Nine to Know: NY Mets 50th anniversary edition Pt.1

That would be Billy-Ball of the NY Mets with famed Australian comedian, American Peter Meisel

I can’t deny being old and I can’t deny having gone to Mets games in their very first season in 1962. Oh my, they were terrible! So bad that they were truly lovable and my dad and I fell in love with the team. We frequently went to the Polo Grounds together during those first years, most often to see the Giants who my dad still missed from their days in New York. I didn’t care who I went to see, I was just the luckiest kid to be able to see the best baseball by going to see the Yankees and their opponents and also being able to see the stars of the National League like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Frank Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal and so many others. Is it anyone wonder that I fell in love with baseball? However, it wasn’t easy. The first 28 Mets games I went to, they lost.

So, as a Valentine’s gift to all who still love the NY Mets (and all who love baseball), here’s my Nine to Know:

  1. The Mets all-time record is 3811-4149. They have won two World Championships (1969, 1986), have won four NL pennants (1969, 1973, 1986, 2000), and made seven playoff appearances (1969, 1973, 1986, 1988, 1999, 2000, 2006).
  2. The Mets have never finished a season at the .500 mark. They have been over .500 on 23 occasions and under on 27. Their best season was 1986 when they won the World Championship after finishing the regular season with a 108-54 .667 record. Their worst season, baseball’s single worst season for a team, was their first season in 1962 when they won 40 games and lost 120, tied one, and thankfully played one game that was not made up. Their winning percentage was .250. Think about that, they were 80 games under .500 when the season ended.
  3. I mentioned the Polo Grounds, the home of the Mets for the 1962-63 seasons. Overall their record those first two years was 91-231. They were 22-58 at home their first season and they were 34-47 at home their second year. All-time at home they are 2037-1940, on the road 1774-2209.
  4. Just like the current Red Sox have been unable to fill the shortstop position, the early Mets spent years trying to find a third baseman. Their first was Don Zimmer. The current occupant is David Wright who has played 1098 games at third, more than any of the 147 Mets’ third sackers. By the way, Zip played 14 games for the Mets at third, one more than current Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
  5. What do Mets’ pitchers Roger Craig and Al Jackson have in common with Dick Ellsworth, Wilbur Wood, and Phil Niekro? This starting five-some are the only pitchers since 1962 who have twice lost at least 20 games in a season.
  6. There have been 432 pitchers with at least one win for the Mets, none more than vintner Tom Seaver who won 198. Mike Pelfry and his 50 Mets wins is the active leader. Jay Hook was the first winning pitcher for the Mets on April 23, 1962, the victory followed nine straight losses to start their existence.
  7. Former Dodgers’ great Gil Hodges hit the first home run in Mets history, in their opening game. They have hit 6246 homers in their 50 regular seasons including 142 grand slams and 114 walkoffs. Darryl Strawberry is the all-time leader with 252.
  8. The Mets’ first walkoff home run was hit by Hobie Landrith off of Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves on May 12, 1962 in the first game of a doubleheader. The Mets’ second walkoff home run was hit by Gil Hodges off of Hank Fischer of the Milwaukee Braves on May 12, 1962 in the second game of that same doubleheader. The Mets’ most recent walkoff homer was hit by Angel Pagan off of Fernando Salas of the Cardinals on July 20, 2011.
  9. Mets 20-game winners are David Cone, Frank Viola, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, and Tom Seaver who did it four times includes a team record 25 wins in 1969, the year of the Mets first championship.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who love the game of baseball.

If you can’t see this video, head to Billy-Ball.com to watch it (it’s worth it):