The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 4: New York Mets/Minnesota Twins

Pulling double duty today, as neither team is especially large. I’m guessing this has to do with both teams being essentially complete and ready to compete.

Only two Mets (Mackey Sasser was the third):

Kevin Elster – Kind of a big deal when this set was issued, Elster was seen as a future superstar by Mets faithful. Unfortunately, he never lived up to the hype. 1988 was his first full ML season, in which he went .214/.282/.313 in 149 games for a 75 OPS+ and 1.0 WAR.

Jeff Innis – The submariner! I used to try to emulate his delivery. I wonder if it’s responsible for my shoulder problems today? 1988 was his second season. He pitched entirely in relief, racking up a 1.105 WHIP and a 1.89 ERA, for a 176 ERA+ and a 0.2 WAR.

Here’s an oddity: outside of Tommy Herr, no set other than Fleer featured a Twins player.

Allan Anderson – For some reason, I thought Anderson’s career was longer, but he finished almost as soon as he started. In 1988, he was good for a 16-9 record with a 2.45 ERA, a 166 ERA+ (leading the league), and a 4.9 WAR. He’s currently a firefighter.

John Moses – John signed as a free agent on April 5, and went on to put up a .316/.366/.422 with a 118 OPS+ and a 1.2 WAR. It was the best year of his career.

Brian Harper – Brian was an offseason free agent signing, and a good one. He hit .295/.344/.428 in 60 games. That was a 113 OPS+ and a 0.9 WAR. A good year for a backup catcher, but he would do even better in the future.

Charlie Lea – Did you know this was the only card he had in an 88 set? 1988 was his last season, which may account for the issue, especially as he didn’t pitch in the majors from 85-86. 1988 wouldn’t be a very good swan song, though. He went 7-7 with a 4.85 ERA, 72K in 130 IP, and a -0.6 WAR. Poor guy. You literally could have plugged any random AAA player in his place and they would have done just as well or better. It’s a shame, because he was one of the only Expos pitchers to throw a no-hitter.

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