Category Archives: Indians Prospects

Mike Huff

Huff Gold Leaf

Was this card a fluke? I never, in my life, understood how Mike Huff slipped into this set. Did they decide they needed an Indian? First of all, Huff’s rookie cards were abundant in 1990, when he was a Dodger, and he wasn’t that highly rated a prospect then. I mean, just look at his minor league numbers. I’m guessing his .318 average with Albequerque in 1989 fooled some people, but come on, he was playing in the PCL. It’s not that hard. I think he may also have had some speed, but I don’t have his SB numbers in front of me. Still…no power, not much of a bat. Was he a good fielder? I’m guessing yes, as he’s shown here with his glove. But I was never high on him and looked down on his cards.
 
Still, this is one of my favorite shots in the set.  I love how it takes one of those old chestnuts of baseball cards and turns it into something a little more vibrant. When I look at it, I can smell the grass, feel the hopefulness of a spring game. It’s just a cool little shot. 
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Tim Costo

Costo Gold Leaf

Here’s another dynamo from the 1990 draft that I thought would make far more of an impact than he did. The overall 8th pick in 1990, Costo was drafted as a shortstop with power potential, but the thinking was that he would eventually move over to third. You can see here that he had already been moved to 1B because of his atrocious fielding. And what did he do with the bat? Well, 1990 looked decent, as he had a .316 average and a .447 SLG at high-A Kinston, then had a .271 average with a .370 SLG at AA Canton-Akron before getting shipped to Cincinnati’s minor league system, where he improved a bit. The power never really did develop, though, and he only got a shot in 1992 and 1993 in Cincinnati, where he had a combined 64 OPS+ before getting sent back down for good.
 
So this card stands as a testament to what could have been, and of the folly of trying to project baseball players. Being a first baseman when this card came out, I liked it, but now I see it’s not that great a photo, which especially stands out against the excellent photography of the gold rookie set. Ah, Tim. What you could have had.

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Darrel Akerfelds

This guy was a prospect?

This guy was a prospect?

 

Darrel was one of the first 1988 Score cards that I can remember seeing…I think he especially stood out to me since I hadn’t seen him marked as anything of a rookie or prospect in the Donruss, Fleer, or Topps sets. This turned out to be for a good reason, as the guy was absolutely atrocious in 1987 and didn’t even appear in the majors in 1988. I’m not even sure he would have qualified as a rookie in 1988, so maybe Score didn’t “get” rookie propspects? Even a quick glance at his minor league numbers shows a guy who just wasn’t destined to make an impact at the major league level.
 
So why include this card as part of my journal? 1. Because it represents one of my earliest run-ins with a rookie card, and 2. it represents those prospects that card manufacturers designate that I just didn’t and don’t “get”, and it’s an especially early example, right on the cusp of the baseball card bubble. I’ve decided to cover a few of these odd choices and their resulting busts, because it paints a bigger picture of what I was dealing with as I grew into a teenage prospector. 

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Manny Ramirez

Ramirez Minors

I liked Manny from the day he was drafted. I thought the guy had the potential to become just what he has: an amazing hitter with plus power. I also admit, I was caught offguard with the PED suspension, but I still can’t bring myself to dislike him.
 
Here we see him very young and working his way up the Indians chain. I never had this card the first time around, so picking this up was a real treat for me. I think I might target more of ManRam’s minor league cards. It’s weird to see him so thin and with short hair.

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Jim Thome

Thome Classic Best

God, look how thin and young Thome looks here. This was back when he was more of a spray hitter with power potential…and it’s funny to think of him as a third baseman these days, given that he’s built like a tank, but yeah…he actually wasn’t a bad one, either. I remember hearing some rumblings about Thome late in 1990, and was thrilled to first get this card and then his 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition card (which will eventually show up here). Still, awesome to see him with the Canton-Akron team, as I have some personal connection to the area (friends living there). Wonder if that stadium’s still standing?

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