Baseball is my life’s passion, but at the same time I knew in some distant part of my heart that it wouldn’t and couldn’t last forever. Ever since I was a kid, my mantra has been, “Play hard, dream big.” But I’ve always believed in loyalty to the game itself: the day that I can’t give it 100 percent is the day I have to walk away. Now that the day has come, it’s harder than I thought it would be.
Here are a couple of recent additions to my New York Mets autograph collection. By my last count, I had signed cards for 888 of the 984 players in Mets history.
Taylor Teagarden‘s 2008 Bowman Sterling Topps Certified autograph card was an eBay purchase that set me back $4, including shipping. I’m not sure where or when I acquired my signed 1998 Bowman Buddy Carlyle card – I found it among my other autographs while searching for potential trade material for someone.
Teagarden appeared in nine games for the Mets in June, splitting time with Anthony Recker while Travis d’Arnaud was working out his early-season hitting issues in Triple-A Las Vegas. He was removed from the 40-man roster and probably does not factor into the Mets’ future plans.
Carlyle was called up a few times to provide support for an over-taxed bullpen, but he stuck around when he came up in late July and became a reliable component of the Mets’ relief corps. At at 36, Carlyle does not figure to be a long-term part of the Mets’ plans, but he could be part of next year’s bullpen. He could also explore other options if the Mets decide that they need to remove him from the 40-man roster to protect a younger player. Until 2014, Carlyle’s last major league appearance had been in 2011 with the New York Yankees. In addition to a host of minor league cities, Carlyle has also played in Japan twice.