Friday, March 2, 2018

1990 Donruss Best of the NL: Dodgers Team Set

I've been showing the 1990 Donruss Best of the NL set; I'm proceeding through the team sets, and I showed the Pirates a couple of weeks ago. Today I've chosen the Dodgers, who had recently won the World Series at that point.
Mike Scioscia and Fernando Valenzuela.
My nostalgia for the 80s makes me always want to see more Fernando Valenzuela cards.  His star was faded by this point, with his last great year being 1986, I guess.  In 1988, he only had five wins and didn't play in the postseason.  He of course still had great performances, though, like his 1990 no-hitter.  They say that Mike Scioscia learned Spanish to be able to work better with Valenzuela.  While I certainly do remember Scioscia from his baseball cards and from the 1988 World Series, I know him now just as well as the long-time manager of the Angels.  While I stopped following baseball after the 1994 strike until my son was born in 2015, I did watch a few of the World Series inbetween, and I did watch Scioscia become the winning manager in 2002.
Alfredo Griffin and Kirk Gibson.
Alfredo Griffin had a good career from 1976 through 1993, winning the World Series twice with the Blue Jays in addition to with the Dodgers in 1988.  He was also AL Rookie of the Year in 1979, sharing the award with John Castino of the Twins.  He currently is on the Angels coaching staff, working with teammate Scioscia.

What is there to say about Kirk Gibson?  If you looked "World Series heroics" up in the dictionary, you'd see him.
Tim Belcher and Ramon Martinez.
Tim Belcher was 12-6 for that 1988 Dodgers team, and 15-12 in 1989.  He stayed in the majors until 2000, amassing a career 146-140 record.  I remember Ramon Martinez as a hot rookie at the time, and he had a breakout year in 1990 with a 20-6 record with a 2.92 ERA, finishing second in NL Cy Young balloting.  He stayed in the majors through 2001, with a career 135-88 record.
Juan Samuel and Eddie Murray.
Then we have two transplants from other franchises, Juan Samuel, who was the Phillies' All-Star second baseman for most of the 80s, and Eddie Murray, who spent more than a decade as the Orioles' chief slugger.  They both also spent some time with the Mets, and with a number of other teams.  Samuel made his third and final All-Star appearance with the Dodgers in 1991, and Murray won a Silver Slugger in 1990 and was an All-Star in 1991, so they both had some success during their time in Los Angeles.
Orel Hershiser and Jay Howell.
Orel Hershiser was quite celebrated back then, winning the NL Cy Young, the NLCS MVP, and World Series MVP awards in 1988.  After 1988, he had the occasional good year here and there, but he just didn't have the same success again.  Jay Howell moved from the A's to the Dodgers for the 1988 season, and faced his old team in the World Series.  Howell pitched in relief in two games in the 1988 series, going 0-1.
Hubie Brooks and Kal Daniels.
Here again, like Juan Samuel and Eddie Murray above, we have two more players that I associate with other teams.  I think of Hubie Brooks as an Expo (even though he also spent a lot of time with the Mets), and I think of Kal Daniels as a Red.  Brooks was with the Dodgers for the whole 1990 season, playing 153 games with them; it was a solid year for him, batting in 91 runs.  Daniels played almost as many games with the Dodgers in his career as with the Reds, but I'm sure I think of him with the Reds because of his 1987 Topps card.  He arguably had the best year of his career with the Dodgers in 1990, batting .296 with 94 RBI.

With all this talent, the 1990 Dodgers finished second in the NL West, five games back, to the eventual champions, the Reds. 

Thanks for reading!  Next week we'll stay in southern California, taking a look at the Padres from the set.

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