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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Let a Smile Be Your Frisella

Jason Maoz of the Jewish Press recently published a heartfelt appreciation of all baseball has meant to him since the summer Tom Seaver (the Matt Harvey of his day, I hear) began to illuminate our landscape. Maoz has been a faithful Mets fan going back more than 45 years now, and as such, has never forgotten a particular kindness bestowed on him by a pitcher who proved mighty terrific in his own way one sparkling evening at Shea Stadium.

[J]ust as we were about to dejectedly make our way up to the cheap seats, a stubble-jawed player who’d been watching us from the edge of the infield walked over and said, “Hey, wait a sec, guys.”
And so it was that Daniel Vincent Frisella, a spot starter and reliever who, though having a fine season, would never quite fulfill his potential, spent the next ten minutes signing every yearbook, scorecard and baseball thrust in his face, chatting away as if he were an old friend of ours.

Danny Frisella was the righthanded complement to Tug McGraw in Gil Hodges’s 1971 bullpen. Together, they pitched more than 200 innings, struck out more than 200 batters and totaled 19 wins to go with 20 saves — while each reliever kept his earned run average below two. Like Gil and Tug, Danny is, sadly, long gone. Yet knowing the spirit of his deed lives on every bit as indelibly as his stats reassures one about…I don’t know…maybe it’s that the intersection of baseball and humanity makes for a ceaselessly fascinating boulevard; maybe it’s that bullpens are historically bastions of decency; maybe it’s just something nice to think about on a night when once again there was no game and not much else to be happy about. Take your pick. It’s a sweet story in a very thoughtful essay and I hope you read it here.

7 comments to Let a Smile Be Your Frisella

  • Patrick O'Hern

    Very nice. Ultimets database also has some great fans stories on Frisella with his wife’s comments on the stories.

  • March'62

    And if I’m not mistaken, Frisella didn’t let any ground balls go thru his legs in the World Series. The way things are going we’re gonna need to let Frisella be our snow blowing fella.

    Greg, reaching all the way to the Jewish Press for some Met news. You are the source for all things Mets. Can I expect updates from you if someone is selling Mets gear thru the Irkutsk Pennysaver?

  • Joe D.

    Remember Danny quite well and he had a tremendous sense of humor. I remember during a rain delay he as asked by Ralph Kiner to show us how he gripped the ball. What he did was sing “dah, dah, dah-dah, dah dah, dah. dah, dah,dah-dah, dah dah daah”. Anyone who remembers that then knows who left the Carol Burnett show to have his own short-lived comedy variety hour.

  • StorkFan

    My background is very similar to Jason’s. Both my parents were Holocaust survivors. (We just say “survivors;” no one in our circles would confuse it with a TV show.) Dad had no interest in sports. Mom had a brother who got out before World War II and became a rabid Brooklyn Dodgers fan who moved to LaCrosse, WI. (He met a girl while in basic training there.) When he visited New York he would the TV and the radio on simultaneously while reading the sports section. Mom became a baseball fan just so she could talk to him. (My sister is nine years older than me. About the only thing I am jealous of her is that she went to a game at Ebbetts Field as a child.) My uncle died of leukemia in 1957 at age 37 — about a month after the last game in Brooklyn. I was born two years later and was named for him. Mom converted to the Mets when they were born and the rest is history. She’s not with us anymore, but I like to think there’s a part of heaven where they have WOR and Mom’s watching Lindsey and Murph call the games.

  • David

    When I was in 8th grade in 71 or 72 in upstate Rockland County, my school baseball team had an awards dinner and Danny Frisella came to the dinner and spoke. What a great guy.

  • JerseyJack

    I can totally relate to that story , since like Jason & StorkFan. ,my parents are survivors & I grew up w/ the ’69 Mets. Unfortunately, my dad never took a liking to baseball nor took me to a game, so I missed out on that father-son bonding experience. Interestingly , I have one game-used ’69 Mets jersey and it happens to be #29 – Frisella!

  • Duffystaub

    In 1968 my family went on vacation to Puerto Rico. Dad and I went to a game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Someone knew Frank Fernandez (a Yankees scrub) and we were escorted to the dugout during the game! Frisella was on the team and gave me an autographed ball and was glad to hear we were Mets fans. I never knew he seemed to have other positive experiences with other fans. But after 45 years I realize he was the only one to talk to a 10 year old kid during the game.