1994 Capital Cards Miracle Mets Postcards, Part 6

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.

…And for anybody saying “Oh, no… not these again!”, this is the last post about this set.  (And there was much rejoicing… Yaaaaaaaaaay…)

Tommie Agee is most famous for Game 3 of the 1969 World Series, where he hit a homer and made two great catches.

During the regular season he lead the club in runs, homers and RBI. In 1966, while with the White Sox, Agee was the A.L. Rookie Of The Year

When I first talked about this set, I’d mentioned that one of the postcard was signed by the player depicted….

Not the biggest hit I could get, but I was happy because Duffy was still with the Mets when I became a baseball fan in 1974.  He was a backup catcher and pinch-hitter for his entire 14-year career, and caught a John Candeleria no-hitter in 1976.  His only appearance in the 1969 postseason was in Game 1, pinch-hitting for Tom Seaver (and he grounded out against Mike Cuellar).

One of the highlights of Dyer’s career came in the 1975 NLCS with the Pirates;  The Bucs had their backs to the wall, down 2-0 in the best-of-five series and losing 3-2 in the ninth inning.  With the bases loaded and two outs and the entire season on the line, Duffy pinch hit for pitcher Dave Giusti and drew a walk to tie the game and send it into extra innings.  Unfortunately for Duffy and the Pirates , the Reds would win the game in 10 and the series in 3.

Here’s the Certificate of Authenticity for my signature.

…Just in case anybody’s interested…

It was accidental that Cleon Jones and Tommie Agee are in the same post, but it’s fitting as they grew up together in Mobile, Alabama.

Cleon hit .340 during the regular season, which was 3rd in the N.L. and stood as a Mets team record until John Olerud hit .354 in 1998 (and that currently stands as the team record).

Tug McGraw was, of course, a well-known reliever and during the 1969 regular season he went 9-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 12 saves.  He also got a 3 inning save in the NLCS, but never pitched in the 1969 World Series. He’d get his time in the World Series later in his career, first with the Mets in 1973 and then with the Phillies in 1980.

Here’s a Tug McGraw fact I never knew… Sandy Koufax beat the Mets 17 times and only lost two to the Mets.  Both losses were weeknight games at Shea, and and both were started, yes, started by Tug McGraw.  On 8/26/65, in Tug’s rookie season, Tug pitched 7.2 innings and the Mets beat the Dodgers 5-2.  Just over a year later, on 8/30/66, Tug gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in 1.1 before leaving the game, but the Mets broke it open with 5 runs in the 3rd.  Koufax faced 5 batters in the 3rd without getting an out before being replaced by Joe Moeller, and the Mets would go on to win 10-4.

Ron Taylor was a relief pitcher who had a 2.72 ERA and 13 saves during the regular season, and pitched 5.2 scoreless innings in 4 postseason appearances.

Taylor, who is from Toronto, is in the Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame.  Even though he made his fame as a reliever, he had a notable MLB debut starting for the Indians in 1962;  in that first game he pitched 11 shutout innings against the Red Sox before giving up a Carl Yastrzemski triple, two intentional walks and a walk-off grand slam to right fielder Carroll Hardy.  Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette pitched a 12-inning shutout for the win.

After Ron Taylor’s playing career, he went to medical school and would later become the Blue Jays’ team physician.  He’s currently listed as “Physician Emeritus” on the Jays’ website.

And so, after four months and six posts, this series is at an end.

And there was much rejoicing.


1994 Capital Cards Miracle Mets Postcards, Part 5

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.

During his playing days, Eddie Yost was known as “The Walking Man” for his ability to draw walks.  During his 15 year career, he lead the league in walks 6 times, and his 1614 career BB’s currently ranks 11th all time.  To throw out a few names, he walked more than Stan Musial, Pete Rose, Harmon Killebrew, Chipper Jones, Lou Gehrig, Mike Schmidt and Willie Mays, and he did it in fewer games than any of them.
Yost was the third base coach for the Mets from 1968 to 1976.

Jack DiLauro was used mainly as a reliever and his 2.40 ERA and 1.068 WHIP was among the lowest on the team.  Despite this, he didn’t appear in the postseason, and was selected by the Astros in the Rule V draft after the season.
In his first career start, he shut the Dodgers out over 9 innings and gave up 2 hits… and got a no-decision as the Mets won 1-0 in 15 innings.  Dodgers pitcher Bill Singer also pitched nine 2-hit, no run innings.

Bud Harrelson was the Mets starting shortstop for a good many years, and in 1969 he mainly contributed with his exemplary fielding, although he had three RBI in the NLCS despite going 2-for-11.

Bud is currently co-owner and Sr. VP of Baseball Operations for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.

Jim McAndrew was used mainly as a starter and went 6-7, but he also had back-to-back shutouts in August and had three tough-luck no-decisions late in the season where he pitched 27 combined innings while allowing just 4 runs.
Like DiLauro, McAndrew did not get to pitch in the postseason.

Ron Swoboda is famous for the diving catch he made on Brooks Robinson in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 1969 World Series.
He also batted .400 during the World Series and doubled in the game (and Series) winning run in Game 5.

Many of you might be familiar with middle infielder Al Weis as the disembodied head floating next to Pete Rose’s disembodied head on a valuable 1963 baseball card. In 1969 he batted .215 during the regular season, but went 5-for-11 during the World Series, including a game-tying homer in Game 5.

Weis had 7 career regular season home runs, but his World Series homer was the only one he ever hit at his home ballpark.

There’s one more post left in this series, I won’t let it sit for a month like I did with this post and the one before it.

1994 Capital Cards Miracle Mets Postcards, Part 4

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. Part two can be seen here, Part three can be seen here.

Joe Pignatano was a backup catcher in the Majors for 8 years, and was the Mets’ bullpen coach from 1968 to 1981.  He was one of the coaches who was under Gil Hodges with the Washington Senators and follow him to the Mets in 1968.
“Piggy” caught the last pitches thrown at Ebbetts Field, and was well-known in Mets circles for having a tomato garden in the bullpen.  He’s also the second cousin of former pitcher Pete Falcone.

The 1969 Mets picked up Donn Clendenon down the stretch, and he made the deal worthwhile by batting .357 with three homers in the World Series and being named the MVP.

Jerry Grote was a long-time Mets catcher, playing 12 seasons for the Mets.  He played a significant part in the Mets’ run during the last third of the season, although he didn’t have a huge offensive impact in the postseason.
Grote was a two-time All-Star and would also appear in the 1973 World Series with the Mets, and the 1977 and 1978 World Series with the Dodgers.

J.C. Martin was a utility player with the Mets, backing up Jerry Grote and playing at 1st base.  In game 1 of the NLCS against the Braves, he pinch-hit for Tom Seaver and drove in two runs.
His one appearance in the World Series resulted in a 10th inning win for the Mets.  With runners on 1st and 2nd, Martin came in to pinch hit for Tom Seaver (who had pitched 10 6-hit, 1-run innings) and bunted to move the runners;  however, Orioles pitcher Pete Richert, who had just come into the game, hit Martin with the throw to first.  The ball went into right and Rod Gaspar scored the winning run.

Art Shamsky appeared in 100 games in 1969, despite not having a starting job, and batted .300 during the regular season.  He went 7-for-13 during the NLCS, but was 0-for-6 in three World Series games.
During the 1966 season, while with the Reds, Shamsky homered on four consecutive at-bats across two games, including two game-tying homers in the same extra-inning game.  In both games, he came in late in the game as a substitute and he was the first Major Leaguer to hit three homers in a game that he didn’t start.

Trivia:  On the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert’s dog was named “Shamsky”.

1994 Capital Cards Miracle Mets Postcards, Part 3

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.  Part two can be seen here.

Yogi Berra had been a Mets coach since 1965, and coached first base for the 1969 Mets.
He’d take over as the manager in 1972 after Gil Hodges’ unexpected death,  would take the Mets to the 1973 World Series and would manage until he was fired in August, 1975.

Ed Charles played 52 games at 3rd for the 1969 Mets but batted only .207.  Charles went 2 for 15 in the World Series.
He would be released by the team a couple of weeks after the World Series, at which point he would retire.

Ed Kranepool was as much “Mr. Met” as the baseball-headed mascot.  He was a local boy who played 3 games for the 1962 Mets as a 17-year-old, and would continue to play for the Mets until 1979.  In 1969 he split time between first and left, and he hit a homer in Game 3 of the World Series.

Gary Gentry was a rookie pitcher in 1969 and went 13-12 in the regular season. He started Game 3 of the World Series, pitched 6.1 shutout innings and beat Jim Palmer.  He also started Game 3 of the NLCS, but lasted just 2+ innings.  Despite his shaky start, the Mets would sweep the Braves.
He pitched 7 seasons with the Mets and Braves, but his career was derailed by arm trouble.

Tom Seaver… What can I say about The Franchise in 1969?  Just that he won the Cy Young award, came a close second to Willie McCovey in NL MVP voting, lead the league with 25 wins, won Game 1 of the NLCS and Game 4 of the World Series.  He also started Game 1, but gave up 4 runs at Memorial Stadium and took the loss.
On July 9th, 1969, Seaver took a perfect game into the 9th, but Cub Jimmy Qualls earned an indelible place in Mets history by singling to center field to break it up.

1994 Capital Cards Miracle Mets Postcards, Part 2

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.

1994 Capital Cards Miracle Mets Postcards, Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts about a postcard set featuring the 1969 “Miracle Mets” and painted by Ron Lewis. This is such a nice set of postcards that I thought it would hold up through a series of posts featuring each and every card from the set.

A little background… This 32-postcard set was sold in boxes, numbered to 25,000, and I think… don’t quote me on this… that each set came with one of the cards autographed. Or maybe it was a random thing, I can’t remember now.  Mine came with an autograph, you’ll see it when it comes around.

To say I’ve been meaning to share these for years is not an overstatement; I scanned these cards in May, 2014.

So here’s the box:

The first card in a set is a sort of header card featuring the “25th Anniversary” logo from the front of the box, so I’ll go straight to card #2…

Gil Hodges had been an 8-time All-Star with the Brooklyn Dodgers, so he was already beloved in New York before deftly managing the underdog Mets to a World Championship.
These postcards actually have the subject’s name on the bottom, but my scanner chopped that part off and I didn’t bother rescanning. You’ll see a full postcard with the next example.

Here’s the back of Hodges’ postcard. They’re all largely the same.

Ken Boswell played 102 games at 2nd for the ’69 Mets. He primarily played against right-handers, but his hot play down the stretched helped carry the Mets to the postseason. He had 2 homers, 4 runs and 5 RBI during the Mets 3-game sweep of the Braves in the NLCS, but only played one game in the World Series.
He later became a pinch-hitting specialist with the Mets and Astros.

Wayne Garrett was a rookie in 1969, and got into 124 games at third, second and short despite carrying a .218 average. He batted .355 in the NLCS against the Braves, but got only 2 walks in 4 plate appearances in the World Series.
Garrett was later with the Expos and Cardinals.

Bobby Pfeil was another rookie infielder who would play 69 games in the regular season, but didn’t appear in the NLCS or World Series.  I love the Shea scoreboard background in this painting.
Pfeil didn’t make it back to the majors until 1971 with the Phillies, and after that his career was over. Although he appears with the Red Sox in the 1972 Topps set as a poorly-airbrushed high number, he never actually played for the Sox.

Cal Koonce was a reliever for the ’69 Mets, getting into 40 games and earning a 6-3 record with 7 saves.
Koonce was a 28-year-old grizzled veteran, having pitched in the Majors since 1961, mainly with the Cubs. Like Pfeil, Koonce didn’t play in a postseason game.

So that’s the first batch of postcards. Like I said, I’ll be sharing these over a number of posts, but I’ll stretch it out a little so I don’t overwhelm you with them.  The semi-arbitrary way I selected cards managed to leave a lot of big names out of this post, but you’ll see them eventually… I promise that the next post will include a HOFer (but it’s not Seaver).