The Rookie Cup Shortage of 1979 - 1986 had varying consequences. Some players seemed disappointed or perplexed by the missing trophy. Paul Molitor did not let it impact his play on the field, though I'm sure he was crestfallen.
In 2005, Topps tried to right some of the wrongs with a new set that included players from all of the All-Star Rookie Rosters. "Super Joe" was never the same after seeing that his 1981 Topps Card was missing the Cup. Alfredo Griffin kept his eyes fixed on the horizon, hoping for a sign.
Lonnie Smith and Tim Raines tried to run from the pain, stealing 370 and 808 bases respectively. The 2005 set is a cold comfort. Raines was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017, and that probably helps, a little.
Cal Ripken, Jr. made the team 2 years in a row in hopes of having a trophy on his card. When he found out the trophy was missing again, he vowed to never miss another game "A least I get to play baseball, I guess."*
As the years progressed, people began to wonder what it would take to bring the Cup back, a fan favorite for nearly 20 years. Sandberg and Puckett would make their way to the Hall of Fame as well, starting their careers with extreme disappointment, but somehow found a way forward.
Things were getting bleak and it was not clear if the Cup would ever return. Brook Jacoby's timely hitting and Vince Coleman's blazing speed did not bring the Cup back. Then a funny thing happened. Noted Psychic Mark Salas declared, "The Rookie Cup will be back in the 1987 Topps Set. Our long nightmare is over. Oh, and the Twins will win the World Series in 87 too. Book it."**
*Not a real quote.
**Also not a real quote. He was totally right, though - uncanny!