One of the mainstays of a Mets’ summer will be returning this year, the 50th anniversary of the franchise.
BANNER DAY: Back again,
Banner Day will return May 27 to give you an opportunity to express your affection to your favorite players and memories, and yes, also a chance to editorialize on the direction of the team. Undoubtedly, there will be some censorship involved.
With the way things have been going, how can there not be?
However, I like the premise. Beginning at the Polo Grounds in 1963, and from 1964-96 at Shea Stadium, Banner Day was a Mets’ staple. So too, was Old Timers’ Day,
Maybe, the thinking is to do something for a day to spike the attendance, but it is a great day. It was an event cherished by the fans and the players got a kick out of it, also. The idea is for this year, but let’s hope it takes off.
Things are getting dicier in the NL East on this date in 1969. After Gary Gentry and Nolan Ryan combined to stuff the Phillies, 9-3, at Shea Stadium, the Mets closed within 2 ½ games behind Chicago.
Ryan, Seaver and Koosman
The victory was the Mets’ 18th in 24 games, while the Cubs were in the process of losing 10 of 18, including that day to Pittsburgh.
Gentry worked six innings and Ryan the final three for the win.
The Mets broke the game open with two in the seventh and four in the eighth.
Tommie Agee drove in three runs and scored three others, and Art Shamsky and Rod Gaspar drove in two runs apiece.
When the consider the event, it was shocking that only 13,000 were in attendance on this day in 1973 at San Francisco.
MAYS: Always popular at Shea.
The Giants beat the Mets, 4-1, in what was Willie Mays’ last appearance as a player in Candlestick Park. Mays went 0-for-4.
Five days later, against Cincinnati’s Don Gullet at Shea Stadium, Mays hit his 660th and final home run of his career.
This was Mays’ last season, and it was a disappointing way to go out, even if he played in the World Series. In 66 games, Mays hit .211 with six homers and 25 RBI.
The Mets traded for Mays in May of 1972 in a public relations coup for the franchise. At the time, the Giants were in financial distress and owner Horace Stoneham couldn’t guarantee a position after retirement.
The 1985 season was all about “missing it by that much,’’ and this game on that date was no exception.
Atlanta’s Zane Smith outdueled the Mets’ Rick Aguilera in a 1-0 shutout at Shea Stadium. Smith and Hall of Fame closer Bruce Sutter combined to give up three hits.
The Braves got to Aguilera in the seventh on a walk to Dale Murphy, and back-to-back singles by Bob Horner and Terry Harper.
With the loss the Mets fell a game-and-a-half behind St. Louis in the NL East.
On this date in 1973, the Mets’ Jon Matlack threw a one-hit shutout at Shea Stadium over the Houston Astros, 1-0.
Tommy Helms doubled in the sixth for Houston’s only hit, and Duffy Dyer’s double drove in Rusty Staub for the game’s only run.
With the victory, the Mets improved to 36-46, sixth place in the National League East, 12 games off the pace.
It was a different time then, but the message is the same. Those Mets didn’t give up on the season and reached the World Series. The road is different today, but looking back history tells us good things can still happen in this season.