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.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rating the Rookie Cups - 1987

Finally we have come to my favorite Rookie All Star Team.  It is not my favorite because of its strength or because of any particular players on it.  It is my favorite because it was the first sets with cups from childhood.  The 1987 Topps set brought back the Rookie Cups to cards for the first time in nearly a decade (1978 Topps was the last).  The fact that it is from the 1987 set is part of its charm as well because I do love that wood background.

As far as the actual team, there are a couple of things that stand out.  First is the inclusion of 4 players labeled as outfielders.   I really don't know why Topps went with 4 outfielders other than the fact that each of them had a really strong season.  Next is that the Rookie Cup was left off of Dale Sveum's card for some reason.  I can only assume that the 4 OFs led to this as well.  Either that or Topps didn't like the way the cup looked on the yellow nameplate for the Brewers.  Who knows?  Let's take a look at one of the most iconic Rookie All Star Team of all time.

Andy Allanson - Cleveland - C -                           (Rookie)   2   (Career)  2
Wally Joyner - California - 1B -                             (Rookie)   7   (Career)  6
Robby Thompson - San Francisco - 2B -              (Rookie)   5   (Career)  5

Dale Sveum - Milwaukee - 3B -                  (Rookie)   3   (Career)  3
Andres Thomas - Atlanta - SS -                  (Rookie)   3   (Career)  3
Jose Canseco - Oakland - OF -                  (Rookie)   7   (Career)  6

Pete Incaviglia - Texas - OF -                       (Rookie)   5   (Career)  5
Cory Snyder - Cleveland - OF -                   (Rookie)   6   (Career)  4
Danny Tartabull - Seattle - OF -                    (Rookie)   6   (Career)  5

Todd Worrell - St, Louis - RHP -                       (Rookie)   6   (Career)  5
Bruce Ruffin - Philadelphia - LHP -                    (Rookie)   5   (Career)  4

Strongest Team Members (in 1986) - Jose Canseco, Wally Joyner, Cory Snyder

Strongest Team Members (as of 2013) - Wally Joyner, Jose Canseco, Danny Tartabull

Weakest Team Members (in 1986) - Andy Allanson, Dale Sveum, Andres Thomas

Weakest Team Members (as of 2013) - Andy Allanson, Andres Thomas, Dale Sveum

Rockies on the team (Present and future) - 1 (Bruce Ruffin)

Best Card (IMHO) - Jose Canseco (I went with iconic imagery over the better action of Joyner)

Worst Card (IMHO) - Robby Thompson (if ever there was a person that didn't need a close up)

Overall Team Rating (1-10 compared to other RAST teams)   7

Here we have a lot of rookies that looked like they were going to be superstar Hall of Fame players.  In reality, aside from Canseco for a few years, their names were often bigger than their play on the field.  Despite not soaring to the stratosphere, this team had quite a few players that were solid, yet unspectacular MLB players throughout the 1990s.  This is just that...solid, yet unspectacular.

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

Catcher - Mike LaValliere - St. Louis
I don't know what Topps was thinking here, because "Spanky" was superior to Allanson both offensively and defensively.  I also considered San Francisco's Bob Melvin and Scott Bradley who split between the Yankees and Mariners, but they didn't measure up.

First Baseman - Wally Joyner - California
With apologies to Andres Galarraga of Montreal, this was purely a two man race between Joyner and Will Clark of San Francisco.  They had very similar careers and were similar in their rookie year as well.  However Joyner's power pushed him ahead in the end.

Second Baseman - Robby Thompson - San Francisco
This was another two man race featuring Thompson versus Steve Lombardozzi of the Twins.  Thompson was a bit better across the board and earned the spot.  Although Lombardozzi eventually got a little bit of solace when his namesake son took this spot in the 2013 Topps set.

Third Baseman - Dale Sveum - Milwaukee
This is the first position since I have started this series that has had absolutely no competition.  Sveum is only player that qualified as a rookie third baseman, that played enough to count, in 1986.  Therefore, he is the choice, albeit a weak one on this team.  Cory Snyder played 11 games at third, but I have a 20 game minimum for my choices.

Shortstop - Cory Snyder - Cleveland
Although he was primarily an outfielder in 1986, Cory Snyder also played nearly 40 games at shortstop.  In order to form the strongest team, I included him at short.  He was a much stronger candidate than Thomas and a short season of Barry Larkin of the Reds.

Outfield - Jose Canseco - Oakland, Pete Incaviglia - Texas, Danny Tartabull - Seattle
This was one of the strongest years for rookie outfielders in history as evidenced by the inclusion of 4 by Topps.  I stuck with Topps in choosing the three best power hitters among the rookies.  Although it was hard to pass up the likes of Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds of Pittsburgh, Texas's Ruben Sierra, speedster John Cangelosi of the White Sox, and the Mets' Kevin Mitchell.

RHP - Mark Eichhorn - Toronto
Normally I am not likely to choose a reliever when there is a decent starter in the competition, but Eichhorn wasn't exactly a normal reliever in 1986 either.  He went 14-6 with a 1.72 ERA and 166 strikeouts while pitching 157 innings in 69 games, all in relief.  That easily outdistanced a pair of Rangers starters in Ed Correa and Bobby Witt along with the overrated (IMO) 1986 NL Rookie of the Year Todd Worrell of St. Louis.

LHP - Jim Deshaies - Houston
This was a very strong category with five legitimate candidates for this slot.  I went with Deshaies who went 12-5 with a 3.25 ERA and 128 strikeouts over Ruffin, Juan Nieves of the Brewers, Greg Mathews of St. Louis, and Milwaukee's closer Dan Plesac.


Previous Question: 
 What card number(s) has played host to the most Rookie Cup cards?

#'s 13, 106, 173, 195, 229, 288, 380, and 537 
have all played host to 4 members of the Rookie All Star Team.  

Maybe either 380 or 537 will feature a cup card in 2014 Topps to break the logjam.


Which Rookie Cup cards are first and last alphabetically by last name?


The 1991 team appearing on 1992 Topps.

Thanx for reading.

1 comment:

Fuji said...

I'll always have a soft spot for 87T baseball. It's the first product I ever busted in bulk. Come to think of it... I probably busted more of this stuff than any other product. There are a lot of iconic cards in this set (IMHO). Seeing the Joyner and Canseco puts a huge smile on my face.