Monday, December 12, 2011

BINDER #23: New York Mets (Volume 1)

My Mets binder(s) are a couple of my favorites. A nice mix of old and new, stars and commons, good and bad. The binder I'll be featuring here is the first part of my two Mets volumes, complete with Mets pitchers, catchers, first basemen, and second basemen. Enjoy!

"Cardboard Fun":
1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #94 Marv Throneberry
1996 Topps Laser #120 Jason Isringhausen
1998 Topps #13 Carlos Baerga
1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game #55 Ed Kranepool
"Marvelous" Marv Throneberry was the first New York Mets "fan favorite". He pretty much symbolized the entire 1962 Mets season, as he was a blunder-a-day type of player. But, as the back of this card says, "it was this kind of comic futility that captured the hearts of the new breed Mets' faithful". That picture of Throneberry is one of the finer action shots on any baseball card, not even mentioning the fact that the runner to the left of Throneberry is none other than Bob Gibson.

The 1996 Topps Laser Isringhausen issue is certainly one of the most interesting ever released. Laser-etched borders didn't catch on (obviously), but it certainly gave the collector a different view of the baseball card. For most of my other binders, the '98 Topps Baerga would be the best action shot. The Throneberry out does this one, though. 

I LOVE the '99 SI Ed Kranepool card. Easily one of my favorite non-vintage cards. Add '99 SI Greats of the Game to the most underrated sets list. Not bad for a 12/$1 box find.

"Short Term Stops":
2001 Topps Archives #134 Warren Spahn
1980 Topps #117 Dock Ellis
1998 Bowman Chrome Refractors #377 Octavio Dotel
1988 Pacific Legends #53 Yogi Berra
Ah, another Topps Archives card. Spahn played the first half of his 1965 season (after spending his past 20 years as a member of the Braves) for the Mets before finishing the year as a San Francisco Giant. He'd retire after the '65 season. The Dock Ellis scan didn't get cut off, it's just that off-center. Ellis played for three teams in 1979, pitching in 17 games for the Mets in between stints with the Rangers and Pirates. I PROMISE that there will be a Dock Ellis blog post somewhere in the future!

I'm glad that Octavio Dotel got a bit of recognition because of his stint with the Cardinals in 2011, popularizing the "rally squirrel". All rally squirrels aside, he's one of the more underrated pitchers of the recent generation. Dotel's major league career began way back in 1999 when he pitched in just over 85 innings for the Mets. He'd be traded to the Astros that offseason, where he'd go on to have the best years of his career. Yogi Berra came out of retirement in 1965 to join the Mets, totaling a whopping nine at-bats. He'd get more notoriety as a Met by managing them in the early '70s, and leading them to a NL pennant in 1973.

"Best Of":
1966 Topps #124 Tug McGraw
1971 Topps #160 Tom Seaver
2006 Upper Deck Special F/X Green #703 Chad Bradford /99
1965 Topps #144 Ed Kranepool RC
It's become apparent to me that these "Best Of" categories are predominately vintage cards. I've got a hard time choosing most newer issues over some of the classic 1960s and 1970s designs. But that's how I like to think of myself, an "old-school" collector in a "new-school" world.
The 1966 Tug McGraw is just his second card and his first solo card. One of the best characters of the 1970s and 1980s ("You Gotta Believe!"). Tom Seaver is the best pitcher in Mets history and one of the all-time best. Seaver still holds the record for receiving the highest percentage of Hall of Fame votes (over 98 percent). Seaver coupled with the magnificent 1971 Topps design makes it one of the finest cards in my collection.

Chad Bradford is one of my favorite recent players, and the card you see above perfectly explains why. He had the quirkiest delivery of any pitcher ever to play, coming from waaaay down below the belt, which came to be known as a "submarine" delivery. Bradford was well-featured in Moneyball as well as one of Billy Beane's "finds", plucking him from my hometown White Sox for Miguel Olivo (ugh!). I found the '65 Ed Kranepool rookie in the same flea market quarter box as the Denny McLain rookie I've previously mentioned. Have I mentioned how much I love the flea market? I'm already counting down the days until it re-opens in April. For now, though, I'll just be glad that it's my first week of winter vacation!

Stay tuned for more dime box goodness!

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