Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#35 Rico Carty, an unsung Brave.

Up next is a player well worth the 0 or 5 card number distinction bestowed on him, Rico Carty. Carty is one of the major talents to come into the majors from Latin America in the mid 60's. Latin American players began to make their way into the Majors in the early 50's. Then as the decade moved along toward a close Orlando Cepeda, Felipe Alou (followed by his brothers, Matty and Jesus) arose to not only make the Majors but to excel in the league. Following their lead were players coming up in the middle 60's. Manny Mota, Tony Oliva and this man, Rico Carty come right to mind.

Carty by 1967 wasn't even an all star yet, but his '66 stats speak for themselves. .326 batting average in 151 games played. 15 homers and 76 RBIs. Carty had the misfortune of being overshadowed on the team in a national press sense, by Hank Aaron. The Braves by the time they moved to Atlanta were struggling to regain the dominance they experienced while playing in Milwaukee. The Braves were nothing less than a success in Milwaukee but despite a World Series title and winning back to back pennants, the team was sold and moved to Atlanta only 12 years after moving to Milwaukee from Boston.

The Braves success in Milwaukee (particularly in terms of their attendance) opened the door for other Northeastern teams to move west and seek out their own market instead of competing with other teams for one. O'Malley saw the Braves shatter attendance records while his Dodgers, make it to the World Series and not only lose the battle for season attendance to the Braves, but lose it by almost 700,000 fans. 1.163 Million showed up to see the Dodgers win the pennant in 1953. 1.826 million showed up to see the Braves finish 12 games back in 2nd place that year.

Carty had a bright future. A career .300 plus hitter. before injuries got him in 1967. He rebounded to win the batting title in 1970 with an average .366. Then injuries got him again and that's when he started having trouble finding teams willing to build with him. He went to the Rangers, Cubs, and Athletics in 1973 alone before settling in with the Indians  in 1974. He saw alot of work in Cleveland and had very good production for them through to 1977. The Indians were not a good ball club as a whole though and whatever he was doing wasn't attracting much attention. He went on to the Athletics and Blue Jays in '78 and '79. Again, neither team was good and appearing on these lackluster teams pushes Rico Carty's name and accomplishments on the back burner of Major League history.

As for the card. I didn't like it when I was a kid simply because it was a Braves card. The Braves were a team I was able to follow on basic cable regularly growing up, but never did. Basic cable in the late 80's had some local tv stations syndicated as a basic cable channel. I could watch the Yankees on channel 11 and the Mets on channel 9 off of an antenna in my bedroom. I could watch the Cubs on channel 19, the Phillies on channel 21 and the Braves on channel 39. I regularly watched the Yankees and Cubs, sometimes watched the Phillies, rarely watched the Mets and never watched the Braves. The team was awful in the late 80's. The only Braves I ever heard of back in 1987 were Hank Aaron and Dale Murphy.

Not caring about the team means not caring or even noticing the card when I first got it. The card looks like one of the better ones in the set. You get a good shot of the player. The signature is in a unique spot, up over left shoulder then arching up toward the batting cage set up before a Braves Mets game at Shea stadium. Can even see a good (though out of focus) amount of the Shea Stadium scoreboard in back. You also get a little of the Braves logo on Carty's left shirt sleeve instead of just the A on the blue and red baseball cap.

1 comment:

  1. About Rico Carty:

    He missed the 1968 season due to tuberculosis.

    His comeback was so great (and unexpected) that, even though he wasn't even on the All-star ballot (in 1970 I think), he was voted into the starting lineup as a WRITE-IN candidate!