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A Gift That Kept on Giving: The Weird Glitch in the 1989 Mets Yearbook

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Hello! Paul here. I should be arriving back in NYC shortly after most of you read this. My trip to Hawaii was great, but it will also be good to be back in my own home (and to see Uni Watch mascots Biscuit and Waffles!).

Now then: As you may recall, I recently had a birthday. Invitations to my birthday party said, “Please, no gifts,” but my friend Emily ignored that guideline and presented me with a copy of the 1989 Mets yearbook — a nice little present that she said she’d been saving for me for a while.

After the party, I flipped through the yearbook and immediately noticed that one of the pages felt different than all the others — it was almost like this one page had been bookmarked. It was the sheet that had page 67 and one side and page 68 on the other. It turns out that the column of text on page 68 was actually a patch that had been glued over the original text:

I figured that the patch must be covering up some sort of error in the original text. But what sort of error would be big enough to require a patch covering the entire column of text? It clearly wasn’t just a misspelling or some similarly minor mistake.

The patch is 35 years old, so I was hoping it might come loose if I picked a bit at the edges, but it was affixed very solidly. I thought about maybe trying to steam it off, like people supposedly used to do with the Beatles’ “butcher” LP cover, but instead I figured I’d just ask the Twitter-verse:

Several people responded, the most helpful of whom was Alex Kahn, who said that his copy of the yearbook, which he acquired 16 years ago following the death of his uncle, does not have the patch. So what does it have instead? Look again at the photo of my patched page 68 — see the graf that begins “Following that successful home stand,” about two-thirds of the way down the text column? That graf is at the top of Alex’s unpatched page 68:

So that’s the answer: A bunch of text was inadvertently shifted in the article, and nobody caught the error until the yearbooks had already been printed (and, in some cases, sold), so they had to glue in the corrected text. I wonder how long it took before anyone noticed the mistake, how many copies had already been sold by then, and how many copies they ended up having to fix — hundreds? Thousands?

Also, it’s worth noting that the Mets didn’t produce this yearbook in-house — they outsourced it to a sports publication packager called Evans Sports Marketing (run by a guy named Hal Evans, who had previously been MLB’s Director of Creative Services). Although the Mets presumably signed off on the page proofs before the yearbook went to the printer, including the proof for the faulty page 68, the mistake itself was clearly made by Evans. So whose staff got stuck with the painstaking task of gluing all those patches into all the yearbooks? Or did they just send all the faulty yearbooks and the patches to a “book doctor” operation like Dunn & Co.? We’ll probably never find out, but I’d love to know!

Lots of copies of this yearbook are available on eBay. At least two of the listings — here and here — make a point of mentioning the corrected page 68.

What a fun rabbit hole! And it’s all because my friend Emily ignored the “No gifts” note on my birthday party invitation and instead gave me this yearbook — the gift that kept on giving.


Can of the Day

This is an old-fashioned version of a freezer pack. It’s a can of water that you could freeze by storing it in the freezer. Then if you had a picnic or went to the beach or whatever, you’d put the frozen can in your cooler to keep your goodies cold. Then you’d put the can back in the freezer when you got home.

• • • • •

Huge thanks to Phil for running the site while I was away (and for doing it during a period when he had a bunch of family obligations). You’re the best, buddy!

No Ticker today, but the Ticker should return tomorrow.

I’m likely to be all jet-lagged today, so please be patient while I regain my bearings. Thanks! — Paul

Comments (16)

    I’m interested if the text on page 67 reads: “One big series against Chicago remainded at Shea on the…” or if it’s a different start to the paragraph that is on the original page around 1/3 of the way down.
    Definitely strange that they’d go through all that trouble just to put the paragraphs in a different order.

    Were the Mets the only team that wore a belt with a pullover jersey? I can’t think of any other teams that did. Seems like all other teams wore belts with button down jerseys or san-a-belt pants with the pullovers.

    The Atlanta Braves had belted pants with their pullover jerseys from 1972 to 1982. Only when they dropped the red pinstripes did they resort to Sansabelt trousers. Like their neighbors in the Bronx, the Mets have always worn belts.

    I love the line “Canned Ice Division” near the bottom of the can. For some reason, I find it humorous.

    “Canned Ice Division” reminds me of when I used to work for the Water Department. Some of my co-workers dabbled in the stock market, so I would borrow their paper and look up some potential stocks. The one that caught my eye was the Sealed Air Company. I thought, air… there’s an endless supply. Just bag it, seal it and sell it. It’s foolproof!
    I suggested this to The Wife, who said her brother’s company was going public and he plans to retire in five years because things are going so great. We invested there instead… and, well, 25 years later he still has to work. Every so often I wonder how much better we would have been if we went with Sealed Air.

    Love that can.

    Welcome back Paul! And kudos to Phil for getting through last week.

    I like it, too. It makes me wonder how much money they made off canned water.

    When I was in Kindergarten I fell and scraped a knee. I remember the nurse giving me a frozen brown bottle. For some reason I took it home and we had that bottle in the freezer for years.

    Super common page continuity print error. Unique resolution though.
    Of course means they only discovered the problem after the books were stitched. Someone probably caught hell over that. Meanwhile barely anyone would have said a word about it at the time.

    The A’s just sent their best player to the minors because he wore a bracelet that called the Coliseum a dump.

    Welcome back Paul! I’m looking forward to a post about your travels. It’s one of my favorite off-topic subjects here.

    That yearbook error is just so Mets!

    Paul, the second para of the original mentions a big series with the Cubs and then notes that they faced Juan Marichal. We all know that Marichal was a Giant, not a Cub so that was wrong too in the first version. Would have been on bottom of page 67 based on the new text in yours. Interesting to see what that page had.

    I pity the persons that had to glue all those books with the corrected text. What a job.

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