SI Vault
 
Worst Baseball Team Ever
Jimmy Breslin
May 30, 1994
That seemed a harsh assessment of the newborn New York Mets when this SI Classic ran in 1962, but it stands today as the undisputed truth
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 30, 1994

Worst Baseball Team Ever

That seemed a harsh assessment of the newborn New York Mets when this SI Classic ran in 1962, but it stands today as the undisputed truth

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

One of Casey's coaches is the fabled Rogers Hornsby. Rajah was a batting coach during spring training and for the early part of the season. But all of his work now is done with prospects out on the farms. Which is good, because Hornsby hates to lose. Oh, how he hates to lose! One day he was sitting in the dugout at the Polo Grounds before a game, and you could see him seething. The Mets had been losing. So was Hornsby. He couldn't get a thing home, and he was in action at three or four different major tracks around the country.

"You can't trust them old Kentucky bastard trainers," he confided.

The general manager of the Mets is George Weiss, who was let go by the Yankees after the 1960 season because of his age. He is 68 now. George spent all of last year at his home in Greenwich, Conn. As Red Smith reported, this caused his wife, Hazel, to announce, "I married George for better or for worse, but not for lunch." She was pleased when George took over the Mets this year and resumed his 12-hour working day away from home.

The Mets also have many big-name sports reporters who write about them. This may be the hardest job of all. As Barney Kremenko of the New York Journal-American observes, "I've covered losing teams before. But for me to be with a non-winner!"

There are some people, of course, who will not stand still for any raps at the team. They say the Mets have a poor record because they lose so many one-run games. They point out that the Mets have lost 28 games by one run so far. However, this figure also means the Mets lost 51 other games by more than one run.

One who advances the one-run theory is Donald Grant, the Wall Street stockbroker who handles ownership details for Mrs. Joan Payson, the class lady who put up the money for the Mets. It is Mr. Grant's job to write letters to Mrs. Payson, explaining to her just what is happening with the Mets.

"It is annoying to lose by one run, but Mrs. Payson and I are pleased with the team's progress," Grant says. "She is perfectly understanding about it. After all, you do not breed a thoroughbred horse overnight." Grant obviously doesn't know much about horse racing.

Whether the Mets lose by one run or by 14 runs (and they have done this, too), it doesn't matter. They still lose. They lose at night and in the daytime, and they lose so much that the only charge you can't make against them is that their pitchers throw spitters.

"Spitters?" Stengel says. "I can't get them to throw regular pitches good."

Basically, the trouble with the Mets is the way they play baseball. It is an unchanging style of walks, passed balls, balks, missed signs, errors, overrun bases and bad throws. On July 22, for example, the Mets were in Cincinnati for a doubleheader. They not only lost both games, but they also had four runners thrown out at home plate in the course of the day. Nobody could remember when this had happened before—probably because it hadn't. What made it frightening was the ease with which the Mets brought the feat off. You got the idea that they could get four runners thrown out at the plate any day they wanted to.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7