Rico’s a “Belter” On The Field..
Some of you might remember Rico Carty (aka “Beeg Mon) from a couple of stints as a Toronto Blue Jay near the end of his 15 year career. Before he DH’d and dashed out of town, he left us Toronto fans with a classic safetybelt ad. Hat tip to the Torontoist for mining this gold from a 1979 edition of the Globe & Mail.
Carty acquitted himself well on opening day, reaching base four times. The “Beeg Mon” returned to the team in the off-season after a brief stint with the Oakland A’s towards the end of 1978. Carty’s fifteen-year career in the majors swung wildly from highs (a .366 batting average while with the Atlanta Braves in 1970) to lows (entire seasons missed at his peak due to injuries and tuberculosis). Carty hit .256 and twelve home runs for the Blue Jays in 1979, which proved to be his swan song. In the long run, Carty paved the way for future Blue Jays stars from the Dominican Republic, especially from his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris.
As for seat belts, the Ontario legislature mandated their usage in 1976, making it the first province to do so.
Carty also paved the way for Jays doing classic print advertisements. If anyone has ever been to Legends of the Game in Toronto (nerd alert!), make sure to look on the wall behind the main cash register. There lies a classic poster of Dave Stieb for Golden Griddle where the perfect one is sporting a mustache that would make Tom Selleck green with envy. Make sure to check it out if you are in the area.