Sandy Alomar, Jr. – 1991 Donruss

December 22, 2010

All-Star Sandy Alomar Jr.?

Oh, what a debut Mr. Alomar had. He had more potential than his brother Roberto because he was a catcher as opposed to a second baseman. The Indians fleeced the Padres by giving up the over-rated Joe Carter for Sandy, Carlos Baerga and Chris James (one of these things is not like the other…) and Sandy had an OPS+ of 107, was a Gold Glover, and All-Star and won Rookie Of The Year. A great debut!

Or was it?

He actually had a negative fielding runs. Kevin Appier had 1.9 WAR over Alomar. He was lucky Kevin Maas, Ben McDonald and Travis Fryman didn’t have a full year in the bigs. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great debut, just nothing to totally flip out over.

But when this card came out, I am sure that speculation ran heavy in the baseball card world. And, you could get a Donruss, Fleer, Fleer Ultra, Topps, Topps Stadium Club, Upper Deck, Score and some of the other smaller sets and hoard them for when Sandy Alomar Jr. goes to Cooperstown.

Well, as you know, thanks to injuries and wear and tear, the only way he’ll be visiting Cooperstown is to see his brother get inducted (WHICH HE WILL!).

He only played 100 games in a season four times in his career. His career OPS+ wound up at 86. The multiple names in his similarity scores by age are Toby Hall, Darrin Fletcher and Don Slaught, who was the most similar player for a career six times (ages 33-38).

Sandy also shows that the hype of baseball doesn’t just emanate from New York, Boston, Chicago or LA. Alomar played in Cleveland, of all places, and was a six-time All Star.

Including 1991, where he was a starter for the AL. After missing a month, he was hitting a robust .241 with a .592 OPS at the break – and that was after a 4-4 game against Milwaukee the Sunday before the break.

Most of the spring he struggled to hit .200 and had a sub .500 OPS. And he was voted an All Star!

He wound up getting hurt again, and had an OBP and SLG under .300. This was probably one of the worst seasons ever for a player voted to start the All Star Game.

He was voted on again in 1992, and had just got his OPS to .600 right before the break. He got hurt again, and from then on was a big question mark each and every season.

It’s no secret that injuries curtailed his career, but I doubt he would have been more than a serviceable catcher even without the injuries.

Don’t believe the hype!


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