This Date in Mets History: September 19 - Wes Westrum by the Wayside, Keith Slams, Otzi

Wes Westrum, Mets manager, 1965-67.

Poor Wes Westrum. In the Mets' managerial sandwich, the bread overwhelmed. With Casey Stengel before and Gil Hodges after, Westrum spent just a couple of years with the Mets, starting with Casey's injury in August of '65 and ending on this date, 1967. Westrum was known for his fine defensive catching as a New York Giant; he once finished a season with one error and 21 double plays. He joined the Mets as a coach in '64 and took the pitching coach mantle in '65, impressive for a non-hurler. As manager he pulled the club out of the cellar in his first full season, ninth place being better than tenth. But in 1967 it was back to the bottom. With 11 games left in the season, Westrum resigned from his 57-93 club. The 1954 World Series champion rejoined the Giants, whom he would manage for a spell in the mid-70s.

Birthdays

  • It's a special five year old who earns the nickname "Duke," and a more special ballplayer who reigns as Duke of Flatbush. Eighty-six years ago today, a Hall of Famer was born. Duke Snider was sold to the Mets after their record-setting 40-120 season, and proved a favorite of old-time Dodger fans in New York. At 36, he batted just .243 but got on base at a .345 clip. (In 1953 in Brooklyn Duke hit .336/.419/.627.) The outfielder ended his career the following season for the last of the New York N.L. teams: the Giants, now in San Francisco. Duke died last year.
  • Randy Myers (turns 50), a first round draft pick, received 10.2 innings of work and a World Series ring with the '86 Mets, then became the team's regular closer in '88 and '89. The hard-throwing lefty was traded to the Reds for a subtler closer, John Franco.

Game of Note

The Mets were down 0-2 in the fifth inning when their seven, eight, and nine hitters reached base, and Lenny Dyskra singled in the first run. An out later -- on September 19, 1987 -- Keith Hernandez, with a big swing of the bat, slammed everyone home. Starting pitcher Rick Aguilera had only these runs to work with in his battle with Bonds, Bonilla, and the Pirates. Randy Myers and Roger MacDowell combined for 32 innings of scoreless relief, and the visiting Mets eeked it out, 5-4.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection

On this date, 1991, German tourists discovered Otzi the Iceman in the glacier where he'd been chillin' for 3,500 years. One of the discoverers? Erika Simon! Had it in fact been dear leader Eric Simon, Otzi-sauce would rule the internets. "I'm just a caveman. Your world frightens and confuses me! But there is one thing I do know --- when the Mets trade impending free agents, they need to think about compensatory picks. Thank you."

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