30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Shifted Gears Quickly

The BBC 100 was an annual article published in Baseball Cards magazine from the mid 80's to probably the early 90's.  In the article, they'd analyze minor league statistics, predict MLB numbers, and rank their Top 100 rookies.

Last weekend, I picked up the April 1991 issue of Baseball Cards which contained that year's rankings.  Normally articles in these issues are short... which frees up more space for advertisements.  But this particular article spanned a whopping twenty-five pages.  In other words, I won't be scanning this article for you guys, but I will include their list and re-rank them to the best of my abilities.

I should preface this by stating that I will not be doing the level of research conducted by bloggers like Chris (The Collector) or Greg (Night Owl Cards).  It's 9:38am and I'm allowing myself two hours to hammer out this post... and I started writing this at least fifteen minutes ago.  In other words... I'm probably going to be historically inaccurate, so feel free to rank these guys yourself down below.

Let's start with their list:

Okay.  That took me twenty minutes to type out... and in the process I came to the realization that I only recognize about forty, maybe fifty names on this list.  Perhaps more importantly... I could only provide maybe one or two sentences worth of comments on a fifth of those guys.

So change of plans.  I'm not gonna rank them.  It would only make all of you diehard baseball fans shake your heads in disgust with my BS.  Instead... I'm gonna start digging through boxes and pull out some cards from guys on this list instead.  I'll leave the ranking to the experts.

Let's start with #1...

1992 Leaf Gold #304

Hmmm.  Right out of the gate, I discovered a problem.  It might be harder to find singles of these player than I thought.  I've shipped off most of my Tigers inserts and parallels over the years and it's not like I have a ton of 90's completed sets.  I definitely don't have random commons laying around.  Those were donated or sold over the years.

Luckily... I'm in the process of building the 1992 Leaf Gold set... and Fryman is sitting in the binder.

The #2 guy is also in the set, but I doubt you want to see this post turn into a 1992 Leaf recap.  So here's Ray Lankford from a different set:

1992 Fleer Rookie Sensations #17

This set was pretty popular back in 1992, but has cooled off over the years.  These days you can grab a complete set for $10 to $20 which is what I did.

I had to include Lankford in this post to honor The Snorting Bull who happens to be the blogosphere's Ray Lankford supercollector.

As soon as saw Mark Whiten's name at #4, I thought of this:

Not sure if the YouTube clip worked, but it highlights his four home run game against the Cincinnati Reds back in 1993.

1995 Topps Embossed Golden Idols #88

According to Baseball Almanac... eighteen guys have accomplished this feat in an MLB game... including six hall of famers.  But for some reason, the first two guys I think of are Bob Horner and Mark Whiten.

Topps mentioned this historic event on the back of Whiten's Topps Embossed card:

It's time to get the ball rolling.  The two hour mark has come and gone.  But I can't leave this post at three cards... so let's keep going.

The last player in the BBC Top 10 that I'll feature is #7 Carlos Baerga:

2016 Topps Archives Signature Series All-Star Buybacks

If you had asked me back in the 90's if Baerga was a future hall of famer, I probably would have said "yes".  He still finished with impressive career numbers, but an injury to his left knee towards the late 90's kept him from reaching Cooperstown.

Moving into the teens... here's a guy I was rooting for big time back in the early 90's:

1989 Star Minor League #170

The year this article was published, Baseball Cards ranked him at #14 and he went on to hit .331 with 11 home runs in 53 games.  This guy instantly became a hot rookie.  I have his 1991 Stadium Club rookie card laying around somewhere, but didn't have time to dig through a 5,000ct. box.  So here's a scan from some flea market pack breaks from back in 2019.

Seriously.  It's now approaching the three hour mark.  I realize that some of you might be getting annoyed by these "time" updates... but fellow bloggers might be able to have an appreciation of the time and effort that goes into these posts.

Let's jump ahead to #49:

1992 Kenner Starting Lineup #NNO

I just reorganized my Kenner Starting Lineup binder and remembered seeing this card of Scott Erickson.

His name stood out because he went to Homestead High School in Cupertino and later attended San Jose City College.  His fans probably remember him for his awesome sophomore season where he was second in AL Cy Young Award voting and walked away with a World Series ring.

Let's fast forward to Eric Karros...

1993 Fleer Ultra Award Winners #20

He's the Dodger that kicked off that insane run of NL Rookie of the Year Award winners for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

They won the award five years in a row from 1992 to 1996.  And I thought the A's winning it three years in a row back in the 80's was impressive.

By the way... the magazine ranked him at #73 and recommended holding off on buying his cards, because he wasn't coming up to the Dodgers anytime soon.  They were wrong.  He made his MLB debut on September 1st, 1991.

On the other hand, they were spot on with this guy:

1990 Best Minor League #162

Ozzie came in at #74 on the list... and they predicted that he'd never be as good as his twin brother

They also stated his cards were overpriced and not recommended purchases.  Win some, lose some.

Okay, let's wrap up this post with the star of one of my favorite World Series highlights of all-time:

2015 Topps Triple Threads Unity Autographed Jumbo
Relics Emerald #UAJR-LG (#'d 28/50)

Here's the actual highlight... assuming it works:

Seeing Luis Gonzalez (#95) take down the New York Yankees makes him my favorite player on this list.  Sorry Ozzie.

By the way... if you looked through the list and are wondering why I didn't include Oscar Azocar's iconic 1993 Stadium Club card... it's because I don't have one.  I sifted through my 5,000ct. box of San Diego Padres (something I wouldn't do for the above mentioned Plantier), but was left very disappointed.

Okay fellow collectors, it's your turn to chime in.

Who's the greatest player on Baseball Cards Top 100 list?  Favorite player?

By the way... a special thanks to John @ Johnny's Trading Spot.  His comment on my Flea Market Finds post where I showed off the magazine purchase was the inspiration for this post.  I'm sorry I didn't actually rank these guys, but that's something I'll leave for one of those award winning blog authors.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

Figured since I'm behind the keyboard, I might as well kill two birds with one post.  I was fortunate to win one of John's almost daily giveaways.  Here's a look at the 9-pocket page worth of cards he sent me earlier in the week:

The 1985 Topps card is a classic and a future wallet card candidate.  I'm a huge fan of that card, but until now... only had copies in my Gwynn collection and 1985 Topps set.  I've been using his 1986 Topps card since January 2017Has six years been long enough?  We'll see.  I'll need a little time to pull out some other candidates before I retire one wallet card and pick another.

The other card that stood out was this card:

1990 Sportflics #98

I needed this card for the Gwynn PC.  I've always felt that Sportflics were under-appreciated among collectors.  I've been a fan of them since I ripped open packs back in 1986.

The card back screams Score... which makes sense since they were the same company.  I always thought that Score purchased the Sportflics license, but according to Wikipedia, they are one and the same.

The other card that stood out is this Rollie Fingers:

1986 TCMA All-Time San Diego Padres #11-PAD

I'd really like to eventually track down the rest of the set.

And while I'm at it... here's one more 9-pocket page that John sent me (back in September of 2022):

I found this in a stack in my office a few weeks ago.  If you needed an example of how crazy and unorganized my life can be... this is it.  Sorry it took me five months to finally write about this.  Better late than never, right?

My favorite cards are usually centered around fantastic photography which this PWE certainly packed.  However this time the honor goes to a final tribute card:

1995 Upper Deck #450

Upper Deck honored several retired superstars in 1995 and Schmidt was one of them.  It was perfect timing as he was inducted into Cooperstown that year.

The best thing about this card resides in the full career statistics:

Thank you John for these two PWE's and all of the generosity you are spreading around the blogosphere.  There's actually one more really cool item I'd like to share from John.  But I'll have to share it another day as this post has officially surpassed the five hour mark and I haven't even revised and formatted it.  Yikes.

And for those who are interested... it's 3:04 and I'm going to hit publish right now.  With the exception of one bathroom break and two trips downstairs to get a drink, this was written in one sitting from start to finish.


Nachos Grande said...

That list is a perfect example of why I mostly avoid Bowman these days!

The Diamond King said...

The Ozzie card is my favorite, I scoop up cards of his whenever I see them. And wow, that top 100 sure didn't put out a lot of star power!

Mike Matson said...

Favourite would likely be Conine...
I would be a bad Canadian if I didn't mention Mike Gardiner on the list..

Brett Alan said...

Best player on the list is a toss-up between Ray Lankford and Reggie Sanders, both of whom are very underrated. My favorite is either Bernard Gilkey or Todd Hundley.

But there isn't a guy with a reasonable Hall Of Fame case on the list. Bear in mind that Mike Piazza, Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera, and Trevor Hoffman were all in the minor leagues at the time. Prospecting is a crapshoot!

Jeff B - Wax Pack Wonders said...

I think Luis Gonzalez is my favorite, too, and for the same reason. Him and Mark Grace and the DBacks taking down the evil empire lol. And I think he's the best player on the list, too.

sg488 said...

It must have been a slow year for prospects not 1 hall of famer out of the 100.

night owl said...

Thanks to baseball cards beginning their yearly ritual of hyping prospects and draft picks right around this time I know just about all of these guys. But Narciso Elvira is a new one. I see he had some cards in '91, must've slipped past me.

P.S.: I appreciate the time spent on a post.

Nick said...

Luis Gonzalez has to be the best player in that Top 100, which makes it even funnier that he came in way down at #95. Favorite guy is probably Eric Karros, although there's no one I'm extraordinarily wild about on that list.

Nick Vossbrink said...

Best I lean Luis Gonzalez. Decent number of guys there had good careers though. This thing where we expect prospects to be 1s ballot HoFers is crap.

Nice shoutout to Erickson. Still the best ballplayer to come out of my high school (I do PC him semi-seriously). A little sad you didn't mention Gilkey's cameo in Men in Black.

Nick Vossbrink said...

Oh. Also a decent number of Giants hopes in that list. I really thought Darren Lewis was going to be something. (Decker, Novoa, and Swan were also hyped)

SumoMenkoMan said...

Cool list. I think Ozzie Conseco played in Japan for a year or two in the 1990. I love Sportsflics cards. Definitely under appreciated I think.

John Bateman said...

Travis Fryman probably had the best career.

But Carlos Baerga probably had the best peak - for a couple years he looked like the next Charlie Gehringer

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

I think I know what you are going to post, I think anyway. I am working on another special delivery package too. I need to get to the PO for a box otherwise the items will wind up being hidden somewhere only to be discovered in the future. lol.

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

The list: Out of the 100 on the list above, and knowing I collect over 1500 different PC guys/Maybe PC (future) guys here is my breakdown.

The lowest ranking card is not a PC guy but a birthday binder guy #13 Colbrunn, he and #63 Kiecker make that collection of mine. Next up is #30 Reggie Sanders as a potential PC guy I do NOT pursue his cards or list haves, just keep them along with #35 Hundley, Karros, and Luis Gonzo. I used to list the haves for a couple of those, but in the last few years I've decided to trim that lengthy task (every 2 years) of updating. Besides the Braves prospects, the top two picks for me would be Gonzo and Karros. Out of the 100 I would say that those two panned out, followed closely by Hundley and Reggie, not much else to say.

The Lost Collector said...

Good post! Couldn't help but notice a lack of Yankees in their list! Bernie Williams was a miss the sticks out.

Fuji said...

nachos grande - i hear ya. all of the new bowman i own came from blasters that my friend opened and sold me on the cheap. i like tossing them into a box and digging through it when certain stars emerge. but i don't rip bowman products ever.

the diamond king - i have a few of his cards in my a's collection, but much less than i originally thought (maybe 5)

mike matson - i definitely could have written about conine and finding a card would have been easy since i know i have at least two different archives autographs of him

brett alan - the article had some side lists and chipper was on the #1 picks list. i just glanced at it though, because i was focused on this top 100 one. there were at least two other lists, so there's a chance piazza, mariano, and hoffman made those.

wax pack wonders - after the a's lost to the yankees in five, i was so bummed. then i rooted for the mariners who had that magical season only to see the yankees take them down. arizona made everything okay again.

sg488 - yeah. i meant to point that out... but i guess i was rushing things towards the end.

night owl - wasn't familiar with elvira either. writing this post made me have a deeper appreciate for all of the bloggers who put tons of research, detail, and scans into their posts. it's almost like a second job (a job that we love).

nick - seems like luis gonzalez is running away with the votes. can't say i'm really wild on any of these guys either. maybe ozzie, but that's only because he is jose's twin

nick vossbrink - didn't realize you went to homestead. a few of my former students have graduated from there too. btw... this issue actually contained a card featuring sf giants rookies (steve hosey, steve decker, and mark leonard). i showed it off earlier in the week

sumomenkoman - yeah, i think he did too. glad i'm not alone on the sportflics thing.

john bateman - just looked at fryman's baseball reference page and he indeed had a solid career. i knew he was around for a long time, but didn't realize he was a 5x all-star

johnnys trading spot - the item i'm going to write about is not a card, but a very large display item. still trying to figure out what i'm going to do with it. sorry it took me so long to write about that first pwe. and thanks for providing me with the idea for this blog post.

the lost collector - thanks aj. i feel like bernie might have made one of the side lists (there were shorter lists on the side of this article). i'd have to double check, but i think he fell into the category of him having a rookie card in 1990 along with guys like frank thomas.

Chris said...

3+ hours per post is a lot of work, but as someone who does way too much research I appreciate the effort you put into it! Karros and Gonzalez pop off the page as players who exceeded the mag's expectations. I'd pick Gonzo as my fave here as well. Nice to see former Red Sox Rich "El Guapo" Garces, Plantier, and Naehring ranked high.

Carlos Baerga was a heck of a player for a while, I think a lot of fans have forgotten that. I haven't seen some of these names since opening packs back in '91 - Oscar Azocar! Paul Faries! Steve "Upper" Decker! lol.

p.s. I'd like to see your SLU card binder, if you're in need of ideas for a future post :)

NPB Card Guy said...

Best player on that list is #40 - Karl Rhodes, better known as "Tuffy". Hit 464 home runs in a 13 year Japanese career and will (hopefully) be elected to the Hall Of Fame over there in the next few years.

Not necessarily a favorite but I've got a soft spot for #66, Gary Scott, after seeing him dominate the 1990 Carolina League All Star game. Don't have the scorecard for it anymore but I think he went 4-for-4 in the game, including an inside-the-park home run.

Ozzie Canseco spent part of the 1991 season playing in Japan but he never got off the Kintetsu Buffaloes farm team. His card was featured in a lot of BBM's promotional material that year though.

Jason Presley said...

Nice to see a couple of guys I collect on here in Karl Rhodes and Steve Howard. Interesting that Tuffy was touted as a speedy, leadoff type hitter, but after a few years of getting lost in the shuffle, he hit the weights and became a beast. I'm kind of surprised the Royals didn't bring him up, as they had nothing going on in their outfield in 1993 or 1994.

Steve Howard was often cited as one of the physically strongest players in the Oakland organization, but unfortunately that didn't translate into numbers. I did get to see him play a bit in Huntsville, where he was popular even though his numbers didn't really seem to merit the excitement. He only had like 20 cards, so it didn't take long to complete my collection.

John Sharp said...

Don't remember Travis Fryman being the #1 prospect, but his days as a Tigers 3rd Baseman showed why he was that highly thought of.

Jafronius said...

I love that they ranked Hector Villanueva so high! He was a fan favorite of the Cubs, a pudgy Catcher / 1B that occasionally hit a homer and was slow around the bases. Like a beer league softball player.

And you gotta show off that Starting Lineup card binder one of these days!

Derek said...

I apparently have the biggest collection of different Turner Ward cards on TCDB. I have 106 more than the next closest person (151 vs 46).


Sorry I think that you need to be logged in to view the link.

Fuji said...

chris - writing this post gave me a deeper appreciation of the well researched posts you, night owl, jon, etc. write on the regular. i assure you i won't spend this much time on another post this year. but i'm sure i'll have a bunch in the 2 to 3 hour range. as for the slu binder, let me know if there's any specifics you'd like to see. i actually have two binders. one is dedicated to baseball. the other is for all of the other sports.

npb card guy - i'm pretty sure i have at least one tuffy rhodes card from his time in the npb. i'l have to see if i have an ozzie canseco japanese baseball card. that sounds pretty epic.

jason presley - i might be having a brain fart, but i don't remember steve howard. i guess i followed the giants farm system a little more closely since they had a team in san jose.

john sharp - i wasn't really prospect hunting back in the 90's, so i can't really speak on how highly touted fryman was. but they made a starting lineup figure early in his career, so you know he had to have some hobby pull.

jafronius - i recognize villanueva's name. don't think i could tell you much more than he played for the cubs though. maybe i'll create some top 5 or top 10 posts using some of my slu cards. if you have any requests, let me know

derek - whoa. 3x the #2 is pretty impressive. noticed johnnystradingspot is ranked #38 with 24 different cards.

The Snorting Bull said...

I think it's pretty who the best player is on that list. I looked through and thought I would surely find someone better than Ray Lankford. I think the answer is actually Ray Lankford.