Tuesday, September 24, 2013

1975 JIM HUNTER..."CATFISH" FITTED FOR HIS NEW UNIFORM IN THE BRONX

This doesn't really fall into a "do-over", so I'll just go ahead and post this without trying to fit it into one of my running threads.
When Jim "Catfish" Hunter signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees, it immediately changed the landscape of Major League baseball for future generations.
On a more current matter at the time, it immediately gave the Yanks a bona fide "A-1" starter and made them a legitimate threat as a baseball power after a decade of disappointments.
Hunter leaving Oakland also started the mass exodus of all the A's star players (Reggie, Bando, Tenace, Rudi, etc), causing the organization that pretty much spent the first half of the decade in first place to fall to last place by the end of the 70's.
It was HUGE in every sense of the word.
However, because Hunter signed with New York on New Years Eve of 1974, Topps didn't have time to get a card out showing "Catfish" in Yankee pinstripes, instead issuing the card you see below (#230), still in Oakland's colorful uni.
Well let's fix that real quick, showing Hunter as a New York Yankee, which quickly turned the team around and into World Champions within two years of his arrival.
Granted, adding guys like Reggie Jackson, Mickey Rivers, and the emergence of Ron Guidry didn't hurt either. But adding "Catfish" Hunter gave their pitching staff a humongous boost. No doubt about it.
Hunter immediately showed the Yankee brass that he was worth every penny in 1975, as he went on to finish with a record of 23-14, with a 2.58 E.R.A. and 177 strikeouts.
What is truly amazing is that he completed 30 of his 39 starts that year! 30! He is still the last pitcher to complete 30 or more games in a season to this day. Incredible.
He ended up second in Cy Young voting that year, behind Jim Palmer of the Baltimore Orioles, while also getting some M.V.P. attention, finishing 12th in the running.
So here you go: an "updated" 1975 Topps card with Jim "Catfish" Hunter on the mound in the Bronx.
Enjoy...

Hunter's 1975 Topps card, #230.

"Catfish" in Yankee pinstripes for 1975.

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