Meet the Mets – 25 (Now 51) Years Later

On Election Day, I was looking for ways to occupy my mind. Luckily, I got a message from Yastrzemski Sports that the Spectrum Mets set I’d been looking for was in! I probably would’ve killed some time on Tuesday with cards anyway, but this was too perfect.

The anniversary set celebrating the 1969 Mets World Champs was issued in 1994 (though the three promos in the box are dated 1993) to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the team of my youth. Here’s how the Standard Catalog describes it:

The 1969 Miracle Mets card set, produced by Spectrum Holdings Group of Birmingham, Mich., was part of what the company called “an integrated memorabilia program, with the 1969 Mets card set as the centerpiece.” The 70-card set measures the standard 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″, with UV coating on both sides and gold foil on fronts. It was sold complete at $24.95, and limited to 25,000 sets. A reported 1,000 numbered sets were signed by all 25 living players, including Hall of Famer Tom Seaver and future Cooperstown resident Nolan Ryan.

I don’t know who Spectrum Holdings was, or what an “integrated memorabilia program’ means, but this set is nice. The box is sweet and simple, numbered to 25,000, a far cry from the 1 of 1s we see today. (I’ve got #19,980!).

The cards are reminiscent of 1956, though vertical, posed pictures in the foreground, action photos in the background (unlike 1956, the photos aren’t painted over). Glossy and crisp, quite beautiful.

Once the players are covered, there’s a wonderful series of season highlights, and post-season showcases, including the Mets win over the Braves. Good to see. Those games are often lost in the shuffle except to die-hard Mets fans.

There does seem to be some dispute over the number of signed sets. The Catalog says 1,000, but the promotional information says 750. I’d go with the latter. Thanks to the original owner saving peripheral material and folding it under the card tray, we’ve got some better factual material.

I wouldn’t have paid $244.95 back then for a signed set, and I wouldn’t now. I did search for them on eBay and COMC, because I’d rather have an autographed Bobby Pfeil and/or Jack DiLauro card than a Seaver or Ryan. They’re pricey – $15-75 – though it doesn’t look like they actually sell for those prices. Strangely, it looks impossible to tell whether the signed cards offered are from the 750 sets issued, or regular cards signed later on. I don’t see any markings denoting “limited to 750” or something like that.

Regardless of where you sit politically, Election Night (and morning and, I’m guessing, the coming days) was stressful. It was soothing to look through the Spectrum Mets sets. Cards have kept me sane these last four years. Looks like I’ll need them to work hard for the next four!

Author: Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

9 thoughts on “Meet the Mets – 25 (Now 51) Years Later”

  1. I had seen your Twitter post yesterday after you picked this up. I went and found a copy as well. I like sets that commemorate a particular yr in a franchises history. Thanks for the heads up

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will not be tempted to buy this because of your post … mainly because I already have one. It’s still in the sealed box (I must have picked it up at a show doing a random buy) so I’m now curious as to how one knows whether it is the autographed boxed version or the regular version (I certainly didn’t pay a price that would lead me to believe there were 25 autographs in the box). I do have a Duffy Dyer autographed version that I had assumed someone had gotten on their own, though perhaps that is not the case.

    I’ve started bindering and paging some 1990s sets as part of a larger project (one day I will post about that). There are some really nice sets from that era – clean designs, nice photos, large number of players, and, importantly, not super expensive. I was still collecting in the early 90s, but by 1993 interest had waned some (driver’s license and car obtained), so I’m not really familiar with the mid-late 90s products. Just paged 1994 Fleer – it has pretty clean photos and a not very busy design, though the player name could be a little easier to read. The Pro-Visions insert set is cool because it’s (1) 9 cards and (2) kind of like the triumvirate cards from some Stadium Club sets in that they fit together (the backgrounds of the three card blocks 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9 blend together nicely, though the Ozzie Smith/Juan Gonzalez transition could be a little better).

    I like trying to track down the companies that made a handful of products in the 80s and 90s: https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_mi/800362240. That’s about all I can find on it – the name “Spectrum” is being used by a few other larger entities today that make it difficult to search for this company.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t been able to find anything that looks like the official autographed set. Maybe someone out there has one and could take some pics for us.

      I also tried looking up Spectrum but hit the same roadblocks you seem to have hit.

      Like

  3. Yes, this is a really beautiful set. I obtained #3746 way back when, but no autographs. Too bad this mysterious Spectrum company didn’t do more World Series champion sets as the production values, photography, and historical moments captured in the set are top notch. A treasure even for non-Mets fans.

    Liked by 1 person

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