Matt Nokes – 1990 Topps

October 18, 2010

“No, This Is Not A Staged Photo! No, Really, It’s Not!!”

Yes, I’m collecting 1990 Topps. I bought a box of wax at a local card shop (my third favorite, only due to the fact it takes a 1/2 hour to get there since it’s in Roseville and I’m in Eden Prairie. Take a gander at the Twin Cities and you’ll see why it’s tough to get there…) along with others from the junk wax era. Of all of the 1990 sets, I like this one the least.

For some reason, the photos reminded me of the early Fleer sets with their lack of resolution and clarity. At a time when Score and Upper Deck were producing nice cards, and Donruss was going red (I like it, OK!) and Fleer was about to go yellow (I really like that – so shaddap) Topps came out with a clinker, quality wise.

In this shot, it seems Topps paid homage to their roots by staging an action shot. It is unique because it’s a catcher’s action shot ‘catching’ a foul pop, instead of a pitcher ‘pitching’. Nice try, but it’s still staged and a bit cheesy.

I’m sure some prefer the 1990 Topps to the other sets, but not me. Of course, I’m the guy that eschews chromes and relics and trades them like candy so I can get more, more, more commons and regular dudes. Like Matt Nokes.

(And I’m a guy who uses the word ‘eschews’ in a baseball card blog. I’m also a guy who really needs an editor. When I write client reports, I pore over them after the first draft. Here, though…I don’t care if I read like a dinglephwatt, I’m here for the moment…man. Though if some publisher wants to give me money, I could use an editor!)

Anyway…Nokes, a regular dude? “Hey, I remember him! He was good!” you say.

Well….

He had a great 1987. Of course, 1987 was the year of the ‘helium’ ball where everyone hit dingers. You’ll have real flukes once in a while, like Bert Campaneris’ 1970, but 1987  was definitely a juiced ball year.

Nokes’ season is an exhibit for the prosecution. 32 home runs in 1987. 36 home runs totals in 1988, 1989 and 1990.

He had 24 and 22 home runs in 1991 and 1992, respectively, but he was a decent hitter, for a catcher, with modest power.

The trouble is, he wasn’t much of a catcher. Most of the time, he had negative fielding runs for the year.

He didn’t even get a ‘Yankee bump’ because when he was Yank, they were pretty bleah. He was being phased out by 1993, when Buck Showalter got them over .500 for the first time in a while. Mike Stanley caught the majority of the games.

(Sidenote: Stanley, Nokes and Jim Leyritz as the catchers. You wonder why the Yankees pitchers didn’t revolt!)

So Nokes is remembered for his rookie year, and that’s about it. He did parlay that into a nice career, length wise, but he was one of those flukes that happen all of the time in baseball.

Which is another reason to love the game!

 

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