The New York Mets have hired a multitude of rookie managers throughout their history. For the most successful organizations, there has been a culture built of stability throughout their organization. Joe Girardi managed the Yankees for a decade. Terry Francona managed in Cleveland for 11 years. Even the last place Nationals have had Dave Martinez since 2018.
The Mets changed managers like we change socks on a daily basis. Since Terry Collins stepped down in 2017, the Mets have had 5 different managers (6 if you include Carlos Beltran). Of these 5, 3 of them have been rookies in Callaway, Rojas, and now Mendoza. This pattern in recent Mets history shows how hard it is to find a rookie manager who spends the next decade with one organization. Much of the definitive signs of hit-or-miss comes in year 1 when we can evaluate for ourselves how much the manager is influencing the team. Throughout our entire 62-year history, is this pattern of ineptitude the same or different in year 1?
1. Wes Westrum, 1966
Wes Westrum had an interesting path to becoming the Mets manager in 1965. He was originally hired as the first base coach in 1964, and then was moved to pitching coach in 1965 after Warren Spahn was released. Just 11 days following his role change, Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel was placed on medical leave after fracturing his hip getting out of his car. Westrum was named interim manager following the incident and was moved to full-time manager in 1966.
The Mets of the 1960's were considered the "lovable losers" of Major League Baseball. This phrase was no different under Westrum in his first full season at the helm as the Mets went 66-95, finishing last in the N.L. East. Though Westrum's managerial tenure would end after another losing season in 1967, he did help develop the young team that eventually won a title in 1969. Based on expectation, Westrum's tenure cannot be viewed as a failure. He inherited a young team with the likes of Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver that were just getting their feet wet as future hall of fame inductees.