The 1988 Project Day 19 – Brett Butler

1988 Donruss Baseball's Best

I have a fondness for Brett Butler that goes beyond what he accomplished on the field. Sure, he was a Giant, but he was a Giant during that magical 1989 run when I was just getting into baseball, and he seemed like he, along with Matt Williams, Kevin Mitchell, and Will Clark, could do no wrong. My girlfriend thinks of this era of the Giants as “hers”, as well, as she had a ticket to Game 5 of that World Series between the A’s and Giants and…well, it was a sweep. Previous to this, though, I had always thought of Butler as that funny-looking guy on the Indians, even though he was never an Indian during the time I collected. He joined the Giants as a free agent in the 1987 offseason and never looked back.

1988 Fleer Update

1988 would turn out to be a career year for Brett, as he knocked 163 hits, stole 43 bases, and had a .791 OPS. He would have higher numbers for all of those over his career, but 1988 was the year where he put all that together and had a 133 OPS+. Really, really damn good for defensively sound center fielder. In fact, I think Brett may have been an underappreciated gem. Ironically, he wouldn’t become an All-Star until 1991, playing for the dreaded Los Angeles Dodgers.

1988 Score Rookies & Traded

Butler’s best game of 88 would arguably be the September 8th contest against Atlanta, when he went 4-for-4 with 3 doubles and a walk. That would make him 5 of 5 in PA! Second might be his June 4th game against the Astros, where he went 3-for-4 and stole 3 bases. Both really impressive outings. Having little power, he didn’t have a multi-homer game, but he had several multi-double games. He also only managed to have ONE 3-strikeout game. That’s some damn impressive hitting.

1988 Topps Traded

So yeah, Butler was definitely an underrated player worthy of more note than he’s received, and I was pretty stoked to get these cards once I realized how good he was. I think my favorite of this bunch is probably the Fleer, though the Score is up there, too, in terms of the shot. My main problem with the Score is that it really looks like he’s grounding out. Oh, and the Topps is absolutely godawful in every way – design, color, and gremlin-like photo. FUGLY.

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