Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tales of Yesterday and Today

(Every bit of information, I am about to share, was heard on yesterday's San Francisco Giants' radio broadcast. The informant is, top-notch announcer, Jon Miller. As always, I check with Wikipedia to get the details as accurate as possible.)

First the Tale of Woe...Regarding Giants' third-baseman Jose "Elephant Ear" Castillo...
He has 16 hits in 78 at-bats with runners in scoring position. AND, is 0-H for 11-AB, with the bags f.o.g'd (full of Giants).
As he was looking over the This Day in Baseball notes, Jon Miller remarked that on this day, June 18, (in 1962), Hammerin' Hank Aaron belted a home run into the centerfield seats, making him only the third player to have ever hit one in those seats. Remarkably, this was one day after Hall of Famer Lou Brock reached the unreachable the day before.

And so it went for the 1962 New York Mets, losers of 120 games.

Casey Stengel reminded them of the dimensions and encouraged the pitchers to make the hitters hit it out in centerfield, rather than the much easier left field and right field foul lines.

Here are the listings of the dimensions at the Polo Grounds, where the Mets played their inaugural season (1962) in the major leagues.

1890: Left field line-335 feet
Center field- 500 feet
Right field line- 335 feet
Left field line-277 feet (not posted)
Centerfield- 433 feet (not posted)
Right field line- 258 feet (not posted)
Left field line- 279 feet (not posted) Sometimes listed at 280 feet.
Left field Upper Deck Overhang- About 250 feet
Shallow left field- 315 feet
Left center field #1- 360 feet
Left center field #2- 414 feet
Deep Left center field- 447 feet (left of bullpen curve)
Deep Left center field- 455 feet (right of bullpen curve)
Centerfield- approximately 425 feet (unposted) corners of runways
Centerfield- 483 feet (posted on front of clubhouse balcony..Sometimes 475 feet.)
Centerfield- 505 feet (unposted) sometimes given as total centerfield distance
Deep Right CF- 455 feet (left of bullpen curve)
Deep Right CF- 449 feet (right of bullpen curve)
Right Centerfield #2- 395 feet
Right Centerfield #1- 338 feet
Shallow Right Centerfield- 294 feet
Right field line- 257 feet, 3 3/8 inches (not posted) Sometimes listed as 258 feet.
Backstop- 65 feet. Sometimes given as 74 feet from home to backstop.

Putting these mammoth dimensions into play and knowing that the '62 Mets lost 120 games, you can see how unbelievably unfortunate Casey Stengel's team was and why they were fondly referred to as the amazing Mets.

Kevin Marquez