Friday, September 6, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #59 WALLY JOYNER


JUST DIDN'T LOOK RIGHT IN ROYAL BLUE.




ONLY HIT 9 HRs IN HIS FIRST YEAR IN K.C. 



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Wally Joyner had the kind of rookie season most could only dream about and turned Anaheim Stadium into his personal sandlot, Wally World. When the Angels decided not to re-sign Rod Carew after the 1985 season, their plan was to promote the three-year minor-leaguer to fill the spikes of the seven-time batting champ. Risky. But all Joyner did in the first half of the season was start for the AL All-Star team at first base as a write-in candidate. He finished runner-up for Rookie of the Year and helped California win the AL West and come within one out of advancing to the World Series.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Joyner's charmed life in the majors continued into the postseason. In his first two at-bats in the '86 ALCS against the Red Sox in Game 1 on Oct. 7, he faced Roger Clemens, who was also enjoying a coming-out season. Joyner doubled in his first at-bat and then doubled again to drive in the game's first run in the second inning. Joyner finished 2-for-4, walked and scored as the Angels won 8-1.

DEFINING SEASON

  • It was '86, of course. He didn't quite tear up the league in the second half like he did in the first  (.313, 20 HRs, 72 RBI) but finished at .290/22/100. He also broke up two no-hit bids in the ninth. The only thing he failed to do was deliver a baby on the way to the ballpark.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Joyner credited his two stints in the Puerto Rican winter league for developing and preparing him for his breakout rookie season. 
  2. The first no-hitter he broke up was on June 16 against the Rangers' Charlie Hough, singling with one out. That hit brought home the tying run, which reached on a three-base error. The Angels wound up winning 2-1. The second was Aug. 20 against the Tigers' Walt Terrell, who gave up Joyner's two-out double. Terrell finished with a one-hit 3-0 victory.
  3. No sophomore slump for Joyner, who hit a career-high 34 homers with 117 RBI in '87.
  4. Never matched those first two seasons during the rest of his 16-year career that included stops with four other teams, including signing with the Royals in December '91. He averaged .293/11/68 in Kansas City.
  5. He admitted he briefly took PEDs while with the Padres and was named in the Mitchell Report.

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