Thursday, December 29, 2011
Time: 44 Days
Item Sent: 1993 Fleer/ProCards Nashville Xpress, 1997 Fleer, 1997 Topps, 1997 Ultra
Item Received: 1993 Fleer/ProCards Nashville Xpress, 1997 Fleer, 1997 Topps, 1997 Ultra. All signed in blue Sharpie.
For several years in the early '90s, Rich Becker was hailed as one of the jewels of the Twins farm system. He was a switch-hitting outfielder with outstanding speed and a great glove, and possessed some nice power potential. He had nothing left to prove in the minors when the Twins made him their everyday center fielder in 1995. But he proved nothing in the majors that year, as he struggled to get on base, showed no power, and was caught more times than he was successful in base stealing attempts. He was at a crossroads in 1996, and he answered the call big time. Spending most of the year hitting between Chuck Knoblauch and Paul Molitor (who each had historic seasons that year), Becker posted a .291/.372/.434 triple slash line, clubbed 12 homers, scored 92 runs, knocked in 71, and stole 19 bases (while only being caught five times). He also played Gold Glove quality defense in center. He regressed in 1997, though, and was dealt to the Mets for Alex Ochoa after the season. He would play for five clubs over the next three years and wouldn't come close to approaching the promise he showed in 1996. Regardless, his '96 season was one of the most underrated and seasons from a dark decade in the Dome.