On the blog today, we spotlight another card from my 1960's Dedicated Rookie set released a couple of years ago, this time my 1965 card for Hall of Famer Jim "Catfish" Hunter:
Hunter was a 19-year-old who hadn't yet pitched in a Big League game when this card would have come out, who would go on to finish 8-8 over 32 games with two shutouts and a 4.26 earned run average over 133 innings.
Over his 15-year career, which wrapped up in 1979 due to arm troubles, Hunter racked up 224 wins, a 3.26 earned run average, 42 shutouts and 2012 strikeouts.
He took home the Cy Young Award in 1974 in his last season with the A's, came in second for the award the following year in his first year as a landmark Free-Agent with the Yankees, and threw a perfect game back in 1968 at the young age of 22.
A big-game pitcher, Hunter was a member of no less than five World Champion teams: 1972-74 Oakland A's, and the "Bronx Zoo" Yankee teams of 1977-78.
Did you know that Hunter is the last pitcher in the Major Leagues to complete 30 or more games in a season?
In 1975 he completed 30 of his 39 starts, on his way to a 23-14 record with seven shutouts and a 2.58 E.R.A.
Between 1971 and 1975 he won 20 or more games each year, a great five year run which saw him win 111 games.
As a matter of fact, Hunter was the first pitcher since the all-time great Walter Johnson to win 200 games before the age of 31! And the only other guys at that time to also do it? Christy Mathewson and Cy Young. Incredible.
Sadly arm troubles and diabetes started to affect his career, forcing him to retire in 1979 at the age of only 33.
The final feather in his baseball cap would be a Hall of Fame induction in 1987 along with Chicago Cubs great Billy Williams, giving him a solid place in baseball history, if he didn't have one already...