Card of the Week (and Hall of Fame poll): 1997 Bowman Chrome International Refractors #127 Andruw Jones
So much to say about this card...
I better keep it in bullet format so that we can get to the Hall of Fame poll below:
- By 1997, the card industry was way into overload production with all sorts of ridiculous variations. For this card, there was the regular Bowman base card, the Bowman chrome card, the Bowman international card, and the Bowman international chrome refractor card shown above. At the time, people loved these gimmick cards. They are still made today, but interest seems to have waned significantly.
- Bowman became the card issue dedicated to rookie and propsect cards and remains as such today. They also liked to make cards of young stars, as Jones was in 1997.
- The background of the card is meant to feature the flag of the home country of the player. Many of you probably know that Jones is the most successful big-leaguer from Curaçao (and kudos if you can name the first big-leaguer from Curaçao.) Interestingly, if you do a Google image search for "Curacao flag" you'll see that the flag is nothing like what's shown on the card. That's because until 2010, Curacao was actually considered a territory of the Netherlands Antilles, and that's the flag shown on the card.
- This card probably looks a lot better in real life. It's shiny. In these scans, it looks remarkably drab. The one thing I like about the design is the use of dual photos, especially with one being an action shot and one a closeup.
- The copy on the back is simple and I do enjoy the witty "Yes--all of them". (Does this remind anybody else of the scene in Austin Powers?)
Now let's talk about Jones and his qualifications for the Hall of Fame.
I'll just put out some quick bullets and let you folks take it from there.
For Andruw Jones in the Hall of Fame
- He was the best centerfielder in the game in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He won 10 straight Gold Gloves.
- He's topped 400 HR, 1000 RBI, and 1000 R. He's one of just 46 players all-time to do that.
- He's had some memorable post-season games, including those homers he hit at a 19-year-old in 1996. He was a big part of 9 consecutive Braves' playoff teams.
- He had a massive 2005 where he led the league in HR and RBI.
- His career WAR of 60.0 puts him right around some Hall of Famers, such as Dave Winfield and Willie Keeler.
- His career dWAR of 23.6 is second all-time to only Brooks Robinson. He's ahead of Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken, Willie Mays....
Against Andruw Jones in the Hall of Fame
- Because so much of his WAR came from defense, it means that his oWAR isn't all that impressive. At 36.4, he's right around Don Mattingly, Greg Luzinski, and Tony Oliva. Those guys certainly aren't slouches, but none of them is in the Hall of Fame.
- His career OPS+ of 111 is nice but not particularly special. Here's a list of 20 guys with a similar OPS+ in a similar number of career PAs. There are 4 Hall of Famers on there but they are all infielders from the first half of the 20th century. Similar outfielders include Dusty Baker, Carlos Lee, and Amos Otis.
- Other than dWAR, his only top-50 career stat is HR, and he's played during a HR-heavy era.
- It's going to be hard to overlook his bad 2007 at Age 30 and his horrendous 2008 at Age 31.
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