Hey guys. It's been a long day here at the Quarry. My dog decided that today was the day to give birth and lucky for me she figured she would get an early start on my day off and begin at around 6AM. So I have been playing a combination nursemaid and midwife for most of the day. She gave birth to 6 healthy puppies between 6 and 10 this morning with no real complications other than the father wanting to break down the bedroom door to get in all day long. He's a sweet dog, but he plays a little too rough for day 1 puppies. He'd probably be fine near them, but it's not worth chancing it. She has been a surprisingly great mother thus far. I was worried, because she didn't seem like a motherly type, but am thrilled to have been wrong. I'll show off the family in a couple days, but for now I am happy to get a break to talk about some Rookie Cups.
Last week we looked at the 1981 team which featured the left handed phenom, Fernando Valenzuela. This week we are going to look at the closest lefty to Fernando, at least as far as being a spectacle, since then, Dontrelle Willis. There were great LHPs after Fernando including Mark Langston, Tom Browning, and CC Sabathia, but none captured the attention like Willis and his oversized leg kick.
Another significant piece of trivia about the 2003 Rookie All Star Team is the inclusion of a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time. Arizona was the last of the four 1990s expansion teams to have a rookie selected to the team. Much like the Rockies, Arizona set up their team as much more veteran than the two Florida teams. However, unlike the Rockies, the Diamondbacks have never really strayed from that. As of 2020, the Diamondbacks have only had 4 players ever selected to Rookie All Star Teams. The next lowest team is the Rockies with 9.
As far as the 2004 set goes, I am actually a big fan. I believe it is, along with 2009, one of the top 2 flagship sets of the 2000s decade. There are three main features which stand out on the card fronts. The most noticeable is the all caps team name at the top of the card. That is nothing new as it had been done several times before, but this was the first time it was done in foil. Some people might see that as a negative, but I'm okay with it.
Second is the inclusion of a team colored border around the player photo. The only earlier set that may have done that was 1991 and I am not 100% that EVERY team had proper colored borders. Topps had team colored borders for some teams before 2004, but others were stuck with things like pink and lime green.
The final feature that stands out is the small figure in the lower left corner. It is reminiscent of the generic figures in 1976 Topps except they are actually outlines of the card photo. It is a very cool concept that easy to overlook. The addition of the uniform number in that outline is just gravy to me. Although it is good gravy.
Let's take a look at the 2003 Topps Rookie All Star Team
Miguel Olivo - C - White Sox - Season Rank (41 of 61) - Career Rank (25 of 61)
Mark Teixeira - 1B - Rangers - Season Rank (14 of 61) - Career Rank (9 of 61)
Bo Hart - 2B - Cardinals - Season Rank (53 of 61) - Career Rank (59 of 61)
Jody Gerut - OF - Indians - Season Rank (62 of 184) - Career Rank (144 of 184)
Rocco Baldelli - OF - Devil Rays - Season Rank (23 of 184) - Career Rank (132 of 184)
Scott Podsednik - OF - Brewers - Season Rank (8 of 184) - Career Rank (99 of 184)
Brandon Webb - RHP - Diamondbacks - Season Rank (14 of 50) - Career Rank (7 of 50)
Dontrelle Willis - LHP - Marlins - Season Rank (14 of 49) - Career Rank (21 of 49)
Strongest Team Members (career) - Mark Teixeira, Brandon Webb, Dontrelle Willis
Weakest Team Members (rookie) - Bo Hart, Miguel Olivo, Jody Gerut
Weakest Team Members (career) - Bo Hart, Jody Gerut, Rocco Baldelli
Rockies on the team (Present and future) - 3 (Olivo, Wigginton, Podsednik) (technically 4 since Gerut was a Rockies draft pick)
Best Card (IMHO) - Ty Wigginton (That is one of the most intense stares this side of a serial killer.)
Worst Card (IMHO) - Jody Gerut (I don't like not seeing either the face or the name on the back of the jersey)
NEXT WEEK'S PREVIEW
The 1975 team pictured on 1976 Topps cards.
Thanx for reading.