Thursday, October 17, 2013

Have You Met...? (Brought to you by the Letter C)

At the latest card show I went to, I had very little time to work with.  It was pretty much a hit-and-run affair a couple Fridays ago when I shot over to my local mall after work to scope out the various tables for about an hour. It was the same weekend when the mid-Atlantic was in the throes of a nor'easter, so many of the normal vendors had either stayed away or were delaying their arrival for perhaps the following day.

Regardless, I was able to find a vendor that I hadn't come across before.  He had a nice array of vintage baseball and football at reasonable prices.  The guy was actually half-way decent (something that, sadly, surprises me about most sports card vendors) and proved pretty chatty once I told him I was working on a one-of-every-Met project.

After fishing through the baseball boxes four about 10 minutes, I found three cards that latched onto my fancy.  I was able to secure the trio for a combined 10 bucks, which I felt was pretty fair, considering how each was individually marked.

Only after I got home and began to truly admire my newest additions to the All-Time Mets Project did I notice that each fella's last name began with a 'C'.  Certainly unintentional, but pretty amusing nonetheless.  [Ed. Note: It's actually not that amusing, but when you have a mortgage, a baby on the way, and you fall asleep at 8:30 each night, such things are thrilling to a degree.]

So, here they are, the newest C's for the ATMP (got that?)...

1963 Topps, #197

I was particularly tickled to find this card, and in pretty tip-top shape to boot.  Not that Roger Craig was a star for the Polo Grounds-era Mets or anything like that.  Far from it.  As a matter of fact, Craig, who joined the Mets for their seminal 1962 season after seven seasons with the Dodgers, garnered the dubious distinction of a 20-loss season not once, but TWICE as a Met.  He still holds the team mark with 24 losses, which he accepted in '62. He followed that up with a 5-22 record in '63 before moving on to St. Louis the following year.  Add it all up and Craig was a combined 15-46 with a somewhat-respectable 4.14 ERA in his two years for the Amazins.  And that, friends, is why they were the Amazin' Mets.

1964 Topps, #251

The '63 Topps Craig was a great find, but even more exciting was this '64 Choo Choo Coleman piece.  I have been combing the vintage bins for many months hoping to find a card of Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman, but had found nothing but dead-ends til now.  For those that don't know, Coleman was a man of few words.  One of my favorite stories involved an interview that Ralph Kiner did with Choo Choo during the '62 season.  "What's your wife's name and what's she like?" asked the affable Kiner.  In response, the stoic Coleman muttered back, "Her name's Mrs. Coleman and she likes me."

1968, #563

Finally, this guy probably has one of the best nicknames in Mets annals.  Yes, I know Choo Choo is tough to top, but Ed Charles might have him beat.  "The Glider" came over to the Mets from Kansas City via trade in May of '67.  He led the Mets with 15 homers in 1968 and then split time at third base for the Miracle Mets in '69. Charles actually scored the game-winning run in New York's Game 2 victory over the Orioles in the 1969 Series. A few days later he'd play his final big league game as the Mets knocked off the O's in Game 5 to clinch the Series.  Not a bad way to go out.

A pretty colorful trio of Mets to say the least.  Just the way I like 'em!


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