Gary Kroll – His New York Mets Career 1964-1965

Gary KrollThe Mets acquired right-handed pitcher Gary Kroll from the Philadelphia Phillies along with Wayne Graham on August 7, 1964 in exchange for Frank Thomas.  He made his Met debut on August 22 against the Chicago Cubs.  As the starter he lasted six innings and allowed three runs by suffered the loss as the Mets lost 3-2.  He appeared in 8 games, two as a starter, and finished with a 0-1 record and 4.15 ERA.

He returned in 1965 and split time between the starting rotation and bullpen.  He appeared in 32 games and posted a 6-6 record with a 4.45.  He started 11 games and went 2-5 with a 6.22 ERA.  He appeared in 21 games out of the bullpen and posted a 4-1 record with a 2.43 ERA. He earned his first career victory in his first appearance of 1965 on April 18.  He allowed 4 hits and 1 run over 7 innings as the Mets won 7-1.   

Following the season, the Mets traded Kroll to the Houston Astros.  In 40 appearances for the Mets he went 6-7 with a 4.39 ERA.

While with the Mets Kroll wore number 25.

Gary Kroll also played for the following teams:
Philadelphia Phillies – 1964
Houston Astros – 1966
Cleveland Indians – 1969

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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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Tom Parsons – His New York Mets Career 1964,1965

Tom ParsonsThe Mets purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Tom Parsons from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the end of the 1964 season. He appeared in four games for the Mets during the month of September two as a starter and two out of the bullpen. He posted a 1-2 record with a 4.19 ERA. His one victory came on the last day of the season when he pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief in the Mets 15-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals

Parsons spent the entire 1965 season with the Mets splitting time between the starting rotation and the bullpen but posted a miserable 1-10 record with 4.67 ERA. His one victory was a complete game six hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs on July 5.

Following the season, the Mets traded Parsons to the Houston Astros for catcher Jerry Grote. In 39 appearances for the Mets Tom Parsons posted a 2 -12 record with 4.58 ERA.

While with the Mets Parsons wore number 27.

Tom Parsons also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1963.

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Wayne Graham – His New York Mets Career 1964

Wayne GrahamThe Mets acquired 3ed baseman Wayne Graham from the Philadelphia Phillies along with Gary Kroll in exchange for Frank Thomas on August 7, 1964.  He made his Met debut on the same day against his former team; as a pinch hitter for pitcher Darrell Sutherland and reached on a fielder’s choice in his only at bat as the Mets lost 9-4.  He recorded his first hit as a Met on August 12 an 8th inning double in the Mets 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Graham went on to appear in 20 games for the Mets and batted .091 (3 for 33).

Graham spent the entire 1965 season playing for the Mets top minor league club, the Buffalo Bisons, where he batted .243 with 3 home runs and 52 RBIs.

On February 22, 1966 the Mets traded Graham back to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Bobby Klaus and Jimmie Schaffer in exchange for Dick Stuart.

While with the Mets Graham wore number 4.

Wayne Graham also played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1963.

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Bobby Klaus – His New York Mets Career 1964,1965

Bobby KlausThe Mets purchased the contract of infielder Bobby Klaus from the Cincinnati Reds on July 19,1964.  He was brought over to fill-in at second base for an injured Ron Hunt.  He made his Met debut on July 30 as the starting second baseman and leadoff hitter, he went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.  He would than go on to hit safely in 7 out of his next 10 games, batting .302 over that span.  When Hunt returned from his injury Klaus shifted to third base.

For the season Klaus appeared in 56 games and batted .244 with 2 home runs and 11 RBIs.  Some of the highlights of his season included a 4 for 6 performance in the Mets 12-4 victory over the Phillies on August 16.  On August 23 against the Cubs his 7th inning home run broke a 3-3 tie and paved the way for the Mets victory.

Klaus spent the entire 1965 season with the Mets appearing in 119 games, he hit just .191 with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs.  The highlight of his season came on April 15 when he hit a 10th inning walk off home against the Houston Astro.

Following the season Klaus was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Wayne Graham and Jimmie Schaffer for Dick Stuart.  In 175 games for the Mets he hit .213 with 4 home runs and 23 RBIs.

While with the Mets Klaus wore number 6.

Bobby Klaus also played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1964.

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Roy McMillan – His New York Mets Playing Career 1964-1966

Roy McMillanRoy McMillan, a former All-Star and gold glove shortstop, was nearing the end of his career, when the Mets acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers on May 8, 1964 in exchange for pitcher Jay Hook.  He made his Met debut on May 9th as the starting shortstop and went 0-3 at the plate.  He would finish out the season as their everyday shortstop, he hit .211 with a home run and 2 RBIs.  His one home run came on September 7, a two-run shot in the Mets 7-5 victory over the Houston Colt 45’s.

McMillan returned in 1965 and led the team in game played with 157 (at the time a franchise record) while also leading the team with 106 singles.  For the season, he hit .242 with a home run and 42 RBIs.   His most productive streak occurred from August 16-28 when he hit .333 with 8 RBIs over 14 games.

In what would be his last season as a Major League player, McMillan saw less playing time in 1966 appearing in just 76 games.  He hit just .214 with a home run and 12 RBIs.  Despite his low batting average, he did have a few highlights at the plate for the season.  On May 29 against the Dodgers he drove in the winning run in the 9th inning with a single.  He hit his last career home run on July 20 against future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants.  It broke a 1-1 tie in the 8th inning in a game the Mets would win in 10 innings.

For his Mets career McMillan appeared in 346 games and hit .226 with 3 home runs and 79 RBIs.

McMillan returned to the Mets and served as coach from 1973-1976.  He even served as interim manager in 1975 following the firing of Yogi Berra. In 53 games his record was 26-27.

While playing for the Mets McMillan wore number 11.

Roy McMillan also played for the following teams:
Cincinnati Reds – 1952-1960
Milwaukee Braves – 1961-1964

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George Altman – His New York Mets Career 1964

George AltmanWhen the Mets acquired George Altman from the St. Louis Cardinals in 1963 they thought they were getting an outfielder who would be the cornerstone of the team for the next few years.  After all he was only 30 years old and a former All Star.   But his tenure with the Mets was disappointing to say the least.  He made his Met debut in the first game played at Shea Stadium on April 17th, 1964 as the starting right fielder and went 0 for 4.  It would be a sign of things to come as Altman, a career .285 hitter, wound up hitting just .230 for the Mets in 124 games.  However, he did put up decent power numbers with 9 home runs and 47 RBIs.   His best game with the Mets came on May18th against the San Francisco Giants when he went 3 for 4 and hit a 3 run homer in the top of the 8th inning in the Mets 4-2 victory.

Following the season George Altman was traded to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Billy Cowan.  He played three seasons with the Cubs before finishing his career playing in Japan.

While with the Mets Altman wore number 2.

George Altman also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1959-1962, 1965-1967
St. Louis Cardinals – 1963

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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

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