We begin our New York Mets history simulation back where it all started with an ugly season in 1962.
Before we get those opportunities, we re-play the ugly 1962 campaign. Can we do better than 42-120?
The preseason begins with the Mets in the basement of baseball predicted to go 43-117. Slugger Frank Thomas, however, should be a star in New York.
According to the OOTPB virtual experts, he should slash .290/.347/.525 with 42 home runs.
The Mets got off to a fine start in spring training action with a win in their debut. However, they quickly lost the magic. Their 7-23 record in the preseason was the worst of any team. Can they do any better in the regular season?
Regular Season Notes
The Mets open the season with a loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. It wasn’t just any loss. The Mets dropped it by a score of 8-0.
Angry New Yorkers are frustrated with the result. After the dominance of the New York Yankees for decades and the success many remember the Brooklyn Dodgers gave the city, fans are impatient for winning.
For some early season firsts, Richie Ashburn gets the first hit in Mets history with a single to lead off the game on Opening Day. In the second game of the season, Felix Mantilla hits the first home run in a Mets uniform.
These individual accomplishments don’t please the fans much. They go to the ballpark to see a win.
Unfortunately, they need to wait until the eighth game of the season for a victory. In a dramatic extra-inning affair versus the Cardinals, Frank Thomas leads off the 11th inning with a solo home run. Bob Moorehead picks up the win for the first in Mets history.
Already in a hole, the Mets would need a miracle to dig out of it.
They would have to wait beyond 1962 to get one.
Lucky for the virtual Mets fans, the 1962 season wasn’t as bad as it was in real life. The team won their 42nd game on August 12th to go 42-74. They won number 43 on August 24th to surpass what the real-life club did.
At the end of the season, the inaugural Mets stood with a season record of 52-108. Two rainouts were never made up. Why bother? The Mets were the first team eliminated from the postseason when they were knocked out on August 22nd.
It wasn’t all bad for the Mets. Thomas received early Player of the Week honors in early May. On June 23rd, Marv Throneberry hit a home run in his sixth consecutive game!
Rookie Jim Hickman also received some honors. In May, he was the National League’s Rookie of the Month. He ended up third in NL Rookie of the Year voting with five first-place votes.
Finally, there’s Richie Ashburn. On August 18th, his 21-game hitting streak was snapped. The attempt to catch Joe DiMaggio’s 56 was the most valiant of anyone in the league in 1962. No one else managed a hitting streak as long as Ashburn’s.
Something I did fail to realize is that not everyone would be represented in the All-Star Game. So, the Mets didn’t have anyone make the trip to the Midsummer Classic this time around. I have adjusted the settings. One feature of OOTPB I really enjoy is seeing honor accumulate such as All-Star selections and Hall of Fame votes.
Notable Individual Statistics
As expected, Thomas led the way on offense. He had the second-best batting average (.280), most home runs (33), and runs batted in (109).
Ashburn led the way with a .311 batting average but retired after the season concluded.
The Mets also received some productive years out of part-timers. Joe Christopher slashed .278/.380/.441 and led the team with 14 stolen bases in 337 plate appearances.
Hickman’s impressive rookie season concluded with a .272/.344/.433 batting line in 442 opportunities at the plate.
On the pitching side of things, Bob Miller had the best year of any pitcher. His 3.88 ERA in 206.2 innings of work stand out.
None of the Mets pitchers won double-digit games. Fortunately, nobody lost 20 either. Al Jackson was the closest in both areas with a 9-19 record.
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Just like the real-life 1962 Mets, the team is going to need a lot more from their pitchers in 1963 to see some improvement. Hopefully, the streak of losing 100 games in a row won’t last nearly as long in this virtual world.