Collecting Mets Yearbooks: 1963 (4)
by, 06-26-2009 at 04:35 PM (1609 Views)
The second and final year that the Mets played their home games in upper Manhattan at the former home of the New York Giants. The Mets’ organization being aware of this finality, the cover boasts of being a “Souviner of the Polo Grounds.”
There were four issues of the yearbook released in 1963, all with color back covers featuring "Miss Rheingold" Kathy Kersh and manager Casey Stengel. As with the previous inaugural year, the yearbook was produced with 48 standard black-and-white interior pages made of paper.
Mr. Met, mascot of the Mets, debuts this year. The cover of the Mets' second-season “year book” features his introduction by the "New York National League Baseball Club." The white cover is branded by a drawing of Mr. Met and framed with top and bottom sections of navy blue with orange lettering and border detailing.
The book features a mere two advertisements within its pages. One for Hebrew National hot dogs, and one for King Korn supermarket food stamps. However, inside the magazine-stock front and back covers were two more ads; one for the Travelers Hotel near LaGuardia Airport, and one (in color) for Coca-Cola, the latter in the back.
Casey Stengel’s 1963 "Brain Trust" coaches were Cookie Lavagetto, Solly Hemus, and Ernie White. Players featured in the initial edition included Frank Thomas, Gil Hodges, Al Jackson, Ron Hunt, Choo-Choo Coleman, Roger Craig, George Altman, Joe Christopher, Al Moran, Tim Harkness, Larry Bearnarth, Jim Hickman, Rod Kanehl, Galen Cisco, Tracy Stallard, Jay Hook, Jesse Gonder, Carl Willey, Ken MacKenzie, and many others, including minor league photos of future Mets favorite, Ed Kranepool, who played three games with the team the previous September.
1. As of the first edition, roster dated April 1, the book still touted the Mets new stadium in Flushing Meadows, now officially known as Shea Stadium, to be their new home for the season, although it would not be ready for play until the following year.
As well, page 34 (pitcher Ray Deviault's page) contains a blurb stating that as this edition went to press, the Mets had purchased the contract of Duke Snider from the Dodgers (in the final week of Spring Training), and that he would be featured in the revised edition ("which will be published about June 15"). The Duke is indeed listed on the April 1 roster page.
There are several pages featuring Stengel, and a page on the Mets signature broadcasting trio of Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, and Lindsay Nelson. As well, there’s a nice spread of artist renderings of Shea Stadium and its “Stadiarama Electronic ‘Showman’ Scoreboard,” which, despite the mention in the article, would be ready for Mets games in the 1964 season.
2. The Mets didn't wait until mid-June to issue their second issue of 1963. The "Revised" issue has a roster date of May 1, and includes the full-page inclusion of Met Duke Snider promised in the first issue. The 1963 Revised issue is the only Mets yearbook to feature full player pages of both Duke Snider and Gil Hodges (on, appropriately, adjacent pages).
Ed Kranepool also has his first full-page feature in this issue. In fact, the Revised issues of the year have several player page changes and relocations made to the original issue, as players were coming and going (such as Deviault), as well as changing uniform numbers, with regularity.
The schedule page of the Revised 1963 yearbook omits the month of April.
The third and fourth issues of 1963 were both marked "Final Revised."
3. The first Final Revised issue has a roster page dated July 5.
Among the ever-changing player pages (arranged primarily by uniform number) are some worthy of note. Original Met Gil Hodges is gone, traded to Washington for outfielder Jimmy Piersall (this is the only issue to feature his player page), and Kranepool has no player page at all. Ed is still on the roster, however, and is now shown in a small photo in the "Stengel pages" honoring sandlot ball.
That photo is one of many new photos unique to the two Final Revised issues, taken earlier in the '63 season. Among them are photos of Stan Musial, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, and NYC Mayor Robert Wagner, as well as photos taken early-summer of Old-Timers Day prominents Bill Dickey, Hank Greenberg, Carl Hubbell, Joe McCarthy, Frankie Frisch, and others.
Most notable, though -- aside from a brand-new team photo -- is a photo spread of Jimmy Piersall celebrating the 100th homer of his career (and first as a Met) by circling the bases running backwards, taken a mere two weeks prior to the July 5 yearbook’s issuance.
There are several other features unique to these two editions (including the rewording of Shea Stadium's article, no longer indicating that it will be ready for "this summer's games"; As such, there was now included a blurb on the final page targeting applications for the 1964 Season Box Plan).
4. The second Final Revised edition has a roster dated August 5.
Aside from the updated roster, there were not that many page changes made to the August issue.
Piersall was released in late July (thus no player page), but his famous home-run trot is still featured. Kranepool is back among the player pages, although now given only a half page feature. Though not a full-timer until the following season, the publishers decided it was only appropriate to give Eddie another showing, if only because of his sandlot trophy photo in the early pages, and his photo at the year's Old-Timers' Day posing with Hank Greenberg (they attended the same high school).
The only other notable change from July and its two previous issues is the addition of recently called-up coach Clyde McCullough, featured only in this August '63 issue on the "Brain Trust" coaches page.
The schedule page of both Final Revised issues contains only the months of July, August, and September.
Any of the four editions of the 1963 Mets yearbook is currently worth, depending on condition, anywhere between $60 and $200.
The 1963 New York Mets were not much better at playing baseball than in their inaugural season, losing 111 games.
6. No cover marking, April 1 roster page.
7. Revised marking, May 1 roster.
8. Final Revised marking, July 5 roster.
9. Final Revised marking, August 5 roster.