We won’t get into the whole backstory of Carlton Fisk’s departure from Boston here, but suffice it to say …

A urination match wrapped up in the disguise of a clerical error helped create one of the most significant baseball cards of 1981.

Basically, Red Sox general manager Haywood Sullivan mailed in Fisk’s contract for ‘81 a couple days late in December 1980.

Hilarity ensued.

Then free agency.

Then Fisk (at least metaphorically) one-finger saluting Boston management to sign with the White Sox.

And, suddenly, without any warning, one of the greatest catchers in the game appeared for the wrong team on all his 1981 baseball cards.

After all, when a guy moves on in February, his cards for that year are already on trucks, headed out to store shelves everywhere, and there’s nothing the shiny newness of flawed first-year Fleer and Donruss cards can do about it.

If you were a collector in those days, you just resigned yourself to waiting until 1982 to see Pudge in is White Sox uniform.

Of course, in that new era of competition in the card market, Topps would seek to differentiate itself that fall by issuing its first ever boxed traded set, replete with a Fisk update … but no one knew that was coming as the new season dawned.

And something else no one knew was that Drake’s Big Hitters would be a thing that summer … but it was.

Indeed, in another attempt to get a leg up on their fledgling competition, Topps teamed with Drake’s to issue baseball cards featuring “big hitters” in packages of delicious baked goods.

There were 33 cards in all, each one featuring a guy who “consistently produces that key hit for his team” (to quote card backs).

And right there, on card #32, was Carlton Fisk, collecting a key hit for his team:

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Yes! For his new team.

And, just like that, collectors (in select markets and with access to specially marked packages) got to see Fisk the ChiSox, nearly in the moment.

Even if his card back was still mired in the past:

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Today, you can still find this card in nice raw condition for just a few bucks, though graded copies are tough to come by — expect a fairly healthy price if you ever come across a PSA 10 specimen, for example.

No matter the price, though, there’s no doubt this first Fisk White Sox card is a Big Hitter when it comes to hobby history.

Pete Rose 1981 Drake's Big Hitters (3541)

End Date: Thursday 05/09/2024 18:27:47 EDT
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(9) 1981 Drake's Big Hitters George Brett #5 Royals Lot

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