What would a 1988 update set be without Spuds, the 1988 NL rookie of the year? Nowhere, that’s where. Sabo was THE hot rookie of 1988. Odd-looking, intense, but talented, just about anyone wanted to “be” him when we played ball.
Side note, does anyone remember that whole aspect of sandlot ball? Or were we the only ones who did this? We’d pick teams and we got to “be” the player we picked. The other kids always picked the superstars, and I’d pick some obscure rookie or prospect; hell, I didn’t see the point of picking players anyway, so I figured I’d try to be as weird as possible. It’s the only reason I remember the existence of players like Sherwin Clintje (and yes, I had to order this card – expect to see it soon) to this day, honestly, so it was kind of neat for obscure minor leaguers, if nothing else.
Anyway. On to the Sabo goodness.
A shot of Sabo’s back. Meh. I guess there’s no doubt who he is, though, between the uniform and the glasses. Okay, gonna call this a crappy photo. I guess it’s showing his intensity, but you can only really see his profile (which is already obscured by the giant goggles). Not my favorite Sabo card.
Speaking of intensity…
No goggles?!?!? What trickery is this? Oddly, this was my favorite Sabo rookie back in the day, and I’m not even sure why. I look at it now and it’s boring as hell and lacking the goggles, but maybe that was what made it for me. I don’t know.
Oh, Chris Sabo, you are my nutty buddy…
Now that’s what I’m talking about. Classic Sabo pose, goggles representin’, poised to strike. This was one of the most desirable cards of this set, and you can see why. I didn’t get to see a copy til my mid-teens, by which time Sabo was pretty much done with as a fan favorite, but seeing it now is a lot of fun.
Well, how about that? Topps Traded with a pretty good action shot. If the actual photo quality were better (by which I mean the color balance, etc.), I’d be even happier, but that was a problem even the Traded sets struggled with when it came to Topps. For Topps, this is a damn good card, and was another key to the set back in the day.
Ultimately, of course, Sabo fell off after his rookie season, which is bound to happen to a 26-year old rookie who never OPSed far above 800 in the minors. And let’s not forget he had a .315 OBP that “amazing” rookie year of 1988. But he managed to last until 1996 with a 13.3 career WAR, so he didn’t totally suck. So hats off to you, Chris Sabo!