Monday, December 22, 2008
1990 Fleer, Mark Davis
#3 Mark Davis
No offense Rod, but this might have been the least favorite card that you sent to me. But first, I'll start with the good stuff. This card is cool because it is from the All-Star insert set that Fleer had been putting out since 1986, I believe. This card is the only card that I have signed from any of those sets. Plus, Fleer was putting out insert sets before anyone even knew what an insert set was. Also, as noted under his signature, Mark won the Cy Young award in 1989 after saving 44 games with the Padres. It's always good to have autographs from players that win major awards and it's pretty cool when they put that under their signature.
Now to the things that I don't like. The only real problem that I have with this card is it is of Mark Davis. Being a Royals fan (even though I wasn't one in 1990), Mark Davis is synonymous with the Devil. He won that Cy Young award and parlayed it into the biggest contract in Major League Baseball when the Royals signed him in the off-season (looking back on it now, it wasn't smart to spend that kind of money on a closer; also, you will never hear the Royals and highest paid player in baseball in the same sentence ever again unless the Yankees are in town). In his first month with the team, he had 3 saves in a row before blowing a 6-2 lead against the Rangers. He then blew 3 saves in a week in May and was moved to long relief (Jeff Montgomery took over as closer and yes, Monty was on the team before Davis was even signed). He posted a 5.11 ERA after his first season in KC (up from 1.85 the previous season), a 4.45 ERA in his second season and a 7.18 ERA in his third season before being shipped off to Atlanta for an actual player that had a pulse. That must have been a tough trade to pull off. I'm sure that a milk crate of batting practice balls and a box of hot dog buns would have sufficed. The Royals probably had to eat some salary to get this one done.
Anyway, somehow Davis lasted in the Majors until 1994 (and a brief comeback in '97) and wasn't any good the rest of the way, though he did have some success in 38.1 innings with the Padres in 1993. The same cannot be said for his 1994 season in San Diego. After his award winning 1989 season, where he saved 44 games, he went on to record 11 more saves throughout the rest of his career.
I got some of the pertinent information on here from Royals Retrospective's "Worst Free Agent Signings in Royals History".
Also, I started my first poll to see what everyone's thoughts are for their favorite card set in 1990. There has been a little bit of discussion about it on some of the comments here and I thought that the poll would make it a lot easier.
All in all, thanks for this card Rod. It's always fun to get signed cards from formal Royals that bring back memories (either good or bad).