Being an old Brooklyn Dodger fan, in 1957 when they
abandoned us, the baseball horizon was a void. I told myself I would root for
the Yankees, after all, they were a New York team. By the top of the second
inning, I was rooting against them. I just could not root for the Yankees. The
great teams that they were, they were missing something for me, the sense that
I belonged and loved my team.
Then around 1960 (NY baseball was coming back to NY) when I
started to hear those whispers of something I dared not think, baseball was
getting a little more exciting for me. I would watch some Dodger games on the
Game of the Week when they were televised, but still, it felt odd.
In 1962, a glorious spring training began, the newly
organized New York Metropolitan Baseball Club began its existence. Everything
about it was exciting. I had a team once again. It looked like the
reincarnation of the Dodgers and Giants without the wins, but so what, it was
my team and it was National League Baseball. I couldn't get enough of them as a
With the draft, trades, and acquisitions, with Casey Stengel
at the helm, I thought we'd win the World Series. The names promised more to me
than they could deliver, but it was my team, the best!
Such luminaries as:
Craig Anderson, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
Gus Bell, outfielder, Cincinnati Reds
Ed Bouchee, infielder, Chicago Cubs
Chris Cannizzaro, catcher, St. Louis Cardinals
Elio Chacón, infielder, Cincinnati Reds
Joe Christopher, outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
Choo-Choo Coleman, catcher, Philadelphia Phillies
Roger Craig, pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ray Daviault, pitcher, San Francisco Giants
John DeMerit, outfielder, Milwaukee Braves
Sammy Drake, infielder, Chicago Cubs
Jim Hickman, outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals
Gil Hodges, infielder, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jay Hook, pitcher, Cincinnati Reds
Al Jackson, pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates
Sherman Jones, pitcher, Cincinnati Reds
Hobie Landrith, catcher, San Francisco Giants
Félix Mantilla, infielder, Milwaukee Braves
Bob L. Miller, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
Bob Smith, outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies
Lee Walls, infielder/outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies
Don Zimmer, infielder, Chicago Cubs
constituted the whole team. Except for one or two players,
they couldn't hit a broadside of a barn leaning against it. But it was my team,
and every at bat, every play kept you in suspense. If they won a game, you
believed it would be the beginning of a long winning streak, after all, this is
my team, the New York Mets!
When I first saw them take the field in their new uniforms,
the script lettering reminded me of the Dodgers script, the number under the
script, again like the Dodgers, and the orange NY like the old Giants hats made
them even more special! This was my team!
I remember the excitement of that good-looking kid from the
Bronx, young Eddie Kranepool making his debut, he had all the tools except the
ability to run, and watching him round the bases, his play made me a fan of his
for all his career, and when he hit a home run during the '69 World Series in
game 3, I was happy for him, the kid done good. Watching him round those bases
at Shea Stadium that afternoon in our first World Series, with all the effort
he put in all those years was gratifying.
I never realized how lucky NY was to have 3 professional
teams until they had only one, and how luckier still that a new team came to
NY. They may have bad years, and they may have great years, but they will
always have me as their fan. The excitement of that first day is as equal as
the excitement of the last game of 2016!
Let's Go Mets!