Monday, December 13, 2010
A great injustice on display with the No. 7 Topps card of all time
It’s a remarkable rookie card to be sure.
One of the two players is in the discussion as the second-best Mets pitcher. The other guy was traded for an accordion player.
And check this out. Between the two pitchers on this card, there are 546 wins, 8,270 strikeouts, seven no-hitters – and not a single Cy Young Award. How is that even possible?
One of them joins Tom Seaver with a beautiful plaque in the Hall of Fame -- the one in Queens. The other is in Cooperstown with Tom, but he’s wearing the wrong cap.
In all seriousness, the gulf between Jerry Koosman and Nolan Ryan isn’t that great. Ryan’s career winning percentage is .526, Koosman’s is .515, and pitched for some far worse teams, I might add. Ryan’s ERA is 3.19, Koosman’s is 3.36.
Koosman got just four votes when he was on the Hall ballot in 1991, and Ryan somehow got 98.79 percent of the ballots in his first year, and even swiped what was rightfully Tom Seaver’s slot on the All-Century Team.
Let’s look at the post-season. Koosman is 4-0, including two wins in the World Series, even taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Ryan is 2-2, and his only World Series appearance is 2.3 innings of Agee-aided relief.
One more cool Koosman fact: He was discovered by the son of a Shea Stadium usher who caught Koosman when he pitched in the Army at Fort Bliss Texas, he had written to his dad about Koosman. The Mets offered Koosman a contract after his discharge.
So, yeah, Jerry Koosman’s rookie card is pretty special, the seventh-best Topps card of all time. Nolan Ryan is on it, too.