This Date in Mets History: November 23 - Mets Make Debut in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Mr. Met's is approximately the size of the average Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. - Mike Stobe

The Ole Perfessor rivals Old Saint Nick for the affections of New Yorkers on Thanksgiving 1961.

The 35th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which happened on this date in 1961, featured a little extra orange and blue, as a float featuring the fledgling New York Mets joined the procession. According to the New York Times, Santa Claus got the biggest cheers from the crowds along Central Park West, but skipper Casey Stengel elicited the day's second largest ovation. Joining their manager on the float were a pair of Brooklyn Dodgers making triumphant returns to New York as members of the Mets: Gil Hodges and pitcher Billy Loes, though though the right-hander must not have been too thankful for the opportunity, as would retire before ever making an appearance for the NL's newest team.

Birthdays

  • Tom Hall, a left-handed reliever who joined the Mets at the start of the 1975 season and departed during the '76 campaign, is 65. Hall's slender physique (6', 150 pounds) earned him the nickname "The Blade", which is way cooler than the first initial-first syllable of last name monikers that seem to be par for the course these days.
  • Forty-one year-old Ryan McGuire's Mets career consists of a single game. On June 4, 2000 he manned right field for the Amazins during a 15-5 blowout at the hands of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In three plate appearances, McGuire drew a walk, tapped a dribbler to first, and grounded into an inning-ending double play.
  • Southpaw Rich Sauveur, 49, spent two weeks in June as a member of the 1991 Mets bullpen. Used almost exclusively as a LOOGY, Sauveur made six appearances and pitched three and third innings in the process. He also didn't retire too many lefties, which is probably why his Mets tenure lasted a mere fortnight.
  • Finally, birthday wishes go out to current Mets infielder, shaving cream pie maker, and Eric Simon troll Justin Turner, who turns 28 today. To celebrate, perhaps another member of the team's bench can sneak into Turner's house and mash a cake-filled towel into his face.

Transactions
The Mets made a splashy transaction on this date in 1964, purchasing the contract of future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn from the Milwaukee Braves. In 1963, Spahn had one of the greatest seasons by an old pitcher, winning 23 games and posting an ERA+ of 124 as a 42-year old. Baseball's winningest lefty suffered his first ever losing record the following year, though, and unwilling to subsequently take on reduced role led Spahn to request a trade from the team he'd been with for the last two-plus decades. Sensing an opportunity to acquire a starter and a replacement for outgoing pitching coach Mel Harder, the Mets offered to pay the bulk of Spahn's $85,000 contract in return for his services. The Braves, facing financial woes that would precipitate a move to Atlanta after the 1965 season, willingly obliged.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Labor Thanksgiving Day, the Japanese equivalent of America's turkey day, falls on November 23 every year. No team has employed more Japanese labor than the Mets, as an MLB record eleven players from the Land of the Rising Sun have donned taken the field in Queens. So don't forget to give thanks to Takashi Kashiwada or Shingo Takatsu while enjoying your leftovers today.

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