On the eve of Opening Day, Mets Rewind goes deep into the archives for a look — and listen — at the first-ever regular season game in franchise history on April 11, 1962 vs. the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium and, from the beginning, the team performed consistently poor. The Cardinals handed the Mets an 11-4 loss.
The Mets never led in the game. At one point, they tied the game in the fifth inning but then the Cardinals took over, collecting 16 hits in the game. Roger Craig, the Mets first Opening Day starter, lasted just three innings and allowing five runs and eight hits.
If the Mets had a star performance in the game it would have been Charlie Neal, who went 3-for-4 including a home run.
“We’re aiming for .500 and hope to be pleasantly suprised,” said Mets GM George Weiss before the team’s opener. “Stengel will not let the Mets coast and he will get some good from our young pitchers with good arms who never had real opportunities to pitch regularly before.”
The Mets recorded a number of firsts on that day including:
- First batter: Richie Ashburn (flied out to CF)
- First hit: Gus Bell, single in the second inning off Larry Jackson
- First double: Felix Mantilla off Larry Jackson in the seventh inning
- First home run (and first extra base hit): Gil Hodges, off Larry Jackson in the fourth inning
- First RBI: Charlie Neal, third inning scoring Richie Ashburn
- First run: Richie Ashburn
- First walk: Felix Mantilla (third inning)
- First strikeout: Roger Craig, second inning against Gene Oliver
- First error: Charlie Neal
- First loss: Roger Craig
Listen to the full broadcast of the Mets first game and relive Mets history with Bob Murphy, Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson.