Thursday, September 18, 2008
#1T Jim Abbott
Before we talk about Abbott, I need to point out that Topps included Olympic cards in this set, as evidenced by this very first card of the set. This is the second time they included Olympic cards, the last time being in the regular-issue 1985 set, which ended up giving us the true rookie cards of Mark McGwire, Cory Snyder, and others. There are quite a few players in the 1988 Olympic subset that had a significant impact in the major leagues.
IMPACT FACTOR 6/10 Abbott is an unusual case. He pitched 4 pretty good years for the Angels before being traded (essentially) for J.T. Snow, who didn't do too much for the Angels or bring much in trade. There were a few lesser players involved in the trade too. Abbott, however, was a very popular player due to the success he achieved despite an uncommon physical aspect, namely the lack of a hand on his right arm. this didn't prevent Abbott from being an effective pitcher, fielder, or hitter. He had a 3rd-place Cy Young finish in 1991 and deserved a 15-8 record in 1992 (neutralized) instead of the incredibly unlucky 7-15 he was actually saddled with. But as I mentioned, Abbott's popularity (and attendance at his games) went well beyond his stats.