Thursday, January 24, 2013
Sheffield in 1992
Gary Sheffield won the award in 1992 when he finished with a .330 batting average (Gwynn only batted .317 that year). Sheff would also finish two home runs behind NL leader and future Hall of Fame snub Fred McGriff (35), and have nine less RBIs than Darren Daulton (109), who led the league.
Having one of the best seasons in Padre history earned Gary a ticket out of town, as the Padre ownership was looking to shed some salary and went into Fire Sale mode in 1993. Despite having this awesome Topps "Black Gold" card in a Padres uniform, he was traded to the Marlins for three cheap pitchers that nobody had ever heard of. Fred McGriff was dealt as well, in one of the worst trades in Padres history (at least in my opinion).
Why do I bring up this painful memory?
Because one of those pitchers that the Padres got in the Sheffield deal turned out to be a converted short stop who would go on to record 601 saves, 552 of which came as a Padre.
Sheffield would bounce around the league for the next sixteen years, playing for six different teams (Marlins, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Tigers, Mets), and would accumulate 509 homers, a .292 batting average, and 1,676 RBIs. Trevor Hoffman would stay with the Padres for sixteen years, only moving to Milwaukee for the last two years of his career, where he was able to become the first pitcher to crack the 600 save mark.
The 1993 Topps "Black Gold" inserts are my favorite of all time, due in part to the cool design, but also because I can't remember another time when there were three Padres that were worthy of being included in a set like this. I pulled the Fred McGriff card out of a pack when I was a kid, and got the Tony Gwynn in a trade package. I picked up this last member of the trio on COMC's Black Friday sale, after Thanksgiving, and finally got around to posting it.
Is there a trio in 2013 that can top Gwynn/Sheffield/McGriff?
I might go with the Angels (Trout, Pujols, Trumbo, plus they're adding Josh Hamilton). The Dodgers have Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, and Hanley Ramirez, but Ramirez' numbers took a dive last year (although Andre Ethier is no slouch). The Yankees have Jeter and Cano, but A-Rod is hurt.
In 1992, the Padres trio combined for 501 hits and a .312 batting average. They had 74 homers (Gwynn only contributed 6) and 245 RBI (Gwynn once again only contributing only 41). When a first ballot Hall of Famer is the weaker link in the chain, that's pretty impressive.