Today's player, Gary Carter, was a former teammate of my first subject in this thread (Andre Dawson), part of that young talented Montreal Expos roster in the late-70's/early-80's.
In 1975 Carter made his first card appearance on the multi-player card you see below (#620).
It was an awesome set with some fantastic rookies (Brett, Yount, Lynn, Hernandez) and all-time legends winding down their careers (Aaron, B. Williams, Ron Santo, F. Robinson), so really I'm not trying to complain about it here.
However as I stated with the first post on this thread, I was never a fan of these multi-player rookie cards. Looking back on them now it's incredible to see how many of the players depicted never even made it up to the Majors in the future. Wasted space in my eyes (the 1977 set was particularly brutal in this respect).
Sadly Gary Carter was picked by Topps to be on one of these cards, so we also have the "un"legendary Dan Meyer, Marc Hill and Leon Roberts taking up space on what should have been a classic card of the best catcher in the 1980's and eventual Hall of Famer.
But today, allow me to imagine what a "dedicated" rookie card of Gary Carter in 1975 could have looked like had Topps issued one.
Instead of using one of those "Gary Carter-like" smiling poses we're used to, I found a slightly more serious shot of him posing at-bat. Just seemed nice and different for a change.
|Carter's first appearance on a card, in 1975 as issued by Topps.|
|My design for "The Kid" in all his youthful glory on a dedicated card.|
I remember when Gary Carter really took over the "best catcher" tag from Johnny Bench around 1981. It was like he was suddenly everywhere with that smile of his!
Sure you still had Carlton Fisk producing in the American League, but Carter really took over as the the top backstop and held onto that title for pretty much the rest of the decade.
This was a guy who had nine seasons of 20+ homers and four 100+ R.B.I. seasons as a catcher. Not too shabby!
After finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1975, Carter also went on to have 11 All-Star game nods, five Silver Slugger awards, three Gold Gloves and seven seasons where he garnered M.V.P. votes, finishing in the Top-10 four times.
By the time he retired after the 1992 season, he finished with 2092 hits, 324 home runs and 1225 runs batted in.
Needless to say Cooperstown came calling, and in 2003 he easily got voted in after being selected on 387 of 496 ballots, securing his place in baseball history forever.
However, sadly years later Carter was diagnosed with brain cancer, and despite undergoing aggressive treatment he succumbed to the disease about nine months later in February of 2012.
A tragic and shocking loss for the baseball world to say the least.