Lou Niss
Lou Niss
Born: October 5, 1903
Died: April 30, 1987 at Eastchester, N.Y.

Non-playing roles with Mets
  • Traveling Secretary 1962 - 1980

Share your memories of Lou Niss


Frank the Met
July 11, 2008
I noticed there were no comments about Lou Niss, and I would bet there aren't five people in the world who've heard of him or remember him. But I when I was a kid, I was a typical fanatical Met fan who would read the Mets yearbook from cover to cover, including the obscure little write-ups about people no one cared about. Every year, Lou Niss's name and photo appeared in the yearbook with the title "Traveling Secretary." One day, circa 1971 or 72, when I was about nine or ten, I saw him walking toward the player entrance before the game. Everyone ignored him. I said, "Hey, Lou." He looked at me as if trying not to show he was surprised someone knew who he was. "How ya doin'," he responded.

July 27, 2008
Frank, I remember Lou from the yearbooks, too. He always appeared in the team picture somewhere near the back page. In most of those pictures, Lou was standing in the middle row on the extreme left wearing a jacket and tie, next to a plethora of uniformed players. I don't ever remember his name being mentioned during games, but he was always in those pictures.

Lou was the traveling secretary for the Mets from 1962 to 1980, which means he lasted one more year than Ed Kranepool. His job performance was never covered by the media, but I'm sure he did it very well. At no time did he ever book the Mets into a Ramada like, say, George Costanza did for the Yankees on "Seinfeld", did he? Of course not!

I always liked the fact that Lou had a short, easy name to pronounce. I also thought he looked like Mr. Hooper from Sesame Street. Being a kid, I found these things favorable. Lou was, in a small way, a part of my early memories as a Mets' fan.

August 1, 2008
I remember Lou Niss too! He was in the team picture every year in the '70s and never smiled.

Vin Conte
August 20, 2008
On Diamond Club elevator line last night at Shea a very old bent over man was behind me; I could have sworn it was Lou Niss! When we got off the elevator and he went right into the Mets office, I said that must be Lou Niss. I Googled his name to find he passed in 1987! So I remember his name 21 years after he is gone. Back then the Mets and teams were a family and Lou was part of it and you would be happy to say hello like the earlier blogger noted! I am sure there are thousands of fans who remember the name Lou Niss, may he be RIP!

Ed K
November 11, 2008
I don't think teams have traveling secretaries anymore but it was a critical position in those days. MLB teams did not fly charters - they flew on commercial flights and someone who knew how to make travel arrangements in those pre-Internet days had to be with the team troubleshooting and resolving problems and last minute issues.

In the book "Tales of the New York Mets," Lou (who must have had the backing of George Weiss) gets much credit for taking a firm stand against the hotel during spring training in 1962. This was before the Civil Rights Act and the hotel in St. Petersburg, FL was trying to discriminate against the African- American ballplayers.

Bob from Piscataway
November 13, 2008
Back in the summer of '66 our Cub Scout troop went to Shea to see a doubleheader with the Astros. After the game we were hanging out along the chain link fence behind the stadium where the players parked to see if we could get a glimpse of anyone. Sure enough Ed Kranepool buzzed through the gate in a bright orange Corvair and ran over our scout leader's foot. Fortunately he wasn't seriously hurt, just sitting on the ground clutching his sore foot when Lou Niss walks over to see what all the fuss was about. My kid brother Brian was squatting next to our leader eating a pack of Necco wafers. He offered the pack to Lou Niss and the man graciously accepted and helped himself to a few! He looked down, shook his head and walked away from the hubbub munching on the Necco wafers, got into his car and took off. It's been 42 years since the incident and we still laugh about it today. Funny how these things remain with you all these years. I wouldn't trade my memories of the Mets and those early trips to Shea for anything.

March 14, 2010
Thanks everyone for the nice comments. Lou was my grandfather.

May 12, 2010
I too was one of those kids who pored over the little photos in the back pages of the Mets yearbooks, right among the Yoo-Hoo ads.

Lou was 76 years old when he retired. He was covering the Dodgers for the Brooklyn Eagle as far back as 1930, and he eventually became sports editor. When the Eagle folded in the mid-50s, he went to work at Yonkers Raceway. Branch Rickey hired him for the Continental League, but when that league never got off the ground, the Mets hired him. Some accounts call him the first front-office employee.

He told the St. Petersburg Independent in April 1980 that he was going to write a book called "The Team That Didn't Cost a Nickel and Wouldn't Spend a Dime." He said about M. Donald Grant, "Piece by piece and player by player he ruined the club."

I sure wish Lou's book had come out.

Hank Gutstop
March 19, 2011
I also remember Lou Niss. I remember always looking for him in the Met team pictures when the yearbook would come out, and I wasn't the only one I knew who did.

Somebody mentioned here that he was a sports reporter and editor with the old Brooklyn Eagle. Here's something for you really ambitious old time Met fans to look up. Lou Niss was interviewed on Bill Stern's Colgate Sports Newsreel radio program on September 1, 1948. The recording of this program still exists. I know because I have it (on my iPod). You can find it on the internet if you want to find out what the old dude with the glasses who was always in the Mets team picture sounds like. I'm sure younger fans won't even know what we're talking about.

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