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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Not All Trades for American League Lefty Star Pitchers Created Equal

Don’t know how painfully obvious the computerized retrofitting of 2007 Johan Santana into a Mets uniform will appear when Topps issues him as a 2008 Met (an identity beautiful enough on its own to require no further embellishment), but it can’t be as flat out embarrassing as the TRADED card created in 1976 to trumpet the news that Mickey Lolich was reluctantly schlepping his pots and pans to Flushing. I was 12 when the Mets acquired Lolich, 13 when I acquired this card, but I would have had to have been born yesterday to have believed our rusty (if not Rusty) southpaw hurler had just suited up in Amazin’ attire. If he had, why did his pinstripes stop short of his front? Why was his NY surreal enough to have been dreamed by Dali? And how come, in the days when Interleague play was the stuff of Grapefruit League exhibitions, he was standing in a ballpark that I’m pretty sure stood in Detroit?

Once airbrushing came into vogue, the TRADED conceit for cards always struck me as a big, fat fraud (insert here your own punchline about Lolich’s single-season Met career). The Fregosi trade may have been horrendous, but at least the Fregosi TRADED card from 1972 had the decency to capture him in Spring Training, in a Met uniform, in the innocent moment or two before you had proof that exchanging Nolan Ryan and three (three!) other players for him wasn’t such a hot idea. By the time LOLICH CAME TO METS IN 4-MAN SWAP, however, Topps was no longer doling out its cards by the series, thus there was no opportunity to snap him in a Mets uni. That meant you got an artist’s rendering in which he looked less like Mickey the Met than Tony the Tiger — cartoonish if not GGGRRREEEAAATTT!!!

1 comment to Not All Trades for American League Lefty Star Pitchers Created Equal

  • Anonymous

    Doubt Lolich was upset about the way he appeared on his 1976 Topps card. The artist's rendering made him look much slimmer with no double chin. The rest of us should be so lucky!