Jose Rijo made his debut as a 19-year old with the New York Yankees in 1984 and was shipped to the Oakland A’s in the Rickey Henderson deal in the 1984 offseason. He had three up-and-down seasons with the A’s from 1985 to 1987 before being sent off to Cincinnati in return for Dave Parker. And promptly blew up in 1988. He had a 151 ERA+ and 3.5 WAR in 1988, the beginning of a great run for the team that would culminate in a 1990 World Series victory.
So obviously this shot was taken sometime at Wrigley Field in 1988, making it either 5/31/88 or 6/1/88, both games where he made scoreless appearances. As for the card itself, fairly standard; not much to say about it. The color is a little screwy, but the red on his uniform and the logo work with the 88 design.
Rijo pitched primarily in relief for the Reds in 88 and yet he still managed to go 13-8. Is that a testament to the strength of the Reds’ offense or the weakness? I’m not entirely sure.
This is a pretty cool card. I wish I could determine when the shot was taken, but it’s completely impossible. I think the action shot is great, though, and works a lot better than the Fleer card.
Jose’s worst 1988 nightmare was Marvell Wynne. Other people had a higher OPS against him, but in far fewer at-bats. In 12 at-bats against him, Wynne had a .364 BA, 2 home runs, and a 1.326 OPS. By contrast, he owned Benito Santiago and Keith Moreland (who appeared in these sets as well), holding them to a .211 and .182 OPS respectively. In fact, he held the entire Padres team to a .581 OPS. Only the Mets (.569), Pirates (.564), Astros (.381) and Expos (.327, that’s a 12 TOps+!) fared worse.
As for this card, well, it’s generic 1988 Topps, isn’t it? Just kind of there. It does, however, continue to confound me why they choose these colors for the team. Blue and yellow. What. Oh, well. Still a player worth covering.