Tag Archives: Classic Best

I Was a Teenage Prospector: Ryan Klesko

Klesko Classic Best

1991 Classic Best

In 1990, I was absolutely obsessed with John Olerud. I had been interested in the guy since learning that he was a legit two-way threat, a batter who could also pitch well (I was enthralled with the Babe Ruth legend at the time). Around that time, I started hearing about recent draftee Ryan Klesko, another two-way threat, though it’s hard to believe these days. Let me tell you, though, that was all I needed to hear, and he was on my want list. Of course, I had some trouble finding Klesko cards, as he wasn’t in any of the major sets. Thankfully, the 1990 minor league sets took off, and next thing you know, I have a bunch of Klesko cards.

Of course, we know how his career turned out: okay, passable, but never a real superstar, which bummed me out. I was convinced that somehow he would be the next great thing. I’m sure the warning signs were there: lack of plate discipline, high strikeout-to-walk ratio, the whole deal, but then…well, it was just as much about the legend of the player as the reality. And Klesko was quite a legend for me in the summers of 90 and 91.

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Former Expo – Willie Greene

1991 Classic Best #350
Former Expo
Position: 3B
Bio/Summary: This is almost more like a “Did You Know?” kind of thing. Greene was probably best known for his years with the Reds in the 90s, but he was a Pirates-then-Expos farmhand before that. He came to the Expos in the Zane Smith/Moises Alou trade (wow, was that lopsided), and left via a trade for Bill Risely and John Wetteland. Career-wise, he was nothing super-special, finishing with a below 100 OPS+, which is pretty abysmal for a third baseman. It was still kind of cool to see a kid I remember as a draftee make something of himself.
How Did I Get It?: Bought a box of Classic Best in 2003.
Did You Know?: Greene hit three home runs in one game, 9/24/96.
Rating: 4/10. Too many shadows on his face, but I do like imagining what it was like at what appears to be the extended Spring Training facility back then. It’s good for that, at least.

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