Tuesday, June 23, 2009
1990 Upper Deck #709 710 711 712
There's something to like about all these photos:
Franco's headshot is kind of boring, but the "blue seats to infinity" behind him is cool, plus there's a nice action shot on the back.
Mark Davis' photo was taken at an unusual angle, allowing us to get some clouds in the picture. I couldn't quite figure out what he's signing--probably a game program.
Justice has a nice posed shot on the front and a nice look at his funky helmet on the back. I think he wore that only early in his career.
Storm Davis has no hat in both photos, which is quite unusual. He's totally rocking the Top Gun look on the back in another very casual candid photo. Personally I think this card would have worked a lot better with an action shot on the front to go with the candid sunglasses laugh on the back--it would have highlighted just how casual and off-beat the back photo was.
Of the 272 pitchers to throw at least 50 innings in 1990, Mark Davis had the 5th-worst WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched.) This from the guy the Royals just signed to a 3-year, $14 million contract at a time when the average major-league salary was still below $1 million per year.
BEST IN 1990
No doubt that Justice was the best in 1990, as Franco had a good (but average for him) year and both Davises had down years, with Mark Davis in particular being quite awful, one of the worst free-agent signings in the last 30 years.
John Franco, Mets = He confronts jam
Storm Davis = Smart voids
Mark Davis, Royals = He sucks bad free agent signing (ha! made you look!)
This is a pretty tough one to figure. John Franco finished 3rd in career games for a pitcher and 4th in saves. Those career rankings cannot be overlooked, as nobody gets that high in any category without having excellent talent, execution, and longevity. David Justice topped 300 HR and 1000 RBI and was one of the best power hitters of the 1990s. He played in an incredible 21 post-season series, benefiting from playing for all excellent teams (Braves 1991-1995, Indians 1997-2000, Yankees 2000-2001, Athletics 2002.) In just under 400 career post-season at-bats, he totaled 14 HR and 63 RBI, very good numbers for the playoffs.
In the end, though, I have to go with John Franco as the best of this group. Justice probably had more total value in his career (as closers are generally over-valued) but I can't fault Franco for how he was used. He did what his managers asked of him, and did it extremely well.