Tuesday, March 02, 2010

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Pitching and An Omen favors The Mets - 10.06.69 - SI Vault

I love this stuff. Great to read it all from the perspective of the time.

Gil Hodges, the Met manager, has often been regarded as one of the nicest men in baseball, but his players know how tough he can be. If he does not like something he sees a player doing he will "sit him down" until the player has learned his lesson. The thing which Hodges himself learned the quickest as a manager was how to handle pitchers the most difficult job a manager has. Working effectively with Pitching Coach Al (Rube) Walker and delegating a lot of responsibility to him, Hodges still takes on himself the blame for any mistakes and often awards the praise to his coach. Hodges manages a lot on instinct and lets neither press nor ownership call his shots for him. He pulls his pitchers when he thinks the time is right and he is seldom proved wrong.

Eggheads and barbers, newspaper columnists and television commentators, have all offered theories as to what the Mets have meant for New York City this year. Basically, what the team did was play good National League baseball in a town that has always seemed fonder of the National League than the American. Old men put transistors to their ears on city streets to listen to the Mets, and women suddenly discovered that the game was not dying. It is impossible to tell how many listened to the Mets on radio or watched them on television, but at one point a Met game on WOR-TV pulled 40% of the viewing audience in prime time while the next-highest-rated show, the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, got only 20%. In that stretch of summer between the schools' recess in June and New York's clinching of the divisional title two weeks ago, an average of 36,221 paying customers went to Shea Stadium each day, and nearly half of New York's final 43 home dates were against the Astros, Expos, Padres or Philliesclubs certainly not known as gate attractions.

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Pitching and An Omen favors The Mets - 10.06.69 - SI Vault

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