Blog Entry

Is the Fan Base Forgotten?

Posted on: June 26, 2011 2:18 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2011 6:49 pm

2011 marks the fiftieth year of Mets baseball starting with the 1961 expansion draft led to the first pick of Hobie Landrith, which then sparked manager Casey Stengels’ response to the press’s question as to why the team had chosen Landrith first “without a catcher there would be a lot of passed balls”.  I am convinced that if the Mets had selected Elio Chacon first instead of second, Casey would have said ‘without a second baseman there would be a lot of ball hit up the middle into centerfield’.  I was no longer the baseball version of Phillip Nolan; I was now a fan with a team.  Fifty years represents over 8000 games played, probably well over 2000 players who dressed in a Mets locker room, 20 managers, 4 World Series appearances, and 3 home stadiums. 

It also represents sadly only 3 numbers retired, 1 player in the Hall of Fame and only 1 player who spent a full career in a Mets uniform.  We have on the team today a player who could possibly fill all three of these sad statistics upon his retirement perhaps 10 years from now in the person of Jose Reyes.  It will be a while before we will know how this turns out.  What we can do and should do is to honor with a retired number some of those who have worn the uniform.  The Mets do have a Mets Hall of Fame which now numbers 25; it is a respectful measure to some of the contributors to the team from William Shea and Joan Payson at the very beginning to Ralph Kiner who still does an inning or so 20 or so times a season.  That is not the same commitment as a retired number which implies that no person will ever honor this number as much as you have.  It is an honor that MLB awarded to Jackie Robinson, our neighbors in NY have retired 15 numbers representing 16 players, and the Mets list is three including two managers.

Category: MLB

Since: Jul 10, 2009
Posted on: July 3, 2011 9:54 am

Is the Fan Base Forgotten?

Blitz,  He was a decent pitcher out of the bullpen, his best years being 1971-2.  But is the 1973 season , specifically the last month of '73' that Tug McGraw will always be remembered for.   At the end of August the Mets were in last place (10th) 9 games below .500, that is when Tug who was having a poor season caught fire and became the catalyst for the pennant drive spearheaded by his "Ya gotta bee-lieve".  It was undoubtedly my favorite stretch of Mets baseball from game 1 1962 till  today.

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: June 26, 2011 7:16 pm

Is the Fan Base Forgotten?

I would agree with Tug McGraw.  He already has received the honor of being on the Phillies Wall of Fame, something they only give out to one player a year (started in 1978 with Robin Roberts).  He played 10 seasons here, was a major part of the '80 championship.  I know he must have been a terrific player for the Phillies to go out and get him when they did after 9 seasons with the Mets.  The fact that he was pretty consistent for both teams in his 19 total seasons speaks volumes about what he provided for the team. 

Since: Feb 13, 2011
Posted on: June 26, 2011 6:41 pm

Is the Fan Base Forgotten?

Really good post Yogi, with a lot of good points.  I have to agree that the Mets have really not done enough to take care of their fans besides the annual giveaways and the special ethnic nights at the stadium.  It is really a shame that they seem to feel..."here is your new stadium, come drop a few hundred to see a game", and that's about it.  I used to go to Shea Stadium for 20-30 games a year when I was a single guy, starting actually when I was about 12 or 13 years old.  Loved the freedom of riding the trains from Brooklyn, through the city, and out to Flushing on the Number 7 train.  There was nothing better than watching the Mets with my hot dogs, knishes, and CrackerJacks.
Even during the dark days in the mid to late 70's, it was a great time to go with my friends, buy a cheap seat, and pay the usher a couple of bucks to move down to the box seats.  I sat near Pearl Bailey and even Mrs. Payson right near the Mets dugout a couple of times and that was a good seat!!  It paid off in the long run as I made friends with some of the long time ushers and was able to move down even when seats were hard to come by in the 80's.  When I met my wife, we still hit about 8-10 games a year and I continued the tradition with my son from 2003-2007.  In 2007, we moved the North Carolina and I have not been back to Flushing since.  Now it's all about catching the game on cable and talking about it with you guys and gals.  When people ask me what I miss the most about NY, the Mets is always my first answer.

I do think it is time for the Mets to retire a couple of uniform numbers, but, the debate over who to retire will be a good one.  The sympathetic number would be Gary Carter I guess, but I think he did not play in NY long enough to warrant it at this time with all things considered. My vote would be for one of 3 players:

Tug McGraw who played on both the 1969 and 1973 teams and personified the 1973 Mets with "Ya Gotta Believe"
His stats in 1969 were 9-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 12 saves and he saved 25 games in 1973.  he played 9 seasons for the Mets and had a 3.17 ERA with 85 saves.

Jerry Koosman who also played for both teams and won 140 games as a NY Met during his 12 years with the team.  He threw 108 complete games, 1799 K's, was 3-0 in the World Series and is probably the best lefthander in Mets history.

Mike Piazza is my third choice because his arrival brought respectability back to the Mets in 1998.  He was an All Star every year he wore a Mets uniform.  He hit .296 with 220 HR's and 655 RBI's during his 8 years with the Mets even though he played less than 130 games in 4 of the 8 years.  He holds the team record for RBI's in a season with 124 and his slugging percentage as a Met was .542 

Three different players for three different reasons...there's my two cents worth...Wink

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