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Mets Obtain Piersall

May 23, 1963 - In a deal that was not exactly a surprise, the New York Mets today obtained Jimmy Piersall from the Washington Senators for cash and a player to be named later. A player will have to be dropped from the Mets’ roster before tomorrow night’s game with the Cardinals to make room for the new outfielder. As big a problem of whom to drop was the question of how to dress Piersall. He has always worn No. 37 — the same number Casey Stengel wears. Whatever his number may be in New York, Piersall expressed satisfaction today with his latest move. “I’ve been expecting something like this,” he said. “It’s just baseball, you come and go. I’m in shape, and I know I have a lot of good baseball left in me. At least I know Casey wants me. He picked me for two All-Star Games. In 1953, when I was playing right field for Boston, he called me the best outfielder he had ever seen. That sort of helped me get off the ground as a ballplayer.” Piersall, 33, first reached the Red Sox in 1950. He was sent down to the minors and suffered a nervous breakdown, but then he returned to become a regular in 1953. He was traded to Cleveland after the 1958 season and then went to Washington after the 1961 season. Everywhere he has made headlines by squabbles with umpires, fans, and other players, squabbles that were sometimes violent but often humorously original. Sometimes his teammates objected to his behavior; often, he took unusual abuse from spectators. Most of the time, however, he has been much in demand for personal appearances and very popular with hometown fans. One irreconcilable aspect of today’s transaction would appear to be Met president George Weiss’s position. Piersall is not considered to exactly fit the description, “Weiss’s type of ballplayer.” The Met president has a sense of humor, it’s just that nobody has seen it yet. But Weiss has seen Jim Hickman operating in center field for the Mets, and it becomes increasingly evident Hickman doesn’t have the touch. Despite a slipping batting average the past two seasons, Piersall is still rated one of the best center fielders in the business.


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