Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#230 - Jim Hunter

Card fact: This is the final card of Jim "Catfish" Hunter as an Athletic, the team for which he pitched during the first 10 years of his career.

What I thought about this card then: Didn't see this one.

What I think about this card now: You have got to love those golden A's uniforms. This has to be the ideal mid-70s Oakland Athletic baseball card. A mustachioed pitcher in a gold and green uniform, standing in Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, surrounded by a two-tone green border.

Other stuff: Hunter was at the peak of his career when this card hit drugstore shelves. He had just completed his fourth straight 20-win season, won the Cy Young Award, and helped the A's to their third straight World Series title. But by the time this card was available for purchase, Hunter was no longer an Oakland A. He signed as a free agent with the Yankees on the last day of 1974 and become the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.

Hunter recorded a fifth straight 20-win season with the Yankees in 1975, but began to decline after that, suffering from arm problems. By the time I became aware of Hunter as a kid, he was barely able to stay off the disabled list.

Of course, Hunter suffered from diabetes -- I believe he is the person who introduced me to the concept of the disease -- and in his later years, was afllicted with ALS. He died in 1999 at age 53.

A confession: I always forget that Hunter was inducted into the Hall of Fame. For some reason, I assume his career wasn't long enough or his stats weren't good enough. I think it's because the part of his career that I saw was not very memorable.

Back facts: I'm relieved that Topps referred to Hunter as "Catfish" somewhere on this card. Throughout his career, his cards always said "Jim." But I've heard everyone else refer to him only as "Catfish," which I believe was a nickname given to him by Charlie O. Finley.

Other blog stuff: More birthdays of pretty women: Courteney Cox was born on this date in 1964.


Play at the Plate said...

Courtney Cox is 46?! Wow, she is a cougar. Sorry, I got distracted. This is one of the few '75s I have. Yay me! You couldn't ask for a more perfect border color to go with that uni.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Charlie O hung 'Catfish' on Jim Hunter. He didn't like it but what could he do then?