One fine day in Florida in 1962, Casey Stengel lined up five prospective starters. Sometimes when he released a player, he said he had to do it because the Mets expected to be contenders.
At one point the Mets were 12-19. Then they lost 17 straight.
These five pitchers were professionals, good people, a pleasure to be around.
Roger Craig was the ace with a 10-24 record.
Jay Hook was 8-19.
Robert L. Miller was 1-12. (The Mets later acquired a left-hander named Robert G. Miller. Casey solved it by calling the righty “Nelson.”)
Craig Anderson won both ends of a doubleheader in May. His record was 3-1. He finished with a 3-17 record that year, and lost three more decisions over the next two years. This is what I wrote about Anderson in 1993:
Alvin Jackson finished with an 8-20 record. He kept the ball low and Casey loved him. He was impossible to cover in autumn touch football games on Long Island. He still works for the Mets.
The Mets finished with a 40-120 record.
These hopeful faces invoke instant spring.
(The Mets’ records for 1962)
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.