While most New York Mets fans attentively wait for what the next trade the team will make is, how many have taken the time to look into what the first trade ever made by the club was? Excluding any players being purchased which was far more common in the past, the first actual player for player swap began on November 28, 1961. It wouldn’t complete until May 21, 1962.
The Mets dialed up the Milwaukee Braves or maybe sent a carrier pigeon; whatever the common form of message-sending was back in those days. The Mets picked up a slugger with promises of sending the Braves something in the future.
The first Mets trade landed them Frank Thomas for a player to be named later
Frank Thomas was the original Mets slugger who clobbered 34 home runs in 1962. He was one of the few bright spots for the team. A home run threat throughout the 1950s, he was by far the most powerful power hitter and sluggyish slugger the Mets had until Dave Kingman came around.
The Mets didn’t immediately send anyone to Milwaukee, though. A player to be named later was promised to the Braves. It was only a little over a month into their inaugural season when they sent Gus Bell and his .149 batting average to Milwaukee. He did manage to put together a much better performance for the Braves, lifting his average up to .285 with them.
Bell had been selected by the Mets from the Cincinnati Reds with their 8th pick in the expansion draft. He had seen better days. The four-time All-Star who regularly drove in 100+ runs for the Reds appeared in just 103 games for them in his last season. The season included several career-worsts at the time. This includes just 3 home runs, 33 RBI, and a .298 OBP.
The Mets seemed to come away as the winners in this deal even if they were historically bad with Thomas. Bell’s career was practically over already. He appeared in 3 games in each of the 1963 and 1964 seasons. Thomas was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in the middle of the 1964 season.