Recently, I was able to speak to several members of original 1962 Mets: Ed Kranepool, Frank Thomas, Jay Hook, Craig Anderson and Gil Hodges’ wife, Joan.
They reminisced about the early days of the franchise, which I will chronicle in a series in early March.
However, in talking to Anderson, I was made aware that the team’s finances was preclude them from bringing back members of the 1962 “Lovable Losers.”
Throughout the season, the Mets plan to honor notable figures from the team’s history. Hopefully we’ll see members of the 1969 World Series team at Citi Field as well as the 1986 champions, though it will be strange and sad to see those players without the late Gary Carter.
But even though the ’62 Mets finished 60.5 games out of first place, Mets baseball started with these men.
As an expansion team, the Mets were able to choose a few players from each of the eight other National League teams that were not protected by that team. Therefore, many of the ’62 Mets, like Hodges, Thomas, Richie Ashburn, Gus Bell and Don Zimmer were league veterans.
All the players I spoke to agreed that the fan support for this team was off the charts. Once the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants moved out west after the 1957 season, there was a void of National league baseball in New York.
So once the Mets formed, these disgruntled Dodgers and Giants fans were able to unite in rooting for the Mets, rather than turn over to the dark side (the Yankees).
Even were the perpetual losing, it was a memorable year nonetheless and deserves a special place in both Mets and baseball history.
Maybe it’s because the Mets were so bad that year, but you never hear about the 1962 Houston Colt .45’s, who were also an expansion team that year. Granted, we are Mets fans but still, the ’62 Mets are known throughout baseball (if not by individual player, but by the whole team).
I can vouch for many Mets fans who would love to see a ’62 reunion this season at Citi Field, especially since I wasn’t around to see them play. Hopefully, the team does the right thing.