Quick recap of what we’re looking at here… The cards in this post come from a 1994 box set of 32 postcards which commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1969 “Miracle Mets”. The postcards feature paintings by Ron Lewis.
Part one of this series can be seen here.
Al “Rube” Walker was the pitching coach for the ’69 Mets, and had come to the Mets from the Senators with Gil Hodges after the 1968 season.
As a player, Rube was a catcher who spent much of his career as a backup to Roy Campanella, but was well-known for his ability to handle pitchers. He’d coach for the Mets through the 1981 season, then followed manager Joe Torre over to be the pitching coach with the Braves for another three seasons.
Don Cardwell was a starting pitcher who got off to a rough start in 1969, but pitched well as a starter and reliever going down the stretch. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning of relief in game 1 of the World Series.
Cardwell also pitched for the Phillies, Cubs, Pirates, Cardinals and Braves, and no-hit the Cardinals in his first game with the Cubs (May 15, 1960) after being traded from the Phillies.
Rod Gaspar was a rookie outfielder who was the starting right fielder on opening day. He appeared in 118 games for the ’69 Mets, but would lose his starting job during the season. He was in all three games of the NLCS as a defensive replacement, and scored the winning run of Game 4 of the World Series while pinch-running for catcher Jerry Grote.
His Mets career was short, as he spent most of 1970 in AAA, with only a September call-up before being sent to the Padres. Rod’s son Cade Gaspar was a 1st round draft pick of the Tigers and made it into a couple of 1994 and 1995 card sets, but never made it out of A ball.
Jerry Koosman was the left-handed complement to Tom Seaver, was an all-star in each of his first two full seasons, finished a close second to Johnny Bench in 1968 NL Rookie of the Year voting, won 17 games in 1969 and won Games 2 and 5 of the World Series.
He would pitch for 21 years and get two 20-win seasons while playing for the Mets, Twins, White Sox and Phillies.
In 1969, Nolan Ryan was a 22-year old hurler who went 6-3 with a 3.53 ERA and 1 save in 25 games (10 of which were starts).
Ryan got a win in game 3 of the NLCS against the Braves, pitching in relief of Gary Gentry. He also got a 2.1 inning save in game 4 of the World Series, again relieving Gary Gentry. I don’t think I need to give you a career recap of Nolan Ryan, other than mentioning that he’s the HOFer I’d mentioned in the previous post.
One thing I discovered in researching this post is that these same paintings also made their way on to phone cards which were also issued in 1994. The phone cards were cropped tighter so that they were generally all portraits, featured gold foil stamping and each one had the Miracle Mets 25th Anniversary logo.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these paintings were used for other merchandise as well, but for now it’s the postcards and the phone cards.