Who is this? Gene Clines, an outfielder for the New York Mets in 1975
What is this? An autographed card from the 1976 Topps set
Where’d I get it? I wrote to Gene Clines earlier this month and asked him to sign it. He returned it about a week later.
How much did it cost? The card was 33 cents, plus 88 cents postage.
The Mets acquired Gene Clines during the 1974 off-season in a trade with Pittsburgh for backup catcher Duffy Dyer. Clines was coming off a disappointing year in 1974, when he hit just .225 with no home runs and 14 RBI for the Pirates. The Mets had just acquired a young catching prospect named John Stearns that winter in the trade that sent Tug McGraw to Philadelphia, so the light-hitter Dyer was suddenly very tradeable.
At the time the trade was made, it seemed like it should favor the Mets. Clines had been a .300 hitter in 1971 and 1972, and he had the speed to steal bases. Dyer was a third catcher who provided a little power and solid defense.
As it turned out, neither player had a particularly good year in 1975. Clines hit .227 with no home runs, 10 RBI and four stolen bases in 82 games. The stolen base total was his lowest since his rookie year, when he only appeared in 31 games. Dyer hit three home runs in 140 at bats, but had a dreadful .266 on-base percentage.
After the season, the Mets traded Clines to Texas for a minor leaguer. He had productive years for the Rangers in 1976 and the Chicago Cubs in 1977, but never approached the level he achieved in Pittsburgh earlier in his career.
After Clines retired as a player, he went into coaching. He is currently the minor league hitting coordinator for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Selected Mets Baseball Card Checklist:
1975 Topps #575
1975 SSPC #17
1976 Topps #417
1991 Wiz Mets #78