Quick! What do Al Oliver and Fred McGriff have in common?

The answer can be found in their baseball cards, and in the numbers — which is where we’ll start.

See …

This may be the age of Sabermetrics, but when it comes to the Hall of Fame, milestones still rule the day.

I mean, win 300 games, smash 500 home runs, or collect 3000 hits — and don’t take steroids — and you’re probably in.

And, while the fancy numbers invented over the last couple of decades have definitely begun to change the complexion of the Cooperstown roster, they’ve generally worked as an adjunct to help guys without the big, slap-you-in-the-face counting stats — Ted Simmons, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker all made the cut without any of the massive, round digits.

By and large, though, you can forget about WAR when a dude shows up on the doorstep of Cooperstown with 300 victories or 500 dingers.

That’s one of the reasons that Fred McGriff gets so much play in should-be HOFer conversations among fans — he fell just seven homers shy of the half-millennium mark, after all, and also has sort of an OK sabermetrics case.

When the debate around Crime Dog gets heated (does that ever really happen?) his supporters inevitably end up asking THE question:

Would he be in the Hall of Fame if he had hit a measly seven more home runs?

And the more rhetorical follow-up …

How many more home runs did McGriff miss out on because of The Strike?

And, if he had made it to 500, and to the Hall, what would that have meant for McGriff’s 1986 Donruss Rated Rookie card?

Would it have been more popular than it already is, or does the speculation about his possible future enshrinement keep him — and his RC — in the limelight?

Mostly unanswerable questions other than the first one, because it seems a good bet that the Blue Jays/Padres/Braves/Rays/Cubs/Dodgers slugger would have his plaque by now had he nailed those extra seven taters.

But that Donruss rookie of McGriff’s brings us full circle here, because just a few hundred cards down that set’s checklist we find none other than Al Oliver who, like McGriff, sports a Blue Jays uniform.

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Despite that photographic evidence, though, the two men were never teammates.

Traded by the Dodgers to the Jays during the heat of the 1985 pennant race, Oliver batted a meager .251 (though with five homers) in the second half for Toronto before hitting a robust .375 in the Jays’ five-game loss to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series.

McGriff would not make his MLB debut until the next spring, by which point Oliver had been sent packing in free agency.

The problem for the man with the stick, entering his age-39 season with 2700+ hits, was that no one came calling that winter.

Not the Blue Jays.

Not the Dodgers.

Not the Expos, for whom he’d won a batting title in 1982, nor the Pirates, for whom he’d starred all through the 1970s.

No, suddenly, Al Oliver had played his last game in Major League Baseball.

And just as suddenly, that 1986 Donruss card of his became a career-capper, one of several issued that summer (1986), but the only one to show Oliver doing what he did best — holding a bat.

Now, in case you’ve forgotten, that 1985-86 offseason turned out to be historic for the wrong sort of reasons, beginning with a surprisingly tepid free agent market when almost none of the available big names changed teams and ending with an arbitrator’s ruling that the cause had been collusion among the owners.

The goal of the men in suits had been to dampen escalating player salaries.

It worked temporarily, as the most prominent free agents that winter simply returned to their former teams for less money than they surely were expecting to see from a romp through the FA ranks.

But for older guys like Al Oliver?

At least some of them found no takers at all.

And so Oliver found himself on the outside looking in, sitting on 2743 hits and with a desire to play.

So …

Would Oliver have made it to 3000 safeties if he had found another team?

And, if so, would those extra hits have landed him in the Hall?

As for that second one — it’s hard to imagine a 1970s and 1980s star reaching that milestone and not eventually also reaching Cooperstown.

As for the first … well, that’s a tough one, because Oliver collected 67 hits total in 1985 and 130 in 1984. At that rate, he would have had to play two to four more years to reach 3000.

Maybe longer, if his game slid further as he entered his 40s.

It likely would have been a long, bumpy road to 3000.

But we’ll never know for sure, thanks to the sudden end to a wonderful career.

Also thanks to that sudden end, though, we get a full complement of career-cappers that we would have missed out on had their been an official “Al Oliver Retirement Tour.”

And thanks to Donruss, we get one last shot of a batting champ stepping into his office, ready for business.

1986 Donruss MLB Baseball Complete Set

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1986 Donruss Jose Canseco RC

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1986 Donruss #39 Jose Canseco Rated Rookie RC Card

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1986 Donruss 'Rated Rookie' Jose Canseco RC PSA 9 Athletics

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1986 DONRUSS ROOKIES #22 JOSE CANSECO RC PSA 10 DNA AUTO 10 A3234422-123

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1986 DONRUSS #39 JOSE CANSECO RC NRMT

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1986 Donruss THE ROOKIES Jose Canseco #22 Baseball Card OS2.

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