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Braves Collection: Ron Gant

1994 Topps #166

If Terry Pendleton was the heart of the 1991 Braves and David Justice was the flash (the star), Ron Gant was the pop. He broke out in 1990 with 32 homers, but he came into his own in 1991, hitting 32 more and driving in 105. Despite a .251 batting average, he was on base enough to steal 32 bases. Ron was fun to watch. He was exciting. Power wise he slumped a bit in 1992, but in 1993 he was back on top of his game and had his best all around year at the plate. Sadly, it was downhill from there.

Before the 1994 season, Ron signed the biggest single season contract ever. With his power and speed, not to mention his affable personality, Ron seemed destined to become one of the most popular players in the game. One week after signing his contract, he would break his leg in a motorcycle accident. Six weeks later the Braves released him. He had a few good years left in him, but he was no longer a star. He bounced around the league quiet a bit, playing for seven different teams, before he quietly called it quits in 2003. 
Like many a Braves fan, I always loved Ron Gant. He was a bright spot on a miserable 1990 team, and he was one of the catalysts that sparked the beginning of the division championship streak. I wish he had won a ring with the Braves. He deserved it.

By 1994, I had lost much of my interest in card collecting. The design of the Topps base set was a big reason why. It just seemed uninspiring. Of course, I was also 24 and drinking, and dating, and going to punk rock shows so that might have had something to do with my abandonment of collecting … still … I don’t care for the 1994 Topps design.