Friday, June 14, 2013

1966 TOPPS CATFISH HUNTER


CLEAN-CUT CATFISH.




THE PRIDE OF HERTFORD, N.C.



THE FRONT PAGE

  • Jim ''Catfish'' Hunter had an appropriate surname. He, indeed, was a hunter, both of wild game and the big game. While enjoying the wilderness in the off-season, Hunter tamed opposing batters as ace for the Athletics and Yankees during a 15-year Hall of Fame career. Pinpoint control helped him win 224 games, including five in the World Series. When the ball was offered, he took it and most times delivered. The eight-time All-Star was part of five World Series championships and won the 1974 AL Cy Young Award.

THE BACK PAGE

  • After reading the back, you'll notice it doesn't jive with the pitching record. The first line of stats should be for 1964 and the second 1965.
  • That cartoon is flat-out creepy.

PHOTO PLAY

  • Looks nothing like the mustachioed Catfish Hunter of the Swingin' A's, does it?

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • This is Hunter's second-year card, his first being the '65 Athletics Rookie Stars.
  • The hunting accident occurred during his senior season, and 15 pellets remained in his right foot and he lost a toe. Before the accident, Hunter was in line for a six-figure bonus as one of the best high school pitchers in '64. Instead, the A's got him for $75,000.
  • In addition to hunting and fishing, young Catfish played sports and refined his control by throwing baseballs through a hole in a barn door at his family's farm in Hertford, N.C.
  • Hunter went straight to the majors in '65, and owner Charlie Finley thought the prized rookie needed a nickname and came up with "Catfish'' before the season. In Hertford, he was always known as "Jimmy.''
  • Despite 9-11 and 13-17 records in '66 and '67 respectively, Catfish made his first two All-Star teams.
  • After Finley moved the Athletics to Oakland for the '68 season, Hunter gave the new fans something else to celebrate by pitching a 4-0 perfect game at home on May 8 against the Twins. It was the ninth perfect game in baseball history.
  • His breakthrough occurred in '70, winning 18 games and starting an AL-leading 40.
  • The next season he began a run of five consecutive 20-plus win seasons, including a 25-12, 2.49 season in '74 as the A's won their third consecutive World Series title.
  • Catfish joined Walter Johnson, Lefty Grove and Bob Feller as the only AL pitchers to win 20-plus five consecutive years.
  • Signed with the Yankees as a free agent in '75, turning down better offers from the Padres and Royals. After beginning the season 0-3, Hunter went on to lead baseball in victories for the second year in a row, finishing 23-14 with a 2.58 ERA in 328 innings.
  • Won 17 games in '76 for the AL pennant winners in what would turn out to be his last All-Star season.
  • Compiled only 23 more victories in his last three seasons before retiring because of arm injuries and diabetes.
  • Along with Christy Mathewson, Hunter is the only pitcher to win 200 games by age 31.
  • Inducted into the Hall of Fame in '87 and because of his loyalties to the A's and Yankees, his cap on his plaque doesn't have an insignia on it. 
  • Died in '99 after a fall at his home in Hertford. He was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, "Lou Gehrig's Disease.''
  • Since '04, the Athletics have honored one of their own with the Catfish Hunter Award, which goes to a player who exemplifies the pitcher's competitive and courageous spirit. Jonny Gomes was selected last season.

ONE TERRIFIC BASEBALL NAME.

2 comments:

  1. Terrific gold& green unis, too. First time I saw those in person at Yankee Stadium I was just amazed by them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There's no doubt about that. Their threads made their cards in the '70s -- and beyond -- always look good, even when they were beating my Birds.

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