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Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?: The Improbable Saga of the New York Mets' First Year Kindle Edition
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For a taste of this highly enjoyable reminsicence of a legendary team's first season (1962), here's a couple of quotes from Chapter 1. Whether they're literal or invented by the author is for you to decide.
In 1961, the newly-organized expansion team hired Rogers Hornsby to scout both leagues to see what players would be available. All clubs had to give up two men each to the new Mets and Colt 45s.
Rajah worked from his home base in Chicago. Seeing American League games wasn't a problem as the White Sox played mostly at night, but all of the Cubs games were in the afternoon, and this was cutting heavily into Hornsby's time for racetrack plunging, a real annoyance for him.
Here's a comment about other clubs' possible castoffs that Hornsby made one Wrigley Field afternoon:
"They say we're going to get players out of a grab bag. From what I seen, it's going to be a garbage bag. Ain't nobody got fat off eating out of the garbage, and that's just what the Mets is going to have to do. This is terrible. I mean, this is really going to be bad."
So tell us what you REALLY think, Raj!
Was he ever right! Their first season, the NY Mets lost 120 games, doing so in the most creatively colorful way in baseball history.
On the occasion of his 73rd birthday, manager Casey Stengel drew thoughtfully on a cigarette, sipped a Manhattan at a hotel bar and recalled a particularly shocking game. He told of bringing a catcher up from Syracuse who could possibly control action on the basepath against a steal-intensive Dodgers club:
"...I don't want to be embarrassed. So we bring him and he is going to throw out these runners.
"We come in there and you never seen anything like it in your life. I find I got a defensive catcher, only who can't catch the ball. The pitcher throws. Wild pitch. Throws again. Passed ball. Throws again. Oops! The ball drops out of the glove. And all the time I am dizzy on account of these runners running around in circles on me and so forth.
"Makes a man think. You look up and down the bench and you have to say to yourself, 'Can't anybody here play this game?' "