Friday, October 10, 2008

Card Spotlight 10-10-08

1987 Fleer #635 - Steve Carlton (4,000 strikeouts)

Steve Carlton is currently fourth on the career strikeout list with 4,136 strikeouts. While that number will not change, someone may surpass him for fourth place. The closest active player behind Steve Carlton would be Greg Maddux, and he needs 765 more to equal Carlton. I'm not saying that it can't be done, but it doesn't seem likely.

A few years ago, Steve Carlton was sitting comfortably in second place, until Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens passed him up. So it is possible that Steve will be bumped down even more, but not very likely in this age of short outings and specialty pitchers.

I received this card earlier in the week. It has been one that had been eluding me for quite some time. It never dawned on me that the card is a complete sham until I got a close look at the text on the back of the card.

This is a card celebrating a great accomplishment. 4,000 strikeouts is an amazing feat. The card is beautiful. Steve Carlton, 4,000 strikeouts. He is pictured in a Chicago White Sox uniform, the team he was on in 1986. There's nothing wrong with that, except that there is.

Steve Carlton was on three different teams in 1986. The Phillies, the Giants and the White Sox. Steve was released from the Phillies with 3,982 career strikeouts. The Giants signed him, where he threw 18 more strikeouts. Then he finished up the season with the White Sox, where he threw 40 more strikeouts. If the math is giving you a headache, let me put it to you this way. Steve Carlton's first strikeout with the Chicago White Sox was number 4,001. His last strikeout with the Giants was number 4,000.

So, why isn't Steve pictured in a Giants uniform for a card honoring an accomplishment with the Giants? Your guess is as good as mine. He wasn't even on the White Sox in 1987, so I'm a bit confused. I suppose someone at Fleer was lazy and didn't want to search for a picture of Steve in a Giants uniform. It just seems a little odd to me.

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