing on this pane went on to become members of the All-Century Team: Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Lefty Grove, Rogers Hornsby, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Cy Young.
All of the individuals pictured on the stamp pane are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Two Negro Leagues greats are included, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, who had brief Major League careers. Also appearing on the stamp pane are Roberto Clemente, Mickey Cochrane, Eddie Collins, Dizzy Dean, Jimmie Foxx, George Sisler, Tris Speaker, and Pie Traynor.
The stamps were designed by Phil Jordan of Falls Church, Virginia and illustrated by Joseph Saffold of Savannah, Georgia. Working from historic baseball photographs, Saffold created the stamp art with Prismacolor pencils and airbrushed acrylic and oil paints. Verso text, describing significant achievements in the baseball careers of each player, appears on the back of the stamp pane liner.
A total of 11,250,000 sets were issued for 225,000,000 stamps overall at 33¢ each for a total value of $74,250,000.
The first Hispanic elected to the Hall of Fame, Roberto Clemente was admired for his superb hitting, rifle-like arm, and philanthropic spirit. He helped the Pittsburgh Pirates win two World Championships.
Known for his aggressive style at the plate and on the base paths, Ty Cobb may have been the greatest all-around player in Major League Baseball. In his 24-year career, 22 with the Detroit Tigers, the “Georgia Peach” won 9 straight American League batting titles.
Mickey Cochrane sparked the Philadelphia Athletics’ championship teams of 1929–1931 with his potent bat, skill behind the plate, and fierce, competitive spirit.
Eddie “Cocky” Collins played the game of baseball for 25 seasons, a 20th century record for non-pitchers. His brilliant base-running and batting helped four teams win World Championships.
Dizzy Dean, fastball-throwing member of the St. Louis Cardinals “Gas House Gang,” was a legend in his own time, once holding the modern single-game record of 17 strikeouts. In 1934 he and brother Paul led the Cardinals to the World Championship.
One of the top Major League Baseball sluggers of all time, Jimmie Foxx hit 30 or more home runs for 12 seasons in a row. Foxx won the Triple Crown for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1933, leading the American League in home runs, batting, and RBIs.
First baseman for the New York Yankees, Lou Gehrig playin in 2,130 consecutive games. In 1934 the “Iron Horse” led the American League in batting average (.363), home runs (49) and RBIs (165).
Among the biggest draws in the Negro Leagues, popular Josh Gibson is generally considered one of the most prodigious power hitters in the history of professional baseball.
One of the finest left-handed pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball, Lefty Grove went 31-4 for the 1931 Philadelphia Athletics. In the process, he put together a 16-game winning streak.
Rogers Hornsby was the most impressive right-handed hitter in the history of the game. He won seven batting championships (six in a row) and managed the 1926 St. Louis Cardinals to their first World Championship.
Walter “Big Train” Johnson used a sweeping sidearm motion to fire fastballs over home plate. In his 21-year career with the Washington Senators, he fanned 3,509 batters, won 417 games, and pitched a record 110 shutouts.
In 1901, 21-year-old Christy Mathewson won 20 games for the New York Giants. With his “fadeaway” pitch, he posted three consecutive 30-victory seasons and in the 1905 World Series, threw three shutouts in only six days.
A legend after two decades in the Negro Leagues, pitcher Satchel Paige signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1948. At age 42, this “veteran-rookie” helped his team win the American League pennant.
Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier when he came to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Two years later, he hit a league leading .342, drove in 124 runs, and was voted the Most Valuable Player in the National League.
Babe Ruth was the most celebrated athlete of his time. Before beginning play with the New York Yankees in 1920, the “Sultan of Swat” was a successful pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. In 1927, he hit a record-setting 60 homers.
The St. Louis Browns’ George Sisler won two batting titles, set the record for hits in a season, and produced a 41-game hitting streak – all while maintaining a reputation as one of the true gentlemen in Major League Baseball.
Tris Speaker revolutionized outfield play by positioning himself in shallow center field. As a result, this Cleveland Indian recorded more assists that any other outfielder in the long history of Major League Baseball.
Rated as one of the finest third basemen of all time, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pie Traynor had a defensive prowess that often under-shadowed his strong hitting. His nickname reportedly came from a childhood fondness for pastry.
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ star shortstop, Honus Wagner also was a league-leading batter and base stealer. The “Flying Dutchman” enjoyed 15 consecutive .300 seasons, 8 as the National League batting champ.
Denton True Young, nicknamed Cy (short for “Cyclone”), won 511 games in his 22-year Major League Baseball career – almost 100 more than any other pitcher. A durable athlete, Young pitched an astonishing 749 complete games.
Issue Date: July 6, 2000
City: Atlanta, GA
Quantity: 11,250,000 sets
Printed by: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine die cut 11.25