Best Player to retire in 1988. Steve Carlton (Hall of Famer)
Did he have a 1989 card? No.
Carlton is a little different from some other players I’ve featured. He was barely hanging on in 1987. Carlton had a fairly unsuccessful stint with the Indians for most of the 1987 season, where he and Phil Niekro combined for an interesting piece of MLB history. On April 14th, Carlton relieved Niekro in a game against Yankee Stadium to become the first 300-game winners to pitch in the same game*.
Carlton was traded to the Twins at the end of the July. He was pretty ineffective, and was left off the postseason roster for the eventual World Champions. He pitched just 4 games in the 1988 season before being released. The only card showing him with the Twins, and the only card he even has from 1988 is Fleer. He has nothing in 1989 His last Topps card was 1987 Topps Traded.
Apologies to: Don Sutton (Hall of Famer). Like Niekro and Reggie Jackson, Sutton went back for one last hurrah with his original franchise. He started 16 games for the Dodgers before being released in August. Like Carlton the year before, he got a World Series ring despite not pitching in the postseason for the club. Sutton’s last Topps card was in the 1988 set, but he did have a card in the 1989 Score set with his final career statistics. Sutton does have a card with the 1989 Topps design as one of the 16 cards you could find on the bottom of wax boxes that year.
* – They weren’t the first teammates. Tim Keefe and Mickey Welch both had 300 wins when they started the season for the 1891 New York Giants, but neither pitched in the same game.