What is it: 1971 Topps #513, Nolan Ryan
What makes it interesting: The '71s are awesome. It's in my opinion the quintessential 70s set, although maybe the '75s might give them a run for their money. Also a rare year in which Topps went with a black border for their set.
Ryan's '71 card is by far and away the most interesting of his 4 Mets cards. It's the only one that doesn't show Ryan in some sort of odd pitchers pose, opting instead for a great action shot, replete with a classic RC Cola ad on the Shea Stadium scoreboard. Ryan's cards, particularly his early ones, don't come cheap. Each of his Mets cards is easily the priciest in each of the years he was with the Mets.
This is Nolan Ryan's final Mets card, back when he was a young righty who threw really hard with little control. The Mets would deal him to the Angels after the '71 season for Jim Fregosi, in a deal that yielded disastrous results on the Mets side. Ryan didn't distinguish himself a great deal over his Mets tenure; though he showed promise, he eventually became expendable, and the Fregosi deal was, supposedly, going to fill a need for the Mets. So, off Ryan went, where he would go on to pitch another 22 seasons, throwing 7 No-Hitters, and retiring as Baseball's all-time leader in Strikeouts and Walks. But, for all his accomplishments, Ryan only won one World Series Championship. That was as a member of the '69 Mets.