Skip to main content

Cardboard appreciation: 1983 Fleer Jim Kaat

(A sampling of the various "appreciation days" out there: National Teacher Appreciation Day, Military Appreciation Day, Clergy Appreciation Day, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day -- Jan. 28th for anyone interested. Notice anything missing? That's right, there is no Baseball Card Collector Appreciation Day! But there are plenty of days when collectors appreciate baseball cards. This is such a day. These are my all-time favorites. This is the 9th in a series):

The Veterans Committee is scheduled to announce later today which former players they have elected to the Hall of Fame. Jim Kaat is on the short list, but I don't think he's going to be one of the players named.

What I think would be cool is if Kaat eventually made the Hall of Fame as a player and then also was inducted into the broadcasters' wing. I always thought he was a dynamite broadcaster. He was the calm amid the bluster in the Yankees' broadcast booth (well, Ken Singleton is also calm), and I just liked his delivery. He was smart, professional, and didn't draw attention to himself. Even when he retired after the 2007 season, he left quietly.

That's more than I can say about some of ESPN's baseball broadcasters. Whether they are showing up on the air drunk (Sutcliffe), or spouting conspiracy theories (Thorn), or just considering themselves the most knowledgeable baseball men on the face of the earth (Morgan), ESPN's got a crew that couldn't carry the box that carries Jim Kaat's jock.

Which is why I find it so interesting that Kaat is being interviewed by ESPN in this photo on the 1983 Fleer card. I'm pretty sure when I pulled this card from a pack, I had no idea what ESPN was. The cable station was only four years old at the time and loads of people back then didn't even have cable. I know we didn't.

Maybe Kaat didn't know what ESPN was either when he granted this interview. But I'm sure he was pleasant just the same. He was at the end of his career in 1983, and I didn't get to see him play much. But he seemed like the model professional out there on the mound. A great pitcher and a fantastic fielder, too. As classy on the field as he was in the booth.

Maybe Kaat won't end up in the Hall as a player, but I do think he should be there as a broadcaster. That's where I was able to appreciate him the most, as he kept his distance from the "look-at-me" phenomenon that is ESPN. You stay classy, Jim Kaat, and I'll continue to appreciate your 1983 Fleer card.

Comments

zman40 said…
I was thinking the same thing about the ESPN mic. I probably wouldn't have had a clue if I pulled it in '86, let alone '83.
James said…
I'd like to see Kaat get in too. His glove should put him over the top.
Andy said…
This is the only card I've ever seen featuring a diamond engagement ring. Obviously the person holding the microphone is a woman, which explains why it looks like Kaat is looking down her blouse.
Eric Stephen said…
I got a box of 1984 Fleer yesterday and the Johnny Bench card also features an ESPN mic. It looks like he is being interviewed by Chris Berman.
MMayes said…
What I like is the old original ESPN logo. I think ESPN started out in '79, but I know we didn't get cable until '83, when I'd started college. I thought I was going to wet myself to have the opportunity to watch sports any time I wanted.
madding said…
I bet Fleer didn't even know what ESPN was back when they put this card out. I can't see them giving free advertising to a mega-giant like ESPN is today.

Jim Kaat was about the only broadcaster that CBS had that I actually didn't mind listening to. (And yes, that includes Jack Buck, but that's a discussion for another day.)

Popular posts from this blog

This guy was everywhere

It's interesting how athletes from the past are remembered and whether they remain in the public conscious or not.

Hall of Fame players usually survive in baseball conversations long after they've played because they've been immortalized in Cooperstown. Then there are players who didn't reach the Hall but were still very good and somehow, some way, are still remembered.

Players like Dick Allen, Rusty Staub, Vida Blue and Mickey Rivers live on decades later as younger generations pick up on their legacies. Then there are all-stars like Bert Campaneris, who almost never get discussed anymore.

There is just one memory of Campaneris that younger fans most assuredly know. I don't even need to mention it. You know what's coming, even if Lerrin LaGrow didn't.

But there was much more to Campaneris than one momentary loss of reason.

A couple of months ago, when watching old baseball games on youtube hadn't gotten old yet, I was watching a World Series game from…

Some of you have wandered into a giveaway

Thanks to all who voted in the comments for their favorite 1970s Topps card of Bert Campaneris.

I didn't know how this little project would go, since I wasn't installing a poll and, let's face it, the whole theme of the post is how Campaneris these days doesn't get the respect he once did. (Also, I was stunned by the amount of folks who never heard about the bat-throwing moment. Where am I hanging out that I see that mentioned at least every other month?)

A surprising 31 people voted for their favorite Campy and the one with the most votes was the one I saw first, the '75 Topps Campy card above.

The voting totals:

'75 Campy - 11 votes
'70 Campy - 4
'72 Campy - 4
'73 Campy - 4
'76 Campy - 4
'74 Campy - 3
'78 Campy - 1

My thanks to the readers who indulged me with their votes, or even if they didn't vote, their comments on that post. To show my appreciation -- for reading, for commenting, for joining in my card talk even if it might …

Return of the king

(If you haven't voted for your favorite Bert Campaneris '70s card in the last post, I invite you to do so).

So you've been away for a few years and want everyone to know that you're back.

How do you do that?

Do what The Diamond King did when he returned to card blogging last month: Bombard readers with contests and giveaways! Well, you've certainly gotten MY attention, sir!

I'll start with the giveaways first. Since he returned, the Diamond King has issued multiple "Diamond King 9" giveaways, straight out of the chute and rapid fire in the last month-plus. As I've said before, I am very slow to get to these "first come, first serve" giveaways. I used to think "I spend too much time on the computer" and now I realize "I don't spend enough time on the computer at all!"

But I was able to nab two cards out of the many giveaways.


I won this key 1981 Fleer Star Sticker of The Hawk. I have since acquired several more &#…