I’ve been collecting baseball autographs since I was a kid in junior high school. Over the years, I’ve managed to acquire a signed baseball card for more than 900 of the 1043 players who’ve appeared in a game for the New York Mets.
While I’m no longer as active in pursuing new autographs as I used to be, I still try writing to most of the rookies who go to spring training camp with the Mets every season to ask them to sign a baseball card for me.
This year, one of those rookies was a 22-year-old pitcher named Chris Flexen who’d never pitched above the Single-A level of the minor leagues. Maybe he thought he’d be pitching in New York this summer when he went to spring training, but I doubt that anyone else did.
An unimaginable string of injuries led the Mets to call Flexen up from Double-A in July, and he started nine major league games in 2017. I wish I could say he enjoyed storybook success, but Flexen fared about as well as you’d expect of a pitcher who was rushed too quickly. Hopefully he learned some things that will help him be a better pitcher in 2018 and beyond.
Earlier this week, I got my baseball card back with an autograph, so now Chris Flexen is represented in my collection. Sometime before the end of the year, I’ll have to go through this year’s additions and look through my signed cards to see if I already had any of the players who made their Mets debuts in 2017 to see where my collection currently stands.