Jim Gantner – 1987 Topps

November 6, 2010


Jim Gantner, an oddity.

No, not for the specs (they turned into sunglasses during the day as other cards show), or the 80’s porn stache (c’mon…)

He was a Brewer his entire career.

Now, you say, “But, but, but…before free agency….”

Still rare. Think about it…these players played for at least two teams:

Harmon Killebrew, Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, Honus Wagner, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Joe Morgan, Tris Speaker, Nap LaJoie, Lefty Grove, Babe Ruth, Hank Greenberg, Ron Santo, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, etc. etc.

What’s even rarer is that Gantner stayed with the same team with below average production. He only had an OPS+ of 88. He didn’t walk much, didn’t have power and wasn’t a plus in the stolen base department.

Yes, he was versatile, kind of the poor man’s Don Money. Maybe his nickname should have been “Small Change?”

Ha, ha…ha…


He really wasn’t THAT versatile. He was a good second baseman, not so good third baseman, and rarely played short.

But he stayed with the Brewers for 17 seasons – a fan favorite because of his Wisconsin roots. (He’s James Elmer Gantner, that name alone exudes cheese…)

The Brewers seemed to fall in love with some players like this – Gantner, Rick Manning, Charlie Moore, Roy Howell. For some reason, Milwaukee was reluctant to break up that 1982 team and they lingered way too long with some of those guys.

Still, Gantner was affordable, a fan favorite, and they could have done worse, really. He also was rarely the millstone.

Take the 1988 Brewers, somehow they went 87-75. Gantner had a 84 OPS+ as the second baseman.

Better than BJ Surhoff, Greg Brock, Dale Sveum, and Jeff Leonard. When your 1B and LF can’t hit, and you finish over .500, you’re lucky.

So, here’s to you, James Elmer Gantner. I hope you are enjoying the land of cheese curds, Summerfest, and giant spiders.

Wait, what did I say?

Giant spiders??

Yes, Giant Spiders!




One Response to “Jim Gantner – 1987 Topps”

  1. […] Smed talked about the oddity that is Jim Gantner’s career. […]

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