Wednesday, August 28, 2013

1963 Mets and Willie Mays

Lets move ahead to 1963. Topps could have commemorated the Mets first game in 1962 on a '63 card. They didn't. So I did.
During these early years there was not much to root for by way of a winning team. The Mets were the lovable losers and fans came to games in droves and supported them, glad that N.L. baseball was back where it belonged, in New York City.
1963 Topps card set was smart with a new cutting edge design and sharp, vivid colors. Lots of fine looking cards in this set and no complaints from me. These cards below are made for fun and in tribute.
I had to find a way to use this picture of Stengel because I love it. It's pure Casey.

Richie Ashburn did not enjoy playing for the Mets so I should not be making fantasy Met cards of him. But I liked the guy. I got to know him through his Phils broadcasting days and he was truley a character of the game.
UPDATE: Gonna get off the Mets for a bit and get on Topps. This is Richie Ashburns real 1963 Topps card below. Nice looking card and all but, what in the name of all that is orange and blue is that thing on his hat in the small black and white picture? Is that an N.Y.? Really? Was that scratched on the negative or what? How did it happen that Topps did such a hideous butcher job on my teams interlocking N.Y.? It's so bad it's actually funny.


Now the Mets first few years were squads of has beens and rookies. They did bring back some of the stars from the Brooklyn Dodgers days like Gil Hodges & Duke Snider, and this was good. Met fans didn't mind as they embraced anyone they could. Marv Throneberry and Rod Kanehl became fan favorites.
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Marvelous ________________Hot Rod Kanehl
Marv Throneberry-_________(1963 Fleer)


So did Ron Hunt, who was the best prospect the team had. He came in second behind Pete Rose for Rookie Of The Year in 1963. Hunt was the teams first legitimate all-star as he was the first Met to start the mid season classic in the 1964 A.S.G. at Shea Stadium.

_____________Ron Hunt Fantazy Card^

I liked him. He was a scrappy player with good hands. From what I've read he wanted to be a Met. He was disappointed when they traded him to L.A. before the 1967 season.

*updated POOF!
It would have been cool if Hunt was around for the miracle of '69 and I might make a fantasy '70 Hunt card for that some day.
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I didn't get to see Hunt play until the early 70s, when he was with Montreal. I knew his place in Met history because of trivia questions and old yearbooks. Back then he was more widely known for holding the record of most times being hit by a pitch. He did crowd the plate. He played like a well seasoned infielder.

The early 60's Met teams were never in contention and, although the team had some former all-stars and up and coming rookies, never really had a prime superstar during those early years.
Now imagine if somehow the Mets could have gotten Willie Mays still in his prime. Say hey! I know it's crazy. But it's my fantasy.

Also, It's not such a big stretch as you think. When the N.Y. Giants decided to move to San Francisco in 1957 Met owner Joan Payson
( before the Mets she was a minority shareholder of the Giants)was the lone dissenting vote. Later she would offer to trade her 10% share of the Giants to bring Willie back to New York. Unfortunately, she didn't have a team yet & would have to wait 9 years for Mays to don a Mets jersey. Mrs. Payson was instrumental in making that happen.
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____________Willie Mays 1963^
_______________Fantazy Card

I was thrilled when Willie did come to the Mets in 1972. Didn't matter to me that he was on the downside of his career. He was Willie Mays. He was in a Met uniform and there would be real Mays Met baseball cards! And there were.
______________Topps 1972 Willie Mays^


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