Are you tired of being duped or mislead by figures from our National Pastime? I am and I’m not talking about the recent hearings on Capital Hill. Growing up as a young baseball fan in the 1970s, I bought the cards and I bought the hype. I bought the Catfish Hunter story hook, line, and sinker. We believed it because it was a great story from a great showman. A’s owner Charlie Finely thought that having Hunter identified with a colorful nickname would only help the ace pitcher’s appeal. It sounded great; kid from North Carolina takes off for days, whereabouts unknown to concerned parents, only to reappear with a stringer full of Catfish.
Back then, I did not know anything about imagery analysis …but the clues were there and I missed them. I should have realized this the first time I plunked down a dime in 1973 and pulled Topps card #344, Jim Hunter: Boyhood Photos of the Stars. He was Hound Dog Hunter. In taking a detailed look at this card, now much later with years of experience in looking at images, I can say without a doubt that the animals in the picture are not catfish, but are in fact dogs. While some have argued that on-line images can be misdated and baseball cards not always accurate, I confirmed this by watching the Westminster Kennel Club show on TV recently. The animals in the Topps card are not fish. Hound Dog Hunter.