If you’re a Mets fan who likes to read, read George Vecsey recounting his recent visit with 1962-1964 Met pitcher Craig Anderson, who finished his career on an 18-game losing streak but not before he crammed two wins into one day, fifty years ago tomorrow. For a man whose name became statistically synonymous with “loss,” Anderson sure sounds like one of life’s winners.
As Vecsey puts it in typically eloquent terms, “Craig Anderson is much more than a has-been. In this milepost season, he is part of the DNA of every fan who agonizes over the Mets.” A hearty Let’s Go Mets! to that sentiment and to all the 1962 Mets who are still with us…and deserve to be with us en masse at Citi Field (and us with them) sometime this season. Vecsey again:
Fifty years is a perfect time for gauging this franchise, built on hope and dreams and irrationality and humor — the veritable human condition, one could say. Those first weird days flavor everything fans feel about these current Amazing Mets, who are somehow over .500 under their pepper-pot manager Terry Collins.
The current Mets are 18-13. The Original Mets didn’t notch an 18th win until they’d already piled up 47 defeats. Their 18th win, on June 22, 1962, came as Anderson’s final two wins did: in a doubleheader. It was pitched by Al Jackson and happened to be the franchise’s first one-hitter. You may have heard we’re about to turn the odometer over on our No Games With Fewer Than One Hit Allowed journey. We play our 8,000th game tonight, with the roundest of numbers, 0, describing just how many no-hitters Mets pitchers have thrown. The same round number can be used to total all the wins Craig Anderson racked up over his final 47 major league appearances, every one of them as a Met, the last of them in a game the Mets required 23 innings to lose…also in a doubleheader.
What’s it all mean? It means read George Vecsey’s article; consider reading David Bagdade’s devotedly researched book about 1962, A Year In Mudville; appreciate Craig Anderson and all those early Mets who did the hard work of getting us off the ground floor (if not out of the basement for five years); and if Johan Santana pitches a 1-2-3 first tonight in Miami, don’t hold your breath.
Or hold it. It’s not like anything else has worked where all those zeroes are concerned.