Manager Casey Stengel theatrically pointing the way at the start of spring training in 1962.
“The history of the New York Mets began in 1962 when the team was introduced as part of the National League‘s first expansion of the 20th century. … 1962–1966: The Lovable Losers. In October 1961, the National League held an expansion draft to stock the rosters of the Mets and the Houston Colt .45s with players from other clubs. 22 players were selected by the Mets, including some with notable previous success such as Roger Craig, Al Jackson, Frank Thomas, and Richie Ashburn. But rather than select talented young players with future potential, Mets management preferred to sign faded stars of the Dodgers and Giants to appeal to fans’ nostalgia. Legendary Yankees manager Casey Stengel was hired out of retirement to lead the team, but his managerial acumen wasn’t enough to overcome the severe deficiency of talent among the players. 1962–63. The Mets took the field for the first time on April 11, 1962 against the St. Louis Cardinals (the first game, scheduled for April 10, was delayed due to rain). One apocryphal legend has it that in the first game, pitcher Roger Craig went into his windup with the Cardinals’ Bill White on third—and dropped the ball. Craig was charged with a balk, scoring White from third with the first run ever against the Mets. Despite Gil Hodges hitting the first home run in New York Mets history that day, the Mets went on to lose that game. It would be the first of nine straight losses to start the season en route to a 40–120 record, the worst record since MLB instituted the 162-game schedule for the National League that season. Their .250 winning percentage was the fourth worst in major-league history, and the third-worst of the modern era (since 1901). … The ineptitude of the Mets during their first year is chronicled in colorful fashion in the 1963 book Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?, written by New York columnist Jimmy Breslin. Beloved by New York fans despite—or perhaps because of—their losing ways, the Mets of the early 1960s became famous for their ineptitude. Journeyman players like the ironically nicknamed ‘Marvelous Marv’ Throneberry became icons of athletic incompetence. Ex-Dodger and Giant pitcher Billy Loes, who was acquired by the Mets after the 1961 expansion draft, was credited with the ungrammatical ‘The Mets is a good thing. They give everybody jobs. Just like the WPA.’ …”
W – History of the New York Mets
NY Times – 1962: The Bumbling Beginning
W – Kiner’s Korner
amazon: Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?: The Improbable Saga of the New York Met’s First Year by Jimmy Breslin, Bill Veeck
YouTube: New York Mets 1962, Casey Stengel takes “Stengelese” to a new level. Say What?, 1962 Mets Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges at the Polo Grounds