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The First Home Win

Monday marks the 47th anniversary of the Mets first home game. It's not for another two weeks that we mark the anniversary of the Mets first home win. Hopefully, with Walter Silva pitching and not Josh Johnson, we won't have to wait that long.

The first triumph for the 1962 Mets at the Polo Grounds was a doozy, not a walk-off win, but as well earned as one. It took the kind of herculean comeback you wouldn't have expected from the 40-120 team, their biggest rally of the season. The Mets opponent that day was the Phillies and were the current team to get this kind of victory against the current Phillies, it would be worthy of mega-headlines.

The Mets were 1-12 in their first 13 games and appeared to be headed for an unlucky 13th loss after half-an-inning that April 28th. Philadelphia had a 4-0 lead and Mets starter Jay Hook was done after recording just two outs.

The cure for the Mets woes was the relief work of Bob L. Miller, who worked 4 1/3 frames, allowing only one run. Still, the Mets bats had done nothing against Jim Owens, who had a 6-1 lead after 5 1/2 innings.

But as Robert Teague of the New York Times wrote "Suddenly everything was GO GO GO." I think we'll be hard-pressed to see three home runs hit in the first game at Citi Field let alone the three in a row that these 1962 Mets generated. Frank Thomas, Charlie Neal and Gil Hodges all went deep, part of a nine-homer combined effort that tied an NL record.

Those three homers accounted for four runs, and made it a 6-5 game. The rest of the comeback was bizarre, set up by two walks and a groundout that put runners on second and third with two outs.

The what I call "quick-brick" wall that serves as the Citi Field backstop makes it extremely unlikely that what followed could happen 47 years later.

Yes, the Mets go-ahead effort in their first home victory came home on a wild pitch. It was one that scored not one, but two runs, against Phillies reliever Chris Short, with Rod Kanehl hustling home behind John DeMerit with the go-ahead tally. That was the last of the six runs the Mets scored in the home sixth.

A Jim Hickman homer in the eighth pushed the Mets lead to 8-6. Roger Craig made it stand, retiring the Phillies 1-2-3 in the 9th, giving the home fans something to celebrate for the first time in a long time.

The first of the true Mets fans know...That the Mets first home win streak came about the next day, with an 8-0 victory, thanks in part to five Phillies errors.


Anonymous said…
I was there. It was so exciting my baby was born the next day--three weeks early. What a day. And What a team.

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