Friday, October 17, 2014

Some Gary Carter Love

With the Brewer-centrism I display here, it is easy for me from time to time to overlook my Gary Carter Collection. Gary Carter was really my first player collection. I tried to accumulate as many of his cards as I could during the 1980s, and y'all have already seen the Carter autographs I collected in that time.
At the recent card show that I attended, I came across a rich vein of Gary Carter cards wallowing in the dime boxes. I felt that I needed to save these from that fate and get them into my collection.
Starting in 1981:
This Fleer was one that I did not have as a kid and really don't ever remember seeing at any point in time. I was surprised that both it and its 1981 Topps compatriot (a condition upgrade) had such sharp corners for being in a dime box.

Remember in the 1980s how baseball wanted to try to measure "game winning RBI"? I'm not sure that we called wins in the final at-bat "walk-off" wins at that point, but I think that GWRBI was an attempt really to measure that particular phenomenon. It also might have been baseball's effort to prove Bill James wrong about "clutch" hitting.

In any case, what ended up being measured was more frequently a run-scoring single in the second inning rather than a dramatic, bottom-of-the-ninth grand slam that wins a game 4-3. But, since it gave Gary Carter another card, it can't be all bad, right?

I think all of us who remember Gary Carter think of him either as a Met or as an Expo. Yet, he played with the Giants for 92 games in 1990 and with the Dodgers for 101 games in 1991. 

I almost hate that they made baseball cards of him from those two years.

At least you can't tell he is a Dodger on this photo. In fact, this one would not be out of place in any good Panini set these days, except that Panini would remove the background, replace it with yellow or blue or silver shininess and make it so that the blue would not look like Dodger blue.  

At the end of his career in 1992, Carter returned to Montreal for an otherwise forgettable 95-game stint there.  Part of me thinks that he was hanging around and hoping that he could beat out Carlton Fisk in the race to pass Bob Boone as the catcher with the most career games at the position. It didn't happen. Fisk won the race, and Carter never caught Boone. 
At least Ivan Rodriguez passed Fisk.

After Carter retired (and especially after he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame), the card companies started printing more cards of Carter in almost a willy-nilly fashion. Sometimes they are reprints of old cards. 

Other times, the companies took old photos from somewhere -- a newspaper clipping? -- and put it on the card in black and white. I mean, come on folks, we had color photography for the entirety of Gary Carter's career.

Then again, after seeing this card, forget I said that about color. It looks like Upper Deck employed the worst members of Ted Turner's movie colorization team to make this card a color card again. At $5, this was the most expensive card from my entire weekend at the card show. But it was worth it.

The other tack is for cards to look like they are 30 years old but, in reality, they are only 2 years old.

This is the last card I need to complete the 2012 Topps Archives set. However, I still need it for that set since I could only find one of the cards at the show. I am not sure I care.

Thanks again for reading and for a walk down dime-box and memory lane with Gary Carter.


  1. The amount of Gary Carter cards I find in dime boxes is staggering. My collection of his has probably tripled in the last year or two. Looks like you scored some great ones! His '81 Topps card is one of my favorites.

  2. It freaks me out whenever I come across a card of Carter in anything but a Mets or Expos uniform. Heck... didn't even realize he played for the Dodgers.

    I absolutely love coming across Carter's Expos cards in dime boxes. Great collection!