John Dopson’s career was an oddity; he made his major league debut in 1985 at age 21, pitching in four games and getting completely bombed before going back to the minors. He didn’t reappear in the majors until 1988. He had shot through the Montreal system after being drafted in the second round in 1982; after putting up a 6-8 record with a 3.97 ERA as an 18-year old at Jamestown in the New York Penn League, he went on to reel off a 13-6 record, 3.44 ERA in high-A West Palm Beach in 1983 and a 10-8 record, 3.69 ERA in AA Jacksonville in 1984. He must have seemed a sure thing at that point, and his peripherals were okay, though his hits/9 were kind of inflated. I’m still surprised he made the majors in 1985, given that he stumbled quite a bit in AAA Indianapolis that year and was only 21. Odd decision, and it blew up in their faces.
John returned to the minors in 1986, but got derailed by tendonitis. He got a couple outings at A ball and a handful more at AAA, and that was his 1986. 1987 was a full year for him, however, spending a complete year at AA Jacksonville. His WHIP was up a little that year, but it looked like things were starting to come back together for him. He only spent a little time in Indianapolis in 1988, and then it was time for the majors for him.
Dopson had a 3-11 record in the majors in 1988, but his ERA was a respectable 3.04 with a 118 ERA+. Poor run support seems to have been the problem, not a shocker for the Expos in the post-Dawson era. He looked promising, at least as a mid-rotation starter.
In the offseason Montreal bundled him with Luis Rivera for Dan Gakeler and Spike Owen. I’m not sure understand the deal on Montreal’s part; Owen was at BEST average as a middle infielder, right around the same level as Luis Rivera, and Gakeler was already an organizational filler type pitcher. Ultimately, however, the trade ended up a wash, as Dopson had one good season in Boston then faded quickly.
I think I’m going with Fleer Update as the nominal winner here. I like the action photograph better than the Score card, surprisingly. There’s way too much blur in the Score, and it’s too dark. The Donruss Rookies card, of course, is just boring. Choosing an Expo for this feature was a difficult process, as none of the players had a card in all four sets, something that I’m trying to focus on. I’m not sure why that would be, but it’s frustrating as an Expos collector. I guess they always got short shrift in sets.
- Day 1- Mark Grace (Cubs)
- Day 2- Al Leiter (Yankees)
- Day 3- Chris Sabo (Reds)
- Day 4- Walt Weiss (Athletics)
- Day 5- Baseballs’ Best Catch-Up
- Day 6- Craig Biggio (Astros)
- Day 7-Roberto Alomar (Padres)
- Day 8-Kirk Gibson (Dodgers)
- Day 9-Jay Buhner (Yankees/Mariners)
- Day 10-Jose Rijo (Reds)
- Day 11-Brady Anderson & Mike Boddicker (Red Sox/Orioles)
- Day 12-Pete Smith & Kevin Coffman (Braves)
- Day 13-David Wells (Blue Jays)
- Day 14-Shawn Abner (Padres)
- Day 15 – Tom Brunansky (Cardinals)
- Day 16 – Bryan Harvey (Angels)
- Day 17 – Joey Meyer (Brewers)
- Day 18 – John Dopson (Expos)