New York Mets News

Mets History Simulated: Shea Stadium era begins in 1964, the winning doesn’t

NEW YORK - CIRCA 1968: Jimmy McMath #24 of the Chicago Cubs is safe at first base beating the throw to Ed Kranepool #7 of the New York Mets during an Major League Baseball game circa 1968 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Kranepool played for the Mets from 1962-79. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1968: Jimmy McMath #24 of the Chicago Cubs is safe at first base beating the throw to Ed Kranepool #7 of the New York Mets during an Major League Baseball game circa 1968 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Kranepool played for the Mets from 1962-79. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /
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We continue to simulate New York Mets history and see if things can turn around for the best in the 1964 season.

Following a better than expected 1962 season and a step in the wrong direction for the 1963 campaign, the virtual New York Mets head into 1964 with new hope.

Also new, their ballpark.

Shea Stadium has opened and the team can now put the Polo Grounds in the past. Will this help the pitching staff keep the ball in the yard? After all, pitching has been the weakness of this team in its first two virtual seasons.

Let’s see if things can go a little better in 1964.

Preseason

After two rough seasons, the virtual experts weren’t setting expectations high for the 1964 Mets. For the third straight year, they are predicted to finish last in the National League.

Fortunately, there is some positive news. The experts expect the Mets to go 61-101, possibly putting an end to their two-year streak of dropping 100 games.

Spring training didn’t offer much promise to exceed those poor odds. Down in Florida, the virtual Mets were 9-21 in the preseason.

One thing to watch out for, however, is how Ron Swoboda performs. He was one of the hottest hitters early on in the spring. He’ll begin the year in the minor leagues, but I have a feeling he could see some major league action by season’s end.

Regular Season Notes

The Mets began the year 1-9. Whatever bad luck they had at the Polo Grounds seemed to carry over to the new ballpark in Flushing.

The slow start was too much for the club to overcome in the first half of the year. When the All-Star Break arrived, they were only 17-64.

In what should have been a more productive year, the virtual Mets were in the same spot they had been since it all began in 1962.

Nobody will represent the Mets at this year’s All-Star Game. Apparently, the rules were changed in the offseason. I suppose I’ll need to change this each year.

It’s bittersweet news. The team doesn’t exactly have any legitimate options. Ron Hunt is hitting .266 and so is Jim Hickman. Hickman’s 10 home runs lead the team lacking everything but home run power.

Among all major team statistics, it’s only home runs where the Mets do not find themselves in last place.

No amount of break can save the Mets from the inevitable: 1964 is going to end as badly as it began.

The second half included the annual event of the Mets getting eliminated from the postseason in mid-August.

The experts were wrong predicting how the Mets would perform. At season’s end, the team was 44-118. The one game improvement came as a major bummer for fans.

Honors

Ed Kranepool had one of the best games of the season. On June 19, he hit three home runs against the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the first time in Mets history to feature three round-trippers in a game.

That same day, Hickman went deep twice. However, in typical virtual 1964 Mets fashion, the team still lost 8-7.

The biggest honor of the year came at the end when Hunt earned himself a Silver Slugger. In a time of light-hitting second basemen, the voters felt he had the best offensive year of any.

Notable Individual Statistics

Jack Fisher had a standout season for the pitchers, pitching to a 3.44 ERA. His 7-16 record didn’t help matters much. Meanwhile, Tracy Stallard led the team with 22 losses.

On the offensive side of things, Hickman and Hunt continued to carry the offense. Hickman’s 18 home runs led the team. Add in a .289 batting average and you could say he had a productive season.

As for Hunt, he hit .300. It’s now the second time in team history when a qualified player has hit .300. The other time, as you may recall, occurred in 1962 with Richie Ashburn.

Catcher Jesse Gonder also had a decent year, knocking 11 home runs while hitting .256.

Kranepool’s season wasn’t nearly as fantastic as his 3-home run game suggests. He ended the year with only 6 dingers and a .263 batting average.

Poor pitching, weak offense, and some of the worst defense imaginable all led to another year without much praise.

1963 Mets season simulation. Next

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Onward we move to 1965 where we can only hope to see a different story unfold.

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