2007 TOPPS CO-SIGNERS JOHN MAINE/PHILIP HUMBER
Once upon a time (the summer of 2007, to be precise), I pulled this card and I was happy.
The Mets were in first place that July, and seemed well-equipped to remain there throughout the year. John Maine was a solid presence on the mound, and would go on to win 15 games. Phil Humber went into the season a ranked prospect, with a live fastball and a plus curve.
This card had such promise, that season had such promise…
But then of course, the team went into a disequilibrating spiral, and a seven-game lead on September 12 turned into a second-place finish.
Maine would never be the same, and spent three more injury-plagued campaigns with the club, to ever-diminishing returns. He has pitched in four games with the Marlins this year, and his ERA though 7.1 innings would be a favorable stock price.
Humber gave the Mets a total of nine big-league innings over the course of two seasons, before being sent to Minnesota as part of the package that brought Johan Santana to New York. He tossed a perfect game for the White Sox in 2012, but still managed to go 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA. This year has been an unredeemed disaster: an 0-8 start and an FM-radio ERA (9.59) earned him a trip down to Oklahoma City last month.
And this card has lost any place of prominence it once had in my collection, sitting in a penny sleeve in a box full of commons, a sad ode to promises unkept…