Saturday, May 19, 2012

50 Years in Cards: 1970

Part 9 of our 50-year Sail down the Hudson...

What is it: 1970 Topps #1, New York Mets Team Card

What makes it interesting: "Greatness comes from having people come together for a common cause."
-Ronnie Lott

For a number of years, Card #1 of the Topps set was the team card of the prior years' World Series Champions. And, of course, the 1969 World Series Champions were our own New York Mets.

It was a Miracle. A Baseball Miracle, but a Miracle nonetheless. The 73 games the Mets won in 1968 were the best in team history, not enough to merit better than a 9th place finish. In 1969, they bettered that by 27 games, and followed that up by sweeping the Braves in the first ever NLCS and then beating the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.

The '69 Mets were the ultimate upstarts, a group of young players with emerging, but to that point no breakaway stars. But they had heart, insatiable heart and a Manager who never let them lie back at any point. Under Hodges' leadership and the stellar pitching of Seaver, Koosman and others, the Mets hung around the fringes of the pennant race. The acquisition of Donn Clendenon was, perhaps, the missing piece to the puzzle. Following that deal, the Mets took off and locked themselves in a fierce battle for 1st place with the Cubs. The Mets and Cubs would lock in several battles throughout the Summer that continue to live on in Met Lore, most notably a game on July 9th, Tom Seaver's "Imperfect" Game, that established him as a Star and established the Mets as for real. One night after sweeping another pair of games from the Cubs in early September, the Mets forged into 1st place for the first time in team history. From there, they never looked back.

From that point forward, every time a team came from out of nowhere, after years of losing and obscurity and rose to the top of their game, they would forever be compared to the '69 Mets. They weren't a superteam that was built to win, but they were built to play together. Few teams have ever won a Championship built like the '69 Mets. And few Champions have ever had the magnitude and legacy of the '69 Mets.

The '70 Topps Mets Team set includes individual cards of every Postseason game from '69. But the Mets won their Championship as a team, and naturally, the choice for the '70 team set has to be the Team itself.

Card back:

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