Since I am making my triumphant return to the blogging community, I figured I would dust off one of my favorite features from the past and continue it for the foreseeable future. About a year ago I started evaluating the Topps All Star Rookie teams and seeing how good Topps was in their selection process. For all of you new readers or for older readers that just want to catch up, click here for the previous five posts in this series. In case you are unaware I am not going chronologically with this series, I am going in the order in which I completed the team in my personal Rookie Cup collection. I currently have 33 TASR teams fully complete and this is the sixth post I have finished, so this series should last quite a while. Also on my last posting I asked a trivia question which I never answered. The answer appears today, over 17 months later. That is quite the suspense builder, ain't it?
Now that I have caught everyone up, let's talk about the team that is being covered today. This is the 1992 Topps All Star Rookie team as appearing on 1993 Topps cards. This team is actually quite strong with quite a few players having a long, well-traveled career. Both the Mets and the Brewers placed two players on this team. This also features the appearance of Nameless 2B. For those that are unfamiliar, the given name of that particular player will never appear on my blog, but I'm sure most of you can figure out who it is. If not, look it up because his name does not belong here. Childish? Sure, but it's all done in fun and remember he once made Barry Bonds look like the good guy in a feud.
Eric Karros - Los Angeles - 1B - (Rookie) 6 (Career) 6
Nameless 2B - New York (NL) - 2B - (Rookie) 3 (Career) 8
Pat Listach - Milwaukee - SS - (Rookie) 8 (Career) 2
Kenny Lofton - Cleveland - OF - (Rookie) 8 (Career) 7
Reggie Sanders - Cincinnati - OF - (Rookie) 5 (Career) 6
Dave Fleming - Seattle - LHP - (Rookie) 8 (Career) 2
Strongest Team Members (in 1992) - Pat Listach, Kenny Lofton, Dave Fleming
Strongest Team Members (Career) - Nameless 2B, Kenny Lofton, Moises Alou
Weakest Team Members (in 1992) - Todd Hundley, Nameless 2B, Scott Livingstone
Weakest Team Members (Career) - Pat Listach, Dave Fleming, Scott Livingstone
Rockies on the team (Present and future) - 0 (shocking considering the # of teams for the 3 OFs)
Overall Team Rating (1-10 compared to other RAST teams) 7
This is a relatively strong and speedy team. Looking at the rookie years only, there are very few weak links with only catcher and 2B standing out as not really belonging in the same class as the rest. There are also some very solid, borderline HOF careers on this team. Overall an above average team.
WOULDA, COULDA, SHOULDA
Here are the players I feel should have been on this Rookie All Star Team. This is based on rookie year data only.
Catcher - Eddie Taubensee - Houston
This was a very weak year for rookie catchers. I still almost chose Todd Hundley despite his robust OBP of .256. Taubensee wasn't much better than that, but for 1992 he should have been just good enough for this team. At least it would have made Houston not look quite so dumb for trading Kenny Lofton for him.
First Baseman - Eric Karros - Los Angeles
This was an easy choice with the 1992 NL Rookie of the Year easily beating out half seasons from Scott Cooper of the Red Sox and the Expos rookie platoon of Greg Colbrunn and Archi Cianfrocco.
Second Baseman - Andy Stankiewicz - New York (AL)
Second base was another position with a very weak crop of rookies. I chose Stanky over Nameless 2B because he had more speed and a better average. Obviously Nameless 2B had a better career, but in 1992 Stankiewicz was a better player.
Third Baseman - Scott Livingstone - Detroit
Third base had a choice of three relatively equal players in Livingstone, Boston's Scott Cooper (split time at 1B and 3B), and Dave Hansen of the Dodgers. This was a tough choice, although in the end I agreed with Topps in their choice of Livingstone.
Shortstop - Pat Listach - Milwaukee
This one was also a fairly easy choice. 1992 AL Rookie of the Year Listach's only real competition came from the defensively-oriented Gary DiSarcina of the Angels, but he didn't do enough at the plate to even be close to Listach's career year.
Outfield - Kenny Lofton - Cleveland, Chad Curtis - California, Reggie Sanders - Cincinnati
The outfield has four deserving guys for three spots. I chose despicable human being Chad Curtis over Moises Alou because he had slightly better stats in 1992 for a larger portion of the season. Others considered were Derrick May of the Cubs and Bob Zupcic of Boston.
RHP - Cal Eldred - Milwaukee
This was a surprisingly weak position in 1992. Eldred was called up in midseason and proceeded to win 11 of his 14 starts. That was enough to easily beat out California's 8-11 Julio Valera and Kansas City's middle reliever Rusty Meacham.
LHP - Dave Fleming - Seattle
This position also left a relatively deserving player on the sidelines, Donovan Osborne of St. Louis. However, it was next to impossible to beat out the fantastic 17 win rookie season of Dave Fleming.
LAST YEAR'S TRIVIA ANSWER
Last Year's Question:
As of 2012, which franchise has gone the longest without a single player appearing on the Topps Rookie All Star Team? (Hint: The player is still active)
The Seattle Mariners
They last had a player appear on the All Star Rookie Team in 2002 Topps with Ichiro Suzuki. I wrote this question before the 2013 team came out, but the Mariners did not have anyone on that team either. Perhaps Nick Franklin or Brad Miller will make next year's team to break the streak, although I highly doubt that either player will make it. The next closest team is the Cleveland Indians who last placed a player on the team in 2004 Topps with Jody Gerut.
ROOKIE CUP TRIVIA QUESTION
Since its inception in 1960, how many Rookie of the Year Awards winners were NOT included as members of the Topps All Star Rookie team? As a bonus, see how many you can name. (Hint: the answer is surprisingly large)
NEXT WEEK'S PREVIEW
The 1993 team appearing on 1994 Topps.
Thanx for reading.