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.
Until this month, I had more or less been ready to write Wilmer Flores off. But in September, he’s beginning to look like a player who should be part of the Mets’ plans for the future.
Last night, the 23-year-old had the best game of his young career – a three-for-four performance at the plate, with two home runs, three runs scored and six RBI.
So it seems fitting to show off the sparkly “1989 Bowman Is Back” insert card I got this week as part of a lot I won on Listia. As I mentioned back in June, I think this insert series is one of the best parts of the 2014 Bowman set – they bring back good memories from the summer of 1989.
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.
On a team level, victory number 55 comes too late to matter very much – but we can still celebrate the personal milestone achieved by Colon.
Flores and den Dekker may not perform any better than Chris Young and Ruben Tejada, but it’s time to find out as much as we can about them. It’s better if they can succeed at the major league level, but if they fail, at least Sandy Aldersonwill should know not to count on them during his off-season planning.