The virtual 1960s New York Mets (Part 2:  1962-63)

Last time, we conducted our version of the October 1961 National League expansion draft, substituting some of the more questionable selections made by New York Mets general manager George Weiss with ones we judge to be more sensible.

Now we’ll go through the rest of the Mets’ transactions of their first year.

1961-62 offseason: Actual Mets deals we will make

As it turns out, all the transactions Weiss enacted from October of 1961 through Opening Day of ’62 were reasonable, and we’ll make them as well. The great majority of them were low-impact deals involving secondary players, and we won’t bother to list them all here. The ones of significance were:

Oct. 11, 1961: Purchased pitchers Johnny Antonelli and Ken MacKenzie from the Milwaukee Braves.

Left-handed pitchers are always worth collecting. Antonelli would prove to be washed up, and wouldn’t make the team, but MacKenzie will fit in our bullpen just as he did for the actual Mets.

Oct. 13, 1961: Purchased first baseman-outfielder Jim Marshall from the San Francisco Giants.

The lefty-hitting Marshall was a useful spare part, and he certainly possessed sufficient pull-hitting power to reach the short right field porch in the Polo Grounds.

Nov. 27, 1961: Drafted infielder Rod Kanehl from the New York Yankees in the 1961 minor league draft.

Kanehl was a bit short on, well, hitting and fielding skill, but he was famously scrappy, and will contend for a spot on our bench.

Nov. 27, 1961: Drafted pitcher Bob Moorhead from the Cincinnati Reds in the 1961 Rule 5 draft.

A reasonable contender for a bullpen role.

Nov. 28, 1961: Traded a player to be named later and cash to the Milwaukee Braves for outfielder-first baseman Frank Thomas and a player to be named later.

Thomas had gone through some struggles in recent seasons, but had rebounded with the Braves in 1961. He would turn 33 in 1962, and was obviously no longer the All-Star he’d once been, but he would seem to be providing the Mets with a serious middle-of-the-order power producer, especially in the Polo Grounds. This deal made eminent sense, especially if Thomas did well and could be turned around and traded for some young talent.

Dec. 8, 1961: Purchased outfielder Richie Ashburn from the Chicago Cubs.

In his mid-30s, the best leadoff man of the 1950s was clearly on the downside (in early 1962, Roger Angell would write that Ashburn had “slowed down shockingly”), but nevertheless still looked to be able to provide good on-base ability if spotted properly, and like Thomas, he might then be useful as trade bait.

Dec. 15, 1961: Traded infielder-outfielder Lee Walls and $100,000 cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers for second baseman Charlie Neal and a player to be named later.

Neal was an extraordinary all-around talent, but following a brilliant 1959 campaign his performance had thoroughly unraveled. Nevertheless he was still just 31 years old and worth the gamble, as if he rebounded he would be yet another veteran who might be attractive to a contender with prospects to trade.

1961-62 offseason: Mets deals we will invoke

There’s just one:

Dec. 1, 1961: Traded pitcher Sam Jones to the Detroit Tigers for pitchers Bob Bruce and Manny Montejo.

This is a trade the Houston Colt .45s actually made, but since we drafted Jones instead of them, it’ll be us accepting this offer from the Tigers. Neither Bruce (an established major leaguer) nor Montejo (a prospect) was anything special, but they weren’t bad, and the real purpose of drafting a veteran such as Jones was to parlay him into some younger talent with which to build.

1962 season: Actual Mets deals we will make

Apr. 26, 1962: Traded outfielder Bobby Gene Smith to the Chicago Cubs for catcher Sammy Taylor.

Hardly a blockbuster, but this made sense. One commodity Weiss always shrewdly valued was left-handed-hitting catchers.

May 7, 1962: Traded infielder Don Zimmer to the Cincinnati Reds for third baseman Cliff Cook and pitcher Bob Miller.

Zimmer got off to a dreadful start with the bat in 1962, but that wasn’t the reason to make this trade. It was the step of converting a veteran into multiple younger talents. Cook had a real issue with strikeouts, but he’d hit a boatload of minor league home runs, and besides, how can we pass up the opportunity to get two Bob Millers on the pitching staff?

May 9, 1962: Traded cash and a player to be named later to the Baltimore Orioles for first baseman-outfielder Marv Throneberry.

“Marvelous Marv” would, of course, be adopted by the fans and media as the hapless symbol of the ineptitude of the ’62 Mets, but in truth he was a hitter with serious power. It made excellent sense for the Mets to give him the first base job and find out what he could do with his first chance at regular play in the majors.

May 21, 1962: To complete the Frank Thomas deal of November, traded outfielder Gus Bell to the Milwaukee Braves for infielder-outfielder Rick Herrscher.

The veteran Bell wasn’t hitting a lick, and it was smart for the Mets to get something for him while they still could. Herrscher could be put to use as a utility man.

May 25, 1962: To compete the Charlie Neal deal of December, acquired pitcher Willard Hunter from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hunter was a marginal talent, but he was a southpaw who could be of use in the Mets’ bullpen.

Jun. 7, 1962: To complete the Marv Throneberry deal of the previous month, sent catcher Hobie Landrith to the Baltimore Orioles.

Landrith could be expended because of the earlier acquisition of Sammy Taylor.

Jun. 15, 1962: Purchased outfielder Gene Woodling from the Washington Senators.

At the age of 39, Woodling’s capacity to cover ground in the outfield was long gone, but he could still hit major league pitching. Woodling would live to be 78 years old, and one suspects that at that age he could still hit major league pitching.

Jul. 13, 1962: Purchased catcher Joe Pignatano from the San Francisco Giants.

To fill in for Sammy Taylor, who broke a finger.

Sep. 7, 1962: Selected pitcher Galen Cisco off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.

Cisco had been dreadfully ineffective for the Red Sox, but his minor league stats were good. He was worth a chance.

1962 season: Actual Mets deals we will modify

The actual Mets did this:

May 7, 1962: Traded first baseman-outfielder Jim Marshall to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Wilmer Mizell.

Converting the veteran journeyman Marshall (who’d hit well in the early going of ’62) into something in the trade market made sense, but not if it was Mizell, who’d once been good but was now far too plainly washed up. So we’ll make the deal this way instead:

May 7, 1962: Traded first baseman-outfielder Jim Marshall to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Larry Elliot.

Elliot wasn’t a great prospect, but he was a left-handed-batting Triple-A outfielder with power. The Pirates actually would sell him to the Mets a year later, so it’s plausible they’d be willing to part with him here to get Marshall on their bench.

1962 season: Mets deals we will invoke

May 7, 1962: Traded pitcher Bobby Shantz to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Carl Warwick and pitcher John Anderson.

This was one the Colt .45s actually made, and since we have Shantz we’ll make it. Converting Shantz into Warwick was a good deal; he was a solid performer who could handle center field.

Aug. 13, 1962: Purchased pitcher Moe Drabowsky from the Cincinnati Reds.

This is one that the Kansas City Athletics actually made. But here’s the thing: For the A’s to purchase Drabowsky from the Reds, he had to have passed through National League waivers. Drabowsky wasn’t performing well in Cincinnati, but his walk-to-strikeout ratio was pretty good, he’d always had a world of potential, and he’d only just turned 27. There’s no way the Mets shouldn’t have claimed him on waivers. We will.

So what will all this wheeling and dealing add up to?

1962 season results

Bob Aspromonte was deployed mostly as a third baseman in Houston, but that was a manifestation of Paul Richards’ extreme defense-first orientation. Aspromonte had been primarily a shortstop in the minors, and in his 20s he clearly had the range to handle shortstop in the majors. Our Mets will use Aspromonte at short.

And we’ll use Carl Warwick in center, providing our first-year Mets with the legitimate big league center fielder the actual team sorely lacked.

Our Mets will do something else the 1962 Colt .45s did: convert hard-throwing Dick Farrell from a reliever into a starter. This was an old-fashioned yet fundamental concept, of using your best pitcher where he can have the greatest impact.

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
   1B   M. Throneberry* 28  116 357  33  87  11   3  16  52  34  83 .244 .306 .426 .732   95
   2B   C. Neal         31  136 508  70 132  14   9  11  49  56  90 .260 .330 .388 .718   92
   SS   B. Aspromonte   24  149 534  62 144  16   5  15  65  45  56 .270 .331 .403 .734   96
 3B-2B  F. Mantilla     27  141 466  62 128  17   4  11  61  37  51 .275 .330 .399 .729   95
 RF-CF  R. Ashburn*     35  135 389  69 119   7   3   7  28  81  39 .306 .424 .393 .817  122
   CF   C. Warwick      25  130 477  64 126  15   1  20  66  37  79 .264 .311 .426 .737   96
 LF-1B  F. Thomas       33  156 571  74 152  23   3  34  95  48  95 .266 .329 .496 .824  118
   C    S. Taylor*      29   68 158  13  35   4   2   3  20  23  17 .222 .323 .329 .652   76

   OF   J. Hickman      25   84 196  29  48   9   1   7  23  23  48 .245 .319 .408 .727   94
 OF-IF  R. Herrscher    25   79 195  21  48   7   0   3  18  20  36 .246 .315 .328 .643   74
 LF-RF  G. Woodling*    39   73 152  14  42   6   1   4  19  19  18 .276 .356 .408 .764  105
   C    C. Coleman*     24   55 152  25  38   7   2   6  17  11  24 .250 .303 .441 .744   97
   C    C. Cannizzaro   24   59 133  10  32   2   1   0   9  19  26 .241 .335 .271 .606   65
  INF   R. Kanehl       28   67 140  23  35   4   1   2  10   9  14 .250 .293 .336 .629   69
   1B   G. Hodges       38   54 127  16  32   1   0   9  17  15  27 .252 .331 .472 .803  113
 3B-RF  C. Cook         25   40 112  12  26   6   1   2   9   4  34 .232 .275 .357 .632   69
   1B   E. Bouchee*     29   50  87   8  14   2   0   3  10  18  17 .161 .302 .287 .589   60
   RF   G. Bell*        33   24  67   5  10   1   0   1   4   7   5 .149 .221 .209 .430   16
 2B-3B  S. Drake#       27   25  52   3  10   0   0   0   6   6  12 .192 .271 .192 .463   27
   C    J. Pignatano    32   27  56   2  13   2   0   0   2   2  11 .232 .259 .268 .526   42
   3B   D. Zimmer       31   14  52   3   4   1   0   0   1   3  10 .077 .127 .096 .223  -39
   C    H. Landrith*    32   23  45   6  13   3   0   1   7   8   3 .289 .389 .422 .811  118

        Others                  126  13  27   3   1   4   8   9  23 .214 .272 .349 .621   66

        Pitchers                377  29  55   8   3   2  23  22 133 .145 .183 .199 .382    3

        Total                 5529 666 1370 169  41 161 619 556 951 .248 .314 .381 .695   86

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        D. Farrell      28   39  26  10  12  17   4 218 200  93  83   24   49  183 3.43  121
        A. Jackson*     26   32  30  11  10  17   0 208 217 114  99   14   69  108 4.28   97
        K. Johnson      29   33  31   5   9  15   0 197 207 113  96   22   45  175 4.39   95
        B. Bruce        29   32  27   6  11   9   0 175 175 104  91   20   80  132 4.68   89
        J. Golden       26   29  15   4   5   8   1 115 128  70  59   13   37   66 4.62   90
        B. Miller       23   36  12   1   2   7   2 110 109  71  56   16   48   70 4.58   91

        C. Anderson     23   57   5   1   6  10   5 109 106  60  48   13   48   54 3.96  105
        K. MacKenzie*   28   38   1   0   5   3   1  64  67  35  33    7   26   42 4.64   89
        B. Moorhead     24   33   2   0   0   1   0  81  93  48  40   11   33   46 4.44   93
        W. Hunter*      28   23   2   0   1   2   0  47  47  25  24    4   21   30 4.60   90
        M. Drabowsky    26   10   3   0   1   1   0  28  29  20  16    8   10   19 5.14   81

        Others                    7   2   3   5   2  86  90  51  46   10   33   44 4.81   86

        Total                   161  40  65  95 15 1438 1468 804 691 162  499  969 4.32   96

        * Throws left

This team would have significant weaknesses, to be sure. First Ed Bouchee and then Marv Throneberry were both disappointments at first base. The catching was problematic, and the bullpen quite shaky.

But the ball club would have its positives as well. Farrell would rise to the occasion and perform splendidly as the ace, and the pitching staff overall was far from the worst in the league. And the offense, led by strong turns from the veterans Frank Thomas and Richie Ashburn, wouldn’t be too bad.

It adds up to a Pythagorean record of 65-95. This isn’t to be confused with a good team. But 65 wins is right in line with the best that can be expected of a first-year expansion team. It’s abundantly superior to the ghastly 40-120 mark the actual 1962 Mets so infamously logged. Something around a 65-95 record would have our Mets strongly competing with the Colt .45s for eighth place, and most likely beating them out, given that we now have Farrell, Aspromonte and Warwick, and they don’t.

But here’s something else: Those actual 1962 Mets managed to go 40-120 only because they performed a whopping 10 wins below their Pythag record, which was 50-110. A 10-game deviation from Pythag is quite unusual indeed.

But it can happen, obviously. If our Mets were to encounter that same misfortune, they’d finish 55-105, well behind Houston, and probably behind the Cubs as well, who actually went 59-103, with a Pythag of 61-101.

So, who knows. But even if our Mets did sag to a 55-105 record, that would be recognized as merely bad, well within the realm of normally bad teams, not historically hideous as the actual 1962 Mets were. Even in that scenario, we can safely conclude that our version of the 1962 Mets would easily succeed at passing the first test we set for them: to launch the franchise without a grossly embarrassing dud. We can consider the first stage of our mission accomplished.

Now let’s see how we’d do in Year No. 2.

1962-63 offseason: Actual Mets deals we will make

Oct. 11, 1962: Purchased second baseman Ron Hunt from the Milwaukee Braves.

Hunt had been in the Milwaukee system for four years, and hadn’t yet reached Triple-A. Certainly he didn’t project as a star; he looked as though he might make the majors as a utility man. So one can’t fault the Braves for letting him go in what appeared to be a completely innocuous secondary deal.

Oct. 11, 1962: Purchased catcher Norm Sherry and outfielder-first baseman Dick Smith from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Another ho-hum transaction. In this one the apparent spare parts would turn out in fact to be spare parts.

Nov. 26, 1962: Drafted pitcher Don Rowe from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1962 rule 5 draft.

It was sensible to take a flyer on this minor league veteran, particularly since he was a left hander.

Dec. 20, 1962: Purchased outfielder Joe Hicks from the Washington Senators.

The left-handed-batting Hicks had both power and speed, and had always hit well in the minors, but he’d never been able to get much going in the big leagues. It was sensible for the Mets to give him a chance.

Apr. 1, 1963: Purchased outfielder Duke Snider from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers no longer had room for the aging former superstar, but the actual Mets did, and so will we.

1962-63 offseason: Actual Mets deals we will modify

The actual Mets did this:

Nov. 30, 1962: Traded pitcher Bob Miller to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Larry Burright and first baseman Tim Harkness.

And this:

Mar. 23, 1963: Purchased pitcher Carl Willey from the Milwaukee Braves.

The Miller deal was nuts. Rule No. 1 for an expansion team: Never surrender your precious young talent. Miller had struggled in 1962, to be sure, but he remained an impressive youngster; the last thing the Mets should have been doing was trading away players like him.

Moreover, neither Burright nor Harkness was a serious prospect: They were both a year older than Miller, and both projected as nothing more than bench players. If the Dodgers would be culling them from their roster, then the time to acquire them would be toward the end of spring training, at cut-down time when they would likely be emerging as surplus.

That was what was happening to Willey, who’d been a serviceable swingman for the Braves for several years before encountering a bad season in 1962.

So, we’ll do this:

Mar. 23, 1963: In a three-club deal, purchased pitcher Carl Willey from the Milwaukee Braves, then traded Willey to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Larry Burright and first baseman Tim Harkness.

Our Mets won’t let the Dodgers have Miller, but we will provide them with Willey to fill that starter/reliever role on their staff, while taking the spare parts Burright and Harkness off their hands.

And, the actual Mets also did this:

Dec. 11, 1962: Traded infielder Felix Mantilla to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Pumpsie Green, pitcher Tracy Stallard and a player to be named later. (On Jan. 14, 1963, the Red Sox sent infielder Al Moran to the Mets, completing the deal.)

Mantilla had blossomed for the Mets in 1962, and at the age of 28 appeared ready to perform as a quality player for several years to come. Cashing him in for lesser talents at this point wasn’t sensible.

Instead, we’ll do this:

Dec. 11, 1962: Traded infielder Charlie Neal to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Pumpsie Green, pitcher Tracy Stallard and a player to be named later. (On Jan. 14, 1963, the Red Sox sent infielder Al Moran to the Mets, completing the deal.)

The veteran Neal, coming off a solid performance in 1962, would definitely fill the Red Sox’s interest in upgrading from the journeyman Green at utility infielder, and our Mets still get Stallard (a moderately good prospect), and Moran (a marginal prospect).

1962-63 offseason: Mets deals we will invoke

Apr. 2, 1963: Purchased outfielder Minnie Miñoso from the St. Louis Cardinals.

In actuality it was the Washington Senators purchasing the faded star Miñoso, but for that to happen he had to pass through National League waivers. Our Mets will claim him.

1963 season: Actual Mets deals we will make

May 8, 1963: Traded pitcher Larry Foss to the Milwaukee Braves for infielder Chico Fernandez.

Fernandez had been a humdrum starting shortstop for several years. Now at the age of 31, he was appearing to be no longer capable of that, but he did look to be an inexpensive upgrade of the Mets’ bench.

Jul. 29, 1963: Traded outfielder Jacke Davis and cash to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder-first baseman Duke Carmel.

Carmel was a big, toolsy guy who’d been knocking around the minors for a long time. It was quite sensible for the Mets to give him a shot.

1963 season: Actual Mets deals we will modify

The actual Mets did this:

Jul.1, 1963: Traded infielder Charlie Neal and catcher Sammy Taylor to the Cincinnati Reds for catcher Jesse Gonder.

We don’t have Neal, so we can’t make that trade. But we do have Pumpsie Green, who was a switch-hitter with good on-base ability.

So instead, we’ll do this:

Jul.1, 1963: Traded infielder Pumpsie Green, catcher Sammy Taylor and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for catcher Jesse Gonder.

The Reds’ motivation for the trade was to find someone to help out at third base, where they’d developed a hole. It’s plausible to assume they’d accept Green in the deal, particularly if we sweeten it up with a little cash.

And, the actual Mets also did this:

Aug. 5, 1963: Traded pitcher Ken MacKenzie to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ed Bauta.

We’ll make the exact deal, but about three weeks earlier:

Jul. 14, 1963: Traded pitcher Ken MacKenzie to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Ed Bauta.

We’ll do that because we’re acquiring a new left hander to take MacKenzie’s place on the staff …

1963 season: Mets deals we will invoke

Jul. 14, 1963: Purchased pitcher George Brunet from the Houston Colt .45′s.

In reality, it was the Orioles buying Brunet from Houston. But that meant he had to pass through NL waivers.

The 28-year-old southpaw Brunet had been kicking around several organizations for a decade, struggling to harness control of his impressive stuff. And over the first half of 1963 it looked as though he’d finally mastered it, as he was pitching wonderfully in Triple-A: 8-3 with a 2.07 ERA, and 96 strikeouts against just 25 walks in 87 innings. Why Paul Richards’ Colt .45s decided to get rid of Brunet at this point is a mystery, and why George Weiss’ Mets didn’t claim him on waivers is an equal mystery.

Our Mets will be happy to give the famously free-spirited Brunet an opportunity.

1963 season: Actual Mets deals we will not make

May 23, 1963: Traded first baseman Gil Hodges to the Washington Senators for outfielder Jimmy Piersall.

Upon acquiring Hodges in this trade, Washington immediately retired him as a player and named him manager. Over the next four years, with the calm, confident Hodges as their skipper, the Senators would improve every year. Following the 1967 season, the Mets would spend a cool $100,000 to buy Hodges back. With him in charge in New York, the Mets would finally become a winner.

Wouldn’t it have been a whole lot simpler for the Mets to simply install Hodges as manager at this point? (Or install him as the Triple-A manager, on the fast track to take over the big club?) Particularly when the player acquired in exchange for Hodges was 33 years old, no longer hitting well, and no longer up to the demands of handling center field on an everyday basis? (And was such a flake that the actual Mets would release him in exasperation just a couple of months later, after he pulled a muscle while clowning around during pre-game practice. While hitting .194.)

We’ll nix this one, thanks.

1963 season results

Our Mets had hoped to convert the good 1962 performances of veteran outfielders Richie Ashburn and Frank Thomas into action on the trade market, yielding some worthy younger talent. But Ashburn retired, removing his value from the equation, and try as we might, we just couldn’t come up with a fit between Thomas’ talents and the needs of another team in the 1962-63 offseason.

So our conclusion was to move Thomas from left field to first base for 1963, displacing the unsatisfactorily productive Marv Throneberry at first, and freeing up left field for newer blood. Perhaps not younger blood: The eve-of-Opening-Day opportunity to import Minnie Miñoso couldn’t be passed up, as he just might have had something left in his remarkable tank.

In addition, our Mets planned on Felix Mantilla moving over to second base to inherit the job from Charlie Neal, allowing Cliff Cook to get a chance at third. But in the season’s early weeks, Cook’s complete washout at the plate, combined with the startlingly good play from the obscure rookie Ron Hunt, would move Mantilla back to third and install Hunt as the regular at second.

  Pos   Player         Age    G  AB   R   H  2B  3B  HR RBI  BB  SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
 1B-LF  F. Thomas       34  126 420  35 109   9   1  15  60  33  48 .260 .317 .393 .709  104
   2B   R. Hunt         22  143 533  67 145  28   4  10  42  40  50 .272 .334 .396 .730  110
   SS   B. Aspromonte   25  136 468  46 101   8   5  11  47  38  60 .216 .273 .325 .598   72
 3B-2B  F. Mantilla     28  151 553  69 157  19   4  18  59  48  60 .284 .342 .430 .772  122
   RF   D. Snider*      36  129 354  45  86   8   3  14  45  56  74 .243 .345 .401 .746  115
   CF   C. Warwick      26  150 528  54 136  18   6  10  45  47  73 .258 .318 .371 .690   98
   LF   M. Miñoso       37  104 284  34  64  10   3   4  20  27  36 .225 .302 .324 .625   81
   C    J. Gonder*      27   64 193  18  54   6   0   4  21  11  36 .280 .319 .373 .692   99

   OF   J. Hickman      26  122 370  43  85  16   4  13  36  33  90 .230 .291 .400 .691   97
   1B   T. Harkness*    25   82 188  18  39   6   2   5  21  17  41 .207 .282 .340 .623   79
 LF-RF  J. Hicks*       30   56 159  17  36   6   1   5  20   7  31 .226 .272 .371 .643   84
 OF-1B  D. Carmel*      26   47 149  12  35   5   3   3  18  16  37 .235 .307 .369 .676   94
 SS-2B  C. Fernandez    31   58 145  13  29   6   0   1   9   9  30 .200 .242 .262 .504   46
   C    C. Coleman*     25   62 124  12  22   0   0   2   6  12  25 .177 .259 .226 .485   41
   C    C. Cannizzaro   25   53 119  10  29   4   0   0   7  11  26 .244 .301 .277 .578   68
 3B-RF  C. Cook         26   33  85   7  12   1   1   2   6  10  30 .141 .227 .247 .474   37
   C    S. Taylor*      30   37  72   5  16   1   1   1   8  10  11 .222 .310 .306 .615   78
   C    N. Sherry       31   32  74   3  10   1   0   1   4   5  13 .135 .207 .189 .397   15
   3B   P. Green#       29   17  36   5  10   1   1   1   3   8   9 .278 .409 .444 .854  146

        Others                  156  12  31   3   1   2  12  15  41 .199 .269 .269 .538   56

        Pitchers                405  26  54  10   1   1  16  14 150 .133 .157 .170 .328   -5

        Total                 5415 551 1260 166  41 123 505 467 971 .233 .295 .347 .641   84

        * Bats left
        # Bats both

        Pitcher        Age    G  GS  CG   W   L  SV  IP   H   R  ER   HR   BB   SO  ERA ERA+
        A. Jackson*     27   37  34  11  14  16   1 227 234 122  98   25   84  142 3.89   89
        K. Johnson      30   37  32   6  11  16   1 224 211  93  74   16   50  146 2.97  116
        D. Farrell      29   34  26  12  14  12   1 202 168  85  76   16   35  139 3.39  102
        B. Bruce        30   30  25   1   6   9   0 170 169  82  76   10   60  121 4.02   86
        T. Stallard     25   36  12   3   3  11   2  94  98  59  53   13   54   75 5.07   68

        M. Drabowsky    27   46  11   4   5  10   4 130  96  43  38   12   48   86 2.63  131
        G. Cisco        27   45   7   0   4  10   2  97  97  49  42    9   38   41 3.90   89
        B. Miller       24   41  12   1   5  10   3 121 107  47  39    7   41   83 2.90  119
        D. Rowe*        27   26   1   0   0   0   1  55  59  27  26    6   21   27 4.25   81
        K. MacKenzie*   29   26   0   0   2   1   3  43  43  26  25    9   10   33 5.23   66
        G. Brunet*      28   16   0   0   0   1   1  20  26  15  12    3    8   13 5.40   64

        Others                    2   0   0   2   1  49  58  33  26    2   22   30 4.78   72

        Total                   162  38  64  98 20 1432 1366 681 585 128  471  936 3.68   94

        * Throws left

The key development over the ’63 season, in addition to the delightful emergence of the scrappy Hunt, would be the simultaneous blossoming of two right handers in bullpen/spot starting roles: retread Moe Drabowsky and youngster Bob Miller. Veteran Ken Johnson would also step forward as a rock-solid starting pitcher.

Miñoso would prove to be over the hill, and left field would be something of a scramble. Aspromonte would endure a severe off-year with the bat, and until the second-half arrival of Gonder, the offense from the catchers would be feeble.

Overall the mix of assets and liabilities would add up to something very close to that of the previous season, with a 64-98 Pythagorean record. This would be dramatically superior to the performance of the actual 1963 Mets. Most likely our Mets would wind up in ninth place in the National League, ahead of Houston.

By no means would our Mets be astounding anyone with their terrific progress. But the team would be perceived as a viable entity, nothing remotely similar to the laughingstock of the real-life Mets at this point on their journey. We’re doing all right so far.

Next time

We’ll plunge into 1964.

References & Resources
The quote regarding Richie Ashburn is from Roger Angell, The Summer Game (New York: Popular Library, 1972), p. 53.

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Comments

  1. John said...

    Actually, I think your 1963 Mets would have retained the services of Richie Ashburn. The Mets weren’t at all looking to flip Ashburn after his good ‘62 season—they wanted to keep him, and offered him a contract to that end. I think they even went to two years. But Ashburn was so embarrassed by the Mets’ ineptitude that he didn’t want to play for them anymore, and he didn’t have the choice to play anywhere else.

    But your version of the ‘62 Mets, a team with good upper management, the desire to win, a reasonable level of competitiveness, and hope, wouldn’t have embarrassed Ashburn.

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