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Ken MacKenzie
vs. the Mets
Ken MacKenzie
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Memories of
Ken MacKenzie
Ken MacKenzie
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 278 of 1043 players
Kenneth Purvis MacKenzie
Born: March 10, 1934 at Gore Bay, Ont., Canada
Throws: Left Bats: Right
Height: 6.00 Weight: 185

Ken MacKenzie was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on October 11, 2008, September 8, 2010, and May 17, 2013.


First Mets game: April 15, 1962
Last Mets game: August 3, 1963

Share your memories of Ken MacKenzie


Bruce M.
After the '62 season, MacKenzie was complaining to Casey about what he was making. "I've got the lowest salary of any of my classmates at Yale." Casey's response - "And the highest ERA."

Peter G.
December 21, 2001
I knew Ken when he was the varsity baseball and freshman ice hockey coach at Yale, and he was one of the finest people I knew there. Always kind, always with a twinkle in his eye, and always looking out for the best interests of his players as students and as people. Weird times for athletics, then--68-69-70, in the middle of all kinds of campus turmoil when college sports looked ridiculously unimportant to most people there. But Ken rode the wave.

I always wondered what it was like to be the only real success story on a team that was famous for ineptitude. As I recall, Ken's winning record in 62 only rated one tiny mention in CAN'T ANYBODY HERE PLAY THIS GAME?

I was a Buffalo Bisons fan when they were a Mets farm team, so even if I didn't follow the Mets, I saw their future (and sometimes their past).

harvey k
January 30, 2002
he looked like a scholarly yale professor with his spectacles which he always wore.

robert h.
May 30, 2002
When Coach Mackenzie informed us that he was a pitcher used in relief for the (hapless) 1962 Mets, we thought that he meant comic relief.

Joe Figliola
August 6, 2003
To my knowledge, all eight of Ken's lifetime victories came in a Mets uniform. He definitely led a charmed life during those early losing days.

Bob P
August 9, 2003
Joe, you are right! Ken was 8-5 with the Mets and 0-5 while with other teams. He was the only pitcher on the 1962 team with a winning record (5-4).

He was 0-2 in 14 games with the Braves in 1960 and 1961, then came to the Mets, then went to the Cardinals and Giants where he had no decisions in 18 games between the two teams, then finished his career with the 1965 Astros, where he was 0-3 in 21 games. He got into 129 games in his career, 128 of them in relief. His only start came with the '62 Mets.

I haven't done any research but I'd be willing to wager that no Met pitcher from the early days had a better winning percentage with that many (13) decisions!

Ed Pietzak
October 23, 2004
I met Ken MacKenzie a few years ago at a golf outing, he was the "celebrity" to make a fivesome. When introducing myself, I commented that I remembered him from the 62 Mets, once had his baseball card, and to prove my knowledge, told him that he came up with the Milwaukee Braves. After that, it was like Ken and I were best friends. He told many Met stories about the original team, but my favorite was the time he went in to see the cheap George Wiess,GM of the Mets about a raise for his winning record. Dick Young of the Daily News was hanging around looking for a story and reported the next day, that Mac got a raise only because he argued that he was the lowest paid member of his Yale class. Ken is a real gentleman, still involved with Yale hockey. At the end of the golf round, Ken asked us all to autograph his scorecard in exchange for his signature. A great guy and a class act.

Bob Schwartz
September 24, 2005
When Ken was coaching at Yale, I was a student at Brown University. At Brown, I always wore my Mets cap everywhere I went, so when we went to play at Yale, Ken would always talk with me. I was student manager on the freshman baseball team and the varsity ice hockey team. One year, we beat Yale in a Christmas ice hockey tournament in St. Louis. Ken thought Yale should have won, and he said Brown wouldn't beat Yale again that season. We were very happy to win both regular season games later that season.

Jonathan Stern
October 13, 2005
When the 2003 Tigers made a run at the 1962 Mets all-time record of 120 losses in one season (they settled for only 119), various survivors of the 1962 Mets were tracked down and interviewed towards season's end. Among them was MacKenzie, who answered questions in a rage. His point: the 2003 Tigers were too talented to lose so many games, while the 1962 Mets earned every single one of their 120 losses. It was nauseating reading the stories of how the Tigers whooped it up, blasted music in the clubhouse, and had a grand old time... while they were losing 119 games! The Tigers probably were a 100-loss team. But 119? Come on.

Part of what made the 1962 Mets so endearing - maybe even heroic - was that they all really wanted to win and absolutely hated to lose. None of them enjoyed their dubious celebrity. Most of them understood on some level that their clown image brought fans to the park and ensured the franchise's continued existence. But they did not try to be clowns. If there was a way to take the character of many of those "bad" Mets (i.e. MacKenzie) and inject one of today's most talented teams with it, the result would be a dynasty for the ages.

jamey bumbalo
December 21, 2005
It's got to be worth something to say that he was the only Met pitcher in 1962 to have a winning record (even if it was only 5-4). And in 1963, before he was traded, he was 3-1 (.750). Also, he and Tim Harkness were the two 1962 Mets from Canada.

Dan Gurney
November 25, 2007
I wonder if MacKenzie appealed to George Weiss as a fellow Yale man. (Weiss had to drop out to support his family.)

July 7, 2012
Mackenzie was born on the North channel of Lake Huron in Canada. The man with the thick glasses looked more like a scholar than a ball player, and he actually was. He was a member of the Yale class of 1956, lettering in both baseball and hockey.

He went right to AA ball pitching in Atlanta winning 14 games. In his move up to AAA the following year he won 15 games making an impression. In 1959 he became relief pitcher mostly going 6-2 at AAA Louisville making a debut in the big leagues by 1960. He saw action in just 14 games over two seasons in Milwaukee going 0-2 as a Braves reliever.

In October 1961, his contract was purchased by the New York Mets making him an original Met. MacKenzie was a reliever usually coming in the later innings.

Once in a tight game with runner aboard Casey Stengel came out to the mound and told Mackenzie "make out like your pitching against Harvard". MacKenzie shook his head, thinking to himself, Yale is not Harvard.

He would be the first Mets pitcher out of Yale University, until Ron Darling came along twenty years later. Casey was also quoted saying: "He's a splendid young fella with a great education from Yale University. His signing with us makes him the lowest paid member of the class of Yale '56."

Mackenzie made his Mets debut in the fourth game of the team's history, pitching two innings allowing a pair of runs on three hits. After a loss and blown save in May, he went on to earn two straight victories against his old team, on a road trip to Milwaukee.

On May 19th he benefited from a rare Mets hitting outburst as the team scored four runs in the top of the 8th inning. The next day he got more help, when the Mets scored four runs in the top of the 9th inning. Two of the runs scored on an error on Charlie Neal ground ball.

He would actually close out the year winning three of his last four decisions as well. On a team that only won 40 games, MacKenzie pitched at some point or another in ten of those wins. He was the only pitcher on the entire 1962 Mets staff with a winning record (5-4) and his five wins were amazingly third best on the team.

He started out real well in 1963, going 3-0 with two saves posting an 0.82 ERA by early May. He was by far the most successful pitcher on the staff early on. He would make 34 appearances out of the bullpen, blowing two saves, and taking a loss through early August. He was then traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ed Bauta on August 5th, 1963.

Over the next two years he would pitch for the San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros, going 0-3 in 31 games combined.

Quality Met
July 22, 2012
I remember a book I once had that included many quotes from both Casey Stengel and others in regard to him. In this book, Ken mentioned that he once asked Stengel for advise on how to pitch to the hitters of a certain team. Casey told Ken that since he was a Yale man, he should "just pretend they're the Harvards."

bob bernacki
October 31, 2014
I have a jersey of his rookie year in 1961. It is of the Braves not Mets but I thought he might read this. It was given to me by my cousin who played semi-pro ball in Florida in 1972. Have no idea how he got it. Have had it ever since. Today I am wearing it for a Halloween costume 2014. Would love to be able to return it to Ken. Ken if you read this it would make a great story to get back your old jersey back some 53 years later. If anyone knows how to contact Ken please let me know. I'm not sure how many jerseys were issued in 1961 but I do have one of them. Name and year is sewn in the collar. Number 36. Made by Wilson. It been in a drawer for 42 years, would love to get it to Ken if he would like it.

Sam Bender
October 17, 2015
Played golf with Ken in the late 60's and he could hit it a mile. Great guy.

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