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The Real "Met"ropolitan Museum

I don't know how many of you read the piece about Andy Fogel's Mets memorabilia collection in the New York Times a few months ago, but I can tell you that the story, as good as it was, does not do the visuals justice.

I had the chance last Friday to check out Fogel's collection and it was well worth the 90-minute trip to the New York suburbs. It was the Metsian equivalent of making a pilgramage to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Fogel's Metssession takes up a good chunk of his basement and an upstairs bedroom around which we had to tiptoe gently because the amount of memorabilia was overflowing.

The best way to describe Fogel's method of collection is completionist. He has every Met yearbook (including every revised edition), a full set of team-signed baseballs, and a comprehensive accumulation of trinkets, like lighters, trinkets and bobbleheads. There are dozens of pennants taped to the ceilings. He just purchased a "couple hundred" ticket stubs from Tom Seaver's wins (Seaver was his favorite Met).

Fogel knows the story behind every piece and those are often just as entertaining as the item itself. I lost track of the number of times he said "This is one of my favorites..." though it usually came up when he was speaking of something that was one-of-a-kind. For example

* The mannequin dressed in former Mets coach Roy McMillan's entire uniform apparel

* Notes from Casey Stengel evaluating every member of the 1964 Mets, at season's conclusion

* Oakland scout Sherm Lollar's scouting report used by the Athletics against the Mets in the 1973 World Series.

Fogel's collection is not just limited to those who actually played for the Mets. When I mention my appreciation for a 1962 Mets baseball we used to own, , Fogel points out a 1962 jersey. Only this one is unique. It belonged to Brooklyn born Evans Kileen, who pitched in four games for the 1959 Athletics. He tried to make the 1962 Mets in spring training, but didn't survive the cut. He was, what I like to call a "NeverMet."

I felt like we barely scratched the surface in the time that I was there. With each collectible I saw, I kept saying the same word and Fogel noted at one point how appropriate it was.

Amazing.

True Metgels know...That if you had a ticket stub collection amassed from the dates in which Tom Seaver pitched for the Mets in a walk-off win, you'd have 25 stubs. Of those, 23 would represent dates in which Seaver pitched. The other 2 would be from doubleheaders, in which Seaver pitched in one game and the Mets won the other by walk-off.

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