Salty Parker – New York Mets Manager 1967

Salty ParkerSalty Parker is probably the least known manager in Mets history. When Wes Westrum stepped down as manager with 11 games left in the 1967 season, Salty Parker, whose real name was Francis, was given the job. Parker was a coach on Westrum’s staff at the time. He managed the final 11 games of the season and finished with a 4-7 record.

While managing the Mets Parker wore number 54.

Salty Parker also managed the Houston Astros in 1972

 

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Wes Westrum – New York Mets Manager 1965-1967

Wes WestrumWhen Casey Stengel was forced to step down as Met manager in 1965 due to a broken hip the Mets named Wes Westrum the second manager in franchise history. Westrum a former catcher with the New York Giants was serving as pitching coach at the time.

Westrum managed the final 68 games of the 1965 season and under his guidance, the Mets went 19 and 48. In 1966, his first full season, Westrum led the Mets to a 66 – 95 record, a 16 game improvement, and though it still marked the Mets 5th consecutive losing season it also marked the first time the Mets didn’t lose 100 games and the first time they didn’t finish in last place; they finished in 9th. Though they were not expected to win a World Series heading into 1967, there were still many who expected the Mets to build on the previous year’s 9th place finish. However, the Mets did not show much improvement and Westrum sensing that he was not going to be retained for the 1968 season resigned with 11 games left in the season. At the time, the Mets were 57 and 94 and fully entrenched in last place.

Westrum’s final record with the Mets was 142 and 237.

While managing the Mets Westrum wore number 51 in 1965 and number 9 from 1966-1967

Wes Westrum also managed the San Francisco Giants in 1974 and 1975.

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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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