Friday, July 3, 2009
1990 Upper Deck #741 742 743 744
First things first. The Fetters photo is fascinating, and I'm posting a contest about it. Save your thoughts about this card until you see the contest.
I'm getting a little tired of the Wrigley batting shots, as Villanueva's is the 4th or 5th already in the first 40-some cards of this set. The photo on the back of Hector's card is unfortunate too. Villanueva was not a thin guy but by putting him right in front of a chubby umpire I think he looks even heavier than he was.
The Nokes photo is also very odd. It's so weird to have a closeup from such a high angle, plus his eyes are almost invisible. It's nice, though, to see the "1" on Nokes' sleeve, which all the Yankees wore that year to honor Billy Martin, who died in Christmas day 1989.
Finally, another odd photo on the back of Gardner's card. His glove hand is strangely twisted with the ball inside the mitt. His pullover is also twisted around, allowing us to the tag with the number "40" written on it, which was indeed his number that year.
Villanueva's K/BB performance in 1990 is among the 50 most-recent seasons with at least 27 Ks and no more than 4 BBs among non-pitchers.
BEST IN 1990
This is a toughie. None of these 4 guys was great in 1990. Nokes had an off-year as he was traded from the Tigers to the Yankees. Fetters was just getting started and didn't fare too well (but went on to have a great career--see below.) Villanueva barely played, getting just 120 plate appearances, but he hit pretty well, swatting 7 homers. (Never mind that 27/4 K/BB ratio, heh.) The best, though, was probably Gardner, who pitched 152.2 innings with a good 1.245 WHIP and 107 ERA+. He went only 7-9 that year and in fact this was only 1 of 2 seasons when he had a better-than-average ERA+, the other coming in 2000 with the Giants.
Hector Villanueva = A helluva contrive = Unclothe a revival
Mike Fetters = Meekest rift
Mark Gardner = Grand remark
Matt Nokes = Takes most (not to mention "monk teats" and "meat knots")
I wrote about Mike Fetters previously on this blog right here. He had the best career out of this bunch.
I do want to make special mention of Matt Nokes, though. This guy had a pretty good career playing as a half-time or sometimes full-time catcher. He always hit pretty well. The thign that really hurt Nokes is that first full season he had with 32 homers. Had he hit 22 instead of 32, expectations for him would have been more reasonable and his career would be viewed better than it is.