Friday, January 29, 2010

1991 Wiz Mets Gary Rajsich

Who is this?
Gary Rajsich, a former outfielder for the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants

What is this? An autographed card from the 1991 Wiz Mets stadium giveaway set

Where'd I get it? Back in 2008, I wrote to Rajsich and asked him to sign it. I got it back this week.

How much did it cost? The card came to me in a trade, so just postage.

Why is this so special? Gary Rajsich played in the majors for four seasons in the 1980s. He also spent three seasons in Japan, playing for the Chunichi Dragons. He finished his playing career with the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the short-lived Senior Professional Baseball League in 1989. His major league career totals: .236, 3 home runs and 36 RBI.

Baseball ran in the Rajsich family. His brother Dave was a major league pitcher. Another brother, Tim, was a minor league shortstop.

Rajsich's signature is recognizable, but he seems to have left out some letters. I wonder how it compares to his brothers'.

In 1991, the Mets celebrated the franchise's 30th anniversary by producing a set of 450 cards that included every player who had appeared in a Mets game.

Well, almost every player. In 1987, a journeyman pitcher named Bob Gibson pitched in one game for the Mets. His card features a photo of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson, who was briefly a Mets coach. A few other cards have photo mixups -- I believe Hobie Landrith appears on Joe Ginsburg's and Joe Pignatano's cards, while Pignatano is on Landrith's, but it's still a neat set.

The cards were originally printed on perforated sheets. Their size and card stock have more in common with business cards than baseball cards. They were given away in series at three or four Mets games, but a decent number of sets found their way into the hobby. Singles generally sell for around $1, with stars going for more, but you can frequently find lots of them on eBay for a better price.

It would be nice if the Mets revisited the concept next year for the team's 50th anniversary, but I suspect that licensing costs would be prohibitive.

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