Joe Pignatano – His New York Mets Career 1962

 

Joe Pignatano
Joe Pignatano

The Mets purchased the contract of Brooklyn born Joe Pignatano from the San Francisco Giants on July 13, 1962. Pignatano or “Piggy” as he was affectionately known finished out the season serving as the Mets backup catcher. He appeared in 27 games and hit .232 with 2 RBIs. His most famous at-bat occurred during his final plate appearance of the season and of his career when he hit into a triple play. Cubs 2nd baseman Ken Hubbs caught his pop fly and then caught Richie Ashburn and Sammy Drake on the bases.

 

Pignatano played the next two seasons in the minors before retiring in 1964. He returned to the Mets in 1968 as a member of Gil Hodges coaching staff and served as a Mets coach through the 1981 season. He was known for maintaining a tomato garden in the Mets bullpen. He started the tradition in 1969 when the Mets won the World Series and continued it throughout his tenure as Met coach.

While playing for the Mets Pignatano wore numbered 5.

Joe Pignatano also played for the following teams:
Brooklyn Dodgers – 1957
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1958-1960
Kansas City A’s – 1961
San Francisco Giants – 1962

Click Here for Mets Memorabilia

 

Advertisements

Bob Moorehead – His New York Mets Career 1962,1965

Bob MooreheadThe Mets drafted right-handed pitcher Bob Moorehead from the Cincinnati Reds in the 1961 Rue 5 draft.  He made his Major League debut in the first game in Mets history when he relieved starting pitcher Roger Craig in the 4th inning, He pitched 3 innings and allowed 6 hits and 5 runs (2 earned) as the Mets lost 11-4 to the St. Louis Cardinals.  He would appear in 38 games for the Mets in 1962, 31 out of the bullpen and 7 as a starter.  As a starter he went 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA.  Overall his record was 0-2 with a 4.53.

Moorehead spent the next 4 seasons in the minors and would not appear in another Major League game until 1965 when he as brought up at the end of August.  He appeared in 9 games for the Mets, all out of the bullpen, and posted a 0-1 record with a 4.40 ERA.

He spent one more season in the minors before retiring from baseball.  In 47 games his record was 0-3 with a 4.51 ERA.

While with the Mets Moorehead wore number 22 in 1962 and number 21 in 1965.

Click Here for Mets Memorabilia

 

Sammy Drake – His New York Mets Career 1962

Sammy DrakeInfielder Sammy Drake was drafted from the Chicago Cubs in the 1962 expansion draft.  He spent most of the 62 season on the minors playing for the Syracuse Chiefs before he was promoted to New York in August. He made his Mets debut on August 1st as a pinch hitter for pitcher Bob G. Miller against the Philadelphia Phillies.  He popped up to 3rd base as the Mets lost 11-9.  He recorded his first hit as a Met on August 7 against the Los Angeles Dodger, a pinch hit single that also drove in a run, unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Mets lost 7-5.  He would go onto appear in 25 games for the Mets, hitting .192 with 7 RBIs.  His most productive day occurred in a doubleheader loss to the Houston Colt 45’s on September 18.  In the first game he went 1 for 4 with an RBI and in game 2 he went 2 for 5 with a 3 RBIs.

Following the season Drake returned to the minors where he spent the next 3 seasons before retiring.

While with the Mets Drake wore number 12.

Sammy Drake also played for the Chicago Cubs in 1960 and 1961.

Click Here for Mets Memorabilia

 

Ray Daviault – His New York Mets Career 1962

Ray DavialutRight-handed pitcher Ray Daviault was drafted from the San Francisco Giants during the 1961 expansion draft.  He made his Major League debut with the Mets on April 13, 1962 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He pitched 2 innings and allowed 1 run in the Mets 4-3 loss.  He would appear in 36 games for the Mets in their inaugural season, 3 as a starter, and posted a 1 -5 record with a 6.22 ERA.    His only win came on July 7th against the St. Louis Cardinals when he pitched the final two innings.  Though he gave up the tying run in the 9th inning the Mets batters bailed him out and won on a walk off hit by Marv Throneberry. 

1962 would be his only season in the majors though he did remain in the Mets organization.  He pitched the entire 1963 season with the Buffalo Bisons, the Mets top farm club before being forced to retire due to arm injuries.  In 50 games for the Bisons he went 5-6 with a 3.62 ERA.

As a bit of trivia Daviault was the first Canadian born played to play with the Mets. 

While with the Mets Daviault wore number 35.

Click Here for Mets Memorabilia

Harry Chiti – His New York Mets Career 1962

Harry ChitiThe Mets acquired catcher Harry Chiti from the Cleveland Indians on April 26, 1962 in exchange for a player to be named later.  He made his Met debut two days later as a late inning defensive replacement against the Philadelphia Phillies, he struck out in his only at bat.  Chiti would go on to appear in 15 games for the Mets before he was sent back to the Indians on June 15, thus becoming the first player ever traded for himself.  At the time of the trade he was hitting .195.

While with the Mets Chiti wore number 44.

Harry Chiti also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1952,1955,1956
Kansas City A;s – 1958-1960
Detroit Tigers – 1960,1961

Click Here for Mets Memorabilia

 

 

Dave Hillman – His New York Mets Career 1962

Dave HillmanThe Mets purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Dave Hillman from the Boston Red Sox on April 26, 1962. He made his Met debut two days later when he pitched the 6th inning in their 8=6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies, he allowed one run and one hit. He would go on to appear in 13 games for the Mets, all but one out of the bullpen posting an 0-0 record with a 6.32 ERA. His one start came on May 21 against the Houston Colt 45’s, he lasted just 2 2/3 innings and gave up 4 hits and 2 earned runs.

His stint with the Mets would be his last in the Major Leagues.

While with the Mets Hillman wore number 34.

Dave Hillman also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1955-1959
Boston Red Sox – 1960,1961
Cincinnati Reds – 1962

Click Here for Mets Memorabilia

Gus Bell – His New York Mets Career 1962

Gus BellThe Mets selected Gus Bell, a former All-Star with the Cincinnati Reds, with their 8th pick in the 1961 expansion draft.  In their inaugural game, Bell was named the starting right fielder and has distinction of recording the first hit in franchise history, a second inning single.  That would be the highlight of Bell’s time with the Mets.  On May 12, the Mets sent Gus Bell to the Milwaukee Braves to complete an earlier trade made on November 28, 1961, a trade in which the Mets acquired Frank Thomas.

In 30 games for the Mets, Gus Bell hit .149 with one home run and six RBIs.  His one home run came as a pinch hitter for Jim Hickman on April 17 and tied the game in 9th inning against the Houston Colt 45’s, but the Mets would lose in extra innings.  

While with the Mets Bell wore number 3.

Gus Bell also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1952
Cincinnati Reds – 1953-1961
Milwaukee Braves – 1962-1964

Click Here for Mets Memorabilia

Jim Hickman – His New York Mets Career 1962-1966

Jim HickmanThe New York Mets drafted Jim Hickman, a career minor leaguer with the St Louis Cardinals, in the 1961 expansion draft.  An original Met he would play a total of five seasons for New York before being traded to the Dodgers following the 1966 season.  While with the Mets he was a steady player who put up some solid power numbers despite not hitting for much of an average.  He also became a walking trivia answer as he became the first Met to accomplish several feats.

Hickman made his Met as well as his Major League debut on April 14, 1962 as a pinch hitter for pitcher Al Jackson. For the record he popped up to shortstop.  He would eventually become a regular member of the Mets starting lineup, playing all three outfield positions.  He didn’t hit for much of an average, just .245, but put up some decent power numbers in his first season, 13 home runs (3rd most on the team), 18 doubles with 46 RBIs.

In 1963, he hit just .229 but managed to lead the team with 17 home runs and 6 triples. But his biggest accomplishment occurred on August 7th at the Polo Grounds when he became the first player in franchise history to hit for the cycle in the Mets 7-3 victory over the St Louis Cardinals.  It was a natural cycle meaning he hit a single, double, triple and home run in that order, at the time he was just the sixth player in Major League history to record such a feat.   Hickman also became the answer to another trivia question a month later when he became the last player to hit a home run at the old Polo Grounds, the Mets home stadium during their first two seasons.

His numbers over the next two seasons were more of the same, in 1964 he hit .257 with 11 homers and 57 RBIs and in 1965 he hit .236 with 15 home runs and 40 RBI’s.  In 1965, he accomplished another first in Met history when he became the first player to hit three home runs in a game on September 3rd against the St Louis Cardinals, the Mets won the game 6-3.

Hickman missed a majority of the 1966 season with a wrist injury, appearing in only 58 games.  Following the season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Ron Hunt in exchange for Tommy Davis and Derrell Griffith. 

His final Met numbers were a .241 average with 60 home runs and 210 RBIs in 624 games.

 While with the Mets Hickman wore number 9 from 1962-1965 and numbers 27 and 6 in 1966.

Jim Hickman also played for the following teams:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1967
Chicago Cubs – 1968-1973
St. Louis Cardinals – 1974

Click Here to Purchase Mets Memorabilia

 

 

Frank Thomas – His New York Met Career 1962-1964

Frank ThomasAn original Met who was acquired from the Milwaukee Braves, Frank Thomas would become the first legitimate power hitter in franchise history. Thomas led the 1962 Mets with 34 home runs and 94 RBIs while hitting a respectable .266. His 34 home runs remained the franchise record until 1975 when Dave Kingman broke it with 36. Thomas also led the 62 Mets in just about every offensive category including 23 doubles, 69 runs scored and 152 hits. On April 19, he also became the first player in franchise history to hit two home runs in a game, a feat he would accomplish five times during the season. As a bit of trivia Frank Thomas also hit the first home run at the Polo Grounds for the Mets, the Mets home ballpark in 1962.

His numbers diminished in his second season with the club as he appeared in only 126 games. But he did manage to still lead the team with 60 RBIs while hitting just 15 home runs. His average remained about the same at .260.

His tenure with the Mets came to an end in the middle of the 1964 season when he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for Gary Kroll and Wayne Graham. At the time, he was hitting .254 with just 3 home runs and 19 RBIs.

In his two plus seasons with the Mets Thomas hit .262 with 52 home runs and 173 RBIs.

While with the Mets Thomas wore number 25.

Frank Thomas also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1952-1958
Cincinnati Reds – 1959
Chicago Cubs – 1960,1961,1966
Milwaukee Braves – 1961,1965
Philadelphia Phillies – 1964,1965
Houston Astros – 1965

Click Here to Purchase Mets Memorabilia

 

Rick Herrscher – His New York Mets Career 1962

Rick HerrscherOn November 28, 1961, the Milwaukee Braves traded Frank Thomas and a player to be named later to the Mets in exchange for another player to be named later.  On May 21, 1962, the two teams completed the trade with the Mets sending Gus Bell to the Braves and the Braves sending minor leaguer Rick Herrscher to the Mets.

Herrscher made his Major League debut on August 1 as a pinch hitter for Choo Choo Coleman, he reached on an error.  Four days later he hit a 3-run home run against the Cincinnati Reds for his first Major League hit.  Herrscher finished out the season with the Mets appearing in 35 games while playing first base, third base, shortstop and the outfield.  He hit .220 with 1 home run and 6 RBIs. 

Herrscher spent the next two seasons playing in the Mets minor league system before retiring after the 1964 season.  Following his playing career, he went on to become a successful orthodontist 

While with the Mets Herrscher wore number 6.

Click Here to Purchase Mets Memorabilia