A first round pick in 1985, Chuck Finley didn’t exactly dominate in his first season out of college, going 3-1 with a 4.66 ERA at short season Salem. He pitched 10 games with A-level Quad Cities in 1986 before getting recalled to the Angels. Even there he didn’t show anything too special, so I’m a bit baffled as to why the Angels went ahead and called him up…still, he ended up putting up a 126 ERA+ with the Angels in 1986. He spent his first two years in the majors in the bullpen, so I’m not sure if he was considered a hot rookie at the time or not. I do know that by the time I scored this card for the first time, around 1991, it was considered one of the key rookies of the 87 Donruss set.
Of course, Finley went on to have a strong major league career, going 200-173 career with a 115 ERA+ over 17 seasons. As for this card, it’s just all right. If it didn’t have the nostalgia factor from when I was trying to complete the 1987 Donruss set, I’m not sure it would be worth a mention for the photo. It’s a bit of an odd one, with his face contorted. Why didn’t he have more shoulder trouble, actually? That looks like a painful motion.
Man, this was the card to have back when the 89 Upper Deck high numbers set came out. This kind of time-lapse photography was a complete and total novelty in the hobby (in fact, this may have been the first card to feature such a shot), and Abbott was a red-hot rookie, too. It took a lot of finagling to trade for a copy, and when you got it, you held on to it for dear life. Somewhere between there and here, I lost my copy and had to pick up the high numbers set for a song back in 2003, if only for nostalgia’s sake.
However Abbott’s career turned out, it was going to be a triumph, but I think he had a pretty decent career. Disregarding his win-loss record, he had lots of years where he was above a 100 ERA+. Pretty damn good! And of course throwing in the inspirational angle, Abbott comes out a winner.