Monday, July 14, 2008

T minus Four... pack 33

Lots of doubles here, but a few rookies and others of note.

Pack 33 +7
(duplicates are indicated by bold text)
3 Tim Raines
17 Dave Parker
23 Pat Tabler
156 Mike Heath
164 Ken Caminiti
316 Rafael Santana
324 Dan Gladden
221 Kurt Stillwell
367 Stan Javier
373 Geno Petralli
387 Barry Lyons
478 Jeff Musselman
482 Gary Roenicke
498 Jeff Dedmon

645 Greg Jefferies – Rookie Prospect
648 Rookie Sluggers (McGwire, Nokes)
643 Vicente Palacios – Rookie Prospect

We're now 432 cards into the 660 card set with three packs to go. It's been slowing down considerably of late, but with one box I think I'm fairly pleased with the progress. Unfortunately, I've forgotten how many cards of the set I started out with from opening packs 20 years ago, but I think it's safe to assume that most of them have been replaced by this point. I'll come up with that number and try to get some actual percentages up tomorrow when I compile all the sorting of doubles I did tonight.

But as a rough estimate, I'd imagine that upwards of 70% of this box is going towards the set. Not too bad I don't think. But like I said, hopefully I'll have those numbers tomorrow.

Anyway, on to the cards. (Blogger isn't being friendly with pictures tonight, so I'll get those up tomorrow, they're all scanned and ready to go.)

I'll start this one off with a sad note. Ken Caminiti. He was a steroid user, well all know that. He admitted to using during his 1996 MVP season, and for several seasons after. What he did was wrong, what he did tarnished the game of baseball and his legacy. But, and while it doesn't change the facts or grant him automatic forgiveness, he did come clean.

If you look at his years with San Diego, it's immediately noticable that something was different. Of his 239 career home runs, more than half were hit while in a Padres uniform between 1995 and his return to Houston in 1999.

Looking at the numbers, before his move to San Diego, he was an average player. Fairly solid at third, and showed some potential at the plate, but never hit for much of an average. How many people actually paid attention to Ken Caminiti before his first All Star appearance in 1994? Not many.

1995 was one of those "where did this guy come from" kind of years, that led into his MVP performance in 96 where he did put up some pretty incredible numbers, .326 avg, .408 OBP and he slugged .621, with 40HR and 130RBIs. But those numbers were so out of line with anything he'd done in the past and anything he'd do in the future.

In '96 he beat out Piazza and Ellis Burks for the MVP, when by the numbers Burks had the better season.

Moving beyond what he did wrong, he wasn't a bad player. He was tough and played a good thirdbase, winning three gold gloves.

In 1988 Ken played in only 30 games for the Astros, after spending a little more time (63 games) with the team in '87. He finally stuck at third in 1989.

He died in 2004 at the age of 41.

Up next we've got the rookies.

Vicente Palacios put up some good numbers in the minors, but never really caught on in the Majors until 1991. He had four pretty good seasons with the Pirates and Cardinals as a middle reliever and spot starter. He started 17 games in 1994, posting a 3 - 8 record while striking out 95.

He attempted a comeback in the very late 90s, but spent the 99 and 2000 seasons mostly in limbo before appearing in seven games for San Diego in 2000.

Next we have a young Gregg Jefferies. He was only 19 years old when he made his major league debut in 1987 with the Mets. While he never really turned into the player New York hoped he would, life after the Mets was a little better for Jefferies. He posted good numbers through out his career and made All Star appearances in '93 and '94.

He ended his career with a very respectable .289 batting average in 1465 games over 14 seasons.

And finally, we have Mark McGwire and Matt Nokes. This card celebrates their impressive rookie years. We all know what McGwire did in '87 and what he did throughout his career, so we'll skip that. Matt Nokes' rookie year was by far his most productive.

In 1987 Nokes won the Silver Slugger and a trip to the All Star game. His numbers never again reflected the potential (or was it a fluke) he showed in '87. Though he put up good numbers again in 1991 and '92, his RBI totals were very low considering the home runs he hit (24/77 and 22/59). You expect better run production with power numbers like those. Of course, he did play for two less than remarkable Yankee teams those years.

Well, that's it for tonight. Look for the cards tomorrow. And don't forget to watch the All Star game tomorrow night.