While football fans are getting excited about the Super Bowl next week, baseball card collectors can look forward to the the arrival of Topps Series 1, marking the beginning of the baseball card collecting season.
For Mets fans, Topps did a better job this year than in 2013 – almost all of the players appearing in the Series 1 base set as Mets are still on the team. Highlights include “Rookie Cards” of Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores, even though most collectors probably won’t view as “true” rookie cards.
Zack Wheeler, David Wright, Nolan Ryan and Travis d’Arnaud are among the players who have signed autographs for this set.
We’ve finally reached the end of 2012. On both a personal level and for the baseball teams that I follow, it wasn’t really a good year.
I’ve watched my father’s health decline throughout the year. I don’t usually get too personal on here, but my dad’s the one who taught me about baseball and took me to my first games – I can’t really talk about the game or look back on 2012 without thinking of him.
I didn’t know Gary Carter, but his death was a loss for me and many other baseball fans as well as those who did know him personally. Carter was one of the rare few members of the 1986 Mets who tried to do admirable things off the baseball field as well as on it, and he will always be my favorite baseball player.
Moving from the sad to the frustrating, the New York Mets collapsed again after a strong start to the season in 2012. Only the disaster that was the Miami Marlins saved the Mets from finishing in last place in the National League East. The team’s finances continue to be the most interesting story surrounding the Mets this off-season, and the biggest trade that Sandy Alderson made sent the Mets’ second-best player to Canada for talented prospects who aren’t likely to help before 2014 or later.
The Newark Bears muddled through another losing season, finishing the year 30 games under .500 and with the lowest attendance in the Can-Am League.
Yep, not really a banner year anywhere.
But even so, there were bright spots. For the Bears, Mike Ness had a magical afternoon on July 11th when he pitched a no-hitter against the eventual league champion team despite a defense that committed six errors behind him.
It took 50 seasons (and a missed call by an umpire), but the Mets finally got their own no-hitter on June 1st.
And if Johan Santana was amazing that night, R.A. Dickey was amazing all season long. Despite an offense that seemed to go days between scoring runs in the second half, Dickey became the Mets’ first 20-game winner since Frank Viola and their first Cy Young Award winner since Dwight Gooden.
Dickey’s one-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles on June 18th was the best baseball memory I’ve had at Citi Field. That night, he became the first pitcher in all of baseball to throw back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Stieb did it for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1988.
David Wright set new franchise records for RBIs and hits – I was in the ballpark when he set the RBI mark in April. During the off-season, he signed a contract extension that will likely allow him to retire as a Met, so we can watch him extend and set more franchise career records.
Jonathon Niese and Ruben Tejada took steps forward, and Matt Harvey made a positive impression once he was promoted from the minor leagues. And if Ike Davis‘s overall numbers for 2012 aren’t especially pretty, he did finish strong after a terrible start.
And on a personal note again, I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made who I’ve gone to baseball games with, who have helped me with my autograph or baseball card collections, or who’ve just spent time talking baseball with me here, on Twitter or on Facebook.
The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things…. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.
This year’s almost gone, and next year promises another pile of good and bad things for us. Let’s try to enjoy the good ones – such as those magical performances at the ballpark, or times spent watching the game with friends or family – and not let the bad ones spoil the rest.
What stood out for you in 2012? What are you looking forward to in 2013?
I’ve yet to see any of this year’s Topps Update cards at my local Target, but I might as well stop looking – I’ve already gotten just about every card I would really want. I bought the main Mets team set from an eBay dealer last month, and I’m now starting to acquire some of the insert cards.
Before Thanksgiving, my friend Bart sent me this Matt Harvey card, one of the red-border parallels exclusive to Target.
Since today is the anniversary of Gary Carter’s 300th home run, I thought I’d repost this photo sent in by a reader last summer.
Bill sent in a photo from the Aug. 11, 1988 game when Gary Carter hit his 300th career home run. This is from Carter’s second at-bat in the game.
The camera I took the picture on had the date programmed incorrectly, and as I never paid any attention to that, (back in those days I could have cared less what that date meant and it would provide a source of amusement to family members when looking at Christmas photos dated 12/26, or halloween pics from 11/1, etc.) I never took the time to change it.
If you look very closely at the scoreboard, (much easier to do now that I digitized the picture) you can make out that it says, “Gary Carter, 1 For 1, HOME RUN”.
The Mets did make a crazy comeback in the 9th inning of that game to steal a win. (I did remember that as being a great game, but we always had fun at Wrigley, regardless of the games outcome)
Does anybody else have any pre-digital era photos that they took while watching Mets games? I’d love to see them & I’d be happy to post them here for others to enjoy. Email PaulsRandomStuff@verizon.net