1997 Topps All-Star Rookie subset

6 06 2013

Topps All-Star Rookies

The 1996 Topps All-Star Rookie Team was an excellent one.  There’s an all time great player on the team – Derek Jeter – who also happens to be the only player on the team whose card I didn’t get in my series 1 & 2 boxes.  Jeter was the AL Rookie of the Year, batting .314 with 183 hits, 104 runs and 78 RBI.  Jeter is easily the best out of a good class – he’s got about 3,100 and counting.

Todd Hollandsworth was the other Rookie of the Year winner – giving the Dodgers 5 in a row (Karros, Piazza, Mondesi, Nomo before him).  He hit .291 with 12 HR and 59 RBI – unfortunately, this was probably his best, though he stayed around for over a decade and played in over 1,000 games.

Topps got it right including Billy Wagner on the team.  Wagner was mostly a setup man for Houston in 1997, but he struck out 67 batters in 51 innings, with a 2.44 ERA.  Jose Rosado was probably a close 2nd in the battle for the LHP slot. But Wagner was great in 1996 and his career included 7 all-star appearances and becoming one of only 5 pitchers with 400 career saves.  The RHP they selected was Alan Benes (13-10, 4.90); I’d have gone with James Baldwin of the White Sox (11-6, 4.42).

Jason Kendall was the starting catcher for the Pirates in 1996 – he was another stellar name on this team.  Kendall was an All-Star that year, and 2 more times in his career.  He retired after 2010 with over 2,100 hits.  Tony Clark and Jermain Dye also had very good careers.  Clark made an All-Star team and hit 251 homers in his career after a promising 27 HR 1996 season.  Dye played about half the season in 1996, with 12 homers and 37 RBI, and he finished after 2009 with 2 All-Star appearances, a 44 homer 2006 where he was 5th in the MVP voting.  I never understood why Dye didn’t play after 2009.  Most players don’t have their career end after 27 HR and 81 RBI.

More so than Baldwin, Edgar Renteria and Rey Ordonez were the most notable missing name on this team.  They played the same position as Jeter, though, so it’s not as if you could call them snubs.  Renteria was runner-up to Hollandsworth for the NL RoY – and may have deserved the award.  Ordonez was 5th in that vote.

  • RHP – Alan Benes
  • LHP – Billy Wagner
  • C – Jason Kendall
  • 1B – Tony Clark
  • 2B – Tony Batista
  • 3B – Joe Randa
  • SS – Derek Jeter
  • OF – Todd Hollandsworth, Jermaine Dye, F.P. Santangelo



2 responses

7 06 2013
Jeff L

Regarding why Dye didn’t play after 2009, I believe it had to do with no team offered him a contract that he thought was satifsfactory. Like you mentioned, he was coming off a good season with the ChiSox entering free agency and in 2008 he received some MVP votes. So he was still playing at a level that he could help out a team. He thought that he should be receiving a salary similar to what he just received in his last contract. Any interested team looked at his age (36) and the number of older players available (i.e. Thome, Vlad) and were offering him around $2 million/year. He thought that some team would meet his demands and when no team did, he was out of baseball. He got paid $11.5 million for his final year so he should not be hard up for cash.

7 06 2013

Yeah – I understand those are the dynamics, it’s just you’d think somehow there would have been a “meet in the middle” point eventually with at least one team. I guess Vlad ended up in a similar situation – though the one difference was Dye could still play the field.

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