How long would you expect a Major League team to go before winning on a particular day of the week?
It seems like a silly question whose answer ought to be, “not very long” … right? I mean, an average team wins 81 games each season, so they must cover the days early on.
But the expansion 1962 New York Mets were far from average. As in, they would have needed a step ladder perched on top of the Empire State Building, while wearing platform shoes and standing on tippy toes to even whiff the soles of average’s feet.
That woeful group of other team’s castoffs and young dudes looking for a chance finished at 40-120 … so it was a bit more difficult for them to post a W on any given weekday.
Still, it’s tough to imagine a modern team languishing through the first week of June without winning on a Friday, as the ’62 Mets did.
But that June 8 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the 49th game of the season didn’t end the Mets day-of-week victory drought, because … well, because Thursday had yet to get on the board.
And it wouldn’t get on the board at all in June.
Or in July.
Or in August.
Or even in September.
So the Mets rolled into their first off-season with zero Thursday victories, and then lost on April 11, 1963, their first Thursday game of the new season.
At least it was Warren Spahn who beat them in that one, as that tended to happen to lots of teams back then.
Amazingly (uh-huh), the Mets struck first when left fielder Frank Thomas drove in Ron Hunt with a single in the top of the first. The Cubs tied things up in the bottom of the fifth, but then Thomas banged a two-run homer in the top of the sixth.
Chicago scored once more, in the bottom of the seventh, and that’s how things stayed — the Mets had their first Thursday victory, 3-2.
Craig went the distance, though he did have a scare in the ninth when Lou Brock — who scored both Cubs runs — singled to center field with one out. Interestingly, Ken Hubbs, who led all Cubs batters with two hits, grounded into a double play to end the game.
Craig had finished a frightening 10-24 in 1962 and would end up with an even more anemic 5-22 mark in 1963, despite decent ERAs and peripherals.
And, of course, he would go on to coach and manage in the Major Leagues for decades.
All of which is to say that, standing there on the mound after his April 25 victory, Craig was a true Thursday’s child — he still had far, far to go.
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