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Mets Comes To Terms with George Altman

Jan. 11, 1964 - The New York Mets announced today that they had come to salary terms with their recently acquired slugging outfielder, George Altman. Terms, as usual, were not revealed by Mets president George Weiss, but it is believed Altman was given close to $30,000 in order to put him in the proper mood for hitting home runs in Shea Stadium in April. Altman was obtained from the St. Louis Cardinals last November for Roger Craig, a righthander who lost a lot of games for the Mets the past two seasons — 24 and 22 — but who, as a strong-armed relief hurler, could quite possibly help the St. Louis Cardinals with the pennant. The Mets also got a young pitcher, Bill Wakefield, in the deal.

Although Altman suffered quite a drop with the Cards last year from his two previous years with the Chicago Cubs, both Weiss and manager Casey Stengel feel certain that he’s far from through, despite the fact that he’ll be 31 in March. Altman heartily concurred today in a telephone conversation with Met officials from his home in Chicago. “I’m looking forward to playing in the new Shea Stadium,” said Altman, “where the distance down both foul lines is the same distance.” “I believe that playing in Busch Stadium last season with its inviting 310-foot right field home run target,” Altman continued, “disconcerted me and was responsible to some extent for my tailing off in my hitting. I believe my mind must have swung subconsciously to trying to pull all the pitches to right field. I’m essentially a line-drive hitter to all fields, and I’m strong enough to hit home runs without trying to do this all the time. In the years I was growing up in Goldboro, N.C., I was a Dodger fan, and I always wanted to play in New York. Now I’ve got my chance, and I know I’m going to like Shea Stadium.” Altman, who is married and has two children, works in the off-season as an account executive with a Chicago stock brokerage firm.


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