Thursday, September 26, 2013

1967 Mets Fantazy Card Opening Day Line-up

Welcome to the 1967 Met Fantazy Card Opening Day Line-up page. The 1967 Mets were beginning to turn that corner between the horrors of 1962 and the heights of 1969. New York's young pitching arms, led by lottery lad Tom Seaver and lefty Jerry Koosman, were beginning to attract attention. But these still were the Mets. They still were the butt of most baseball jokes. No one took them seriously.

In the header picture above, if you look close, you can see the outfield wall at Shea Stadium appears to be white in color (this is a photoshopped image). There has been some talk that on opening day of 1967 the outfield wall was white. Not for the entire season, but for a few weeks at the seasons start. This has been discussed at the CPF and since we can't find any incontrovertible proof that the wall actually was white, this discussion is on-going.
If anyone out there knows any information,details or photos regarding the outfield wall being white to open the 1967 season, please contact me.
The Mets first game of the 1967 season was played on April 11th. The Mets hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates at home at Shea Stadium.

Leading off for the Mets 1967 campaign is the center fielder, Don Bosch. Really? Like I've said, most of these opening day line-ups have surprised me.
Bosch came to the Mets from the Pittsburg Pirates along with todays starting Pitcher Don Cardwell in December of 1966 for pitcher Dennis Riebant and outfielder Gary Kolb. Highly touted as the Mets center fielder of the future Bosch had a disappointing time as a Met. In 94 games spread over two seasons Don batted .157. His OBP was .210.
In 1969 he had some bad stuff to say about the Mets in Dick Schaap's book "The Year the Mets Lost Last Place", possibly leading to the 1978 tell-all book by Chico Escuela entitled "Bad Stuff 'Bout the Mets".
Batting second and playing right field is Cleon Jones. In 1966 Cleon batted lead off to start the season, and he was all over the line-up after that. He led off 23 times and batted 3rd, 4th, or 5th over 25 times each. To Jone's credit he took these things in stride and continued to show he could hit (.275) as the Met were figuring out what to do with him, where to use him. He bats 2nd and plays right to start 1967. He batted in the second slot the most, 49 times, and took a step back this year with a .246 batting average. I suppose many times, as far as where he batted and played the field, Cleon was a victim of circumstances.
The Mets committed 5 errors in this opening day game. Jones made two of them.
Batting third all-star third baseman Ken Boyer. Boyer started suffering back problems in 1965 while playing for the Cards. The Mets in their wisdom traded for him before the '66 season for fan favorites Al Jackson and Charlie Smith. Ken batted .266 with 14 home runs and 61 RBI for the '67 season. Not horrible. On May 10, 1967, he collected his 2,000th career hit, a single off Milt Pappas, and on May 20 he hit his 300th career double off Nelson Briles. On July 27, with Boyer batting .235, the Mets traded him to the Chicago White Sox along with second baseman Sandy Alomar, in exchange for third baseman Bill Southworth and catcher J. C. Martin.
Batting clean-up and covering left field, 1962 AND 1963 National League batting leader, the newly acquired Met, Tommy Davis. There were high hopes for Davis to be a star in New York. He did well enough, batting .302 with 16 home runs and 73 RBIs, but still was traded after the '67 season. Thus began Tommie Davis's journey in which he would find himself playing for ten different teams over the next ten years. On this day Davis would show Met fans he came to play, going 2 for 4 with an RBI.
"Rocky" Ron Swoboda will be batting fifth and manning first base. Swoboda primarily batted 5th or 6th and hit for a .281 average in 134 games in '67, smacking 13 homers. He played right field mostly, but to open the season he was platooning with Ed Kranepool at first base. After 20 games at first the Mets decided to discontinue that plan and never to try him there again. Ever. Yikes, he must have been pretty bad at first.
I'm going to start a page just for Met error cards. And I don't mean mistakes on the card. I mean cards that picture the Mets players making errors. Batting sixth and playing second base for the Mets, Jerry Buchek.
Met catcher and future all-star (yep, I get to say that) Jerry Grote will bat seventh. Grote did not have a great year at the plate. He did have a four hit day on June 24th, which raised his batting average from .189 to .192 on his tortuously slow climb to .195 (in 120 games). Behind the plate Jerry was showing Met fans how a great catcher conducts himself. He yielded a .990 fielding percentage and threw out would be base stealers 49% of the time. Jerry Grote, of all people, hit a home run in this opening day game. He also suffered two passed balls.
Batting eighth and playing shortstop is Buddy Harrelson. Buddy fit the classic mold of shortstops at the time. Small, fast, great in the field and good enough at the plate. This was, however, Buddies worst year in the field with a .958 fielding percentage, committing 32 errors.
Pitching for the Mets to start the 1967 season is Don Cardwell. Don is the only pitcher to get traded and pitch a no-hitter in his first game with his new team. During the 1960 season, Cardwell was traded from the Phillies to the Cubs (for Tony Taylor) and had his no hitter in his first Cubs start. Cardwell went 5-9 in '67, and was a spot starter for the Mets throughout '67,'68 and '69. In 1969 his 5 wins in a row during the late season stretch run for the N.L. pennant were big.
I feel if I am going to make a card for a Met making an error, I should also make one of him making a nice play to balance it out. To be fair Jerry made more plays than he didn't.

A special for the 1967 line-up page- The 1967 Mets/Sgt.Pepper album cover! This supposed to include every player or coach on the '67 squad plus two future Mets for a total of 67. If I've left anybody out please let me know.

Can you name the players without peeking at the UMDB? If you can you are a better fan than I was. But I know who they are now so I'm moving up the Met fan chain.

I thought to do this tribute at the last minute and figured it would take a few sittings. It took way more time than I expected and unfortunately delayed the posting of this page. Totally enjoyed making it though and hope you get a kick out of it.
Special thanks to Batmagadanleadoff of the CPF and my bother Kevin for the suggested additions to the 1967 Mets Tribute.


  1. Too much goodness to comment on all, but really liked the white signature on the Cardwell and of course both Buchek cards.

  2. I was in heaven when Ken Boyer came to the Mets and I got to see him play at Shea. I was hoping Tommy Davis would be a Mets until the end of his career. If not for that broken ankle he would be a HOFer. Thank you for bringing back some great memories.