16 November 2009

my rookie cup runneth over!

out of all the major league franchises, the dodgers have had the greatest number of rookies of the year, including the first one ever, jackie robinson in 1947. in fact, the award has been renamed in jackie's honor.

less celebrated, perhaps, are the members of the topps rookie cup team. you've all seen the little yellow cup on topps cards and are probably aware that each year topps selects 10 players (two pitchers) to their rookie cup team. i am not going to try to figure out which franchise has had the most players selected, but i will say that the dodgers are well represented. the first topps rookie team was selected in 1959 and featured ron fairly of the dodgers. through the years, other dodger rookies like tommy davis, frank howard (roy), ted sizemore (roy), steve sax (roy), greg brock, tim belcher, raul mondesi (roy), todd hollandsworth (roy), wilton guerrero, russell martin, andre ethier, and james loney have made the cut.

in 2005, topps released it's rookie cup set, which featured these additional dodger rookie standouts.

bill buckner (1971) buckner hit .277 with 41 rbi in 1971 as the dodgers' primary right fielder.

dave lopes (1973)although there were no trophies on any of the 1974 cards. lopes finished 6th in the 1973 rookie of the year voting. he hit .275 with 36 stolen bases that year.

fernando valenzuela (1981) no trophy for fernando or any other 1981 rookie cup recipients, either. fernando, of course, won the rookie of the year (over tim raines) and the cy young award (over tom seaver) in 1981. he started the season with 8 straight wins, including 7 complete games and 5 shutouts. fernandomania, indeed!

eric karros (1992)karros started the 1992-1996 dodgers' rookie of the year run with 20 home runs and 88 rbi in 1992. he received 22 of 24 first place votes (tim wakefield got the other two).

mike piazza (1993) piazza was the unanimous choice for rookie of the year in 1993. he hit .318 with 35 home runs and 112 rbi with an ops of .932. not too shabby.

hideo nomo (1995)nomo beat out chipper jones for the 1995 rookie of the year award. that was the first year that we questioned the validity of a foreign professional player being considered a rookie. we still don't really have that figured out, i don't think.

and, for good measure, here's old friend fick monday (1967) while topps did print the trophy in 1968, monday's 1968 card did not feature the cup for some reason.

and the pride of saint paul, joe mauer (2004)
i have little doubt that joe would have been the rookie of the year if he had not been hurt.

it would be nice to see the dodgers produce some more roys, but it looks like ned has traded our best near term chances for george sherrill and others.

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