Al Jackson – His New York Mets Career 1962-1965,1968,1969

Al JacksonThe Met drafted left-handed pitcher Al Jackson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1961 expansion draft.  He made his Mets debut as the starting pitcher in their third game in franchise history on April 14, 1962.  He allowed 6 runs over 7 innings as the Mets lost to the Pirates 6-2.   He earned his first win on April 29 when he pitched the first complete game shutout in franchise history against the Philadelphia Phillies.  He also pitched the first one-hitter in team history on June 22 against the Houston Colt 45.s.   Overall for the season he went 8-20 with a 4.40 ERA, the lowest on the team.  He also led the team with 4 shutouts and tied Roger Craig with 118 strikeouts. 

Jackson posted a 13-17 record with 3.96 ERA in 1963 leading the team in winds and strikeouts with 142. 

In 1964 he was named the Opening Day Starter, unfortunately he lost to the Phillies.  But he was the winning pitcher in the Mets first win at Shea Stadium when he pitched a complete game shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 19.  He finished with a 11-16 record and a 4.26 ERA once again leading the team in wins.  He also led the team with 11 complete games and 3 shutouts. 

Even though he won only 8 games in 1965 he tied with Jack Fisher for most on the team.  But he also finished with the second most losses on the team with 20.  He once again led the team in strikeouts with 120 and shutouts with 3.   His best game came on May 4 when he beat the Phillies 2-1 while striking out 10 batters.

Following the 1965 season he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Charley Smith in exchange for Ken Boyer.  He was traded back to the Mets on October 16, 1967 in exchange for Jack Lamabe

He appeared in 25 games for the Mets in 1968, 9 as a starter and the 16 out of the bullpen. He finished 3-7 with a 3.69 ERA. 

Jackson appeared in 9 games out of the bullpen in 1969 before his contract was sold to the Cincinnati Reds on June 13.  At the time his record was 0-0 with a 10.64 ERA.

In 184 career appearances for the Mets he posted a 43-80 record with a 4.26 ERA.

Jackson returned to the Mets organization in 1981 when he managed their minor league club the Kingston Mets.  He also served on the Mets coaching staff in 1999 and 2000.

While with the Mets Jackson wore number 15 from 1962-1965 and number 38 from 1968-1969.

Al Jackson also played for the following teams:
Pittsburgh Pirates – 1959,1961
St. Louis Cardinals – 1966,1967
Cincinnati Reds – 1969

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Charlie Neal – His New York Mets Career 1962-1963

Charlie NealThe Mets acquired Charlie Neal along with Willard Hunter from the Los Angeles Dodger on December 15, 1961 in exchange for Lee Walls.  He was the starting 2nd baseman and number 3 hitter in the first game in Mets history.  He went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs.   He drove in the first run in franchise history with a 3rd inning single that scored Richie Ashburn.  He also homered in the game but the lost 11-4. 

Neal got off to a strong start for the Mets during the month of April.  He led all Mets hitters with a .309 average with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs.  On April 28 he hit 2 home runs in helping the Mets defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6. 

Neal would go on appear in 136 games for the Mets in 1962, mainly as there 2nd baseman while also playing shortstop and 3rd base.  He batted .260 with 11 home runs (4th most on the team) and 58 RBIs (3rd most).  He led the team in triples with 9.

He returned to the Mets in 1963 but hit just .225 with 3 home runs with 18 RBIs and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with Sammy Taylor in exchange for Jesse Gonder on July 1.   He did have a 4-hit performance in the Mets 10-3 win over the Houston Colt 45’s on May 2.

In 208 games he batted .248 with 14 home runs and 76 RBIs.

While with the Mets Neal wore number 4.

Charlie Neal also played for the following teams:
Brooklyn Dodgers – 1956,1957
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1958-1961
Cincinnati Reds – 1963

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Grover Powell – His New York Mets Career 1963

Grover PowellThe Mets signed left-handed pitcher Grover Powell as an amateur free agent prior to the 1962, He made his Major League debut on July 13, 1963. He pitched an inning of scoreless relief in the Mets 11-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He appeared in 20 games, 16 out of the bullpen and 4 as a starter.  He posted a 1-1 record with a 2.72 ERA. 

As a starter he went 1-1 with a 0.86 ERA. His only victory came on August 20 when he pitched a complete game 4-hit shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies.  As a reliever he posted a 4.08 ERA in 28 2/3 innings.

1963 would be Powell’s only season in the Majors.  He remained in the Mets minor league system, but injuries limited his availability as he appeared in only 20 games from 1964 to 1966.

While with the Mets Powell wore number 41.

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Carlton Willey – His New York Mets Career 1963-1965

Carl willeyThe Mets purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Carlton Willey from the Milwaukee Braves just prior to the 1963 season.  He made his Met debut on April 11 when he pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the Mets 6-1 loss to the Milwaukee Braves.  He then entered the Mets starting rotation and pitched a complete game shut out against the Chicago Cubs on April 24.  He won his next two starts, also complete games, and pitched another shutout against the San Francisco Giants on May 18.  He went on to appear in 30 games, 28 as a starter and finished 9-14 with a 3.10 ERA, the lowest on the team.  He also led the team with 4 shutouts.    On July 15 against the Houston Colt 45’s he not only was the winning pitcher he also hit a grand slam home run.

He started the 1964 season on the disabled list after suffering a broken jaw in spring training, He appeared in just 14 games for the season, 3 as a starter, and posted an 0-2 record with a 3.60 ERA.

Willy split the 1965 season between the minors and the Mets.  He appeared in 13 games, mostly out of the bullpen and finished with a 1-2 record and 4.18 ERA.  His only win came in his last appearance of the season and of his career, a complete game over the Philadelphia Phillies on September 25.

Willey retired finally the season.  In three seasons for the Mets Willey appeared in 57 games and went 10-18 with a 3.29 ERA.

While with the Mets Willey wore number 28.

Carlton Willey also played for the Milwaukee Braves from 1958-1962.

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Casey Stengel – New York Mets Manager 1962-1965

Casey StengelThe New York Mets knew that they were not going to win many games when they joined the National League in 1962 and therefore they also knew that they needed someone who would help them attract fans to the ballpark. That was the main reason they tabbed Casey Stengel to be their first manager. Casey Stengel had managed the New York Yankees form 1949-1960, winning seven World Series titles and ten American League Pennants. However, he was unceremoniously let go after losing the 1960 World Series. Even though he was 71 years old, he still knew the game and was still a very popular figure in New York having also played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. Casey was known for his funny comments or ‘Stengelese”as the reporters called them and was always good for a quote which also helped divert attention from the inept play on the field.

During the Mets first Spring Training in 1962 Casey Stengel was looking to draw support for the team and was quoted as saying, “Come see my Amazin Mets.” The phrase stuck and the Mets would be forever known as the “Amazin Mets.” However, the only thing that was truly amazing about the Mets first year in the National League was their amazing ability to find new ways to lose games. They set a record for futility losing 120 games while winning just 40. Over the next two seasons, the Mets improved but still managed to lose over 100 games each season. However, with Casey leading the way, the fans still packed the ballpark as the Mets came to be known as “Lovable Losers.” However, in 1965 Stengel broke his hip and was forced to step aside as manager on August 30th.

Despite posting a dismal 175 and 404 record Stengel is still a beloved figure in Mets history as evidenced by the fact that the organization not only retired his number 37 but also inducted him into the Mets Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1981. In 1966, he was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Some of Casey’s most memorable Stengelisms while with the Mets

“Been in this game one-hundred years, but I see new ways to lose ’em I never knew existed before.”

“You have to have a catcher because if you don’t you’re likely to have a lot of passed balls.”

“You look up and down the bench and you have to say to yourself, ‘Can’t anybody here play this game?’”

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Galen Cisco – His New York Mets Career 1962-1965

Galen CiscoThe Mets purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Galen Cisco from the Boston Red Sox on September 7, 1962.  Two days later he made his Met debut against the Houston Colt 45’s when he relieved starter Craig Anderson in the first inning after Anderson gave up three runs to the first five batters.  Cisco would pitch four innings and allow two runs and five hits.  The game became memorable because it turned out to be a tie. The game was suspended after 8 innings due to a curfew, back in 1962 no inning could start after 7:00 PM on a Sunday night.  Cisco would appear in three more games and posted a 1-1 record and 3.26 ERA.  His only victory came on September 21 when he pitched a complete game four-hitter against the Chicago Cubs.

Cisco returned in 1963 and pitched in 51 games, 17 as a starter and 34 out of the bullpen.  He finished with a 7-15 record and 4.34 ERA.  His best game occurred on August 2 against the Milwaukee Braves.  He pitched 10 innings and allowed one unearned to earn the victory.

In 1964 he appeared in 36 games, 25 as a starter, and posted a 6-19 record and led the team with a 3.62 ERA.  He pitched five complete games and two shutouts. His first occurred on June 5 against the defending World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, the second came on July 12 against the Cincinnati Reds when he outpitched John Jay and won the game 1-0.

He once again split time between the starting rotation and bullpen in 1965.  He finished with a 4-8 record with a 4.49 ERA.  His best outing came on July 29 against the Chicago Cubs when he pitched a 4-hit shutout as the Mets won 14-0.

Cisco started the 1966 season in the minors where he appeared in five games for the Jacksonville Suns before the Mets sold him back to the Boston Red Sox on June 6.  In 126 games over four seasons, 61 as a starter, Cisco posted an 18 and 43 record with a 4.04 ERA.

While with the Mets Cisco wore number 26.

Galen Cisco also played for the following teams:
Boston Red Sox – 1961,1962, 1967
Kansas City Royals – 1969

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Gil Hodges – His New York Mets Playing Career 1962-1963

Gil HodgesWhen the Mets were looking to fill their roster at the 1961 expansion draft instead of going for youth they decided to select as many former stars as possible, especially those with ties to their forbearers the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. One of the players selected was first baseman Gil Hodges who was one of the most popular players in Brooklyn history.

Hodges was penciled in as the Mets Opening Day first baseman in 1962 and fittingly enough he hit the first home run in franchise history. But a bum knee limited him to just 54 games for the season. He hit .252 with 9 home runs and 17 RBIs. The only other highlight of his season occurred on May 12 when he hit a walk off home run during the second game of a doubleheader against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was memorable day for the Mets in an otherwise dismal season, as Hobie Landrith won the first game of the doubleheader with a walk-off home run of his own.

Hodges returned for the 1963 season but was traded to the Washington Senators for Jimmy Piersall after just 11 games where he became the Senators new manager. At the time of the trade Hodges was hitting just .227.

In 65 gamed for the Mets over two seasons, Hodges hit .248 with 9 home runs and 20 RBIs.

Hodges would return to the Mets in 1968 as their manager and would lead them to their first World Series title in 1969.

While with the Mets Hodges wore number 14.

Gil Hodges also played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943 and from 1947-1957 and the Los Angeles Dodges from 1958-1961

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Ted Schreiber – His New York Mets Career 1963

Ted SchreiberThe Mets drafted infielder Ted Schreiber from the Boston Red Sox in the 1962 Rule 5 draft.  He made his Major League debut with the Mets on April 14, 1963 as their starting third baseman and leadoff hitter.  He went 1 for 4 in the Mets 1-0 loss to the Milwaukee Braves. He spent the season splitting time between the Mets and their Triple A affiliate the Buffalo Bisons.  With the Mets, he appeared in 39 games and batted .160 with 2 RBIs. 

As a bit of trivia, he was the last batter in the final game played at the Polo Grounds, he grounded into a double play.

1963 would be Schreiber’s only season in the Majors but he did spend two more seasons in the minors with the Buffalo Bisons.

While with the Mets Schreiber wore number 43.

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Joe Hicks – His New York Mets Career 1963

Joe HicksThe New York Mets purchased outfielder Joe Hicks’ contract from the Washington Senators prior to the 1963 season.  He started his Met career playing for their top minor league team the Buffalo Bisons.  After hitting .320 with Buffalo, the Mets brought him to New York in the middle of July where he made his Met debut on July 12th, striking out as a pinch hitter against Sandy Koufax.  He moved into the starting lineup the next day and was hitting .351 after ten games. It looked like the Mets may have found an outfielder worth keeping, especially after he hit a home run in three straight games from July 16-18 while driving in seven.  He hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning on July 17th against the San Francisco Giants to give the Mets the victory.

But unfortunately, his fast start did not last and Hicks finished the season hitting just .226 with 5 home runs and 22 RBIs in 56 games.  Hicks returned to Buffalo in 1964 and spent the next two seasons playing for the Bisons.  He put up decent numbers, a .297 batting average with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs but did not get the call back to New York.  He spent one more season playing for the Bisons in 1966 but they were now part of the Cincinnati Reds organization.  He retired following the 1966 season. 

While with the Mets Hicks wore number 22.

Joe Hicks also played for the following teams:
Chicago White Sox – 1959,1960
Washington Senators – 1961,1962

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Pumpsie Green – His New York Mets Career 1963

Pumpsie GreenThe Mets acquired third baseman Pumpsie Green from the Boston Red Sox on December 12, 1962 along with Tracy Stallard and Al Moran in exchange for Felix Mantilla.  Prior to coming to the Mets Green hit .246 in four seasons for the Red Sox.  He also was the first black player in Red Sox history.

Green would start the 1963 season with the Buffalo Bisons; the Mets triple A affiliate, before getting the call in September.  He made his Mets debut on September 4 as a pinch hitter for Galen Cisco against the St Louis Cardinals. For the record Green walked.  Pumpsie would finish out the season playing third base. He appeared in 17 games and hit .278 with a home run and five RBIs.  His one home run came on September 17, a two-run shot against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Green played the entire 1964 season and part of the 1965 season with the Buffalo Bisons before retiring as a player.

While with the Mets Green wore number 18.

Pumpsie Green also played for the Boston Red Sox from 1959-1962.

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