Friday, July 1, 2016

>>>>Happy Birthday To Rocky Ron Swoboda!

 Lets make a collection of mfc Ron Swoboda cards for his 72nd birthday.
Happy birthday Rocky!

played for the New York Mets (1965-1970), Montreal Expos (1971), and New York Yankees (1971-1973). 
Swoboda at the Sadecki Spot in 1965, looking for that all elusive fly ball.
With the Mets for his first five years in the bigs, he is known for a number of things he accomplished in orange and blue. Some pretty amazin' things too.

>Hit 4 HRs in his first 16 ABs.

>Hit 10 HRs in his first 90 ABs.

 >First rookie player to lead the team in HRs (1965-19)

>In a game against the Mets in 1969, St. Louis Cardinal ace Steve Carlton K'd 17 Mets. The Cards lost because Swoboda cracked two 2 strike, 2 run HRs to snatch the victory from the hall of fame pitchers clutches.

> Used sparingly in the 1969 post season due to platoon situations (he didn't play even one inning or get one at bat in the '69 NLCS) Ron made the most of his playing time in the big show with a game saving catch in game 4 of the World Series, and a huge RBI double during a game 5 rally that secured the Mets the World Championship.

> Played in the last game ever at the old Yankee Stadium in 1973.


The image used in the 1969 World Series card above ^ is not an actual photograph. This was used as a post header for the game four 1969 World Series page. This un-captioned version is not a considered an mfc card. 
That was assembled from two separate photos. One was Neil Leifler's classic photo of Tom Seaver pitching in the ninth inning of that game.  

 That was the only way I could get the scoreboard in there, and I felt that was imperative. 

What a dramatic time to make the impossible catch. Sure, the Birds tied it but we won it behind one of Toms best performances.


 That is most definitely a top 5 World Series catch of all time.
 #1 in my list, which only includes Mets players. Post season wise, overall, Chavez gives him a run for his money.


^Swoboda's mfc 1965 rookie card. 
The birth of the '69 Mets right there.  
Kranepool was grandfathered in.
And we don't win nothing in 1973 without Cleon & Tugger.
What a great fantasy card.
 

 ^Rocky's 1966 mfc card.
I should probably change that to read "mfc 1965 ALL-Star ROOKIE", not Topps, but that was early in the project before I fleshed out the concept (translation: I didn't know what I was doing).



 Yep, Swoboda led the team in homers in 1965 with an embarrassing total of 19! But for us Mets fans in those days, that was a lot. Historically speaking from a teams standpoint, 19 dingers was the most a Mets rookie had ever hit up until then and that record stood until Darryl Strawberry launched 26 in 1983.


 
 







Ron became a fan favorite first donning the uniform number 14. He switched to #4 when Ken Boyer came aboard in 1966.


A frustrated Swoboda looking for the infamous Sadecki Spot.
Ron's 1968 mfc is a horizontal. 
All card collectors know there were no horizontal cards in the '68Topps set. But in mfc fantasyland we go out of our way to do that kinda stuff. We want to see what things might have looked like.


 Once again Swoboda was among the team leaders, and once again our numbers,...well, that's not that bad, a .281 average. And the Mets leader, Tommy Davis, batting over .300!
 *Grabs chest*
 Kranepool's look ^ says: "Do I really belong on a team leader card?" 
Yes Ed, unfortunately, at .269,  you do. 
This stuff is all carved in stone now. 
Stand proud.

Swoboda finds the infamous Sadecki Spot.



I was able to get to my borders and 60's Mets player pictures so we will be able to debut Ron's 1969 mfc card for his birthday. Yay!
That card will be added to the 1969 mfc cards page.
                           
                                ^ A digital 2 dimensional mfc 3-D card :)


This catch you see below was during the regular season, and as amazing as any catch Rocky has ever made. I added the WOR logo and gave it the split screen look.


 Swoboda was most definitely not known for making great catches. His nickname Rocky was due to exactly the opposite, his bumpy fielding. But every once in a while he did stuff like that^. Amazin'.


 ^1970 mfc regular issue Ron Swoboda. Once again taking liberties as the 1970 Topps set did not use game action shots.

 Before Swoboda made the best World Series catch known to man and the universe, he almost made this play ^, which would have robbed Don Buford of a home run leading off in game one of the 1969 World Series. Everything was working against him. The sun was blinding. That section of outfield wall in Memorial Stadium was shaky and when Ron went back against it to snag the long fly, the ball missed his glove by inches. Rocky ended up on his ass and Baltimore had a 1-0 lead. That looked to be an incredibly bad omen at the time. It wasn't.

And then there's "The Impossible Catch". Swoboda's fielding history is what made this catch all the more fantastical.
 

Once again, not an actual photograph for this card.This was put together from two different photographs to try and give us a ground eye view of the amazing grab. Using actual filmed frames as a reference this is totally accurate. He caught the ball that close off the grass, getting the thumb of his glove under it just in the nick of time.

These photographs were used:
The background was built off of this photo.











 I did up game four of the 1969 World Series in 2013 and here's an excerpt:
"All the Mets were making the plays out in the field. People today still talk about Tommie Agee's two catches in game three. Tommie's catches were so crucial, both rally killers, making the third out each time. They were incredible. But this catch....this was the impossible catch."

You can read all about game four of the 1969 World Series right here:



 Swoboda was involved in the game five rally that gave 
the Mets the World Championship. 
He roped an RBI double and scored the game winning run!



I liked the concept of the INSTANT REPLAY/TV card. I thought that was something Topps should have done. They did do the T.V. look with a couple of early World Series card designs. But this wouldn't have been a World Series card. Just an INSTANT REPLAY card. Instant replay was a relatively new thing in 1969. Kids would have loved it, like we did the action shots introduced in 1971 Topps regular issue cards and the silly superkool IN ACTION cards of the '72 set.


Look at the ground Ron's glove had to cover in the next split second.


  Topps painted Ron a cap on his 1971 Topps card.



 mfc squeezes one more card out of Rocky Ron Swoboda like he's a wet rag. ^Ron's  1971 mfc card.

Swoboda spent a few months in Montreal and then moved in across town, playing for the Yankees. As a matter of fact if the Yankees were facing a left handed pitcher in the April 6th opening day game of the 1973 season Ron would have been the first ever Designated Hitter to take an at bat in major league history. But as fate would have it the Red Sox pitched a righty, and Swoboda's DH platoon partner Ron Bloomberg received the distinction.

After retiring after the 1973 Swoboda was a TV Sportscaster covering baseball from NYC to New Orleans.

Happy Birthday Mr. Swoboda, and many many more :)
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Sorry this is a day late but better late than never.
I started this during the game last night and left off when things got interesting. What an excellent win vs. the Cubbies! We really, really, needed that. 
I see a Cespedes record breaker in the works. How far was that triple decker?

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 Batmagadanleadoff please check in if you should read this.

E-mail, CPF, here, wherever. 
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