For the purposes of this post, I will focus only on Gonzalez the rookie and not the guy who came much later, because I have some strong opinions on who he became. Gonzalez the rookie, however, was one of my favorite players of 1991. He was something of an unheralded rookie, and I can see why: sure, he hit 24 home runs in 1990, but that came with a .265 average. Of course, in 1991, he only had a .254 average, but that was paired with a rather impressive (for that average) .320 OBP. IsoD, folks! And a 117 OPS+. In other words, he was just as worthy as I thought he was.
This was another example of the beauty of the Leaf Gold photography. The pose, the colors, the expression…just excellent. Very worth it.
Time for another repeat player, but at least this one is in a different uniform. This was from Jeff’s ROY campaign in 91, when he went .294/.387/.437 with 15 home runs and 82 RBI. This was the rare case when the ROY voters got it right. Bagwell was definitely the most deserving of the players that year and, no question, was the player who went on to have the best career. He’s just a no-brainer hall of famer.
The card itself is a great one, and I’m surprised it doesn’t get more love as a key Bagwell rookie. The shot itself may be old hat, but the angle is one I don’t remember seeing too much of. Just another example of the great photography in this set.
First of all, yes, Andujar Cedeno passed away in 2000 at the age of 31. Rough, given that he could have conceivably still been in the majors at the time. As I recall, he was a shorstop that was known more for his bat than his glove, which makes this shot kind of amusing. His best season was 1993 with the Astros, when he had 14 homes and a 106 OPS+. He followed that with a 100 OPS+ the next season, then unfortunately fell off from there, out of the majors by 1996. He held on in the minors until 1999 and was playing in an independent league when he passed away. It’s a sad story for a guy who had so much potential. I really thought he was going to be a superstar when I started picking up his cards. Ah, well.
As far as being in the Gold Rookies set, I like this card. That turf looks brutal, but it’s an interesting shot you don’t see too much of – not to mention the good color composition in this set.
Man, this guy looked like a monster in 1990. I was vaguely aware of his existence leading up to the release of this card, but seeing it and reading about his exploits on the back sealed the deal for my love for him. The late 80s and early 90s were all about big power guys for me, and Anthony was the prototype, with that monster shot he hit in the Astrodome.
But the main memory I have of Anthony has nothing to do with his career. It’s all about sitting in a musty old library in a musty old middle school that didn’t have air conditioning in the May sun. Four of us sat around a table right before class started, each with a stack of his own cards, divvying up offers and throwing down some lopsided trades. I was not the richest kid in the world, so trading was my biggest outlet for picking up players that I wanted; I would stack up cards of superstars of the day and offer them for the prospects, sure I was the one taking the other guy to the cleaner with my superior knowledge of player scouting and development.
Well, it didn’t quite work out, but I certainly remember getting this beaut of a card. It was probably my fourth or fifth copy of the card, but I could never get enough of the Sure Things, and Anthony was about as sure as it got. Too bad it never worked out that way.