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)
"....the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.