Tuesday, March 17, 2009
1989 Topps Major League Debut #3: Wilson Alvarez
PHOTO: I think this type of photo, seen occasionally on baseball cards, is from the team media guide or somesuch. I don't like use of these photos on baseball cards. But thinking about it, Topps sort of backed themselves into a corner with this set. By definition, they almost certainly had no stock shots of these players in hand, unless they happen to have a spring training photo (assuming the player appeared in spring training.) That means that unless they had a photographer at the game where the guy debuted (or thereafter in 1989) it was pretty much impossible to get a photo for the card. Alvarez made just one appearance in 1989 (a horrible one, as you can see on the back of the card--no IP and 3 ER) and thus getting a photo of him would have been damned near impossible.
STAT: Another no-hitter stat. Alvarez pitched one in 1991 with the White Sox, and it wasn't even his best career game score. His no-hitter registered an 89 but he pulled off a 91 two years later by pitching a 3-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts.
Alvarez was a big part of the White Sox' return to competitiveness in the early 1990s, helping to form the core of those teams along with Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura, Jack McDowell, and Alex Fernandez. He was a big part of two interesting trades, first going from the Rangers to the White Sox along with Sammy Sosa in exchange for Harold Baines, and later being part of the White Sox' "surrender" trade when they gave up Alvarez, Danny Darwin, and Roebrto Hernandez despite being only a few games out of a playoff spot. That ended up as a good trade for Chicago, though, as they got a number of players, including Keith Foulke and Bobby Howry, that ended up bringing them some value later.