I thought the enduring image of the 2015 MLB non-waiver trade deadline was going to be Wilmer Flores in tears, but instead I’ll remember his smile as Steve Gelbs interviewed him moments after he hit a 12th inning walk-off home run to beat the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
This week has been unbelievable. Seriously… if the events of the last three days were written into a movie script, you’d just laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.
Wednesday night, cameras caught Flores crying as he went out to his position at in the eighth inning after he received a larger than usual amount of applause during his seventh inning at-bat from a crowd who thought he was about to be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a deal for outfielder Carlos Gomez.
Wilmer Flores may or may not be the Mets’ Opening Day shortstop in 2015, but he showed flashes of promise at the end of this season.
Although Flores had been a hyped prospect for a number of years, I didn’t have any luck getting his autograph at the ballpark when he was playing in Double-A and I wasn’t particularly interested in paying for his Bowman and Donruss certified autographs before his major league debut.
Fortunately for me, this Topps and Panini both chose to included Flores on the autograph checklist for a number of products this year. I was able to get this one from 2014 Gypsy Queen Baseball for $2.50 shipped from an eBay seller – a bargain for me, but a disappointment to anyone who pulled a copy out of their $125 hobby box.
The autograph appears on the card, not a sticker, which is a positive. I’m also a fan of the tobacco card era-inspired design, but I know that Gypsy Queen Baseball’s charms are wearing thin for a number of collectors.
By my latest count, Wilmer Flores’ autographed baseball card is the 889th Mets player’s in my collection, representing over 90 percent of the team’s all-time roster. I’d like to reach 900 by Opening Day, but I don’t know how realistic that is.
I was probably annoyed to see Johan Santana on the checklist this spring – he hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2012 and he’d signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles right around the time Heritage came out. Now, it could be Santana’s last baseball card (well, until Topps signs a contract to include him as an “all-time great” or “fan favorite”). Seems fitting to have a portrait photo with Santana smiling and a stat-filled card back with the “complete major league pitching record” of his great career.
Hopefully David Wright will have more to smile about next season. This is the more common of two photo variations on Wright’s card #284. I should have the other one by the end of the week, too.