METS FANS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF THE JUNE 26, 1963 GAME:
January 19, 2001
I attended this game, and I was 10 years old. The Cubs scored 2 runs in the top of the inning to take a 6-4 lead, and Jim Hickman hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 14th (I thought it was the 10th)to win it. If you can confirm this, or e-mail me a boxscore of this game, I will greatly appreciate it. My local radio sport-talk station, brought this game up and they believe that the score was tied when Hickman hit the grand slam. Obviously, if the final score was 8-6, the score was not tied and I was right. It would give great pleasure if you can send me this boxscore so I can present it to WFAN (N.Y) and prove I was right. Thank you, you have not idea how long I was looking for this game on the Internet. Your site is great!
March 1, 2005
Elio is wrong on one key fact. The grand slam was hit by Tim Harkness. Hickman's memorable grand slam that season came several weeks later when it ended Roger Craig's losing streak. Those 2 games still rank among my top 10 Mets games ever!
May 19, 2005
I was at this game as part of a Cub Scout outing. I was 8 years old at the time. It was the second and last game I ever saw in the Polo Grounds. We left in the 11th inning, and later I heard that Harkness hit a grand slam to win it. Over the years, I have read many books about the Mets first few years, books that have described some individual games, good and bad (mostly bad, of course). But I have never seen this one mentioned. I kept thinking, if the Mets really won a game in 1963 on an extra-inning grand slam, wouldn't one of these books have mentioned such a dramatic event? So I began to believe that it really didn't happen. I figured that it was just another loss to the Cubs. This confirms that there really was such a game. If anyone can dig up a box score, I would be thrilled. Thanks a lot.
June 3, 2005
Thanks to retrosheet adding more boxscores recently we can finally re-create the events of this memorable game!
It was a Wednesday afternoon at the Polo Grounds, the final game of a six-game homestand which saw the Mets win three of the first five. Al Jackson was the Mets starter but he got in trouble right away, giving up runs in each of the first two innings. As the game went to the bottom of the sixth, Chicago's Bob Buhl had a 4-0 lead and he was working on a two-hit shutout. But the Mets pulled together a two-out rally thanks to a single by Ron Hunt, and RBI double by Duke Snider, and a two-run homer by Frank Thomas. In the eighth, Thomas singled in pinch-hitter Choo Choo Coleman to tie the game at 4-4.
As the game went to the 14th inning, the Met bullpen--Larry Bearnath, Tracy Stallard, Carlton Willey and Galen Cisco--had pitched five innings of hitless relief. The Cubs had not had a hit since the fifth inning. But Cisco walked Don Landrum with one out in the 14th and with two outs the Cubs got their first hit in nine innings: an inside-the-park homer by Billy Williams.
The Mets came up in the bottom of the inning and got a leadoff single by Jim Hickman. Ron Hunt followed with a single but Hickman was thrown out on the bases by RF Lou Brock. After a walk to Jimmy Piersall, Frank Thomas flied out for the seond out. Then LHP Jim Brewer came into the game to face lefty batter Sammy Taylor, who worked out a walk. Another lefty batter was next: Tim Harkenss. Tim had been 3-for-6 in the game so far (a popular misconception is that Tim was pinch- hitting here). Tim hit a walk-off grand slam to give the Mets one of their most memorable wins of the early days.
November 6, 2005
After the game, the crowd exited on to the field at the Polo Grounds. It seemed as if the entire stadium congregated at the clubhouse steps in centerfield. We were all screaming for Tim Harkness to come out and take a bow. It might have been the first 'curtain call' for a Met. He made an appearance at the doorway of the clubhouse and everyone went crazy.The 64 Met yearbook has a picture of Harkness from behind waving to the crowd.
June 11, 2007
I went to this game a part of an end of year school class trip. Being 13 years old at the time, me and a few friends thought that it would be fun to leave the main group of students (~60 or so) and find a better place to watch the game than the seats we had out deep left field. We departed the main group in about the 6th or 7th inning, and sneaked our way into some seats near third base. As the game went into extra innings, we never considered that the rest of the school would not stay until the end of the game (At that age, we were oblivious to the schedules of the bus driver, teachers, etc.). After the grand slam, we returned to where our classmates had been, only to find the area completely empty - except, that is, for one very angry school principal! Well, even though we all got into trouble (or as much trouble as you could get into at the end of the school year), we were all so excited by how Tim ended the game, that I'm sure we all would have made the same choice over again, given the opportunity. Of course, since the buses had left hours earlier with the rest of the kids, we had to ride back to Yonkers in the principal's car and listen to his tirade. It became clear as the ride progressed that much of this was an obligatory act, and in fact the principal, who was a "closet" Mets fan, had actually enjoyed having an excuse to see the whole game.
Having seen hundreds of games at Shea, Yankee Stadium, Oakland Coliseum, Candlestick Park, ATT Park, and a few other places, that afternoon in 1963 at the Polo Grounds is still my most memorable and favorite baseball recollection.
January 17, 2008
There was a magazine article regarding Met fans that showed pictures of Tim Harkness waving to the fans from the top of the clubhouse steps after this game. Anyone know which magazine and the date of the magazine?
February 29, 2008
My first Mets game and the start of my greatest summer ever, about to start high school, but not yet working, so literally being in the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium every week to Labor Day!
First, regarding the above query about a pix of Harkness on the steps. I don't know about the magazine, but there was a wire service photo that appeared in the NJ Star-Ledger the next day, and yes, this was one of the most memorable games I've ever seen.
Look at the Cubs line-up: Who knew? Future HOFers Banks, Brock and Williams.
The Frank Thomas HR was a blast over the LF roof, and the Harkness game-winner was a cannon shot into the deepest part of RF, where the stands curved out, no PG chippie.
March 27, 2008
I was at this game too when I was 13. The game was tied and went to the 14th inning. The Cubs scored twice in the top half and the Mets were down to their last out in the home half when they loaded the bases and Hickman’s count ran to 3 and 2. I remember standing in Center field outside the clubhouses before exiting the field through the center field doors. We stood and chanted "Hickman, Hickman" who came out and gave us a wave. Great guy who was always willing to sign autographs for kids. Baseball the way it should be. I have an original scorecard from that game.
After the game my friends and I followed Ron Santo all around the outside of the park trying to get his autograph. He wouldn't sign unless we knew who he was, and we didn't. After going through the whole Cubs lineup we finally got it and he signed autographs for us. Unfortunately, we weren't as lucky with Billy Williams who was "too busy", talking with his "girlfriend".
March 27, 2008
I was the lucky guy that hit that latest inning grand slam in National League history, 14th inning to help beat the Cubs 8 to 6. It was a very hot day and having faced Jim Brewer many times in the minor leagues I knew what to expect and got a hold of one his low fastballs and drove it deep to right center four hundred and forty feet away. The fans wouldn't leave until I came out from the clubhouse in the Polo Grounds. Thanks to everyone who remembers the moment. Regards, Tim Harkness.
October 11, 2008
Based on these comments, there sure were a lot of 13 year olds at that game. I was one of them. What I remember was the pandemonium after the game, in the corridors leading out of the Polo Grounds and down into the subway. Everyone was just chanting "Let's Go Mets" and the sound was bouncing off the walls. It was so much fun. One thing I miss about New York baseball (either team) is going to and coming back from the game on the subway, where the excitement of the fans is really magnified. I live in Dallas now and when you go to the game you are isolated in your car with the windows closed and the air conditioning blowing. You just don't get the same feeling as being part of the crowd. Of course it is 100 degrees out. Tim Harkness - thanks for the memory!
The Big H
October 13, 2008
I will remember this game for Mr Harkness and his grand slam. I didn't watch or listen to much of this game, as I was a kid playing outside. My father who wasn't much of a baseball fan drove up and called me urgently to the car to listen to the game. The game was crazy and exciting enough even for my father to listen. I ran through some sprinklers to get to the car and heard maybe one pitch called and then Harkness got it! An amazing Met win and Grand Slam to boot.
October 20, 2008
I was at this game with my father when I was eleven. We would drive down from Connecticut once or twice a year to see a game. I was a Cubs fan. I remember eating popcorn and then using the popcorn holder as a mini megaphone. I was positive the Cubs pitcher struck out Tim Harkness on a two-two count with a fastball on the outside corner. The ump said ball three and the pitcher went nuts. Next pitch--boom--game over. I was devastated. I remember the home run as a 280-foot shot down the right field line. Obviously I am wrong on that. I also remember how you could walk across the field to get to the parking lot in center field. It was a long drive back to Connecticut.
February 16, 2009
This was one of my favorite memories, although for the past 46 years I thought it was Lou Brock, not Billy Williams, that had set the stage in the top of the 14th. Playing stickball or baseball we always imagined; last at bat, two outs, trailing by 3 with a full count. It was nearly perfect. I was out in right, standing in a position that would allow a dash to the IND. I was high the entire 2 hour train and bus trip home. I attended 'game 6' with my wife and kids but I always rate this 1963 Cub game as number 1 in my Met memory bank. Probably because it is only a memory.
March 3, 2009
This memorable game was a turning point for both franchises. Almost by itself, it reignited the great New York-Chicago rivalry that had once been so important to National League baseball and, even today, decades after this game was played in front of a few thousand fans on a mid-season afternoon in the decrepit Polo Grounds, its fallout helps define both clubs. The Harkness Slam of '63 not only foreshadowed the undeniable Luck of the Mets that helped carry New York teams to titles in 1969, 1973, and 2000, (not to mention Game 6 in the '86 Series.) It also locked-in the defeatism that has surrounded the Cubs for more than 60 years. Yes, to any Cubs fans who may read this, I say - forget the Goat, Bartman, the over-the-top salesmanship of Jack Brickhouse, the constant moaning of Ron Santo, or even the cussedness of P.K. Wrigley himself. If you really want to pinpoint the source of your troubles since '63, look no further than - Tim Harkness!
May 15, 2009
This game has always meant a lot to me because I saw it with my late father. I was sitting to the right of home plate and saw Frank Thomas hit the ball right down the left field line. My impression was that he hit it out of the park towards the apartment buildings behind the left field stands. I also remember that the Billy Williams inside the park home run was sliced down that ridiculously short left field line and caromed off the wall away from the left fielder, giving him time to circle the bases. I'll always remember the sights, sounds, and smell (yes, smell- a peculiar combination of cigar and pipe smoke mixed with spilled beer) that you just don't get at the park today. I remember everyone rising to their feet as the 3-2 pitch was thrown. Oddly, I don't remember the flight of the ball (someone may have blocked my vision). I always think that this was the game that condemned me to a lifetime of Met baseball addiction.
Eric Rolfe Greenberg
April 17, 2010
I listened to this game from a curious vantage point: in the family car parked next to an empty Yankee Stadium. We'd packed the car that morning to head to our summer home, but my younger brother Roy -- 14 that year (not 13, as were so many other witnesses writing above) -- went to the game at the Polo Grounds, and plans were made for him to take the subway the one stop to Yankee Stadium after the game and join our northward passage. We were there by the eighth, and my father -- not a big ball fan -- was unenchanted as the game progressed into extra innings. We waited and listened, listened and waited.
Bob P, above, points out that the Met bullpen pitched hitless relief; in fact, they did so for eight and two-thirds innings -- 27 outs, including the last out of the fifth -- until Williams hit a fly that somehow eluded Frank Thomas in left, landing on the track before bouncing against the wall. (How Thomas allowed a fly ball to hit the track behind him in the Polo Grounds' notoriously short left field corner still rankles.) And my father groaned when the Mets loaded the bases in the bottom half of the fourteenth, envisioning the game re-tied and going on and on. But as Roy said when he joined us, Harkness hit it into the darkness, and we had a victory that still lifts the spirits -- almost half a century later.
June 16, 2010
This has now come full circle. I was the one who started this thread on Jan. 19 2001. It was so much fun reading everyone's comments, including the man who created the memory - Tim Harkness. I want to thank Fletcher Rabbit for correcting me that it was Tim Harkness and not Jim Hickman who performed the heroics, but again, I was only 10.
This game was always special to me but now it's even more special with all the comments you provided.
Thanks, to all of you.
June 16, 2010
I remember listening to that game on my portable transistor radio. School was over for the day, and I was in the playground in front of my building in the projects. I was eight years old and just about to finish fourth grade.
When Harkness came up with two outs and the bases loaded, I recall thinking how great it would be if he hit a grand slam. But that was too much to hope for; the Mets were such a bad team in those early days.
When it really did happen, you can imagine how great it felt.
Harkness had a brief (1961-1964) career and hit only 14 HRs. I imagine that one was the most memorable. He's 72 now; I'm 55.
November 24, 2010
It was one of the great moments in Met history, if not THE greatest.
I believe the game was not televised. Week-day games at home were the only home games that were not. Williams' inside-the-parker in the top of the 14th was described by Lindsey, Ralph, or Bob as a ball that Thomas should have played it safely on. I pictured Frank racing in and trying for a shoestring and missing it; the ball going behind him.
It was devastating. And then the wonderful Harkness hit the home run!
Unforgettable and truly memorable!
March 28, 2011
I remember sitting on the first base line. The count was full. Everyone in the Polo Grounds stood and started yelling. Harkness swung and you could hear the ball whistle on a line towards the right field wall. It cleared. It sounded like 50,000 people were there.
July 6, 2012
I was at the game with a Hebrew Scholl and I was 11 years old and it was my first baseball game. What a memory. Tim Harkness became my hero.
February 13, 2013
I was at the game with my brother. The day was extremely hot - well over 90 - but our seats were in the shade. I remember the top of the 14th and the attempt by Frank Thomas to catch the sinking liner that turned into an inside-the-park home run. The home run as I recall came with 2 outs and a 3-2 count. It has to be one of the most memorable games that I have ever seen.
September 2, 2014
I listened to most of this game on the radio at home. I was a few days shy of my 14th birthday. When Harkness worked the count to 3 and 2 I wasn't even thinking about a home run..I was just praying that he could walk and bring us that much closer to a tie. When the announcer (I think it was Bob Murphy but it could have been Lindsey or Ralph) called the homer I went crazy with joy. I still remember that moment as a new senior citizen 51 years later.
September 30, 2015
I was 8. My uncle took me. This was my first game I ever attended. When Harkness hit the grand slam the crowd went crazy and I was hooked for life.
September 30, 2015
Yes yes I was there with a few of my diehard friends on a blistering 96 degree day. Only a few hundred fans stayed for the end of a game that lasted over 4 hours for a team that lost 111 games that season. When Harkness hit that impossible shot it impacted my life in a very powerful and profound way. Anything was possible when things looked hopeless . Euphoria propelled us out to the clubhouse steps in center field as we chanted for Harkness who finally appeared shy and a humble hero. It felt big. The following week that moment appeared in Life Magazine and in the adoring crowd is my crazy happy grinning face.
September 30, 2015
Was 11 and at the game with my cousin. Keeping scorecard I noticed that Met pitchers had thrown 9 innings of no hit ball from end of 5th thru beginning of the 14th. Then the Cubs rally on inside the park homer. Down 2 we are still hopeful and excited when first 2 Mets get hits and then Hickman is caught off of second base. We were furious with him. But true die yards we kept hoping. When we loaded the bases with 2 outs and the count went full we were going crazy and then Harkness blasts the walk off grand slam. The stadium was rocking. We were slapping hands and hugging strangers. We stood in center field cheering for Harkness until he came out and took what is the first "curtain call" I remember. My son met Harkness at Shea during the last season there and told him that I had told him about this game from 1963 being one of my favorite Met memories. Harkness was humble but excited to discuss it with him. Still brings a smile thinking of this game.