Giants one-year wonders: Slugging 1B/OF Joe Carter

Outfielder Joe Carter. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/ALLSPORT)
Outfielder Joe Carter. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/ALLSPORT) /

Over the last 25 years, the San Francisco Giants have had plenty of popular players don the Orange and Black for only one season. Included on that list is slugger Joe Carter.

The San Francisco Giants acquired the power-hitting first baseman/outfielder Joe Carter from the Baltimore Orioles prior to the July 31 trade deadline in 1998 in exchange for pitching prospect Darin Blood.

For years, the Giants have been known as a veteran-heavy team, and the acquisition of the 38-year-old only furthered that stigma.

Surprisingly, Carter not the oldest player on that team. Pitchers Danny Darwin (42) and Orel Hershiser (39) took home that title.

With that being said, Carter provided more than just a veteran presence to a robust lineup. He still had plenty in the tank to help the Giants in their playoff push.

Carter was no stranger to the playoffs.

He was the starting right fielder for a Toronto Blue Jays team that won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993, and he delivered one of the most iconic home runs in MLB history:

As a 16-year MLB veteran, Carter saw plenty of success on the baseball field, and his final challenge was to give the Giants a shot in the arm in their push toward the playoffs.

The Giants had a 54-48 record and were in the midst of a three-game losing streak when the team struck a deal to acquire the veteran slugger.

With just one wild-card spot up for grabs back in 1998, it was a mad dash to claim that final postseason spot, and Carter provided a spark.

He hit .295/.322/.562 for a 132 OPS+ with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 115 plate appearances.

His arrival helped the team go 35-26 to close out the season, setting up a one-game playoff with the Chicago Cubs who finished an identical 89-73 for the NL wild-card berth.

That play-in game began with the Cubs scoring five unanswered runs and the Giants were facing that same 5-0 deficit heading into the ninth inning. The outcome looked bleak, but the Giants managed to stage a late-game rally.

In the top of the ninth, the Giants scratched across three runs against Kevin Tapani and former Giants left-hander Terry Mulholland.

In the end, that was not enough, as the Giants endured a heart-breaking 5-3 loss to end their season. With that, Carter’s career ended the same place it began, as he was originally drafted by the Cubs in 1981.

He finished his time in the majors with a .259/.306/.464 line and 105 OPS+, slugging 396 home runs and racking up 1,445 RBI, 1,170 runs scored, and 2,184 hits.

He earned five All-Star selections and finished in the top 20 in MVP voting nine different times.

Upon retiring, he went straight to the broadcast booth for the Blue Jays.

The right-handed hitter appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2004, but only received 3.8 percent of the vote, dropping him off the ballot.

Despite falling short of Cooperstown, Carter strung together a very nice carer that was highlighted by one of the most memorable moments in baseball history.

Next. One-year wonders: OF Kenny Lofton

The Giants needed one more power bat down the stretch in 1998 and called upon Carter to fill that void. His presence helped push the team ever-so-close to a playoff berth. Even though they came up short, Carter remains a popular figure in Giants history, despite his brief stay with the team.