02 November 2009

Winnie, Tuffy & the Dann

     I didn't really think I had anything to bother posting in a blog until today.  Since I've basically been blogging via my player collection posts on The Bench & SportsCardForum anyway, I've decided it's time to make it more cohesive and drag it all into one place.  No guarantees on timeliness, but I'm planning to make one post for every single card in my player collections.  So over the next 50 years, you can read my rantings, ravings and 'rithmetics about Dave Winfield, Matt Williams, Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens, Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes, Dave Henderson, Bernardo Brito, Roberto Kelly, Dann Howitt and Steve Howard.

     Winfield has been my favorite player since about 1986, when I started collecting baseball cards.

     Matt Williams impressed me a lot over the course of the 1989 season, so after sending a few cards to him with a letter, begging for autographs (I'll get to that in its own post) I started hoarding cards of him.

     In 1988, I'd started collecting Roberto Kelly & Jay Buhner, hoping they'd someday be huge stars for the Yankees.  Naturally the Yankees promptly unloaded Buhner for some third string pitchers.  Kelly at least went on to be an All Star, and one of the very few bright spots of the early 1989-1992 stretch for the team.  I collected Buhner for a couple more years, but he didn't amount to much by 1991 (hey, who knew?), so I pretty much gave up on him in any serious capacity.

     Hensley Meulens was my only attempt at prospect speculation.  Naturally, it was only because he was a Yankee, not that my 7th grade mind had ever picked up a copy of Baseball America or knew anything whatsoever about who was doing what in the minors (outside of Huntsville, anyway).  But he was a Yankee, and no one else seemed to even notice him in the set.  As a result, by the end of 1990, I had about 40 copies of his 1989 Donruss card (all the other collectors at school just gave them to me, not even bothing to trade).  For some reason, I kept up with him for the next few years until I exited high school and eventually stopped collecting around 1994-96.

     Dave Henderson I collect because he always looked like he was having so much fun out there.  As I post his cards here, just see how many teeth he always showed!

     Bernardo Brito was one of those sad anomalies of the minor leagues.  Stuck in the farm systems of teams who had no need for an extra power-hitting outfielder; first for Cleveland who had Joe Carter, Mell Hall & Brett Butler ahead of him, along with Andre Thornton at DH and then Minnesota where he wasn't going to crack the lineup already containing Dan Gladden, Tom Brunansky, Shane Mack and that Kirby guy.  One would think he would have made a better DH than Carmelo Castillo or Gene Larkin, but one isn't being paid to think.

     Dann Howitt & Steve Howard.  Well, I got to watch them play in
Huntsville (Howitt even hit a home run in either end of a double header I went to) and while both were highly touted at some point, neither measured up to their respective hype.

     And Tuffy.  While chasing down Japanese cards of Brito & Meulens, it was inevitable that I'd run into Tuffy.  The more I read about him, the more I looked at his stats, the more I read of his "legend" from one opening day, the more interested I became.  From being a sort of Kenny Lofton Light to a sort of Japanese Ryan Howard somewhere between 1990-2000.  Now he's a power hitting legend with one or two seasons left in the tank in Orix.

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