I cannot answer the question of ‘Why’… But I definitely had a thing for Los Angeles Dodger pitching prospects in the late 1980’s and into the early 1990’s.
Ramon Martinez was another guy that I sunk an unthinkable amount of money and attention into when his rookie card became available. Martinez had some pretty steady success during his 14-year career playing professional baseball, but he never lived up to the hype I created for him as I gathered up as many rookie cards of his that I could find.
Unlike my “That Guy #1”, Keith Kiki Jones, Martinez did make it to the major leagues and blossomed into an all-star pitcher. In his first complete season with the Dodgers in 1990, Ramon went 20-6 while pitching 12 complete games and striking out 223 batters. Martinez finished second in the Cy Young Award voting that year to Doug Drabek and earned his only trip to the All-Star game.
I firmly believed that Ramon was quickly on his way to being one of the best pitchers of the decade and I was thrilled to be able to watch his success unfold right out of the gates. Ramon didn’t do poorly afterwards, but he was never able to recapture the success he had during that 1990 season. Although he did have 7 more years of double-digit wins under his belt, none were nearly as impressive as his first full season with the Dodgers.
From a collection standpoint, I gobbled up as many Ramon Martinez rookies as I was able to. Having 2 new companies, Upper Deck and Score, only added to the excitement and my collection of Ramon Martinez rookie cards eclipsed the 200 card count by the All-star break of 1990. Unfortunately, or fortunately for me some 18 years later, by then he was having an incredible year and the cards were getting harder and harder to find.
So now I have introduced you to 2 of my ‘That Guys’. #1 was a rookie phenom destined for greatness that never made it to the ‘Big Show’. And now #2 is a player that achieved the success in his rookie year that I anticipated and was never able to live up to the hype again.
Now I want stories from you guys and gals. Who is your #2 “That Guy”??? Chris Sabo, Jerome Walton, come on I want to know who you fell in love with during their rookie year that never lived up to the attention you gave them.
Posted in Random Baseball Thoughts
Tagged all-star, cy young, cy young award, dodgers, keith jones, keith kiki jones, kiki jones, los angeles dodgers, phenom, pithcer, ramon martinez, rookie, that guy
Wow, 3 straight days of great mail!!! I can hardly wait to get home tonight to see what awaits me in my mailbox. I hope it’s not the Visa bill….
As I mentioned last week in this post, I found ‘Kiki Jones’ through some searching on the Internet. After a few rounds of email between one another I asked if I could send him a baseball card to get an autograph and he obliged.
Well, just 8 days later I found this in my mailbox!!!
I’ve blown up the size of the image to display the signature better. I am not sure what type of pen was used to sign this, but it is not very clear.
Either way, I am really happy that Kiki agreed to sign this for me. Kiki Jones was the first rookie that I ever obsessed over, way back in 1990, and although he did not make the type of impact in the sport that either he or I had wished for this autograph means quite a bit to me.
Posted in Autographs
Tagged authentic, Autographs, autographs through the mail, basbeall cards, dodgers, keith jones, kiki jones, los angeles dodgers, phenom, pitcher, rookie, sports autographs
With the help of the wonderful Internet, I was able to track down my ‘That Guy’. Keith ‘Kiki’ Jones currently lives in Tampa and is still very much in love with baseball.
After exchanging emails back and forth over the last week or so, I asked ‘Kiki’ if I could send him a card for his autograph.
He has graciously obliged and this letter will be going out in the mail tomorrow.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged authentic, Autographs, autographs through the mail, baseball, baseball cards, collecting, collection, dodgers, hobby, keith jones, kiki jones, los angeles dodgers, phenom, sports autographs
Every collector has a ‘That Guy’. The guy that was going to make you a genius amongst your fellow collectors. The guy that was going to come in and dominate the game. The guy that nobody else heard of but you knew he had ‘the stuff’.
My guy was Keith ‘Kiki’ Jones. Kiki was a pitcher drafted very highly in 1989 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kiki was a ‘fire-baller’ who was throwing in the high 90’s with extreme accuracy. I had first read about him in ’90 after he struck out 100 batters in just 61 innings as a high school senior. Kiki was being touted as the next Dwight Gooden and I ran with that.
Every card shop, card show dealer, and friend that had Kiki’s cards soon became my prey. I attacked and when I was done I owned roughly 400 of these beauties. Luckily for me at the time I was able to grab most of these for a quarter or less, but again I was thinking of the end reward and all of the ‘You The Man’s’ I was going to get once he debuted in the majors and kicked baseball’s ass.
1989 Score Rookie Card
That smile just reeks of confidence and I was just waiting for the baseball world to be in awe of Keith ‘Kiki’ Jones.
Too bad it didn’t work out that way. Kiki never did reach the majors, and sadly enough ‘My Guy’ was tagged by the baseball media as a bust. Kiki bounced around the minors for a few years while dealing with injuries to his pitching arm and never regained what had made him the 15th pick in the draft. After 12 years in the minor leagues, Kiki officially left the game of baseball in 2001. No Rookie of the Year awards, No Cy Young awards, No World Series rings…
So, who is your ‘That Guy’???
Posted in Stars from the 80's
Tagged 1989, baseball, baseball cards, draft pick, keith jones, kiki jones, LA Dodgers, los angeles, los angeles dodgers, phenom, pitcher, that guy