On Monday, Brian from “Highly Subjective And Completely Arbitrary” posted a very interesting unopened (or was it?) pack of 1976 Topps, and after sharing a Mets team card he pulled, he pointed out Willie Mays on the bottom right and said “I’m guessing this team photo wasn’t taken in 1975.”
Well, I got intrigued, started researching and wrote a long comment on his blog only to find that….
The only commenting option is “Google Account”!!!
I don’t *HAVE* a Google Account!
To paraphrase Barbara Billingsley from the movie Airplane!, “Chump don’t want no comment, chump don’t GET da comment.”
(Kidding aside, there were new internet privacy laws that kicked in at the end of May which affected a lot of default settings, so all bloggers should check to make sure your blog allows for comments without a Google account. The More You Know. TSR Cares. And so on)
At that point I’d already put a good 15-20 minutes worth of research into it, so I decided to make a quick post out of it.
You see, I think the photo *is* from 1975, although not from spring training of 1975 since it doesn’t match what’s in my 1975 Mets yearbook.
So you’ve got Yogi Berra near the front and in the center; Yogi took over before the 1972 season (after Gil Hodges’ fatal heart attack), and was fired late in the 1975 season.
Willie Mays is sitting up front because he stayed on as one of of Yogi’s coaches after his final season as a player (1973).
I believe this is Jesus Alou (back row, third from left) and his only season with the Mets was 1975. Alou joined the Mets on 4/12/75 and was released at the end of 1976 spring training. He wore #23 while with the team.
Here’s Alou on his 1976 card.
In the second row on the far left is a dark-skinned gentleman with muttonchop sideburns; I believe this is Gene Clines, who wore #1 and played for the Mets only during the 1975 season.
Over on the right we have two players wearing #5 and #9; they look like Mike Phillips and Joe Torre (#9).
Torre was acquired after the 1974 season (you may remember his airbrushed 1975 card). Phillips was picked up from the Giants on waivers on 5/3/75, here’s his 1976 SSPC card (my copy was autographed with a not-great pen).
So, in conclusion I believe that this is a mid-season team photo from 1975, possibly used in the “Revised” version of the yearbook (which I don’t have).