One of the many items that has survived since my childhood at Shea is this photo of the 1983 Mets. (click on it for a much bigger version)
It lives in my office above the 1982 version, and below the awesomely-horrible-awesome 1992 apology letter the Mets published in the newspapers. I don’t know how the picture made it until 1998, but that year I bought my first house and started framing things. As you can tell by the way the bottom right corner is bent I didn’t carefully frame it – but it has been in that plastic frame for 15 years now.
The 1983 squad is an interesting one, especially at the start of the season because Keith Hernandez has not yet arrived and Mike Howard was the Opening Day right-fielder. You can think of it as nineteen seventy-thirteen.
In this photo Hernandez is there in the second row with Mookie Wilson, Craig Swan, George Foster, manager Frank Howard in mop-up duty after manager George Bamberger had resigned, #42 Ron Hodges (honored every April on Ron Hodges day), then Keith, Hubie Brooks, Rusty Staub, and then the only name Mets fans might now know but a solid major leaguer named Mike Torrez. Not a bad row.
Right in the front and center, and where else would he be, #52 Bobby Valentine. In the back that tall fellow is a rookie everybody was excited about named Strawberry – and for those of you making banners it was easy to start with some sort of Throneberry/Strawberry comparison. Remember it had only been 21 years since 1962!
I left out one name from that second row. Tom Seaver. The franchise was back. I will be writing a lot about April 5, 1983 as that anniversary approaches, and as I mentioned yesterday I wrote about it in my upcoming ebook Send The Beer Guy.
Next Friday I’ll dive into the 1983 Team calendar.
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