The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the Mets are 2-0 in Philadelphia so far this weekend. David Wright even hit a home run on the first pitch he saw after returning to the lineup with a broken finger. I really couldn’t ask for more from the baseball field – and I’m thankful for the distraction from other personal concerns.
Rather than boring you with those, let me show you the autographs that arrived in the mail recently.
Jim Bethke pitched in 25 games for the 1965 New York Mets as an 18-year-old. (Signing bonus rules in place at the time forced the team to carry him on the 25-man roster for the full season). He never appeared in another major league game, though he continued to pitch in the minors until 1971.
Bethke appears on a four-player rookie card with Tug McGraw and Ron Swoboda in the 1965 Topps set that books for $25, and he has individual cards in a 1981 set produced by TCMA dedicated to the 1960s and the 1991 Wiz Mets set. Since I don’t have any of those, I mailed him a Signature Card and asked him to sign it.
Zach Britton is a 24-year-old left-handed pitcher who won 11 games for the Baltimore Orioles during his rookie season. He’s currently rehabbing a shoulder injury and it is hoped that he’ll be able to rejoin Baltimore’s rotation sometime next month.
Britton signed a 2010 Topps Pro Debut card I mailed to him at the Orioles’ spring training camp last month.
And these are a pair of D.J. Dozier cards I got through a private signing conducted by a SportsCollectors.Net member. Everybody remembers Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders as two-sport stars in the 1990s, but Dozier tried it too.
Dozier’s biggest football stardom came in college, when he scored the winning touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl to give Penn State the National Championship. He played for five seasons in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions… and he decided to give baseball a try by signing with the Mets as an amateur free agent in 1990. He spent four years in the minor leagues, but Dozier’s only time in the majors was 25 games with an awful 1992 New York Mets team.