Posted in Baseball, Baseball Cards, New York Mets

Easter baseball cards

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I hope everyone had a good Easter (or Passover… or just a nice weekend.) It sure feels like yesterday’s 60 degree spring-like weather was the April Fool’s Day joke, because we woke up to snow (again) this morning.

The Yankees’ home opener has already been postponed, and who knows if the Mets can clear the snow from Citi Field’s seats in time to play tonight’s game.

So today’s a good day to look at the Topps Opening Day baseball cards I got for Easter. While Opening Day is overlooked by most collectors, I enjoy it because it’s about the closest I can get to reliving the experience of opening baseball cards when I was a kid.

Opening Day packs are cheap, usually a dollar. They have a decent number of cards in them (by 21st Century standards, anyway.) And given the unlikelihood of pulling any autographs or memorabilia cards, if you’re opening Opening Day, you’ve got to actually want the base cards or the fun “regular” insert sets.

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There are two reasons that Opening Day isn’t perfect. Number one: except for a few Series 2 previews and PhotoShop uniform swaps, Opening Day cards are rehash of the Topps Series 1 cards that came out in February.

Number two: Opening Day has a limited checklist – just 200 cards. The positive to that point is that you’re much more likely to have at least one star player in every pack.

Shohei-Otani Opening Day’s March release spot does give Topps a little more time to do things like add our first rookie card for Angels’ pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (who impressed in his Major League pitching debut on Sunday.)

I’m kinda happy Topps used a press conference photo for this card – I love getting to see them on cardboard because they represent that time of optimism where your team’s new star player can do no wrong. There will be plenty of time for game action photos later. (I can’t wait to see what the card designers at Topps and Panini decide to do about including hitting and pitching stats on Ohtani’s cards next year.)

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While Ohtani’s rookie card is the draw for Opening Day this year, usually the inserts are the big thing. Card collectors who like mascots have to go for Opening Day. This year’s set also includes Team Traditions & Celebrations inserts, as well as an Opening Day subset and a Before Opening Day insert set.

I love the mascots and I think the Team Traditions & Celebrations set is a fun new idea. The other two leave me a bit flat.

The Opening Day cards have cool photos, but the backs are focused on how the teams did on Opening Day 2017…and that leaves them feeling a bit dated. If I were writing the copy for the card backs, I’d go with a more general focus. Maybe a particular team is unusually successful on Opening Day, or they have an active Opening Day winning streak. Maybe there’s a star player who does particularly well on Opening Day. Something…

The Before Opening Day insert set is worse, because the photos aren’t even that interesting. I’m pretty sure I don’t care which players had good springs in 2018. I know I don’t care about 2017 spring training performances. Hopefully this insert theme gets retired.

 Other odds & ends:

Posted in New York Mets

We’ll remember Rusty

Rusty Staub passed away this morning due to multiple organ failures. He was 73.

I didn’t really start following baseball until Staub’s 23-year playing career came to an end. I knew him through stories… as one of the best pinch-hitters in the National League… as the guy who hit .400 in the 1973 World Series with a bum shoulder… as the guy Davey Johnson tried to hide in the outfield during an 18-inning game in 1985, when he hadn’t played out there in close to two years… despite Johnson’s efforts to switch him between left and right field to keep him away from chances, Staub managed to make a game-saving catch when Rick Rhoden hit a ball to him.

I remember Staub as a restaurateur and a broadcaster… again, both through stories. I never visited his eatery and we didn’t get the channel he worked for. I remember Staub for the stories about all the work he did on behalf of the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund.

The nice thing about stories is that they never die, as long as we keep telling them. Please share your stories about Rusty Staub in the comments, and enjoy the video of Rusty Staub Day in 1986 from YouTube.

Posted in Uncategorized

A look at the Mets Museum

A few weeks ago, I finally had the chance to wander around Citi Field before a Mets vs. Phillies game. My first stop was the Mets Museum.

I was initially disappointed that there seemed to be less “stuff” on display than in previous years, but I think the 2015 setup actually represents the best balance between the different eras of Mets history that they’ve had since it opened.

You’ve got Ed Kranepool’s contract from 1973 on display along with one of Rusty Staub‘s bats, one of Darryl Strawberry‘s batting helmets, Mike Hampton‘s 2000 World Series cap, Endy Chavez‘s jersey from the 2006 NLCS game that made him famous and Juan Lagares‘ Gold Glove Award.

While it would be nice to see more of an effort to use the artifacts to illustrate a timeline of Mets history, I can see why the staff members don’t bother. The items are almost all on loan from collectors (or sometimes the players themselves) and will only be on display for one year.

I recommend a visit the next time you are at Citi Field.

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Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

“Long Island National” sports card show has distinct Mets theme

New York Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker hits at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Matt den Dekker is scheduled to sign autographs at the Long Island National sports collectibles show on Oct. 25. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Next weekend, Hofstra University will be site of “Long Island’s Largest Sports Collectible Show,” which boasts “over 300 tables” of sports memorabilia for sale as well a number of autograph guests.

On Saturday, Oct. 25, Mets Hall of Famer Rusty Staub and current Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker highlight an autograph slate that also includes former Mets coach and manager Frank Howard, 1969 Mets catcher Jerry Grote, former Mets pitcher Frank Viola, and baseball Hall of Famers Phil Niekro and Andre Dawson. Autograph fees range from $15 for Grote to $49 for Dawson. Howard will sign one item for free with paid admission to the show.

Sunday’s lineup includes five members of the 1986 Mets: Mookie Wilson, Doug Sisk, Rafael Santana, Danny Heep and Kevin Mitchell. Autograph fees are $25 per player, except for Sisk who will sign one free autograph with paid admission to the show.

Details and guests are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.nyshows.org.

Posted in Uncategorized

Rusty Staub’s 1970 Topps baseball card

Rusty Staub’s 1970 Topps baseball card

Because I just haven’t had enough baseball cards or Montreal Expos stuff on here lately and Rusty Staub is always cool.

The playoffs are still a couple of weeks away, but I’m planning to root for the Expos’ descendant, the Washington Nationals, when they start.

If your team didn’t make it to October this year, who do you plan to root for once the playoffs start?

 

Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Chris Potter Sports Announces New Signings

signed 1962 Topps Jay Hook card from my collection

Chris Potter Sports announced a new round of private signings, including a number of former Mets. Items are due by Aug. 15 and will be shipped back by Oct. 10.

Ralph Kiner, Rusty Staub, Mike Torrez, Mickey Lolich, Dean Chance, Bret Saberhagen, Kevin Collins, Jim Gosger, Frank Tanana, John Franco, Jay Hook and Joe Christopher are among the names that might be of interest to Mets fans. Prices range from $8-$50, depending on the player and the item to be signed.

I know I need Chance for my Mets all-time roster project, but I have to figure out if I need any of the others for side projects.

Posted in Baseball, New York Mets, Uncategorized

Will Rusty Staub be elected to the Hall of Fame today?

The results of the Hall of Fame’s Expansion Era Committee voting will be announced later this morning. Most of the buzz has surrounded George Steinbrenner and Marvin Miller – at least to the extent that the committee’s ballot is generating buzz.

But there’s a chance that former New York Met Rusty Staub could find his way into the Hall of Fame tomorrow. Staub’s best showing on the regular Hall of Fame ballot was just 36 votes in 1994 — 7.9 percent of the total ballots returned, so it would be a surprise if he made it in now.

Staub played for 23 seasons and accumulated 2,716 hits, 292 home runs and 1,466 RBI. He was a 6-time All-Star and finished in the top 5 for the AL MVP in 1978. After his days as a regular player ended, Staub earned a reputation as one of the best pinch-hitters in the game.

Continue reading “Will Rusty Staub be elected to the Hall of Fame today?”