New York Mets Card of the Week: Dwight Gooden

This weekend, the New York Mets are celebrating the 30-year anniversary of their last World Series Championship team. The surviving and able members of that magical club will be honored prior to Saturday night’s contest. One of those guys, at age 21 back then, owned this town. Every one of his starts was an event, something we haven’t seen since. Of course, the man I am talking about is the subject of today’s card of the week: Dr. K, Dwight Gooden.

Courtesy: my collection

Courtesy: my collection

This card is a 1985 Topps, at that time one of the most sought-after cards on the market. It was considered Gooden’s rookie card to most folks back then if not for the fact that there was a 1984 Topps traded card of Gooden. For the uninitiated, a Topps traded (or Fleer update) was a card that features a player that was not part of that same year’s set or was on a different team. Long explanation short, Gooden was not part of the original Topps 1984 set because he did not play for the Mets in 1983 but as Topps came out with their Traded edition later in 1984, Gooden was included because he actually played in 1984. So the 1985 Topps card can be considered his “first” card while the Traded card is considered his “rookie” one. In any event, the 1985 Gooden was special because in that year, he had one of the most remarkable seasons by any pitcher. He won 24 games against only four losses with an astoundingly low 1.53 ERA and unheard of (at least by today’s standards) 16 complete games. It is a shame that drugs curtailed what would have been a Hall of Fame career.

As far as the card itself, I like it. There is nothing fancy about the 1985 set and there is nothing wrong with that. I like the green backs of each card and the team name in the actual team colors looks good with the player uniforms. However, one knock on this edition is that this was the first year with no “team cards”, meaning no picture of the entire team or later, no picture of the pitching and hitting leader with the checklist on the back. All things being equal, while not my favorite set compared to 1977 or 1979 but definitely much better than other sets from the ’80’s.

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