Losing Less, The 1962 New York Mets Way

February 26, 2009 at 9:32 am (Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, New York Mets) ()




These days part of my “Fantasy Baseball trip” is recreating past seasons on my computer baseball game [Baseball Mogul 2007].

I’m managing the Mets of ‘62, the pride of the Polo Grounds. Through July 19th, I’m doing better then the Originals. 35-54 isn’t all that great, but if the “wheels don’t fall off” I’ll continue to compete with the Cubs, Phils, and Colt 45’s for seventh place or, at the very least, avoiding the moniker of “Basement Bertha.”

My favorite story about that year is the one the late Leonard Koppett, the two-sport [baseball and basketball] Hall of Fame writer, loved telling. The phone rang in the newsroom at the NY Post at two in the in morning. “I understand the Mets scored 16 runs last night,” the caller said. “Did they win?”

Here’s hard luck [an understatement, to say the very least] pitcher Roger “The Dodger” Craig.


Original Met Clem Labine was a former Dodger pitcher.


Former Brave pitcher Ken MacKenzie.


Chris Cannizzaro ended up doing most of the catching.


[Hot] Rod Kanehl was special. A Jack of all trades, master of none. The late Leonard Shecter wrote about him [and Casey] in his great book, “Jocks”.


Utility man Rick Herrscher.


Pitcher Dave Hillman, a one time Cub.


Joe Christopher’s intangible attributes on a baseball field take away from any positive statistics you can get from him…


.. and the same can be said for Jim Hickman.


Pitcher Galen Cisco, from Ohio State, was one of the few who pitched effectively enough to stay in the organization long enough to make it to Shea. Mert and I shared a car on the 7 line with the former Buckeye on the way to opening day in 1964.


Willard “Bill” Hunter came over from the Dodgers and, as I recall, wasn’t the piece needed to turn things around.


Red Ruffing made the Hall Of Fame as a pitcher. Certainly not as the pitching coach of the 1962 Mets. I question the wisdom of entrusting one’s pitching staff to a man who cut off his toes with a lawnmower…. but, what do I know?


Northwestern’s Jay Hook, reputed to be one very smart cookie, was one of many Met pitchers who started games without finishing them and relieved games without offering relief… In short, it was a dismal staff.


Vinegar Bend Mizell, veteran NL pitcher, added to th Mets futility.


Ed Kraneppol made is debut in the majors in 1962.


Gil Hodges may or may not be the best baseball player who is not in the Hall of Fame. That doesn’t mean he deserves to be in it. He most certainly doesn’t. When I think of Gil, I’m reminded of his wife Joan. She’d get in the spirit of things by dyeing her hair “Met Orange.”


Jim Rufus Marshall filled in at first base for the gimpy kneed Gil Hodges in the first game they ever played. He later went on to manage the Cubs and join an inordinately long list of big league managers [including the aforementioned # 14] who at one time or another played for Leo ”The Lip/Lion” Durocher. [A future blog about these men looms large.]


Elio Chacon was the regular shortstop. Made for a long year.


Craig Anderson was known as an “inning eater.” Given his earned run average, this was a backhanded compliment.


Cliff Cook was acquired for…


… Don Zimmer. A dog for a cat.


Harry Chiti was the catcher the Mets acquired for a player to be named later… That player turned out to be Harry Chiti.


“… Little Alvin Jackson was born on Christmas Day, one of twelve children from Waco, Texas…” , the late Bob Murphy [original Mets announcer] would babble, every inning of every game he pitched. Jackson was also the fastest runner on the 162 New York Mets.


Hard to dislike Choo Choo, who was the fastest runner the Mets ever have had catch for them. That’s Clarence, to you.


Casey brought in former Yankee outfielder Gene Woodling. Gornisht helphen.


Former Dodger and future bullpen coach Joe Pignatano did some catching for the ’62 Mets.


Myron “Joe” Ginsberg, one of the few Jewish ballplayers in Mets history, also did some catching in 1962.

Bob Moorhead [A surname that, after all these years, still evokes a smile.] was a gas can, waiting to explode.


Johnny DeMerit was a highly regarded prospect for the Braves and a lowly regarded bust for the Mets.


The original Frank “Mule” Thomas was a super hitter in the National League for a decade before the Mets were born and the heart of their offense [such as it was] in 1962.


A lot more was expected of this former Brave. I remember Felix Millan as the “Cat,” and Felix Mantilla as the “Sail Cat.”


Bob “Righty” Miller [the Mets also had a southpaw Bob Miller in ’62 with far less talent] was an effective pitcher for many years, before, during and after his stint in New York. Trading him for Tim Harkness and Larry Burright seemed like a good idea at the time, but set them back.

Pictured below is the right handed throwing Bob Miller…


.. and Bob “Lefty” Miller.


By all accounts, the Hall O’ Fame 2nd baseman was a removed, uncommunicative coach.

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Rogers Hornsby


“There comes a time in every man’s life, and I’ve had a few.” That’s my favorite Casey Stengel quote.



Sammy’s brother was Solly Drake, not…


…Mets coach Solly Hemus.


Charlie Neal was a terrific ballplayer for the Dodgers… for the Mets, another story.


Then Brooklyn Dodger Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto in his last ML at bat broke up Bill Beven’s no hitter against the Yankees in the 1947 Woild Serious. After coaching the Mets for a while, he was traded for SF Giant coach Wes Westrum, who later replaced Casey as manager.


Going in to the season Gus Bell was worth a lot… “on paper.” The Mets, and fans like me, play the game on grass. :-)


The first Met drafted was Hobie Landrith, whom they traded for…


… Faye’s brother, Marv Throneberry, who was once a prospect with the Yankees.


Former Cardinal outfielder Bobby Gene Smith played some for the ’62 Mets.


Sammy Taylor came over from the Cubs and did nothing but add to the Mets catching woes.


In a spring training battle, Sherman “Roadblock” Jones [pictured bellow] beat out Bob “Butterball” Botz, who shared a nickname with my rather large brother, for a spot on the original roster.


Richie “Whitey” Ashburn nicknamed Marv Throneberry,”Marvelous.” What a team. 40 wins, 40 nicknames.


I’d love to have bigger pictures of coach Ralph “Red” Kress, who died shortly after the season…kress

… and pitchers Larry Foss…


…Ray Daviault…


…and Herb Moford.


Mr. Met, mascot extraordinaire.


Original Mets Annoncers

Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner


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Shea Stadium, Age 44, RIP

February 18, 2009 at 7:07 pm (Baseball, New York Mets, News & Politics)

I noted today that Shea Stadium has now been completely demolished. I played hooky from Newtown High School to attend opening day in 1964. Joe Cristopher played right field for my beloved Mets against the Pirates. Time goes by fast, whether you’re having fun or not. I had a lot of fun at Shea that day, and many other days afterwards. Yes, it was “cookie cutter,” and the wind blowing through was as severe as Candelstick Park. It brought the Beatles and the Jets [formerly the Titans] to Queens. I will miss it very much.


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Pitchers And Catchers Report, As Do I…

February 16, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, New York Giants, New York Mets)

at long last.

The California Sea Otter, my Fantasy team, has been drafted. Hanley Ramirez, Matt Holiday, Cliff Lee, Carlos Marmol, Lance Berkman, and Victor Martinez are amongst the draftees that excite me [if not in the Biblical way]… The Mets look to be the team to beat in the NL East, yet again. This years bully should put an end to the chokeitis that has befallen my beloveds for the past few years. From my mouth to gawd’s ears. Their new stadium is almost an exact replica of Ebbets Field. As an old NY Giants fan, I’m less than thrilled. Fact is, the SF Giants do more to honor the memory of the New York Giants than do the Mets… Manny is still out there. Will the Dodgers or Giants win the sweepstakes? I’m guessing the Giants, who thus far haven’t insulted the man by taking any offers off the table. The Mets may sneak in there. That would be splendid… Jim Rice in the HOF, and Bert Blyleven not. What a travesty… Congrats to Rickey, who in his prime, “became the game,” as only Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson, could do… A-Rod on steroids? Really. Next thing you know, Brady Anderson will be accused. Seriously, Baseball would be better served if all the 104 names are released. The overwhelming majority of players who didn’t test positive will than not be lumped in to this Gene Orza caused travesty…. If any one sees the game I grew up loving [the one played on a comparatively even playing field, with no DH, and Sunday double headers], please return it at once. No questions asked. Reward offered… The closest I can come to the “way it was” is recreating the seasons past on my computer baseball game. I’m now replaying the 1962 season, again. This time, I’ve programed the game not to include injuries. After all, a season without injuries is, indeed, a fantasy.

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Mets Nix Manny?

January 23, 2009 at 9:25 pm (Baseball, New York Mets)

At this point, I’m inclined to believe they’re posturing.

Although they need to solidify their lineup, the Dodgers and Giants aren’t stepping up, and the big money Derek Lowe would have commanded remains in the vault, the Mets appear not to be interested in the greatest right handed hitter in baseball. Sure he’s a bit of a “mental case,” but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’d put them over the top. Wilpon says that Omar hasn’t asked him to at least join in the bidding.

They’ve sweetened their offer to Oliver Perez and signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league contract [A good move, he’s been a winner when healthy].

Are teams colluding, in an effort to prevent the tail from wagging the dog… yet again? We’ll see.

Time is running short. Pitchers and catchers report in 22 days.

In the immortal words of Arte Johnson, “very interesting.”


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Oliver Perez…

January 11, 2009 at 9:08 pm (Baseball, New York Mets)

… may be our man, Met fans, if Derek Lowe signs else ware. He’s an old favorite of mine. Rumor has it that Omar prefers him and the front office, Lowe. It will be interesting to see who really is making the baseball decisions….


Edit to add 1/13/09

Lowe signed with the Braves. four years… OP has become a “must sign.”


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Mets, Yankees 2009 Uniform Patch

January 5, 2009 at 8:46 pm (Baseball, New York Mets)

The Mets have unvailed the patch they’ll be wearing to comemorate the opening of their new ballpark. I like it.


Yankees 2009 patch:


Here’s last years Washington Nationals patch, from their inaugural season.


… and my all time favorite, the 1964 Mets Worlds Fair patch:


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Crunch Time For The Metros

January 2, 2009 at 9:51 am (Baseball, New York Mets)


This is the week when it can all come together for the Amazin’s.

“Will this, at long last, be the year,?” you ask.

I’m guessing that if Manny Ramirez signs with the Giants, the fallout may send Randy Winn east, to us. He’s the most underrated player in northern California, and perhaps the League. If they get both guys, to quote Elmer Fudd, “I’ll be vewy, vewy happy, Bwuce.”


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‘Tis The Season…

December 30, 2008 at 7:35 pm (Baseball, New York Mets)

… when pennants are won and lost. The Metropolitans, anxious as me [their #1 fan] to atone for their disastrous recent past embarrassments, have offered 36 year old hurler Derek Lowe a three year contract.

He is talented and filled with moxie… a prime candidate to succeed in Gotham City.

Signing Lowe, a legitimate # 2 starer, would be a nice way to welcome  the new year.



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RIP Dock Ellis

December 19, 2008 at 9:56 pm (Baseball, Life & Death, New York Mets)

The 1971 All-Star Game featured 17 future Hall Of Famers. Dock Ellis had as much, or more, natural talent as any of his teammates or opponents in that or any game ever played.

“Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball,” is among the most open, honest, and interesting books I’ve ever read.

Dock past away today, at age 63, of liver disease.

He chose an interesting,  unique [if not always admirable] way of “going around the track of life.”

Here’s a picture of the former Met, Pirate, Athletic, and Ranger pitcher He’s pitching to Johnny Bench, and giving up a homer to Reggie Jackson.


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Wilpons Defrauded, Will Dreams Come True?

December 18, 2008 at 7:47 pm (Baseball, New York Mets)


In the wake of the announcement that the idiot owners [Wilpons, father and son] of MY NY Mets had been defrauded of much of their personal fortune, I had a dream that they lost the team, and were allowed to stay on… as ushers. They [both father and son] did fairly well at their new jobs. In keeping with the “Peter Principal” they were soon recruited to the Scouting Department of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Having reached their “level of incompetence,” they spent their remaining years misplacing reports and drafting overpriced duds.
The new owners, however, recognized the history of the New York Giants, as well as the Brooklyn Dodgers.
I’m sad that it was just a dream so far, but you neva, eva know.

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