Last night, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza would be inducted this summer as the Class of 2016.
Griffey set a new record, appearing on 437 of the 440 ballots cast. (The old record was held by Tom Seaver – our first Mets representative in Cooperstown – who received 98.84 percent of the vote in 1992.)
It took four years, but Piazza finally crossed the 75 percent threshold in this year’s election. And while I can’t figure out how a man who’s been retired from baseball since 2007 managed to do anything that “made him a Hall of Famer” since the last election, I’d rather celebrate the voters getting something right.
The matchups haven’t all been set yet, but we’re about to begin another season of playoff baseball. And for the first time in 9 years, I have a real rooting interest.
But while we’re waiting, let’s take a look at a piece of memorabilia from the Mets’ first World Series appearance.
If you’ve got $9,999.99 burning a hole in your pocket, you could own the cap Tom Seaver wore in 1969. Press Pass Collectibles is selling the cap, which had previously been owned by a family member of a former Shea Stadium security officer.
C-3PO is helping me show off a few baseball cards that arrived in my mailbox this Saturday. I finally wrapped up my 2015 Topps Series 1 Mets team set thanks to some help from Lonestarr, Phungo and a birthday gift from my friend Greg… now I just have to decide how much energy to put into chasing down the inserts for it.
I like the concept of the “This Date In History” cards, whatever their official name happens to be. And how can you go wrong with a Tom Seaver card?
Well, you can stick him on the front of a card commemorating a game that he didn’t pitch in, I guess. July 20th, 1969 is significant because it’s the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to land on the moon, and the Mets won the second game of a double header against the Montreal Expos on utility man Bobby Pfeil‘s bunt single. Don Cardwell started for the Mets, Jack DiLauro got credit for the victory, and Tug McGraw, Cal Koonce and Ron Taylor also pitched in relief… Seaver presumably watched from the dugout.
But it’s still a cool card, AJ, – it will get added to my Mets team set.
All-Star Stitches is my favorite long-standing insert found in Topps Update because it’s the last relic card that actually makes any kind of claim about what game or event that the relic it contains is from. The Mets had one All-Star representative this year, and it was Daniel Murphy. There are versions of his card with red and blue jersey material swatches… since they were relatively inexpensive, I picked up one of each.
There are also a few more limited All-Star Stitches cards featuring Murphy: a gold parallel serial numbered to 50, a unique platinum parallel, a jumbo patch card serial numbered to 6, and a combo card featuring jersey swatches from both Murphy and Derek Jeter serial numbered to 25.
Geof surprised me with a couple of envelopes filled with Mets baseball cards this week. Here are a few of my favorites and some that just caught my eye.
I had just gotten back into baseball card collecting in 2002, so I really don’t remember whether “Heroes of Baseball” was a full set released by Upper Deck that year or just the name of this insert series. This card, #HTS3, commemorates the April 22, 1970 game when he struck out the last 10 batters en route to a 19-strikeout performance.
Mets fans of a certain age undoubtedly remember that game. Younger fans might remember hearing about it during a Mets broadcast – particularly during the era that Seaver was a TV analyst for the Mets, it seemed to come up quite often.
I really don’t “get” the modern incarnation of Topps Archives. The concept started off well.
Topps introduced the “Archives” brand in 1991 when it reprinted its 1953 baseball card set at standard size on modern cardstock with a glossy finish. They followed it up with a reprint of the 1954 set in 1994, and a 1995 reprint set of some classic cards of Brooklyn Dodgers from the team’s final years in New York.
I actually collected and completed the 1991 set and bought a number of packs from the Dodgers set on closeout from Toys ‘R’ Us in the mid-1990s.
Topps brought the brand into the 21st Century in 2001 with a 450-card set featuring reprints of classic rookie and final year cards from various sets. They repeated the concept in 2002 with a smaller, 200-card set focused on players’ “best” years.
That’s where things started to get a bit bizarre – Topps re-created cards from the 1980s overproduction era that were more valuable than the originals because the new ones were more scarce.
Ten years later, Topps re-launched the brand again with a set including a mix of current and retired players on classic card designs. For 2012, they chose 1954, 1971, 1980 and 1984. For 2013, they picked 1972, 1982, 1985 and 1990.
Maybe we can pretend its from an alternate universe where Seaver remained with the Mets for his whole career.
Topps is bringing back the Archives set again in 2014, this time featuring designs from 1973, 1980 (again), 1986 and 1989. I’m sure it will produce at least a few baseball cards that will leave me scratching my head.