Apart from being a Mets fan, I’m a baseball fan. I like to keep abreast of the goings-on of other teams and – as shocking as this may seem – I like to see what fans of other teams think about our club in Flushing. I’m also a fan of good writing. All this is brought together in a terrific compendium website The Baseball Think Factory. They post excerpts from articles from around the country, dealing in all issues baseball. I scan the comments sections of articles that interest me and as well. It’s a really great time-waster.
A couple of days ago, there was an excerpt from a letter from the old Pittsburgh writer, W.C. Heinz, detailing a bizarre Mets walkoff win from their inaugural season, with an accompanying newspaper article. In the comments section, someone posed the question, “Was this the first Mets walkoff?”
That question prompted me to do a little digging. What I found was…well…amazin’.
The first Mets walkoff win ever was actually two walkoff wins. On May 12, they played a double-header against the Milwaukee Braves. In game one , Hobie Landrith‘s two-run jack off Warren Spahn (!!!) gave the Mets the win. In game two, Gil Hodges followed suit with a solo shot off Hank Fischer.
Heck of a week, wouldn’t you say?
Combining that kind of fun baseball with Casey Stengel’s stage presence and slight-of-mouth? No wonder that team became media darlings, beloved for their ineptitude and moxie. No wonder they were likely the basis for the Bad News Bears movies. No wonder the fans flocked to the Polo Grounds and made the champion Yankees’ attendance look pedestrian by comparison. It’s also useful to note that without the benefit of those nine last-gasp wins, the Met’s record that year might have been 31-129, rather than the more round and famous 40-120.