If Topps had more time to have an image of the player on his new team, we'd have a nicer representation of what was to be "history in the making": 1972 Nolan Ryan (#595).
Since this was a late series card, Topps did have the time to do an airbrushing job on Ryan's photo and "put" an Angels cap on him. However, all this left them with was a boring photo where you could also clearly see Ryan wearing a Mets' jersey.
Since this was the beginning of what was to become the legendary "Ryan Express", straight to the Hall of Fame almost 30 years later, let's use a nicer shot for his '72 card, shall we?
As we all know, Ryan was traded to the Angels along with three other players for Jim Fregosi, star shortstop.
And as we ALSO know, this goes down as one of the worst trades in baseball history, as Ryan IMMEDIATELY became THE fire-balling pitcher of his day.
I know I don't have to state the obvious here, but we're talking: 300+ wins, 5000+ strikeouts, seven no-hitters, 11 strikeout titles with six of them being 300+ seasons, two E.R.A. crowns and an almost unanimous Hall of Fame induction.
You can see why people can forget that Fregosi was a legitimate star the Mets were trading for, while Ryan was still trying to prove himself on the Major League level.
Anyway, let's do away with a portrait shot on his first card as a "star" and replace it with a decent action shot of him during his first year in Anaheim.
I got to see Ryan pitch a few times before he hung them up, and he was STILL throwing high-heat (with a loud GRUNT with every delivery) well into his LATE-40's!
It was truly something to behold...
|Not the worst card, but not nearly the best.|
|A vintage shot of the beginning of the "Ryan Express".|