Carlton Fisk Countdown: #61


Today’s card is the 1987 Donruss card of Fisk. Once again it is not the prettiest card. It also is not worth very much. This card is special to me for a couple different reasons. The first of those is because I tried so hard to complete this set. This was back in the days of 35 cent packs that gave you a handful of cards. I was missing quite a few cards, and as a present my dad was going to buy me an entire set. I remember the set was real hard to come by. None of the local shops had one in stock. We ordered one online, and I can still remember the day that the UPS man brought it to my door. So this card would get in just for the fact of how hard I worked to get that set together.
The other reason I like this card is the look on Carlton’s face. He looks like you just told him something that he didn’t like. Maybe I am the only one who used to do this, but every card back then told a story. To me this picture was always taken right after Ken Harrelson told Fisk that he would play left field. The timing would be right. That move was made in 1986, and the picture for this card would have been taken around that time. Pudge hated the idea of being moved to left. He never was shy about his feelings toward that move. Hawk thought it was a great idea. He wanted to put a 38 year old catcher out in left field. How much ground would he be able to cover after all those years behind the plate? Joel Skinner was sitting the bench though, and the Hawk wanted to play both players. Reading some articles from the time period the move was made to get Skinner some playing time. In 1986 here are the Catchers that were on the Sox roster: Fisk, Skinner, Ron Karkovice, and Marc Hill. We had a log jam at a position, and a Hall of Famer in the way of some young kids. Harrelson thought this move would lengthen Fisk’s career. Knowing what we now know about how much longer Fisk played it seems silly to think about lengthening his career. Hell maybe he could still be playing. He could room with Julio Franco on the road. Before 1986 he had played eight games in left field. All but one of those though were with the Red Sox. In 1986 he played 31 games in left. That year Bobby Bonilla played 36 games in left to lead the team. He had four errors in 75 chances. According to the stats the ball was only hit to him just over twice a game. My guess is that Cangelosi was cheating towards left when Fisk was in the game. In the end Hawk was only the GM for one year. In that year his Fisk experiment failed, and he fired Tony LaRussa. Yes the same LaRussa that has been in a World Series every decade since. I like Hawk Harrelson…as an announcer. I think he was right to go back to the booth. Although if you look at things now he may have been right. If you take a trip to U.S. Cellular Field and look at the left field wall you will see the retired number of Carlton Fisk. If you go on to the concourse in left field you will see a statue of Carlton Fisk. Finally if you ever get to Fenway Park and look at the left field foul pole you will notice that it has been named Fisk’s Pole. I guess that he really does belong in left field.

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