Tag Archives: Donruss

Retro Rookies: Chuck Finley

1987 Donruss

1987 Donruss

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.
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Filed under Angels Prospects

Dwight Smith

Smith Auto

Okay, so technically this isn’t one of Dwight’s “golden age” cards, from his Cubs years, but I wanted to share it. Back in 1989, you were either a Jerome Walton guy or a Dwight Smith guy. I was a Dwight Smith guy. I didn’t think Walton had a whole lot to offer beyond some speed, where Smith was a better all-around package. If you’d asked me back then, I would have thought Smith was destined to have a pretty decent career – probably just on the edge of superstar (think Terry Pendleton). So I don’t quite understand why Smith didn’t pan out that way. Oh, sure, he had a better career than Walton, but he never really got to Pendleton levels. Kind of sad.
 
But, all that given, I still wasn’t much of a Smith collector. I think the problem is that the other guys in the neighborhood saw Walton and Smith as cardboard gold, and so it was hard to pry the cards away. I think I may have finally gotten my hands on an 89 Upper Deck of him, but I can’t remember for sure. Anyway, this card was a little way of sating that poor, Smith-less child inside. 

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Brent Knackert

Knackert Donruss

I’m covering Marquis Grissom’s 1990 Rookies issue on my other site this morning, and it seemed fitting to look at one of the more obscure prospects from that set on this site today. Knackert was not the best prospect, but what he represents is a branching out. He had an okay if not stellar minor league reputation with the White Sox before getting picked up by the Mets as a Rule V draftee. I guess he failed to make the squad and the Mariners picked him up off waivers, deciding to give him a shot at staying on the roster that year, and what an abysmal year it was. I mean, the guy was 21, but he had a 61 ERA+. My branching-out prospecting brain, however, seized on his age rather than his ability and thought he had staying power. Yeah, he didn’t. He made it to the majors again in 1996, then he was done. I still had a lot to learn.
 
But what really brings me back on this card is that Mariners cap. I loved that logo, for some reason. I guess it was the yellow on blue…it had such a classic 80s feel, yet I didn’t know what that even meant at the time. All I knew was that I had to have one, being a big uniform and cap sucker. I wore that thing with pride for a few years until it was too worn out to carry on, along with my two Blue Jays hats with that classic, awesome logo that made me a Jays fan for so many years.  You know the one.
 
I felt like I was an oddity for years, until I discovered entire sites dedicated to the subject. And yet no sites dedicated to Mr. Knackert. But hey, he does have a facebook page, with a picture from his Red Sox year.
 
Rock on, Brent.

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Filed under Mariners Prospects