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Franchises at Birth: The Colt .45s and the Mets (Part One)

SwitchHitter
Aug 11 2005 04:23 PM

[url=http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/franchises-at-birth-the-colt-45s-and-the-mets-part-one/]Franchises at Birth: The Colt .45s and the Mets (Part One)[/url]

MFS62
Aug 11 2005 04:40 PM

Wow! That was painful. Its like a 40-something person being reminded every year about how they threw up at the table during Thanksgiving dinner when he was three years old.
In general, the Met started out with veteran (name) players and mostly young pitchers. The Colt .45s started out with (mostly) young players and veteran pitchers.
The wirter missed the first post-expansion draft. The Mets selected Ed Kranepool. Those other guys selected Rusty Staub. 'Nuff said about how Paul Richards and his staff were prepared, while Weiss went for a local / "name' talent.

Interesting that the next installment will stop at year six. I wonder if they're going to talk about 1969 in a later exciting episode?

Thanks.

Later

Willets Point
Aug 11 2005 04:44 PM

Nice work with the metaphors, but I would think that in the 1960's if there was an association of "Colts" and "sports franchise" it would be to one of the dominant football teams of the era.

Edgy DC
Aug 11 2005 05:09 PM

Kranepool and Staub were free agents. Thems were pre-draft days.

MFS62
Aug 11 2005 05:16 PM

You're right. But what I said about who each team went ofter and signed is still valid.

Later

TheOldMole
Aug 11 2005 10:32 PM

It wasn't that bad. It really was fun rooting for the Mets in those days.

But my recollection of the Houston team's name is a little different...and perhaps wrong. I remember it that they started out as the Colts, meaning the gun, but after discovering that too many people thought they meant the little horse, the then changed it to Colt .45s.

Edgy DC
Aug 12 2005 01:21 PM

That Staub had a better career than Kranepool is indisputable. I don't have any clue as to the depth and nature of George Weiss's motivation in signing Kranepool and neither does anybody. Nor does one signing of a free agent seventeen-year-old sum up anything. Two weeks after the Mets signed Kranepool, they signed Cleon Jones, who was neither local nor, to my knowledge, a big name. (Was Kranepool really a big name? Was any amateur at the time?) Nor does the signing of Cleon Jones fit your previous baseless notion that the Mets were blinded by racial bias in their signings of amateurs.

Since then, of course, the Mets have a lower winning percentage than their expansion brethren, but are ahead in championships two to none.

Woundlicking and distortions are foolish.

metirish
Aug 12 2005 01:35 PM

Thanks for the article SwitchHitter, I look forward to next weeks edition.

MFS62
Aug 12 2005 01:36 PM

="Edgy DC"] Nor does the signing of Cleon Jones fit your previous baseless notion that the Mets were blinded by racial bias in their signings of amateurs.


Edgy,
I have never, nor would I ever, say that. Bias in the signing of amateurs was a tpoic I never have thought about until I just read your post.
Honest.

But from day 1 the Mets tried to push the "Local" image. Look at all the ex-Giant and Dodger players they had. And I remember Bob Murphy constantly reminding us when the Braves were coming to town with "Hank Fisher from Yonkers". Every time. My thoughts were, if you were from Yonkers, you already knew he was from there. If you weren't from Yonkers, you didn't give a flying rat's rectum.

And Kranepool was a local hero. He had broken all of some Hall of Famer's (Lou Gehrig? Hank Greenberg?) home run records at James Monroe high school in the Bronx. I remember the to-do because my wife went there. And I remember the newspaper storis about him when he was in high school.

And I feel his signing was in keeping of the "Push a local product" philosophy of the team.

It had nothing to do with race. It was about scouting being sawyed by marketing strategy. That's all I meant. Nothing more.

I apparently give you enough things to comment about, disagree with and criticize me for. But this is not one of them.

Later

Edgy DC
Aug 12 2005 01:47 PM

Sure you have. You posted as fact the baseless notion that the Mets selected Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson in the 1966 draft because Jackson was a black man with the gaul to date a white woman (who apparently was actually a Mexican-American).

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 12 2005 01:53 PM

You're right. But what I said about who each team went ofter and signed is still valid.

Valid as what? An example of one hand-picked amateur free agent who worked out better than another? Great point.

I've been in touch with the writer about this series ... part II will demonstrate how Weiss' subsequent moves at the Major League level actually made the Mets worse before they got better. He sees it a little more damning than I do, since given the garbage the team started out with, no amatuer draft, pre free agency, teams had little recourse but to wait for their own signees to develop and to spot opportiunities in guys who came cheap like Ron Hunt. In addition to Kranepool (whose 19-year MLB career is considered a washout, eveidently) & Cleon Jones, the Mets would gather in Harrelson, Koosman, McGraw, Bearnarth as amatuer signings in the early years. Following 62, the Mets only were looking to trade 1 piece or garbage for 2 or 3 pieces of garbage because their options were pretty limited.

I've looked a lot at this and think that the real freak wasn't the Mets being as bad as they were as much as Houston being as good as it was, given that the system those teams were born into were intentionally designed to make instant failures of them both.

Edgy DC
Aug 12 2005 02:05 PM

]I've looked a lot at this and think that the real freak wasn't the Mets being as bad as they were as much as Houston being as good as it was, given that the system those teams were born into were intentionally designed to make instant failures of them both.


And that's the greater point. Wringing our hands over the Mets inablity to put out a fire as well as the Astros is silly while both teams were denied any real water pressure. (I can never come up with the metaphors when I really needed them.

Weiss was out of his depth? Maybe, but who wouldn't be? His legacy as a great baseball figure should be nonetheless unassailable though. He flourished as minor league coordinator and GM (even more than Branch Rickey) under one set of rules, and when he took over the Mets, he (as well as the Astros) was given a set of rules that applied to nobody before or since.

Did the Mets fielding familiar names past their prime win them many games? No. But, given few good options, it did help them to their initial popularity which gave them more to invest.

I'm sure Weiss did his homework. He was a scouting legend.

Yancy Street Gang
Aug 12 2005 02:08 PM

At this point, it's hard to get too upset over the Houston team being better than the Mets in the 1960's. Sitting here in 2005, I'd take the Mets' past over that of the Astros in a heartbeat.

MFS62
Aug 12 2005 02:18 PM

="Edgy DC"]Sure you have. You posted as fact the baseless notion that the Mets selected Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson in the 1966 draft because Jackson was a black man with the gaul to date a white woman (who apparently was actually a Mexican-American).


There was much written about it at the time, and this topic was discussed adequately in other threads. And your responses mayhave convinced me that I was misteken, because, as you pointed out, a majority of the GMs would have picked Chilcot, too. And IIRC, I admitted so at the time. So on that I stand corrected.

It is you who is focusing on one incident and turning it iinto a theme of another post. My post in this thread was purely based on a local selection versus not selecting a better player for marketing reasons.

But I have also told the story that when Weiss passed over both Luis Taint and Dick Allen in that year's version of the Rule V draft, after they both had excellent seasons in the minors, the reason he gave was that they were "too colorful". Don't forget what the Mets roster was like at that time (1963/64). Don't you think he might have found a spot for either, if not both, of them?

And that the Yankees under Weiss were the next to last team to integrate? I'm not making that up either. Or when ElstonHoward came up to the Yankees, Casey Stengel was quoted as saying that "When they finally gave me a N...er, they gave me the one who can't run". Both of those quotes were widely reported, too.

It was upon that that I based my opinions. Baseless? Those make a pretty good base IMHO. Where there's smoke there's fire.
What is your proof to the contrary?

Later

Edgy DC
Aug 12 2005 02:29 PM

]There was much written about it at the time, and this topic was discussed adequately in other threads.


No there wasn't, as we discussed in other threads, as nobody was able to find a drop of archival material to substantiate it. And it apparently wasn't discussed adequately enough to keep you from denying the accusation you made and it's nature, nor for you to keep up the notion that there was "much written about it at the time" when nobody can find anything.

]It is you who is focusing on one incident and turning it iinto a theme of another post.


I'm not sure what this means.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 12 2005 02:31 PM

There was much written about it at the time,

I've looked for this specifically and actually, there wasn't much written about it at the time. I didn;t find anything ... that's not to say it didn;t exist, but the first place I saw this story reported was when Reggie himself told it to Sports Illustrated in the 1970s.

And I don't think the burden ought to be on someone "proving" a "lack of racism" since all that's going to do is turn into a long list of black players signed and guessing at motives. It is worth noting that papers reported the Mets wanted to hire Alvin Dark as manager to replace Stengel but did not following alledged racial remarks Dark had made in a newspaper interview in 63 or 64:

"We have trouble because we have so many Spanish-speaking and Negro players on the team," Dark told Issacs. "They are just not able to perform up to the white ballplayer when it comes to mental alertness. You can't make most Negro and Spanish players have the pride in their team that you can get from white players. And they aren't as sharp mentally.

MFS62
Aug 12 2005 02:40 PM

]I'm not sure what this means.


I meant that I was talking about local players/ marketing strategy in this thread. I talked about signing Kranepool over Staub. The last time I looked, Staub was White.

It was you who introduced the race issue into this thread, and you had to go back to posts I made almost a year ago in order to do it. Read my posts in this thread. Where did I mention race until you did?

As they would say down in Colt .45 country, "Do you have a burr up your saddle today?"

Later

Edgy DC
Aug 12 2005 02:57 PM

No, I'm arguing that you're taking cheap shots, making unsupportable statements about how the franchise has let you down, and I think it's counter-productive.

I didn't introduce race, I introduced your remarks on the Mets' attitudes on race in making personnel decisions as another example of your making insuppotable accusations.

They didn't sign Ed Kranepool over Rusty Staub. They're two different free agents, and in many ways apples and grand oranges. It sould be just as foolish to say that signing Tug McGraw over Don Wilson (long effective career, but less so than McGraw) is evidence that the Astros didn't do their homework.

MFS62
Aug 12 2005 03:33 PM

You're entitled to your opinion.
I'm entitled to mine.
We agree on many things.
Just because some of mine may be countrary to yours, calling them counter productive is a cheap shot, too.

I gave you some examples of why I choose to believe what I do. As I said earlier, if you can provide proof of your position, I am willing to change my opinion. So far, all you've done is challenge those recollections without providing any proof to the contrary.

I don't personally insult any of the posters here.

This thread started out as an historical discussion about the early days of the franchise. And I provided what I remember about those days. Who are you to tell me what I do/ don't remember? Are you inside my head? Did you live my life?

If I want a pollyanna-ish view of the Mets, I can go to NYFO. But this place has better writing and generally more knowledgeable fans. And it is the intellect of the members here that I appreciate. They can disagree without personal attacks.

What is your objective?

Later

Edgy DC
Aug 12 2005 03:59 PM

]You're entitled to your opinion.
I'm entitled to mine.


But you're not entitled to your own facts.


]Just because some of mine may be countrary to yours, calling them counter productive is a cheap shot, too.


No, it's not.

]I gave you some examples of why I choose to believe what I do. As I said earlier, if you can provide proof of your position, I am willing to change my opinion.


Burden of proof should rest with the accuser. The attitutde that it shouldn't is what makes such accusations cheap shots.

] So far, all you've done is challenge those recollections without providing any proof to the contrary.


Nonsense. (1) When you alleged that the Mets drafted Kranepool over Staub, I pointed out that that didn't happen at all. (2) When you continued to frame Kranepool's signing as a selection over Staub, I clarified that it was never an either/or choice. I think this is true. (3) I spent perfectly good time looking for any references to the Mets' allegedly much-written-about racially motivated selection in in the 1966 draft, evidence that it should be the accuser's respoinsibility to provide, and found nothing. (4) When you denied ever making such an accusation, I reminded you that you most certainly did.

]I don't personally insult any of the posters here.


Never said you did. You do, however, very often personally insult Mets players and management personnel, sometimes very harshly.

]This thread started out as an historical discussion about the early days of the franchise. And I provided what I remember about those days. Who are you to tell me what I do/ don't remember?


I'm trying to clarify the facts as available on the record, not what you do or don't remember.

]Are you inside my head? Did you live my life?


Those are really weird questions. No.

]If I want a pollyanna-ish view of the Mets, I can go to NYFO.


Way to throw a passive accusation.

]But this place has better writing and generally more knowledgeable fans. And it is the intellect of the members here that I appreciate. They can disagree without personal attacks.


Nobody was attacked.

]What is your objective?


To seek the truth so that we may all bask in it.

MFS62
Aug 12 2005 04:27 PM

:)

I can just picture you on that mountain top in Tibet, resplendent in your white robe, searching for the truth.
Thanks for some humor that diffused the situation.

Later

mlbaseballtalk
Aug 12 2005 07:45 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
Sure you have. You posted as fact the baseless notion that the Mets selected Steve Chilcott over Reggie Jackson in the 1966 draft because Jackson was a black man with the gaul to date a white woman (who apparently was actually a Mexican-American).


Plenty of sources have stated this through the years, basically saying that it was M. Donald Grant whom was squeamish. Also I've seen places where the future Mr. October was showing many signs of being that "24 and 1" guy that he would be during his big league career and that may have made the Mets squeamish as well. Not sure if the "Ali-effect" (brining in a polarizing outspoken black superstar athlete) was a cause, or just plain not wanting a polarizing outspoken guy on the team, but there were plenty of non-baseball reasons why the Mets did not select Reginald Martinez Jackson

Steve

mlbaseballtalk
Aug 12 2005 07:55 PM

Yancy Street Gang wrote:
At this point, it's hard to get too upset over the Houston team being better than the Mets in the 1960's. Sitting here in 2005, I'd take the Mets' past over that of the Astros in a heartbeat.


Not to mention the Stros have played in what have to be three of the greatest NLCSs ever (including two individual games that have to rank up in the top as well) and have nothing to show for it

Mets, 2-2 in the World Series including one of the top 10 ever, won one in one of the greatest upsets ever and damn nearly got a second

4-1 in LCS play including two of the best ever played, also in the first LCS ever. And surely the 73 ranks as one of the most memorable

2-0 in DS play. Not quite sure where to rank them, but the Mets's series have to rank near the top with dramatic moments

Astros untill last year were punked out every year, including 1981

Only postseason record Mets and Stros are even in are Play-In Games
Astros beat the Dodgers in NL West Playin in 1980
Mets beat the Reds in NL Wild Card Playin in 1999

Steve

mlbaseballtalk
Aug 12 2005 08:19 PM

http://boss.streamos.com/wmedia/yesnet/wmedia/cs_jackson2.wvx

Thats a WMP link for Reggie on YES Center Stage telling the story. Apparantly Bobby Winkles relayed the story to Reggie that it was Bob Scheffing that was the guy who thought he'd be a "troublemaker"

It probably got alot of run in columns and radio shows of guys who have been extremly anti-Met management such as a Wally Mathews, ect whom routinley list bad ideas in Met history

Steve

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 12 2005 09:22 PM

But this is all well-after-the-fact recollections by a guy who obviously had a horse in this race. Not to mention how unfair it is to poor Steve Chilcott.

What would be convincing is some independent verification, from the time it happened, that choosing Chilcott over Jackson was a conscious decision to select a lesser player because the alternative (in Reggie's considerable estimation, the only alternative) was black.

Frayed Knot
Aug 12 2005 11:26 PM

The story that Reggie told in his "auto"biography (written by Mike Lupica) is that his college coach told him that the Mets didn't want him for the girlfriend and (in the parlance of the times) "uppity nigger" reasons. Not sure if the coach ever commented on this publicly or not and Reggie's been known to have a vivid sense of self-importance.

There was a story in Baseball America about 2 years back about HS-drafted catchers (around the time Joe Mauer was up and coming) which touched on Chilcott. Whitey Herzog was the Met player personnel director (or whatever his title was) at the time and was in charge of that 2nd ever draft. His story is that the Mets were truly divided on the Chilcott/Jackson issue before settling on the young catcher. Whitey claims he then went to his (then) 19 other counterparts after the fact to ask them who they would have drafted. The answer - by folks who had little reasons to mislead at this point - was Jackson 10 - Chilcott 9.

Chilcott was injured in the minors and failed to make the majors (one of only 2 #1 overall picks to never play MLB) due to that, not due to lack of talent or "incorrect" drafting as some revisionist historians contend.

Edgy DC
Aug 13 2005 12:43 AM

So, instead of examples of much written about it at the time, as claimed, we get a contemporary recount from Jackson in response to a leading question from Kay on the Yankees propaganda network, where even Jackson shrugs his shoulders as to whether it's actually true.

mlbaseballtalk
Aug 13 2005 03:51 PM

Edgy DC wrote:
So, instead of examples of much written about it at the time, as claimed, we get a contemporary recount from Jackson in response to a leading question from Kay on the Yankees propaganda network, where even Jackson shrugs his shoulders as to whether it's actually true.


Okay, fine, I withdraw my assumtions then. I just checked "Amazin'" the Peter Golenbock book and it has Whitey's version. Granted Golenbock is pretty pro Herzog, Golenbock's style tends to be overtly pro-player/anti-management (like I said about Wallace Mathews earlier) and if that tidbit happened the way Jackson said it did, then it would have made its way into the book

I'll stand corrected...

Steve

Edgy DC
Aug 13 2005 04:26 PM

For all I know it did happen. I'm just not going to base my opinion on whether I fancy myself an iconoclast or a pollyanna, or somebody accuses me of either of those, but rather based on evidence. And the evidence so far is mighty thin.

TheOldMole
Aug 13 2005 05:11 PM

It's not totally out of the question that racism was involved. Men from a different generation were running the Mets back then. But Chilcott was considered a blue-chip prospect.

Scouting is an inexact science. Look at Mike Piazza's draft status.

Frayed Knot
Aug 13 2005 05:34 PM

That Met mgmt was run by a bunch of older conservative looking men is, I think, part of what gives legs to the story. That they would make a decision based on Jackson's persona rather than his talent "fits the profile" so it's easy for many to assume it to be fact (which ironically makes some of those claiming prejudice guilty of stereotyping themselves).
I even had an exchange w/a guy on a board one time who not only claimed it was true but that that MD Grant "in his own words" had admitted it. Not surprisingly, he was unable to locate "his source", although I believe he was thinking of Jackson's book and managed to simply transfer the ASU coach's words into MD Grant's mouth.

And again, not that any of this means it isn't true, just that it's hardly the settled matter that many seem to believe.

mlbaseballtalk
Aug 13 2005 06:04 PM

BTW one thing that sort of would poke a hole in Reggie's Center Stage story is that Winkles said it was Scheffing who was the guy who ixnayed the whole thing.

Anyone know if Scheffing was that high up in the chain of command at that point? One would point to either Whitey Herzog, George Weiss (or Bing Devine depending on the timeline) or M. Donald Grant as being the major decision makers at the time

Steve

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 16 2005 08:00 AM

Part II

[url]http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/franchises-at-birth-the-colt-45s-astros-and-the-mets-part-two/[/url]

MFS62
Aug 16 2005 08:40 AM

Y'know what I just noticed?
One of their contributing authors has visited the CPF.

Later

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 16 2005 09:25 AM

Scheffing who was the guy who ixnayed the whole thing.



Scheffing was in the org., but was still 5 years from taking a major role with it. He'd been among the guys they used to evaluate talent however.

He'd turn out to be a very ineffective GM.

Edgy DC
Aug 16 2005 10:08 AM

It's a shame (or telling, you decide) that the 1966 draft comes up not at all.

I'd sure like a solid high-profile writer to do some digging and come up with a definitive recount of what is known and unknown while there are still perhaps enough witnesses alive to piece it together.

seawolf17
Aug 16 2005 10:08 AM

Hey, you can't spell Scheffing without "effing."

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 16 2005 10:36 AM

I'd sure like a solid high-profile writer to do some digging and come up with a definitive recount of what is known and unknown while there are still perhaps enough witnesses alive to piece it together.

Other than not being solid, nor high-profile, I read just about all I could find on the 1966 draft, which quite honestly, wasn;t much. There was no Baseball America at the time that covered amatuer & college baseball and the Sporting news coverage of the draft was mostly centered on who got who but not why who got who, if you know what I mean.

The NYC papers barely gave coverage to the Mets and Yankees drafts and amatuer signings right through to the 1990s. The NY Times covered the Seaver story with one graf headlined: Mets Get George Feaver.

Generally, drafts were covered in the "Notes" graf tacked onto the end of a game story in early June. It would say: "The Mets are expected to select Oklahoma State outfielder Jeromy Burnitz with the first pick in today's draft. Local high schoolers also eligible are _______ ." and that was it.

One of my far-off projects is to do an interview with every No. 1 draft pick.

Edgy DC
Aug 16 2005 11:33 AM

Yeah, I did a lot of reading also. I only long for a high-profile writer so he or she can (1) use her or his clout to interview all the living witnesses and check the accounts against each other, and (2) publish it in a high-profile reputable outlet and put the mythmaking to rest.

seawolf17
Aug 16 2005 11:36 AM

It's too bad that Feaver kid never panned out. He coulda been somebody.