The Amazin’s made more news off the field than on it in 1980. Gone was the ownership team of Mrs. Payson’s heirs and in came the aggressive team of Wilpon and Doubleday. Since the death Mrs. Payson, the matriarch of the Mets, the team went into sharp decline. Her daughter, Linda Deroulet had management gut the team and slash the payroll. From the moment Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman were shown the door in 1977 the franchise was in rapid free fall. Besides painting the fences blue (from green) new ownership committed to building the farm system up so they can contend in 4-5 years. On the field the fans sore the same old crap. The running joke in the NY tabloids was the day to day battle between the Mets vs Maris. Who would hit more home runs when the year was over ? The 1980 Mets or 1961 Roger Maris. Pathetically the power starved Mets managed to tie Maris in a display of power ineptitude not seen since the dead ball era. New York’s lone bright spot was home grown / Brooklyn born matinee idol Lee Mazzilli, who hit .276 and had 16 homers. Other than Maz there wasn’t much else to see in Flushing. The offense was so woeful Pat Zachry finished 6-10 even though he had a 3.01 ERA. Mark Bomback was the only Met starter (10-8, 4.09) to win double digits. The Mets only saving grace was the fact that the Cubs kept them out of the cellar.
26 brand new cards were made to finish off the team set.
I had a ball creating this set. No one has more fun scanning yearbooks than I do. I was able to dig up my 1980 Met yearbook and use it for half of these cards. It brought back so great memories of getting tickets for a $1.50 from Dairylea milk cartoons. In retrospect most of the guys on this team would have been better served if they were on the milk cartons themselves. The Mario Ramirez (I swear I didn’t even remember him) card was taken from a minor league set. I airbrushed the Met logo onto the cap. The Tidewater (AAA) jersey that he was wearing had a Met patch on the sleeve already. My favorite card here is the one of a very young Wally Backman, who would eventually turn into one of the key tablesetters for the 1986 championship team. Mookie’s card is classic. He gazes off into the future and he hopes for good thing to come (don’t worry they will…) Joe Torre’s card is interesting. It looks like he’s trying to track his agent down to get him out of this mess. People forget his Met managerial days when he really was “Clueless Joe”. Then again what manager could win with this collection of stiffs and kids ? He did those hokey “Bonds Suits” commercials where he sported a 3 piece suit and a neat comb over.