Yesterday, we covered a card draft held by the esteemed Jaybarkerfan's Junk on his blog. But Wes wasn't done getting rid of his cards, oh no. He was also offering team lots. Lots! My favorite. And Mets! also my favorite. So you can tell what a fool I am for lots of Mets. Basically, all he wanted was the cost of shipping for them, so how could I resist (spoiler! I couldn't). So along with my draft pickings came four jam-packed team bags full of Mets:
Also, altruistically or practically, I cannot tell which nor will I speculate, Wes was giving some lots away. Yup, just giving them away...so because I also have an odd enjoyment of defunct teams, I grabbed his lot of free Expos, because, hey, free stuff! (what's with all the exclamation points? and parentheticals? I guess I shouldn't have had that third cup of coffee). Before we break down the Mets, lets take a quick look at some of those Expos...
...and we are already in a cardboard happy place. Overly colorful Larry Walker rookies, dust-flying plays at the plate, those sharp mid 90's Expos unis, fabulous early 80's record breakers, and Mike Fitzgerald, one of the four quarters the Mets gave the Expos for their Gary Carter dollar.
I love players on odd teams; everyone remembers the Mark Langston trade because it had Randy Johnson in it, but few recall that a) it even involved the Expos or b) Langston was only in Montreal for half a season.
One can criticize Milton Bradly for his shitty attitude all they want, but no one can deny his awesome name. He'd just be an ordinary malcontent if he was Robert Jones, but instead, he was a colorfully named malcontent.
Last, but not least, is Woody Fryman. I always enjoyed Woody's cards as a kid because he looked 150 years old on them, even when he was 35. Now, Woody is 42-43 in that picture there, and sadly, looks younger than I do now at 37. Oh the ravages of time. Of course, Woody is now dead and so are the Expos, but they will both live forever on cardboard.
OK, lets break down that Mets lot. Yes, there was a bunch of junk wax in there, I didn't expect anything less. When one is dealing with lots, especially team lots, you know that 12th 1987 Topps Keith Hernandez All Star card is waiting for you. But there were plenty of gems as well.
I can never pass up Mike Piazza cards. Ever. I always loved that 1998 Finest card, his white uniform just pops out from the dull silver background. I didn't have that 2002 Ultra short print, I only have the gold medallion version, so now we've got new cards...yay!
As you may have read earlier, my brother and I went to Jackie Robinson Day in Philly last weekend. Since all the players were wearing #42, the Mo Vaughn jokes came fast and furious. My favorite: "Are those Mo's old jerseys?" "No, they saved three or four of them and sewed all of today's jerseys out of them..."
My other favorite card on that page is Don Schulze. Why? Well, in 1987 the Mets pitching staff was the walking wounded. Everybody got hurt one way or another. My brother and I went to a game in early August expecting to see Sid Fernandez pitch but instead, we got Don Schulze (they never said what El Sid's injury was, but we are pretty sure it had to do with the buffet). And he got brutalized. And for the last 25 years, Don Schulze has been a punchline in our family. Sadly, that was Don's last appearance in a Met uniform, yet he got himself a 1988 Topps card, so he's got that going for him.
Look! Nolan Ryan cards! In a Mets uniform! (more exclamation points? really?)
I have often said that I have more cards of Nolan Ryan in a cowboy hat than a Mets uniform. While that joke is not quite as accurate the last few years with all the faux-vintage cards around, the 1991 Pacific Nolan Ryan set seemed to be nothing but Ryan in a cowboy hat. I see now that the problem I had with that set is, I bought nothing but the second series. Obviously, Wes bought a lot of the first series, because I got a boatload of Nolan Ryan from him...in a Mets uniform! I got several of each card, so if any other Mets fans have the same issue I (used to) have, I would be glad to part with some of the doubles. Plus look at the baby picture, jeez he was born with that giant head....I feel bad for his mother.
Oh yes, there is plenty more...
This mishmash of stuff does have a theme. Gregg Jefferies, one of the great disappointments of my life, did get some wonderful cards in his day. I love that shot from the '91 Upper Deck set. As I have gushed before, I love double play cards, and Rey Ordonez got himself a few nice ones, that Stadium Club shot included.
I have a bunch of those Tom Seaver Baseball Heroes cards, but I have never looked to see if I have them all. That is one I didn't have, so the answer to that question was "no" and now is back to "I don't know."
Tim Teufel was always one of my forgotten favorite Mets. He didn't look like a ballplayer, he didn't move like a ballplayer, heck, if you saw his batting stance, you might swear he wasn't a ball player at all. Yet, he was a pretty solid contributor. He was greater than the sum of his parts and scrappy, to use two horrible cliches. Plus, his last name means "devil" in German - he is literally the devil...how cool is that?
Ryan Thompson is another in a long line of Mets disappointments (Jeff Kent was shown earlier but not mentioned - they came together from the Blue Jays in the David Cone trade - double disappointment!). But I have a large Ryan Thompson collection. Why? Well, besides the fact that you always seem to accumulate cards of your teams failed prospects in gross, I have not one but two friends with the moniker "Ryan Thompson." If I had the same name as a major leaguer, I would have my business cards printed on my same-name player's baseball card.
I am currently infatuated with the 1994 Fleer set, a set I never really collected or even really looked at much before. I am looking to pick up nine cards for a page (I have 2 so far) and I am looking to put together the Mets team, this is two more cards towards that goal.
There were some minor league cards too...
As I get closer to acquiring all the Mets cards from major manufacturers from the last 50 years, I find myself contemplating whether or not I should start picking up minor league Mets affiliates team sets. You know, so I can have something new to drive myself nuts about.
One great thing about baseball cards is, even when you think you have All The Cards, you don't...
...there is always an oddball you have never seen, an insert from a set that you didn't collect, a shiny variation of a vague set. And, of course, stickers. That Strawberry is an OPC sticker, to boot. Oh yeah, and that cool graded Johan belonged in the Draft portion from yesterday but somehow wound up here. Ahhh, my wonderful organizational skills.
There was a large vein of recent Mets cards, which is good, because I am still filling in the gaps from the last couple years:
There was an abundance of 2011 Topps, which I think finishes off my team set (I'll have to check). I didn't have a Lucas Duda from the 2011 Bowman set, nor the Ike Davis from Heritage, and now I do. I think James Fuller invented the steam engine or the hair brush or something, I'll have to check that as well.
Last but not least are some more contemporary Mets:
I think I now have 2 of those Gold R.A. Dickey cards. I also think I am now one away from completing the Golden Tom Seavers, I have four and I believe there are five of each player. I read a lot of trashing of the 2012 Topps design, but it has grown on me. It is simple and modern with a little elegance and a little pizazz. It fits in nicely with the last few years of designs with its white borders and curves. I think I prefer the 2010 Topps design, but certainly not those two...is there a more apropos indicator of how lousy the Mets have been recently than Oliver Perez and Francisco Rodriguez? I think I better wrap this up.
One man's Junk is another man's treasure. Thanks Wes!