The spring of 1986 is when I got back into card collecting after a 3 year hiatus while my hormones demanded that I pay more attention to girls.  Once I had a nice girl my friend Frank convinced me to start buying cards again.  So this started in 1986 but went full blown in 1987.  The cards that made the 1987 set so exciting was the amazing collection of rookies.  The 1986 rookie class in both the AL and NL were insanely good.  I’ve previously spoken about Cory Snider and Mark Eichhorn, but today I want to reflect on Danny Tartabull.

This is the card I will always associate with Tartabull.  Although he is only barely known as a Mariner (even though he broke into the league with them), it still remains one of my all time favorite cards.  If you recall (or maybe you don’t, I’m old as hell if you remember correctly) he was traded for slew of bottom of the rotation / crappy relievers to the Royals which even at the time I thought was nuts.  I mean it didn’t matter in the long run because no one even went to the games in Seattle at that time.  As a Royal though his career really took off.  He hit 0.290 with 124 home runs and 425 RBIs in five full seasons.

Then he signed with the Yankees.  Not the 1995 – 2012 Yankees that valued highly paid players, no the 1992 Yankees where Stienbrenner ruled with an iron fist and when you didn’t perform well, he called you out and so did the Yankee fans.  They spent a huge amount (at the time) 5 years / $27 million, hmmm they were even overpaying players back then.  Thinking back, maybe it wasn’t so smart to sign a 29 year old for big money for more than three years.  Predictably, he did well for two seasons and then just fell apart.  Really though if you think about it, he hammered the ball through his prime years and then slowed down, in other words it’s what should be expected.

He would go on to have one more big season after being traded twice to the White Sox where he slugged 27 homers and had 101 RBIs.  He only scored 58 runs though which is the second lowest total of any hitter who had 100 RBIs or more.  Towards the end of that season he broke his foot and it never healed properly.  The Phillies signed him for one more season but the foot kept him from being productive and after three games he called it a career.  Overall I think he had a nice career, it’s a real shame that he’ll always be remembered for his final three seasons with the Yankees. He does have one certified autograph card from the 1997 Leaf set.  It can be had for $1 on eBay.

Do you remember Danny?  What did you think of his career?


5 responses »

  1. Brian B says:

    Well, being in the old as dirt club like you, LOL, Im 45, I was in my 4th yr of having Yankees season tickets, and though he would finally bring us to the promise land. WRONG!!!! i did get to meet him a few times at the Yankees Fan Fest, a great event they held in NY, at the Javitts Convention Center. Think I waited 1 1/2 hrs to get his single signed on an official ball. I have a great home plate shaped 50 ball, wall mounted case, Danny is still in there, but I recently completed my Montana, Marino and Jim Kelly UDA Autographed baseball collection, when I got the Kelly, limited to only 12 signed, and I need to remove 1 from the case, sadly just last night, Danny went to that box in the closet, kind of like his Yankee career did. Thanks for the memory buddy

  2. bamlinden says:

    To me, Danny Tartabull was the Calgary Cannons – Seattle’s AAA ballclub at the time. He was absolutely stellar.

    I too think he had a nice career in the majors, but was awesome in the minors.

  3. Mike says:

    Lol you had a girlfriend named Frank?

  4. jj says:

    Love Tartabull on Seinfeld.

  5. Mike D says:

    My go-to cards from that ’87 Topps set were the McGwire and Bo Jackson cards. Nobody I knew back in the day had a McGwire card that was in good shape, and everybody treated their Jackson card like gold. It was the same way the next year with the Mark Grace Rated Rookie card (at least in my parts)…
    Tartabull was a guy everybody knew about in our card world as a kid, but in ’87 it was all about Will Clark and Wally Joyner on the west coast. When Griffey Jr. came around in ’88/’89, Tartabull was pushed aside in our Midwest circles. There were so many hot rookies around that time that Beckett made bigger than life – Jefferies, Sabo, Grace, Devon White, Elster, Seitzer, Alomar, Jim Abbott, etc. – that Tartabull and other guys like Pete Incaviglia and Cory Snyder who had flash in the pan ’87 Topps success soon disappeared. Just how it goes sometimes in my opinion.

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