1969 TOPPS JERRY KOOSMAN
In 1968, Jerry Koosman had a terrific rookie season and he finished fourth in both Wins (19) and ERA (2.08). He was rewarded the following season with this card by Topps, with the majestic rookie trophy. But whenever I think of this card, the only thing that pops in my mind is the uniform number. Everyone knows Koosman was number 36. But here he is with an unmistakable 47 instead.
According to Mets By The Numbers, Koosman always wore 36, including his brief time with the Mets in 1967. So, this must have been a picture taken in Spring Training. Given how he came up for a cup of coffee in ’67, it seems unlikely that he was given a different uniform number in Spring Training ’68, especially as no one else wore 36 since Jim Bethke did in 1965.
It’s no surprise that Topps mailed it in by using an old photo. Still, every time I see someone wear #47, I immediately think of Koosman. It’s kind of crazy, associating a number that a player never wore in a regular season game. It just goes to show that you should never underestimate the power of a 1960s Topps card.
To make matters worse, Koosman was also featured on a Topps Super card in 1969, recycling this photo with the big 47 visible.
So, it seems fitting to remember those who actually wore 47 for the Mets. Only 18 players have worn #47. Of all the non-retired uniforms from numbers 1 thru 49, only 8, 24 and 31 have been worn by fewer players. And we all expect 8 and 31 to be retired shortly. Additionally, 24 has essentially been retired, with only Rickey Henderson wearing the number in the last 20+ years. Here are the hardy souls who donned #47: