A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rating the Rookie Cups - 1989

Since we are in the middle of the 2013 World Series, I figured it would be appropriate if this week's Rating the Rookie Cups featured a team with both a Red Sox player and a Cardinals player.  However, I am a stickler for my own rules and am going in the original order that I have set out.  Therefore, this week's 1989 team does not feature players from either Boston or St. Louis (but the trivia question features them).  One change that I have made this feature has been inspired by the welcome comments of Dime Box Nick.  Since this is primarily a card blog, I am now going to include the categories of "Best Card" and "Worst Card" in with the usual categories. 

Damon Berryhill - Chicago (NL) - C -          (Rookie)   5   (Career)  3
Mark Grace - Chicago (NL) - 1B -              (Rookie)   6   (Career)  7
Ron Gant - Atlanta - 2B -                             (Rookie)   6   (Career)  6

Chris Sabo - Cincinnati - 3B -              (Rookie)   7   (Career)  4
Walt Weiss - Oakland - SS -                (Rookie)   5   (Career)  5

Jay Buhner - Seattle - OF -                             (Rookie)   5   (Career)  5
Cecil Espy - Texas - OF -                               (Rookie)   3   (Career)  2
Dave Gallagher - Chicago (AL) - OF -            (Rookie)   4   (Career)  3

Tim Belcher - Los Angeles - RHP -         (Rookie)   6   (Career)  6
Paul Gibson - Detroit - LHP -                 (Rookie)   3   (Career)  2

Strongest Team Members (in 1992) - Chris Sabo, Ron Gant, Mark Grace

Strongest Team Members (Career) - Mark Grace, Ron Gant, Tim Belcher

Weakest Team Members (in 1992) - Paul Gibson, Cecil Espy, Dave Gallagher

Weakest Team Members (Career) - Paul Gibson, Cecil Espy, Dave Gallagher

Rockies on the team (Present and future) - 2 (Ron Gant, Walt Weiss)

Best Card (IMHO) - Damon Berryhill (best of a mediocre lot)

Worst Card (IMHO) - Mark Grace (looks like a minor league card and not in a good way)

Overall Team Rating (1-10 compared to other RAST teams)    2

Following the fantastic rookies of the 1987 season, this team is full of mediocre players.  The outfield is one of the weakest ever with a half season of Jay Buhner far and away the best year produced.  There are a few solid careers that came out of this group, but by and large this was a very forgettable year for rookie classes.


Here are the players I feel should have been on this Rookie All Star Team.  This is based on rookie year data only.

Catcher - Damon Berryhill - Chicago (NL)
This was a difficult choice because Berryhill had almost identical stats as Nelson Santovenia of the Expos.  The only stat that was slightly different was batting average and Berryhill was a bit higher.  Neither player was a very strong candidate though.

First Base - Mark Grace - Chicago (NL)
This was a pretty easy choice with Grace the only rookie to play a full season.  I did give consideration to Philadelphia's Ricky Jordan who had a very strong half season, but not nearly as strong as Grace.

Second Base - Ron Gant - Atlanta
The toughest battle by far was this position with Gant versus future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar.  I stuck with Gant due to his better power numbers and relatively even numbers everywhere else with the exception of defense.   If only Gant had played 1 game in the outfield, where he would play exclusively later in his career, I would have put both players on the team easily.

Shortstop - Walt Weiss - Oakland
Another tough battle featured the 1988 AL Rookie of the Year, Weiss, against a very strong competitor in Jody Reed of Boston.  Their stats were very similar, but I chose Weiss for better defense and more games played over Reed's higher average.  I never forget that a player's most important ability is availability.

Third Base - Chris Sabo - Cincinnati
In pure contrast to the middle infield, this was the easiest selection to make.  1988 NL Rookie of the Year, Chris Sabo was the strongest rookie at any position and his only competition was a half season of Rene Gonzales of the Orioles.  Advantage: Spuds.

Outfield - Jay Buhner - Seattle, Dave Gallagher - Chicago (AL), Cecil Espy - Texas
This was quite possibly one of the weakest outfields in All Star rookie history.  Buhner had the best career, but his rookie half-year was nothing to write home about.  Gallagher makes it on the strength of a .300 season and Espy with 33 steals.  The only other rookies under consideration were half seasons of Baltimore's Brady Anderson and Darrin Jackson of the Cubs and they weren't even starters on their own teams.

RHP - Tim Belcher - Los Angeles
This was another tightly contested position in 1988.  Belcher's 12 win 152 strikeout season for the Dodgers was a bit stronger than Don August of the Brewers, California's Bryan Harvey, and Melido Perez of the White Sox. 

LHP - Greg Cadaret - Oakland
This was one of the weakest positions not only in 1988, but it was weaker than every single year that I have studied so far.  In a battle of middling middle relievers, Oakland's Greg Cadaret had a better year than Paul Gibson and should have been rewarded with a trophy on his card.


As of 2013, how many members of the Topps All Star Rookie teams are enshrined in the Hall of Fame?

Answer:    18
Willie McCovey - 1960
Ron Santo - 1961
Billy Williams - 1962
Tony Perez - 1966
Joe Morgan - 1966
Rod Carew - 1968
Tom Seaver - 1968
Johnny Bench - 1969
Carlton Fisk - 1973
Gary Carter - 1976
Jim Rice - 1976
Eddie Murray - 1978
Andre Dawson - 1978
Paul Molitor - 1979
Ozzie Smith - 1979
Cal Ripken - 1982 & 1983
Ryne Sandberg - 1983
Kirby Puckett - 1985


Name the Rookie All Star Teams that have featured at least one player from both the Red Sox and the Cardinals.


The 2010 team appearing on 2011 Topps.

Thanx for reading.


Nick said...

I forgot that Gant even played second base early in his career.

Glad I could help with the "best/worst card" theme, I think it's a great addition to your already terrific "Rating the Rookie Cups" posts.

I'm a little partial to the Grace because of the unfamiliar #53 he's wearing there. I'm always a sucker for little quirks like those.

night owl said...

Little-known fact: That Dave Gallagher card is in every single pack of 1989 Topps.