On April 23, 1962 the New York Mets made franchise history, recording their first regular season win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets collected 14 hits and scored nine runs and pitcher Jay Hook pitched a complete game in a 9-1 win. Here’s a game recap and some of the highlights from this historic night.
The New York Mets had enough of losing, dropping their first nine games of the season, including a pair on Saturday and Sunday at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.
The Mets took their frustrations out on the red-hot Pirates one day later as the two teams met for a Monday night game on Ladies Night. After a pre-game ceremony that included appearances from a half dozen Miss Universe contestants, the Mets got to work quickly, scoring a pair of runs in the first and four more in the second inning (batting around the order) and never looked back. The Mets pounded out 14 hits and scored nine runs — led by multi-hit game from Elio Chacon (three hits and two RBI), Felix Mantilla (three hits and a double), Gil Hodges (two hits and a double) and Charlie Neal (two hits, a double and a run scored) — to record their first win in franchise history, a 9-1 whitewashing of the Pirates.
Jay Hook pitched a complete game five hitter, a man with talents far beyond throwing a baseball 60 feet, 6 inches. Hook earned his graduate degree in engineering and could diagram the physics of curveball.
Hook, one of a handful of young players acquired by the Mets as a $125,000 premium draft pick, was one of Casey Stengel’s favorites coming out of Spring Training Despite his talent, Hook never lived up to his potential, suffering from lack of control and lack of aggressiveness.
During one spring appearance against the Baltimore Orioles, with Hook struggling to get batters out, Stengel left him in the game. Hook gave up 17 hits before recording the third out. “There were two outs,” Stengel told the media. “How’d I know he couldn’t get a third one? I mean, he had good control.”
But April 23, 1962 was a good day for Hook and a historic day for the franchise. The Mets celebrated popping the corks on champagne after the game.
Stengel, amazed by the team’s performance and Hook’s success, told the media: “I might have to pitch him (Hook) for the net 99 games.”