It’s snowing again as I write this morning, but we’re less than a month away from the start of spring training. (Yoenis Cespedes, Amed Rosario, Wilmer Flores, and Juan Lagares are already in Florida.)
So I thought I’d share some recent baseball card purchases, my first of 2018. I’m particularly happy with the T.J. Rivera and Josh Smoker cards since they’ve been Mets long enough to appreciate them.
Baseball Reference tells me that Jamie Callahan and Tomas Nido played for the Mets last year, but I don’t remember them at all. Luis Guillorme made an amazing catch in the dugout last spring, but he’s still waiting for his shot in the big leagues. The A.J. Ramos card is a placeholder until I can get one that shows him as a Met. I think I already had a Matt Reynolds autograph, but he’s sporting the snazzy Mr. Met spring training cap and it was only a dollar… so why not?
Odds & ends:
- Johnny Monell, who briefly played for the 2015 Mets, has joined the Tampa Bay Rays organization
Neil Walker didn’t finish the 2017 season with the Mets, but he was the team’s primary second baseman until an August trade sent him to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Walker posted a solid .339 / .442 / .780 slash line with ten home runs through 73 games with the Mets, though those numbers were down slightly from his 2016 performance. He’s currently a free agent, and the Mets still have an opening for a secondbaseman, but I don’t particularly see a reunion in the cards.
I wrote to Walker care of the Mets spring training camp in February and asked him to sign this card from the 2016 Topps Update series, the only one I had at the time that pictured Walker with the Mets. I got it back last week, postmarked from Pittsburgh – it’s a nice early Christmas present.
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.
This weekend, JP Sports and Rock Solid Promotions held their White Plains National sports card show, featuring a selection of autograph guests that included former MLB and NFL stars as well as a few pro wrestlers and actors. There was really someone for just about everyone.
I was talking to my friend Bart on Friday and he mentioned that he was looking forward to the autograph show. Now I hardly ever get to see Bart or do things with him these days, so when he asked if I wanted to go with him, i was quick to agree since it lined up with a rare Saturday day off.
Continue reading “At the White Plains National”
Matt Harvey‘s latest indiscretion paved the way for Adam Wilk to become the 1,028th player in Mets’ history. Unfortunately, while Wilk showed up for work, he didn’t have a very good day: six runs in less than four innings, including two home runs to Giancarlo Stanton probably means a return trip to Las Vegas is in order.
Wilk was kind enough to sign the card I mailed to Mets spring training camp this February.
Continue reading “Three new additions to my Mets autograph collection”
I’m whittling away the list of current and former Mets players who are not represented in my autographed baseball card collection. Recent additions to my collection have brought it down to 99.
Jerry Blevins – relief pitcher, 2015-present
To play to baseball’s fetish for filling bullpens with left-handed specialists, Mets GM Sandy Alderson traded outfield prospect Matt den Dekker to the Washington Nationals at the end of spring training in 2015 to get Jerry Blevins. He pitched just five innings in the major leagues that year, thanks to suffering a broken bone in his seventh appearance of the the season and then re-fracturing it when he slipped and fell in August. He was effective last season, but seemed miscast – given the opportunity, Blevins was generally effective against right-handed hitters as well as lefties. Time will tell how Terry Collins chooses to use Blevins in 2017. I purchased this rookie signature card for $2.15 from COMC.com.
Continue reading “Autograph additions: Feb. 14-24, 2017”
Once upon a time, I was very into writing to people associated with Major League Baseball in hopes of getting autographs for my collection. I’d guess more than half of the 920+ signed cards in my All-Time Mets collection were acquired that way.
As I got signatures from most of retired Mets players who were still willing and able to sign, and as current players became less willing to respond to fan mail, I wrote fewer letters.
Last year, SportsCollectors.Net tells me that I sent out 14 autograph requests and got back signed cards as a result of eight of them.(In comparison, as recently as 2014, I sent out 83 letters resulting in 58 successes.)
Last month, I wrote to a half dozen short-time former New York Mets players whose autographs I didn’t have. Today, I got three responses.
Continue reading “First autographs of 2017”