Kerel Cooper of On the Black has submitted for the reader’s consideration some film footage of the 1962 New York Mets.
In the event that you’re unfamiliar with this iteration of the Metropolitans, here’s the first thing you might care to know about them: they were bad. Like, really bad. The club finished with a 40-120 record, worst of the 20 major league teams playing at the time, and a full 19 games in back of the next-worst Chicago Cubs.
So far as the film is concerned, there are definitely two — and probably more — ways to enjoy it.
The first way is as a cultural artifact, I’d guess you call it. You’ll notice that the video is full entirely of people from the year 1962, all — each of them — acting like and wearing the same clothes as people from the year 1962.
Particularly interesting for someone like me — someone, that is, not alive in 1962 — are the advertisements. Some products with which I’m not particularly familiar, but which are advertised around the Polo Grounds are:
• Bromo-Seltzer (:43 mark). From the description at Wikipedia, they appear to have been (still be?) very similar to Alka-Seltzer. )Just, don’t tell Jack Frigging Klugman that).
• Bardahl (1:07). It was — and still is — a manufacturer of “oil additives,” started by a Norwegian immigrant. They appear to have some kind of sweet racing car on their website.
• El Producto Cigars (1:07). According to Cigar Afficionado magazine, El Producto Queens were the favorite cigar of comedian and well-known old person George Burns. They’re still made, apparently, but are, in the words of Edward Kiersh, “a pale shadow of [their] former self.”
The other way to enjoy the video — perhaps one more familiar to FanGraphs readers — is by way of looking at the on-field performances of the players mentioned in the video. Our Dark Overlord recently updated the leaderboards, which now extend all the back to the uncreated light; however, the sheer volume of numbers to consume is overwhelming. “Where does a Cistulli begin?” is a question I found myself asking.
“With the 1962 Mets,” is now a reasonable reply. You would imagine that, being part of an awful team, the Met players were themselves pretty awful. This suspicion is confirmed cento per cento by the team’s dashboard. Only Richie Ashburn (the first player we meet) and Frank Thomas (who hits the high fastball for a homer) profiled as anything close to above-average, posting WAR of 2.4 and 2.6, respectively. (Thomas’s WAR ranks 84th overall in the majors, by way of reference.)
Among the other players noted by the strikingly masculine narrator, we have Gil Hodges (0.7 WAR — albeit in just 142 PA), Charlie Neal (0.4 WAR — and rated as -15 runs below average at second base), and Marv Throneberry (0.1 WAR).
Pitcher WAR is a trickier proposition, but you can rest assured that Vinegar Bend Mizell — who concedes a home run and throws a wild pitch — would’ve had a bad one, what with his 7.30 FIP. On the plus side, his name was Vinegar.
H/T: Mets Blog
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.