Yeah, I know you looked at that title and was like huh? Will Carroll wrote an interesting article on SI.com that chronicles the Kings of Baseball since 1900. The usual players you would expect to be on the list were there, plus Sal Bando . . . for one year . . . 1973. To quote the Carroll article:
There’s always one name on any list that functions as the headscratcher. While every other King could be argued, they’re all clear baseball royalty. Bando, on the other hand, seems a pretender. Is this our Richard III in spikes? No, it seems he’s more Phillip II, the forgotten king. Bando was a very solid player, finishing in the top five of MVP voting two times during this block (and another one year later.)
It’s very true, his 1973 stats are as follows: 0.287 average, 29 home runs, 98 RBIs, he led the league in doubles (32) and total bases (295). In fact, you can make an argument that between 1969 though 1974 he was one of the best players in baseball. From all the listed Kings of Baseball he is the only one not in the Hall of Fame. It was just him and Ron Santo until this year when Santo got elected by the Veterans Committee. I can’t imagine him getting into the Hall of Fame though. Maybe the Hall of Very Good.
I actually got a Bando cut autograph:
Yeah it’s a Frankencut card, but it’s my Frankencut! As I said in the previous post about Sal, he was one of the most underrated players of his generation. A quick look at eBay shows that certified autographs go for about $5-6 and game used / autographs go for about $10. I think it’s a nice autograph to have in any baseball collection.