Try to imagine your current or favorite ball player growing up. Was he the greatest? In your eyes he probably was even if he couldn’t steal 100 bases like Rickey or hit 40 home runs like Canseco. This may be hard to believe but not everyone’s favorite player is Derek Jeter or Albert Pujols. Some of us take a liking to Ray Lankford and Ben Grieve or even Craig Counsel for that matter. The dilemma one faces when building a collection of a player not as well-known or massively over-produced by card companies like a Derek Jeter or Albert Pujols is lack of respect. For example, Cecil Fielder today is mostly remembered for two things; being the father of future Home Run King, Prince or even worse, not being the best family man on the planet. What about ushering in the great home run era of the 90’s? It was he, who in all likely hood hit 51 home runs without steroids and doing so when no one else had been able to do in 13 years (George Foster, 52 in ’77). Up until that point and for a couple of more years 50 home runs was God-like in baseball. If you could hit 40+ home runs a season back then you could be on the cover of every sport magazine and give it to Madonna any day of the week. Today, hit 40 home runs and you might get cut the next season or traded away to another team for the next big thing.
What made “Big Daddy” Cecil Fielder such a great story in 1990 was the fact that for the first 4 years of his career he was somewhat of a scrub, barely cracking 14 home runs as a career high in 1987. In 1989 a Japanese team offered him big money and the opportunity to play every day and of course, Cecil took it. When the 1990 season began the U.S fans saw another man, one who was now a legitimate slugger and came this close to winning the M.V.P crown. From 1990 to 1992 he led the league in home runs twice and R.B.I 3 times. In the end he would go on to hit 30+ home runs in a season 6 times and 100+ R.B.I 5 times. Not bad for a guy who hit 32 home runs and 82 R.B.I in four seasons before Japan.