Thursday, January 13, 2011
#421 - Mets/Yogi Berra
Card fact: This is not the most expensive checklist in the set, which surprised me when I was collecting it. I figured Yogi's face would boost the cost a tad.
What I thought about this card then: Not much. You know those team cards.
What I think about this card now: Lordy. How many players did the Mets have on their team? It looks like there's 70 people there. Also, the guy in the bottom right corner looks like he's wearing a Red Sox jacket.
Other stuff: Yogi Berra was in the third of his four years as Mets manager. It would not be a good one. The Mets had just come off a World Series appearance in 1973. But they went 71-91 in 1974, good for 5th in the N.L. East. Ace Tom Seaver dealt with hip issues and had an off-year. It would mark the beginning of the decline of the Mets, which would last until the mid-1980s. Berra would be replaced in 1975 and the Mets would finish dead last between 1977-79.
Back facts: There are three players on this checklist who did not play for the Mets in 1974. Gene Clines would come over in a trade for catcher Duffy Dyer. Bob Gallagher came to the Mets from the Astros in a deal for Ken Boswell. Joe Torre was dealt from the Cardinals to the Mets in the offseason for Ray Sadecki and Tommy Moore.
(EDIT: Yogi Berra died on Sept. 22, 2015).
Other blog stuff: How well did Topps represent the Mets of 1974 in its '75 set? Let's take a look.
New York put 37 players on the field in 1974. Topps featured 23 of them, including three players airbrushed into new non-Mets unforms -- Dyer, Sadecki and Boswell. Twenty-three players is not a lot. It's one of the smallest numbers for a team set so far.
But the only notable player left out of the set -- and I use "notable" very loosely -- is somebody named Dave Schneck, who had 254 at-bats as an outfielder for the '74 Mets. They would be the most at-bats in a three-year career for Schneck, and his final game would be on Oct. 1, 1974. A .205 batting average that year just didn't cut it with the Mets or with Topps.
Here is where the Mets rate with the other teams so far:
1. Tigers 78.37% of players featured
2. Orioles 78.13%
3. Dodgers 74.29%
4. Giants 71.43%
5. Indians 71.11%
6. Royals 70.59%
7. Red Sox 70.27%
8. Angels 68.89%
9. Expos 68.29%
10. Brewers 66.67%
11. Cardinals 65.12%
12. White Sox 65.0%
13. Phillies 62.5%
14. Mets 62.16%
15. Pirates 61.5%
16. Padres 55.8%