Sunday, September 18, 2011

1995 Signature Rookies Future Dynasty set

One of the small insert sets I still have from when I collected as a kid is a promo set called "Future Dynasty" by Signature Rookies. The set includes some of the hottest prospects at the time: Billy Ashley, Derek Jeter, Ruben Rivera, Antone Williamson and Ben Grieve. For the sake of this post, I'll spare everyone the Jeter info. You know what he has ended up doing. I'll take a look at the other four.

The cards themselves are ugly as hell. They look like some sort of weird colored camouflage. The airbrushing looks goofy, and the "1 of 30,000" along the card's side is laughable.

Billy Ashley-
Dodger fans, what are your thoughts on him? He was drafted in 1988 and put up HUGE minor league numbers at AAA when he was 23 and 24 years old. The 1994 season (age 24) was sort of weird because he hit .345 with 37 HRs and 105 RBIs, a year after he hit 26 HRs and had 100 RBIs at the same level. Seems he would have graduated, but he didn't get much more than a cup of coffee in '93 or '94, even after appearing in 29 big league games in 1992. It seems that while he put up big numbers, he wasn't ever considered much of an option at the big league level.

Was he hyped up and a disappointment? Or was it obvious he wasn't going to make it, hence wasting away in the minors?

Ben Grieve-
I had high hopes for this guy. I remember when the big time prospects were Grieve, Jose Cruz Jr and Travis Lee. He started well, winning AL Rookie of the Year in 1998 by hitting .288/.386/.456 with 18 HRs. Pretty good. The next two years he hit 28 and 27 HRs, respectively, but after that found himself in Tampa and eventually was nothing more than a journeyman. His last game was in 2005 with the Cubs.

Antone Williamson-
He was the Brewers' fourth overall pick in 1994 out of ASU and reached the majors in 2007, his only season as a big leaguer. He never really tore it up at any level, and remained in the Brewers' organization until 1999.

Ruben Rivera-
He was the next Mickey Mantle. The next great Yankees CFer. He put up promising minor league numbers and was ok in his first few callups. After the 1996 season, he was a key piece in the Hideki Irabu trade with the Padres. His best year came in 1999 when he hit 23 HRs...all while batting a lofty .195. The Yanks brought him to spring training in 2002 as a chance to make the team as a back-up outfielder. He promptly stole Derek Jeter's bat and glove and sold them to a sports memorabilia dealer. He was kicked off the team.

Interestingly enough, he is still playing in Mexico for Campeche and his numbers are ridiculous. This past year at age 37 he hit .322 with 31 HRs.

This set really acts as a reminder that no matter how hyped the prospect is, you just can never guarantee success in Majors.

1 comment:

  1. Billy Ashley was a one-tool player. He could hit home runs. But he struck out at an insane rate, almost once every other at-bat. He was also a terrible, slow fielder.

    He was considered a prospect, but his flaws were well-known, so I don't think anyone was too surprised when he didn't produce in the majors.