Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:57 pm Posts: 57804 Location: New York, NY
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National League’s first expansion franchises of the 20th century, the New York Mets and the Houston Astros.
As befitting a golden anniversary, it’s a natural enough to look back on the franchises. The Astros we’ll save for later. They're in their final season in the NL after all, so a 50th anniversary retrospect might not be as nice as an NL summation of their days. Let’s focus on the Mets for now.
There is neither time nor space to recount the entire franchise history of the Mets, of course. That would take many volumes. Instead, let’s set a more modest and attainable goal, recounting some of the stranger and more unlikely moments in Mets franchise history—the odds and ends of their first half-century—a junk drawer for the club, if you will.
The following is not intended as any sort of “greatest hits” for the Mets. Far from it. Frankly, listing their greatest moments strikes me as a bit boring. Almost all of the people who have any interest in the Mets can already name them. There’s the 1969 Miracle Mets championship, the 1973 “Ya Gotta Believe” pennant winners, the 1986 “The Bad Guys Win” champions, the clubs that fought memorable postseason battles in 1999, 2000, and 2006, and so on.
That’s not junk drawer stuff. That’s trophy case stuff. Let’s go after the little nuggets one easily can miss. Here they are, submitted for your approval, listed in chronological order.
The junk drawer
May 12, 1962: Mets pitcher Craig Anderson has a nice day in today’s doubleheader. Pitching in relief in both contests, he picks up a pair of wins. I hope he enjoys it while it lasts, because after today he’ll never win another game. He loses 19 straight decisions, including 16 this year, before being drummed out of baseball.
May 2, 1963: Skipper Casey Stengel decides to do something different. He inserts catcher Choo Choo Coleman in the batting order’s leadoff slot. To this day, it’s still the only time any catcher has led off for the Mets. New York wins, 10-3.
June 26, 1963: After all these years, it’s still WPA’s choice for the best one-game performance by a Mets batter when Tim Harkness comes through in the clutch against the Cubs. In a 14-inning marathon, Harkness is 4-for-7, including a perfect 3-for-3 after the ninth. His biggest moment by far comes in the bottom of the 14th. The Mets trail by two runs thanks to an inside-the-park homer by Chicago star's left fielder, but New York loads the bases with two out for Harkness, who promptly hits a walk-off grand slam. His WPA on the day: 1.107. It’s by far the greatest of the 259 games in which Harkness ever plays.
Aug. 9, 1963: Jim Hickman hits a walk-off grand slam for the Mets, an achievement that’s extra special because it ends the 18-game losing streak of Roger Craig, the team’s best pitcher in their early horrible years.
Aug. 26, 2007: The Mets have surrendered over 69,000 hits in their franchise history, but perhaps none are as unlikely than this. Leading off the fifth against the Mets, obese 44-year pitcher David Wells lays down a bunt and beats out an infield single. The hit raises Wells’ career average to .121.
_________________ DAVID WRIGHT IS THE BESTEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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