Wednesday, July 11, 2012

50 Years in Cards: 1982

Part 21 of our 50 years of Magic...
What is it: 1982 Topps #143, Mookie Wilson

What makes it interesting: Topps finally started to turn the corner a little bit in '82. It's not perfect, but it's a start. After several years of bland, boring designs, Topps finally came up with something a little more eye-catching.

Speaking of eye-catching, that was Mookie Wilson in his early, wild years. Stuck playing on a team that constantly seemed to be going nowhere, Mookie gave his all every day and eventually was rewarded by being a central figure of the 1986 World Series Champions. One of the most beloved figures in team history, Mookie was always known for his outstanding speed, which would show up every time a fly ball was hit out to Center Field at Shea, or when he was legging out one of his 62 triples or 281 stolen bases, marks which would last for years as the club record before being surpassed by a man of equal excitement, Jose Reyes. Or maybe it was one of the many times he would shoot around the bases and score from second on an infield ground out. Or was it his charitable, gentlemanly attitude that endeared him to fans for years.

But, perhaps, Mookie is probably best known for a certain ground ball he hit on the night of Saturday, October 25th, 1986. On one of the seminal nights in Mets History, Mookie's at bat in the 10th inning of that game proved he was always equal to the pressure of the moment. Always known as a free swinger, Mookie fouled off several pitches from Bob Stanley, but never missed one. Down by a run with 2 outs, any one misstep could have spelled doom for the Mets and the rally they had going, but Mookie wouldn't give in. Finally, Stanley threw a pitch that Mookie couldn't swing at—because he had to dive out of the way of it—and the deficit was now a tie. Three pitches later, came that fateful ground ball, the image that is forever burned into our minds, and the call that echoes through our ears...

(I'm of the belief that even if Buckner fielded the ball cleanly, there was no way he was ever beating Mookie to 1st base)

Card back:

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