Tag Archives: Jim Abbott

Morning Coffee and the Blog Roundup 10/28 – Aqueous Edition

That’s what’s on my mind this morning: the Donruss aqueous issues. Specifically, what the hell does that mean? My understanding was that it was Donruss’s “glossy” or “tiffany”, but I received a few cards from COMC that were supposed to be aqueous and they look the same as any other card. Does it then mean that they’re water-soluble? Can someone help me out on this one so I don’t feel quite so ripped off?

The other thing that I’ve been pondering is the direction of this blog. While I’m still collecting the Nationals and Expos, I find I’m not writing about them as much as I once did. I don’t think that’s a bad thing; I enjoy writing about stuff like the 1989 project’s players, I just wonder if I should keep the title of the blog the same. I suppose I will, for now.

I’ve also decided that, rather than write several entries in one day, I’m going to focus on two…the morning coffee posts, which are obviously more off-the-cuff and stream-of-consciousness, and then an evening post. I’m doing this to improve the quality of the writing on the more formal post. During my ponderings about the blog, I realized that one of the goals of writing this blog is to give me a daily outlet to practice my writing while also writing about something I love. I mean, I’m a professional writer, so I’m writing pretty much every day, but I don’t get the chance to write about something I really care about. So why not apply the same process I use at work to my entries, and really polish up those posts? Last night’s Jim Abbott post was the first example of what I’m talking about, and I feel the writing really shined for the layer of polish that I gave it.

Boy, last night’s game went nothing like I expected, especially after that bone-headed first inning by the Giants, but they not only came back, they destroyed the Rangers. If you’d told me a Lee-Lincecum matchup, would end up like that…well, I guess I’d say that’s the postseason. Look at the Lincecum-Halladay matchup. In fact, The Freak hasn’t been pitching incredibly well of late. It’s a bit concerning. Anyway, on to game two!

Annnnd on to what other folks were saying around the card-o-sphere:

And that’s it for now! Have a good one!

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The 1989 Project Day 2 – Jim Abbott

Excuse me for skipping Gregg Olson and rearranging my schedule a tad; you see, my scans of Olson cards didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, so I have to rework them; the best-laid plans and all that. In the meantime, I’m moving on to Jim Abbott.

1989 Donruss Baseball's Best

I was aware of Abbott well before he became a traded/update star. He was already a media darling: a big hit with Team USA and a man with an inspirational story that I won’t rehash here. It all gave him something of a built-in mystique. An aura, if you will.

This made my 13-year-old self very amped for any Abbott cards, and I was hardly the only one. He was a hobby darling in 1989.

1989 Donruss The Rookies

Jim followed the Winfield career plan, jumping straight from college to the AL West, making his major league debut April 8th, 1989 against the blue-puffy-hatted Mariners. He suffered the indignity of a 7-0 loss, and even though he got knocked around, he didn’t surrender a home run. Not a very auspicious debut, but then again his 1989 wasn’t amazing, either. Almost exactly league average, in fact.

1989 Fleer Update

His rookie performance didn’t matter that much in 1989, and I don’t think it does now, either. He would go on to bigger years (1991 and 1992 come to mind, not to mention his no-hitter with the Yankees), but his impact on the game outside of stats cannot be underestimated. I’m definitely not a big “intangibles” guy; I think team chemistry is overrated and don’t believe people win because they want it bad enough, but Abbott hits the sweet spot of an emotional contribution outside of the numbers. He was and is an inspirational figure, and I think any of his rookie cards and/or autographed cards are worth the trouble to acquire. He’s been on my shortlist of wanted autos for quite some time, in fact.

1989 Score Rookie and Traded

1989 was not a complete disaster, however. Jim had a couple of nine-strikeout games, one on April 29th against the Jays and one on August 6th against his future employers, the Brewers. The August 6th game was a complete game shutout, with Greg Brock bearing the dubious distinction of whiffing three times. Jim struggled with his control, though; he had one five-walk game and a handful of four-walk games, though oddly he was 3-3 across these en route to a 12-12 record. He also had a 3.7 BB rate to a 5.7 K rate, a lot higher than I would have thought. He would have a few years better than that, but he seemed to hover right around that ratio for most of his career.

1989 Topps Traded

What an oddity this card was; I thought I was the only one who found it odd, but upon further reflection, it was a new concept. Abbott already had an 88 Topps Traded and a regular Topps card in the 1989 set, but draft pick cards were a relatively new concept at the time, and so I think they included him as this was the first shot of him in his Angels uniform. Something like the difference between a “first card” and a “rookie card” these days. Either way, I considered this an “inferior” card. Odd how we categorize things.

1989 Upper Deck

This card, on the other hand, was an impact card. It was a gimmick, and it wasn’t UD’s first triple exposure card (see Nolan Ryan’s 89 UD), but it sure made a splash. I saw this for the first time at the basement club that I’ve mentioned previously. Some lucky kids had found high numbers packs and were ready to distribute the wealth in exchange for Gregg Jefferies rookie cards. It was a magical night, and I soon had this in hand. I treasured it, and still have it to this day, even if it’s now bent (this is a different copy).

So yes, Jim Abbott: important to my formative years in the hobby. In fact, many of the players of the 1989 Project are, and it will be a great trip down memory lane.

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