On April 23, 1962, the 0–9 Mets beat the 10–0 Pirates in Pittsburgh for the new franchise’s first ever win. Two singles, a wild pitch, and a pair of sacrifice flies in the top of the first staked Amazins starter Jay Hook to a 2–0 lead. It was all he would need as he threw a five-hit complete game, but the Mets’ offense would score seven more runs en route to an eventual 9–1 victory. Hook himself contributed a two-run single. Most of the damage was done against two future Mets, starter Tom Sturdivant and reliever Jack Lamabe.
Other Game of Note
On their way to their fourth pennant, the Mets on this date in 2000 pummeled Kevin Tapani and the Cubs, 15–8. Two-three-four hitters Derek Bell, Edgardo Alfonzo, and Mike Piazza led the 18-hit attack with a home run each and a combined 8-for–11 with eight RBI. It was the club’s ninth win in their last 10 games, improving their record to 12–7, a half-game behind the Braves.
Flame-throwing right-hander Henry Owens, turning 34 today, had a sip of coffee with the 2006 Mets (4 IP, 4 ER) and a full mug the following season with the Marlins before arm woes cut his big league career short.
Jason Tyner, also 34 today, was one of several speedy, light-hitting center fielders the Mets auditioned early in the last decade, a group that also includes the likes of McKay Christensen, Esix Snead, Jeff Duncan, and Prentice Redman. Tyner and Paul Wilson were traded to Tampa Bay in August 2000 for serviceable spare parts Bubba Trammell and Rick White.
Happy 77th birthday to Duke Carmel. When the outfielder-first baseman joined the Mets in late July of 1963, he found himself playing more often than not in the same lineup with future Hall of Famer Duke Snider. It wasn’t long before Mets fans began parading “Put Up Your Dukes” banners around the Polo Grounds. It was a short-lived slogan as neither player would be back with the club in 1964.
The late, great Warren Spahn was born on this date in 1921. The winningest lefty in the history of baseball was signed by the Mets to be both pitcher and pitching coach for the 1965 season. On the mound he looked like an early season favorite for Comeback Player of the Year honors before time caught up with him. In his other role, he locked horns with manager Casey Stengel, which may have had more to do with his being released in July than his 4.36 ERA. Spahn, who played for the Ol’ Perfessor as a rookie with the Boston Braves in 1942, famously quipped, "I’m probably the only guy who worked for Stengel before and after he was a genius.”
Amazin’-ly Tenuous Connection
William Shakespeare was born on this date in 1564. Before becoming a great playwright, he was a sportswriter who covered the Stratford-upon-Avon Mets. Bemoaning the team’s penchant for stranding base runners, he wrote, “O my offense is rank, it smells to heaven,” and regarding Johan Santana’s no-hitter, he quipped. “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” He later used those lines in Hamlet and MacBeth, respectively, and also penned plays based on the Amazins’ early years (“A Comedy of Errors”), their World Series triumphs (“All’s Well That Ends Well”), and the Mets career of Jason Bay ("Much Ado About Nothing”).