Sometimes in life, it’s all about the company you keep.
Take Bill Denehy, for example.
He made it to the Mets in 1967 at the age of just 21, and ended up logging a 1-7 record, with a 4.70 ERA. His most important contribution to the team was as the player the Mets added to a $100,000 payment in order to secure the managerial services of Gil Hodges from the Senators that November.
Bill pitched two innings for Washington with no decisions in 1968, and then resurfaced briefly in 1971, going 0-3 for the Tigers.
And yet this pitcher with a 1-10 career record can with a clear conscience claim to appear on the most-expensive card by far in the 1967 Topps set. The company you keep…
In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I don’t own this card. Once upon a time, I did, and I treasured it.
When I was 13, I kept it hidden under the heavy marble base of a desk lamp in my bedroom.
I kept it hidden because that year all of my best and most-valuable cards had begun to disappear. One day a 1961 Aaron was gone, the next day a 1962 Mays. Then a 1963 Yaz, then a 1966 McCovey.
My older brother had developed a cocaine habit, and was tearing through my card collection in order to finance his addiction. He found my Seaver eventually, and either sold it or traded it for drugs. I was devastated.
When my brother passed away 15 years later, he left me a small fire-proof Sentry safe filled with standard-issue U.S. Mint proof sets from the late ’80s and early ’90s. I thumbed through the packets with some interest, having collected coins a bit as a preteen.
But when I came to the bottom of the safe, I found a small cache of 1991 Mets’ cards– a Strawberry All-Star, a Frank Viola, a Tom Herr, and a Julio Valera. And I realized right away that these cards were meant as an apology, which I accepted silently and without hesitation.
Sometimes in life, it’s all about the company you keep…