Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cardboard appreciation: 1969 Topps Cleon Jones

(Have you ever wanted to show your gratitude so much that the words "Thank you" seemed insufficient? So what did you do? You added, "I really APPRECIATE it," didn't you? The word 'appreciate' just seems to provide that extra something. It really lets that person know that you're grateful for what they just did. That's what I want to do here. I am grateful that these cards were produced. They are my all-time favorites. This is the fifth in a series):

Do you think Cleon Jones knew something that nobody else did when he posed for this photo? It sure looks like he did. The photograph likely was taken during spring training of 1969. Six months later, the Mets were miracle makers, the shocking Champions of the World.

Jones looks positively youthful and brimming with confidence, which seems odd considering the Mets' history at the point of this photograph. But the reason I like this card so much is Jones' sunny disposition on one of the cleanest card designs ever produced by Topps (if only there weren't so many airbrushed caps in this set).

Jones actually enjoyed a breakout 1968 season, batting .360 in the second half of the year to win the starting left field job. Then in 1969 he hit .340 to finish third in the league. His shining moment in the World Series came in Game 5 when he argued that he was hit on the foot with a pitch. The umpire disagreed, but manager Gil Hodges spotted shoe polish on the ball and Jones was awarded first base.

Of course, Mets fans also remember that Jones was the player who recorded the final out in Game 5 to clinch the World Series for New York.

Jones was fairly productive after 1969, but his stats steadily declined each season. I noticed on his baseball cards that he seemed to look grumpier and grumpier each year. I have no idea what Jones was like personality-wise, but his cards didn't have the same happy-go-lucky look as his '69 card did.

So here's to the happier Jones. 1969 Topps Cleon Jones, I appreciate you.

(A side note: This is the 100th post of this blog. It's a paltry number compared to a number of card blogs -- White Sox Cards, for example, just completed the first year of his blog and others have been around for even longer. But to me, 100 is a big deal.
It's not that I didn't think I could get to 100. It's the fact that 100 posts means I'm satisfied with my work here. And I'm receiving enough feedback from readers to keep on going. I never expected such input or the crazy number of cards I have received in less than two months. A sincere thank you to everyone. I really APPRECIATE it).


  1. Hey bud,
    you keep writing and I'll keep reading.
    I appreciate your viewpoint and efforts...

    Now. Fix Andruw. You broke him.

  2. Beautiful, hopeful, promise-soon-to-be-fulfilled Cleon card.

  3. PS One fun fact we know is that 1969 was the last year Topps issued cards in five-card nickel packs.

  4. Funny how the posts add up, isn't it!? Keep up the good work!!