July 27, 2017 Of the numerous mistakes that have been made by Mets management, the refusal to promote Whitey to General Manager after the death of Johnny Murphy was the
biggest of all. He knew the strengths and weaknesses of the organization's minor league prospects and was more than qualified for decisions on what should be done with them. There was nobody from within who was better suited for the position than he.
Unfortunately, the stubbornness of the people in
charge got in the way of reason. Herzog often told M. Donald Grant the truth about his lack of knowledge on running a major league team. Old M. Donald, who didn't care much about the farm, could not take the deserved criticism and didn't give Whitey his just due. This was a major oversight that would affect the Mets negatively for years.
The Mets would've had a more solid pennant-contending team if Herzog had been their GM in the 1970s. A roster comprised mostly of home-grown talent was bound to make them very successful. Whitey's input in developing players for the Mets was never brought to fruition due to the egotism and cowardice of his superiors.
July 27, 2017 I met Joe at a minor league ballpark in New Jersey in 1994. He was checking on players of the Mets' Pittsfield affiliate, which had a game there that night. A few fans, one of which was myself, came to him for autographs and he obliged to all of us. After getting his signature, I asked Joe about his baby boy who was born just a few months earlier. His face lit up and he cheerfully said his son was doing very well. I like to think I gave this proud new dad something nice to hear that broke up the dull routine of signing his name for people he didn't even know.
Joe always gave the impression that he was a good,
decent person. Hope he's happy, wherever he may be.
July 27, 2017 Bob’s voice was always a pleasure to hear since it defined Mets baseball, but he used to confuse me. I remember as a kid tuning in to a game from St. Louis
and he would say that the Mets were facing the Cardinals at Memorial Stadium. Just learning about all the teams and their ballparks of the time, I
discovered this was actually the name of the Orioles’ home field in Baltimore while the Cards home field in Baltimore while the Cards’ venue was
called Busch Stadium. The place in St. Louis did have the word ‘Memorial’ inserted on occasion, but Bob should have said “Busch” to distinguish it from the on one in Baltimore.
In later years, Murphy seemed to have trouble breaking an old habit when talking about the Mets’ top minor league affiliate. The AAA-level team had been known by a geographical name of Tidewater for many years before switching it Norfolk, its home city. Bob referred to
them as “Tidewater” for so long that he kept doing it for nearly a decade after the name change. In fact, I don’t recall him using “Norfolk” to describe that ball club even once.
Overall, though, following the Mets with Bob on the airwaves was a joyous part of my younger days. I still have many good memories of hearing him describe the action despite any misidentifications he made. Besides, we’re all only human and even the best of us make our errors.
July 27, 2017 Lindsey was a great broadcaster, but one thing always bothered me about him during Mets games. Whenever he identified someone on camera like a manager in the dugout or a pitcher in the bullpen, he'd say the name of the person twice. There wasn’t any reason for him to repeat what he just said and it drove me crazy quite often. He had a lively voice, but also a little too much flamboyance.
In listening to a few old radio broadcasts of the Mets on You Tube recently, I found that Nelson had given the wrong identity of a few players on the field. In his call of a Mets triple play in a '62 game, he said that Felix Mantilla was the second baseman involved when it was actually Charlie Neal. When Houston's Jim Wynn reached third base on a Met error in a game in '66, he mistook Wynn for Sonny Jackson. Lindsey repeated the same incorrect name several times on each of these plays and never fixed his mistakes. I don't remember him having a habit of making such errors on the air, but now I wonder how many times he did.
Old Fashioned Met
July 27, 2017 It's my understanding that Bob was not interested in the Mets' general manager job when it became available. He wanted to retire and move south with his wife, but M. Donald Grant persuaded him out of it. Scheffing spent five seasons in the GM position, solely as Grant's hand-picked servant, and didn't do very much. Although he made the trade to bring George Stone and Felix Millan to the team - which helped in the ’73 pennant drive - his role with the Mets was minimal and he was soon gone. Bob's heart just wasn’t in his work.