As The (Bat) Knob Turns
Updated: Jun 1
As you peruse my site, you'll notice there are seven 1/1 Bat Knobs and one 1/1 Bat Barrel in my collection. According to Beckett, there have been 15 Gary Carter bat knobs produced (including two this year), meaning I own just about half of them. I do know where about 4-5 others are and let's just say they won't be changing hands any time soon.
The first two knobs produced were in 2005 as part of the Topps Pristine subset called "Power Core Bat Knob Relics." There was a 1/3 and 1/1 parallel.
These cards did feature slices of Carter's bat knob, however unlike the more recent releases, which feature the actual bottom "knob" of the bat carefully cut off and inserted into thick gauge cards, they instead shaved it down to fit into a standard GU thickness card. Also, the "Power Core" Knobs did not have an image of the player, therefore I would not have tried to acquire them, even if given the chance. I don't collect Carter cards without images. So I don't consider these to be a "miss."
The first legitimate Bat Knob of Gary Carter came along in 2011 by a company called ITG or In The Game as part of their "Heroes and Prospects" set. Although this is an unlicensed set that doesn't feature any team marks, I still really wanted this one and was fortunate to pick it up a few years back from another collector.
In 2012, Topps released three Carter Bat Knobs, which like ITG, left the knob in tact and featuring an image of Carter alongside the game-used piece. One of the knobs was part of an Allen & Ginter Booklet also featuring a GU patch from one of the games (at the time) premier catchers Buster Posey. This is one of my most prized Carter cards as he's had almost no cards as a San Francisco Giant since 1991 –the year after he last played for them.
The 2012 standalone Knobs were both found in very high-end releases. Topps Five Star featured a horizontal design of a much-used image from Carter's Mets days, while Tier One was a vertical card featuring Gary batting. If the owner(s) of these cards ever want to move them, you know where to find me.
In 2013, Carter got exactly one new Bat Knob, and his first on his original team, the Montreal Expos. I was very happy to acquire this card a few years back from a guy who got it in a break and held onto it for over 3 years. He was impressed with my collection and agreed to part with it (for the right price of course).
In 2014, Gary got a Panini National Treasures Bat Knob which I don't have an image of. I do however have images of his two 2015 Topps Tier One Knobs (one of which I own). I like to call these knobs the "Twins," because they are almost identical, with the exception of an image swap. Still, I would love to someday own both so that they can be reunited.
Now on to one of the favorite cards in my collection...the 2015 National Treasures Bat Knob. I happened to see this beauty pulled by a breaker I follow on Twitter called Platinum Card Breaks. My man George (also known as G-Man) could not have been nicer and we were able to work out a deal for the card old school (over the phone!). I'll never forget talking to him on my way home from work and hearing all his amazing stories about his pawn shop. He and his team are among the best breakers out there and I highly recommend watching G-Man's entertaining late-night breaks.
Check them out at PlatinumCardBreaks.com
I recently picked up Carter's 2016 NT Bat Knob, which features an awesome image of him from his last season in the majors.
Carter also got a knob in the 2017 Panini National Treasures set, which I heard was pulled early this year, but I never got to see an image of. If someone does have an image of it (or wants to sell it), please contact me.
Finally we get to the 2018 Bat Knobs. When I saw there was a Topps Tier One Bat Knob coming out (his first Topps Knob in three years), I knew I just had to have it. So I actually put out a $100 bounty to the first person who got me in touch with the owner of the card. Well, as luck would have it, on the evening of May 27, 2018, I got a message from the breaker himself, a gentleman named DollarBill. He had literally just pulled the card and put me in touch with the owner. I was able to work out a deal, and within a few days Dollar Bill was $100 richer and I was now the proud owner of one of my most prized cards.
Just a few nights ago on Election Night (which is also my wife's birthday), I got an alert from a good friend of mine on Twitter who had seen the Carter Flawless Knob pulled. Before the breaker had even finished for the night, I was able to get in the room and track down the card's owner. We worked out a deal within minutes, and just like that, I had accomplished a "clean sweep" of 2018 Gary Carter Bat Knobs. Although I hope The Kid gets another one in 2019, my bank account hopes that he doesn't.