Monday, October 12, 2015
no. 461 - jim hart
Who is the man: Even though Jim Hart was a young man at the time this card came out, his career was in decline. He spent half of 1970 in the minor leagues, his first stint in the minors since 1963.
Can ya dig it: You can see by the signature, his full name is James Ray Hart, and he was most often referred to as "Jim Ray Hart." But Topps would not call him that until the very last card of Hart's career. He is "Jim Ray Hart" on his 1974 card. All other cards he is "Jim Hart".
Right on: Hart looks as if he's batting in the middle of a cow pasture.
You see that cat Hart is a bad mother: Hart finished tied for second place in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1964, and he hit at least 23 home runs each year between 1964-68.
Shut your mouth: Hart was not a good fielder and didn't like playing third base, once saying famously "it's just too damn close to the hitters."
No one understands him but his woman: Hart was out of the majors by the age of 34 and his performance fell off a number of years before that. Publicly, people blamed injuries for Hart's decline, but an alcohol problem was also a significant factor, and it followed him into his post-career life.
(A word about the back): Third place for batting .355 made me look up the California League leaders in 1961. The two players who batted better than Hart were a Dodgers prospect named Don Williams (.363) and a Phillies prospect named John Upham (.356), who played briefly for the Cubs in the late 1960s.