Sunday, October 30, 2011

Completed sets: 2003 Topps Total baseball, part 4

Previously:  part 1 (#1-99)part 2 (#100-198), part 3 (#199-297)

Episode 4:  iOS users can't see this post since it features Flash, or, Why didn't I finish this feature before the end of the World Series?

Dunn was the picture of consistency before jumping to the AL and failing spectacularly, but he's still a reasonable candidate for a bounce-back 2012.  Kinkade is from my original hometown of Livonia, MI, and therefore gets a shout-out.  You'd think the Cubs would have been smarter about Prior after the Kerry Wood injury tour extravaganza-palooza, but then I'd question whether you'd seen the way the Cubs do things for the last 100+ years.  Helton's 1-2 comparisons?:  Edgar Martinez and former teammate Larry Walker; yep, sounds just about right.

Koch is one in a string of closers got the most from then flipped for something better, (Keith Foulke) and while his career wasn't long, he had a nice run of seasons of 30+ saves.  Claussen is notable because he was traded this season for Aaron FUCKING Boone, who--well, you know the rest....  Walbeck played from some typically bad 90s and aughts Tigers teams, but he's turned into a solid minor league manager, which shouldn't surprise anyone since he was a catcher.

Graves was actually born in Vietnam, and he had some good years as a closer, mostly for the Reds.  Grimsley apparently had a big-time propensity for cheating.  Damon was part of a typical A's trade in which they fleeced the Royals, then signed with the Sawx before the 2002 season; here we see him a year before he was part of the famous curse-busting 2004 team.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but Putz went to Michigan, and he's since had some nice years as a closer, something the Tigers might need after next year when Valverde's contract expires *hint hint*.  Higginson was sadly one of the better players on some awful, awful Tigers teams, parlayed that into a stupidly large (for the time) contract from the front office, then didn't live up to it; compares him tom Carl Everett, which I don't think is fair because he ostensibly has enough brain cells not to consider dinosaurs a conspiracy. 

Ishii was a bit of a story when he joined the Dodgers, and he did win almost 40 games in his three seasons with them, but then he was dealt to the Mets and their force field of suck, and he only lasted one season with them before ending his American career.  Lee's put up some solid power numbers, compares to the always awesome Moises Alou, and came over to the Rangers in 2006 with future playoff stud Nelson Cruz.  Matheny is another Wolverine alum, (though one I don't seem to collect for some reason) and had a respectable career as a catcher.  

Conine had a nice career for a 58TH-ROUNDER, playing 17 seasons and helping both of the Marlins World Series teams win their rings.  Eckstein is the benchmark for the gritty, overachieving white dude in sports, and rings with the Angels and Cardinals prove his value.  I've mentioned Bagwell plenty of times on this blog, including his historic ties to Frank Thomas, but hopefully I'm staying consistent with my previous posts in saying I'd like to see him in the Hall.  I was wrong about my prediction that Holiday wouldn't hit all that well when he left Coors as he's been fairly valuable for the Cardinals, his injury-plagued World Series aside.

Infante was a Tigers stalwart until he was dealt to the Cubs, then moved to the Braves, where he inexplicably was an All-Star in 2010.  A-Rod was in his third year with the Rangers here, and he won the first of his three MVPs that year, which is all well and good, but he's still a massive douche and everybody likes to see him fail.  Ichiro is simply amazing and, like Bagwell, I've brought him up often enough around here that I'm not gonna say more right now than I hope he keeps playing and racking up hits.

The Tigers notably drafted Inge and felt his athleticism warranted a move to catcher; 2003 was his third season in the bigs and he barely cracked .200, foreshadowing his future hitting ability, though he's also had some big moments for Detroit.  Kent's stats compare to Dave Parker, and when you take into account that he played mostly 2B and the corner IF spots and had a notoriously bad temper during the steroid era, that kind of makes sense.  Konerko is a former top prospect that bounced around a few teams but finally got to show off that potential with the White Sox, rewarding them with quite a few outstanding seasons, many against my Tigers.

The Braves famously chose Chipper Jones over Van Poppel and the results speak for themselves, though he did at least last for parts of 11 Major League seasons.  Hairston is part of a noted baseball family which includes his namesake father and brother Scott.  In his 20th season, Rhodes finally won a championship after he was released by the Rangers and signed by the Cards.  (Very nice timing)  Jimenez actually threw a no-no in 1999 and beat Randy Johnson in the process, which is fairly impressive, even if his career wasn't.

Randa isn't pictured as a Tiger here, but he was also part of some of our worst teams.  I don't know why they went with such a goofy pose for Franco, but the guy had an awesome 21-year career as a reliever, mostly for the Mets, and compares well to another notable RP, Lee Smith.  The Rangers clearly don't deserve Young after the bullshit they pulled with him over the offseason, but fortunately for them, he was still part of their 2011 team and had a typically strong year.  Mauer was just 20 in 2003 and wouldn't be up with the big team until the following season, but it's been mostly success for him since then.  What's the deal with inserting the checklists out of order, anyway?

Kendall had a decent career as a catcher, but he never thrilled me much, as I think I've stated before.  Way to randomize the checklists, Topps.  Gordon had one of the game's best nicknames and enjoyed a nice 21-year career.  Shiggy had a memorable name and a not-so-memorable career.  Todd Jones is one of my least favorite Tigers closers and looks like he belongs at a NASCAR race, not on a Major League mound.

Crime Dog had an outstanding career, won a ring in '95 and had one of the all-time great nicknames; really, could a player ask for anything else?  Sweeney is one of the more memorable Royals of recent seasons, which isn't saying much, but he had a few good seasons with them.  Mientkiewicz is famous for having a crazy last name and keeping the game ball from the '04 Boston World Series-winning game after coming over from the Twins.  Moyer won 267 games in an astounding 24 seasons and won a ring with the 2008 Phils, one of seven teams he played for.

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