I have a thing for career-capper baseball cards.

Now, I don’t really know if they even *are* a thing outside of my head and the words that occasionally spew forth from that dark cavern and find the light of an interwebs page.

But even if I’m alone in this, I definitely have a thing for career-capper cards.

And, in case you don’t know … a career-capper card is a baseball card that’s issued the year after a player finishes his playing days and (ostensibly) shows him how he looked during that last rodeo of his.

More important, perhaps, is that a career-capper card shows a player’s full set of stats — if you’re holding it in your hand and reading through the Bible-print lines on the card back, you know you’re getting the whole story.

One of the reasons career-cappers are intriguing is that lots of big-name dudes did not garner such an honor.

Mike Schmidt … Sandy Koufax … Willie Mays … Hank Aaron …

None of them had career-cappers.

Back in those days, Topps — and to some degree, the other card companies — just wouldn’t print a card of a player they knew wouldn’t be on a Major League roster in a given season, even if the Hall of Fame was clearly in his future.

So, no 1967 Topps Koufax, because Sandy blew out his elbow for good in 1966, and the whole world knew it.

But you know who did get a career-capper card?

Fergie Jenkins.

That’s sort of a lie, though, because Jenkins had three career-cappers — 1984 Topps, 1984 Fleer, 1984 Donruss.

Plus some stuff outside of the base sets.

Plus a gem that laid out Jenkins’ greatness for the world to see, as if there were ever any doubt.

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See, in 1984, Topps devoted a big swath of cardboard to “Career Leaders” in each league for several batting and pitching statistical categories.

Each of those cards featured three guys.

Card #706 was dedicated to the “NL ACTIVE CAREER VICTORY LEADERS.”

In the middle was a biggish picture of Steve Carlton, who had landed at 300 wins on the nose to end 1983.

On the right was Tom Seaver, who stood at 273 victories.

And on the left, in the number-two slot, was Fergie Jenkins, late of the Chicago Cubs, who stood at 284 victories.

Who would stand at 284 victories for all time.

It was an accomplishment memorialized on cardboard and in collectors’ memories for all time, too.

Carlton and Seaver would go on to more wins, more accolades, rendering their chunks of card #706 obsolete.

But Fergie Jenkins?

He’ll always be right there in the leadoff spot with his 284 wins.

It remains a monument of a bonus career-capper card, and a fitting reminder that Fergie Jenkins did amazing things on the baseball diamond for a long, long time.

Hobby Hots

As the hobby exploded in the mid-1980s, Topps started making uncut sheets of their base sets available in various retail outlets. Today, you can still find many of these on eBay …

Those are 1984 Topps uncut sheets, in case you couldn’t tell, where you might find those Fergie Jenkins career-capper cards.

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