Friday, March 30, 2018

1990 Donruss Best of the NL: Cardinals Team Set

With this post, we're halfway through our look at the 1990 Donruss Best of the National League set.  We've seen the Pirates, Dodgers, Padres, Astros, and Cubs so far; now with the Cardinals, we've done six out of the then-twelve teams that made up the NL of my youth.
Lee Smith.
Joe Magrane.
In my memory, the Cardinals of the late 80s and early 90s, such as the 1987 team which won the NL pennant, had a lot of depth, including their pitching.  Closer Lee Smith was with the Cards from 1990 through 1993, having been with the Cubs and Red Sox before that.  I've said this before more or less, but I think it's a travesty that he isn't in the Hall of Fame.  If you read about this, people say that no one has figured out what the standard should be for a relief pitcher to make the Hall; that didn't stop Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers from getting in.  That they're enshrined and Smith isn't is a demonstration of how little the Hall is worth, in my opinion.

I'm surprised to see that Joe Magrane's career totals aren't terribly good -- his career record is 57-67 with a 3.81 ERA.  I think of him as stronger than that, and I guess I'm remembering his good years -- he led the NL with a 2.18 ERA in 1988, and he went 18-9 with a 2.91 ERA in 1989.  He stuck around in the majors until 1996, but those were his last good seasons.  According to Wikipedia, he never really recovered from an elbow injury in 1990.
Ken Dayley.
Bryn Smith.
Thus far, for the other teams we've seen, Donruss always seems to include four pitchers out of the twelve cards for any of these teams.   Here we have Ken Dayley and Bryn Smith, but there are actually five pitchers total, as below we have Jose DeLeon, too.  John Tudor seems like an omission, as Tudor went 12-4 with a 2.40 ERA in 1990.  Fellow starter Bryn Smith, by contrast, was 9-8 with a 4.27 ERA.  Reliever Ken Dayley pitched in 58 games in 1990, finishing 17, with a 4-4 record, two saves, and a 3.56 ERA.
Terry Pendleton.
Pedro Guerrero.
Like I said, those Cardinals teams had depth.  Terry Pendleton was the NL MVP in 1991 after leaving for the Braves, leading the NL in hits with 187 and batting average with .319.  The only time he hit that well with the Cards, though, was his rookie season in 1984, when he hit .324 while playing in 67 games.  Pedro Guerrero was traded from the Dodgers to the Cardinals in 1988 for John Tudor (Tudor, mentioned above, rejoined the Cardinals later as a free agent).  Guerrero did well with the Cardinals, leading the NL in doubles with 42 in 1989, while batting .311 and finishing third in the NL MVP vote behind Kevin Mitchell and Will Clark.
Ozzie Smith.
Todd Zeile.
Ozzie Smith had a bit of an off year offensively in 1990, batting .254, but was still an All-Star and Gold Glove winner.  Rookie catcher Todd Zeile was at the start of a long and productive career; he played until 2004, and amassed 2,004 career hits.  How about that.
Jose DeLeon.
Vince Coleman.
Here's Jose DeLeon, shown batting; I always like cards of pitchers batting.  In 1990, DeLeon led the NL in losses with his 7-19 record, with a 4.43 ERA.  He fared much better in 1989, leading the NL in strikeouts instead, with 201.  And then there's Vince Coleman, the NL's version of Rickey Henderson.  Henderson had much more staying power and was a more well-rounded player, but the comparisons between the base-stealing champs were inevitable.  In 1990, Coleman led the NL in steals for the sixth consecutive, and final, time, with 77.
Willie McGee.
Jose Oquendo.
We'll close this post out with 1985 NL MVP Willie McGee and second baseman Jose Oquendo.  In 1989, McGee only played 58 games and batted .236; he bounced back in 1990, playing 125 games with St. Louis, batting a league-leading .335, before being traded to the A's in August.  He went 2-for-10 in the World Series as the A's were swept by the Reds.  Jose Oquendo played for the Mets in 1983 and 1984, and then the rest of his career with the Cardinals, 1986 through 1995.  He put up career numbers of 821 hits, a .256 batting average, and 254 RBI.

That's it for this week; next Friday we'll take a look at the Phillies.  Thanks for reading!

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