Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pack 16 and lots of rookies...

Pack 16 (+11)
62 Gary Gaetti
78 Will Clark
82 Terry Steinbach
188 Roger McDowell
192 Rey Quinones
208 Brian Holton
320 Jim Gott
325 Gary Carter
230 Larry Owen
427 Mike Flanagan
433 Wallace Johnson
338 Eric Show
518 Don Aase
522 Jay Howell

630 Steve Kiefer – RP
625 Jody Reed – RP
628 Pete Stanicek – RP

This is another late one, my no sleeping lately led to a crash after work, so I'll probably up up late again. Oh well.

I'm very pleased with the way the last packs have turned out. After crossing the barrier of mathematical impossibility, I've managed to add 25 cards to the set with the last two packs. Out of a total of 34 cards, 25 isn't half bad. Plus, we're over 300 cards into the set now.

This turned out to be a pretty good pack, with two major stars and three rookie prospects.

The stars you can read about anywhere. Will Clark had an excellent career, not a superstar, but a very solid career winning a Gold Glove in '91 and making six All Star teams.

Not much needs to be said about Gary Carter, I'm just surprised he wasn't a first ballot HoF incudtee. He was an eleven time All-Star and won the MVP of the Mid-Summer Classic twice. Pretty impressive.

While I could go on and on about Clark and Carter, and I'd like to, what I really want to talk about tonight are rookie cards.

It's always amazed me that rookie cards of the next greatest thing are such a hot commodity. I'll even admit to getting swept up in it once. In 1990, Steve Avery was billed as being the greatest thing since sliced bread, and he was, for a few years. I went out and got every one of his cards I could find. What are they worth today? Not much, probably more than the Todd Van Poppel rookie card I pulled from a pack of '91 Upper Deck, but not much.

They do mean something to me though. As a Braves fan, they mean something. And honestly, I'm still a Steve Avery fan. I have fond memories every time I see him in a highlight reel or look at one of his old cards. I think he was just too young and too good, but not ready for the Major Leagues.

Granted I never spent more than $10 on a Steve Avery card. But it just doesn't compute in my brain that cards of completely unprooven rookies can bring hundreds. Sure, these guys may go on to hit 900 home runs, win 300 games or strike out 7,000, but they could also blow an ACL or destroy a rotator cuff tomoorow and never play again.

Wait five years, if they're still a star, then their rookie cards will be worth something. Until they've prooven themselves, the cards are just flaps of cardboard.

Now, onto today Rookie Prospects.

First up is Jody Reed. He was a 26 year old rookie in 1988 and placed third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting. He had a very solid, ten year, offensive career, posting a batting average of .270, three points higher than the league average from the period. Not a lot of speed and not a lot of power, he did however manage to get him self on base with 120+ hits in all but four seasons.

He was never the greatest defensive player at second base, but was consistent with a lifetime fielding pct. of .985 (league FP 87-97 - .980).

Pete Stanicek posted good numbers in the minor leagues, batting .317 and .315 in '86 and '87. He was batting .297 at Rochester before being called up to the Orioles in 1988.

His major league career is nothing special. In two seasons with Baltimore he batted .243 in 113 games.

There's not a lot to say about Steven George Kiefer, and not a lot of information to be found. He played parts of six seasons with the A's, Brewers and Yankees, appearing in 105 games with a .192 career batting average. He's another one that posted average numbers in the minors, but never made the transition to a good Major League player.

He does have a nice looking rookie card.

Maybe at the end, we'll do a Class of 1988 Rookie Prospects Extravaganza and see where they are now.