Mets Card of the Week: 1995 Bret Saberhagen

1995 SUMMIT BRET SABERHAGEN

R.A. Dickey is on track to have one of the seminal pitching seasons in Mets’ history, one to rank right up there with ’69 Seaver, ’85 Gooden, and ’88 Cone.

A lesser man might be tempted by Dickey’s initials to call his season-in-progress “rad”– but you’ll get none of that from this dude…

But Dickey’s stellar performance has led me back to another seminal season that I’d tried to erase from my memory, authored by a player for whom I’d never developed a particular affection.

The year is 1994, and a devastating strike is about to wipe out the season/post-season. It is another down year for the Mets, who will finish 18.5 games behind the first-place Expos, with a record of 55-58.

That 55th win comes on August 10, in what would turn out to be the penultimate game of the season. Bret Saberhagen goes 7.1 innings and allows just one earned run, elevating his record to 14-4, and lowering his ERA to 2.74.

These are some remarkable numbers to put up for such a mediocre squad, but there is one specific stat from Saberhagen’s 1994 campaign that is singularly amazing.

Bret walked only 13 batters that year, while striking out 143, resulting in a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.00. This ratio smashed the then-record of 7.11 notched by Fergie Jenkins in 1971, and is still the all-time single-season best in the category.

And with all that, I could just never warm to Saberhagen…

Maybe it was the bleach-related shenanigans of the year before, maybe it was his general immaturity on a team that was starved for leadership, but even his considerable exploits on the mound in 1994 could not win me over.

He’s pictured here on a 1995 Score Summit card, which was Score’s premiere entry into the premium-card market. The set is printed on thick, glossy stock, and I’ve always appreciated the clean design and sharp photography.

This Saberhagen is pulled from the Nth Degree parallel set, which was inserted at a rate of one card per every four packs, and has more damn shiny on it than Haysi Fantayzee…

4 comments for “Mets Card of the Week: 1995 Bret Saberhagen

  1. June 20, 2012 at 11:45 am

    And after that great 1994 season, I promptly traded 26 year old Mo Vaughn to get Saberhagen in my dynasty league. Vaughn went on to win the MVP in 1995 and put up six good to great years while Saberhagen never came close to repeating his ’94 season…

  2. June 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Saberhagen lived in the same town as me and owned an arcade.
    Sadly, I was a little too young to know many players back then.

  3. Doug Parker
    June 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Bret Saberhagen’s Hit & Fun in West Babylon. I believe I lived in West Islip when it opened, and went to use the batting cages once or twice…

    • June 21, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Yep… still got tokens around here somewhere.

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