Take Two Mets And Call Me In The Morning

At the beginning of the week I was talking to my friend Frieda, who’s a Braves fan. Forgetting who was playing who after the wild card games, I said that the only matchup that could result in my rooting for the Braves was if they’d played the Dodgers. As a kid in the 1970’s I took a general dislike to the Dodgers, and I’ve never completely let that go.

Frieda said, “The Braves do play the Dodgers on Thursday, so are you going to root for the Braves?”

The rivalry hasn’t been much over the past 5 years, the Braves aren’t AMERICA’S TEAM! anymore, and Chipper’s gone, so I grudgingly said I would try… although I’d still be rooting for the winner to get no further than the NLDS.

So I happened to have the beginning of the game on last night. The foam tomahawks came out, the extremely obnoxious chanting started, and that was as much as I could take. Sorry, Frieda.

So my more realistic assessment of the series is that I hope it’s a high-scoring, extra-innings 5-game affair that will leave the winner worn out for the NLCS.

…and I feel a strong need to cleanse the palate…

1976 Topps Tom Seaver RB

1995 Donruss Top Of The Order Todd Hundley

…Aaaaah, that’s better.

Sending Positive Thoughts Towards Darren Daulton

I was very sad to read that Darren Daulton has been diagnosed as having two brain tumors, and is scheduled to undergo surgery next week.  Even though I’m a Mets fan, I’ve been a fan of “Dutch” since the days when he was an up-and-coming minor league catcher.

1993 Studio Darren Daulton

Growing up on Long Island, I’d never been to a minor league baseball game until I was older and able to make trips out of state on my own.  Darren Daulton was the first player I saw in the minors to make a significant impact in the Majors.  Being able to think “I saw him when…” was a new and exciting experience for me, and because of that he’s been one of “my guys” ever since.

1993 Triple Play Darren Daulton

Daulton had a 14-year career spent mostly with the Phillies, although he finished the 1997 season with the Marlins before retiring. He was an All-Star three times and won a Silver Slugger. In 1993, he lead the league with 109 RBI, only the 4th catcher to lead the NL in that category (the others were Roy Campanella, Johnny Bench and Gary Carter).

1995 Donruss Top Of The Order Darren Daulton

Darren played in the World Series in 1993 and 1997, and in 13 World Series games he batted .293 with 4 doubles, 2 homers and 6 RBI.

1994 Ultra Phillies Finest #2 Darren Daulton

My thoughts and prayers are with Darren and his family.

Mets Monday: Going To The Top Of The Order For Some Oddballs

I’ve been on an organizing binge lately, and while in one closet I ran across my 1995 Donruss Top Of The Order deluxe double-deck starter set.  I can’t remember where I bought it, but I think it was in a closeout/overstock store… I do know I wouldn’t have paid much for it.  The “deluxe” part was because it came with two 80-card starter decks, but I was very disappointed to find that there was a lot of duplication between decks.

…And no, I never got around to playing the game.

Here are a few of the Mets from those starter decks:

1995 Donruss Top Of The Order Pete HarnischI tend to think of Pete Harnisch as an Oriole or Astro, I sometimes forget that he pitched for the Mets… which is really unforgivable since he is just a little younger than I am and grew up in the same part of Long Island (Commack, New York… Saaaaaaaaaaalute!). The mid-90’s was a time that was – relatively speaking – a low point for the amount of attention I paid to baseball. I was still mad about the 1994 strike, Topps cranked out some crappy-ass sets between 1995 and 1997, and I had *ahem* other things on my mind (hint: It involved a woman).

As many of you know, Jeff Kent was a contestant on Survivor in 2012. Since it’s not every day that a former Met is on a reality show, I watched about 90 seconds of one episode, which was approximately 75 seconds longer than I’d ever spent watching any previous Survivor episode. I’m not much of a fan of “reality” TV, can you tell?
1995 Donruss Top Of The Order Jeff Kent

One website I looked at said that the Joe Orsulak card is “uncommon”, which is better than “common” but not as good as “rare”.1995 Donruss Top Of The Order Joe Orsulak
Joe Orsulak also falls into the category of “I think of him as an Oriole”… But I do remember him enough to know he wore #6. I couldn’t tell you what number Harnisch wore with the Mets.

By the way, while researching this set I was looking at the PSA page for it, and there’s somebody out there who has 14.72% (or 53 cards) in their registry.  That got me wondering about something…

Why in God’s name would anybody invest the time and money to get a 1995 Top Of The Order Bob Hamelin card graded?!?!?

Seriously, if anybody can offer any insights to this, I’d like to know.  I’m not a fan of grading services, but I will admit that they serve a purpose… But I’m also pretty sure that grading commons from an unpopular and fairly-recent set is not that purpose.