The Last Summer at the Polo Grounds

A while back I had found some great fan photos of the old park in Cincinnati, in its last season, and posted them as The Last Summer at Crosley Field. Well, here’s some newly discovered photos from YashicaD on Flickr of the Amazin’ 1963 season, with Casey, Duke Snider, and even Miss Rheingold on hand (click on photos for larger versions). So pop open that Rheingold, light up a Viceroy, and follow me…

First, I’ll double check my calendar…

Yep, the day looks to be Friday, July 5, 1963, vs the Pirates. And yes, the Mets lost, 3-1, thanks to a 2-run HR by Clemente off Tracy Stallard in the 8th inning, which would be their 8th straight loss. They would go on to lose 15 straight before halting the streak, and lose 111 that year (3rd worse Mets total ever).

Below, Casey and likely Ernie White chatting with what appears to be the new Miss Rheingold for 1964 (or at least a candidate)! Solly Hemus is at home plate hitting fungoes.

Duke Snider comes to the the plate in the bottom of the 2nd inning, with Frank Thomas on deck. Don Cardwell pitching, Jim Pagliaroni the catcher, Bob Bailey at third, Johnny Logan at short. Snider would strike out.

Bottom of the 5th inning. “Duke Snider, an All-Star Game outfielder currently batting .221, tapped the ball down to the Pirate first baseman, Donn Clendenon, and Clendenon decided upon a foot race. Snider won it. Clendenon stabbed the bag with his long left leg, but the Duke beat him by a foot.”, as the Mets fans rejoice. Tim Harkness then doubled him in for the early lead, but it would be Mets’ only run of the afternoon.

Three more months at the old Polo Grounds, and it was over. Duke would go on to the Giants, the Mets would go on to Queens, and the Polo Grounds would fade into memory, but hardly forgotten.

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2 responses to “The Last Summer at the Polo Grounds

  1. Beautiful shots! It took me back to the days when my Dad would always get tickets on third base (from a ticket agency on Halsey Street in Newark, NJ). I loved the Polo Grounds (never made it for the Giants for I was only 6 when they left after the ’57 season) and hungered to see NL ballgames (I was a big Dodger fan). In ’62 I saw the first Met Old-Timer’s Game between the 1951 Dodgers & Giants and saw Jackie Robinson walk right by me on the third base line. I was in awe! I was 11 years old. That same summer I attended Ted Williams Baseball Camp in Lakeville, MA the last 2 weeks of Aug. & walked side-by-side with another American icon. Baseball has had a huge impact on my life.

    I guess that Met game on Friday, July 5, ’63 was an odd day game for a Friday because of possible 4th of July festivities later that night. Do you agree? Let me know and thank you Tom for bringing sunshine to my home in the dead of winter!

    Jim Montemurro
    Westfield, NJ

    • Hi Jim, hard to say about the Friday day game, except it was more common in those days (first Friday Mets’ home game in ’63, above on the calendar, was also a day game), so maybe you’re right! And I was too young to experience the Polo Grounds (born in ’63) so I really appreciate any first-hand experiences that you or anyone has to offer about the old park! Also, the last days of both the PG and Ebbets were on the cusp of the proliferation of color sports photography before they were demolished, so any color photo of either stadium is certainly a treasure. And I can’t thank you enough for the kind words, I hope that folks are getting as much joy from these posts as I have writing them. Please continue to add comments, and I hope I can keep the sun shining! ~ Tom

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