Sunday, December 30, 2018

I Love The 1990s Cardinals Part 59 - Shawon Dunston

Many baseball fans who followed the game during the 1980s and 1990s probably best remember Shawon Dunston as a slick fielding shortstop for the Chicago Cubs.  He was the first overall pick in the 1982 MLB Draft and arrived in Chicago about halfway through the 1985 season.  For the next decade, Dunston manned the middle of the infield for the Cubs. 

The vast majority of his cards in my collection feature Dunston in a Cubs uniform.  Honestly, his best cards are action shots of him playing defense.  I am not sure that any card companies ever got the Shawon-O-Meter on to a piece of cardboard.  

This sign was a fixture in the Wrigley Field bleachers during his time in Chicago.  Kind of shame it was never card worthy.  

After his time with the Cubs, Dunston wandered the league.  He went from the Cubs to the Giants, back to the Cubs, then off to the Pirates, signed as a free agent with the Indians, traded back to the Giants, and finally to the Cardinals as a free agent during Spring Training in 1999.  

Along the way, Leaf made the best Shawon Dunston card in my collection, which showed up in 1996.  It features Dunston as a Giant, that was his first stint there.  

I know he has some other autographs out there.  I am not sure exactly what they are, probably not going to go looking for them either.  Unless I pull one out of a pack of cards.  Otherwise no.  

Let's get to his time with the Cardinals.  Dunston only played 62 games in a Cardinals uniform during the 1999 season before he was traded to the Mets at the trade deadline for Craig Paquette.  The highlight, perhaps lowlight, of his Cardinals career came later that season while he was actually playing for the Mets.  

From the New York Times.....

"Shawon Dunston was oblivious to history. After Mark McGwire's 50th homer soared over the center-field fence yesterday at Shea Stadium, it bounced off a fan's glove and back onto the warning track. The ball was historic because no other player had ever smashed 50 home runs in four consecutive seasons. Dunston, who thought McGwire's scoreboard-bulb-breaking homer six innings earlier had been the 50th, scooped up a sliver of history and flipped it into the bleachers."

Dunston felt bad about the incident.....

''I thought that was 51,'' said Dunston, who was acquired from St. Louis last month. ''It was history. I felt so bad. I told Mark I was sorry.'' 

So, what sort of baseball cards does a 37 year old utility player get for half a season?  Not much, just two team issued cards.  The first was actually a part of a team set that were available at local McDonald's restaurants.  

I know, it's really an Upper Deck MVP card without the brand logo up at the top of card.  I have accidently sorted these cards into stacks of MVP cards in the past.  The brand logo is easy to miss, the only real difference is actually a small McDonald's logo on the back.  

Dunston also had a card in the baseball card set that was given away at Busch Stadium.  

and that is it for Dunston as a Cardinal in 1999.  However, the team brought him back in 2000 in the same utility role.  The Cardinals gave him another team issued card that year, no major brand cards though. 

At the beginning of 2001 several different card companies put him in their early products.  However, Dunston left the team to play for the Giants.  I am not sure how many different stints Dunston had on the Giants, but one of his early 2001 cards, in Upper Deck Victory,  had a picture of him in a Cardinals uniform....

with Giants logos and markings on the card.  His Topps and Pacific cards were actually Cardinals cards all the way around.  Picture, logos, the whole enchilada.  The Pacific card....


with a picture in Wrigley Field.  Well done Pacific.  I wish you were still a card company. 

and his Topps.  Is this card in Pac Bell?  Feels right that even his non-Cub and non-Giant cards still appear in their stadiums.  It's also not every 1990s Cardinals post that I venture into the 2000s, but there are so very few Dunston cards with the Cardinals, especially considering he's a fairly well known player and he had two different stints with the team. 

If I Had A Hall Of Fame Ballot.....

There are 35 players on the Hall of Fame ballot this year.  If I had a ballot, I would definitely have to vote for the full 10 players this year.  That means I have to cross off 25 players.  Mind you, there are players I am going to have to cross out that I would vote for if I were able to choose more than 10 players.  There are also players that I would not vote for, yet would have no real issue with them being in the Hall of Fame.  Baseball cards throughout.

Let's go, counting down.

35. Rick Ankiel 

Last I heard, Ankiel was going to attempt a comeback this year.  So, if he gets signed and reaches the Majors is he back on the Hall of Fame ballot again when he retires again?

34. Juan Pierre 

33. Darren Oliver
32. Jon Garland 
31. Michael Young 
30. Jason Bay 
29. Travis Hafner 
28. Ted Lilly 

27. Billy Wagner 

I do not really think that Billy Wagner belongs in the Hall of Fame, but he's better than Trevor Hoffman.  I was disappointed that he somehow got into the Hall last year.  Perhaps Wagner will make it one day with whatever the Veteran's Committee is called now.

26. Vernon Wells 

I would not vote for the former Blue Jays and Angels outfielder named Vernon Wells.  His agent should be in the Hall of Fame for getting him that gigantic contract he signed with the Blue Jays.  His father should also be in the Hall of Fame for doing the artwork in the 1990s Upper Deck sets.  Look at that Vince Coleman artwork.  Nothing says Vince Coleman like trying to bunt your way onto base.

25. Kevin Youkilis  
24. Freddy Garcia
23. Derek Lowe  

22. Placido Polanco 

21. Omar Vizquel 

Does Omar Vizquel belong in the Hall of Fame?

"That's a clown question bro" -Bryce Harper

I know Bryce was not talking about Omar Vizquel's Hall of Fame candidacy when he gave that quote, but I felt like it is applicable to this situation.  How do we get into these situations with players on the Hall of Fame ballot.  There is a lot of:

"I remember Omar was a good fielder and won a bunch of Gold Gloves.  He was the Ozzie Smith of the 1990s"


"Great defense belongs in the Hall of Fame.  What is the difference between Scott Rolen and Omar Vizquel"

About 300 home runs, 300 doubles, and a World Series ring. 

What do people not understand about math?  It's not really all that close.

20. Miguel Tejada 

19. Roy Oswalt 

He was pitching for the Phillies at the time of the rally squirrel incident.

18. Lance Berkman 

We will always have Game 6.

17. Fred McGriff  

No problem with Fred McGriff being in the Hall.

16. Jeff Kent 
15. Andy Pettitte 

Although Jack Morris got into the Hall, so Andy Pettitte and all his World Series rings probably gets in at some point too.

14. Sammy Sosa 

I would have no problem with Sammy being in the Hall of Fame.  If there were less people on the ballot who were deserving of being in the Hall of Fame, I might even put him in my Top 10.  However, I also understand why he has lingered around and is now on his 7th year on the ballot.  Plenty of players used steroids, most did not end their careers with 600 home runs, 2000+ hits, almost 250 stolen bases, and more than 1,500 RBIs.  If I were going to spend more time on Sammy, there are some negatives to his career too. 

13. Gary Sheffield 

I think Sheffield is the fringiest player I support for Hall of Fame.  I have heard a lot of solid arguments against him and I completely understand.  I am more on the "Small Hall" side, but not considering someone like Sheffield feels like being slanted to the extreme side of that group.  He was always a great player in my opinion whose public perception was hurt by a lot of stuff that happened off the field.  Sheff hit more than 500 home runs, almost had 500 doubles, and stole 250 bases.  He has a better career OPS+ than Reggie Jackson, Al Kaline, Dave Winfield, and Roberto Clemente.

On the non-number side, he was always a player I feared when the Cardinals played him.  That bat waggle, quick hands, and the power.

12. Andruw Jones 

Andruw Jones had two halves of his career.  There is the Atlanta Braves version of Andruw Jones who won Gold Gloves, hit home runs, and played a vital role on the dominate National League teams of the 1990s.  Most of the focus on those Braves teams was on pitching and Chipper Jones, but Andruw was a great player too.  There have been plenty of other modern center fielders who have gotten hosed in Hall of Fame voting in recent years, like Kenny Lofton and Jim Edmonds, so I am guessing that Andruw Jones will end up in the Veterans Committee voting.  The second half of Andruw Jones's career also really hurt him.  He bounced around between the Dodgers, Rangers, White Sox, and Yankees.  Mainly a bat off the bench who hit home runs and struck out often.  I would be fine with Andruw being in the Hall of Fame, as long as we end up with Jim Edmonds and Kenny Lofton too.

11. Todd Helton 

I have this really bad feeling that Helton is going to end up with similar results as Larry Walker.  Both were helped by playing in Denver, who wouldn't, but those two players were scary away from Coors Field.  In 2000, Todd Helton won the National League batting title with a .372 average.  Moises Alou finished second that season with a .355 average.  Helton hit .353 on the road.  He ended his career with more than 2,500 hits, 350 home runs, 1,300 walks, and almost 600 doubles.  I don't care about Coors Field, there have plenty of players on the Rockies, nobody has numbers like Helton.

Which brings me to the ten players I would vote for if I had a ballot.

10.  Scott Rolen 

There are those who would argue that Rolen is a more fringe candidate than Sheffield, but I actually think that the former Phillies/Cardinals/Reds third baseman should be a no doubter.  There are not many third baseman in the Hall of Fame, but if you look at Jay Jaffe's JAWS ratings on Baseball-Reference Rolen stacks up as the 10th best player all-time to man the hot corner.  The nine players in front of Rolen are all in the Hall of Fame, minus Adrian Beltre since he is not eligible yet.  He had an injury shortened career, so his counting numbers are a little bit short of what that crowd likes to see.  Rolen had more than 300 home runs, 500 doubles, and almost 1,300 RBIs. He also seemed to burn bridges everywhere he played, plenty of other jerky people in the Hall.

9.  Roy Halladay  

Halladay deserves to be in the Hall.  He's a little short on counting numbers, so I could see some voters potentially being sticks in the mud over the fact that Roy barely crossed the 200 win mark.  He's also only at 2,100 strikeouts.  Let's also remember that Halladay played for some mediocre teams in Toronto for much of his career.  There were some really good season up north where he won games and posted a good stat line.  He won the American League Cy Young Award in 2003, when he led the league in wins, but did not place the year before when he had an ERA+ of 157 and a 7.3 WAR.  Halladay's Hall of Fame candidacy was really helped by his time on the Phillies.  He won 55 games over three and half years, which included a second Cy Young Award in 2010 and a Postseason no-hitter against the Reds that same season.

8. Edgar Martinez 

I not only like steroid users, I also like DHs.  I really wish that Jaffe and other statisticians would include a DH category in his Hall of Fame rankings, he's in the third base rankings at the moment.  Considering Edgar played 2000 games in his career and only appeared in the field right around 600 times, pretty hard to take that comparison seriously.  DHs are just supposed to hit, so lets keep it simple and just look at his hitting stats.  Martinez has a .312/.418/.515 slash line over his 18 year career with two batting titles.  He also led the league three different times in on-base percentage, once in OPS, and once in RBIs, and two times in doubles.  Not the most powerful hitter home run wise for a DH, but he still ended his career with over 300.  Throw in the 500 doubles and that's a pretty impressive total of extra base hits.  His overall OPS+ for his career was 147, which would be the third highest on this year's ballot behind Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds.

7. Mariano Rivera 

Last year I got blocked a few times on Twitter over my instance that Trevor Hoffman was not a Hall of Famer and that relievers are overvalued.  Not a real popular argument.  I do make exceptions to my rule.  Not many, but Rivera is better than all the other closers.  Hoffman should not be in the same conversation of Mariano.  Rivera ended his career with 652 saves, which is the all-time record, along with an incredible ERA+ of 205.  The only "relief" pitcher, quotations not meant as a put down, with a high WAR than Rivera is Dennis Eckersley.  Eck spent the first half of his career as a starter and undoubtedly built up his WAR a little bit during those seasons.  Rivera also won 5 World Series rings and closed out 42 games for a save during the Postseason all while maintaining a 0.70 ERA.  If you watched the Postseason games during the 1990s and early 2000s, Mariano Rivera was almost automatic.

Break out the Duke card......

6. Manny Ramirez 

This card should be in the Hall of Fame.  Manny is a steroid user who likely will have to wait a long time to get into Cooperstown.  He's a care free guy though, sure it's not really bothering him too much.  Pretty easy math here:  Manny won two World Series titles with the Red Sox, he was the MVP in the 2004 Series, appeared in twelve All-Star Games, and took home nine Silver Sluggers.  All of those accolades are added to 555 career home runs, 547 doubles, 1,300 RBIs, and a career slash line of .312/.411/585.  Many players took steroids, still takes a lot of talent to hit the baseball the way way Manny did.  Put him in.

5.  Curt Schilling 

Schilling has lingered on the ballot for awhile. Wearing shirts that say "tree, rope, journalist" is probably not the best way to garner support amongst the sports writers voting to elect players to the Hall of Fame.  So, let's look at the positives on the field.  Schilling has 216, which does not sound like a lot for a player who lasted 20 years, but the first half of his career was mainly spent playing for some really bad Phillies teams.  The second half of his career featured three 20 win seasons, three top 5 Cy Young finishes, three World Series rings, a World Series MVP, and surpassing the 3,000 strikeout mark for his career.  His Postseason career mark is 11-2 with an ERA of 2.23.

4. Mike Mussina 

The biggest knock I always hear about Mussina is that he was never great at anything.  He did not win any awards, only once led the league in a major category (wins in 1995), and did take home a ring even though he played half of his career for the Yankees.  Awards?  He finished in the Top 5 in Cy Young voting six different times and he won seven Gold Gloves.  Mussina played 18 years for the Yankees and Orioles in the two of the smallest, home run friendly stadiums in baseball during an era where there were a ton of home run hitters.  He won 270 games, had an ERA around 3.50, and almost struck out 3,000 batters.  He has a higher career WAR than Nolan Ryan, and if you break it down to his best seven years, it's still higher than Nolan Ryan.  His career ERA+ is the same as Juan Marichal and higher than Bob Feller, Don Drysdale, and Steve Carlton.  Put him in.

3. Larry Walker

The worst non-steroid linked omission from the 1990s players.  While he has never been linked to steroids, it seems that many writers have decided to treat his time with the Rockies as the same sort of dark stain.  Luckily, Larry Walker played other places along the way, and with a few clicks of the mouse, you can find out that he was a pretty great player away from Denver too.  Like that time he hit .322 during his final year with the Expos, or those two years at the end of his career where he had a .520 slugging percentage playing for the Cardinals in a pitcher friendly park.  Most seasons, while playing for the Rockies, his road batting average was around, if not over .300.  He hit home runs, he hit doubles, and he drove in runs playing on the road.  For his career, he is just short of 400 home runs, 500 doubles, hit .313 with with a .565 slugging percentage, won seven Gold Gloves, a National League MVP, an three batting titles.  You want a number that compares him to some Hall of Famers?  How about this: Out of all the Hall of Famers who are listed as a right fielder, his slugging percentage falls in between Stan Musial and Babe Ruth.  If Walker does not get into the Hall, there will never be a Rockies player there.  Seriously.

2. Roger Clemens

I am obvious not opposed to putting steroid users into the Hall of Fame.  There is a clear line, based his different legal battles, and the Mitchell Report, which give baseball fans a good time frame of when Clemens started using steroids.  Let's go ahead and clear his numbers out after Boston.  Most of the steroid use appears to have started in the late 1990s with the Blue Jays and Yankees, and extended into his time with the Astros.

 Cutting those numbers away, Clemens at age 33 was just short of 200 wins and right around 2,500 strikeouts.  He had two Cy Young Awards and an MVP Award too. Clemens had an ERA+ of 144 with the Sox, which would have put him in the top 5 all-time, and he was already at 81.0 WAR, which is higher than both Schilling and Mussina.  Basically, pre-steroids, Clemens was already a border line Hall of Famer.  Even if you assume he career last five more years past his time with Boston, and he is a mediocre pitcher, he still probably gets around 220-230 wins and crosses 3,000 strikeouts.  Although, during his final 10 win season in Boston, he did manage to lead the American League in strikeouts with 257.

I will not argue that he gets to 350 wins and 4,500 strikeouts without a little help from the pharmacy, but it is also a pretty silly argument to say that Clemens is not a Hall of Famer without steroids.

1. Barry Bonds 

Similar story to Clemens.  There is a definite time line connected to Bonds and steroids.  So, again we can clear out Bonds numbers at a specific date and look at his credentials from that point.  That line would be 1998.  At that point in his career Bonds was at 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases, the only player to reach those plateaus, along with 400 doubles, almost 2,000 hits, three National League MVPs, and eight Gold Gloves.  Bonds was also at 79.1 WAR after 1998, which puts him in the top 5 players at the position behind Ted Williams, Rickey Henderson, and Carl Yastrzemski.  Jay Jaffe would have put him behind Pete Rose too, I consider him a first baseman, but you get the point.  He was in really good company at that point.  If he had walked off the field after the 1998 season with only those numbers and accomplishments I have a hard time believing that Barry Bonds is not in Cooperstown.

From a non-numbers side of things, I saw Barry Bonds numerous times as both a Giant and a Pirate.  If I being honest, and not a Cardinals homer (Sorry Albert), Bonds is the best player that I have seen in person.  He was a great and feared hitter, a fast base runner, and an excellent left fielder.  There was little that he he ever did wrong.  I know there are baseball fans older than me who are upset about Pete Rose not being in the Hall.  I feel the same about Barry Bonds, except Barry was better than Pete.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

I Just Want A Pitcher Card

I am always a fan of Topps, or other card companies, going back and making cards of retired/former Cardinals players.  There have been some really nice players included over the past few years that extended beyond the usual trio of Ozzie Smith, Bob Gibson, and Lou Brock.  We've gotten cards of Brian Jordan, Jim Edmonds, Edgar Renteria, Mark McGwire, and Ted Simmons just to name a few. 

This year Topps has managed to put former pitcher/outfielder Rick Ankiel into a few different products.  Ankiel already had a ton of autographs from his time as a player, so these recent cards are sort of bonus autographs. There have been some really nice looking cards made this year too. 

This is my latest....

which is out of this year's Topps Gold Label.  Yes, it's got a big goofy gold frame.  Topps has been making this set for a few years now.  Cards seem clumsy with the chunky frames around the outside edges of the card.  Especially when compared to the base cards, which are slick and modern in design.  Although, the card stock in the base set has been downgraded from the original product back in the late 1990s.  

If I could change just one thing about the Ankiel cards this year, I would just ask that we get a card with a picture of Ankiel as a pitcher.  His comeback story as an outfielder was great, but his upside as a pitcher was really high.....

and I have often wondered what would have become of Ankiel if his pitching career had panned out.  It is fun to think about and would be nice to see on a baseball card.  Just once, come on Topps.  

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

I Love The 1990s Cardinals Part 58 - Fernando Tatis

The Cardinals picked up third baseman Fernando Tatis from the Rangers in July of 1998 in exchange for shortstop Royce Clayton and pitcher Todd Stottlemyre.  The team was not in contention and the Tatis was seen as a possible replacement for the aging Gary Gaetti, who was not playing well, and ended up getting released by the team later on in the summer.  Fernando Tatis ended up playing 55 games for the Cardinals during the second half of the year and had a .287/.367/.505 line with 8 home runs, 16 doubles, and 26 RBIs.  

Tatis had one Cardinals card during the fall of 1998.....  

which appeared in the Fleer Update set.  Actually a nice card showing him wearing a St. Louis Stars throwback jersey the team wore during for a game that summer.  Tatis had some sweet dyed blonde hair when he first got traded to St. Louis, but it would not show up on any cards until the 1999 releases.  

Many of his Topps cards had the blonde hair.  I really like the picture that Topps used on his base and Chrome cards.  Always nice to get a shot of a player interacting with the crowd.  Some of the other Topps products used recycled pictures, but that seemed to be common across the board with Tatis during the summer of 1999.  

For example, this is his 1999 Fleer card......

Looks familiar.  

Tatis's most notable on the field accomplishment took place in 1999, which probably helped push him into a few more baseball card products.  His feat was rather unique....

Tatis also started showing up in autograph sets as a Cardinal during the summer of 1999.  He had always been a good signer as a Ranger, which also continued during his time in St. Louis.  I am pretty sure that his first autograph as a Cardinal showed up in the 1999 SP Signature set.  

He also appeared in the Skybox Autographic set.  While in subsequent years the Autographics set was cross product, in 1999 all of these cards were in the Skybox Premium product.  

Actually a nice product for Cardinals collectors with several different players appearing in this set with autographs including J.D. Drew, Ray Lankford, and Joe McEwing.  McEwing was pretty hot at the time, not so much now.  

Tatis had a great year on the field during 1999 beyond the two grand slams in one inning.  He hit .297/.404/.553 with 34 home runs, 31 doubles, and 107 RBIs.  Tatis also had 21 stolen bases.  Pretty solid effort.  

Fernando had some pretty good cards in 2000.  My favorite base card was his 2000 Fleer.  One of my favorite sets of the year.  Love this design which is basically the same as the 1954 Topps set.  The whole retro set idea is pretty popular these days, would like to think that this set along with some of the Upper Deck Vintage cards might have started that trend.  

Fernando also had a few autographs during the summer of 2000.  Two of my favorites....

are his Topps autograph.  He also had a nice autograph in the Pacific Revolution set.....

although he's in about a dozen other autograph sets from that summer.  Plenty of choices.  Unfortunately, Tatis had some injury problems during the summer of 2000 and had trouble duplicating his performance from 1999.  He was traded in the offseason to the Expos for pitching help in the way of Dustin Hermanson and Steve Kline.  

One of his final cards in a Cardinals uniform appeared in the iconic 2001 Topps Heritage set.  

Tatis went on to play three years with the Expos before he disappeared for awhile.  He tried a comeback with the Devil Rays, but did not make the team out of Spring Training.  In 2006, he ended up making the Orioles where he appeared for a handful of games.  Eventually, he would end up making the Mets in 2008.  Tatis would play three years in New York before retiring for good.  

He still shows up in baseball card sets, especially as an autograph signer.  Two years ago, he appeared in the Topps Archives set as a Cardinal.  Very nice card, had to pick one of them up....

While he was only on the Cardinals for a short time, he is still a pretty popular player with Cardinals fans who were around to watch the team during the 1990s.  Amazing what hitting two Grand Slams in an inning will do for a player.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Short Post For A Short Player

Greatest short player in the history of the Cardinals?  So many good players to choose from over the years.  Plus this is a short post, no time to look up numbers.  I am going with David Eckstein, since he is both a short person and also was the 2006 World Series MVP.

Eckstein is officially listed at 5'7.  I didn't look it up, it's on the back of the card.  I have my doubts.  Here is the card which comes from this year's Archives Snapshot set.....

It's not an actual Cardinals card, but Eckstein also won a World Series while he was a member of the Anaheim Angels* in 2002.  They all can't be Cardinals cards.  Although, he did not win an MVP Award in the Fall Classic that year, but instead was won by Troy Glaus.  Also a former Cardinal, but he was a pretty big guy.  Like 6'5.  

The back of the card has some cute story about Eckstein being a walk-on while he was at the University of Florida.  Can't say I am a huge fan of his choice of colleges.  For a World Series MVP, I am willing to overlook it.  

*of Los Angeles 

Monday, December 17, 2018

I Love The 1990s Cardinals Part 57 - Stan Royer

The Cardinals picked up Stan Royer in the Willie McGee trade with the A's in 1990.  The Charleston, Illinois native had put up some pretty good numbers playing for Huntsville in Double A that season, and the Cardinals were going to need a third baseman since Terry Pendleton was on his way out the door.  Royer was supposed to end up with the job.

The A's former first round draft pick started off his Cardinals career with a few games in Triple A Louisville at the end of 1990.  He already a few cards out when he was traded.  Mainly some A's Minor League issues, but also a rookie card in the 1989 Bowman set.

Royer's experience with the Cardinals seemed to repeat on a yearly basis.  He would have some decent numbers with the Louisville Redbirds, get called up at some point during the summer, and play a few games.  Some years he hit in the Majors, others he did not.  The up and down of Royer's career did not stop him from getting some baseball cards.  

Obviously there are some Minor League cards of the former Cardinals third base prospect.  

There are both team issued Minor League cards of Royer, as well as appearances in Pro Line sets, which were put out by Fleer.  Beyond his Minor League cards, Royer seemed to hold onto his prospect status for several years even though he was just lingering in Triple A.  

The Cardinals put him in their team sets......

Ozzie Canseco was also in the 1993 Cardinals Stadium Giveaway set, so maybe it's not surprising that Royer is also in here, but there are not many teams that run their Triple A prospects out in these sorts of products.  This is probably my favorite Stan Royer card.

Royer's mainstream cards were almost all prospect, or future star, types of cards.  There are several around from between 1991 and 1994.  The two most notable are his 1993 Topps card.....

where he appeared in the "Coming Attractions" subset along with future Cardinals All-Star, Gold Glove winner, and should be Hall of Famer Jim Edmonds.  I believe Topps used this design, or at least the background in one of this year's Archives insert sets.  

Last Royer card.  

His last season with the Cardinals was in 1994.  Royer still had a bunch of rookie and prospect types of cards in different sets.  During his time with the Cardinals that season he only hit .175 in 39 games.  The Cardinals placed Royer on waivers where the Red Sox ended up claiming him.  He played four games in July for Boston, that was the end of his career.  

In all, Royer ended up playing in different parts of four seasons and ended his career with a .250/.266/.384 slash line.  He only hit four home runs, with his final home run coming off of Mitch Williams in the ninth inning of a game the Cardinals were losing by a dozen runs.  Seems rather 1990s Cardinals like.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

1990 Durham Bulls Team Set - Part #2

The middle of the 1990 Durham Bulls set does not have a lot of Major League talent, so I have condensed this part of the set down a bit.  The exception is the lone Major Leaguer, who got his own scan.  Before I get going, I forgot a little information in the opening post.....

The 1990 Durham Bulls were  71-68.  They finished third in the South Division of the Carolina League, but the two teams that finished ahead of them, the Kinston Indians and Winton-Salem Spirits, were absolutely loaded.  The Indians has 7 future Major League pitchers, several position players too, including one Jim Thome.  Winston-Salem had less notable names, the two best players you might know are Jim Bullinger and Kevin Roberson, but they had several career Minor Leaguers who had career seasons.

However, neither of those teams won the Carolina League.  In the end, the Brady Anderson led Fredrick Keys took home the title, upsetting Kinston in the finals.

On to the cards.  There are ten in this post, nine in groups of three, and one single card. 

Some great nicknames in this set, with Popeye and Skipper.  Popeye had a good year with the 1990 Bulls, but only last one more season in the Minors before spending some time in a few independent leagues.  William Wright, or Skipper, appeared in a team high 50 games for the Bulls in 1990.  The former Ole Miss star would go 6-7 with the Bulls, but at 26 decided to hang it up after the season. 

Edwin Alicea was the Bulls best offensive player during the 1990 season.  He hit 13 home runs, 28 doubles, and 49 RBIs while posting an on-base percentage of .392.  He is the brother of long-time infielder Luis Alicea.  The two played together at Florida State.  Edwin never reached the Majors. 

Cuevas was a Minor Leaguer in the Braves system for a long time.  He appeared in games for the Bulls during the 1987, 1989, 1990, and 1992 seasons.  Always room for a catcher.  Theron Todd was in his second season in Durham during 1990.  He went on to play a few more seasons in the Mariners farm system.  Since retiring, he has worked in the Pirates Minor League system as a coach.  Tilmon was also in his second season with the Bulls.  He went 6-5 with a 3.90 ERA, and more than a strikeout per inning. 

Which brings me to the only Major League player in this middle section of the set. 

Nied played in Durham for two seasons and transformed himself into an important prospect during his time with the Bulls.  During the 1990 season, Nied pitched 10 games for the Bulls and ended the year with a 1-1 record.  The following season he went 8-3 with an ERA of 1.56 and almost a strikeout per inning.  He made the Baseball America Top 50 Prospect List in both 1992 and 1993.  

Nied ended up getting selected by the Rockies as the top pick in the Expansion Draft before the 1993 season.  The team saw him as the cornerstone for their rotation.  Nied pitched the first game in team history.  

Nied's career was wrecked with injuries in Denver and he really never got a chance to live up to his billing.  In all, he pitched just 52 games over 5 seasons for the Rockies.  

Last set of cards for this post....

Brust was a college catcher from Ball State.  He did not hit much during his three years in the Minors, but has made a nice career for himself as a college baseball coach.  Brust is currently working at the University of Rochester.  Brian Cummings was a pitcher in the last year of his professional career.  He went 2-5 with the Bulls with a 5.40 ERA.  Josman Robles had a short career as a first baseman in the Braves system, but has gone on to become a successful Major League scout and summer league manager in Venezuela for the Tigers, Red Sox, and Marlins.  

Last set of cards later in the week.