1992 Topps 91 Debut
Tony Scruggs was part of the Rangers’ late 80s/early 90s minor league outfield trifecta – playing in the same outfield as Sammy Sosa and Juan Gonzalez. Scruggs was seen as the speedster with a good glove, who might eventually develop into a 20/20 type guy. Tony’s early minor league numbers were very encouraging: .337 with a .512 SLG at two levels in 1987. Unfortunately, his numbers would plummet as he climbed the ladder; .282 with a .429 SLG in 1988, and .245 with a .342 in 1989. While Sosa and Gonzalez were being heralded, Scruggs was slowly falling out of favor. He only played five games in the majors, in 1991, and ended up with a -100 OPS. Wow. Poor guy. He stuck around in the minors until 1993, but soon was gone. He was an actor for a bit, but no idea what he’s up to these days.
The card itself is pretty ugly, though. Typical spring training shot, covered in sweat, looking all hopeful. Sad, really.
1991 Upper Deck
Peltier was one of those “amazing” prospects from the early 90s that never really found success at higher levels of the minors, much less the majors. At the time this pic was taken, he wasa highly-rated guy in AA, though he had dropped from .402 with a .648 SLG to .279 with a .415 SLG, a disturbing trend. He fell further in Oklahoma City in 1991, to .229.with a .325 SLG. Despite this, the Rangers called him up in 92, and he produced a .167/.167/.167 line. Amazing, right? He stuck somewhat in 1993, putting up a 92 OPS+.
Then he was gone until 1996, when he returned with the Giants and put up a 69 OPS+ before disappearing from the majors for good.
Still, this maintains one of the more iconic baseball card photos (for me) from the early 90s. This card alone encouraged me to buy a Tulsa Drillers shirt, which I believe my father still has. Good memories.
1991 Classic Draft
I’m going to start with a critique of this set before going on to talking about Gil. The Classic Draft sets of 1990 and 1991 were kind of neat for the time – they hadn’t really been done before, and I enjoyed seeing players in their high school and college uniforms rather than some mocked-up shots in Major League uniforms. I know I’m in the minority when it comes to that, and it can be done way wrong (look at the photos in the Stadium Club stadium sets). So while I’m kind of glad they went away after becoming so unfocused in the following years, there was a brief time when they were golden. At least, for me, anyway.
Now this was one of my favorite shots in the entire 1991 set, though I knew Gil wasn’t going to be anything super-special. You don’t see photos of the leg cocks like this, and I especially like the way the foot overlaps the border down there at the bottom.
As for Gil himself…what can you say, really? One of those AAAA players who never went anywhere. But I dug this card.
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.