Wow, the Hernandez card is absolutely shocking--both photos on the card are very unusual and quite awesome. (In my opinion, this is THE BEST card in the set, but of course time will tell in our tournament.) The front photo, featuring Mex in the batting cage, is a very unusually close shot and gives a great view of Hernandez's face and swing. (I believe #25 is coach Dom Chiti, but I'm not sure about that.) The back photo is equally interesting. Let's count the ways:
- Hernandez, perhaps the best fielding first baseman of all time, has just made a fantastic over-the-shoulder catch.
- He is off both feet, with a nice puff of dirt.
- The fans immediately behind him are in wheelchairs, which (due mainly to the low percentage of fans in wheelchairs at any given game) is unusual to see on a card.
- A few of the fans look pretty damn scared!
The Hatcher card is pretty nice, too, although far more ordinary. We have Hatcher's name and number on the front and a nice action-running shot on the back showing him holding both batting gloves in his right hand (and the entire bottom of one shoe visible.)
Maldonado appears to be levitating his bat on the back of his card...sweet!
Maldonado never homered to win a game but he did have 4 walk-off plate appearances: two singles, a walk, and a sac fly.
BEST IN 1990
The choice here is actually very clear--but do you know the answer? It's Maldonado, who had his third-best season in 1990, launching 22 HR while collecting 92 RBI and a 116 OPS+. His best season was 1987 with the Giants and #2 was 1992 with the Blue Jays as a totally forgotten member of that championship team.
Hatcher wasn't fantastic during the regular season of 1990 but came up big that year in the postseason. I know I wrote about his post-season recently somewhere but I can't find it. Oh well.
Hernandez and Clary were both in the final year of their big-league careers in 1990.
Keith Hernandez = Harkened zenith
Billy Hatcher = Chilly breath
Marty Clary = Clay martyr
Candy Maldonado = Lady and a condom
We have 3 guys who were key parts of championship teams and they all did good things in the post-season. But Hernandez did a lot more in the regular season than Hatcher and Maldonado, and that's saying something because those guys were no slouches.