Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pack Thirty-Six

Well, here we are at the end of the box and I've got a few things to say before we get to the cards.

First, I want to respond to Andy's comment about Griffey in yesterday's post. I think what I was after when I called Griffey a "pure hitter" was a slightly more eloquent way to say he didn't stick needles in his bum. So I didn't exactly mean pure hitter in the Ted Williams/Tony Gwinn kind of way. But Andy is right, Griffey certainly isn't the best "pure hitter" in the purest sense of the word. His .288 career average is certainly very good, but not phenomenal.

My poor choice of words did bring up an interesting debate in my head this afternoon when I read Andy's comment though. Who is the best pure hitter of this generation? To be more specific, in this post-Tony Gwinn era? It's a hard question to answer because of the focus on the home run hitter over the past ten to fifteen years. Sometimes a guy who hits .340 with nine home runs and 76 RBIs goes unnoticed in favor of the the .269/45/115 guy.

A pure hitter is certainly a patient hitter, but a high walk count doesn't always equate to patience. Neither does a low strikeout total. In my mind, a pure hitter would be a guy with a .320+ average, a high OBP but not necessarily a high slugging percentage (doubles type hitter) and therefore an average OPS.

I'll see who I can come up with.

Moving along.

I've been holding back on this post for a few hours to see what the Braves can do tonight. They loaded the bases in the top of the 9th but were only able to score one run (on a walk to Kelly Johnson) but it was enough.

My prediction of a 9-6 record looked promising until the bullpen collapsed about a week ago. Tonight's win puts them at 7-8. Not what I'd hoped for. But it's only April. Gotta keep telling myself that. It's only April. Only April...

And finally before we get to the cards. I really enjoy these pack by pack box breaks and I hope people reading them enjoy it too. I'm interested in new cards, and I'm looking forward to Topps Series 2 to come out, but these nostalgic breaks are something I hope to continue doing. And I don't want this site to die just because the box is empty. I'm going to keep updating this site until I complete the set, but I'm thinking I'll keep this place and use it for future box breaks. I'll of course change the title and banner.

So where do I go from here? 1989 Bowman won out over 1989 Score for the next break, and I still want to go back and take a look at '89 Score. But right now I'm thinking about doing box breaks and trying to put together the major sets from 1988, the year I started collecting. With Score complete, that leaves Topps, Donruss and Fleer.

Since Andy just recently did 88 Topps, I want to hold off on it for a while. The fun for me in doing these are to see cards that I've never seen before. So I want to give myself a bit of time to forget 88 Topps before I rip open a box of it.

So that leaves Fleer and Donruss. Please don't groan. I do like '88 Donruss, in the same way I like 1950's sci-fi. I know it's bad, but I can't help myself. From the looks of things on Amazon and ebay, boxes of 88 Donruss are plentiful, and hell I could probably just post my name and address at every trading forum on the internet and just sit back and wait for people to gladly and gleefully dump boxes and boxes of it on my doorstep. And I may do that "WILLING TO GIVE 1988 DONRUSS A GOOD, LOVING HOME."

But I'm kinda interested in Fleer. I didn't see too much of it back in '88, so I'll probably start poking around looking for a box within the next several weeks. We'll see what happens... maybe a box of '88 Fleer will be a nice birthday present for myself.

NOW we can look at some cards.

Pack 36 +12
462 Jerald Clark
364 Rex Hudler
15 Steve Finley
27 Rich Gedman
465 Kelly Downs
12 Billy Ripken
344 Willie Randolph
109 Keith Moreland
329 Bill Doran
410 Jeff Robinson
323 Rick Rhoden
79 Rich Yett

I'm overjoyed that there were no doubls in my final pack. So my speech about doubles and whatnot from yesterday still applies.

Bowman should have put Cal and Billy next to each other in the checklist, but they're separated by Randy Milligan and Juan Bell. I've got something to say about the Orioles in this set, but I'm going to wait until I have them all, just to make sure I can still say it and be accurate. But the card I'm going to post today is an Oriole, and if you go back and find any other Orioles I've posted you can probably figure out what I want to say.

Who is that Oriole?

Steve Finley. If it weren't for rookie cards of Griffey and Smoltz, I think it may be safe to say that Steve Finley had the most successful career of all the rookies in this set.

Finley was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 11th round of the 1986 draft but chose to finish his college career at Southern Illinois University (where he graduated with a degree in physiology). He was drafted again by the Orioles in the 13th round of the '87 draft and did sign.

He hit a combined .303 in his first professional season split between Newark and Hagerstown. He continued to hit well in '88 and most of '89, though his numbers for Triple-A Rochester weren't great. But 1989 also saw his first shot at the Major Leagues and aside from a few rehab games here and there, he stuck in the bigs until 2007.

Finley possessed good speed his entire career and in 2006 at the age of 41 he legged out twelve triples.

He's most likely not a Hall of Famer, but Baseball Reference's similarity scores put him in some good company (Roberto Clemente, Bernie Williams, Dwight Evans to name a few).

Steve Finley was a two time All Star and the winner of five Gold Gloves and has one World Series ring to his name (2001 Diamondbacks).

Well, that's about all I've got to say.

I have a few clerical things to get caught up on. My doubles list isn't completely up to date, and I'll have a wants list made up sometime in the next 24 hours.

Thanks everyone for reading, and stay tuned for more to come. Hopefully I can get this set completed before too long.

Thanks again.


night owl said...

I'd go with '88 Fleer out of those choices.

Ben said...

I think I'm going to. Maybe I'll secretely break a box of Donruss and just not tell anyone. But Fleer is the front runner because I've seen very few of those cards.

Andy said...

I would love to see 88 Fleer