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February autograph additions, part 2

I only got one autograph last week, but if my count is accurate it was my 899th signed baseball card for my All-Time Mets project.

Signed Randy Tate 1976 Topps baseball card from my collection
Signed Randy Tate 1976 Topps baseball card from my collection

Randy Tate was drafted out of Calhoun Community College (Decatur, Ala.) in 1972 by the New York Mets with their fifth round pick. He signed as a 19-year-old and went 0-9 with a 6.00 ERA for the Rookie League Marion Mets in his first year as a pro.

He spent all of 1973 and most of 1974 at the Single-A level, where he put up unspectacular numbers. In 1975, Tate opened the year with the New York Mets despite pitching just two games at the Triple-A level. (Maybe someone with a longer memory than I have can explain why the Mets opted to put an inexperienced 22-year-old in their starting rotation.)

Tate did not have a particularly good rookie year, but he started 23 games and pitched 137.2 innings while compiling a 5-13 record with a 4.45 ERA and 99 strikeouts. He did take a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Montreal Expos, but although he struck out a career-high 13 batters he managed to get tagged with the loss.

Tate continued to pitch in the minor leagues through the 1978 season, but never returned to the majors after 1975.

6 thoughts on “February autograph additions, part 2

  1. My “all time” collection is pretty impressive (around 200) but nowhere near yours! How do you plan to display hem? I would like to display mine and was wondering if you had links?


    1. The first 50 years’ of players are in a binder. The more recent additions to the team are sitting in a box, waiting for there to be enough of them to start another binder. (I’ll probably get to that this season.)

      I don’t really think there is a safe & effective way to “display” what will eventually be over 1,000 baseball cards.


  2. Without looking anything up, I recall Randy Tate making the varsity 1975 Mets as a 5th starter behind Seaver, Koosman, Matlack, and Craig Swan. George Stone was injured, and Hank Webb was a swing man. So, I think manager Roy McMillan and the front office thought they might’ve been catching lightning in a bottle with Tate.

    As it turned out, his 5-13 record didn’t lead to a much of a career (despite the no-hit bid, which I recall listening to live, on my handheld transistor radio). To this day, I’m unsure why a young, sturdy pitcher like Tate didn’t get more seasoning and return to the majors with someone, if not the Mets. Injury? Numbers game? I never found out.

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    1. Actually, Tate would’ve made the team with Yogi Berra as manager; McMillan replaced Berra in mid-summer.


    2. That’s exactly what I would have thought, until I looked at Tate’s minor league numbers and saw he really had no experience above Single-A and hadn’t exactly been lights out at that lower level.

      When I have a chance, I’m going to have to see if I can find some old newspaper stories. Even with the injuries, I’d have thought the Mets would have some more established prospects to turn to.


      1. I also recall that the Mets had a young stud RHP, Jackson Todd, who had to take off a year or so to recover from cancer. Todd did recover enough such that he pitched for the Mets in 1977-78 (he has a 1978 Topps card).

        It is conceivable then, that Randy Tate temporarily leapfrogged Todd in the pitching depth chart. So that might be part of the equation.

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