This card is second to only the Steve Avery card as my favorite in the set.  Robin Ventura, who was far and away the best player (at the time of the draft), was taken 10th overall by the White Sox.  There was a signability issue since he was the best player in college at the time.  That is why he was selected tenth overall.

Of course after a good career, however indistinguishable it was, it’s hard to remember the buzz when he was in college.  Here is a list of amazing Ventura at Oklahoma State facts:

  • He led the nation in runs (107), RBI (96) and total bases (204) in 69 games as a freshman in 1986.
  • In 1987, he had a NCAA-record 58-game hitting streak, breaking the previous record of 47; he also led Division I in RBIs two years in a row.  His hitting streak remains the Division I record.
  •  In 1988 he earned a spot on the gold medal-winning Olympic baseball team, batting .409 during the tournament.
  • He won both the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy for outstanding collegiate play, concluding his 3-year OSU career with a .428 batting average, a .792 slugging percentage, and 302 RBIs.
In other words, he was makes scouts drool.  Although the 1989 Topps card wasn’t his rookie year (1988 Topps traded had his Olympic card), it’s still one of my all time favorites.  I just remember thinking, these teams are going to be kicking themselves for not picking him sooner.  He got the September call up in 1989 and never looked back.
He was far from a Hall of Famer, but he had a very good career.  Plus how can we ever forget this image:
Old man Ryan teaching him some manners.  His cards don’t demand big dollars and likely never will, but as a inaugural member of the Collegiate Baseball Hall of Fame you know he was as good as it got at the college level.  His autographed cards can be found in the dollar bin and for that kind of scratch, he’s a worthwhile pick up for any collector.

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