On this date in 1962, the Mets opened their first Spring Training as the original pitchers and catchers worked out for the first time in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Mets finished 40-120 and 60 1/2 games out of first place in their inaugural season of 1962. They lost their first nine game before defeating the Pirates at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh by the score of 9-1 on April 23. That was one of their two wins against the Pirates against 16 losses in 1962.
The Mets scored 617 runs in 1962 and allowed 948 in 160 games.
“I didn’t know it at the time, but I knew later that if we had put that group together a few years earlier, it would have been a hell of a club. We got them a little too late,” said original Met and current instructor Al Jackson, according to Newsday.
The Mets drew just over 900,000 fans to the Polo Grounds in 1962, and just over one million fans in 1963 before moving to Shea Stadium for the 1964 season, in which they drew 1.7 million fans.
For more on the Mets original Spring Training, including quotes from other original Mets, check out Newsday.