Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Joy of a team set, chapter 7
The 1991 "Worst-to-First" Minnesota Twins are 25 years old, you guys. Flagship sets on real cardboard are 25 years old, you guys!!!
You guys ... you're old!
Yeah, I'm old, too. But we knew that. You're old!
It's staggering that the 1990s, which for me was a whirlwind-shitstorm of not the friendliest decade, is 25 years old. We just got rid of all that Yankees-Braves nonsense, didn't we? Is it possible that people active in the workforce right now have no idea what EMF is? Unbelievable!
But confronting reality head-on, here I am acknowledging the '91 World Series champion Twins in the latest edition of Joy of a Team Set.
As you know, the 1990 Twins finished dead last. So when the 1991 Topps set came out, there was no indication that the team featured on cardboard would end up as World Champions. I get the sense that with some of the older sets, Topps featured better or more distinctive photos for the best teams (i.e. the mid-1970s Oakland A's). But if that's true, Topps couldn't do that with the Twins because everyone knew as 1991 began that this was a BAD TEAM.
Still, I think the Twins fared pretty well in the 1991 set. Except for one unfortunate incident:
OK, on with a complete look at the team:
I included the '91 Traded Twins in the team scan, which is every card from Steve Bedrosian forward. It really gives you a look at how the Twins went from last to a championship. Every one of those Traded guys was a key component for the championship Twins.
Meanwhile, Nelson Liriano, John Moses, Jack Savage, Roy Smith, Tim Drummond and that "future star" Rich Garces, did not play on the '91 Twins, and it's safe to say they didn't miss those guys a bit.
Now, on with the rundown:
Favorite card runners-up:
5. Junior Ortiz; 4. Jack Morris; 3. Kirby Puckett; 2. Greg Gagne
Favorite element on the back:
"Rick played in Alaska in 1981 and Hawaii in 1982." This is the perfect baseball card blurb. It means absolutely nothing yet is fascinating at the same time.
Famous error card: The errors in 1991 Topps have been examined to an excessive degree. But I don't know of any with the Twins cards.
Team's claim to fame: A small-market franchise was able to win two World Series titles in five years.
Players I've talked to: None. But Kirby Puckett was on my fantasy team in 1996 when he went on the DL with glaucoma and then retired in the middle of the season. Yeah, I know that doesn't qualify as talking to someone, but I just wanted everyone to know why I don't participate in fantasy baseball anymore.
Most interesting card:
I HOPE MITCH WEBSTER IS SLIDING INTO A BASE, OR ABLE TO TOUCH A BASE WITH HIS HAND, OR BEING A GOOD BOY IN GENERAL. Baseball-playing philistines!
Former or future Dodgers: Greg Gagne, Kevin Tapani, Mark Guthrie, Jack Savage and Scott Erickson. All except Savage played for the Dodgers after playing for the Twins, including Erickson -- who didn't play for the Dodgers until 2005!
Favorite card in the set:
#672 - Shane Mack
That base might as well be a door floating in the North Atlantic and Shane Mack Leonardo DiCaprio.
By the way, Mack was a repeat fantasy team player on my squads. I use this card as a metaphor for those fantasy days.
Thanks again for joining me for "Joy of a Team Set."