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New York Mets History

New York Mets: Meet the original 1962 Amazins of New York

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: A general view of the field covered with a rain tarp prior to the game between the New York Mets against the Atlanta Braves during their game at Citi Field on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: A general view of the field covered with a rain tarp prior to the game between the New York Mets against the Atlanta Braves during their game at Citi Field on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 29: A general view of Citi Field prior to the start of the Opening Day game between the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field on March 29, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Best players on the 1962 Mets (links to SABR Biography Project)

Al Jackson

  • Led 1962 Mets in starter ERA, FIP, Shutouts, ERA+, WHIP, and fewest HRs allowed

“Jackson was the bullpen coach for the 1999 Wild Card and 2000 National League champion Mets under Bobby Valentine. Those squads’ left-handed ace, Al Leiter, credited Jackson for lifting his game, an echo, perhaps, of the advice Jackson told Newsday he gave young Seaver and Koosman in 1968 and ’69 when he was a Mets’ elder statesman and they were the league’s unmatched young guns.” from Greg W. Prince’s SABR bio of Jackson.

Richie Ashburn

  • Led 1962 Mets in AVE, OBP, and OPS+

“The term ‘speed’ would always be associated with Ashburn. His high-school basketball teammate Jim Kelly said that Ashburn could dribble down the court faster than the other players could run down it. In his 1948 major-league rookie year, one sportswriter said of the 21-year-old, ‘He’s no .300 hitter, he hits .100 and runs .200.'” Quoted by Seamus Kearney, from Joe Archibald’s book, Richie Ashburn (New York: Julian Messner, Inc., 1960)

“And even after his playing days ended, Ashburn challenged a young Dick Allen in a foot race and beat him.” Quoted by Seamus Kearney from the documentary Richie Ashburn, A Baseball Life. Written and produced by Dan Stephenson, Narrated by Harry Kalas (New York: Arts Alliance America LLC, 2008)

Ted Williams bestowed Ashburn with another nickname, ‘Putt-Putt,’ because, as Ashburn explained later, ‘I ran as if I had an outboard motor in the seat of my pants.'” Kearney from Archibald

Frank Thomas

  • Led 1962 Mets with 34 HRs, 94 RBIs, SLG, and OPS

“Frank Thomas played during an era when team owners looked upon their players as chattels. By their standards, Frank Joseph Thomas was considered a rebel. Much of his career was spent bickering with management over his worth to them. In his early career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Thomas’s adversary in such battles was the man sometimes called ‘El Cheapo,’ otherwise known as Wesley Branch Rickey.” From Bob Hurte’s SABR biography.

Most famous for their careers

Casey Stengel

“Prior to the World Series, Casey replied to the questions about retiring in typical Stengelese, saying ‘Well, I made up my mind, but I made it up both ways.'”  From Bill Bishop‘s SABR biography

Gil Hodges

  • Played his final full season as a player for the 1962 Mets, to the delight of his old Brooklyn Dodgers’ fans.

“In his classic The Boys of Summer, Roger Kahn wrote, ‘The fans of Brooklyn warmed to the first baseman as he suffered his slump. A movement to save him rose from cement sidewalks and the roots of trampled Flatbush grass. More than thirty people a day wrote to Hodges. Packages arrived with rosary beads, rabbits’ feet, mezuzahs, scapulars.'” Quoted by John Saccoman’s SABR Biography

Richie Ashburn

Worst players on 1962 Mets

Ray Daviault (6.22 ERA, ERA+ 67, 48 BBs, 51 Ks, 1.728 WHIP, 1.6 HR/9)

Cliff Cook (.638 OPS in 119 PAs for 1962 Mets, .875 fielding percentage at 3B in 131 innings, Rtot -5, Rtot/yr -49, .917 fielding percentage in RF in 65 innings, Rtot -2, Rtot/yr -41)

Gus Bell (.419 OPS in 115 PAs for 1962 Mets after a quite successful career)

Most obscure players on 1962 Mets

Ray Daviault (81 IP for 1962 Mets)

Larry Foss (27 IP in 1961 (Pirates) and 1962 (Mets)

Bob Moorhead (119.2 IP in 1962 and 1965 for the Mets)

Bibliography of print, ebooks, and web articles

The Amazin’ Mets 1962-1969, by William J. Ryczek [full of anecdotes from players of those years looking back]

Can’t anybody here play this game? The Improbable Saga of the New York Mets’ First Year, by Jimmy Breslin

A Year in Mudville: An Oral History of the Original Mets, by David Bagdade

Tales from the 1962 New York Mets Dugout, A Collection of the Greatest Stories from the Mets Inaugural Season (Tales from the Team), by Janet Paskin

New York vs. New York, the birth of the Yankees-Mets rivalry, by Bill Morales

Joy In Mudville: Being a Complete Account of the Unparalleled History of the New York Mets from Their Most Perturbed Beginnings to Their Amazing Rise to Glory And Renown, by George Vecsey

Mets Journal, year by year and day by day with the New York Mets since 1962, by John Snyder

Yo La Tengo story

Next. A look back at the 1986 Mets

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Trivia answer one: The Mets went 9-9 against the Chicago Cubs, the only team they did not have a losing record against.

Trivia answer two: Yo la tengo (see bibliography above)