Muscle Sport Magazine

Mets Lose 120th Game – This Day in Baseball 1962

Dubious distinctions can be draining in sports, for players and fans alike. So when a torturous season mercifully comes to an end with a modern record for losses that has stood for nearly six decades and counting, it would seem like a relief of sorts. But such was not the case on this day in baseball back in 1962 when the then-expansion New York Mets came out on the short end of a 5-1 score at Wrigley Field for loss number 120.

The Chicago Cubs may have been the last team to beat the Mets, but the fans endeared their lovable losers throughout each rare win and frequent loss. It didn’t matter what their record was, as Gotham once again had a National League basbeball club after both Brooklyn and Manhattan were abandoned following the 1957 season. The Dodgers and Giants, respectively, broke millions of hearts when they both headed for California and there was no way that any self-respecting fan of those teams could switch allegiances and root for the hated Yankees!

Being granted an expansion team after dangling the formation of the Continental League to rival Major League Baseball, the group from New York included Joan Whitney Payson, the lone holdout from the Giants’ ownership who opposed the move westward. So the patriarch of the Mets was probably the happiest person in the world even on that late September afternoon on the north side of Chicago.

Casey Stengel may have been 72 at the time he managed the Mets, but ‘The Old Professor’ a New York legend and had the distinction of playing for both the Dodgers and Giants, managing the Dodgers and Yankees and was a nine-time World Series champion during his playing and managerial careers. His wit and humor made him a magnet fir the media and that took a lot of pressure off a roster that was filled with ancient names from the past such as Gil Hodges, Richie Ashburn, Roger Craig, Don Zimmer and Frank Thomas, while also signing a number of marginal-at-best players who would become part of Mets’ folklore and the answers to a plethora of trivia questions (Marc Thronberry, Hobie Landrith, Choo Choo Coleman and not one, but two pitchers named Bob Miller).

The Mets’ 40-120 (.250 winning percentage) had 922,530 raucous fans come out to the crumbling Polo Grounds in Harlem (the Giants old home and for a period of time, the Yankees, as well) to show their adoration and by 1964, Shea Stadium opened and both the Mets and Jets packed up and moved east to Flushing, Queens. And before the decade ended, the Miracle Mets won a World Series.

What a difference seven years makes…



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