#Shortstops: Amazin’ photo
Every baseball team loses. Some teams lose a lot. But perhaps no team in history remains more synonymous with losing than the 1962 New York Mets.
2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the inaugural New York Mets team. After a four-year absence following the move of the Dodgers and Giants to California following the 1957 season, National League baseball was brought back to the Big Apple in 1962. Donning the blue of the Dodgers and the orange of the Giants, the Metropolitans were ready to join the Yankees on the city’s big league stage.
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The New York Mets had a fine pedigree. They were led by seven-time World Series champion manager Casey Stengel. They had an unusually established and passionate fanbase for such a young team. They had a thriving media market that any expansion franchise would covet. The only thing they were missing was victories.
The Mets would continue to be among the worst teams in the league until their surprise run to the World Series in 1969. Still, the 1962 team has secured its spot in baseball lore. Considering how poorly the team performed on the field, the amount of fan support the Mets received was remarkable. In only their first season, the Mets outpaced many well-established teams in total attendance, including the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs.
There was something about the underdog Mets that made people want to root for them, no matter how many games they won (or didn’t win). Sixty years later, the Mets are still remembered fondly.
“We were loved before a pitch was thrown,” recalled left-handed pitcher Bob Miller (one of two Bob Millers to pitch on the ‘62 team). “It was truly an extraordinary time.”
Justin Hill is a 2022 public programs intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development