METS FANS SHARE THEIR MEMORIES OF THE JUNE 17, 1962 GAME:
April 28, 2006
The game in which Marv Throneberry in the first inning messed up a would-be triple by not touching 2B. When Casey went out to argue the ump's call, the most common version of the story is that the Mets' 1B coach told him not to bother because Marv had missed touching 1B too.
April 20, 2009
This first game of a Father's Day doubleheader helped launch two fabulous careers. As mentioned above, the first belongs to Marvelous Marv Throneberry. Although Marv was at the tail end of a mediocre career as a player, his "triple" on this date placed him squarely on a path that would lead to immortality with Whitey and the Mick in the Lite Beer Drinkers' Hall of Fame.
This game also had the distinction of helping the Cardinals become the 1960's National League Team of the Decade, when a second great career emerged on this date. This occured in the first inning, as Cubs rookie center fielder Lou Brock stepped in against Al Jackson - lefty versus lefty. At the time, Lou had only two things going for him in making the jump from Class C ball: more speed than Maury Wills and - unfortunately for Cubs fans - more straight away power than Frank Howard. In this game, as he faced Jackson with two out and a runner on third, the 5'9", 175 lb. Brock missed the first pitch on a bunt attempt, then took ball one outside. Waiting to unload on pitch #3, Lou may have thought back to a Sunday three months earlier in Mesa, when he faced another lefty breaking ball specialist in a Cactus League game, and drove Warren Spahn's screwball 500 feet through thin desert air.
Of course, that was spring training, and Spahnie wasn't overexerting himself as he prepared for his 18th season with the Braves. But on this hot and muggy June 17th in New York, Jackson, like Brock, was only a rookie, trying to close-out a first inning in which the Cubs already had scored two runs. Brock, however, did connect with his next pitch, driving the ball high above Richie Ashburn in center, just to the right of the clubhouse, where it hit the top of the 30 foot high Batter's Eye background, 475 feet from home plate. As it bounced another 20 feet into the stands, Lou became the only lefty hitter who would ever reach the Polo Grounds bleachers (other than Babe Ruth in 1920-22, when home plate was 20 feet closer).
That home run, Brock's seventh in just his first two months in the majors, brought Lou instant recognition as a power hitter, and very well could have sealed his fate as the Corey Patterson of the 60's, because it led him to swing more often for distance. He began to strike out regularly and, two years later, had managed to hit only 13 more home runs for the Cubs, while compiling a .260 lifetime batting average. Along with these numbers, Lou's play in right or center field was always an adventure, as he would sometimes break the wrong way on line drives, or let pop ups bounce off the heel of his glove.
Fortunately for Lou, his incredible shot to the Polo Grounds bleachers did not spell the end of his effectiveness as a hitter, nor did it remain the high point of his career. Teams in the NL other than the Cubs were not managed by an inept College of Coaches, and leaders such as Gene Mauch, Danny Murtaugh, and Johnny Keane quickly recognized what Brock's speed could do at the top of a lineup. All of them pushed their front offices to trade for him. The Cards, of course, won out, and Brock became an instant star in St. Louis, playing left field to limit his defensive shortcomings, hitting line drives or hard grounders through the infield, and literally stealing his way into Cooperstown.