Valentin filled a position, shortstop, that the Red Sox had a difficult time keeping occupied with a quality player. But the guy who followed Valentin, Nomar Garciaparra, was even better and made a lot of fans forget Valentin.
As we'll see, though, John Valentin is worth remembering.
Let's start with 1995.
Here are the WAR leaders for that year:
Valentin is the far-and-away #1, particular among non-outfielders and non-DH's. That's why he won the 1995 AL MVP award in a landslide.
Oh wait...he didn't?
|Voting Results||Batting Stats|
|Rank||Tm||Vote Pts||1st Place||Share||WAR|
Oh that's right. He finished NINTH in the AL MVP vote.
This is one of the most ridiculous MVP votes. I could see Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, or the under-appreciated Tim Salmon winning, but Valentin should at least have had a top 3 finish.
The problem? His defense. He topped 1 dWAR in 5 different years, including 3 seasons with over 2 dWAR.
Here are the WAR Fielding Runs leaders among shortstops for the 1990s:
Shown is Valentin's 1995 Topps Cards, #36. This is a pretty interesting set. By the mid-1990s, most of the main issue card sets were going for the fanciest, highest-end look they could. Cards were on thick stock with foil, holograms, gold parallels, etc. This Topps issue, though, seems to be doing the opposite. The edges on the photo are supposed to look either torn or like a colored pencil drawing. The text on the front is a fun sort of font and is quite minimalistic overall. The card front may not be the classiest ever, but it's simple, easy to read, and I like it.
The back is pretty similar to many past Topps' issues except for the inclusion of not one but two color photos on the back--a head shot and a small action shot. It was pretty creative to cram that third photo in there and it gives the card some nice perspective. The use of the headshot photo limited the amount of space for stats, and they don't even show OBP...