As mentioned in this blog a little while ago, I recently obtained a 1971 Topps Nolan Ryan card, and that completed my Mets team set. To commemorate the event, I figured I’d go ahead and do one of my “Team Review” posts for the 1971 Mets.
Little did I realize that I haven’t done one of these in almost a year. I’d probably post more often and with less brain-wracking if I remembered all of these series I’d set up for myself
For those who are new to the series, or just forgot what the deal was over the many months, I randomly… usually randomly, anyway… select a team set and will highlight cards under different fun categories.
The 1971 Mets, managed by Gil Hodges, finished with an 83-79 record. They tied with the Cubs for 3rd in the NL East, 14 games behind the eventual World Champion Pirates.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Mets’ best pitcher was Tom Seaver. In 1971, Tom Terrific went 20-10 with a 1.76 ERA (best in the league) and he finished second to Fergie Jenkins in Cy Young voting.
Best Position Player
Cleon Jones lead the team with 63 runs, 69 RBI, 6 triples (tie with Bud Harrelson), 14 homers (tied with Ed Kranepool and Tommie Agee), a .319 average, a .382 on-base % and a .473 slugging %
This is just odd, #1
1964 Cy Young winner (with the Angels) Dean Chance had been purchased from the Indians towards the end of the 1970 season. Chance pitched 2 innings over 3 appearances for the Mets and racked up a 13.50 ERA. He wouldn’t pitch for the Mets in 1971, being traded to the Tigers towards the end of spring training (more on this in a moment).
This is just odd, #2
In the 1960s and 1970s the Mets seemingly spent a lot of time looking for 3rd basemen, picking up a player who didn’t pan out, and then looking for another 3rd basemen. The 1971 version of this was Bob Aspromonte, who was obtained from the Braves and lasted just one season with the Mets.
Most Notable Airbrushing
Jerry Robertson and his glowing blue cap never actually played for the Mets. He was obtained from the Tigers for Chance and Bill Denehy, but Robertson spent the season at Triple-A Tidewater and then was out of baseball after that
Best Rookie Card
Ken Singleton would blossom with the Expos and become a three-time All-Star with the Orioles. In early April, 1972 he’d be sent to the Expos as part of a package for Rusty Staub. Some of you may know him better as a member of the Yankees’ broadcast team.
Second-best Rookie card
Jon Matlack was recently inducted into the New York Mets HOF, and was the 1972 NL Rookie of the Year and a three-time All-Star. In 1971 he made 6 starts and a relief appearance.
Rich Folkers pitched in 16 games in 1970, mostly in relief. He pitched in Triple-A in 1971 and would be sent to the Cardinals as part of a eight-player trade that also involved Art Shamsky and Jim Bibby
Ted Martinez would become something of a SuperSub over his career, playing every position but pitcher, catcher and 1st base.
Here’s that Nolan Ryan card I picked up in June. In 1971, Ryan went 10-14 with a 3.97 ERA, 137 strikeouts and 116 walks
Stealthy Key Card
This card comes with a premium because #30 in the foreground is Nolan Ryan
Best Card Back (Cheating version)
I usually pick out a card back based on the cartoon on the back or some bit of trivia about the player. 1971 Topps does not have cartoons, and I confess I didn’t re-read all of the card backs… I’m just going to use this category as an excuse to show off the back of the one 1971 O-Pee-Chee Mets card I have, Duffy Dyer
League Leader Cards
NL ERA LEADERS
TOM SEAVER – 2.82
WAYNE SIMPSON – 3.02
LUKE WALKER – 3.04
BOB GIBSON 3.12
JERRY KOOSMAN – 3.14
NL STRIKEOUT LEADERS
TOM SEAVER – 283
BOB GIBSON – 274
FERGIE JENKINS – 274
GAYLORD PERRY – 214
KEN HOLTZMAN – 202
Favorite Card(s), Best On-Field Card(s)
This card of Ken Boswell has everything going for it.. An action shot involving Boswell and the Cardinals’ Vic Davalillo, a somewhat unusual angle on the Shea stadium bullpen and left field stands, and way off in the distance you can see part of the Whitestone Bridge.
More Action Shots I Like Too Much To Leave Out
In the background on this card is #5 for the Cardinals, which seems to have been coach Dick Sisler