Saturday, October 11, 2008

#71T Mickey Morandini

It seems quite fitting to be writing the copy for this card on the morning of the day when the Phillies will play their first NLCS game since 1993 when, you guessed it, Morandini was their starting 2B.

I don't usually comment on the actual physical appearance of players but, man oh man, what an ugly photo! Sort of reminds me of Lenny Dykstra, actually.

IMPACT FACTOR 5/10: Morandini was a pretty good player for the Phillies. He was always good on defense, and by 1994 made himself into an average player on the offensive side of the ball (not bad for a 2B.) Eventually, the Phils traded him away for Doug Glanville, a pretty poor offensive player who was nevertheless good enough to start for the Phillies in CF for several years. Did you know that Glanville's middle name is Metunwa?

Morandini was one of the Phillies' best draft choices in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Friday, October 10, 2008

#70T Larry McWilliams

Now here's something odd. McWilliams has no regular-issue 1988 Topps card. I never noticed that until just now. He spent a lot of 1987 in the minors, either rehabbing injuries or because he wasn't pitching all that well. I guess Topps elected to leave him out of the set on that basis, despite the fact that he had been a longtime major leaguer at that point.

IMPACT FACTOR 2/10: McWilliams came and left the Cardinals as a free agent, pitching just one year with them. The nice thing was that he pitched the entire year after having lots of injury problems previously.

#69T Jack McKeon

IMPACT FACTOR 3/10: McKeon took over the 1988 Padres midseason from Larry Bowa and turned them around, helping them to a winning season. He actually had been their GM for several years previously.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

#68T Jack McDowell

Blackjack! Here's one of the best rookie cards in the set!

IMPACT FACTOR 6/10: McDowell was a fantastic pitcher for the White Sox in the late 80's and early 90's. He was the first of 4 outstanding #1 draft picks by the White Sox, followed by Robin Ventura in 1988, Frank Thomas in 1989, and Alex Fernandez in 1990. McDowell, along with those other players, helped return the White Sox to prominence after years of futility. After winning 20 games in 1992, he won 22 (and the Cy Young award) in 1993, helping get the White Sox to the post-season for the first time in a while. Had McDowell not been hit hard twice by the Blue Jays in the ALCS, he would have gotten a higher score. Eventually, the White Sox traded him just as he was losing his effectiveness to the Yankees, picking up a useful part-timer in Lyle Mouton.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Life has been hectic lately, mainly with illness and work overload. Sorry I haven't been posting a lot (including the polls for the best 1988 Topps card.) I promise you at least one new card per day, and I'll get back into a rhythm soon.

#67T Billy Masse

IMPACT FACTOR 0/10: Masse played a bunch of years in the minors with the Yankees but never made it to the big leagues. He's been a manager for the last bunch of years for different organizations.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

#66T Tino Martinez

IMPACT FACTOR 6/10: Martinez scores a 6, despite all of his best years and championships coming with the Yankees. Constantino was a major force on the 1995 Mariners, the first truly good team the franchise ever had, as well as their first playoff appearance. He was a key factor in the Mariners' ALDS victory over the Yankees that year. He was then traded (along with Jeff Nelson and Jim Mecir) to those same Yankees for Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock, two players who were somewhat helpful for the Mariners in the following period.

#65T Mark Marquess

IMPACT FACTOR N/A: Marquess was the coach of the Olympic team, and just as the card says below remains as the coach at Stanford today. He did play in the minor leagues but I'm not giving him a score since this is not a card of a future player.

#64T Kirt Manwaring

IMPACT FACTOR 4/10: Manwaring was a decent backup catcher for the Giants for a number of years. He didn't hit much, but he must have had something going for him because he stuck around for a long time.

#63T Scotti Madison

This is the very first card I've posted on this blog of a player I've never heard of before. How weird. Madison's real name is Charles Scott Madison. How he got the nickname of "Scotti" with an "i" is beyond me.

IMPACT FACTOR 1/10: Madison did virtually nothing in the majors for anybody.

#62T Mike Macfarlane

IMPACT FACTOR 5/10: Macfarlane features here as a rookie, often overlooked from this set. He was a good player for the Royals mostly as a backup catcher. Especially when he got more playing time in 1991-1993, he had a lot of pop. I'm not even counting here his later return to the Royals as a free agent.

Monday, October 6, 2008

#61T Jeffrey Leonard

Some women I know would kill for those lips.

IMPACT FACTOR 2/10: Leonard didn't have much left when he joined Milwaukee in a trade for Earnie Riles. After one pretty poor half-season, he left as a free agent. He had a decent season the following year for Seattle and then called it a career after 1990.

#60T Vance Law

This card rocks due to the bonus shot of Shawon Dunston there on the right. The outfielder, judging by the angle of the photo, is probably the center fielder, who in 1988 was probably either Darrin Jackson or Dave Martinez.

IMPACT FACTOR 2/10: Law came and left the Cubs as a free agent, playing just two years for them. His 1988 was pretty good while his 1989 was subpar.

#59T Ray Knight

IMPACT FACTOR 1/10: Knight had one lackluster season with Detroit to close out his career. At least they gave up only Mark Thurmond to acquire him.

#58T Ron Kittle

IMPACT FACTOR 2/10: Kittle was a very effective power hitter on a part-time basis for the Indians for 1 year.

88 Topps Jumbo Pak

Want more 88 Topps? I ripped a Jumbo Pak over here at A Pack A Day.

#57T Roberto Kelly

IMPACT FACTOR 7/10: Kelly gets a surprisingly high impact factor for two reasons: any Yankees fan will tell you that in 1989 he was the best young player to come along to the Yankees in a long time, and he helped start the revitalization that led to 13 straight post-season berths starting in 1995. Also, the Yankees made a simply amazing trade, swapping him when his stock was at its peak and acquiring Paul O'Neill, who played 9 seasons with the Yankees and was a major contributor to their 4 World Series wins in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. Kelly went on to have a solid major league career after New York although he was not the star many thought he would be.

#56T Darrin Jackson

Those are some dark and fuzzy people in the background. Insert your own joke here.

Jackson had a really strange career including:
  • Getting 11 ABs in 1985 and 5 ABs in 1987 before finally qualifying as a rookie with 188 ABs in 1988.
  • Despite playing 12 years and hitting 80 HR, he had nearly half of those HR in just 2 seasons (1991 with 21 and 1992 with 17.)
  • He had an enormously bad OBP of .293 and a horrific K/BB ratio of 480/131.
IMPACT FACTOR 1/10: Jackson did fairly little in parts of 4 seasons with the Cubs, and then left town in a trade involving players all either past their prime or with no prime.

#55T Danny Jackson

IMPACT FACTOR 5/10: Jackson came over in the Ted Power / Kurt Stillwell trade, having one excellent year (1988), one decent year (1990), and one crummy year (1989) for the Reds. He helped the Reds beat the Pirates in the 1990 NLCS but was ineffective in the World Series, deserving little credit for the Reds' championship. He departed as a free agent.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

#54T Jeff Innis

IMPACT FACTOR 3/10: Innis was very effective for the Mets in 1991 and 1992 (as well as pitching well in limited innings in 1987-1990) and left as a free agent after 1993, although he never appeared in the majors with another team.