Wednesday, March 18, 2009
1989 Topps Major League Debut #6: Kevin Appier
Now we're cooking with gas, as Appier is one of the many excellent rookies in this set.
PHOTO: I assumed when I saw the photo that #55 was another spring training number, but on this page you can see that Appier wore 55 for several years with K.C. before switching to #17. When Appier returned to the Royals in 2003 after a 5-year absence, he went back to #55 even though nobody else on the team was wearing 17.
STAT: Other than Carlton Fisk, Eddie Murray, and Cal Ripken, Appier pitched very well against HOF batters. Check out Dave Winfield: 26 at-bats, 3 singles, no RBI. Ouch. In fact, nobody held Winfield to fewer hits with at least 25 plate appearances.
Appier was one of the best pitchers of the 1990s, but many people don't know this because the Royals were so bad. His actual career record was 169-137 (.552) but his neutralized record was 183-117 (.610) with a 21-win season in 1993 (a year he actually won only 18 games.)
It must be mentioned, however, that the Royals made a dismal trade when they shipped him to Oakland at the trading deadline in 1999. In return, they received three guys who did very little in the majors. (Jeff D'Amico, Brad Rigby, and Blake Stein.)