Mar 22, 2014

Remembering Mets History (1964): Mets Open Up the New Shea Stadium

The 1963 Mets finished tenth at 51-101 but there was not to be much improvement in 1964.

After Spring Training & just one month after the Beatles had landed in America, the New York Mets played an exhibition series in Mexico City. The lost the first game to the Mexico City Red Devils 5-4, but took the next two in front of solid crowds.

On April 3rd 1964, they played an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers and won 9-1. Unfortunately, Mets pitcher Carl Willey was hit in the mouth by a line drive off the bat of Gates Brown. It broke his jaw & Willey went on to win just one more career game over the next two years.

The Mets opened the 1964 season on the road with a two game series in Philadelphia. Then that weekend they would open at home in their new grand ballpark; Shea Stadium. Located at the center of the Worlds Fair at Flushing Meadows in Queens, Shea was one of the most biggest beautifal stadiums of the day.

On Tuesday April 4th 1964, the Mets opened their third professional season, at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. 21,000 fans showed up to see the Mets; Al Jackson go against the Phillies; Dennis Bennett.

The 1964 Mets Opening Day lineup:
Dick Smith 1B
Amado Samuel 2B
Ron Hunt 3B
Frank Thomas LF
Jim Hickman CF
Hawk Taylor C
Joe Christopher RF
Al Moran SS
Al Jackson P

Joe Christopher
The Phillies struck in the 1st inning, as Jackson walked Johnny Callison & Dick Allen. The clean up hitter; Roy Sievers then hit a three run HR to make it 3-0. In the 2nd Clay Dalrymple singled & advanced on a wild pitch. Short stop Bobby Wine singled him in to make it 4-0. In the 4th, the Mets Joe Christopher hit a solo HR to put New York on the board.

In the 5th, Dick Smith & Amado Samuel led off with base hits. Ron Hunt grounded into a double play but Frank Thomas singled putting runners on the corners. Next Jim Hickman drew a walk to load the bases.

Hawk Taylor
Phils manager; Gene Mauch removed Bennett & brought in Johnny Klippstein. Hawk Taylor greeted him with a two run single bringing the Mets within a run. But the Mets couldn't come back, in the 8th Dick Allen added an RBI double to cap off the 5-3 Philadelphia win. Jackson took the loss.

The '64 Mets would finish tenth again going 53-109.

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