Swings and misses

1986 Topps

Jim Winn went 12-17 with a 4.67 ERA during six big-league seasons. He arrived in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983 but pitched in just 16 games his first two years. He became a regular part of Pittsburgh’s bullpen over the next two seasons and enjoyed what was probably the best year of his career in 1986. He won three games that season and had three saves while posting a 3.58 ERA in 88 innings. He was dealt to the Chicago White Sox in 1987 and did not have as much success. His ERA jumped to 4.79 and while he did save six games, the season would be his last as a productive member of an MLB staff. Winn pitched in nine games for the Minnesota Twins in 1988, which was the last year of his career.

1987 Topps

Steve Balboni slammed 181 home runs during 11 years in the majors. He came up with the New York Yankees in 1981 but did not hit his stride until he joined the Kansas City Royals in 1984. Balboni smashed 28 home runs that season, starting a string of five-straight years where he’d hit at least 23 home runs. His best year came in 1985 when he hit 36 home runs to go with 88 RBIs and 74 runs scored. All these numbers would serve as his career highs and help the Royals win the World Series. Balboni hit .320 in the series against the St. Louis Cardinals and drove in three runs. He did not, however, homer. Balboni enjoyed two more good years for Kansas City, then was dealt to the Seattle Mariners in the middle of the 1988 season. He eventually found his way back to the Yankees, where he hit 17 home runs in both 1989 and 1990 before being released. He signed a minor-league deal with the Texas Rangers in 1991 and stayed at AAA for two seasons before resurfacing with the Rangers for five at bats in 1993 to conclude his career.

Published by Chris

Writer, historian, father, intrepid traveller, journalist, aging punk ... I am actually in a Hall of Fame.

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