Remembering Mets History (1962) The Mets First Two Walk Off HRs & The First Pitcher to Win Both Ends of a Double Header

Saturday May 12th, 1962:
The expansion New York Mets were in their infancy just into the second month of the teams start. 

On this Saturday afternoon a good crowd of 19,748 came out to the Polo Grounds as Casey Stengel's New York Mets (6-17) hosted Manager Birdie Tibbets, Milwaukee Braves (13-15) in a double header. 

It was the Mets second double header, on April 29th they split a twin bill with the Phillies in the Polo Grounds.

In the first game Roger Craig (1-3) got the start for the Mets going up against the Braves future Hall of Fame pitcher, Warren Spahn (3-3). 

In the top of the 2nd, Del Crandall homered to put the Braves on the board 1-0. In the top of the 5th, the Braves Frank Bolling led off with a base hit, he stole second & advanced to third on a throwing error. The pitcher, Spahn singled bringing in the Braves second run.

Warren Spahn shut the Mets out for the first five innings. In the bottom of the 6th, Elio Chacon singled & advanced on a fielder's choice. Frank Thomas then doubled to left field bringing in the Mets first run.

Craig Anderson
In the 8th inning, Mets Reliever Craig Anderson came in to pitch with the Mets still down 2-1. Warren Spahn led off with his second hit of the game, a double to left center field. But Anderson retired the next three batters to keep the game at 2-1.

The score remained until the bottom of the 9th, as Spahn was looking to end the game. Gil Hodges got aboard with an infield single to third base. Casey Stengle made a few moves, putting in "Hot Rod" Kanehl to run for Hodges & Cliff Cook to pinch hit. Cook struck out & Stengel sent in Gus Bell to pinch hit with two outs.

Hobie Landrith then came up & blasted Spahn's pitch for & a two run walk off HR, giving the Mets an exciting 3-2 win. It was the very first walk off HR in the team's history, as the Polo Grounds fans went crazy. Craig Anderson was credited with the victory.

Second Game: In the nightcap the Mets Bob Moorhead (0-0) got his second start for the Mets, going against a future Met pitcher, Carlton Willey (0-2). 

Moorhead gave up five runs through five innings, HR king, Hank Aaron blasted one out & drove in four of the runs.  

In the bottom of the 1st, Jim Hickman led off with a HR putting the Mets on top. In the bottom of the 2nd, Charlie Neal singled & was caught stealing. Hobie Landrith drew a walk & advanced on a fielder's choice. Elio Chacon then singled in Landrith for the Mets second run.

In the top of the 4th, Henry Aaron brought in a run with a sac fly. In the bottom of the 4th, Hobie Landrith singled but was forced on Bob Moorhead's ground out. Elio Chacon then drew a walk to put two men on. Felix Mantilla then hit a two run double giving the Mets a 4-1 lead.

In the top of the 5th, Moorhead gave up a pair of singles & a sac fly to Tommie Aaron, Hank's brother. Then, Mack Jones tripled in a run & Hank Aaron blasted a two run HR putting the Braves ahead 5-4. Moorhead was done for the day & one of the two Bob Miller's on the staff came in to pitch, five Mets pitchers would pitch in the game.

In the 6th inning, with Jack Curtis pitching for Milwaukee, Elio Chacon tripled into the left center gap. Frank Thomas singled bringing in Chacon putting the Mets back on top 6-5.

In the top of the 8th, with Ken Mackenzie pitching for the Mets, Mack Jones & Henry Aaron hit back-to-back doubles, knocking him out as Dave Hillman came in to pitch. Frank Bolling hit a sac fly putting the Braves back on top.

Then it was Craig Anderson time once again. Anderson retired all three batters he faced, Del Crandel, Hank's brother, Tommie Aaron & Mack Jones.

In the bottom of the 8th, pinch hitter Ed Bouchee drew a walk off Don Nottebart."Hot Rod" Kanehl came in to pinch run & was sacrificed over by Jim Hickman. Elio Chacon having the biggest day of his career, collected his third hit & drove in his third run tying up the game at seven.

In the top of the 9th, Vinegar Bend Mizell started the inning for the Mets but walked the leadoff batter. Casey Stengel went right to Craig Anderson in the bullpen. He threw a wild pitch, but a sacrifice & two ground outs ended the inning.

In the bottom of the 9th, Hank Fischer was pitching for Milwaukee & got Frank Thomas for the first out. Next up was New York's beloved former Brooklyn Dodger, Gil Hodges who had come into the game in the 5th inning as a pinch hitter. 
Gil Hodges delighted the fans hitting his third HR of the year, the Mets second walk off HR in as many games, to win it 8-7.

The winning pitcher was Craig Anderson, as he became the first Mets pitcher to win both ends of a double header. He looked up into stands above the Mets dugout after congratulating Hodges with his teammates on the field & saw his wife. She put up two fingers smiling at him & returned the glance holding up two fingers as well. Two wins in the same day.

It was like a World Series victory for the ecstatic fans in attendance that day at the Polo Grounds. The twin bill sweep accounted for two of the teams forty victories that the season.

Overall, Casey Stengle used 18 roster players in the second game & a total of 34 in both games.

Trivia: Unfortunately, Anderson would never win another big-league game. Strangely, Anderson had three wins in that week but would lose his next 16 games that season & the next 19 decisions of his career. Another crazy story from the 1962 Mets.

Craig Anderson & Gil Hodges were good friends Sixty years later, Hodges' daughter & granddaughter escorted Anderson onto the field at the 2022 Mets Old Timers Day.


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