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)
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.