Tag Archives: 1988

Card of the Day: 1988 Donruss John Farrell

Wanted to feature the new manager of the Blue Jays. I liked him as a pitching coach with the Red Sox, and wish him the best.

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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 23 – Baltimore Orioles

Time for the last entry. The Orioles had Jose Bautista (not that one), Mike Morgan, Carl Nichols, Joe Orsulak, Oswald Peraza, Frank Robinson, Doug Sisk, Pete Stanicek, and Mickey Tettleton.

Not exactly a stellar collection of players. At least Orsulak and Tettleton would be regulars for the team for years. Orsulak didn’t play in the majors in 87, but hit .288/.331/.422 for the terrible 88 O’s team. For that team, that wasn’t that bad. Tettleton was a huge surprise, hitting .261/.330/.424, something that his performance with the A’s never hinted at.

Morgan was also a big pickup, but he bombed badly in 88. striking out only 29 in 71 innings. Pretty much par for the course for that team. Bautista was supposed to be a big deal, but never quite lived up to the hype. He went 6-15 in 1988, which is kind of deceptive given the weakness of that team; he had a serviceable 4.30 ERA and 91 ERA+, but his walk, k, and HR rates all presaged what would happen to his career.

Pete Stanicek is one of those players that I remember Orioles fans carrying on about back in the day, but he never really did much, playing only in 87 and 88. In 88 he hit .230/.313/.310, and he was done with the majors at age 25.

And that does it for the 1988 Project. Stay tuned for next week, when I’ll start the 1989 project…


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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 22 – Seattle Mariners

Our intrepid Mariners include Steve Balboni, Greg Briley, Mike Campbell, Mario Diaz, Mike Jackson, Edgar Martinez (ish), Mike Schooler, Jim Snyder, Bill Swift, and Glenn Wilson. Whew.

Guess I may as well start with Mike Campbell. I remembered that he was a big deal (hell, he had an 88 Topps Future Star card), but I did NOT remember that he was part of the Mark Langston/Randy Johnson deal to the Expos. Does anyone know if he had a card as an Expo?

The key card of this set for me was always the Greg “Pee Wee” Briley XRC. I thought Briley was going to be a super star, and I coveted this card once I learned of its existence – hell, in 1989 I had no idea who Briley was outside of the 1989 Upper Deck high numbers set. Briley had pop for a little guy, but he never quite put it together. In 1988, though, he was a prospect with the world in front of him, and we’ll see more of him in 1989. I found an article about his first major league homer in July 88, though:

Edgar Martinez was…well, of course you know who Edgar Martinez is. And that’s not Edgar but Edwin Nunez. I was always vaguely disappointed in this card, as I thought it could have been so much more.

Mike Schooler was a pretty big deal too, as I recall, but I never quite cared for the guy. I don’t understand, as he was a pretty good pitcher, but disappeared after 1993. It looks like he injured his arm in July 1992, and was pretty much done quickly after that, poor guy. He was the Mariners’ career saves leader for quite some time, until Kazuhiro Sasaki surpassed him.

This was Michael Jackson’s first season with the Mariners, where he would stay until 1991. I always thought of Jackson as a Mariner, so it’s good to see the genesis of that. Jackson was a pretty damned good middle reliever.

Finally, Steve Balboni was a Mariner in most of the 1989 sets, but this card is an odd one given that he became a Mariner on June 1st, 1988. Shouldn’t he have been in some of these other sets? How did he only end up in the Score set? He wasn’t a bad player by any standards, even in 88. It’s a weird case.

Anyway, tomorrow is the final day of the 1988 Project, and I am READY.

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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 21 – Texas Rangers

So let’s see, we have Jose Cecena, Ray Hayward, Larry Parrish, Jim Steels, and DeWayne Vaughan. Not exactly stars of the junior circuit, aside from Parrish, who is only in this team set because he went to the Red Sox mid-season. But hey, it’s timely with tonight’s game, right?

Cecena was a one season wonder…debuted in April 88 and was gone for good by June 88. He wasn’t a terrible pitcher, so I’m wondering if he was an injury victim.

I had no idea Steels actually appeared over three seasons, and Texas was the second of three stops for him. Not that he ever did much for these teams. His 88 season was a 9 OPS+. Sheesh.

I always thought Vaughan was supposed to be something of a big deal, but history disagrees with me. He only appeared in eight major league games with a 7.63 ERA. Yikes.

Ray Hayward was more of the same, also playing three seasons, two (86 and 87 with the Padres) and this year with the Rangers.

So yeah, a LONG way from where the Rangers are today or even where they would be in a few years with the 1990 team.

So, yeah.



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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 20 – Atlanta Braves

Today we have Jose Alvarez, Ron Gant, Cesar Jimenez, Russ Nixon, Paul Runge, and John Smoltz.

The big name here, of course, is Smoltz. He was a freshly-minted Brave at this point, having been acquired late in the 1987 season. He made his debut July 23rd against the Mets and got a win. So though he would have a rocky 88, his debut actually was a preview of his excellent career.

Ron Gant was the bigger name in 1988, though, and he would have been a good choice for a player feature. He put up an impressive rookie season in 88, getting right to the cusp of a 20-20 season (19-19). His OBP was pretty good given his batting average, too.

The rest of these folks are pretty much non-entities. Jose Alvarez had been out of the majors since 82 at this point. Cesar Jimenez never made the majors; in fact, he was still in A ball at this point so his inclusion is baffling. Paul Runge was at the end of his career. Russ Nixon…well, Bobby Cox?


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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 19 – Chicago White Sox

All right! Today we have Jeff Bittiger, John Davis, Dave Gallagher, Ricky Horton, Jack McDowell, Dan Pasqua, Jerry Reuss, Mark Salas, and Jose Segura.

I really wanted to do a standalone Jack McDowell post, but Melido Perez had cards in every single set, which made for a better overall post. McDowell was highly regarded in 1988, but he dropped off the radar after posting (horror of horrors) a 5-10 record with a 3.97 ERA. At age 22. Thank God we’re starting to get past the win-loss record thing, because McDowell was a very good pitcher in 1988.

Dan Pasqua turned out to be a damned good acquisition for the Pale Sox, too, leading the team with 20 home runs (you can tell it was 1988) and putting up a 101 OPS+ despite a .227 BA. Kind of Adam Dunn before Adam Dunn.

Jerry Reuss was a pretty damn good pitcher in 1988, too, putting up a 3.44 ERA and 116 ERA+. Pretty good considering he was nearing the end of his career at the time.

Jose Segura is an odd choice. He only appeared in 4 games in 1988 and ended up with a 13.50 ERA. Hell, his career ERA was over 9, and he pitched in only 22 major league games.

There were some interesting players that made their debut in 1988 but didn’t get cards, like Sap Randall. He played in four games that year, and he was done with his major league career. Carlos Martinez also made his debut in 1988; we’ll hear more from him in the 1989 Project.

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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 18 – Philadelphia Phillies

Okay, so today we have Phil Bradley, Danny Clay, Bob Dernier, Todd Frohwirth, Greg Harris, David Palmer, and Mike Young (not that one). These were the days when the Phillies weren’t very good all around, so this is kind of a set of rejects. Most of these players, namely Greg Harris, Phil Bradley, Mike Young, David Palmer, and Danny Clay (5 out of 7), 1988 would be their only season in a Phillies uniform.  Doesn’t say much about player acquisition in those days.

Phil Bradley would appear to be the offensive winner of this group, putting up a 110 OPS+ and a 2.0 WAR. Mike Young didn’t fare very well, only managing a 97 OPS+ (not very good for a right fielder) with a 0.2 WAR. No wonder he didn’t stick. Dernier was about the same.

Greg Harris is hands-down the best pitcher in the group. He had a 152 ERA+, which only means a little bit for a reliever, but he also managed to lead the team in WHIP with a 1.234 WHIP, which isn’t great but hey, team leader and all.

Todd Frohwirth led the team in K/9 with 8.3, but small sample size caveat applies, as he only pitched in 15 games that year. David Palmer was David Palmer (and no not THAT David Palmer), and Danny Clay…well, let’s just say there’s a reason he never made it back.

So that’s it for the Phils. Almost there now…

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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 17 – California Angels

Okay, so let’s see, we have Sherman Corbett, Chili Davis, Jim Eppard, Dan Petry, and Cookie Rojas. Not a whole lot on the plate today.

Chili Davis made an instant impact on the team, placing second in home runs (21) with 118 strikeouts and a 114 OPS+.

Jim Eppard had a 93 OPS+. Not bad at all for a utility infielder who only played a handful of games. Valuable in his own way.

Sherman Corbett really only played significantly in 1988 and had hilarious glasses. He had a 4.14 ERA and a 1.533 WHIP.

I guess the acquisition of Dan Petry was a big deal, but he didn’t make much of an impact, going 3-9 with a 4.38 ERA and an 88 ERA+. Not exactly what you want from your #4 starter.

And that’s all for the Angels. I’ll have a lot more to say about them when we get to 1989.

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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 16 – St. Louis Cardinals

Today we have Luis Alicea, Cris Carpenter, John Costello, Jose DeLeon, Bob Horner, Larry McWilliams, Steve Peters, Dan Quisenberry, and Scott Terry.

Man did the 88 Cardinals have some weak offense. Bob Horner was sixth on the team in home runs with THREE. I couldn’t believe that. I also didn’t realize Horner was only 30 here, in his last year in the majors. Man he aged early.

I also didn’t realize Luis Alicea was only 22 here, but he didn’t hit very well in his rookie season (or any other season, for that matter).

And hey, how about this? Larry McWilliams was fourth on the team in strikeouts, with 70 in 136 innings. Two things that team didn’t do: hit home runs or strike people out. McWilliams was a decent reliever that year, though.

Jose DeLeon led the team, though not in ways you’d want. He led the team in giving up the gopher ball, 13 in 34 games. But he also led the team in strikeouts with 208. Not a bad pickup for the team.

Steve Peters “led” the team in a way, too: he led the team in home runs surrendered per nine innings. Way to go, Steve!

And, of course, Dan Quisenberry was Dan Quisenberry, even near the end of his career. Guy rocked.

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The 1988 Project Phase 2 Day 15 – Chicago Cubs

Okay so today we have Damon Berryhill, Mike Capel, Darrin Jackson, Goose Gossage, Vance Law, Al Nipper, Jeff Pico, Calvin Schiraldi, Gary Varsho, and Don Zimmer. Whew. I tell you, I think that’s a little too much for one post, maybe, so I’m going to focus on some of the more important players.

Damon Berryhill, for instance. I really wanted to give this guy his own post, but Mark Grace was obviously the right choice. Berryhill was a hot 1988 rookie, that’s for sure. Looking at his numbers, though, I can’t exactly say why. He made the Topps 1988 All Star Rookie Team, but he only hit .259/.295 (!)/.395 with 7 home runs. I mean, that’s not BAD for a rookie catcher, but it isn’t exactly Wieters-esque, and not deserving of the hype he received. He’s a minor league manager these days.

Darrin Jackson was nowhere near as heralded as Berryhill or Grace, but he was generally well-regarded, as well. He hit .266/.287/.452 in 100 games for the Cubs that year. What was it with the Cubs of that era that they had such lousy on-base skills? Was it the focus of the organization at the time? Either way, he wasn’t TERRIBLE for a rookie, but he didn’t tear it up, either.

Goose Gossage, of course, was on his way to the Hall of Fame (once he’d whined his way in). 1988 may not have been the last year of his career, but it was basically the end of the line for the old Gossage. He would go on to get fewer save opportunities and fewer strikeouts.

Don Zimmer was big news as the Cubs manager at the time, even though he didn’t stick around super-long.

And of course, I have to mention Vance Law, who came over to the Expos and was a target of ridicule for us kids owing to those huge honkin’ glasses of his.

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