Today's Four Topps proves out the theorem that not every unmemorable card number in a late '80s Topps checklist produces a lackluster player. Well...it mostly does. But, every so often, a promising young player -- who just might go on to have a Hall of Fame career -- sneaks into a mundane spot in the checklist.
Without further ado, Random.org brings us today's card number: 517.
Many of the Cincinnati Reds cards from the '87 Topps set contained photographs from this same field, which I assume was Cincy's spring complex. Take a look back at your Reds cards from this set and you'll see that same Carolina blue wall in the background. Anyhow, I kinda dig this card, as we see Soto engaging in a game of long toss. Hey, Stat Man: Soto lost 10 games for the Reds in 1986, marking the fourth time in five years that he absorbed double-digit losses.
Another Reds pitcher. From spring training. And what's with the yellow, blue, and pink design elements on this card? I guess we'll just chalk it up to Topps being in the totally '80s spirit. Hey, Stat Man: Robinson contributed seven wins and four saves for the '87 Reds.
Milwaukee first baseman Greg Brock thankfully breaks up the monotony of Reds cards at the 715 slot. Remember when the Brewers were in the AL? Remember when players wore uniforms that actually fit? Simpler days. Hey, Stat Man: In his second year with Milwaukee, Brock smacked six homers and delivered 50 RBIs for the '88 Brewers.
This was surely a nice surprise, finding Hall of Famer second baseman Roberto Alomar mixed in with the likes of Don Robinson and Greg Brock (no offense). Of course, this was very early in Roberto's career, as this represents just his second regular Topps card -- not counting his '88 Traded entry. The Padres cards from '90s Topps are pretty darn sharp, no? Hey, Stat Man: Alomar put up a monster season for San Diego in 1989, hitting .295 with 56 RBIs and 42 steals in 158 games.
And the Winner Is: A slam dunk as far as I'm concerned. Gotta give Alomar '90 the nod from this group. The runner-up spot goes to Soto.