Tuesday, April 11, 2017

no. 648 - mets rookie stars


Who is the man: Of the three players here, Jon Matlack was the only one who had not reached the majors by 1971. Both Rich Folkers and Ted Martinez played briefly with the Mets in 1970, spending the rest of the season in Triple A Tidewater. Matlack pitched the entire 1970 season at Tidewater.

Can ya dig it: Three Mets caps. I like it. No airbrushing. No hatless dudes. It's a rarity with the rookies stars cards in this set.

Right on: This is the fourth three-player team rookie card, which started relatively late in the set (No. 576). I'm interested to see which teams get one of these and which don't. So far the Cubs, Cardinals, Indians and Mets have one.

You these rookies are bad mothers: Nope. Talk to me in 1981 when Matlack has been in the league for a decade.

Shut your mouth: Matlack gave up Roberto Clemente's 3,000th hit and he wasn't too happy about it. He had no idea Clemente was nearing the record and he was more upset that he gave up the double. As they stopped the game to present Clemente the ball, Matlack fumed on the mound. "I was just an oblivious rookie," he admitted later.

No one understands him but his woman: Martinez, a native of the Dominican Republic, had difficulty overcoming the language barrier according to several reports. In Tug McGraw's book "Screwball," he recounted a time during Martinez's rookie year when McGraw motioned to Martinez, playing shortstop, that he was going to attempt to pick off the runner at second. Confused, Martinez cried out "no comprendo!" causing manager Gil Hodges to storm out of the dugout and yell at McGraw.


(A word about the back): Folkers' stats list just five games in the minors in 1970, and he appeared in just 16 games for the Mets. Folkers missed all of the 1969 because he was serving in the military. I'm wondering if he missed part of 1970 for the same reason.

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