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.

The next bunny-hop to the clubhouse came three days later, when Landrith played the hero once again, looking at ball four with the bases loaded against our future friend Cal Koonce, then of the Cubs.

Then, it was the very next day, when Felix Mantilla‘s liner to third base off Chicago’s Glenn Hobbie plated John DeMerit.

Heck of a week, wouldn’t you say?

There were five others that season – including the game detailed in the article, which saw Marv Throneberry coach first base, then deliver the game-winning blow in the bottom of the ninth.

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.

Amazin’!

One comment on “May 12 – 16, 1962: The Week The Mets Became Amazin’

  • Brian Joura

    I clicked on the “bunny hop” link and the first two names batting for the Cubs were Lou Brock and Ken Hubbs. How different it would have been if Chicago had those two in the lineup the rest of the decade!

    Enjoyed this piece!

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