Rod Carew didn’t necessarily think he was done punishing baseballs when he collected his 3053rd and final hit on October 4, 1985.

For one thing, he still had a game the next day — he went 0-for-2 against with a strikeout against Matt Williams of the Texas Rangers, but he did draw a walk and score a run in the California Angels’ 3-1 win to close the season.

(The Angels had yet another game, on October 6, but Carew didn’t play in that one.)

For another thing, Carew went into the winter as a free agent, at age 40 but with no definite plans to hang up his spikes.

The Halos didn’t offer him a contract for 1986, though, and the new season began without him.

As the weather heated up, the San Francisco Giants came calling, but Carew decided — after some time away from the diamond to reflect — that he really was done.

That decision came in early June, way too late for card companies to do anything about the composition of their 1986 sets, which were likely on the planning board way back when Carew was knocking that last single.

And with a future Hall of Famer shopping his services during the offseason, what was a humble card-maker to do other than assume he’d be back?

So, yes, Rod Carew snagged a full complement of career-cappers in 1986, with Topps, Fleer, Donruss, and Sportflics all issuing base cards of the bat magician. Heck, Fleer and Sportflics even included “special” cards featuring Carew in their sets.

But Topps did them all one better.

Besides issuing that final Carew card with full stats in their black-and-white-bordered main set, The Old Gum Company also included the superstar in their Baseball Champion Superstars box set produced for sale at Woolworth that summer.

That 33-card issue included active players who had previously won batting, RBI, or home run titles in the majors.

Carew, with his seven batting crowns and undecided future, made the cut:

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And when you turned the card over?

Yeah, full stats:

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Well, OK, maybe not full stats, but career stats, at least.

And that gaudy .328 batting average is on full display, as is the list of his seven batting titles. And Topps even did it with some 80s pastel flare.

So, yes, this Woolworth card counts as a career-capper, and a bonus one at that.

One born of indecision and a sort of fizzled, unrecognized ending to a great career, and fate incongruent with the rocket glow of Carew’s peak years — much to the benefit of collectors.

1986 Woolworth Don Mattingly #20 PSA 9

$23.50
End Date: Wednesday 11/03/2021 12:29:08 EDT
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1986 WOOLWORTH #4 GEORGE BRETT PSA 10 21456046

$137.85
End Date: Monday 11/22/2021 01:13:12 EST
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1986 Woolworth's #4 George Brett - NM-MT

$1.25
End Date: Sunday 10/31/2021 03:06:35 EDT
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1986 WOOLWORTH BASEBALL #3 WADE BOGGS PSA 10 KGC-41367

$47.96 (0 Bids)
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1986 Woolworth's Topps #30 Mike Schmidt - NM-MT

$0.99
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1986 WOOLWORTH Baseball #20 DON MATTINGLY.........PSA 8

$11.97
End Date: Friday 10/22/2021 23:05:57 EDT
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