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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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The 2018 Oscar’s Cap Awards

Sure, Oscar Madison’s column was a big deal in the New York Herald sports section, but who made sure Oscar’s copy made its way from Oscar’s messy desk to his editor? None other than his secretary Myrna Turner. The same Myrna Turner who made halftime history showing off her tap dancing bona fides at the Alabama-Mississippi game. The same Myrna Turner who peered into a bank of inscrutable dots and discerned at once she was running late. The same Myrna Turner who, when she learned her boss’s super’s son was wriggling around under Mr. Madison’s bed because he was looking for an outlet, had the common sense to ask, “Have you tried tennis?”

Myrna left the paper when she married Sheldn (the “o” was left off his birth certificate), but we know that somewhere — mostly in reruns — she continues to assist Oscar, just as we know Oscar continues to do sports columnists everywhere proud by having the clout to a) rate a secretary and b) eschew objectivity in favor of showing his favoritism.

Oscar, whether he was covering baseball, theater or the flower show (“the flowers smelled good”), could always be counted to shed his rumpled suit and don his Mets cap. It was usually backwards, which is fine, because this is the feature when we, too, look backward on the year in Mets popular culture. Yes, it is time to hand out our seventh annual Oscar’s Cap Awards.

We didn’t even have to peer into a bank of inscrutable dots to know that.

Oscar’s Caps are tipped to film, television, music, literature, sundries, what have you in which the Mets show up strongly or subtly. It could be from a work of art that first saw light in 2018; it could just as easily be from something we only just got around to noticing from way back when. We keep an eye and an ear out for the sight and sound of Metsiana where we’re not necessarily expecting to see and hear it. We also rely on the kindness of fellow attentive consumers of pop culture who diligently share accounts and descriptions of what they’ve caught Metwise lately.

Unlike Oscar, Myrna didn’t wear a Mets cap, nor did she ever much indicate an outsize interest in baseball. Must have been that SEC football background. As for Penny Marshall, who made Myrna real (and who passed away on December 17), she merely altered every fan’s frame of reference when she directed 1992’s A League of Their Own. Not a Met credit per se, but certainly an indelible one. Or have you not heard the canard about the prohibition on crying in baseball?

One member of the crew that shot A League of Their Own was an aspiring filmmaker named Sam Hoffman, a Mets fan who also served as body double for Geena Davis when catcher Dottie Hinson needed to make a bullet of a throw to second. Twenty-five years later, Hoffman would write and direct a charming movie called Humor Me that showed there is lingering bitterness in baseball:

“They’re winning, 7-2, ninth inning. But watch, they will find a way to blow it. This closer is horrible.”
“Who are they playing?”
“Philly. Remember how you used to hate the Phillies? You went crazy when they traded Dykstra and McDowell for that — what the hell was that guy’s name?”
“Juan Samuel.”
“Juan Samuel. That was a horrible trade.”

That exchange between father (Elliott Gould as Bob Kroll) and son (Jemaine Clement as Nate Kroll) would rate an Oscar’s Cap on its own merit, as would a scene in which Nate finds “ticket stubs from Mets games” in Bob’s storage locker. But Marshall protégé Hoffman earned a veritable Oscar’s Batting Helmet this year for the following credit:

In Madam Secretary, Season 4 Episode 18, “The Friendship Game” (April 22, 2018; directed by the aforementioned Hoffman), Matt Mahoney (Geoffrey Arend) walks up to meet his blind date Afia Naroogi (Nikki Massoud) at a movie theater showing the baseball documentary Man on Third. In doing so, he passes Greg Prince and Jason Fry of Faith and Fear in Flushing, “the blog for Mets fans who like to read”. Both Prince and Fry are wearing caps that display the FAFIF logo while they wait on line for the fictional film.

Yes, that’s us. If you missed the backstory, you can read all about our unlikely day as CBS extras here.

On October 9, 1969, there was witchcraft in baseball. Of course there was, you might infer, given that the Mets had three days earlier won the pennant and two days hence would be in the World Series. On this Thursday night between vanquishing Braves and upsetting Orioles, Samantha Stevens was overtaken by hunger on “Samantha’s Curious Cravings”, the fourth episode of the sixth season of Bewitched. One of the places she found herself in search of food is Shea Stadium, where quite suddenly she’s chowing down on a hot dog while Willie Davis hits a grand slam. She had been urged to think about something besides food, which eventually led her to contemplating hot dogs, and where else is a witch gonna go?

On April 10, 1974, there was baseball on Kojak. Telly Savalas may have loved ya, baby, but it was Kevin Dobson’s character Bobby Crocker who was the detective show’s resident Mets fan, at least once sporting a wool Mets cap similar to that given away one Fan Appreciation Day. In the Season One episode “Therapy In Dynamite” (S 1 E21, April 10, 1974), part of the plot hinges on a twi-night doubleheader between the Mets and Braves. Players namechecked include Tug McGraw, Rusty Staub, Cleon Jones, Marty Perez, Mike Lum and Hank Aaron. One line that stands out: “Now, me, I know why I’m mad. Because the Mets lost a doubleheader yesterday.” Another exchange features a bet over a Mets-Cubs game. Put that in your lollipop and suck it.

Before Joey Bishop tried his hand at hosting a late night talk show on ABC, the Rat Pack’s comedian-in-residence played a sitcom version of himself on The Joey Bishop Show. In “Joey and the L.A. Dodgers” (May 2, 1964; Season 3, Episode 28), the Mets for some reason hosted the Dodgers in an exhibition game that headed to the 27th inning, keeping six Dodgers — Don Drysdale, Ron Perranoski, Willie Davis, Moose Skowron, future Met Tommy Davis and future Met manager Frank Howard — from appearing on Joey Barnes’s TV show. Per Vin Scully’s call, Casey Stengel sent up Duke Snider as his last pinch-hitter and Duke hit a ball that sounded on the radio as if it was gonna end the ballgame, but Willie Davis made a spectacular catch in the bottom of the 26th. Fortunately it started raining (after a rain dance from Joey’s manager Larry Corbett) and the special guests could make it after all to re-enact the Las Vegas stage show they had performed with Joey at an earlier date Though Shea Stadium was in its first weeks, the ballpark where the game was being played was never mentioned…and Snider was sold to the Giants before the 1964 season started.

“Tell Alan that the Mets suck — from me, big time. Go Pirates!”
—Michael Scott (Steve Carrell), The Office, “Hot Girl,” Season 1, Episode 6, April 26, 2005

Late night talk shows, what with their emphasis on topicality and comedy, continued their tradition of spotlighting Mets baseball. Most prominently, on July 20, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert presented Stephen’s visit to Citi Field (taped June 8) to offer some ideas to pick up baseball’s pace of play. The host interacted with Todd Frazier in the dugout, Jerry Blevins and Kevin Plawecki in the bullpen, Seth Lugo on the field and Noah Syndergaard in the tunnel. He did trust falls and worked on mound visits with Blevins and Plawecki; introduced Frazier to “Young Todd Frazier” and worked Lugo, Syndergaard, Frazier and Plawecki into romantic baseball cards. Stephen also sang the national anthem, rode a scooter around the track and described stretching as everybody looking for their contact lenses.

Three months earlier, on April 17, Method Man of Wu-Tang Clan wore a Darryl Strawberry 1986 Mets jersey and a Mets cap as he and Ghostface Killah appeared in a sketch with Colbert. Method Man’s outfit got more exposure in a widely circulated Instagram photo he and his bandmate took with author and former FBI director James Comey, who was Colbert’s main guest on the same episode.

On November 27, currently inactive late night host Jon Stewart took over the Late Show desk from Colbert for a few segments during which he interviewed his former Daily Show correspondent. True to form, Stewart used the Mets as an example of the kind of small talk fodder he favors.

On July 19, Cousin Sal hosted a segment in Times Square on Jimmy Kimmel Live while wearing a Mets cap, which Sal referred to as embarrassing. Kimmel (like Stewart a Mets fan) agreed the Mets are having a “sad” season.

The season may never have been sadder than at the end of July when the Mets fell to the Nationals by a scant 21 runs. On August 1, Jimmy Fallon observed on The Tonight Show, “Last night the Mets lost, 25-4. Or as Mets fans put it, ‘Sweet, we scored four runs!’” Kimmel also poked fun at the 25-4 loss, saying letting Jose Reyes pitch was akin to the IT guy at your office handing you back your laptop and telling you he’s stumped, why don’t you try fixing it?

Late Night with Seth Meyers spoofed in impressive detail the Terry Collins-Tom Hallion rhubarb video in the context of making a Trump joke on June 18.

On the September 21, 2018, edition of Real Time With Bill Maher, the host told guest Michael Moore that unlike other celebrities, he doesn’t have any “stupid hobbies,” except for continuing on as a minority-share owner of the Mets.

On the third episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, which first aired on Netflix, March 9, 2018, David Letterman asks Malala Yousafazi, “Yankees or Mets?” A befuddled Malala replies, “What’s Yankees?” The audience applauds.

How long have the Mets been a part of late night? Well, in a promo for the May 13, 1987, episode of Late Night With David Letterman, Jay Leno and Gary Carter compete in a written test of baseball and comedy knowledge to see who will be Dave’s first guest. Gary loses out because he doesn’t know who the manager of the Seattle “Giggles” is.

But it goes back far further. In the summer of 2018, video from an August 1964 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson surfaced in which the host (whose program in those days emanated from New York) refers to the harmonica incident between Yogi Berra and Phil Linz and, as an aside, notes the Mets have won four games in a row

In the current Netflix animated series Big Mouth, the teen characters announced with authority in 2017 that they were Mets fans. The kids said “Let’s Go Mets” and a Yankees pennant was put to use as an emergency tampon.

On the 1965-66 NBC series My Mother The Car, Ann Sothern, reincarnated as a 1928 Porter, explained her newly automotive self to her son Jerry Van Dyke: “I’ve heard of something called the New York Mets. If they’re possible, I’m possible.”

“That edition has more errors than an early Mets game!” is something you would have heard had you been paying attention in the 1960s to PDQ Bach, described by a fan as “Weird Al Yankovic meets classical music”.

In the deliciously tense 2018 novel, Righteous Assassin: A Mike Stoneman Thriller by Kevin G. Chapman, Todd Frazier hits a grand slam for the Mets at Wrigley Field, as heard over a cop car’s radio.

Comic Jim Breuer, whose Facebook videos accompanied the Mets’ surge in 2015, couldn’t help but lapse into his Joe Pesci impression while visiting Howard Stern on SiriusXM on January 8, 2018, and, in character, talked about being at a Mets game.

Will & Grace rebooted itself for a ninth season and put itself to good use on January 18, 2018, with “The Wedding” (Season 9, Episode 10) on NBC, when Vince (Bobby Cannavale) appears with “one of my famous homemade soaps. Look, made from real shea butter. I call it Shea Stadium. It smells Amazin’. You know, ’cause the Mets?” Then, to quizzical looks, he realizes, “Wrong crowd.”

In the 2017 GQ video, “Fred Armisen and Bill Hader Tell the Very True History of Simon and Garfunkel,” it is explained that the musical duo was less interested in music than “Da Mets”. Hader: “They would finish a song and go, ‘Oh man, I just wanna get out of the studio so we could go see the METS play!’”

“Give me the name of a baseball player.”
“Darryl Strawberry.”
“No, a real one!”
—Frasier and Martin Crane, Frasier, “A Cranes’ Critique,” Season 4, Episode 4, October 22, 1996

Documentaries don’t have to be about Mets baseball to remind us of Mets baseball. The American Masters Itzhak Perlman episode (PBS, October 14, 2018) begins with the subject arriving at Citi Field in his PERLMAN 70 jersey, riding through the Rotunda on his motorized scooter, watching BP, chatting with Neil Walker and playing the national anthem, spliced from two performances: prior to the Subway Series on August 1, 2016, and the NL Wild Card game on October 5, 2016.

A 2012 edition of the local PBS series Treasures of New York visited Louis Armstrong’s house in Corona and featured a photo of him from late in life wearing a Mets cap. Armstrong, à la Perlman, was a big Mets fan.

In the second part of The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling (HBO, March 27, 2018), Chris Rock is spotted in a Mets cap and director Judd Apatow is wearing a Mr. Met t-shirt.

Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult wears a Mets cap while he’s interviewed in New Wave: Dare To Be Different, the 2018 documentary exploring the impact of Long Island radio station WLIR (debuted on Showtime March 30, 2018).

The May 12, 2017, front page of the New York Post — with a Photoshopped Mr. Met asking “WHY DOES GOD HATE THE METS?” — is visible tacked up over the workspace of New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush in The Fourth Estate, Season 1, Episode 3, “American Carnage,” June 10, 2018.

This past summer’s PBS American Masters installment Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived, is a documentary about a baseball player, so any Met sightings aren’t technically the stuff of Oscar’s Caps, but since it was directed by Mets fan Nick Davis — and because he did think to insert some splendid footage of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman meeting the Splendid Splinter at the 1969 All-Star Game — we will tip our cap to it here (and here).

A Mets ski cap pops up in a Kyle Mooney sketch on Saturday Night Live, March 10, 2018 (season 43, Episode 15). Mooney as Chris Fitzpatrick asks passersby for their opinions on rock and rap.

In 2018, Scott Rogowsky, the host of the popular Twitter-based trivia show HQ Trivia, was sporting a wool Mets cap as his avatar, owing to his lifelong fandom, particularly a childhood allegiance to Tim Teufel.

Phil Rosenthal wears a Mr. Met cap in the 2018 Bangkok episode of the Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil.

New York Post back page in 1994’s It Could Happen To You: METS WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL.

“Besides, those Piazza baskets you designed — Charles, they’re confusing and they’re unpopular. There’s an element of sadness to them.”
—Jim Brockmire on one version of the gift baskets he gives his (ahem) dates the morning after. It contains a squatty-potty and olive oil (because “he’s an Italian catcher — it’s so obvious,” according to Charles). From Brockmire, Season 2, Episode 1, “The Getaway Game,” April 25, 2018

A Keith Hernandez bobblehead appears on Daniel Russo’s desk in the YouTube Red series Cobra Kai (2018).

Mets fan and author James Preller used Game Six of the 1986 NLCS as the model for parts of Six Innings, his 2008 youth-oriented baseball novel.

In Supergirl, Season 3, Episode 18, aired on the CW May 14, 2018, Brainiac-5 deduces Winn is somebody who collects New York Mets baseball cards as well as dirt, and chooses to give him dirt because “judging by the last 783 uninterrupted Major League seasons, I figured dirt was more likely to hold its value.”

Axe, Wags, Wendy and eventually Taylor descend upon Citi Field for the Spartan Ives Capital Introduction Event, filmed outside and inside the ballpark, with the playing field and Mets logos visible. In one of the Excelsior suites, during Axe Capital’s presentation, Keith Hernandez is visible in front of a framed picture of fireworks exploding over the ballpark. Keith is listed in the credits as playing himself but has no lines and is never referred to.
Billions, “Elmsley Count,” Season 3, Episode 12, June 10, 2018

In the TV movie, The Prince of Central Park, aired on CBS, June 17, 1977, T.J. Hargrave as J.J. — a kid who, with his sister, runs away from home to escape an abusive foster mother — wears a plastic Mets batting helmet both in the film and on the cover of the video release. No doubt, given the date it premiered, he was extra shaken up by the instability in the Mets family that week.

In Fantastic Four #1 (August 2018), the canvas “LET’S GO METS” sign is visible atop the recognizable Citi Field scoreboard in a scene with Johnny Storm in a baseball uniform.

Billy Joel wears a Mets cap on the cover of the July 15, 2018, issue of Parade.

“METS VS CARDINALS” is visible as a viewing option on the marquee outside Tortilleria Nixtamal, a Mexican restaurant in Corona in the 2017 film Lost Cat Corona. Mookie Wilson appears in a non-speaking role as a priest.

On Blue Bloods (April 27, 2018; Season 8, Episode 20), there was this exchange leading to Sid Gormley’s conclusion:

“This is the Yankees getting-Stanton good.”
“Ah, I wouldn’t go that far.”
“Neither would I.”
“More like the-Mets re-signing Bruce good.”

On Frasier, “Halloween,” Season 5, Episode 3 (October 28, 1997), a party guest wearing a baseball uniform evocative of Roy Hobbs’s in The Natural features a royal blue cap with an NY suggestive of the Mets’ version (though it’s a lighter orange tinged with white) — more Mets than Knights

An early episode of Growing Pains referenced a game-winning extra-inning home run Donn Clendenon hit on Opening Day (there was no such home run, but it was a show that featured Seavers).

Simon the tow truck driver (Danny Glover) wears a Mets cap in Los Angeles-set Grand Canyon (1991)

“Dr. Ryan. Tough loss for your O’s last night.”
“Could be worse. Could be a Mets fan.”
—Jack Ryan, Episode 1, 2018 (Amazon)

Seven episodes later, in the Season One finale of Jack Ryan, Mets fans are visible in the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metrorail station in the aftermath of a Mets-Nationals game at Nationals Park.

A Mets cap is among the items on display at a stoop sale in 2014’s extraordinarily talky Listen Up Philip.

Long before he’d go to work for some other New York baseball team, George enters Jerry’s apartment wearing a Mets cap in “The Alternate Side,” Season 3, Episode 11, of Seinfeld, December 4, 1991

In 1999’s Mickey Blue Eyes, the Newsday front page celebrating the 1986 Mets’ world championship (with Jesse Orosco leaping into the air) is mounted to the wall when Michael Felgate (Hugh Grant) asks Frank Vitale (James Caan) for Gina’s hand in marriage.

Marv Throneberry materialized during the goodbyes on Saturday Night Live, January 30, 1982 (Season 7, Episode 10), which was hosted by his fellow Miller Lite spokesman John Madden. Marv’s lone line echoed his beer commercial catchphrase: “I don’t know why I’m here.”

Many thanks to the Faith and Fear readers who regularly share their “I just saw…” sightings with us. You enhance the Mets in the Popular Culture historical record every time you do.

You are why we’re here.

We also wish to tip our caps to the memories of those outside the immediate Mets family who departed the scene in 2018, each of whom in his own way added a degree of depth to the Mets experience.

• Neil Simon, America’s premier playwright of the second half of the twentieth century. If he hadn’t created an Oscar Madison to wear a Mets cap in The Odd Couple, we’d have to refer to this feature as something else.

• Dan Ingram, synonymous with afternoons on WABC in its Top 40 heyday. This meant he helped set the stage for dozens of night games over the Mets’ original radio frequency, a fact he recalled fondly with erstwhile pregame host Howard Cosell when Ingram marked twenty years on the air in New York.

• Lee Leonard, original co-host of Channel 5’s Sports Extra, where a generation of Mets fans tuned in on Sunday nights for expanded video and commentary of that day’s game.

• George H.W. Bush, forty-third Vice President of the United States, which is the office he held when he donned a Mets jacket and threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the 1985 season to new Mets catcher Gary Carter at Shea Stadium.

• Peter Simon, photographer whose talents enhanced one of the definitive volumes of New York Mets history, Twenty-Five Years of Baseball Magic.

• William Nack, who was most noted for making horse racing come alive in Sports Illustrated, but also, on the eve of the 1986 postseason, gave readers a penetrating profile of a thoroughbred named Keith Hernandez — “simply the best and most valuable player in the franchise’s history” — particularly his fraught relationship with his father John.

• Philip Roth, great American novelist whose memoir of his father, Patrimony, includes a riveting recounting of their transatlantic conversation regarding the conclusion of the 1986 National League Championship Series.

• Dave Anderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times sports columnist who pungently observed in the troubled runup to the Mets’ 1987 title defense that perhaps their marketing slogan oughta be “We’ve Put That Behind Us.”

• William Goldman, the celebrated screenwriter who spent a year chronicling his sports obsessions in the book Wait Till Next Year, chief among them the frustrating fall, sputtering rebound and aggravating crash of the ’87 Mets.

• Stan Lee, the visionary behind Marvel Comics, whose pages were peppered with Mets homages. Lee even officiated Spider-Man’s wedding to Mary Jane Watson at Shea the night Doc Gooden returned from drug rehab.

• Larry Eisenberg, limericist who gained fame within the comments section of the New York Times. In 2010, he offered this critique on the state of the team: “True, the Mets lost their place in the sun,/But the year has moved onward by one,/Wounds have healed, time to grin/At each has-been brought in”.

Finally, let’s take a moment to remember these Mets who gave us at least a little of the lives they lived before passing on in the past year or so…

Tracy Stallard, first Mets game, April 9, 1963
Tracy went 10-20 for the 1964 Mets, yet kept his ERA under 4.00, injecting validity into the polite adage that you have to be a pretty good pitcher to lose twenty games. Two of his wins were shutouts; eleven of his starts went the distance.

Frank Lary, first Mets game, May 31, 1964
Eight days after shutting out the Astros on two hits on July 31, 1964, Frank attracted interest from the contending Milwaukee Braves, who gave up promising young righty Dennis Ribant to land him. Next spring, Frank was a Met again — the first of what we like to call Recidivist Mets. The last game he won in the uniform he didn’t know how to quit, on May 24, 1965, was the first ever saved by a young lefty named Tug McGraw.

Johnny Lewis, first Mets game, April 12, 1965
On June 14, 1965, Jim Maloney struck out eighteen Mets and held them hitless for ten innings, yet the Mets beat Cincinnati that night because Johnny took Maloney deep to lead off the eleventh. It was one of fifteen he whacked that year.

Larry Miller, first Mets game, June 3, 1965
The last time Casey Stengel removed a starting pitcher, Larry was the reliever he brought in. Following that Saturday afternoon game at Shea, the Ol’ Perfesser broke his hip, leading to his retirement. “I got this limp,” Casey reasoned, “and if I can’t walk out there to take the pitcher out, I can’t manage.” Miller may not have been the kind of pitcher a manager left in for very long, but he maintained a winning perspective, telling author Bill Ryczek in his essential book on the 1960s Mets, “My locker was right next to Sandy Koufax’s when I was with the Dodgers. When I was with the Mets, it was right next to Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver. I was always close to greatness.” More importantly, Larry helped his daughter, the victim of a car accident at age 13, achieve her own kind of greatness.

Jack Hamilton, first Met game, April 16, 1966
As a hitter, Jack launched a grand slam. As a pitcher, he achieved something even more unlikely, becoming the first starter to lift the Mets to a .500 record when he threw a complete game five-hitter versus the Braves. The perpetually losing Mets were 1-1 and, for a moment, anything felt possible.

Al Luplow, first Mets game, April 16, 1966
The first time Al homered as a Met, on July 2, 1966, it provided the margin of victory over the Pirates in a 4-3 New York victory. A year later, the Pirates were impressed enough by the memory of Al’s powerful swing to purchase his contract.

Ed Charles, first Mets game, May 12, 1967
Ed’s signature across the heart of Mets baseball was his identity as Poet Laureate of the 1969 World Champions. But the Glider did more than rhyme: a homer in the division clincher; the single that sparked a tiebreaking rally in Game Two of the World Series; and the throw from third to first that sealed the Mets’ first-ever Fall Classic victory. His celebratory sprint to the mound following Game Five would be the last thing he’d do on a big league field, but the Miracle Mets would have no greater griot over the next half-century.

(A fuller appreciation of the life of Ed Charles is here.)

Billy Connors, first Mets game, August 22, 1967
Billy threw twenty-seven innings in a pair of seasons for the Mets, spanning the regimes of Westrum, Parker and Hodges. The influence must have been palpable, as he found himself an in-demand pitching coach and guru for decades to come.

Rusty Staub, first Mets game, April 15, 1972
Rusty was rarely upstaged as a Met between 1972 and 1975 and again from 1981 to 1985, but one of his biggest hits was one that was barely noticed in the aftermath of a legendary victory for which he was largely responsible. In the first inning against the Giants on May 14, 1972, Rusty’s grand slam off Sam McDowell staked Ray Sadecki to a 4-0 lead. Who could overlook the cleanup hitter cleaning up so emphatically? Probably because this was also Willie Mays’s first game as a Met, against his old team, no less. Willie’s fifth-inning home run in what became 5-4 Mets win couldn’t help but be the biggest deal. That was all right. Rusty would have many Met days when everybody said “hey!” to his exploits.

(A fuller appreciation of the life of Rusty Staub is here.)

Chuck Taylor, first Mets game, April 16, 1972
Chuck was part of an enormous trade, the one that sent Donn Clendenon, Art Shamsky and Jim Bibby to the Cardinals and brought Jim Beauchamp, Harry Parker and him to the Mets. He was also part of a sizzling start in 1972. When Chuck threw three and two-thirds scoreless innings in relief of Tom Seaver on May 16, he notched his second save, allowing the first-place Mets to raise their record to 19-7. It was the fifth of eleven consecutive wins, still the team winning streak standard.

Tommy Moore, first Mets game, September 15, 1972
Talked up continually by Bob Murphy as one of the leading prospects in the Mets system, Tommy got a shot to show his stuff, starting against the Expos on October 2, 1972, pitching into the eighth inning and giving up only one run. (It was the nightcap of a doubleheader at Jarry Park; the opener featured a Bill Stoneman no-hitter.) A little over two years later, the righty was part of the St. Louis-bound package that made Joe Torre a Met. Considering Torre got his shot as a manager with the Mets and today Joe is in the Hall of Fame, you might say none of it would have happened without Tommy.

Jerry Moses, first game in a Mets uniform, April 8, 1975
A member of the 1970 American League All-Star team, Jerry made the Mets’ 25-man roster in advance of Opening Day. For fourteen games, he sat behind veteran Jerry Grote and rookie John Stearns. Then his contract was sold to San Diego, meaning he wore a Mets uniform — No. 5 — but never played as a Met. We call a player who is on hand but doesn’t get into a box score a Ghost Met. Nevertheless, Jerry enjoyed an expansive big league career that dated to 1965 and for a few weeks toward its finish line he provided a numerical link in the chain that began with Hobie Landrith, ran through Ed Charles, continued through Mike Phillips, extended through Davey Johnson, John Olerud and Tsuyoshi Shinjo and surely ended with David Wright. We’d all take that ghost of a chance.

23 comments to The 2018 Oscar’s Cap Awards

  • SkillSets

    Where does one begin? We hope you never end this.

  • Ken S.

    Great stuff as always!! Growing Pains was only off by three bases–Donn Clendenon hit a game-winning single (not home run) in the 1970 opener at Pittsburgh, the Mets’ first-ever win on Opening Day.

  • Jessie James Burke

    Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant, and you know, timing is everything!

    Happy New Year, my friend!

  • Nick Davis

    Wow. How thoroughly Amazin’! (I’m beyond honored.) What an incredibly valuable and entertaining resource you’ve created. Happy New Year to Met fans everywhere! (By the way – Met fans or Mets fans?)

  • I’m not going to be able to finish reading this til next year!
    HA! New Years joke ALERT!

  • Daniel Hall

    People never tire of saying really bad things about the Mets, huh? (I know I say plenty of bad things about the Mets all the time)

    Meanwhile over here in Europe, 2018 was yet another year where mainstream media flatout refused to acknowledge that baseball exists. Although there was this one time this fall where I watched a playoff game of the domestic baseball league streamed live on Youtube. It was either the best live broadcast of an event ever, or the worst live broadcast of an event ever; in any case, a crew of about four or five (they had time to name everybody individually) somehow managed to put up a feed with commentary and on screen graphics (when they showed up) that was indeed watchable. Double digits of viewers were achieved.

    (Also, the nitpicking department sent in that G.H.W. Bush was the 41st president of the United States)

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Greg, thanks for closing the year with another excellent post. But I have a question. How does one differentiate between someone like Jerry Moses who was on the active roster during the season and those like Joe Randa or David Justice who were traded to the Mets during the off season and then traded away a week later?

    • Ghost Mets is a player on the active roster who never enters a game. Jim Bibby was another. Most hauntingly, Randy Bobb and Terrell Hansen were on the Mets roster, didn’t get into a Mets game AND never saw action with any other MLB team.

      Joe Randa and David Justice, among others, are Paper Mets. They never made it beyond the transactional phase.

      Thanks and happy new year out there.

      • Left Coast Jerry

        Thanks for clearing that up for me. The distinction between Ghost Met and Paper Met is undoubtedly the last piece of information that I will digest in 2018. Happy New Year to Greg and Jason and all FAFIF readers. 2019 looks to be an interesting season.

  • Dave

    To paraphrase Joel McHale when he hosted The Soup, you watch all of this so we don’t have to. Oscar’s Cap is where the Mets and pop culture come together, always an off-season highlight.

  • eric1973

    I always said ‘Met fan’ (since 1973).

    Remembering the jazzy theme music to Sports Extra, and that the baseball highlights they showed were ON FILM, apparently from the press box behind home plate.

    Happy New Year, all.
    Or is it ‘New Year’s?’

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Never mind who is going to sign Bryce Harper, Oscar’s Cap is what I look forward to the off-season. Thanks for that, and you know, It All.

    And, in a total coincidence, I was just waching via Amazon Prime a re-run of the 11/14/67 episode of The Jerry Lewis Show. He and Audrey Meadows are in a Bonnie & Clyde skit, and are holed up in thier apartment, the police have surrounded the buiding. A smoke bomb from an unseen cop comes thru the window, but fails to go off. In what sounds like an ad-lib, Jerry Lewis says “That cop has been with the Mets”.

    Thanks again, and Happy New Year!