Monday, March 11, 2019

The 1992 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

Here they are - the Topps All-Star Rookie Team, selected "by the Youth of America" following the 1992 season and featured in the 1993 Topps set. 

I have completed the run of these up through 2018, specifically all regular issue cards that bear the All-Star Rookie Trophy.

First Base - Eric Karros
Los Angeles (N.L.) 1991 - '02, Chicago (N.L.) 2003, Oakland (A.L.) 2004

Eric Karros was the 1992 National League Rookie of the Year, and it wasn't just because he played for the Dodgers, who seem to be a Rookie of the Year factory. In 1992, Karros had 30 doubles and 20 homers, hitting .257 over 149 games. Karros was never named to an All-Star team (unless you count this Topps All-Star Rookie Team), but was a solid contributor for 14 MLB seasons. He topped 100 RBI 5 times, and won a Silver Slugger award in 1995, hitting 32 homers, driving in 105 while hitting .289. His career average was just .268, but he had over 1,700 career hits and drove in over 1,000 runs in that time. He was also a talented defender at first base, and like the All-Star roster, he was always the bridesmaid and never the Gold Glove winner. In his 14 year career, he became 18th All-Time in assists by a first baseman, and 44th Games played at first. He's the all-time leader in Home Runs by a player from New Jersey. After his playing career, he became a broadcaster for Fox Sports, and has been the co-color commentator on MLB - The Show video games since 2011.

Eric's Rookie Card is in the 1991 Bowman Set, Card #604

Left Handed Pitcher - Dave Fleming
Seattle (A.L.) 1991 - '95, Kansas City (A.L.) 1995.

Dave Fleming was 17 - 10 with a 3.39 ERA and 4 shutouts in 1992. He starred in 1990 for the Georgia Bulldogs in the NCAA College World Series, and was a 3rd round pick by the Mariners. He made quick work of the minor leagues, and his tremendous first season gave Seattle hope that they had found another Ace to pair with Randy Johnson. Fleming followed up with a 12 - 5 record in 1993, but never pitched 200+ innings after his first season. He started to have arm troubles by his second full season, but pitched as often as he was healthy. He finished his career in 1995, and became an elementary school teacher.

Dave's Rookie Card is in the 1991 Bowman Set, Card # 249

Outfield - Reggie Sanders
Cincinnati (N.L.) 1991 - '98, San Diego (N.L.) 1999, Atlanta (N.L.) 2000, Arizona (N.L.) 2001, San Francisco (N.L.) 2002, Pittsburgh (N.L.) 2003, St. Louis (N.L.) 2004 - '05, Kansas City (A.L.) 2006 - '07  

Sanders would combine power and speed to a 17 year MLB career that included a World Championship in 2001 with Arizona, and a 1995 All-Star appearance. He finished 4th in the NL ROY balloting, hitting .270 with 12 homers and 16 steals over 116 games. In 1994, Sanders was only hit by a pitch twice, but one of them was rife with controversy. Pedro Martinez plunked Sanders in the 8th inning of a perfect game. Sanders charged the mound, and would be ejected from the game. Later he'd get some grief from the press, as the prevailing thought is that no one would blow a chance at a perfect game by hitting a batter on purpose. He would go on to have a productive season in 1994 and follow it up with an even better 1995. He would make his only All-Star team that year, hitting 28 homers, stealing 36 bases and driving in 99. In 2001, Reggie was the starting RF for the Diamondbacks, and his veteran presence helped the team progress through the playoffs and to the World Series. In the Series, Sanders hit .304 and scored 6 runs in the 7 games. He'd shine in the playoffs again in 2005 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting .333 with a homer and 10 RBI against the Padres. Sanders is a member of the 300 / 300 club - over 300 career steals and over 300 career home runs. Sanders was an underrated defender in Right Field. Though he never won a Gold Glove, his 75 Total Zone Runs ranks 10th All-Time among Right Fielders.

Reggie's Rookie Card is in the 1991 Bowman Set, Card #537

Outfield - Moisés Alou
Pittsburgh (N.L.) 1990; Montréal (N.L.) 1990, 1992 - '96;  Florida (N.L.) 1997; Houston (N.L.) 1998, 2000 - '01; Chicago (N.L.) 2002 - '04; San Francisco (N.L.) 2005 - '06; New York (N.L.) 2007 - '08.

A Second-Generation MLB star, Moisés Alou was a 6-time All-Star and a World Champion with the 1997 Florida Marlins. Alou came up originally with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but was traded to Montréal in 1990, joining his father who was a coach in the Expos organization. Father Felipe would become the Expos Manager in 1992, which was also Moisés' first full season in the big leagues. His missed all of 1991 with a shoulder injury, and despite playing for 17 seasons in the big leagues, injuries would in many ways define it. In 1993, an ankle injury would rob him of the speed that brought him to the big leagues. He missed the 1999 season as well to injury, but would play for another decade after that. His 1992 season saw him hit a career low 9 homers, but he stole 16 bases and hit .282. Alou would regularly hit over .300 with 20 plus homers. Alou had over 5 seasons of 100+ RBI, and despite missing over 500 games due to injury still amassed over 2,100 hits. In the 1997 World Series, Alou hit 3 homers, hitting .321 over the 7 games. His 9 RBI led the Marlins for the Series. Alou notably played without batting gloves, and even more notably admitted to urinating on his hands during the season to toughen them up.

Moisés' Rookie Card is in the 1990 Bowman Set, Card #178

Third Base - Scott Livingstone
Detroit (A.L.) 1991 - '94, San Diego (N.L.) 1994 - '97, St. Louis (N.L.) 1997, Montréal (N.L.) 1998.

1992 was a career year for Scott Livingstone, gathering 100 hits and driving in 46 runs. Livingstone would play through the 1998 season, mostly as a corner infielder. He appeared in the NLDS in 1996 with the Padres, getting a hit in 2 at bats. Livingstone was a highly sought after player - he was drafted by the Blue Jays in 1984 out of high school, but chose Texas A&M University instead. In 1987, he was named to the NCAA All-American team as a member of the Aggies. He'd be drafted again after each year in college, but stayed in school until the 1988 draft, when the Tigers picked him in the 2nd Round. In 1991, he was a AAA International League All-Star, and was called up to the major league club towards the end of the season, hitting .291 over 44 games with the Tigers.  Following his career, he started a youth baseball academy in his home state of Texas.

Scott's Rookie Card is in the 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition set, Card #53F

Outfield - Kenny Lofton
Houston (N.L.) 1991; Cleveland (A.L.) 1992 - '96, 1998 - '01, 2007; Atlanta (N.L.) 1997; Chicago (A.L.) 2002; San Francisco (N.L.) 2002; Pittsburgh (N.L.) 2003; Chicago (N.L.) 2003; New York (A.L.) 2004; Philadelphia (N.L.) 2005; Los Angeles (N.L.) 2006; Texas (A.L.) 2007. 

Kenny Lofton only received 3.2% of the vote in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame and was removed from the ballot. This was a shame, as Lofton has a very strong Hall of Fame case. As a Rookie, Lofton broke the record for steals with 66. That mark led the American League, and he would go on to lead the AL in that category for the first five full seasons of his career. Lofton had 164 hits and scored 96 Runs as a rookie, coming to Cleveland from Houston in a trade that sent Eddie Taubensee to the Astros. Lofton was a 2-sport star in High School, and attended the University of Arizona on a basketball scholarship. Backing up Steve Kerr, the Wildcats made it to the Final Four. He would come back the next year as the team's starting PG and took Arizona to the Sweet Sixteen. He was drafted by the Astros in the 1988 draft, as the Wildcats All-Time Leader in Steals. But that was as a Point Guard. He only played in 5 games for the Wildcats' baseball team, but that was all teams needed to see of his raw tools.

Starting in 1993, he would reel off a string of 4 straight Gold Gloves. He was a 6 time All-Star. Despite the lack of playing time in college, he would develop as a hitter over his MLB career. Even in the minors, he had very good contact numbers, hitting .331 in AA and .308 in AAA. In 1994, he had a tremendous season - Hitting a career high .349, he led the AL in hits and steals, made his first All-Star team, won a Gold Glove, and was leading Cleveland towards a pennant when the strike ended the year. He also led the AL in WAR, finishing 4th in the MVP race behind power hitters Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey Jr, while splitting votes with his teammate Albert Belle. After the strike ended, Lofton would start making the playoffs regularly. From 1995 to 2007, he'd appear in 20 post-season series. He would get 97 hits in 95 playoff games, hitting 7 homers and stealing 34 bases. For his career, Lofton ranks 15th All-Time in stolen bases. He had 2,428 hits with a respectable .299 average. He ranks 5th All-Time in Total Zone Runs as a CFer. The ten most comparable players for his career include 4 Hall of Famers, as well as George Van Haltren, a early star (1880s / 90s) that probably should have been in back when the veteran's committee first met, and Ichiro.

Kenny's Rookie Card is in the 1991 Bowman Set, Card # 565

Catcher - Todd Hundley
New York (N.L.) 1990 - '98; Los Angeles (N.L.) 1999 - '00, 2003; Chicago (N.L.) 2001 - '02.

Todd Hundley was a 2 time All-Star with the Mets, and like Alou was a second generation MLB player. His father, Randy, was a 14 year veteran playing primarily for the Chicago Cubs. Todd came up the Mets when he was just 20 years old, and his bat took some time to catch up to his glove. His skills behind the plate allowed for his accelerated development and promotion to the Show, though he was never awarded with a Gold Glove. In 1992, he hit just .209, but did have 7 homers and had just 3 errors behind the plate in 123 games. By 1996, his bat arrived in a big way, and he crushed 41 homers and drove in a career high 112 runs. The 41 homers were a record for a catcher in a single season, as well as the most in a season by a New York Met. The success was tempered in 1998 with the arrival of future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, in addition to a nasty elbow injury that put his playing time with the Mets in doubt. He'd move on to Piazza's former team in LA and hit 48 homers over 2 seasons. His workload decreased in the 2000s, moving to his dad's old team in Chicago, still catching and displaying excellent defense. For his career, Hundley had 202 homers and scored 495 runs.

Todd's Rookie Card is in the 1990 Bowman Set, Card # 142

Shortstop -  Pat Listach
Milwaukee (A.L.) 1992 - '96; Houston (N.L.) 1997.

The 1992 AL Rookie of the Year helped the Brewers contend for a pennant by stealing 54 bases and hitting .290 and scoring 93 runs. That would be the best season in Pat Listach's career, due in large part to injuries that derailed an otherwise promising career. Listach was drafted by the Brewers in 1988 out of Arizona State University, where he played for his junior year. Listach had transferred from McClennan Community College in Waco, TX after being a big fish in a small pond in his hometown of Nachitoches, Louisiana. Listach used his speed to take him quickly to the majors, and if not for an injury suffered early in 1996, he may have found himself with the New York Yankees. He was traded from Milwaukee to New York in the trade that brought big lefty Graeme Lloyd to the Bronx. A bruise on Listach's foot was soon revealed to actually be a broken bone, so the Yankees returned him to the Brewers, where he would appear in 87 games as a super utility player. Following his playing career, Listach has been a manager in the minors and served as a bench coach and 3rd Base coach in the majors, most recently with the Astros.

Pat's Rookie Card is in the 1992 Topps Traded Set, Card #65T

Right Handed Pitcher -  Cal Eldred
Milwaukee (A.L.) 1991 - '99; Chicago (A.L.) 2000 - '01; St. Louis (N.L.) 2003 - '05.

Pat's teammate Cal Eldred burst onto the scene in 1991, winning 2 of his 3 starts. In 1992, he pitched to an 11-2 record over 14 starts, and was well on his way to Ace status with a 1.79 ERA. He would lead the AL in games Started the next two seasons, and was the AL innings leader in 1993, winning 27 and losing 27 over those two years. An injury would effectively end his career as a starter in 2002. He would return to the big leagues in 2003 as a relief pitcher and appeared in 145 games in 3 seasons with the Cardinals. Following his pitching days, he would become a broadcaster for Big Ten College baseball games. He was a star for the Iowa Hawkeyes in his college days, and was the Brewers' first round pick in 1989.

Cal's Rookie Card is in the 1990 Bowman set, Card # 387

Second Base - Jeff Kent
Toronto (A.L.) 1992, New York (N.L.) 1992 - '96, Cleveland (A.L.) 1996, San Francisco (N.L.) 1997 - '02, Houston (N.L.) 2003 - '04, Los Angeles (N.L.) 2005 - '08.

Jeff Kent is another interesting Hall of Fame case, and I suspect that Kent and Kenny can point to the lack of a Championship ring, and some bad timing for reasons why they have not had more Cooperstown consideration. Kent came up to the big leagues as a Toronto Blue Jay - he was a 20th round pick in 1989, but still rose quickly through the minors and made his debut in 1992. He was sent to New York as the player to named later in the David Cone trade. It would work out well for the Blue Jays, as they would be the 1992 and 1993 World Champs. Kent would spend 5 years in New York, with not much to hang his hat on. He'd have a pair of 20 homer seasons for the Mets, and would again be on the move mid-season, this time moving in the other direction, towards a contender. In Cleveland, Kent would hit .265 in the balance of the 1996 season, but just .125 in the playoffs. From there, he'd land in San Francisco, where the peak of his career would result in some of the best offensive seasons for a second baseman in MLB history. In 2000, he won the NL MVP, no small task as the teammate of Barry Bonds, the perennial favorite for the award. In 6 seasons with the Giants, he averaged nearly 30 homers and more than 100 RBI per season. He hit 3 homers in the 2002 World Series, a losing effort to the Angels, and overall had a .276 average with 9 homers in 49 post season games. After the Giants, he had a pair of seasons with the Astros and four years with the Dodgers. For his career, he had 377 Homers and over 1500 RBI. The most similar players to Kent include Ryne Sandberg, Jim Rice, Robinson Cano, Scott Rolen, Dave Parker, and Aramis Ramirez. Players that are either already in the Hall or have very good cases for induction. The 5 Time All-Star had 4 Silver Slugger awards, and is the All-Time leader for homers by a 2nd Baseman.

Jeff's Rookie Card is in the 1992 Leaf Set, Card #445


  1. Good post, though 1990 Bowman came out months after 1990 Fleer (Alou) and 1990 Score (Alou and Eldred), so seems a little unfair that Bowman gets the rookie nod there.

    1. True. It's that nasty Topps bias rearing its ugly head again!