Card of the Day: 1995 Topps Cyberstats Walt Weiss

weiss1For the record, I hate projected stats. Is there anything more misleading and useless in the world of sports than when some network (namely ESPN or CBS) runs projected stat lines on the crawler several hours before a game starts? We see this a lot with football, where projecting stats is even more asinine because the game is so situational. And I know this practice has become more prominent because of the fantasy sports boon. Everyone with a fantasy team wants to know what professionals think their players will do on any given day. But bottom line is projecting stats is just stupid. Which leads me to this Card of the Day, the 1995 Topps Cyberstats Walt Weiss.

Now this post really isn’t about Walt Weiss per se. I actually like Walt a lot. Growing up in the Bay Area during the late ’80’s and early ’90s’ I was subjected to a trio of Oakland A’s Rookie of the Year winners. Weiss was the 1988 Rookie of the year following monster performances from Jose Canseco in 1986 and Mark McGwire in 1987.  Walt played in Oakland until 1992 when he was traded to the new Florida Marlins, and ended up being the first player to play for both the Rockie and Marlins, two teams that entered the league in 1993. From there he made one more stop in Atlanta before retiring in 2001 with a .258 batting average and 1,200 hits. Not a hall of fame career, but definitely a successful 14-year journey.

Now that we’re caught up on Weiss’ career, let’s get back to this card. For the longest time, I thought 1995 Topps Cyberstats set was a foil-like parallel of the base set. But as it turns out, it was Topps attempt to project how the pictured player would have finished the season had the 1994 session not been lost to strike.

I guess I can see it’s purpose, after all it would have been neat to figure out if Tony Gwynn would have hit .400 (He was hitting .394 when the season came to an end), see if Matt Williams (43 homers) would have hit the 50-hr plateau, and find out how low Greg Maddux could have pushed his league-leading 1.58 ERA. Hell, there still were 52 games left in the season.

But while this set could be entertaining for those particular players, it can serve a negative purpose, like giving false information. Most people no longer use baseball cards as their sole resource for obtaining a player’s statistics, but in 1995 — before the Internet became as big as it did in subsequent years — many kids were still flipping over their cards to find out how Todd Zeile, Royce Clayton and Todd Jones did in 1994. And you know kids don’t read and comprehend everything on the card. If you were between the ages of 10 to 15 (pre-Internet an fantasy sports boon) and read the sentence that is printed in the bottom left corner of the back of this card, would you have understood what these stats were?

weiss2

And for the record, had Weiss actually ended up with the stat line Topps has provided us with on the rear of this card, it would have been one of Weiss’ best seasons. He never collected more than 146 hits in a single season. Topps’ computer deemed that he would have had 152.

3 Responses to “Card of the Day: 1995 Topps Cyberstats Walt Weiss”

  1. I kind of thought the projected stats on the ’95 Topps cards were cool. I don’t really object to them in that way. But, yeah, in general, I can’t stand projected stats, especially ESPN’s over-reliance on them. And in a much broader view, I hate ESPN’s constant reliance on speculation and pre-game analysis, of which projected stats is a sub-category. Speculation fills at least half, if not more, of SportsCenter and most of their other coverage. It’s basically useless, half or more of what they say never comes to pass, and it runs contrary to everything about business of providing news: Stick with the facts.

    OK, rant’s over.

  2. I’m sure there were a lot of kids interested to see the backs of cards, to find out how Walt Weiss, Royce Clayton and Todd Jones’ stats back in the strike shortened season of 1994.

  3. That set came out when I was in college and wasn’t collecting, but when I went back and picked up the Pete Harnisch Cyberstats for my Harnisch collection, I couldn’t figure out why they “projected” him as earning one save in 1994.

    Not only was Pete a starter, but he was decidedly a full-time starter, having only one relief appearance since in his 165ish career games to that point — and it came as a rookie in 1989.

    What up, Topps?

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