Let’s see, the players want much needed fairness in the game and greedy owners, led by the master negotiator, Rob Manfred, want nothing but to preserve superiority over the MLBPA. It is a lousy old tune. Breaking word that the highly respected Jeff Passan has managed to upset the MLB and now is on the outs somehow. Calling Ken Rosenthal.
Moving on to dreams of more prosperous times made me think of writing something about Mets collectibles. We regularly cover Mets players baseball cards, with each article conjuring a lifelong journey of fandom, snapping the sticks of packaged bubble gum, and seeing how cards have evolved. While I collect a number of themes of Mets memorabilia (by the way has anyone watched the SNY YouTube channel show that interviews “super collectors”?), one of the things I really enjoy is my collection of official press pins from major events (World Series, All Star Games, Hall inductions).
Back in the day, press pins, which look like basic pins, were the distributed to the press corps to wear on jacket lapels in order to access the stadiums and booths. As the world changed, the official pins lost the access angle, but still are quite collectable and a money maker for the teams because they cost quite a bit more than regular pins. The older pins represent the best of the best because they are much less common and as you might suspect quite meticulously made.
Press pins from the World Series capture most of the attention. You can see the official Mets World Series pins along the bottom row of the picture and the second one up from the bottom right. There is an interesting evolution to capture in the row of pictures. In 1969, the pin actually shows the date, a trend that rapidly disappeared moving forward. By 1973, the pin just says World Series. One surprising fact is that many team plan long in advance for their official pin designs, keeping them under wraps for obvious reasons. Both 1986 and 2000 use the terms 3rd and 4th World Series, respectively. This shows that planning was done so long in advance that worrying about the date was not a consideration. These four pins are all high quality enamel pins with intricate detailing and quite valuable – you can see them on display in the Mets museum at Citi Field. The least interesting of the WS pins is from 2015, symbolic of the Wilpon ownership, which barely stands out from any of the cheap pins made for the World Series. It does not say 5th World Series, making me thing this was quite hastily put together. Knock-offs of the originals abound in the market, often looking cheap, have the wrong colored enamel, and fail to show high detail. The official press pins also get added to the World Series trophy.
All Star Games also get official pins, but are less common in older times, so can be more difficult to collect. The Mets hosted the ASG in 1964, and commemorated it with a winner press pin showing Shea Stadium as a base for the Unisphere linking the game with the World’s Fair. The official 2013 ASG pin, also pretty cool, is made in the form of a subway token, and has pretty incredible heft making me think this was in the planning for some time.
The last group of official pins is in honor of Hall of Fame inductees. The two pins in the picture show Tom Seaver’s induction in 1992, a beautifully detailed pin notable for his pitching comrade Rollie Fingers. Unfortunately, the Piazza and Griffey pin from 2016 feels unusually large and lacking nice detail. Here’s to hoping the Gil Hodges induction pin is commensurate with such a legendary figure.