Bob’s Baseball Blog- A Mets History Lesson

posted: April 23, 2020By:

The Early History Of The New York Mets

The Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants of the National League both moved to California after the 1957 season.  During the next 4 years New York City did not have a National League team.  New York only had the Yankees from the American League.  New York wanted to again have a team in the National League, so the New York Mets were added in 1962.  Where did they play their games as there was no Shea Stadium or Citi Field yet?  They actually played their first two seasons at a stadium called “The Polo Grounds” which was located in upper Manhattan between 155th and 157th Street adjacent to the Harlem River. The New York Giants baseball team used to play there before they moved to California.  Also, the New York Jets football team played there until they moved over to Shea Stadium.

The Mets colors are blue and orange, originally chosen to honor the city’s National League baseball history. The Blue was for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Orange was for the New York Giants baseball team. Blue and Orange are also the colors on the New York City flag.  Who hit the first official home run for the Mets?  It was appropriately hit by Gil Hodges who had played for the Brooklyn Dodgers before joining the Mets in 1962 and who also later became the Mets manager.

On April 11, 1962 the Mets played their first official game and lost in St. Louis to the Cardinals.  On April 13, 1962 it was the first game the Mets played at their new home at the Polo Grounds which they unfortunately lost.  However, on April 23, 1962 the Mets won their first official major league game against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.  Then on April 28, 1962 the Mets won their first home game at the Polo Grounds with 16,987 fans in attendance.  On September 18, 1963 the Mets played their final game at the Polo Grounds and then moved to the newly completed Shea Stadium for the 1964 season.

On April 17, 1964 the Mets played their first official game at Shea Stadium losing 4 to 3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  However, 2 days later on April 19, they won their first game at Shea Stadium beating the Pirates 6 to 0.  The stadium was originally going to be called Flushing Meadows Stadium but was changed to William A. Shea Municipal Stadium, which ended up being referred to as just Shea Stadium.  Also, the official name of the team was the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club which ended up being shortened to just The Mets.

In the early years of the Mets they were not a very good baseball team.  In 1962 their record was 40 wins and 120 losses.  Then in 1963 they had 51 wins and 111 losses.  However, in only their 8th year in existence in 1969, they won their first National League Pennant and went on to face a highly favored power house Baltimore Orioles team in the World Series.  The Mets lost the first game of the series in Baltimore. Game 2 which was also in Baltimore was won by the Mets 2-1.  Then on Oct. 14, 1969 the first ever World Series game held in Shea Stadium was won by the Mets 5-0 with over 56,000 fans in attendance. On October 15 the Mets won the next game 2-1 in extra innings.  Then finally on Oct 16, 1969 with 57,397 fans at the game, the Mets won 5-3 shocking the country and the Baltimore Orioles as the Mets won their first World Series.

Let’s Go Mets 2020