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In 1963, baseball writers preferred the play of Charlie Hustle to that of Ron "Johnnie GRISSON" Hunt.
Ron Hunt made history by almost making history on this date in 1963 when he became the first Met in the team's two-year existence to garner Rookie of the Year consideration. The second sacker picked up two of the twenty possible votes for what was then known as the J. Louis Comiskey Memorial Award and finished as a distant runner up to winner Pete Rose.
Though Charlie Hustle would go on to have a much more accomplished career, he and Hunt were essentially the same player in 1963. Both were 22 years of age. Both played the keystone. Both had last names that were four-letter words that could be used as either a noun or a verb. As for the stats, both were worth 2.1 wins above replacement according to Baseball Reference. Both posted identical on-base percentages (.334). The two even came within one point of hitting for the same average. Hunt made up that slight difference by showing more pop, as he slugged 10 home runs (which would remain the Mets club record for second basemen until Tim Teufel cracked 14 in 1987). The only place in the stat line where baseball's eventual all-time hit leader bested baseball's former HBP king was in fielding prowess. If you put stock in 50-year old defensive metrics, Rose was slightly less bad with the glove, costing the Reds a mere half-win according to dWAR, while Hunt weakened the Mets' D by a full one. Given how close the two players were in overall production, it seems like the voting should have been a toss up and the fact that it wasn't is probably due to the fact that the Reds won 86 games in 1963 while the Mets finished 51-111.
- Former Mets infielder Richie Hebner is eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits today, as he turns 65. Acquired prior to the 1979 season, Hebner lasted just one year in New York, as he openly despised the city. The Mets had their revenge by trading him to one of the few metropoles more rundown than late-70s Gotham: Detroit.
- Backstop Brian Schneider is 36. Casey Stengel said, "You have to have a catcher because if you don't you're likely to have a lot of passed balls." Schneider prevented a moderate number of passed balls in 2008 and '09.
- Jeff Torborg is 71. Sort of like Art Howe without a vocabulary filled with battle words, Torborg managed the Mets in 1992 and for part of 1993 before being dismissed. His .425 winning percentage ranks at 14th best in team history, one point ahead of the .424 mark amassed by none other than Art Howe.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
The Toll of the Sea, the first wide-release film to use two-tone Technicolor, debuted today in 1922. While the movie is pretty much forgotten these days, it's still fared better in the public memory than the similarly titled Troll of the Sea, a documentary about an anonymous internet poster who constantly advocates trading David Wrong for a conch shell, three Merchant Marine cooks, and an octopus that can make NFL picks with slightly better than break even accuracy.