Sunday, November 21, 2010
Terry teaches? Collins can look at previous Mets managers on cardboard to see how he might fare
Now that it appears Terry Collins will be the new Mets manager, we can pause the countdown -- again -- to see how our skippers have fared over the years in Topps sets.
It's a mixed bag, to be sure. Some nice shots, some epic shots and a bunch of pretty dull head shots.
Topps hasn't been consistent over the years, demoting managers to a small headshot in the corner of team photos for a stretch in the 1970s and early 1980s and bouncing them out of the set completely in 1982, 1994 through 2001 and again in 2010.
Hopefully they'll be back in 2011. And note to Topps, we;d rather see Collins in the second series instead of airbrushed in the first.
Here's our review, from Jerry to Casey.
Jerry Manuel, 2008-2010
Jerry liked to bunt and ran a loose clubhouse. He did have the team in fist place in late 2008 for a short time in 2010. You can't blame him for the injury glut of 2009. But he sure seemed to be going through the motions near the end. Too bad he only got one Mets manager card, because he deserved better.
Willie Randolph, 2005-2008
Willie got alot of abuse for his bullpen management and perhaps carrying on like he had a Louisville Slugger up his butt most of the time. And 2007 really sucked. But 2006 sure was fun. His heritage card with Maine recalls the earlier card of Casey Stengel and Ed Kranepool. And he got a second 2008 card because of a special team set.
2008 Team Set
2007 Allen & Ginter
Art Howe, 2003-2004
It's not his fault that Fred dropped the "Light up the room," line, and Howe did take other teams to the playoffs. He did get a nice card in the Heritage set.
Bobby Valentine, 1996-2002
Bobby V is easily the most animated, exciting manager the Mets have ever had. That's why Topps chose to show him in lifeless head shots on both of his cards. Bobby deserved better, but at least the company included managers again.
Dallas Green, 1993-1996
The 1993 Traded card has one of the best Mets managers of all times, and Dallas Green, too. Green shares the card with Davey Johnson in his Reds uniform. It's also his only Mets card. Topps didn't have manager cards in 1994 through 2000. The sets were shrinking and the company was pandering to the investment types who would rather have a rookie -- any rookie -- and another star card in their packs instead of a manager. Boo.
Jeff Torborg, 1992-1993
I got to see Torborg in his waning days as Mets manager when I was able to interview Mickey Weston in the visitors clubhouse in Riverfront Stadium in early 1993. Topps didn't do Torborg any favors, hading him a nasty airbrushed card in 1992, and a shared card in 1993.
Bud Harrelson, 1990-1991
One of the most beloved of Mets, Harrelson will be better remembered as shortstop and not a manager. But you have to love his smile on the 1991 card.
Davey Johnson, 1984-1990
The greatest Mets manager? He'd get my vote. But Davey's cards a pretty dull. He gets a lot of head and shoulder shots. But the 1985 issue with Davey leaning on the batting cage is the best portrait in the bunch.
Frank Howard, 1983
Hondo managed 106 games in 1983, but earned a card in both the 1983 Traded set and the 1984 issue. He's got one of the better Mets manger cards-- an action photo.
George Bambeger, 1982-1983
Bambi came out of retirement pretty much as a favor to Frank Cashen and bailed in the middle of his second season. Too bad he only got one card, since Topps booted managers altogether from the 1982 set.
Joe Torre, 1977-1981
Torre was the Mets first -- and probably last -- player-manager. And he got hosed when it comes to cards. Just one card to himself, and it had a pretty neat concept of showing manager in is playing days, too. The rest are the unfortunate tiny headshots on the team card.
Joe Frazier, 1976-1977
Frazier's the only non-interim Mets manager to never get a card of his own, stuck on two team cards. His 86 wins in 1976 is actually one of the team's better victory totals.
Yogi Berra, 1972-1975
Yogi has some of the coolest manager cards, showing the entire coaching staff in 1973 and 1974. But he's got the first of the bad team card headshots.
Gil Hodges, 1968-1972
Gil got some cards worthy of a Mets hero, especially the 1970 classic. Don't like the 1968 photo too much -- looks like he's just sucked on a lemon -- and it doesn't help that Topps used the photo again for the 1969 set.
Wes Westrun, 1965-1967
Westrum didn't have a lot to work with, and it's not easy to follow an icon. But he sure knew how to pose for a card. His were among the coolest Mets manager issues!
Casey Stengel 1962-1965
"The Ole Perfesser" got an airbrushed cap in his first card, and his last two are great, but just about identical. They show Casey sitting on the dugout steps chatting away, and one can only imagine what he was saying.