The Ginormous 1972 Topps Mets Team Set

I recently picked up my 47th – yes, 47th – 1972 Mets card, and I believe that completes that team set…
1972 Topps Jerry Koosman IA

47 freakin’ cards!!! If I’m not mistaken, it’s the biggest team set in 1972 Topps and possibly of any mainstream card set not called “Total” or “40 Man”.
1972 Mets group A

Even though the 1972 set is an extremely large 797 cards, 47 cards is still a crap-ton of cards for one team.

I got curious about how this compares to other teams,and I did some queries against my collection’s database —

Disclaimer time: The 1972 Topps data I use originally came from a software package that had several errors in it (i.e. Joe Torre with the Mets, Jim Fregosi “Traded” with the Angels), and while I corrected those errors, there’s always the chance that there are more that I missed.  Take these results with a grain of salt.

— it looks like the four largest team sets in 1972 are the Mets, the Pirates (46 cards), Orioles (40 cards) and A’s (40 cards). What I found in how the sets break down was interesting enough to make another post, which I’ll write as soon as I get a chance (ideally later this week).

Quick aside:  I’m sorry about the photos;  they’re not up to my usual standards – and WordPress insists on rotating two of them to make them Landscape instead of Portrait — but I incorrectly thought photos would be quicker than scanning the cards.  HAH!

1972 Mets group b2

I’m going to make a couple of guesses at why the Mets, a team that finished 3rd the year before and wasn’t excessively loaded with stars, ended up as the biggest team in the set…

1972 Mets group C

Tom Seaver:  Tom Terrific single-handedly contributes 6 cards to the team set — His regular card, his “In Action” card, his “Boyhood Photo” card and three League Leader cards.

1972 Mets group D

General popularity and lingering “Miracle Mets” goodwill:  Remember, 1972 is just a couple of years after 1969, and the Mets maintained the “warm & fuzzies” of their World Championship by staying reasonably competitive (3rd place and 83-79 in both 1970 and 1971).

1972 Mets group E

Photographers Who Worked Out Of Shea Stadium:  Topps is based in New York and Shea Stadium had long been a hub of Topps photography.  How else can you explain Tim Foli and Ray Sadecki getting “In Action” cards while Frank Robinson doesn’t?

Quick tease for the follow-up post:  The Mets and another team have far more In Action cards than anybody else.  Hint:  It’s not a team based in NY or LA.
1972 Mets group F

1972 Topps is such a big and innovative set that I had to be careful that I truly had all of the Mets cards. I ended up checking several different resources, including PSA team set registries, to make sure I didn’t miss any. I have to admit, there were several cards that I almost —

1972 Topps Curt Blefary IA

Oh. Uhhh…… sorry, lost my train of thought. Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was talking about how I had to be careful not to overlook the League Leader cards which feature Tom Seaver –
1972 Topps Curt Blefary IA
…Seaver… uuhhrrrr… which… feature…
Jeez, I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I keep trying to finish a thought and I get these images flashing in front of my ey—
1972 Topps Curt Blefary IA
Whoa, there it goes again! It’s bizarre, it’s like there’s something on the edge of my consciousness, something I need to remember…
1972 Topps Alan Gallagher IA back - Seaver Puzzle #6
Oh.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Awwwwww, jeez.

The backs.

I forgot the CARD BACKS.

The “In Action” cards in the later series have backs which make up pieces of a puzzle, and “Puzzle D” features TOM SEAVER. That’s six cards I hadn’t taken into account. They don’t fit into the standard definition of a “team set”, but how can I include the League Leader cards and not count the puzzle pieces?

I’ve already got 2, but that means I still need the other 4.

…And one of them is Rod Carew.

Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew.

High-numbered Hall-of-Famer Rod Carew. Happy happy, joy joy.

OK, so to summarize:

> I’ve completed the PSA Set Registry definition of a 1972 Mets team set!  Yay!

> I’ve never listened to PSA before, why should I start now?

Sooooo…. I’ve got 4 new cards on my want list.  You’ll be hearing more about this soon.

I hope.

For the record, here’s what PSA and I have determined to be the 47-card set without the puzzle…
16           MIKE JORGENSEN
31           CLEON JONES
32           CLEON JONES IN ACTION
53           BUD HARRELSON
54           BUD HARRELSON IN ACTION
91           N.L. ERA LEADERS (SEAVER)
93           N.L. PITCHING LEADERS (SEAVER)
95           N.L. STRIKEOUT LEADERS (SEAVER)
105         GARY GENTRY
127         DUFFY DYER
141         METS ROOKIE STARS (CAPRA/STANTON/MATLACK)
163         TUG MCGRAW
164         TUG MCGRAW IN ACTION
181         ED KRANEPOOL
182         ED KRANEPOOL IN ACTION
245         TOMMIE AGEE
269         DON HAHN
293         DANNY FRISELLA
294         DANNY FRISELLA IN ACTION
305         KEN BOSWELL
306         KEN BOSWELL IN ACTION
346         JIM FREGOSI BOYHOOD PHOTO
347         TOM SEAVER BOYHOOD PHOTO
362         METS TEAM
388         CHARLIE WILLIAMS
407         CHUCK TAYLOR
425         KEN SINGLETON
426         KEN SINGLETON IN ACTION
445         TOM SEAVER
446         TOM SEAVER IN ACTION
465         GIL HODGES
496         BUD HARRELSON BOYHOOD PHOTO
518         WAYNE GARRETT
544         TED MARTINEZ
563         RAY SADECKI
564         RAY SADECKI IN ACTION
594         JIM BEAUCHAMP
655         JERRY GROTE
673         DAVE MARSHALL
697         JERRY KOOSMAN
698         JERRY KOOSMAN IN ACTION
707         TIM FOLI
708         TIM FOLI IN ACTION
722         BILL SUDAKIS
741         MAJOR LEAGUE ROOKIES (HUTTON/MILNER/MILLER)
755         JIM FREGOSI TRADED
781         JIM MCANDREW

…and here are the 6 cards that make up the Seaver puzzle:
692 Curt Blefary In Action
694 Alan Gallagher In Action
696 Rod Carew In Action
700 Bobby Murcer In Action
706 Pat Corrales In Action
710 Jim Kaat In Action

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2 thoughts on “The Ginormous 1972 Topps Mets Team Set

  1. Pingback: Breaking Down 1972 Topps By Team |

  2. I have the same issue as a Red Sox collector. Yaz had a puzzle on the back of the Topps allstar subset in both ’68 and ’69

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