Wednesday, July 8, 2009

1990 Upper Deck #753 754 755 756

Howard Farmer
Joe Carter
Ray Lankford
Sandy Alomar Jr.


It's so rare to see so much of an umpire as we do on Alomar's card. I believe that's Ken Kaiser--can someone confirm?

Farmer's ball is right there on the corner of the card...I love the 3D! I should mention that I think he's the only player in this set of whom I hadn't previously heard.

Carter looks so casual, but man that photo looks like Joe Carter. He had a great smile and seemed to flash it often. I'm about to rip his ability below, but I cannot rip his enthusiasm or energy. Upper Deck captured his spirit on this card. (No truth to the rumor that Carter sued UD to try to get his spirit back.) Hell, Joe's even smiling on the back of his card AND giving a thumbs up.

Finally, the photo on the back of Lankford's card is pretty unusual. This is our second straight post showing a duffel bag.


I'm straying a bit from our regular stat format to point out 2 interesting things:

Two of these players (Joe Carter and Sandy Alomar) were actually traded for each other. The Indians' trade of Carter to the Padres was an absolute classic, with them picking up not only Alomar but also Carlos Baerga (plus Chris James.) Alomar and Baerga were franchise cornerstones for Cleveland and brought that team back from the brink.

Also, Carter was involved in trades (almost exactly a year apart) with both Alomar brothers. One day shy of a year after he was traded for Alomar and Baerga, Carter was traded with Alomar to Toronto in the most famous trade of 1990:

December 5, 1990: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Roberto Alomar to the Toronto Blue Jays for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff.

BEST IN 1990

Here's a source of a great debate. In 1990, his only year with the Padres, Joe Carter hit 24 HR with 115 RBI. Knowing that Alomar is the only other player in this group to play more than 40 games, you'd think that I'd pick Carter as best in 1990. But Carter's year was quite deceptive. His OPS+ was only 85, meaning he was actually quite below average productivity. That's because he batted only .232 and hit only 28 other extra base hits (27 doubles and 1 triple.) If you check out his advanced batting stats you can see that he actually contributed to -1.5 of the Padres' wins that year, meaning he actually cost them wins, not helped them win.

Anyway, I've written a lot in other places about how overrated Joe Carter was. If he hadn't hit that Series-winning homer in 1993, I think more people would realize this.

In 1990, Sandy Alomar played in 132 games, drove in 66 runs, had an OPS+ of 108, and won Rookie of the Year. He's the best player in 1990.


Howard Farmer = Armored wharf
Joe Carter = Jeer actor = Or, a reject?
Ray Lankford = Dry anal fork
Sandy Alomar Jr = Any major lards


Wow, this is by far the toughest call so far.

I'm not a Joe Carter fan but the guy did hit 396 career homers (currently 47th all-time) and was a big contributor on two World Series championship teams.

Sandy Alomar was a below-average hitter despite a couple of great years, but was an excellent catcher for many seasons. He played in 10 post-season series and performed especially well in 1997, driving in 19 runs (HOLY SHIT!) in that post-season, including 10 in the World Series.

But we also can't skip over Ray Lankford. He was pretty much finished by age 35, but before then he had 10 straight years with an OPS+ above 110 and was one of the top power-speed players in the game.

To tell you the truth, I'm having a pretty difficult time choosing among these 3 guys. I guess we can rank Lankford 3rd just because his career was a little shorter and he didn't play as much in the post-season. But it's not a distant third, and I have no clue how to rank Carter and Alomar ahead of him.

How would you rank these 3 guys?


  1. I am Blue Jay fan, always have been...North Toronto born and raised!!! This cannot even be a logical decision for me - Joe atkes the cake easily. On a side note for Sandy Alomar Jr., I remeber him being the starting catcher in the mid season classic for whole slew of years, was he ever deserving of that startings spot? Perhaps maybe one or two years...just look at his stats..another case of the ASG just being a popularity contest!

  2. Wow, I never appreciated just how good Ray Lankford was. However, his was one of the few Starting Lineup figures that I owned. It was awesome - he was posed sliding headfirst into second base.

  3. Starting Lineup (or the equivalent product) is much better today than it used to be. The figurines actually look like the players instead of Generic White Guy #1 or Generic Latino Guy #4, etc.