The life of a Met fan
I have been a Met's fan for as long as I can remember and I owe it all to my mom who loved the Met's. She actually started out as a Brooklyn Dodger fan when she was a little girl growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Her father came here to this country from Ireland and he owned an Irish pub and on occasion he would entrust his bar to his eldest son and he would take his daughter, my mom to Ebbits field where they would watch a day game of Brooklyn Dodger baseball and they absolutely loved it. My mother absolutely enjoyed those outings with her dad and she became a loyal fan. She loved the team and all the players. Her favorite ball players were Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Johnny Podres and Gil Hodges. She recalled those outings with her dad to Ebbits field to see her favorite team play as being very special and she never forgot the experiences with her dad.
She cried when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to the west coast after the 1957 season and she had taken a break from watching baseball since the Dodger's in her eyes were a different team now playing in Los Angeles. She was 18 years old when her favorite team moved away and she always told me how their move to the west coast broke her heart. She missed going to Ebbits field and spending the day with her dad at the ballpark.
My mom married in 1960 to a hard working ironworker who fell in love with her at first sight. They married in April 1960 and I was born in January 1961. I kept my parents busy for the next few years as a baby but my mom managed to find time to watch another baby develop and that was the New York Mets who started their first season in 1962. She became a fan of the team from day one and had been a devoted fan ever since up until the day she passed. She influenced me tremendously and helped develop my interest in the team and the game. When I was 6 years old I wanted to play baseball and I started watching the Met's play alongside my mom on our family tv set and I really enjoyed those times as I look back on them. It was 1967 when I started watching the team with my mom and I remember a pitcher by the name of Tom Seaver who my mom absolutely adored. I thought he was a tremendous pitcher and so poised on the mound.
My mom remembered when the Met's were a struggling team who in their first season managed to win only 40 games having lost 120 games. She still loved them and thought Casey Stengel was a pure delight. The Mets were a subpar team for the first 7 years of their existence and then came the amazing season of 1969 which was purely magical.
I was a third grader and I remember getting all excited over their tremendous play and when they had their magical winning streak to surpass the Cubs my mom and I were so excited. I never had felt such excitement until I became a Met's fan and from the moment I became a fan I felt their wins and their losses and I truly felt I had a small impact on how they played. It was a lot of fun rooting for the Mets and I was spoiled with the 1969 season because it took a long time for them to repeat the magic.
I still remember the players on the team and my mom loved every one of them.
The roster as I recall was as follows:
C-Jerry Grote, Duffy Dyer 1B-Ed Kranepool, Don Clendendon 2B-Ken Boswell, Al Weiss SS-Bud Harrelson, 3B-Wayne Garrett, 3B-Ed Charles, P-Tom Seaver, P-Jerry Kooseman, P-Nolan Ryan, P-Jim McAndrew, P-Ron Taylor, P-Ray Sadecki, P-Tug McGraw, P-Danny Frisella CF-Tommy Agee, LF-Cleon Jones, RF-Ron Swoboda, RF-Art Shamsky, RF-Rod Gaspar, Manager-Gil Hodges
I was amazed that the Mets beat the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games which was truly a world series and a season to remember.
I remember the 1973 ballclub as being an average team with a lot of heart and I remember that was also a special year for the Met's as they managed to have Willie May's finish out his career as a New York Met and they managed to advance to the world series to face the oakland A's who managed to beat the Met's in 7 games. It was a great series and Mom and I were very excited and thought they played well despite losing the final game.
I always enjoyed watching the Mets with my mom and the last time we truly shared the joys of their success before my mother got sick was in 1986 when the Mets had another magical season and they played two incredible series. The first against the Houston Astros where the Mets had to face Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott who were both former Mets. Mike Scott was invincible in the series and had great success against his former team. The most memorable game of the series was game 6 which went to 16 innings and it was one of the most incredible games I can remember and the best part of that game was seeing Jessie Orosco throw his mitt up in the air after they won the game 7-6 avoiding a game 7 matchup with Mike Scott.
I thought the 1986 Mets had a solid team with a roster that consisted of the following players who mom and I enjoyed watching:
C-Gary Carter 1B-Keith Hernandez, 2B-Tim Teufel, 2B-Wally Backman, SS-Kevin Elster, SS- Rafel Santana, 3B-Howard Johnson, 3B-Ray Knight, P-Ron Darling, P-Dwight Gooden, P-Rick Agulierea, P-Bob Ojeda, P-Ed Lynch, P-Jessie Orosco, P-Roger McDowell, P-Sid Fernandez CF-Mookie Wilson, LF-Len Dykstra, RF-Daryl Strawberry, Manager-Davey Johnson
The Mets started out slow against the Boston Red Sox who made a remarkable comeback against the California Angels to advance to the World Series. When the Mets lost the first 2 games at Shea I thought it was going to be a difficult series but they came back to make it a very interesting series and when they returned back to Shea for game 6 it was another game 6 for the record books. It was not like the battle in Houston but it had it's own distinct images and highlights that were thrilling and unforgettable. The start of the game was remarkable when the Met's received an unexpected guest onto the field when he parachuted into the stadium. The game was a classic which had all the moments that keep fans sitting on the edge of their seats. When the Red Sox took a 2 run lead in the 10th inning and the Met's were down to their last out I could not watch the game any more but my mom hung in and when they started to mount their comeback it was truly amazing as my mom called me down to watch. I remember when Mookie Wilson was up at the plate after the Met's managed to string one basehit after another following 2 outs refusing to give up. It was one for the record books as Mookie kept fouling pitch after pitch until pitcher Bob Stanley let go of a pitch to the back stop which allowed the tying run to score. Then it was the hit down the first base line that managed to go through Bill Buckner's legs that scored Ray Knight to give the Met's the win and a game 7. It was truly remarkable and Mom, Dad and I all were cheering the Met's on.
After the excitement of game 6 we were hoping the Met's could pull out another win and as we had hoped all along they did and they capped off their magical season with a victory in game 7 of the world series to win their second world series in their team's history. We were so excited and we remembered this series for all the memorable moments and inspiring play.
Shortly after watching the 1989 world series where the San Francisco Giants faced off against the Oakland A's it was surreal when the earthquake hit and the scene immediately went from the stadium to the bridge collapse. My mom and I were in shock and all we could do was watch in horror as the scenes unfolded and the baseball announcers suddenly became news reporters. Al Michaels was tremendous in his report of the events unfolding. I remember this vividly because this was the last time I got to watch a baseball game with my mother as she soon got sick and had to be taken to the hospital. It was a very sad time for me and dad because once she went to the hospital that would be the last time we would have her home with us. She died in March of 1990 and I was devastated as well as my dad. I lost someone very dear to me and I no longer had her to watch Met baseball games with. I was very sad and it took me a while to get back to watching Met's baseball as it was so very painful. When we had our last visit with Mom at the funeral home I placed a Tom Seaver baseball card in her casket along with a baseball and I cried like a baby having lost someone so very dear to me.
There were many memorable moments watching the Met's that I wished I could have shared with my mom since 1990. I know she would have loved watching Mike Piazza play and she would have loved to see the series with the Yankees in 2000. I was heartbroken they had lost even though I was a grown man because it seems baseball has a way of transporting you back to the day when you were a kid and that is why I have such fond memories watching the Met's with my mom because I was just a kid and I was with my mom who I loved so very much.
I remember when I was a kid I would watch the mayor's trophy game with my mom when the Met's would play the Yankees. it was just an exhibition game but it was baseball to me and it was fun to watch.
I am still a Met's fan today and I enjoy taking my son to games on occasion. I have taken him to Shea stadium several times and look forward to taking him to a game at Citifield. I always think of my mom when I watch a Met game on tv and I truly miss those days of watching the Met's with my mom when I was a little boy. Those memories are precious and I will always hold them close to my heart. I do wish to share my love of the Met's with my son and get to share those same wonderful times with him.
I know the Met's have a fan in heaven rooting for them as I know my mom is still a loyal fan.
Let's Go Mets!
Mom, I love and miss you and thank you for those wonderful times!
Edward D. Iannielli III
Mets on Amazon
- Sports Memories
Sports Memories is a facebook page I created to showcase my love of sports and share it with my son and friends.