Saturday, April 9, 2011
This team checklist on the back of the Mets has 25 players, if I counted correctly. I wonder if that was the projected Opening Day roster as Topps saw it when the cards went to print. If I have it right, not all teams have 25 cards in this set. And yet again, there are only 12 autographs on the front. I wonder why, and will continue to wonder why.
Checking out the list of names, I'm struck by the various visions of baseball I get. Yogi Berra...well, many images come to mind, and they are stretched out over a great length of baseball history. I never realized that Daniel Joseph had the nickname of "Rusty." Or maybe that would be vice versa. Tug McGraw threw his glove up in the air in celebration of the Phillies 1980 Series victory. Felix Milan is a trivia answer as the player who went 4-for-4 with four singles just prior to Joe Torre's all-time MLB record for grounding into four double plays in a single game. Ray Sadecki was the bust trade for Orlando Cepeda. Tom Seaver, Hall of Famer with several teams. I just love how baseball is a huge mosaic with tiles placed all over. Names, places and times change, while some stay the same.
This Mets team was good enough to win the pennant the previous fall, and nearly pulled off another "Miracle Mets" victory. Or maybe they were just good enough to win a weak NL East, surprise the Big Red Machine, and nearly topple the dynastified A's. Is "dynastified" a word? Also notice that I did not check any of the boxes on this checklist. I don't know why, but maybe I received it late in my collecting game.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
These guys are the 1973 pennant winning Mets. The ones that played the A's in the World Series and almost won. They had the worst record of any team to finish in first place in a long time. I think the Padres matched their 82 wins here a few years back. I think. The East was bad in '73, but maybe it's because of the rise of the Dodgers and Big Red Machine, clobbering the Eastern teams.
Looking at the records on the back of the card is a bit funny, too, because the Mets are a fairly new team even in this year. They had a lousy first seven years, so not many good records came from that period. If your all time homer record is 34, then it shows that you're an expansion team. No player had ever knocked in a hundred runs, either.
One big note for me here is that Willie Mays appears in this photo. He's located the second from the left in the second row, just 45 degrees up and left from the trainer who is wearing white. Willie retired after the 1973 World Series, and completed a great career. The Giants trading him back to New York where he started his great career is not uncommon with the all-time greats. Babe Ruth returned to Boston, and Hank Aaron returned to Milwaukee.
Ballpark background: I am unable to determine right now where this photo was taken. There looks like some object between the shoulders of the fourth and fifth player from the left in the back row. Maybe it's some kind of light or other pole type thing that existed at Shea Stadium, but I don't have the energy to start looking right now. If one of my readers can identify this object (even if it's flying) then great. Otherwise, the ballpark is undetermined.