Monday, January 27, 2014
Jeff Tackett, 1993 Fleer Ultra #147
Meanwhile, back in 1993, the baseball card industry's all-time favorite Oriole backup catcher had his likeness printed on another attention-grabbing card. (If you don't know what I mean, click the 'jeff tackett' tag at the bottom of this post to see some of the other noteworthy cards of Tackett's ouvre.) I know that a few catchers in the 1970s and 1980s were known for eschewing the customary regular batting helmet turned backwards as part of their defensive gear, and instead opted for a helmet with the visor completely missing. But these tended to be smooth and streamlined, kind of like a hard skull cap. The visorless helmet Jeff Tackett is wearing on his '93 Ultra card is more contoured than the batting helmets of his era, making it look more like the hockey goalie-style masks that started popping up in baseball later in the 1990s. But the longer that I look at this photo, the more it seems that the contours on Jeff's lid are tricks of the shadows and the straps that connect the helmet to the face cage. I don't often toot my own horn, but this is probably the most time (and words) that anyone has ever spent on examining Jeff Tackett's catcher's gear.