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Mets Emerge from the National League Cellar

June 24, 1963 - Carl Willey and Tracy Stallard pitched the New York Mets into ninth place yesterday, beating the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-0 and 4-1, at the Polo Grounds. The Mets hadn’t been out of the cellar since May 16; last year, they had settled to the bottom for good on May 24. To be this high in the race at so late a date is a new and heady feeling for them. Willey needed only 86 pitches in the opener to complete a 2-hitter. Stallard, however, needed assistance at the end, and Alvin Jackson provided it. It was all highly satisfying to a crowd of 19,901, which had been entertained early in the day by Jimmy Piersall’s first home run as a Met (pictured). Since coming to the Mets from Washington with 99 homers, Piersall had been spreading advance notice of his intentions to circle the bases backward upon the occasion of No. 100. His teammates initially thought he meant clockwise, via the third-to-first route, but Jimmy replied: “What do you think I am, a nut? That’s against the rules! But there’s no rule against what I’m gonna do.” Sure enough, when his high slice plunked against the overhang in right, Jimmy twisted his body around as he was rounding first and ran the bases backward. The fans loved it. The Mets now have 28 wins — a total they didn’t reach in their maiden year until August 4 — and they are 21-17 at the Polo Grounds, where they won only 22 all last season. After yesterday’s games, Richie Ashburn, now a play-by-play broadcaster for the Phils, visited Casey Stengel. “Looks like I’m screwing up this team,” said Richie, “just like I screwed up yours.”


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