this post covers the 1969 new york mets and cards number 57 to 60 in the set. here are the fronts:
what team is this?: 1969 new york mets
why this team?: the amazin' mets, led by gil hodges, won the world series in their 8th year of existence, defeating the heavily favored baltimore orioles.
which players are featured?: ed kranepool, jerry koosman (who gets a 'memorable moments' card thanks to the fact that he pitched the game 5 clincher in the fall classic), nolan ryan, tom seaver
why these players?: ed kranepool is mr. met (not the one with the big baseball head), jerry koosman and tom seaver were the aces of the staff, and nolan ryan won his only world series title during his short time in new york. let's take a closer look.
ed kranepool was just 17 when he debuted for the mets in 1962. he held down the first base spot for at least part of 18 seasons for the mets, and spent 112 games there in their championship season of 1969. he hit only 11 homers and his average was just .238, but he could play the field well. when the postseason rolled around, kranepool hit .250 in the 3 games against the braves and managed just one game played in the world series. he went 1 for 4, but his lone hit was a home run.
jerry koosman, in just his second full season, won 17 games for the mets in 32 starts. he struck out 15 padres in a 10-innings stint in may, and then struck out 13 cubbies in a big 3-2 win against their nl east rivals. koosman also made the all-star team and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in the contest, including a bit of foreshadowing that came when he struck out the orioles' brooks robinson. in the postseason, koosman struggled in his only start of the nlcs against the braves, but then won games 2 and 5 of the world series, coming just one out shy of hurling two complete games.
nolan ryan split his 1969 season between the bullpen (15 appearances, 1 save) and the rotation (10 starts, 2 complete games). he spent the postseason in the bullpen, but was only called upon twice. in game 3 of the playoffs, he threw 7 innings in relief to get the win and then in game 3 of the world series, he closed out the mets' 5-0 victory with 2.1 innings to earn the save. this outing was memorialized in the 1970 topps set with the 'ryan saves the day' card.
tom seaver won the first of his 3 cy young awards in 1969 (he finished second in the mvp voting, too) as he was 25-7 with a 2.21 era. he also threw 18 complete games (8 of which came in his final 8 starts of the season) and 5 shutouts (3 of which came in the 8-start stretch). on july 9, tom terrific was perfect for 8.1 innings against the cubs before allowing a single to jim qualls. he retired the next two batters for a one-hit shutout, but i don't believe he ever came as close to perfection again. seaver was not dominating in his lone nlcs start, although he earned the win in game 1. he took the loss in his next start - game 1 of the world series - but then bounced back with a 10-inning complete game victory in game 4 to give the mets a 3-1 series lead.
the stadium on the back is...?: shea stadium which is where the mets were playing in 1969. however, the photo is not from 1969 as evidenced by the diet coke sign.
did upper deck get it right?: i have no problems with the players chosen, although it would have been nice to see jerry grote, and maybe cleon jones or ron swoboda would have made sense, too. the photos, however, are all over the place. kranepool's photo obviously comes from much later in his mets tenure - 1978 or 1979 based on the collar. koosman and ryan seem appropriate, especially given that nolan ryan was only around through 1971. seaver, however, is shown during his second go-around with the mets which was in 1983. and, as i mentioned earlier, the stadium is correct, but it's not an era-appropriate photo on the backs of the cards.
is this team timeless?: no doubt about it. they were 'amazin!'