By Mike Steffanos
Dana is also a professor at Hofstra University. On his blog yesterday, in a post titled Honoring and Studying the History and Culture of the Mets, Dana talked about something near and dear to my heart:
Readers of this blog might enjoy this interview I did yesterday with Mike Silva at New York Baseball Digest. It was the lead-in to an interview with Jacob Kanarek, who is publishing a book called "From First to Worst" about the Mets in the Seventies. Mike and I talked about the Mets in the Seventies, a depressing but interesting topic, and then we talked about the need for the Mets to pay more attention to their own history and fan culture, a topic which, I notice, is getting more and more attention on Mets blogs and forums.
In my interview with Mike, I mention that I am, along with another Hofstra professor, submitting a proposal for a conference that will commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the New York Mets. At this conference which will be hosted by Hofstra (pending approval, but the odds are good), we hope to bring together as many current and former Mets, executives, management, journalists, bloggers, fans, and students of the game as possible. So, even if the Mets don't start doing more to honor and study the history of the team, some of us can start doing our part. I certainly hope that the promised museum of the Mets in Citifield will be worthy of the team and will be accessible to the fans.
I love the idea of a conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the club. I hope you'll take a minute to click over to Dana's blog and leave him a comment or email supporting his efforts. The half-century history of this franchise is worthy of much more effort than the Mets management has been willing to put into it.
It's a shame that management doesn't feel this team's history is worthy of the basics, such as an Old Timer's Day. When I was a young Mets fan OTD was held every year, but mostly to honor former Dodgers and Giants who played for those teams before they defected to the left coast.
I would like to think that even those of you who are much younger than I would be interested in seeing some of those great Mets players of the past honored on a yearly basis. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Cleon Jones, Jerry Grote and Bud Harrelson are probably familiar to Mets fans that weren't even born when they were integral pieces of the '69 champs.
For those of us who are older and creakier, it would be fun to see some of the former Mets who aren't as familiar to those who don't go back quite that far: Ken Boswell, Jon Matlack, John Milner, Felix Millan, to name a few. How about George Stone, who had one great shining year that helped the Mets to an improbable pennant? Skip Lockwood, who had some nice years as a closer for a team that didn't win many games.
Even during the dark years of the franchise, 1977-1983, there are players I remember with affection: John Stearns, Steve Henderson, Craig Swan (if he could have only stayed healthy), Pete Falcone (the Oliver Perez of his day), and Ed Lynch, to name a few.
Mets history isn't about championships, unfortunately, but it is about the enduring love of the fan base for a team that was constantly overshadowed in its own town. And that enduring love is exactly what the Mets should honor by remembering the past.
I hope Dana's conference idea comes to fruition. Any effort to pick up the slack in this area is welcome and absolutely worthy of our support.