Shoebox Memories – Two Cooperstown Bound Mets, One Very Cool Card

1989 padres team leaders card

Mets catcher Gary “Kid” Carter was a fan favorite when he played with the Mets from 1985 to 1989.  An 11-time All-Star, Gary Carter was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003 on the basis of his 324 home runs and 1,225 RBIs.

The card above, card number 231 from the 1989 Topps set, shows Gary Carter and future Met (in 1988 a rookie) Roberto Alomar in a play at the plate.  Questions arise such as was Alomar safe or out, and who won the game?

Let’s see if we can put our Sherlock Holmes hat on and determine when and where the action shown was taken, and once that is established, what happened on the play shown on the card:

  1. Note that the picture shows the Mets road uniform from 1988, and the level dugout in the background confirms that this was definitely not taken at Shea Stadium.
  2. Referencing the Mets schedule from 1988 on baseballreference.com reflects that the Mets played six road games against the Padres in 1988, on May 16 – 19, as well as on August 19 and August 21.
  3. The picture shown is from a day game, so the three-night games from May 16 – 18 can be eliminated.
  4. A check of the box score from May 19, a day game, shows that Roberto Alomar did not play in that game.
  5. The August 19 game was a night game leaving, by process of elimination, the game played in San Diego on August 21.
  6. A quick review of the August 21 box score shows that the Padres beat the Mets that day 1 – 0 and Roberto Alomar scored the only run of the game in the fourth inning.
  7. However, a careful review of the play by play reflects that the play is not from the fourth inning, as there was no throw home when Alomar scored his run.  In the bottom of the first inning however, after Alomar stole second, Tony Gwynn hit a single to left and Alomar was thrown out at the plate on a relay from Kevin McReynolds to Howard Johnson to Carter.

Conclusion: The 1989 Padres Team Leaders card, which shows two future Hall of Famers, reflects a play in which the Padres runner was thrown out on a play at the plate.

Case closed.

About Carl Aridas 31 Articles
Mets fan since the Wayne Garrett/Craig Swan/Joe Torre days, Carl works as a bank consultant during the day, but at night enjoys writing baseball articles for Fangraphs, Hardball Times, and Metsmerized Online. He joined as a MMO Rookie of the Year hopeful in 2016 and has been a Mets fan for more than 40+ years.