On the eve of the Home Run Derby, I thought it would be fitting to post about one of the best slugging catchers of all time: Carlton Fisk. At the time of his retirement, Fisk held the record for the most HR’s hit by catcher, 351, and he held the record for the most HR’s hit after the age of 40, 72.
What may not be known about Fisk, is he is one of only a handful of catchers to participate in the Home Run Derby. In fact, Fisk was part of the first Home Run Derby held in 1985. He along with Tom Brunansky, and 3 other future Hall of Famers (Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Rice, and Eddie Murray) were on the AL team.
The format was much different, as it was truly a team competition, and Fisk contributed 4 home runs to help the AL win 17-16. Dave Parker hit 6 HR’s to be named individual winner.
With that in mind, here is a set of cards that are very fitting as we remember Fisk as one of the great sluggers.
2002 Topps American Pie American Sluggers: Red, White, Blue, and Gold
Using the current jargon, this is my first complete Fisk “Rainbow”. Put together over the course of about 8 months, these cards came from COMC.com and card shows. None of them is numbered, and from my research, I think all were produced in the same quantity.
I think that the design is very bland. This insert is supposed to pay homage to the greatest American sluggers, and Topps used a posed portrait. To add insult to injury, Fisk isn’t even holding a bat. Topps should have used an action image, one which shows Fisk at least attempting to hit a baseball; perhaps one that shows him slugging a baseball.