Friday, November 1, 2013

1990s Yankees: The Best of the Rest

I have put up two posts about the Championship teams the Yankees put together in the late 90s.  The first day I started out with a few of the mainstays like Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, and Jorge Posada.  Yesterday, I posted a second group of Yankees who were some of my favorite veteran additions to the team.  Players like Tim Raines, Wade Boggs, and Mike Mussina were not necessarily the stars of the Yankees teams they played on, but they were key contributors who filled a role an important role for the Yankees. 

There were plenty of other cool names that popped up on the Yankees while they were putting together a string of four World Series titles over a five year period.  Here's a few of my other cool Yankees to look out for on cardboard. 

1982 Topps Chili Davis

Chili Davis
There are not many Jamaicans in the Majors, but Chili was one of the few to make the show.  I first ran into Chili Davis as a Giant when he dubbed St Louis a "Cow Town" which prompted 50,000 people to show up at Busch Stadium with cow bells for the 1987 National League Championship Series.  Jeffrey Leonard took most of the heat for the comment for some reason, but I was not a huge fan of Chili to start.  He moved to the American League later in his career where he hit a lot.  During the 1991 and 1992, playing for the Twins, Chili posted an OPS+ of 141 and 130 helping the Twins to the World Series crown over the Braves in 1991.  During the seven game series Chili hit 2 home runs and drove in 4 runs.  He filled a role with the Yankees, but definitely had some good moments.  His rookie card is pretty inexpensive, but he has signed almost nothing.  A hard autograph to find.   

2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classics Jimmy Key

Jimmy Key 
Jimmy Key was not a great pitcher, but was a good pitcher for a long time.  He had a few great seasons along the way, specifically the 1987 campaign with the Blue Jays where he posted a 17-8 mark, but led the American League in ERA, WHIP, H/9, and ERA+.  He also posted a 7.8 WAR that season.  Key came over to the Yankees from the Blue Jays in 1993 and was one of the team's bright spots in the mid 90s.  During the strike shortened season of 1994, Key led the American League in wins and came in second during Cy Young voting.  Key appeared on the 1996 World Championship Yankees team as a starter.  The regular season was so-so for Key, but he started and won the clincher for the team in the 6th game of the World Series.  Key's rookie card is one of the better cards in the 1985 Topps set and he has signed a lot of cards since retiring.  Many are on card.  He signed in the 1997 Donruss Signature Series cards while he was still playing, but the card features him as an Oriole which was brief stop at the end of his career.  

2013 Topps Archives Darryl Strawberry 1983 All-Star

Darryl Strawberry
A big name, but he was past his prime by the time he joined the Yankees for his second stint during the 1996 season.  He was a part-time player for the 1996, 1998, and 1999 World Series Championship teams.  His bat added some nice pop in 1996 adding 11 home runs in 200 at-bats and again in 1998 when he posted 24 home runs in about 250 at-bats.  Straw had his hot streaks and was a nice player after the bench for the pinstripes.  He has a pretty big following with cards.  Popular rookie cards in the 1983 Topps Traded set and 1984 Topps sets.  The Straw man has signed a lot, but his autograph is still pretty valuable and still highly sought after.  

2013 Topps Update Ruben Sierra Autograph

Ruben Sierra
He had a couple of nice seasons early in his career playing for the Rangers, was traded for Jose Canseco, flopped, and then ended up playing for almost (it seems that way) every Major League Baseball team under the sun.  Tony LaRussa once dubbed him "the village idiot" while he was playing for the A's.  Sierra played for the 1996 Yankees where he swung hard and hit home runs.  One of the bigger names to sit on the pine for the 1990s Yankees.  His cards are really affordable and he has a really nice looking autograph. 

1987 Topps Mini Mariano Duncan

Mariano Duncan
You're thinking why?  You remember when October rolled around and Mark Lemke popped up and did something.  Mariano Duncan was a the Dodgers and in the playoffs, the 1990 Reds World Champions, the 1993 Phillies, back to the Reds in 1995 for another playoff run, and then somehow ended up playing second base for the Yankees in 1996 along side Derek Jeter during his first full season in the bigs.  I know you are thinking he was just filling the hole next to Jeter on the infield, but Duncan had an out of nowhere season that year which really boosted the 1996 World Series Champions.  During the regular season Duncan posted a .340 batting average which is pretty spectular when you consider he was a .267 career hitter.  He also managed to bat .313 in the divisional round of the 1996 playoffs against the Rangers before remembering he was Mariano Duncan.  Cards are cheap, autograph is spectacular.  I don't own one, but I have seen several.  High quality. 

1998 Fleer Orlando "El Duque" Hernadez RC

Orlando Hernandez
I always thought of El Duque as a really good version of Dontrelle Willis.  Crazy windup and the guy would throw all kinds of pitches.  I am not sure that he always knew what he was throwing.  It some ways it was like watching a backyard wiffleball game.  He'd throw something up and sometimes it got hit and other times not.  El Duque played for the 1998, 1999, and 2000 World Champions before playing for a lot of other teams.  Here is throwing an eephus pitch to ARod: 

Orlando Hernandez has some pretty nice cards out there.  Nothing expensive, but also not many certified autographs.  Like Mariano Duncan, not much out there, but he's got a nice signature. 

A tip of his authentic Babe Ruth hat to 1998 Yankee starting pitcher David Wells....


  1. Wow... that A-Rod clip was pretty awesome. As for the Sierra... gotta find one of those for my A's PC.

    1. It would have been better if ARod had struck out. Sierra was a pretty cheap find. Good luck on tracking one down.