This week we an interesting team to check out, the 1996 Topps Rookie All Star Team. This team has something in common with the upcoming 2021 team that has yet to be determined. The 1996 team was the first team that played a full 162 game season in 3 years following the strike that chopped off the end of the 1994 season and beginning of the 1995 season. It was supposed to be an everything is back to normal set. For me, it was completely irrelevant because that strike turned me off of baseball until the summer of 1998 McGwire/Sosa home run rivalry (that has since turned a new generation off of baseball) brought me back. So this team falls into my years of just not caring. It really is a shame because there was some good baseball played then.
This is the first team since I have re-started that featured a career leader at a position. However, this team features 2 different players that are the career leaders at their position on my scale. It is one of two teams that features 2 different players that lead their respective position. The other is also from the 1990s, but I am going to leave it a mystery until we get to it.
I have always thought of the 1997 Topps set at the Christmas set. I'm sure I am not the first, nor the last, to have that idea. The concept is that American League teams have a red inner border while the National League teams have a green one. The player names also have an outlined font for the first name and a filled in font for the last name. That is pretty much it with this set. It is a very minimalist set otherwise. Honestly, I have never really been a big fan of it, although there are some memorable photos in the set.
Let's take a look at the 1996 Topps Rookie All Star Team.
Jason Kendall - C - Pirates- Season Rank (13 of 61) - Career Rank (8 of 61)
Tony Clark - 1B - Tigers - Season Rank (48 of 61) - Career Rank (30 of 61)
Tony Batista - 2B - Athletics - Season Rank (46 of 61) - Career Rank (27 of 61)
Jermaine Dye - OF - Braves - Season Rank (177 of 184) - Career Rank (50 of 184)
F.P. Santangelo - OF - Expos - Season Rank (91 of 184) - Career Rank (147 of 184)
Todd Hollandsworth - OF - Dodgers - Season Rank (65 of 184) - Career Rank (111 of 184)
Alan Benes - RHP - Cardinals - Season Rank (49 of 50) - Career Rank (45 of 50)
Billy Wagner - LHP (RP) - Astros - Season Rank (24 of 34) - Career Rank (1 of 34)
Strongest Team Members (career) - Derek Jeter, Billy Wagner, Jason Kendall
Weakest Team Members (rookie) - Alan Benes, Jermaine Dye, Tony Clark
Weakest Team Members (career) - Alan Benes, F.P. Santangelo, Todd Hollandsworth
Rockies on the team (Present and future) -1 (Hollandsworth) (Arguably 2 because Dye was a Rockie on paper for one day but never played a game for the team)
Best Card (IMHO) - Jason Kendall (some really good photos here, but I have to go with the nearly lost art of the play at the plate)
Worst Card (IMHO) -Tony Batista (tough call here because none of them are "bad" but Batista shows him playing SS or 3B instead of his identified position of 2B...that has always bugged me)
NEXT WEEK'S PREVIEW
The 2015 team pictured on 2016 Topps cards.
Thanx for reading.