Sunday, September 15, 2013

1964 Met Fantazy Cards: Thomas/Stengel/Smith/Coleman

Figures the picture captures Bobby making an error.
Yep, that's the Petener.

Fantazy 1964 Frank Thomas card^

Frank Thomas-the Mets first bona fide slugger. Clubbed 34 home runs in their inaugural year of 1962. As a matter of fact, he set almost every Met offensive record in '62 and many of them were not topped for years. He led in games (156), at bats (571), runs (69), hits (152),doubles (23), home runs (34) and runs batted in (94). Franks 94 R.B.I. stood as a team record until 1970 when Donn Clendenon drove in 97, and his 34 bombs wasn't topped until Dave Kingman smacked 36 in 1975.
He had a great season. In 1963 he dropped down to 15 long balls and I guess Mets President George Weiss figured we could win 40 odd games without you Mr. Thomas, and he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Wayne Graham, Gary Kroll (aka Mister Spock) and cash.

No wonder he hit so many homers. He swung like 20 bats!

He had played quite a bit of baseball before he became a Met. Frank debuted with the Pirates in 1951. In a 16-season career, Thomas posted a .266 batting average with 286 home runs and 962 RBIs in 1766 games. Read about him.

Fantazy 1964 Casey Stengel card^
I love the '64 Topps Stengel, which I've posted, but when I saw this photo of Casey I had to colorize and use it, and it fits that '64 border the best.

Instead of lounging on the dugout steps as he entertained the press (which he was very good at) the ol' professor is standing proudly on the steps lecturing whoever would listen (which he was also very good at). That's the way I want to remember Casey.

These additional Stengel's were created for some more recent posts and were added here.

Fantazy 1964 Charlie Smith card^
Charlie Smith had a dreadful start to his Met career going 0 for 25 before getting a hit. He played mostly third, with some games at short and a few in the outfield. He ended up with 20 home runs in '64, leading the team. But he only batted .239 while driving in 58. He hit 16 round trippers in 1965 while driving in a team leading 62 RBI. Unfortunately he struck out 123 times. After the '65 season he and Al Jackson were shuffled off to St. Louis for third baseman Ken Boyer.

Fantazy 1964 Choo Choo Coleman card^
All I know about Choo Choo Coleman was that when I started collecting old Met baseball cards in the eighties I had to spend fiddy bucks for his high-number 1966 Topps card. 

For the '64 set I really dug how Topps had the top portion of the player, usually the hat, go out onto the border/team name area. Sometimes Topps was ahead of its time. Sometimes behind. I think with this set they were right with the times. IMO this is the best looking Met card border design of the decade, a graphic embodiment of the sixties.

I'm sure that the use of the 64/65 Worlds Fair blue & orange colors on the Met cards is a big factor in my thinking.

The 1964 Fantazy JFK cards:




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