Thursday, July 12, 2012

50 Years in Cards: 1983

Part 22 of our 50-year Diamondvision Display...
What is it: 1983 Topps #134, Hubie Brooks

What makes it interesting: We're getting a little better. The '83s aren't quite a classic set, but it's a vast improvement, design-wise. The photography had improved somewhat, and Topps also added little headshot insets on each card. The '83 Team set doesn't include anything super memorable, but the '83 Traded set includes a few gems, among them Darryl Strawberry's Rookie card, Keith Hernandez's first Mets card, and Tom Seaver's return.

Hubie Brooks was one of the pieces of the Mets "Youth Movement" in the early '80s. After being chosen as the #3 pick in the draft in 1978, Hubie debuted with the Mets in 1980, and finished 3rd in the Rookie of the Year vote in 1981. His numbers would improve over the next few seasons, and so would his favor with the fans. If Mookie Wilson was one of the most loved Mets from that era, Hubie was certainly up there as well, even if he played a game that was more steady and dependable as opposed to exciting. By 1984, he was entering his prime with the Mets, setting career highs for hits, home runs, RBIs and runs scored, and adding a then-club record 24 game hitting streak into the mix.

But, just as the Mets were turning the corner, Hubie found himself traded to Montreal for Gary Carter. Hubie hated to leave and many fans were sorry to see him go. But, as it is in Baseball, in order to get something, you must give up something, and Hubie was the piece deemed expendable at the time. Hubie would go on to have several fine seasons with the Expos, making the All Star team a pair of times and even winning a Silver Slugger in 1986. Hubie would return to the Mets via trade from the Dodgers prior to the 1991 season, and although he had a reasonably fine season, the Mets were regressing and he was traded away to the Angels. Nonetheless, Hubie continues to be remembered fondly for his presence on a Mets team that was beginning to find its way to contenderhood.

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