Aug 3, 2014

A Look Back at Cleon Jones' Early Seventies Baseball Cards

In 1970 Cleon Jones was a World Series Champion & a contender to a batting title with a .340 average. He was looked at as a future star of the big leagues.

Topps issued Jones in a regular season card wearing  a Mets road uniform & then a special insert Jones card in a subset. The subsets were one of three Topps issued that year. The booklet series were comic book style cards telling a brief story of 24 different players life.  

Jones also had a Kellogs 3d card issued that year, one of many Kellogs cards he had in his name.

In 1972 Cleon Jones had the honor of having two Topps baseball cards. A regular issue & a special In Action card, where he was running the bases with the classic brown bricks on the Shea outfield wall behind him.

Cleon Jones makes a guest appearance on a classic 1973 Topps horizontal action card. The actual Player's card is Bob Didier (1973 Topps #574) catcher for the Atlanta Braves.

Didier was a rookie & the Braves main catcher in the 1969 season, his only full season. That year the Braves won the N.L. West but lost to the Mets in the first ever NLCS.

Didier became a backup to Earl Williams the 1971 N.L. Rookie of the Year & by 1973 was playing with the Detroit Tigers. In a six year career (247 games) he batted .229 with no HRs & 51 RBIs. He spent most of his last three seasons in the minors.

This cards photo shows that Cleon Jones had just slid into home plate and still has his left leg up on Didier's shoulder. As the dust clears, Didier is looking at the umpire, anxiously awaiting his call. In the background Mets catcher Jerry Grote is on deck with his shin guards on, in case this is the third out.

centerfieldmaz did some research & has gotten to the bottom of this play: The picture was taken in 1971 since Didier did not play in any games at Shea in 1972.

It was a beautiful Fourth of July day game at Shea Stadium, where 27,451 fans came to see two future Hall of Famers pitch. Unfortunately in this game Phil Neikro beat Tom Seaver 2-0 in a two hour & sixteen minute contest. Games were so quick in those days, no wasting time stepping in & out..........

So that means that Cleon Jones was called out at the plate. Yes, in the bottom of the 4th inning Jones singled to centerfield. He advanced to second on a groundout by Kenny Boswell. Next, third baseman Bob Aspromonte singled & Jones attempted to score but was called out at home. note: In this game Hank Aaron homered. I love those classic 1973 action cards, especially the horizontal ones.

In Cleon Jones actual 1973 Topps baseball card (1973 Topps #540) he is holding a bat in a still shot. The picture was taken on a sunny day at Shea during batting practice.

Notice the protective fence around the first base area. In the background is the classic Shea scoreboard of the early seventies, when it still had its beautiful white background. Notice the classic Mets logo in the center cube & the Rheingold beer ad to the left. Also look how proudly the American Flag is waving in the Shea wind.

Cleon appears to have a batting glove in his back pocket & his fielding glove is laying on the ground. This picture was most likely taken in 1972 since Cleon is sporting his moustache & that was the first season since the 1800's players donned facial hair thanke to the Singin Oakland A's. 

Jones would be featured again with his moustache in his great 1974 action shot & his final card in 1975. He is clean shave in all his other cards.


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