Posted by Mack Ade at 1:00 PM
After their inaugural season 1963 seemed to offer hope since there was no where to go but up. This was the last year the Mets would play at the Polo Grounds whose neighborhood was only slightly better than the one around Yankee Stadium.
1963 was the year Duke Snider returned to NY as a Met and the zany Jimmy Piersall became a Met long enough to hit his 100th homerun. He celebrated by running the bases backwards. He touched them all unlike "Marvelous Marv" Thornberry. Perhaps Marv should have run the bases backwards. Besides seeing the Jim Hickman walkoff homer to beat the Cubs I got to see the major league debut of Willie Stargell of the Pirates. He struck out a number of times in a brillantly pitched game by Carl Willey who lost 2-0 on a 2 run homer to Dick Lynch.
Baseball has stats for everything these days but if they kept stats for the most foul ball home runs Mets catcher Choo Choo Coleman would have led the majors.
The Mets had a new beginning in 1964 opening the season at Shea Stadium in Queens. It made it an easier sell to get dad to take me to games at Shea since we lived on Long Island. We went to one of the first games in April and saw the Mets beat the Cardinals (who went on to win the World Series that year) 4-3 behind Jack (Fat Jack) Fisher.
We shared Father's Day watching on t.v. Jim Bunning of the Phillies pitch a perfect game against the Mets.
1965 saw the retirement of Casey Stengel and Sandy Koufax pitch a perfect game against the Mets in L.A. (Has any team had 2 perfect games thrown against them in consecutive years)?
The Mets had a knack in those years of setting records of dubious distinction. The life lessons of learning to deal with adversity, failure and heartbreak continued for me and other Mets fans.