1992 TOPPS TOP PROSPECTS – A Retrospective
1992 TOPPS TOP PROSPECTS
(Originally Published Sept 24, 2008)
PR: Phil Rippa
ED: Ed Agner
BB: Bill Barnwell
PR: I still have way too many baseball cards. Yes, they are worth three cents but I refuse to get rid of them. I suck. Anyway, one of my favorite things out of the bazillion I still have are these cards that were part of the 1992 set. Who knows exactly what made Topps pick the people that they did but I figured “HEY! Let’s see how wrong they were!” Plus, I figured I could get Ed to be all misty water colored memories about the Clippers. And Bill even waived his appearance fee so you get the rare Cerberus VP piece. Oh and this means that we don’t have to do Forgotten Player of the Moments on them. Sweet.
New York Yankees
PR: If there ever was a definition of Veteran Presence – we can just post Brad Ausmus’ picture. Ausmus has always been the guy who as been praised as “a great teammate”, “really intelligent”, “a future manager”, “excellent manager of staffs”. Why don’t we just call him a double-tough veteran while we are at it. Ausmus was never one you would call “good at the plate”. But he has those Gold Gloves and that one All-Star. Of course, he also wonders why Mike Mussina gets all the pub for going to Stanford. DARTMOUTH BITCHES~! I do remember the period of time where people used to include Ausmus in that list of prospects that the Yankees “let get away”. Yeah – I don’t think anyone was weeping that the Yanks went with Jorge Posada instead. Speaking of the Yankees and catchers – Ausmus was once traded for John Flaherty. That is the ultimate in the universe keeping itself in balance.
ED: Phil is like – Hey Ed, join in. And I’m all like – dude, what do you not understand about I’m too lazy. Then he trots out all these CLIPPERS!!!! *sigh* I think we (or more aptly, I) have pretty much beat down Ausmus completely over the years here so there’s nothing more to be said about the future manager of the Houston Astros. I really hope Phil finds a list from like ’96 that includes Mitch Melusky so we can all…well, at this point all we can do is shuffle away uncomfortably from this topic, I guess.
BB: Phil is like – Hey Bill, join in. And I’m all like — wait, who are you again? And what are you doing? That windshield isn’t even remotely close to being clean yet.
I wish I had one-tenth of the charm that guys like Ausmus and Sean Casey have. I mean, Brad Ausmus had two seasons with an OPS+ over 100. Two! Out of like 814 seasons. I don’t have my calculator in front of me but that’s a really tiny percentage.
PR: Campanis couldn’t hit a lick when he came up as a catcher with the Dodgers in 1966… err…. That ain’t right. Oh this is Jim Campanis JUNIOR. Junior never made the big show. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some fun stories. First – he actually has another Topps card as a “member” of the 1988 US Olympic team. The reason I use the quotes is because of the pesky little matter of Campanis not actually making the Olympic squad. I am assuming Shawn Abner sends him taunting emails. Also – Campanis’ granddad was Al Campanis. Yeah – that Thanksgiving dinner conversations must have been REAL interesting.
ED: Sadly, I assume the Campanis Thanksgiving dinner is much like the family dinners of a certain co-worker of mine. Possibly, and I hope this is the case, they too debate which they want least – a female VP or a black President. Obviously, the assumption is they too would call up a certain phone line after said debate and ask for an executive type with a funny northern accent.
BB: Are you saying Greg Gagne should be president? Because really — regardless of which Greg Gagne it is — that’s probably not a good idea. Although if they switched off randomly, that could be pretty entertaining.
Wait — the Greg Gagne who worked in the AWA and the Twins’ shortstop weren’t the same guy — were they?
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #29
PR: Now we are talking OLYMPIC HERO~! Nilsson was the best Australian player in the bigs ever. Which is so a back-handed compliment as there has only been 16 in the history of MLB. I mean I heart John Stephens more than anyone other than Bill but Dave Nilsson was a far greater ballplayer. Either way – he was the first Aussie to play in the majors. Nilsson, you might recall, spent his entire career in Milwaukee before suddenly retiring in 1999. Why, you might ask? Because he wanted to compete on the 2000 Australian Olympic baseball team. Such a noble gesture. Nilsson’s dedication was able to lead his home land in front of his home fans to… a 2-5 record. Awww…
ED: I am kinda stunned that Phil has John Stephens ahead of Graeme Lloyd. Whatever. Phil and I have already discussed how I could never keep Nilsson and Jaha straight. It was not an interesting discussion, believe me. I am old, I confuse everything at this point. There you go. I had to pee at least three times while writing this paragraph. Soon Phil and I will be writing these things from rest homes.
PR: The only thing that keeps me from totally hating Lloyd is that I was at the giant Yanks/Os brawl game that had Darryl Strawberry running wild. Ah, Yankee Stadium, how I will miss thee.
BB: I’m still sad that I didn’t go see Stephens pitch when he was in Pawtucket. Sadly, the dream seems to be dead, since Stephens hasn’t pitched since 2006. Can he really be that much worse than Daniel Cabrera?
PR: OLYMPIC HERO~! who never made it to the majors. Not to be confused with this Doug Robbins – who actually played in the majors. (I can’t get whatever infernal Amy Grant/Bette Midler song that is out of my head.)
ED: Yeah. Don’t know. Don’t care.
BB: Who’s Amy Grant?
PR: I hate you and your youth.
PR: Ausmus established himself in the league and probably will never ever go away. Nilsson should have been a much bigger star but he chose country over club. Roy Keane would not have approved. One of the better cards in the set.
ED: And there’s an important lesson for you kids in an election year – never opt for country. Never.
BB: When do I get paid for this?
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #87
PR: Most of you have probably heard of Rico Brogna as he had a career that was a lot longer than one would imagine – hitting the show in 1992 and playing until 2001. Brogna, the 26th pick in the 1988 draft, was hardly the worst player in world – actually hitting 20 HRs in a season four times. But oh so many strikeouts. Actually, the thing that might tip you off the most about Brogna is that Baseball Reference has Ben Grieve (Wait a second – did I just say that people would know Ben Grieve? I’m old) as his second most comparable player. He only played in a handful of games for the Tigers before being traded to the Mets, for the Mets failed first round pick of the 1989 draft – Alan Zinter.
ED: I would have paid good money to see Brogna pop Curt Schilling in his fat face when he was throwing his random tantrums as a Phillie, complaining about how the team sucked aside from him. But Brogna never punched Bitter Curt in the face, so screw him. Of course, I do fondly remembering the Red Sox picking him up late in the 2000 stretch drive for no apparent reason about the same time they picked up Dante Bichette and Mike Lansing and other contract mistakes. God, those Duquette Red Sox trades really were amazing.
BB: Rico Brogna begat John Olerud, so he at least did something to make me swoon. Sweet sweet John Olerud. One day I will make a girl wear a batting helmet and call her Ole. She will think it’s weird but I will show her business card and all will be right in the world.
PR: Ah…. John Jaha. What could have been? Jaha is a classic example of good players who had their careers destroyed by injuries. Jaha had only THREE season with over 500 at-bats. Two of those seasons were his really good years (1996 and 1999. Well at least I consider OPS+ of 131 and 146 really good. They rest of you are stupid or drunk or… whoops… started to say the quiet part loud.). The rest of the time you could find him on the DL. He had nine different stints throughout his brief career. He had shoulder surgery. And ligament damage in his foot. And the fact that he choose to drink and drive. Retired in the middle ‘01 season. Yes – he was definitely ugly enough to be a true member of a team from Milwaukee.
ED: Amazingly, I start this while Phil and I are having a discussion about how brittle we are. We have been attempting to one-up each other with tales of dislocating joints while sneezing and snapping bones while blinking. Sadly, neither of use were prized prospects. So, who are we to mock Jaha?
BB: I always pictured John Jaha being stuffed entirely of staph, for some reason. Not really sure why.
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #8
PR: My initial writings on this piece where so old that Ryan Klesko was still playing when I started it. I suck. Klesko is the first of the Braves prospects who hit it big who will show up in this thing. Klesko was a great player when his body wasn’t betraying him. His career really got going in the strike shortened season of 1994 (playing in less than 25 games in 92 and 93). Ryan, I am sure, would like us to ignore his sub-par performance in the World Series (played in three of them. In 38 at-bats hit only .211. Does, at least, have three home runs.) And then the Braves grew weary with him or thought the allure of the veteran presence of Wally Joyner was too good to pass on. The deal was Klesko/Bret Boone/Jason Shiell to the Padres for Joyner/Reggie Sanders/Quilvio Veras. Whoops! Mmm…. Stumptastic! For far too long, I would still drunkenly select Klesko in fantasy baseball. There is a reason I took a season off. Oh and Klesko appears to have a stalker
ED: Klesko’s one of those guys who fielded like and ideal DH but of course none of the teams he was on could ever do the smart thing and unload him on and AL team because…well, hell, I have no idea why. Did they honestly think he was going to suddenly learn to field and stay healthy? Of course, the three people who would read this have seen me in action in fantasy baseball so who am I to mock a GM?
BB: Klesko was weird because he wasn’t healthy from like 2000-on. And, in all fairness, I’m sure the Braves had no idea Bret Boone was going to go on copious amounts of [redacted]. Then again, neither did the Padres, since they got rid of him too.
San Diego Padres
PR: Staton was drafted in the 5th round of the 1989 amateur draft. He finally made his debut in 1993 and saw some playing time in 1994, racking up a grand total of 9 home runs. And, that was it, yup. Maybe should have been on the juice.
ED: One of these failures has to have gotten into shootfighting since everyone gets into shootfighting now. We’ll just assume Staton did and he’s challenging Mike Stanton for possession of the N.
BB: I thought CRZ had that?
PR: Not horrific. Actually, it’s probably right there with the Shortstop card in regards to “talent”. They were right with Klesko and at least had two other “names” with Jaha and Brogna. Poor poor Dave Staton.
Chicago White Sox
PR: Cesar Bernhardt never made it to the majors. Let me sum up probably why not. (Taken from BaseballLibrary)
“Friday, June 16th, 1989 IN THE NEWS: Rick Wolff, 37, writing an article on minor-league baseball for Sports Illustrated, finishes a 3-day stint playing 2B for the South Bend White Sox (Midwest League). He replaces Cesar Bernhardt and goes 4-for-7 against the Burlington Braves. Wolff will finish the year with the highest average of any Chicago White Sox farmhand.”
ED: I’m just going to believe he is Sandra’s brother and people thought he was sexy but ugly.
BB: Wait — what — sexy but ugly? Why is Phil ghostwriting for Ed?
What an awesome phrase. I am going to steal that.
New York Yankees
PR: Ahhh… failed Yankee prospects. I enjoy that they have TWO top 2nd Baseman prospects. And those two are DeJardin and Andy Stankiewicz. DeJardin’s time in the majors was the same as Brien Taylor’s. Oops.
ED: I am sure I saw him as a Clipper. But even I have no recollection.
BB: Things Ed has a recollection of:
PR: Never made the majors. I know very little about Moreno other than he did end up as a “top” prospect for the Expos at some point in time too. Well… let’s see what we can find. Okay – now I am confused and I will await input from Ed or Bill. But an Armando Moreno made the Rookie League All-Star team in… 1982! So either Topps had a 10 year minor leaguer as a top prospect or there are multiple failed Armando Moreno prospects.
ED: You can await input all you want, Phil. But I can’t bail you out here. I am just going to assume Topps felt obligated to list one player from every team or something.
BB: I assume they meant to make an Omar Moreno card and printed it wrong and then gave up.
New York Yankees
PR: I have fond memories of Andy Stankiewicz. There is no real rationale. I guess maybe I have an unexplored big ear fetish or something. I probably should have more hate since he was the man who replaced Alvaro Espinoza. Stankiewicz managed to hang around for 7 seasons (the Yanks, Astros, Expos and Diamondbacks). But his only full-time role was his rookie year. Stankiewicz probably was 10 years ahead of himself. Because he could have easily stuck around in today’s majors with folks obsessed with UTILITY INFIELDERS! I am still trying to get my head around the day that Stankiewicz was actually a DH. And just because I wanna make Ed cry. He was involved in the following trade. Stankiewicz/Domingo Jean to the Astros for Xavier Hernandez. (My reasons for crying about that trade are different than Ed’s)
ED: It took a lot of booze back in the early-90’s to erase the nightmares of the ugliness the Yankees would amass in Columbus. That’s going to be my excuse for the early-90’s anyway. God, I can never erase the ugliness of Domingo Jean from my mind. Damn you, Yankees. Andy was not a pretty man, but god… Domingo Jean. If Stankiewicz came around today, obviously, as a white and scrappy middle infielder, he’d get the Eckstein comparison which of course would make you want to put a bullet in his head. And looking at that head – how the hell could you miss?
BB: Stankiewicz made his major league debut in my first-ever game at Yankee Stadium. Of course — I just read the SI column where someone — Verducci maybe — writes it from the perspective of the stadium and writes things like “Babe Ruth walked around inside of me” which just makes me feel uncomfortable.
PR: Oh yeah – it is going to take some work to trump this class of turds.
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #39
PR: Since I follow the AL East more than any probably should – I am quite familiar with Manny Alexander. So are bitter bitter Os fans… which will make it hard to write the rest of this without giggling. Basically, Alexander is going to be known for throwing the Red Sox Bat Boy under the bus when said bat boy was driving Alexander’s car that had lots and lots of ‘roids in it. Shocker that Alexander’s name was in the Mitchell Report. The illusion of speed kept him around far longer than it should have. Alexander played over the course of eight seasons in the 90s then basically played like 10 more games the rest of his career. Involved in trade with another 92 prospect – Turk Wendall – in a mindnumbingly complex trade. He also actually pitched once – k, can’t fight back the giggling anymore.
ED: RIPKEN REPLACER!!! God, Phil goes for the roid deal with Manny when he was, in fact the guy who was supposed to take over at SS for the O’s – until Saint Iron Man froze him out. All things considered, of course, Cal was right.
BB: Oh, Cal. You are always right.
PR: A third round selection in the 1987 draft, Arias was able to cobble out your acceptable 10 year utility infielder career. I say acceptable ‘cuz would we all kill to play 10 years in the show. Has absolutely no power whatsoever. Played in ‘92 with the Cubs and then traded to the expansion Marlins that offseason (because everyone was obsessed with Greg Hibbard) Teased Phillies fans with his 1999 season (.303/.373 in 347 AB, 20 2Bs).
ED: Basically, he was Miguel Cairo without the magic Joe Torre star-touch. I assume Torre and Tony LaRussa still have his number just in case one of their 3986 utility infielders go down.
BB: Ten years in the show getting yelled at by Ozzie Guillen for not being Latino enough? No thanks — I will keep my current gig.
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #7
PR: Oh yeah – I am going to keep my comments brief as I already can sense the bile rising. Stupid domestic abuser. (I am disappointed that his baseball-reference page sponsor didn’t renew.) The fact that he made 4 million in 2002 is appalling. I’m glad he got chicken pox as an adult. Remember kids – punching your wife is A-Okay. Steroids… not so much.
ED: THE RED SOX NEVER HAD A DOPE OFFENDER, PHIL!!!! DOPE IS BAD!!! Picking up two noted wife beaters (hello, Julio Lugo!!!) – that’s OK.
BB: In traditional VP fashion, I am just going to cut and paste a conversation between me and Ed:
2:55:27 PM Bill Barnwell: ok – i am working on this
2:55:32 PM Ed Agner: aww
2:55:32 PM Bill Barnwell: and god – i live too close to BC now
2:55:42 PM Ed Agner: hehehehe
2:55:50 PM Ed Agner: hey, it could be worse
2:55:55 PM Ed Agner: you could love close to OSU
2:56:18 PM Bill Barnwell: i could love close to OSU indeed
2:56:34 PM Ed Agner: hehehehehe
2:56:35 PM Ed Agner: aww
2:56:39 PM Ed Agner: I have become Phil
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #4
PR: Duh. Most folks forget he was a SS when he came up. Jones was the BA Top Prospect in 1993. (In one of those very very slighty Sam Bowie moments – BA had Alex Rodriquez as the Top Prospect in 95 with Jones at #3. Who was #2? Ruben Rivera!!!! God… I think Rivera probably due his own FPOTM.) Chipper was a September call-up in 93 and made three appearances at Short (also made scattered appearances throughout career). Didn’t make the majors in 94, learning third. Then it was all bets were off. He was second in Rookie of the Year in 95 (Oh Hideo Nomo… how Baltimore will always love you.) He got his ring in 95 though. Got his MVP in 99. Heck, this year is battling with Albert Pujols over who can be the most crippled and still win the batting title. Jones and Brad Ausmus (who doesn’t really count) are the last men standing of the “prospects” with Klesko retiring before this season started.
ED: To clarify a couple of things – Chipper missed the ‘94 season after blowing out his knee in spring training, actually. That gave us another year of the Blauser-Lemke middle infield – god, thinking of all the Braves games I endured just to watch baseball makes me appreciate the MLB Extra Innings package all the more. And secondly, I too have no idea what Phil is commenting on w/r/t Hideo Nomo and Baltimore. I dunno if he confused Nomo with Chan Ho Park or what. But yeah, it’s Chipper. If he was a decent fielder we’d be talking about if he was a better 3B than Mike Schmidt.
BB: I am a little confused — I mean, Chipper can’t even play third. How did he play short? Did he have a negative fielding percentage?
A MOMENT OF CLARIFICATION:
ED: hey ED: what the fudge were you getting at with this?
ED: “He was second in Rookie of the Year in 95 (Oh Hideo Nomo… how Baltimore will always love you.)”
Phil: Was it Nomo or Chan Ho Park who grooved Cal Ripken the pitch in the AS game
Phil: aww… okay, I will have to make an all look same joke
BB: Their conversation was way funnier.
PR: Chipper Jones is a Hall of Famer and the class of all of Topps prospects. The other three are all “known commodities” for anyone who is an old and a dork about baseball. Yes, I am talking about me and Ed. Anyway – this card will be worth four cents to all the other cards two.
ED: More like a dollar for two cents. But yeah.
PR: Two seasons – 1993 with Expos, 1998 with the Angels. Was traded in the fall of 92 in completely worthless deal. May or may not be a vampire. (See link below.)
ED: There were points in time in my youth where I’d always confuse the Brewers and Mariners (yes, both were teams in my youth – screw all of you) like I do the Jags and Panthers…and Jaha and Nilsson apparently. I think the reason I’d always confuse the two (the two being the Mariners and Brewers) is that they color scheme was similar and all the white position prospects both teams brought up all looked the same – pasty, ugly and all of them having similar names. Case in point Bolick. I honestly always thought he was a Brewers failed prospect because in my mind I always saw him as Joey Meyer. One day we may get into how I had a hard time keeping the Giants and Padres straight back in my youth too.
BB: Are we sure this isn’t Frank Solich? Cause I’m pretty sure it’s Frank Solich.
PR: Must have had incriminating photos of Tony Larussa. Played with the As, Royals, 7 games with the Mets, Cards and Tigers over 11 seasons. Had career numbers .239/.274/.411 with 99 home runs… oh so close. Makes me cry that baseball reference brings up Mike Blowers… A LOT. Does have the shame of being the only man to be traded straight up for Shawon Dunston.
ED: I assume he is dead now since he is no longer a Cardinal. And I thought only Cardinal P’s died while a member of the team.
BB: As long as they avoid hotel rooms and highways they should be fine. And they don’t steal the mullet-glo.
San Diego Padres
PR: Never made majors but became a somewhat well known Pro Bass Fisherman so FU baseball.
BB: Of all the players Ed couldn’t comment on, this one?
PR: The Ugly Baseball Card blog actually talks about this one card. It basically tells us why Paul Russo is a better person than us. Oh and speculates on why Frank Bolick’s card is so goofy. You can find that Here
ED: I seriously don’t care enough about either guy so I will punt. Though Phil and I wanted to make a clever Vince Russo joke here somewhere. Whatever.
BB: Please don’t insult my friends at TNA. I KNOW DISCO INFERNO!!!!
PR: Craig Paquette saves this card from being worse than the Second Baseman… which is really damning with faint praise.
OUTFIELD – CARD ONE OF THREE
Kansas City Royals
PR: Bounced around the bigs playing for four teams – none of those teams being the Cubs who drafted him or the Royals who he was representing on the card. Showed the tiniest flashes of speed and power. FIVE TOOLS~! Ed will appreciate that Brumfield had his most success starting the year after he left Cincinnati.
ED: I still say he could have been a perfectly acceptable 4th outfielder for a decent amount of time. I mean, it’s not like he could not have been Bernie Williams’ caddy in the late-90’s or something when the Yankees were trying everyone as the 4th OF/back-up CF. But whatever. Life is not fair. Hey, at least he got out of Cincinnati, so don’t weep for Jacob.
BB: I think you meant to say FI-TOOLZ.
New York Mets
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #50
PR: Mr. My Parents Don’t Know How To Spell. He is the other on this giant list (along with Klesko) who would end up on my fantasy teams WAY too often. Still must have been doing something right to crank out 315 home runs over his career. Yeah – the roids!!! Okay, sorry. Enough of that. Here is the great thing about Burnitz. He was originally drafted by the Brewers in 1987 but chose to go Oklahoma State instead. So then he gets picked in the first round of the draft in 1990 by the Mets. He is beloved in Milwaukee and loathed in New York. I enjoy sports. I would say number three overall on this batch of Topps Prospects.
ED: Dude had the most criminally huge heads ever. Also was a lesser bad deal by the Indians (this one preceding the even worse Brian Giles and Richie Sexson deals) where they shipped him the Milwaukee for the rotting corpse of Kevin Seitzer. And I too had him on far too many fantasy teams. Did I mention the dude had a massive noggin? Good god, his temples had satellite planets.
BB: I think Phil should just be happy he let his wife fill out the birth certificate, or else kids would be asking his son why his name was Aidin. Of course — that virtually makes him Adin Brown. And that just made me waste 20 minutes on Wikipedia looking at Americans abroad.
PR: SCAB!!!!! Okay sorry. Cockrell like a lot of these guys was a First Round Pick… in 1984. Didn’t make it to the majors until 1996 and got a whopping three weeks in the show. All because of that pesky replacement player thing. At least Clint Hurdle loves him as he is the Rockies hitting coach. He also was an All-American QB at Tennessee. Whoops – might have made the wrong career choice.
BB: His name makes me think of the Cockring sketch from Mr. Show, and that makes me happy. Cock rings!
D. J. DOZIER
New York Mets
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #99
PR: Covered already by Ed’s Forgotten Player of the Moment
ED: Phew. And no, I’m not gonna look back at that.
BB: Cockrings, cockrings, cockrings!
PR: In term of “names” for baseball fans, this card is near the top. Of course, Topps probably now wishes they had picked Brian Jordan instead of Dozier.
ED: So do the Vikings.
OUTFIELD – CARD TWO OF THREE
PR: Was picked in the first round of the 1985 Dominican Draft which I’m assuming somehow had Omar Minaya involved. Had 75 career at bats. Yup.
BB: OK — wait — there was a DOMINICAN DRAFT?!?
San Francisco Giants
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #61
PR: Oh so much hope. I don’t think getting 58 ABs for the 14th pick overall was exactly what the Giants were looking for when they made that investment. Will get by on being Paul Pierce’s half brother.
ED: I want to believe what Phil is saying is true. Please let Wikipedia not be wrong for once.
PR: Only played in parts of three seasons. Testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. No, not that one. This was the anti-trust stuff. Oh just read it yourselves. Poor poor bitter Dan Peltier. I assure you he broke a chair when Rafael Palmeiro got caught.
ED: Actually, Dan Peltier sounds more like the name of a shootfighter. Maybe we can have Peltier fight Staton for rights to be the shootfigher of this bunch.
Boston Red Sox
PR: Never made the majors. Might have fallen off the grid entirely. I’m sure he has been put on a watch list or something. Maybe he talked smack about Jerry Remy.
ED: I just want to believe he is somehow related to Peter McNeeley.
BB: I think that’s my landlord.
PR: Well, I was wrong. There was a batch worse than 2Bs.
OUTFIELD – CARD THREE OF THREE
PR: Pemberton wasn’t even drafted; just picked up off the street by the Tigers. Stole a couple hundred thousand over the course of a couple of seasons. Nope not bitter at all. I don’t need a job.
ED: Aww, then thank Christ that this was Rudy Pemberton instead of Bobby Higginson.
BB: Yeah — interest rapidly waning without cash.
Los Angeles Dodgers
PR: Oh Henry. (See what they did there?) Why does it always seem that these shooting star players start with the Dodgers. (See also: Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo, Fernando Valenzuela, etc…) In Rodriguez’s case, he actually had his break out after getting moved by the Dodgers. As he was traded to the Expos in a serviceable parts swap where he and Jeff Treadway went North of the Border for Joey Eischen and Roberto Kelly! So in 1996, H-Rod (See what they did there?) went crazy. 36 home runs, over 100 RBIs, OPS+ of 127. Of course, he struck out a ton too. Made his was to the Cubbies after being swapped for Miguel Batista. In Chicago, if you believe who ever wrote his Wiki page, he was the reason that Sammy Sosa hit 66 home runs in ’98. (Granted, Rodriguez hit 31 HRs himself that year but I think teams were more than willing to pitch to him that Sammy.) For a career, ended up playing for 10 years, with a 5 year run that a lot of guys would have killed for. He is not to be confused with Oakland’s top pitching prospect – though it would be outstanding if Topps screwed up on a baseball card and put the old Oh Henry!’s picture on a card.
ED: The Yankees sent a lot of crud down to Columbus to rehab or whatever. Of all the assorted crap the Yankees sent to Columbus to rehab – Henry Rodriguez was the second best past his prime crud rehabbing in the armpit of America guy I saw (behind Darryl Strawberry). And it would be even more tremendous if Topps really got confused with the Henry Rodriguez’ and just put a picture of an Oh Henry wrapper on a card. Don’t put that past Topps, actually.
BB: When I was little, I used to think that the same company that made Topps trading cards also made Topps hamburgers, which somehow made the gum edible.
Actually, wait, I still think that.
PR: Tinsley was picked 11th overall by Oakland. (No you dunces. It was 1987. Billy Beane was still in the bigs.) Switch hitter with speed. Could it be the start of the elusive… FIVE TOOLS~! Aww… no such luck. Granted it would have been tough to break into the Red Sox outfield (where he eventually ended up), I mean HALL OF FAMER MIKE GREENWELL!!!! Tinsley is the first base coach for the Diamondbacks so he has that going for him.
ED: This is why Curt Schilling calls Phil a bitter New Yorker.
BB: Please don’t insult my close personal friend Curt Schilling like that.
PR: Does that mean you too tried to cop a feel on Cindy McCain?
New York Yankees
PR: Him, Ausmus (see way above) and Sam Militello (see below) were both on the 1992 Columbus Clippers which named the 72nd Greatest Minor League Team ever (the only team from the 90s higher are the Greenville Braves also from 92. Unfortunately for Gerald, he wasn’t even the best Williams on that team… since Bernie was there too. The Yanks traded Gerald and Bob Wickman to the Brewers in 1996, in a move that was definitely aimed straight at my jimmy. But they proceeded to win all those RINGS~! and everything was forgiven. Gerald Williams stuck around forever it seemed. In 2000, because the Devil Rays had no one else, he had an absurd 682 Pas (hitting .274/.312/.427). Corey Patterson shows up third on his list of similar players. That made me laugh out loud. Poor poor Cincinnati.
ED: I am still shocked that Jeter doesn’t have enough stroke in New York to get Ice more shots at making the roster.
BB: I still don’t understand why no one ever taught Phil the word “were”.
PR: Rodriguez and Williams had enough success and hung around long enough to make this card a success. Of course, this would be the same sort of logic probably used by Jim Bowden to defend his job.
ED: You hate a man who rides a segway? Why do you hate life, Phil? Why?
1992 Baseball America Top 100 Prospect Rank – #25
PR: A first ballot “No, really, he’s black! Yes, I know his name is Pat Mahomes. I assure you he is black. Look at the picture.” Hall of Fame. Pat Mahomes will always have beer bought for him in Long Island as he was part of the really great Mets bullpen (along with fellow “prospect” Turk Wendell) in 1999 that helped propped up one of the ugliest starting staffs I have seen on a playoff team. Mahomes was a big story during the stretch drive as he went 8-0 with an ERA+ of 121. Refuses to believe that his major league career is over and you can probably find him playing for whatever organization will give him nachos and cab fare. I am sure Mahomes also silently weeps if he ever looks at his Baseball Reference page – his top similars are: Tanyon Sturtze, John Wasdin and Todd Van Poppel
ED: Pat Mahomes and Willie Banks were two black pitchers the Twins drafted and developed who were supposed to be the new Doc Goodens (Willie Banks even got a Rolling Stone cover for it). Yeah…well…yeah.
BB: I’m sure they could’ve started a band and been hyped as the new Living Colour too.
New York Yankees
PR: Oh Sam, what should have been. Those of you witnessing Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy now – that was Sam Militello in the early 90s. Absolutely destroyed the minors, got called up and it all went horribly wrong. Had one of the ugliest throwing motions ever so shocker that he became a cripple. Ed probably has lots of memories of seeing Militello in Columbus. God – I think I’m going to need to have to have Grandpa Ed tell me lots of 1992 Clippers stories.
ED: If I started on the early-90 Clippers the story would just devolve into a sad little affair with a gal who loved Jim Walewander since he too loved the Dead Milkmen and…sigh. There’s been a lot of booze, a lot of alcohol-induced black-outs and a lot of wasted time since then…I won’t go there. Sadly, I held up better than Militello. At least I can lift my arm.
BB: If you can lift your arm, what good is your future wife for?
Wait — can I talk about that?
PR: A former third pick overall, is the grandson of Bill Salkeld (who also played in the bigs. You people suck.) Had a 10-10 record for his career. I am going to speculate that it was Cincinnati that beat him down. Ed will back me up there.
ED: Mmmm, top Mariner pitching prospects. My arm has held up better than Salkeld’s too.
PR: For better or worse, Turk Wendell became known as the weirdo that would always be the feature when some sports station wanted to do a special on “baseball rituals”. I am not even going to try to cover all goofiness. You can look as his Wikipedia page as easily as me. I’m still amazed he hasn’t stabbed someone. Especially when he was traded for Bruce Chen (Man, I am saddened by the fact that enough time has passed that we could write a Bruce Chen FPOTM.)
ED: I think Bill would love Turk and Mahomes better than us given his past Mets fandom. The fact that Steve Lyons has made a career as an announcer for “accidentally” mooning Tiger Stadium means that Wendell is so destined to…god, I don’t know, be the new Ryan Seacrest?
BB: Pfft. Mahomes did have that nice random year in long relief, but Wendell gave up like 184 game-tying home runs. Now — Dennis Cook — there was a long reliever.
PR: Awww… Jeff Innis weeps.
PR: Wendell and Mahomes both end up having decent little careers as relieves after crapping out as starters. And being the NYY fan that I am, seeing Militello on anything make me smile. This gets a check mark on the plus side.
ED: God, do you know how many times I had to fricking hear Punk Rock Girl? Why does life hate me so?