Chasing Rookies: Morris, Johnson and LaRussa

In the 12th episode of MISportsNow’s “Chasing Rookies,” we dig into another box from monthly trading card subscription company Collectible Card Club and open packs of Topps, Donruss, Fleer and Upper Deck.

Donruss 1983
#564 Frank Robinson

The only player to win Most Valuable Player honors in the National League and American League, Robinson broke in with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 and led the Baltimore Orioles to a 1966 World Series title, claiming AL MVP, World Series MVP and Triple Crown honors in the process. Robinson played in the outfield from 1956-1976 for five teams and had his No. 20 retired by the Reds, Orioles and Cleveland Indians. A 1982 Hall of Fame inductee, Robinson became the first African American manager in major league history in 1975 and managed the Indians (1975-77), San Francisco Giants (1981-84), Orioles (1988-91) and Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals (2002-06). Robinson finished his playing career as a 14-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion and batted .294 with 2,943 hits, 586 home runs and 1,812 RBI. As a manager he was named the AL Manager of the Year in 1989 and went 1,065-1,176. He passed away at age 83 in February 2019.

Topps 1985
#466 Tony LaRussa

A unanimous 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and three-time World Series champion, La Russa begin managerial career with the Chicago White Sox in 1979 before departing for the Oakland Athletics in 1986. The former infielder led the A’s to a 1989 World Series championship and the St. Louis Cardinals to championships in 2006 and 2011. La Russa retired in 2011 with a 2,728-2,365 career record. He currently serves as vice president and special assistant to Boston Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

Fleer 1986
#504 Pete Vuckovich

The 1981 American League wins leader and 1982 Cy Young Award winner, Vuckovich was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 1974 draft and made his debut with the team in 1975. The 6-foot-4 Vuckovich spent time with the White Sox (1975-76), Toronto Blue Jays (1977), St. Louis Cardinals (1978-80) and Milwaukee Brewers (1981-86). Vuckovich ended his career with a 93-69 record, 3.66 ERA and 882 strikeouts.

Donruss 1987
#13 Jack Morris

A 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and 1984 World Series champion, Morris pitched for the Detroit Tigers from 1977-90 before closing out his career with the Minnesota Twins (1991), Toronto Blue Jays (1992-93) and Cleveland Indians (1994). A five-time All-Star and four-time World Series champion, Morris led the majors in strikeouts in 1981 and 1992 and tossed a no-hitter on April 7, 1984. Morris finished his career with a 254-186 record, a 3.90 ERA and 2,478 strikeouts. His No. 47 was retired by the Tigers.

Collector’s Choice SE 1994
#123 Randy Johnson

The “Big Unit” played 22 major league seasons for six teams and his 303 career wins are fifth-most by a left-handed pitcher in league history. A 10-time All-Star and five-time Cy Young Award winner, Johnson led the league in strikeouts nine times and in earned run average four times. He pitched the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 2001 World Series championship, earning World Series MVP honors in the process. Johnson, who ended his career with a 303-166 record with a 3.29 ERA and 4,875 strikeouts, won a Triple Crown in 2002 and tossed a no-hitter (1990) and a perfect game (2004). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.

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