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…
… and pitchers Larry Foss…
…and Herb Moford.
Mr. Met, mascot extraordinaire.
Original Mets Annoncers
Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner