5.30.2012

Future Heroes Checklist, 1993 Upper Deck


Names: Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., Roger Clemens, Roberto Alomar, Barry Bonds, Kirby Puckett, Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez
Teams: Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins, Oakland A's, Texas Rangers
Positions: First base, outfield, pitcher, second base, outfield, outfield, first base, outfield
Value of card: More bad than good
Key 1993 stat: Too many players on one baseball card
Heroes vs. zeros: In 1993, Upper Deck produced a subset called "Future Heroes" with cards featuring eight individual players, plus the above frightening checklist. These guys were among the best in baseball at the time, but did they pan out as heroes? Let's break it down.

Frank Thomas
The Good: .301 career batting average, 521 home runs. ... Was a South Side staple for 16 years. ... Advocated for drug testing in baseball as early as 1995. ... Had a video game named after him. ... Infectious smile. ... Awesome nickname. ... Hall-of-Fame lock.
The Bad: Video game wasn't all that great. ... According to Baseball Card Bust, he was a ladies' man and played with explosives in his bat. ... Sour end to his time with the White Sox. ... That's pretty much it.
Verdict: Hero

Ken Griffey Jr.
The Good: .284 career batting average, 630 home runs. ... Some of the most spectacular defensive plays you'll ever see. ... Made the Mariners relevant. ... Drove up interest among young people in baseball (until the strike, that is). ... Released a series of wines to help fund charities. ... Had a series of video games named after him. ... Pretty good nickname. ... Hall-of-Fame lock.
The Bad: Again, video games left something to be desired. ... Could have been the all-time home run king if not for all those injuries. ... Trade to the Reds stunned fans in Seattle and across the nation. ... According to Baseball Card Bust, posed for a quasi-adult magazine and starred in a mind-numbing TV show. ... Looks kind of shady on this card.
Verdict: Hero

Roger Clemens
The Good: 354 wins, 4,672 strikeouts, career 3.12 ERA. ... Hmm, we'll have to get back to you on the rest.
The Bad: Steroid accusations, adultery accusations, throwing-a-bat-at-Mike-Piazza accusations. ... Completely torqued off at least two fan bases (Boston and Toronto). ... Once threw at his own son in a game.
Verdict: Zero

Roberto Alomar
The Good: .300 career batting average, 474 stolen bases, 210 home runs. ... Hall of Famer. ... Able to survive long winter nights in Canada.
The Bad: Spat in an umpire's face. ... Accused by two women, including his wife, of not telling them he had HIV. ... Made his brother play catcher all the time.
Verdict: Zero

Barry Bonds
The Good: .298 career batting average, 762 home runs, 514 stolen bases. ... While in San Francisco, his head grew large enough to shade his teammates at third base and shortstop, which is pretty nice.
The Bad: Steroids-palooza. ... Not exactly well-regarded by teammates, media, fans, children, dogs and four out of five dentists. ... Convicted of obstructing justice (and not David, either). ... According to Baseball Card Bust, was a career criminal.
Verdict: Zero

Kirby Puckett
The Good: .318 career batting average and one of the most memorable World Series home runs. ... Excelled as a big-leaguer despite being only 4-foot-2. ... Known for community service (other than keeping area restaurants in business). ... Beloved by Twins fans. ... Hall of Famer. ... Name was Kirby.
The Bad: According to Baseball Card Bust, became addicted to billiards and bad sweaters. ... Accused of abusing women who weren't Marge Schott. ... After retirement, couldn't stop eating, which contributed to his early death.
Verdict: Inconclusive

Mark McGwire
The Good: 583 career home runs, including a then-record-breaking 70 in 1998 that helped baseball recover from the strike scandal. ... One of the most storied mullets in all of professional sports history (see the above card for proof). ... Survived a massive earthquake by playing baseball. ... Appears to be depicted as one of the guys from Metallica on this card. ... According to Baseball Card Bust, was more patriotic than Uncle Sam and George Washington combined.
The Bad: Steroids, steroids, steroids. ... Spent time with Jose Canseco. ... Undid all that good work helping baseball recover from one scandal by starting another.
Verdict: Zero

Juan Gonzalez
The Good: .295 career batting average, 434 home runs. ...Overcame rough start in Puerto Rico that probably involved this slum lord. ... Pretty cool nickname. ... Even better mustache. ... And even better eyebrows, at least in the above card.
The Bad: In the Mitchell Report. ... Been married almost as many times as Larry King. ... Friends with George W. Bush. ... According to Baseball Card Bust, made a lewd gesture on a card.
Verdict: Zero

Synopsis: Congratulations if you're actually still reading this. But no congrats to Upper Deck, which misfired on six of its eight "future heroes." Nice work, guys. What, you couldn't fit Rafael Palmeiro and Lenny Dykstra on here?
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