Time moves glacially between the last game before the All-Star break and the first game after it (a West Coast game, at that), but to make it through the final hours of the void, there is, thankfully, a time machine: Mets Yearbook. SNY is sprinkling in several greatest hits in the course of Thursday…
• 1976: 1:00 PM
• 1978: 1:30 PM
• 1984: 6:30 PM
• 1971: 7:00 PM
…and, come 9 o’clock (just ahead of Pregame Live), the network of record is debuting the twelfth installment in this magnificent series, Mets Yearbook: 1965.
It was originally produced under the charming title, Expressway to the Big Leagues, the implicit message being that when you have a team that’s going 50-112, you (if you’re a promising young ballplayer) have an excellent chance of getting a shot very soon.
The ’65 Mets were beginning to make good on that promise. Not every kid who comprised Casey Stengel’s final Youth of America class will ring recognizable to those who aren’t Tal-Metic scholars, but 1965 saw some serious seeds planted at Shea. Eddie Kranepool was the Mets’ All-Star representative. Ron Swoboda burst out of the gate with 19 home runs (16 of them by mid-July). Tug McGraw became the first Met pitcher to defeat Sandy Koufax. Cleon Jones and Bud Harrelson got their feet wet, too. The 1969 Mets and their twice as many wins could not have been envisioned four years in advance, yet a fifth of that world championship roster was, as of 1965, quietly settling into place.
That place may have been tenth, but the Mets were, as the Expressway theme suggests, on their way.
This seems like a good opportunity to mention again that if you want to understand the genesis of the Mets from historic losers to miraculous winners, you should read The Amazin’ Mets, 1962-1969 by Bill Ryczek. I first wrote about it here and you can order it for yourself here. It’s an incredible work.
This is also a good time to go to the polls and consider the candidacy of Howard Megdal for Mets GM. When not watching Mets Yearbook on Thursday, you can come back to FAFIF and read our in-depth interview with the candidate.
Image courtesy of kcmets.com.