Fruits of the Greatest Month: Meet the Mets (Part 1)
July 21st, 2011 by slangon

I don’t think it should surprise anyone that the lions share of the cards that I got in my latest spree are Mets cards. That actually has to do with why I was considering this my greatest month as a collector, because I was able to do so much damage to my want lists. As anyone who collects any kind of vintage cards, whether it be a set collector, a team collector or a player collector, knows, you might start off snatching up cards at a break neck pace, slashing down your want lists like crazy. Inevitably though, you reach a bog-down point where it seems that every card that you still need is either some superstar Hall of Famer or is an impossible to find high number or some kind of crazy short print. Now the collecting becomes serious. No more grabbing up piles of commons that you need for a quarter a pop, or being able to trade all your jacked up vintage Red Sox commons for some jacked up vintage Mets commons. Now you need to pay.

And pay I did, but at least I was able to cross off a bunch of stuff. Starting things off with a bunch of cards from one of my favorite sets, the 1963 Topps offering.

1963 Topps #334 Wynn Hawkins

That might be Wynn Hawkins or it might be some dude that showed up to a Yankees game in a gray t-shirt. I don’t know for sure, but I kind of like his hat in the little photo with the gigantor Mets logo.

1963 Topps #342 Gene Woodling

Oddly enough, this is another card that had frustrated me for a long time. You wouldn’t think so since it’s not a particularly high number, and although Gene was a pretty good player (he put up a .274/.353/.405 line on a 1962 Mets team that had a .240/.318/.361 line as a squad), he wasn’t necessarily a star. Apparently though, the 4th Series, of which this card is a member is pretty scarce, so I could never find this card for cheap. I ended up ponying up a buck and a half for this copy which, even with it’s slight centering issue and that one little corner, is a slight better than a lot of my other vintage cards.

1963 Topps #393 Ken MacKenzie

This card is part of the 5th Series. Apparently sometime in the 90’s, a whole load of unopened vendor boxes of this series showed up and made their way into the market. You could’ve fooled me, because it took me until now to track down old Ken here.

1963 Topps #419 Tracy Stallard

I’m guessing the little black and white photo was taken before he found out he was traded to the Mets and the large color photo was taken after he found that out. He was part of the deal that brought Pumpsie Green to New York. Again, another card that I was never able to find in crappy condition with a low price tag, so I settled for this pretty nice one.

1963 Topps #511 Charlie Neal

Now we’re officially into the high numbers. I guess because of that I don’t necessarily mind shelling out for these cards. At least there’s an explaination for it.

1963 Topps #566 Cliff Cook

The last of the 1963 Mets cards that I got. This one is from the 7th and final series. In all, including the Ed Kranepool rookie and the Pumpsie Green, I ended up with 8 ’63 Mets cards. Even with that big blow, I’m still 9 short of the goal, so maybe I shouldn’t be celebrating too much.

Although I put a big ole dent in the 1963 Mets team set, I also ended up putting little dents in a bunch of other Mets team sets, all of which were of the semi-high or high numbered variety.

1966 Topps #464 Larry Bearnarth

Larry here was part of the semi-high 6th Series. This puts me down to 6 on this set, all of which are semi-high or high.

1967 Topps #433 Al Luplow

A semi-high ’67. Is being semi-high like being just a little drunk? This makes 11 more to go on the 1967 set. Yikes. I thought I was much closer than that. Oh, and 9 of those are high numbers. Oh, and one of those high numbers is Bill Denehy’s rookie card. Oh, and the other rookie on that card is Tom Seaver. I’m never going to finish this set.

1968 Topps #594 Phil Linz

Here’s a slightly off-center Phil Linz from the 1968 Topps set. I guess he’s officially a high numbered card, but somehow I get the impression that high numbers from the ’68 set aren’t as hard to track down as those from some other sets. Either that or I’m crazy lucky. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of the high numbers from this set pretty easily without much trouble. I’m down to only 4 cards from this one. 3 of them are high numbers. The one that isn’t is Nolan Ryan’s rookie. Another set that I’ll probably never finish.

1973 Topps #586 Bill Sudakis

With the addition of Bill here, my 1973 Mets set is down to 2 slim pieces of cardboard. They’re both in the upper series, but like the ’68 set, I get the impression that the higher numbered cards, although not as common as the lower numbers, aren’t as hard to track down as the big numbers from some other years. At least I hope so.

Even though all of these cards are mostly non-star players and never even got considered for Top 5 status, they probably have more to do with why I’ve been considering June the Best Month Ever as far as collecting. There’s something really satisfying about checking off so many semi-high and high numbered cards off of so many different checklists at one time.

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