So I was driving home last night, trying to decide what to write about today and I thought about the “minor” stars of yesteryear. Guys like Cory Snider, Wally Joyner, Walt Weiss, Devon White, and Chris Sabo. Players who were just below star status, but were very much fan favorites. I tried to come up with some guys that I felt were in the same boat now-a-days. So here is what I came up with and I compared them to my 80s/90s version.
80s/90s – Benito Santiago – Never quite lived up to the hype that was behind him in the card world but can you name a more popular non-superstar catcher during that era? Runner Up – Matt Nokes
Current – Russell Martin – I strongly considered Matt Wieters and A.J. Pierzynski, but Wieters is still young and AJ is just not a fan favorite. Martin however has always been a fan favorite but is just below star status.
80s/90s – Wally Joyner – Hands down probably one of the most popular players of his generation. Never quite achieved super star status but always remained one of my favorite players. Runner Up – John Olerud
Current – Aubry Huff – Always well liked where ever he goes. Usually puts up solid stats, but not considered an elite first baseman. Runner Up – Paul Konerko
80s/90s – Delino Deshields – This was tough because I also considered Ray Durham but in the end any fantasy player will tell you Desheilds was one of the best in his day at stealing bases.
Current – Brandon Phillips – Oddly enough this was a no brainer for me. He is a guy that was highly collected in the early 2000s but never panned out for the Expos or the Indians. A fan favorite in Cincy where he is their second sacker. Runner up – Ian Kinsler
80s/90s – Walt Weiss – You have to love how a career 0.260 hitter with little power and slightly better speed became a fan favorite. He had a long career and was loved at every stop along the way. Runner Up – Greg Gagne
Current – Jimmy Rollins – Yeah he has the MVP award and some all star appearances, but overall he’s a pretty solid player, just below star status. A definite fan favorite in Philly. Runner Up – Jed Lowrie
80s/90s – Chris Sabo – Everyone loved Spuds McKenzie! Still to this day he is a fan favorite. I didn’t even consider anyone else for this one.
Current – Pablo Sandoval – More than likely the Sandoval from last year is more likely what we are going to see. Everyone loves the guy though and even if he cruises to a 0.270/20/75 average career, he will remain popular. Runner Up – Ty Wiggington
80s/90s – Cecil Fielder, Bo Jackson, and Pete Incaviglia – What a random pairing huh? All three were feared long ball hitters and all three were fairly well collected. Also talk about fan favorites! Runners Up – Cory Snider, Bobby Bonilla, Lenny Dykstra
Current – Hunter Pence, Jason Kubel, and Grady Sizemore – All three are very well liked. Collectors love them and none are considered stars. Runners Up – Jay Bruce, Alex Gordon, and Shane Victorino
Look for another post featuring the pitcher comparisons soon. This was only a list of guys that I could think of right off the top of my mind, there are lots more and I look forward to hearing who you think should be on this list!