The 1988 Project Day 20 – Randy Milligan & Tommy Gregg

I chose this particular combination because they are linked by an error card in Fleer Update, and, once upon a time, I met Tommy Gregg, and he was the nicest baseball player I ever met (well, maybe aside from Billy Ripken). He seemed to be just grateful to be in the majors and knew he was living a dream. Amazing guy. Let’s take a look at what intertwines these careers…

1988 Donruss The Rookies

The Moose came to the Pirates from the Mets in the 87/88 offseason in exchange for Tim Drummond and Mackey Sasser (whom we’ll be seeing soon). He had made his ML debut with the Mets in 87, appearing in three games as a pinch hitter. He then made the team out of Spring Training, first appearing as a starter on April 5th.

1988 Fleer Update

He hit his first major league homer on April 22nd, against San Diego, but that would be the highlight of his rookie campaign. Oddly enough, he only hit .220, but he still managed a .769 OPS. Not exactly worldbeating stuff, but to be able to do that while hitting 220 suggested some potential. He struck out more than he walked, though, and by the end of June, he was back in the minors, not to return until 1989.

1988 Fleer Update

While Milligan was playing in the majors, Tommy Gregg was toiling in AAA Buffalo. He put up a .294/.355/.413 line down there, and got the call to Pittsburgh on July 5th, after Milligan had gone to the minors to stay. Gregg was lucky enough to get two late-season cards issued; this was the first. Unfortunately, Tommy Gregg is whiter than white. This is actually Randy Milligan. So what I don’t understand is, how did Fleer make this mistake? Milligan and Gregg were never on the team at the same time (not only in 1988, but ever – they never played together in the majors), and Gregg never played at first base. Was this one where they just said good enough? I don’t know, but it’s linked them in my mind ever since.

1988 Score Rookie & Traded

Poor Tommy Gregg, though. He finally gets a major league card, and it has someone else on it. Surely his Score Traded would be better? Well, no, because you can’t see his eyes at all. I feel for the guy, though he would get better cards in 1989. Oh, and by the way, Gregg hit .295 in 1988, but the vagaries of OPS+ meant he was just about the same value as Milligan, as his OPS was almost identical and a little lower on the OBP side.

I met Gregg in 1991, when he was part of the Braves team that was headed to the world series, and like I said, he was a completely gracious guy in stark contrast to some of the other Braves we “met” that day.

Oh, and ironically, the Gregg/Milligan Fleer is my favorite of this batch. No idea why they didn’t make it Milligan’s base card.


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