16 June 2014

a yankee black armband for catfish hunter

as i mentioned earlier today, the yankees wore a memorial - their traditional black armband - following the death of jim 'catfish' hunter on september 9, 1999.  hunter passed away after being diagnosed with als - lou gehrig's disease.

the yankees were already wearing a memorial number patch for joe dimaggio (more on that in a future post) who had passed away during spring training, but didn't add the armband until after hunter's death.  that means that roger clemens is wearing both memorials on this 2000 fleer tradition card
even though we only see the armband.

it's fitting to use a world series themed card as the memorial for hunter as he pitched in three more fall classics after joining the yankees.  he won 23 games in 1975, his first year with the yankees, and then had 17 more wins in 1976 as he helped new york return to the world series after an 11-year absence.  although they lost to the reds that year, hunter helped them return and beat the dodgers in 1977 and 1978.

arm problems forced him to retire following the 1979 season, but he went out with well over 200 wins and just over 2000 strikeouts in his 15-year career.  he was voted to the hall of fame in 1987, and is the only player (i think) who is enshrined without a logo on his cap as he refused to choose between the a's and the yankees.

unfortunately, topps failed to produce a card of hunter in 1980, but they came through a couple of years ago with this card from 2012 topps archives
with his complete career stats on the back, and a snarky cartoon that picks at my 1978 world series scab (the dodgers were up 2 games to none!).
that's what hunter's final tribute would have looked like, and in fact, i have this card in my final tribute binder.  better late than never.

1 comment:

Tony L. said...

Greg Maddux will join Hunter this year as being enshrined without a logo, as Maddux said he spent as much time away from Atlanta as in Atlanta and, so, did not want to choose just one of them on his hat.