Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Topps could see 1969 coming from a mile away.

They knew by the mid '60s that the Mets' farm system was just bursting at the seams with talent-- so much talent that the team merited a four-player rookie card in the 1965 high-number series, a distinction that was reserved for only several other squads that year.

And sure enough, the Mets improved almost incrementally from 1965 until the championship year.

The exploits of Swoboda and McGraw are well known, but what of the other two players pictured here?

Well, Dan Napoleon logged 130 ABs between 1965 and 1966, with an anemic .162 average. As further evidence of his essential iron deficiency, he racked up a mere 4 extra base hits in his career, none of which left the yard.

This from a guy who hit 36 HRs in A ball back in 1964...

Jim Bethke holds a spot as one of the youngest players in Mets' history-- older than Kranepool and younger than Gooden, if my recall of team history is sound.

He posted thoroughly decent numbers as an 18-year-old relief pitcher in 1965, appearing in 25 games and going 2-0 with a 4.28 ERA. This turned out to be the extent of Bethke's big-league service-- he bounced around the minors before calling it quits in 1971.

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