Monday, November 22, 2010

Heads Up!

Today's card shows a pop fly:

Card #525 -- Jim Fregosi, New York Mets

Jim Fregosi has popped a high foul here, and everybody is watching it: Fregosi, Johnny Bench, the umpire, the Mets in the dugout and the fans in Riverfront Stadium. In fact, about the only person not looking up is the guy in the silhouette.

1972 was supposed to be a good year for Jim Fregosi and the Mets. They thought enough of him to trade away their young fireballer Nolan Ryan to the Angels to get him. However, stubborn injuries limited his playing time and he would be playing in Texas before the 1973 season was over. Ryan, in the meantime, was setting an all-time strikeout record that year. Today, that Ryan/Fregosi trade is looked at as one of the Mets' biggest mistakes. (That said, nobody seems to remember that Ryan had a losing record in '71 or that he was increasingly unhappy in New York.)

Fregosi had been a star player in California during the 1960s. So, after playing out his career in Texas and Pittsburgh, he would become the manager of the Angels in 1978. Ironically, he would manage the same person the Mets traded to get him -- Ryan -- for his first two years. In 1979, he guided the Angels to the ALCS but lost to the Orioles. He would later manage the White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays, winning the '93 pennant in Philadelphia.


  1. My guess the picture is not from Riverfront stadium but taken during spring training. I don't think Riverfront had cattle wire fencing back stop or support poles in the dugout.

    As far Fregosi goes, I don't what the Mets were thinking, he already was a 10 yr vet and coming his worst year to date in 71. Ironically his 1971 stats were virtually identical to his 1972 season with the Mets.

  2. I need to get that card. For Bench, not Fregosi.

    Hey, I don't have your email address, and can't find it to email you about making the Topps MCG trade for my tradeathon! Can you email me!?

  3. Note the guy in the stands smoking a cigarette!

  4. This was taken during Spring Training 1972 at Payne Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. The catcher's uniform is the giveaway. It has red pinstripes and a patch on the left shoulder. The only team that had such a uniform in 1972 were the White Sox. Topps had a number of photos taken at this park, including the infamous Luis Alvarado one with Jorge Orta.