My collection has complete sets from the late 90s to 1963, plus 1961. Currently, my chase includes 1960, 1957 and the first series of 1952. Missing is 1962, the first year of the Mets, one that would seem to be a key set for a Mets fan who collects cards. How is this possible?

Basically, I thought it was an incredibly ugly set.

Whenever that thought was expressed to fellow collectors, the response was one of borderline shock. It didn’t help much when it was explained that 1987 was one of my least favorite sets, too. Additionally, 1998-2000, with the incredibly dull pale gold borders should sit in the corner, too.

Recently, it occurred to me the reason for my distaste for the ’62 set. While the curled-up paper was a gimmick that didn’t land for me, the real reason is the preponderance of capless players in posed headshots, like the Roger Craig featured here. This is a tough sell in any set and it’s just brutal with the 62s. While the 1969 set might have more of these, at least they were saved by the bright-colored circles with the player’s name. The ugly 62s had nothing to offer in this respect. They’re the equivalent of a dreary February day. And who needs to think more about that kind of thing?

But the completist side of me is going to win out.

One of my trading groups has several collectors who assemble a vintage year by trying to put together the ugliest version of a set they can make. While most people avoid cards with creases or writing or pin holes or paper loss, these collectors chase these cards. It’s a great way to put together a set for cheap, too.

When I got back into the hobby in early 2021, my idea was to finish up sets started but not completed – hence the ’52, ’57 and ’60 chase – but otherwise avoid sets with triple digits of cards. It’s the reason my focus has been so much on the Kellogg’s offerings, as they come in at 75 cards or fewer.

It’s maddening to have to pay big bucks for high-number commons of guys that otherwise have no meaning to me. But putting together an ugly set, which is now going to be my approach with the 62s, takes the sting out of that. And instead of having to make determinations like if two soft corners is better than 95-5 centering on a card, the big decision will be if the handful of decent card already in my collection drag down the ugliness of the rest.

This Craig card is going to fit in great. All of those scuffs, black marks and paper loss that would ordinarily eliminate this card from my set will now be right at home with the rest of the cards. Win-win baby!

Got my first additions from a fellow collector from my trade group. He sent me a heavily creased Willie Davis and a really scuffed-up Tony Cloninger, who looms large in my collecting life as the last card needed to complete my 1970 set.

So, if you have any ugly 62s that you were debating about just throwing away – send them to me, instead!

5 comments on “Mets Card of the Week: 1962 Roger Craig

  • JimO

    I like the Venezuelan versions of these early Mets cards. Made on cheaper stock and traditionally glued into scrapbooks.

    • BrianJ

      I just started collecting the 1964 Vennys, which are easily identifiable with their black backs. It’s been a tough pill for me to swallow that because of the scarcity of these cards, you’re not going to get EX or better cards without breaking the bank. Just got a Yogi Berra and that one wasn’t glued into a scrapbook. Instead it was stapled somewhere. But it’s really nice other than that!

  • Mike W

    Yeah, the 62s were tough with the wood brown framing. I like the 57’s, 60’s and 61’s. I do love the 53’s as well. I have a 53 reprint set because the real cards are expensive. Some day when I win the lottery, I will buy a ton of cards.

  • JerseyJack

    I’d rate that Craig card as crappy –

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