Twins rival 1962 New York Mets [UPDATED]Published 9:39am Monday, May 14, 2012 Updated 11:40am Monday, May 14, 2012
Things have gone badly for the 2012 Minnesota Twins, but hopefully their final season record will be better than the New York Mets from a half century ago.
The 1962 season was the first regular season for the Mets, as the National League returned to New York for the first time since 1957 after the baseball Giants moved to the West Coast.
The 1962 Mets went 40-120 and finished tenth and last in the National League, 60 games behind the NL Champion San Francisco Giants.
The Mets’ 120 losses are the most by any Major League Baseball team in one season since 1899, according to Wikipedia.
The Mets were managed by former New York Yankees Manager Casey Stengel and played their home games at the Polo Grounds. This was their temporary home while Shea Stadium was being built in Queens.
The Mets, a half century ago, were infamous for their futility. The pitching staff allowed the most runs (948) in the majors.
Fans said that, fortunately, two games late in the season were canceled due to rainouts.
Despite those tough times, fans came out in droves. The Mets’ home attendance of 922,530 was good enough for sixth in the National League that year.
The season was chronicled in Jimmy Breslin’s humorous best-selling book “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?”
The title came from a remark made by Stengel expressing his frustration over the team’s ineptitude.
Epitomizing the team for its futility was Mets’ first baseman Marv Throneberry, who facetiously came to be known as Marvelous Marv.
On June 17, 1962, Throneberry hit a triple in a game against the Chicago Cubs, but was called out for not touching second base.
Stengel came out to argue the call, but was told by the umpire, “Don’t bother arguing, Casey. He missed first base, too.”
The next batter hit a home run. Throneberry’s mistake proved costly, as the Cubs won the game 8 – 7.
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The passing of former New York Yankee star first baseman Bill “Moose” Skowron, 81, kindled the memories of long-time baseball fans in Fergus Falls.
Skowron, prior to his Yankee playing days, was a member of the Austin baseball town team that lost to Fergus Falls in the 1950 state finals in St. Cloud.
Fergus Falls Red Sox pitcher Harley Oyloe struck out Skowron twice in that game. State champion Fergus Falls won the game 3-0.
Icing on the cake for Oyloe was getting a hit in the state title game at St. Cloud.
A photo of the 1950 Fergus Falls team is on display in the Kennedy School lobby as part of the Chamber of Commerce Sports Hall of Fame exhibit, next to the 544 Foundation display just inside the front entrance across from Roosevelt Park.
Also on that team were Fergus Falls retiree Roland Harlow, the late Duane Baglien and Jim McNulty, and John Kelly, Fred Kroog, John DeWitt, Joe Colasinski, Don Blasius, Hal Younghans and Eddie Piacentini. Future FFHS grad George Sawyer was the batboy.
A native of Moorhead, Oyloe signed a baseball contract with the St. Paul Saints in 1940 and played one year in minor league baseball with the Grand Forks Chiefs in the Northern League.
Oyloe used his baseball expertise to teach youths as the Fergus Falls American Legion baseball coach for several years.
In 1960 the Legion team won the hearts of local residents by winning the state title.
He owned a photo studio and later worked as chief photographer for The Daily Journal.
Tom Hintgen writes a weekly column, published on Sundays.