Oh, the sad saga of Alex Cole. I kind of remember getting this card in early 1990 and dismissing it – who the hell was this guy with the goofy glasses, anyway? Then he came up with the Indians later that year (his third team of the year, should have been a sign), and dazzled us on the basepaths. I was a kid, I was naive – I have all the excuses I need. I thought the guy was going to be an absolute superstar. He was electrifying to watch. And you know, looking at his numbers that season, he was actually a pretty damn good value as a rookie. A 108 OPS+ with speed on the basepaths and good defense is a valuable asset in centerfield.
He was actually pretty good in 1991, too…then the wheels seem to come off. I’m curious if he got involved in heroin at that point. It seems like something went downhill then…it took him until 1994 to recover, but by then I think the damage was done.
As a sad postscript to his career, he was arrested in 2001 for trafficking narcotics. He ended up pleading guilty and serving 18 months in prison. Four years later, he was served a judgment for over $30,000 for running up credit card bills under a friend’s name and failing to pay them. Well, Alex, here’s hoping you cleaned up your life. Thanks for the years of entertainment.
I was going through my collection last night and found the 1990 Classic card that I referenced in my previous Pete Rose Jr. entry, so I had to share:
Moises was one of the parade of prospects that I learned about early on, and how about that – he was actually good. Oh, and he was a great Expo, too (as I’ve talked about on that other site). Okay, so he peed on his hands. So what. Nasty? Yes. But effective. I can’t fault him if it worked.
Anyway, I don’t remember if I was excited to finally see an Alou card in the wild, but I know I had multiple copies of this card when I was a prospector, especially since he really only had this and the Fleer card in 1990. Come to think of it, why wasn’t he in the 1990 Upper Deck high numbers set? He was a fairly highly regarded prospect, especially with his pedigree. Kind of odd. Anyway, I still think this is a pretty cool card. It’s the kind of shot you don’t see much of, and on top of that it’s cool to see Alou in a Pirates uniform.
Believe it or not, this was one of the key cards of the 1990 Upper Deck issue for me. I had been reading about Offerman for a couple of years at this point and never seen so much as a picture of him. To see this, this ethereal shot of him where his face was only partially visible…well, it was like something out of a dream. I had visions of this card being the next Griffey card, with Offerman having so much potential.
Of course, we know how it turned out. He was merely okay, and probably the capper to his career was his infamous attack on a minor league umpire. But I’ll always have the teenage memories of Offerman’s 1990 Upper Deck.
I remember getting this card in a pack in 1990 and going “WHO?” I had no idea who he was, but I was immediately drawn to him. After all, there weren’t too many major league players who looked like I did (I was chubby even when I was playing ball every day), so it was exciting to me to see another big guy get a shot. It was even more exciting that he won Rookie of the Year when he got his shot.
Of course, big guys don’t age well in sports, and so he didn’t have much of an impact past that rookie year, but I still have some fondness in my heart for Bob. I wish he could have had a more productive long-term career. But I’m happy he got there at all when I think of other big guys whose careers died on the vine (Andre Keene, Calvin Pickering).
Dean is an example of the kind of prospect that I completely ignored. He was unheralded in most circles, and surprised with the power when he came up. Of course, once I realized he had big power, I stealthily scooped up this card from all of my friends. I was infatuated with power hitters back then, and thought Palmer 90 UDs were going to be my big meal ticket.
Of course, that didn’t happen, but Dean did have a fairly respectable career. Not bad for a guy who no one knew.
Boy, was I a crazy Blue Jays fan when Junior Felix made his debut. The Blue Jays had just drafted John Olerud, and on top of that, I loved the Jays’ uniform designs. Who couldn’t love that bird and maple leaf design, I’d like to know? I first saw Felix in the 1989 Upper Deck High Numbers set, and while I loved that card, I was hoping to find a card that better represented the guy’s crazy stance.
He was a big power/big speed/big strikeout guy who had trouble with OBP. Of course, that was lost on me at the time, and I just saw the power and speed combination that was so desirable right after Canseco broke the 40/40 barrier. I thought he was going to be a big superstar, but he flamed out a few years later with the Angels. Ah, well. Can’t get them all.
And now we get to a rare treat. I got to see this guy play, in person, in 1990. And what a player he was. He was still rocking that wrap-around shield on his helmet from the broken jaw, but I remember him taking the Mets to task that night on his way to the ROY that year. I was really thrilled when I pulled this card from a pack of high numbers upper deck…I thought he was going to end up in the Hall for sure. He seemed to have it all: a smooth swing, a good eye, power…and of course when he left the stadium later that night he drove right past us kids in his ferrari. Ah, well. I figured that was just the way stars were. I’ll have to tell a story about Tommy Gregg from that night another time…but I forgave Dave for it.
I think he’s another guy whose personal demons impacted his on-the-field play. I know, I know, character is difficult to quantify and all that, but I suspect some of his fall-off can be attributed to his issues.
Does anyone remember the hype behind this card? Lindros was, of course, a GIANT hockey prospect at the time, and I guess Score decided to cash in by taking some pictures of Lindros taking BP at the Skydome. Nobody really believed he was a baseball prospect – not even me, and I was crazy into the prospects at the time. Still, there was something almost mythical about this card, in a “Bo with Pads” kind of thing. It was the cherry on top of the cake when it came to getting the 1990 Score Update set.
Of course Lindros was never heard of within the baseball community, and this was more of an oddity than anything. I can’t comment too much on his hockey career, but from what I understand it was brilliant but damaged by multiple concussions. A shame…could he have done more in baseball? I doubt it, but it’s fun to think about.
Tommy Greene was another one of my gateway drugs to the world of prospecting. My uncle Raymond was a big Sporting News reader back in 1989/90, and he told me about this young flamethrower on the Atlanta farm named Tommy Greene. He said Glavine and Avery and Mercker were good and all, but Greene was supposed to be the arm of the future. I guess we know how that all turned out – he didn’t do too badly, all things considered, but he was no Glavine.
Still, funny to think of the pitching prospects Atlanta had at the time – Glavine, Avery, Greene, Mercker, Nezelek (though he was pretty much done by then), and Pete Smith – who was really supposed to be the gem, with Greene right behind. Funny how projecting pitching prospects worked back then…hell, I guess it’s still not much better.