THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: SEPTEMBER 7, 1903 & 1916

SEPTEMBER 7, 1903
A year before the first subway line is completed, the Brooklyn Superbas, later to be known as the Dodgers, play their cross-town rivals in a two-stadium, same-day doubleheader. The first game played in Washington Park begins at 10:30 am with 9,300 fans watching the visiting Giants win the opener, 6-4, and later that afternoon in front of 23,623 patrons at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, Brooklyn wins the second game, 3-0.(Nationalpastime.com)

SEPTEMBER 7, 1916
The Giants defeat the Dodgers 4-1 to start their major league record 26-game winning streak. The ‘Jints’ start the span two games under .500 and make up nine games in the standings, but remains in fourth place during the entire streak. (Nationalpastime.com)

THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: SEPTEMBER 6, 1912 & 1953

SEPTEMBER 6, 1912
Jeff Tesreau becomes the third rookie to throw a no-hitter. The 24-year old right-hander holds the Phillies hitless in the Giants 3-0 victory in the first game of a twin bill at the Baker Bowl. (Nationalpastime.com)

SEPTEMBER 6, 1953
With Giants manager Leo Durocher yelling “stick it in his ear”, Rubén Gómez hits Carl Furillo, the National League’s leading hitter, on the wrist by a pitch. After taking first base, the Dodgers right fielder bolts into the opposing dugout to choke ‘Leo the Lip’, but in the melee, the knuckle on his little finger is fractured putting an end to his season. (Nationalpastime.com)

 

THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: SEPTEMBER 1, 1909 & 1947

SEPTEMBER 1, 1909
Bill O’Hara becomes the first pinch runner to steal two bases in the same inning in the Giants’ 9-6 victory over St. Louis at the Polo Grounds. The Giants’ outfielder, who will swipe 31 bases this season, will duplicate the feat tomorrow off the same team. (Nationalpastime.com)

SEPTEMBER 1, 1947
The Giants break the 1936 Yankees record for the most home runs hit in a season by a team. The three Polo Grounds homers today raise the total to 185 and New York will finish the season with 221 round-trippers. (Nationalpastime.com)

 

METS DELIVER PERFECT WILLIE MAYS TRIBUTE WITH SURPRISE NUMBER RETIREMENT AT OLD TIMERS’ DAY

The Mets did more than retire a famous baseball number Saturday afternoon, stunning a nostalgia-nourished crowd at Citi Field when it was revealed that Willie Mays’ No. 24 would formally be retired. The team honored its recent vow to recognize its rich franchise history on the day it celebrated the return of Old Timers’ Day. And did so note-perfectly.

Yes, 24 was Willie Mays’ number, and no athlete in American sports history is more closely identified with that digit than the “Say Hey Kid.” But it was also an essential piece of the heart of a woman named Joan Whitney Payson, a New York Giants fan to her core and a member of the team’s board, the lone “no” vote when the time came to decide on whether the team should move to San Francisco.

A few years later, Payson became the Mets’ charter owner, a fixture in her field box, the first woman to ever own a ballclub. And though she lived and died with her Mets, Willie Mays remained her favorite. It was her dream that Willie finish his career in New York. And in May 1972, when it became clear the Giants would make Mays available, she pounced.

Mays himself, comfortable in San Francisco, was unsure about moving East, knowing he was no longer the breathtaking force of nature who’d once roamed center field at Coogan’s Bluff. But Joan Payson made him a promise.

“Willie,” she said, according to team lore, “you’ll be the last Met to ever wear No. 24.”

That was good enough for him. Famously, he hit a home run in his very first game as a Met — against the Giants, of all teams, on May 14, 1972. He was 41 by then, no longer a kid, but it didn’t matter. Mets fans were delighted to have him back home. He hit the final 14 of his 660 lifetime homers as a Met.

But Payson died not long after Mays retired in 1973. Twenty-four disappeared for a while, but Payson’s wish was never granted. Someone named Kelvin Torve was somehow issued the number in 1990. The backlash was immediate, and Torve was soon wearing 39. Rickey Henderson and Robinson Cano were given special dispensations when they became Mets.

The number was in repose, but not retired. Not until Saturday.

History has often been cruel to Mays’ final days as a Met. Any aging ballplayer, any sport, the simile is always the same: Willie-Mays-falling-down-in-the-outfield. It is also a grossly unfair stigma. Yes, Mays lost a ball in the sun in Game 2 of the 1973 World Series. But so did Oakland’s Joe Rudi (who was 27) and Reggie Jackson (also 27).

The Mets were only in the World Series because Mays drove in a key run in decisive Game 5 of the NLCS. And in that wild Game 2 in Oakland? Mays’ two-out single in the 12th inning broke a 6-6 tie in a game the Mets would win 10-7.

But 24, in truth, isn’t being taken out of circulation for Mays’ 491 plate appearances with the Mets. It will hang forever next to 14, 17, 31, 36, 37, 41 and 42 because of what he meant to baseball New York, especially when he was young and he’d play stickball with the neighborhood kids in Harlem in his civvies after grinding nine innings in his uniform. It’s why Joan Whitney Payson fell in baseball love with him. And she wasn’t alone.

It will honor the .312/.387/.593 slash line he had a New York Giant; toast the .345/41 HR/110 RBIs he accumulated when he won his first MVP, at 23, in 1954; exalt the greatest defensive play of them all, the one he made that fall, in the World Series against Cleveland, running down Vic Wertz’s fly ball in the deepest pocket of the Polo Grounds.

Mostly, it will be a permanent reminder that the Mets were, indeed, descended from two baseball fathers. Past ownership was unabashed about the team’s ties to the Dodgers, but the Mets’ colors are orange in addition to blue. Perhaps Mays’ best days came in a uniform other than the Mets, but so did Jackie Robinson’s. And now 24 and 42 will be tied to New York’s National League team forever. As they should be.

Forty-nine years ago next month, a tired Mays walked to a microphone at old Shea Stadium and told a weepy crowd, “Willie, say goodbye to America.” But a part of New York’s baseball soul never truly said goodbye to him. And now it never will. -Mike Puma

https://nypost.com/…/mets-retire-willie-mays-number-in…/

THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: AUGUST 19, 1957

AUGUST 19, 1957
Citing poor attendance as the reason, Giants’ president Horace Stoneham, ignoring baseball’s edict of banning announcements about relocation of franchises until after the World Series, informs the press the club has signed a lease to play its home games in San Francisco next season. The club’s Board of Directors voted 8-1 approving the shift to the West Coast, with the only dissenting vote cast by M. Donald Grant, who will become the chairman of the Mets, an expansion team located in New York to fill the National League void created by the departure of the Giants and Dodgers to California. (Nationalpastime.com)

THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: AUGUST 15, 1951

AUGUST 15, 1951
With one out in the top of the eighth inning and a runner on third base in a 1-1 tied game‚ Willie Mays, running a full speed, makes an incredible catch of Carl Furillo’s drive to deep centerfield. After grabbing the ball, the rookie outfielder turns counterclockwise and throws a perfect strike to home to nail a surprised Billy Cox at home to complete the double play, and some believe, the catch, in the eventual Giants’ 3-1 Polo Grounds victory over the Dodgers, is the impetus for the beginning of the team’s incredible comeback from an 11.5 game deficit to win the National League pennant. (Nationalpastime.com)

THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: AUGUST 10, 1889

AUGUST 10, 1889
At the Seventh Street Park in Indianapolis, future 300 game winner Mickey Welch becomes the first pinch hitter in major league history. Although the Giants right-handed pitcher strikes out in his historic plate appearance, New York prevails beating the Hoosiers, 9-6.(Nationalpastime.com)

 

THIS DATE IN NY GIANTS HISTORY: AUGUST 1, 1933 & 1945

AUGUST 1, 1933
Giants’ hurler Carl Hubbell sets a National League record for consecutive scoreless innings with 45 1/3 breaking the 1908 mark of Ed Ruelbach.(Nationalpastime.com)

AUGUST 1, 1945
At the Polo Grounds, Mel Ott hits his historic 500th career home run off Braves’ hurler Johnny Hutchings in the Giants’ 9-2 victory over Boston. Joining Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx, ‘Master Melvin’ becomes the third major leaguer to accomplish this career milestone. (Nationalpastime.com)