Sunday, June 3, 2012

50 Years in Cards: 1973

Part 12 of our 50-year quest for a No Hitter...

What is it: 1973 Topps #223, Bud Harrelson

What makes it interesting: The '73s are another of Topps' seminal efforts. The design is nice and simple, and the silhouetted position players are a nice touch, even with different silhouettes for lefty and righty pitchers. '73 was also the last year that Topps released their cards in separate small series over the course of the Baseball season. By '74, they would go to one single series, occasionally releasing a "Traded" series following the season. By the '80s, the "Traded" set would become commonplace. But it would not be until 1993 that Topps would go back to releasing their base set in more than one series (and even then, it was only in two series, not six or seven as it used to be).

Though he was never much of a hitter, Bud Harrelson came to be a Mets icon in his own right over his playing career in the '60s and '70s. His fielding was unparalleled at the time, and he was a key player on both the 1969 World Series Champions, and the 1973 National League Champions. He won a Gold Glove in 1971, and was twice elected to the NL All Star Team in 1970 and '71. He was also a coach for the 1986 World Series Champions, making him the only man to be in a Mets uniform both times they won the World Series. His stint as Mets Manager in 1990 and '91 was alternately good and rather bad, and may have left a bad taste in the mouth of some fans, but he's still welcomed with mostly open arms. Mostly, though, he's remembered for taking on Pete Rose in the infamous Game 3 brawl in the NLCS in '73.

This card also holds some significance for me personally. The first Baseball card I ever got was a Gary Carter, from the 1987 Topps Set. That's all fine and good. But that was 1987. I had to start somewhere if I was going to work backwards to get every Mets card going back to 1962, and this was where I began. The first card I got, going backwards, was this Bud Harrelson from 1973. Apparently, this created a monster. Before too long, I had got around to completing the Mets team set from '73, and then filled everything else out from there. Now, this collection is two cards short from being complete. It's only taken me 25 years.

Card back:

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