Jun 30, 2013

Card Spotlight: 1993 Donruss Elite Darren Daulton

This card is the first Donruss Elite card from the original era, when the numbers were continuous from year to year, that I've ever acquired.  Numbered to 10000, it represented the thrill of the chase for certain cards in the early '90s for Donruss pack opening collectors.

Darren Daulton was an elite baseball player in 1992-1993.  It wasn't just the RBI title in 1992 (with 109 RBI, doesn't that seem like it's from another era?), but his overall production including the flowing locks.  His patient approach personified the Phillies lineup of that short, memorable era.

Even in 1992 as a last-place team, they finished 4th in the league in walks and on-base % (OBP) (and 2nd in hitter Ks).  In 1993, they had an obscenely high .351 OBP and finished 1st in walks and 2nd in hitter Ks.

Len Dykstra was the catalyst, John Kruk was the smiling all-star, but "Dutch" Daulton was the linchpin, the power hitting center of the lineup that allowed the patient approach to manifest itself into two consecutive years of finishing in the top two in the NL in runs scored.

Daulton's best season was 1992.  He carried a 156 OPS+ on the strength of a line of .270/.385/.524 line with 27 HR, 109 RBI, and  surprising 11 stolen bases.  He came by his silver slugger easily that year, marking the first time a catcher led the league in RBIs since Gary Carter in 1984 (with Johnny Bench before that in 1974).  Side Note: Curiously, a catcher has never led the AL in RBIs.

With the news of his operation coming up this week, it is worth it to remember how elite he was during the prime of his career.  May he come out of it as his baseball career ended, on top of the world.

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