I was recently surprised by an envelope from CommishBob of The Five Tool Collector… Bob has suspended blogging activities for reasons I thoroughly understand, but that won’t stop me from providing links where appropriate.
This envelope I received was no mere PWE; he sent a team bag’s worth of cards in a padded manila envelope.
I’m going to roll through the highlights from the most recent and work my way backwards… with two exceptions. You’ll understand why when we get there.
Not only did I not have this Heritage Chrome Matt Harvey, I don’t even have the regular base card… Because it’s a bleepin’ short print. Guess I’ll have to “make do” with a chrome version for now… Such a hardship…
Also from this year, but not a player from this year, a lovely 2016 Bunt of recent HOF inductee Mike Piazza .
Man, I do not miss those black uniforms (and yes, I will say it every time I feature a card with those unis).
This is my first “Lightforce” insert from the Bunt set. It seems like all of the Bunt inserts I pulled were for Cubs and Dodgers, it’s nice to get one that I’ll actually keep.
This 2007 Heritage Delgado seems like a good opportunity to point out that Bob had started a blog dedicated to the 1958 Topps set.
This Heritage set was the first of it’s kind to really make me appreciate the originals.
Jumping back two decades to 1988, there’s this Fantastic Sam’s Baseball Superstars disc that’s… well, it’s fantastic!
I love me some oddballs, and this is the first I have from this set. I really need to go back and find more Mets from these countless 1980’s and 1990’s oddballs.
I grew up eating Drake’s cakes… mainly Yodels and Ring Dings… So I was somewhat surprised that I didn’t have these three cards from the 1985 Drake’s set.
…But then it hit me; I was in college in 1985 and didn’t have money or time to chase down boxes of snack cakes.
(Love the O-Pee-Chee-ish “NOW WITH METS”)
It’s certainly a sign of a good PWE when I start updating my wantlists to include similar cards.
The Mets were the last team Gil Hodges played for (in 1962 and 1963) and the last team he managed, as he died of a heart attack during Spring Training 1972, when he was just a few days shy of his 48th birthday.
Gil Hodges remained the Mets winningest manager until Davey Johnson passed him in 1987. Hodges still has the 4th-most wins among Mets managers, behind Johnson, Bobby Valentine and Terry Collins.
Ed Kranepool is one of those guys whose appeal to Mets fans – at least those of a certain age – goes way beyond the stats on his baseball-reference.com page.
He started out with the 1962 Mets, a local kid… and I mean KID — He was still a couple of months shy of his 18th birthday when he made his debut with the Mets. His tenure with the Mets went from ’62 all the way to ’79 and he still holds the Mets record for most games played. In the late 1970’s, if you asked a Mets fan – the few remaining, anyway – if the Mets should retire Kranepool’s #7, you’d get a decent number of “Hell, yeah!” responses. On this card, it looks like he’s wearing #21, which he wore up through 1964… and that looks like Shea which opened in 1964, so I feel pretty comfy saying that photo is from 1964.
Al Jackson looks like a kid on this 1963 card, but Baseball Reference tells me he was 26 in 1962. Here’s a stat that puts those 1962 Mets in perspective – his .286 winning percentage (8-20) was the third-best of any Mets pitcher who started at least 10 games. Jay Hook (8-19) and Roger Craig (10-24) just squeaked past him.
Al Jackson got the first shutout in Mets history… In fact, he got the first four shutouts in Mets history, because nobody else blanked the opposition in 1962. The immortal Carl Willey and Grover Powell (who wore #41 before Seaver) threw the five Mets shutouts in 1963.
As great as these cards are, they weren’t the biggest surprises in this envelope.
Huge Surprise #1: One of the cards in the envelope was a 1981 Fleer Joe Torre. I was about to put it into my mental “Aw, too bad, I’ve already got that” stack when I noticed something special about this 81F Torre…
Holy crap, it’s autographed! This card is from Torre’s first managing job. For all the people who viewed him as a genius when he was winning world championships, there weren’t many who took a positive view of him during that first managing stint. In Joe’s defense, it was a bad era to be managing the Mets.
Just because I feel like taunting any Yankees fans that might be reading, Joe Torre is one of five Mets to be enshrined in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park. The other four are Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra, Mel Stottlemyre and Willie Randolph.
Huge Surprise #2: This next card would’ve been greatly appreciated simply because it’s a 1963 card of HOFer Richie Ashburn. Ashburn finished his career with the 1962 Mets, and was a Phillies Broadcaster in 1963.
…However, I hadn’t taken a hint from Joe Torre and looked closer, because this one is also autographed!
Either CommishBob got a little creative with some Sharpies, or I have to express profound thanks to him for these great additions to my collection! (I trust it’s the latter)
Looks like I’ve got some work to do on reciprocating… Thanks again, Bob!