Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Steve Finley, 1990 Donruss #215

1990 was the first year that Donruss had really gone out on a limb design-wise since the mid-Eighties. These cards were like nothing that came before them, with the distinct white script player names and blood-red borders, not to mention the splatters of black and white. It almost seemed as if the cards had been designed by Jackson Pollock.

Steve Finley was a player that Pollock would have loved, had he been a baseball fan. His entire career was a splash of this, a sprinkle of that. He broke in with the Orioles in 1989 as a speedy little singles hitter whose glove kept him in the lineup. Eventually he would develop surprising power, clouting 30 or more home runs in four different seasons and topping 300 for his career. He was a terror on the basepaths in the early years, swiping 78 bags between the 1991 and 1992 campaigns. But over his last eleven seasons in the bigs, he never notched more than 16 steals. Steve even pitched an inning for the Diamondbacks in 2001, ending his career on the mound with a spotless 0.00 ERA. He also spent his time in baseball playing here and there, jumping from team to team just like those contrasting splatters on the card above. In addition to his brief time in Baltimore, he played in Houston, San Diego, Arizona, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Francisco, and Colorado. I'm still disappointed that he never made it to Oakland; he would have probably been the first to play for each of the five California teams.

In Baltimore, Steve Finley is known largely as a symbol of a future denied by one disastrous trade. But he was the odd man out in the trio that included Brady Anderson and Mike Devereaux, and hindsight is 20/20. Did you really predict in 1990 that Steve Finley would last 19 years, or that he would hit 304 home runs and 449 doubles? If so, you've probably got an attic full of Jackson Pollock paintings that you bought on the cheap before he hit it big.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

I am glad to hear it was not just me who loved that design. It was so different! It was also one of the first sets I collected after coming back to the hobby - I actually ordered a whole case of wax boxes (that was money well spent!).

Thanx for the memories.

Tim in NOLA

deal said...

Steve Finley came across my radar recently. Is Finley definitely retired?? I am unaware if he is in any camp this year. Last I saw he was w/ the Rockies a year ago. My question is, and Kevin I think your the right man to ask, but is/was Finley the last still-active position player to ever play for the Orioles in Memorial Stadium?? The only other players I can find are all pitchers Schilling, Mussina, Arthur Rhodes and Jose Mesa - I am not sure the latter two are active either.

olagatohouse said...

Finley was apparently kicking around the winter meetings last fall trying to find a job. I don't know if he's officially retired yet.

--David said...

My daughter loves the Donruss cards of this time period, and it is all because of the paint splotches (polka dots, she calls them).

Kevin said...

deal - As olgatohouse mentioned, Finley is not officially retired, but I'd say it's unlikely that he will catch on anywhere.

But it looks like you're right about Finley being the last position player who was an Oriole in the Memorial Stadium era. Wow.

Rhodes is in camp with the Mariners as a nonroster invitee, last I heard. Mesa didn't catch on with anyone this year, but I don't know that he's officially retired.