In one of his recent entries kkk talked about his favorite looking baseball cards. This got me be remembering one of my favorite baseball card collecting habits from my childhood, buying those store brand baseball sets. Stores like K-Mart and Toys 'R' Us would have their baseball cards, typically produced by Topps, that would feature star players or rookies. The sets were cheap and the cards were all glossy which was still a very unique feature back in the late 80's.
The first such set I remember buying was the 1987 Topps Toys 'R' Us Rookies set. It was a set of 33 cards featuring the rookies from the 1986 season. I took terrible care of the cards and now I don't even remember where they are but I do still remember those black boarded cards. I couldn't find individual pictures of the cards but I did find a site that showed that displays the entire set. Here are the links:
OMG Bonds and Canseco's cards were together, it was a sign!!!
See a relatively thin John Kruk.
As you see 1986 produced a pretty impressive crop of rookies and some several infamous names as well. I had been thinking of trying to do a Reward Redo that wasn't an MVP vote but every other award in baseball only allows three players to be voted on a ballot. So I figured I'd do a Top 10 list of the best rookie season from 1986.
In my first entry about my very first game I mentioned that Wally Joyner was robbed by Jose Canseco in the '86 ROY voting and I'll put that claim to the test. They were the only two to receive first place votes on the A.L. side with Mark Eichhorn and Cory Snyder receiving some secondary support. In the N.L. the award was won by Todd Worrell who had already become nationally known as he had been a late season call up in '85 and made the Cardinals postseason roster. He became a household name due to being involved in the infamous blown call by Don Denkinger in Game 6 of the World Series that would eventually cost the Cardinals the series. Worrell was a near unanimous choice as Kevin Mitchell was the only player to a receive a first place vote.
So who was the best rookie of 1986?
147 ERA+, 2.59 K/BB, 1.21 WHIP, 23.1 VORP, 13 Win Shares
.272/.299/.500, 62 RC, 115 OPS+, .276 EQA, 24.6 VORP, 13 Win Shares
.287/.343/.444, 62 RC, 121 OPS+, .284 EQA, 22.1 VORP, 14 Win Shares
.277/.344/.466, 53 RC, 125 OPS+, .290 EQA, 21.6 VORP, 14 Win Shares
.250/.320/.463, 80 RC, 109 OPS+, .277 EQA, 24.6 VORP, 16 Win Shares
175 ERA+, 1.78 K/BB, 1.23 WHIP, 26.5 VORP, 19 Win Shares
.240/.318/.457, 86 RC, 115 OPS+, .286 EQA, 30.2 VORP, 21 Win Shares
.270/.347/.489, 87 RC, 124 OPS+, .290 EQA, 35.4 VORP, 15 Win Shares
.290/.348/.457, 95 RC, 119 OPS+, .292 EQA, 41.1 VORP, 21 Win Shares
246 ERA+, 3.69 K/BB, 0.96 WHIP, 66.4 VORP, 21 Win Shares
Canadian Greats? He was born in San Jose.
Okay I was right that Jose Canseco robbed someone but it was actually Mark Eichhorn. Yes a middle reliever was the top rookie of 1986. He had actually made his MLB debut back in 1982 but didn't get another shot in the majors until four years later. He didn't make a start but pitched in 157 innings (five innings short of qualifying for the ERA title), striking out 166, and posting a 1.72 ERA in what would be by far his best year.
One more thing here's the career Win Shares rankings for the 33 players in that 1987 Topps Toys 'R' Us Rookies set. Ya big shock who's #1.
1. Barry Bonds 661
2. Barry Larkin 347
3. Will Clark 331
4. Jose Canseco 272
5. Wally Joyner 253
6. Ruben Sierra 222
7. Danny Tartabull 188
8. Kevin Mitchell 178
9. John Kruk 156
10. Robby Thompson 155
11. Kal Daniels 112
12. Pete Incaviglia 107
13. Dan Plesac 106
14. Todd Worrell 105
15. Mike LaValliere 95
16. Paul Assenmacher 86
17. Cory Snyder 85
18. Mark Eichhorn 83
19. Bruce Ruffin 76
20. Mitch Williams 75
21. Kurt Stillwell 73
22. Bo Jackson 72
23. Jim Deshaies 68
24. Dale Sveum 55
25. Eric King 50
26. John Cerutti 45
27. Andy Allanson 27
28. Scott Bailes 26
29. Andres Thomas 23
30. Greg Mathews 22
31. Charlie Kerfeld 15
32. Jim Traber 11
33. Ed Hearn 5