Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Ex-Mets’ autograph signing appearances in March 2014

calendarAfter a very quiet February, the autograph show circuit picks up a bit in March with the White Plains sports card show as the major event.

If I lived a bit closer (and had some money that I could afford to spend), I’d love to go – there are some “fresh” autograph guests that haven’t done shows in the area recently, if at all, and I’ve heard good things about the card show aspect.

If money really was no object, I’d also take advantage of Joe Torre‘s appearance at the Steiner Sports store this week to obtain his autograph for my All-Time Mets collection.

Reality says that I should be happy to be able to buy the basic 2014 Topps Heritage Mets team set once the cards come out, but here’s the information on those upcoming events in case you’ve got more money available for discretionary spending than I do.

White Plains “March Madness Show”

Autographed Ed Kranepool 1973 Topps baseball card from my collection
Autographed Ed Kranepool 1973 Topps baseball card from my collection

JP’s Sports & Rock Solid Promotions will hold its bi-monthly sports card show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, N.Y. on March 21st-23rd. Admission is $8 per day, with kids under 12 admitted free.

Five members of the 1969 World Series Champion New York Mets team are scheduled to attend and sign autographs on Sunday, March 23rd: Ed Kranepool, Jerry Grote, Art Shamsky, Ron Taylor and Jim Gosger. Kranepool and Grote will cost $15 per signature; the others will cost $20 each.

Other notable guests for the weekend include future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera ($299), 1987 NL Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago ($25), 1978 NL Rookie of the Year Bob Horner (1 free autograph with paid admission Sunday), and 4-time AL All-Star Ruben Sierra (1 free autograph with paid admission Saturday)

For more details about the autograph guests and their fees, visit

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Posted in Baseball Cards, Uncategorized

A trio of 1963 Mets

Here’s a look at a few more of the cards I got from Diamond Jim’s last week.

Tim Harkness was the Mets starting first baseman in 1963, despite hitting just .211 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs for the season. Harkness actually had a better batting average than two other regulars – infielder Al Moran and catcher Choo Choo Coleman — that year.

Born in Quebec, Harkness also had the opportunity to play hockey professionally. After his four year Major League career – spent with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Mets – Harkness played ball in Canada. He also worked as a scount and minor league manager once his playing days were over.

Harkness has the dreaded cap-less mugshot that recently traded players got in the 1960s Topps sets on his 1963 card. The inset black & white photo appears to feature Harkness in a minor league uniform, but I really can’t identify the logo on his cap.

Ken MacKenzie, another Canadian-born baseball player, has the distinction of being the only member of the 1962 Mets pitching staff to have a winning record. (He went 5-4, a significant accomplishment as a member of a team that only won 40 games.) A Yale graduate, MacKenzie reportedly told his manager that he was the lowest-paid member of his graduating class. Stengal countered that MacKenzie had the highest ERA.

MacKenzie spent parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues, playing for the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros. The Mets and the Astros were the only teams to give him any significant playing time, and MacKenzie had his best seasons in New York.

MacKenzie looks scholarly on his 1963 Topps card, wearing a great pair of vintage specs.

Sammy Taylor spent most of his career as a backup catcher. He played for the Cubs from 1958-1962 before he came to the Mets in an early-season trade for Bobby Gene Smith. Taylor played for the Mets in 1962 and 1963, but was traded to Cincinnati for Jessie Gonder in July of 1963. Taylor would also play for Cleveland in what turned out to be his final Major League season.

While Taylor played for the Cubs in 1959, he was part of a bizarre play where two baseballs were actually in play at the same time. According to,


With a 3-1 count on Stan Musial, umpire Vic Delmore called ball four, but Taylor argued that the pitch had been fouled. He stood at the plate, arguing, as the ball rolled to the backstop. Musial took off for second as the dispute continued, and third baseman Alvin Dark ran to retrieve the ball, which had been tossed by the bat boy to field announcer Pat Peiper, who let it drop so that Dark could field it. Meanwhile, umpire Delmore had routinely handed a new ball to Taylor. Pitcher Bob Anderson threw the ball to second at the same time that Dark’s throw of the first ball reached shortstop Ernie Banks. As Anderson’s high throw went into the outfield, Musial thought he would continue to third, but Banks tagged him out with the initial ball. The umpires erroneously ruled Musial out despite the bat boy’s having touched the ball.

Taylor’s 1963 Topps card features an old television camera in the background.