Wednesday, March 6, 2013
This Week in Mets History 1-8: Casey at the Hall and Meet the Mets
While the Spring Training heats up, the history never stops. This week, we revisit a hit song, a one-hit wonder in the outfield, the man that was traded for Nolan Ryan and a legendary coach gets his due.
March 5, 1972 - The Mets were trying to solidify the third base spot. To do so, they traded Don Rose, Frank Estrada, Leroy Stanton and NOLAN RYAN to the Angels for Jim Fregosi. While at the time, no one could tell what Ryan would become, it seemed as if Fregosi was the answer for the Mets third base woes.
On this date, he broke his thumb in a Spring Training workout and is unable to pan out into what the Mets want. He would bat just .232 in 101 games and would be subsequently released the next season. Today, Fregosi does the occasional interview and rare public appearance as he enjoys his retirement.
March 6, 2001 - Searching for an outfielder, the Mets singed Tony Torasco in the hopes that he would help the offense. He didn't play that season. The team re-signed him the following year and he did have 105 AB with six homers and two stolen bases in 60 games in the 2002 season.
Today, he can be found on the first base line at Washington Nationals games. He was hired by former Mets manager Davey Johnson to be the Nats first base coach for the upcoming season.
March 8, 1966 - The "Old Professor", Casey Stengel, who is the known in Mets lore as being the very first manager in Mets history is told he has been elected into the MLB Hall of Fame. The manager was elected due to a new rule for managers that allows writers to elect them in prior to the traditional five year waiting period.
The Mets announced this election prior to an exhibition game on this date. He passed in 1975, but lived long enough to see his upstart Mets shock the baseball world by winning the 1969 World Series and return to the World Series again in 1973 until the tutelage of Gil Hodges.
The new ballpark has an entrance dedicated to Stengel and the team retired his number 37 in 1965 prior to his Hall of Fame induction announcement..
March 9, 1963 - In order to increase their popularity and reach out to a wider audience, the Mets introduced a new fight song on this date. "Meet the Mets" was written by Ruth Roberts and Bill Katz. It has appeared in commercials and TV shows.
It can be heard on WFAN pregame and postgame shows. It has taken on a life of its own since it was first introduced. It was given two musical makeovers, in 1984 and 2008. The original was considered sexist with the use of the line "bring your kiddies, bring the wife, guaranteed to have the time of your life". Raunchy lyrics for the time. For further memories, click here for the original version.