Friday, April 15, 2011


Speaking objectively, this is not an attractive card.

Mostly it's the hat, which is probably an airbrushed Expos' cap, but looks more like a Mets' lid that's been dropped in a barrel of Judge Doom's Dip.

Yet even though the card is plug ugly, there's something oddly compelling about it.

It's kind of like a shirtless mid '70s Iggy Pop, or Hilary Swank in a bikini.

Perhaps part of the allure is its relative scarcity. Like all 1971 Mets high numbers, this is a short print, so it can be difficult to find a nice copy.

There was an auction for a PSA 8 running concurrently with this one, and that card closed over $100. I was very happy to get this PSA 7 for a little more than $10.

Part of me wants to file it away in a box sandwiched between the Matlack/Martinez/Folkers rookie and Ron Taylor, but part of me cannot look away...

So I ask you, gentle reader, what do you consider to be the ugliest regular-issue Topps Mets card from 1962-1973?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


A quick translation: In Metspeak, “John DeMerit” means “In the beginning…”

Why? Well, because this 1962 card is—sequentially—the first Topps Mets card ever.

(Note that some pedants would argue that the proper Metspeak translation for “In the beginning…” is “Hobie Landrith.” These folks are heretics, and not to be trusted.)

I know that some people have an aversion to this set on aesthetic grounds. Me, I give it points for trying.

Sure, the wood-grain borders would bedevil condition-sensitive collectors for years to come. But speaking as a condition-sensitive collector, I say: screw the condition-sensitive collectors.

Topps was seeking to give the kids something different in ‘62, and these borders were a nice effort. Of course, it would have been a plus if the printer(s) could’ve held on to a consistent shade of brown throughout the run, but whatever…

The picture-peeling-at-the-corner motif was a nice touch as well, lending the cards a cool illusion of dimensionality.

The card backs, I’ll grant you, are somewhat fusty.

Yes, fusty.

I like the toothy smirk on John’s face here, and the red ball-cap band on his forehead.

I like the way that the piping on his Milwaukee Braves jersey makes it look like he’s wearing a stethoscope.

John took the last 16 ABs of his big-league career with the ’62 Mets. On May 16, he hit the last of his 3 career HRs, a solo shot leading off the bottom of the 5th against Dick Ellsworth of the Cubs.

The Mets went on to win that game, improving to 9-18, while the Cubs fell to 9-23. At this point in the season, the Cubs were actually 2½ games behind the Mets in the standings.

And it was good.