Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sets in My Collection: 1988 Fleer Toys"R"Us Baseball MVP Set (Dunne, Higuera, Hough, Seitzer, Sheets)

This Sunday's featured set is the 1988 Fleer Toys"R"Us Baseball MVP set.
A Toys"R"Us exclusive.
The top of the box is really the only thing to indicate the Toys"R"Us connection.  I have at least one other Toys"R"Us boxed set, and those are clearly marked on the fronts of the cards.  These are more of a generic card design; maybe they made the cards first and figured out which retailer would get it later.
Very generic box front.
Not much on the front of the box.  Very generic.  Some of these boxed sets have a logic to them, and others don't.  For example, a set of season highlights, or a set of rookies, or a set of players who led their teams in some statistical categories, would have some logic to it.  This, Baseball MVP, is completely meaningless.  There obviously aren't 44 MVPs in one year, so this is just a box of cards of some players that are at least pretty good.

Pirates rookie Pitcher Mike Dunne.
Mike Dunne went 13-6 in his rookie season (1987) with the Pirates.  It was fun to watch him do so well, and to watch the Pirates start their resurgence, as they were building up to three consecutive divisional titles.  Dunne was traded early in 1989, and his career ended soon after.

Brewers Pitcher Ted Higuera.
The Brewers were in the AL back then, there was no interleague play, and they didn't make the playoffs.  So, I may never have heard of Ted Higuera without these boxed sets.  He had a few solid seasons, going 20-11 with a 2.79 ERA and making the All-Star team in 1986, going 18-10 with a 3.85 ERA in 1987, and going 16-9 with a 2.45 ERA in 1988.  It was downhill from there for him, though, and he finished his career in 1994 with a lifetime record of 94-64 with a 3.61 ERA and 1081 strikeouts.  More than half his career wins and more than half his career strikeouts came in those three years.
Rangers Pitcher Charlie Hough.
People only ever talk about Charlie Hough by prefacing his name with "knuckleballer."  So, here we have knuckleballer Charlie Hough, a journeyman pitcher who debuted in MLB with the Dodgers in 1970.  Despite 1987 being his 18th major league season, he was going strong, and led the AL in games started with 40 and in innings pitched with 285.1, earning a record of 18-13.  In 1993 he joined the expansion Florida Marlins, and with them his 25th season was his last in 1994.  Hough retired with a 216-216 record, a 3.75 ERA, 61 career saves, and 2362 strikeouts.

Kevin Seitzer of the Royals.
The name Kevin Seitzer is vaguely familiar to me from the 1980s.  He was in the majors from 1986-1997, and was an all-star with the Royals in 1987 and again with the Brewers in 1995.  He was the runner up for Rookie of the Year, behind Mark McGwire, in 1987, having batted .323 and having led the AL in hits with 207.
Larry Sheets of the Orioles.
I'll close this post with Larry Sheets.  I have no memory of Larry Sheets, but it looks like he had the best season of his career in 1987, batting .316.  He was in the majors from 1984-1990, and again in 1993.  His career totals are 607 hits and 339 RBI, with a .266 average.

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