Saturday, April 12, 2014

1973 Mets Fantazy Cards Series 3

'73 MFC series 3 hits candy stores today.
Yikes. I just noticed there's no price on the wax. I guess back then they gave 'em away for free, and only to mom & pop candy stores.

The summer of 73 was a busy one for me. I was no longer going to a couple'a dozen ballgames a season like I would from 1970 to 72. No more walking through Corona and Flushing Meadows with the gang from the playground. Took the subway. Come to think of it I had stopped hanging in the playground. Had a girlfriend now and was going to high school. Had a whole new set of friends, mostly new people from school. Still had my old friends of course, and I would see a good dozen games this season with a mix of different groups. Still followed the team kinda passionately. But no where near as passionate as I would become in future years because of this season. I would go to all three playoff home games but that's a story for the '74 MFC post season cards. It was a big year for me, lots of things happening that had nothing to do with baseball cards.

So at this time I cut back on my baseball card collecting. My money was into other stuff. I still bought packs, put the Mets aside, but I didn't have any goals like getting them all or anything like that. I'd pick up a pack here and there. Still I ended up with probably few hundred cards from '73.

A good solid design that was an about face from the oddities of 1971 & '72.
I liked these for that. For getting back to basics in a nice simple way. The circle position figure guy was an excellent touch that is the signature of this set. Sharp cards. The bright white of the borders made the awesome color pictures stand out nicely, especially in action shots.

I was happy to get the Seaver, and other Mets, but there was one Met card I wanted above all others. Willie Mays. It was the Sey Hey Kid as a New York Met and this was to be cherished until the apocalypse. Tucked away for future generations.
It would end up being his only Topps card as a Met (I'll fix that). And I did get the card, a few of them, and one was just a perfect print, centered and all. No recall of what happened to those cards.

Years later, during the baseball card boom of the mid 80's, I would go to a card show and make that Mays mine again for 5 bucks. I still have that card.

As much as I dig the 73 Topps Mays I had to make a Fantazy one. On his Topps card Willie looks like he smelling a bad fart. Lets get him flashing that beautiful smile.

In 1973 Tom Seaver led the National League in ERA for the third time in his 7 years with the Mets. He won 19 and lost 10.

If you would have told me (before the season started) that Seaver would lose 10 games and Kooz would lose 15 and we would still make it to the World Series I'd a said nooo waaay. I'm still somewhat mystified.

But this was one of those years the N.L. east crown was within reach of at least 3 teams all season. And the Mets weren't really one of those after April, with the Cubs, Cards, and Pirates all passing the lead around. At the All-Star break New York was in last place with even the Phillies and Expos ahead of them.
Nope, if you told me mid season that we were going to the World Series I would not have believed it.


New York Mets fans were not believing much of anything. We believed we had a pretty banged up team. A good start in April evolved into a messy May, June & July. Then the now famous locker room speech by Donald M. Grant took place and at first I could not believe that. Tug McGraw mocking mangment during a team meeting?

We were kind of sleepwalking along with the team but this woke us up. In a season wherein the players took line drives to the skull, violently ran into each other and didn't seem to be going anywhere except the N.L. east basement, this got our attention.

Tug said : "You gotta believe."

You gotta believe. Over and over. Running around from locker to locker, getting in players faces, getting in Grants face. YOU GOTTA BELIEVE!!!

He said later that the outburst was a byproduct of advice he was given by some self help guru.

You see, Tug started out '73 hot, with 5 saves and a 1.59 ERA in April, but he lost his footing and ability soon after and was pitching the worst stretch of his career. No one could figure out what was wrong, least of all him. So seeking help was a good thing, and it would become a legendary thing down the line. But not right away. As far as us believing, we weren't buying any of that. The team had legs but they all were broken early on. The Mets were, however, on the mend.
I must say though, seeing Tug McGraw excited about something always excited us Metropolitan fans. So we sat up and watched with interest, and kept an eye on Tugger. And masterfully, he rose to the occasion.

In his last 41 innings of 1973 McGraw went 4-0, saved 12 games, and had an 0.88 ERA. That my friends, was simply amazin'. And now we were starting to seriously believe going into the second week of September. All of it due to Tugs rally cry, just the thing that fans (and maybe even Met players) needed to keep them going, a shaft of insane hope.

On September 20th a certain ball would bounce off a certain wall, having nothing to do whatsoever with Tugger.

But after that....
that was it. We believed.

In 1973 Cleon Jones batted a pedestrian .260, playing in only 92 regular season games. From the first day of June until the 7th day of July, Jones was out with his arm in a cast, the result of a hit by a pitch.

He returned to help the Mets down the stretch and in the N.L.C.S. vs. the Cincinnati Reds batted .300.
In the World Series Cleon would hit .286, homering in game two, a 12 inning affair that the Mets would win. Whether he was doing good or bad as far as Met fans were concerned, Cleon Jones was a fixture, a home grown All-Star.
Catcher Joe Nolan was drafted by the Mets in the 2nd round of the 1969 amature draft.

He was traded to the Atlanta Braves on April 4, 1975 for Leo Foster.

Thank you SJN0072002
Now if I was an O Pee Chee photographer in the early 70s I would have gone to Shea during a game we played the Padres. I would have ordered Dave Marshall, now of San Diego, to march right into his old clubhouse and put on his old Mets uniform (it's around in there somewhere). While he was dressing I'd have run up to the press section where the scoreboard guy is, slipped him a few bucks with instructions, and then WaLAA- his '73 card is done in one shot.

The Old Timers Day at Shea was always an event that fans loved for the obvious reasons. And here was The Yankee Clipper and The Say Hey Kid on the same field. But Willie had not yet retired, and he would show Joe (whose mere presence stole the show) that he could still cut it out there with this awesome catch during the regularly scheduled contest.

If anyone has a request for a '73 Met I may have missed feel free to contact me.
The New York Mets Encyclopedia By Peter C. Bjarkman provided information.

                                The MFC 2014 Season Set

Coming up next on April 18th: Mets vs. Pirates season series Fantazy cards: September 17th to 21st 1973. The most important series of the season.


  1. Great job as always
    I would like to see a Rich Chiles, Phil Hennigan and definitely a Bob miller '73 card


  2. Thank you Patrick and nice to hear from you again. I will try and hunt down photos of those players.

  3. How about Schneck, Lute Barnes & Greg Harts?

  4. Forgot to mention - your work is mind-blowing. Couldn't enjoy it more.

  5. Thank you and I'm glad you enjoy it.
    With all three of those players (Schneck, Barnes, and Harts) I could only find one good quality photo of each (the quality of the Harts is not so good). So I had planned on doing them up on '74 fantazy cards for the 1973 season. I will probably be using the Lute Barnes photo that I used for his Sadecki Spot insert card.

    It's always about the photos. I'd like to avoid using duplicate images on cards for different years. I will make an exception for Barnes unless I find another picture of him, and I will at least make sure all 3 of those get 1974 fantazy cards.
    Thanks for visiting :)