The particulars of a story escape me. A young man became a CEO of a company. His experience was scant. He contacted men who recently retired from successful careers in other corporations. Most, forced retirements. He offered them short-term jobs; do the things and manage the way you always wanted to but prevented from doing so by the boards of directors. He said I’d like to have you work with us 3 to 5 years but give me at least one good year. Do you have one good year to give?
The company went from bankruptcy to Fortune 500.
The 1962 New York Sewer Rats; Baseball’s Greatest Story is based on giving just one more year.
In 1962 American baseball’s National League expanded from 8 teams to 10; the Houston Colt 45s and New York Mets. When this occurs there is an expansion draft. The other 8 teams in the league allow players from their team to be drafted and signed by the expansion teams. The better and valuable players on the 8 teams are protected. They can’t be drafted. Thus, the two expansion teams are left to choose from what the 8 teams deem expendable. They are made up of players who never reached their potential or those who have outlived their usefulness; they are on the backside of their skills and careers.
Just imagine, though, that those expendable players had one good year remaining; perhaps their best year. It would make for an interesting story and an incredible story.
Before the start of the actual 1962 season, some were predicting the New York Mets might finish in the middle of the standings. The reality, they became baseball’s worst team. It seemed as if nothing went their way that season.
However, what if everything went their way. What if all those players had their best year.
The original idea was conceived about 30 years ago between me and a workmate. We nearly obsessed over talking about baseball.
Our plan was to replay the entire ‘62 season with the APBA baseball game. It is a game based on statistics and probability. Jim knew enough about the game that he could tweak it. In our case, give the individual players on the New York Mets their best year.
As it turned out we were not willing to devote the time to the project. However, he gave me the computer version of APBA with instructions on how to give the likes of Gus Bell, Frank Thomas, and Richie Ashburn their best years and how to strengthen the arms of Roger Craig, Johnny Antonelli, and Jay Hook.
I replayed the entire 1962 season with the tweaks.
My original idea was to write it as it might appear in the newspaper, with interviews, quotes, anecdotes, and box scores. Really, who wants to read yesterday’s papers?
For several years my son would say, “Dad, when are you going to write that book?” One day, sitting at my desk I grabbed a baseball from my bookshelf. It was a home run ball hit by Joe Adcock in 1959 as a player for the Milwaukee Braves. I examined it, set it back in its place, turned to my keyboard, and began writing.
The novel is based on the three fictional characters. First, there is the owner, Stanley Goldstein. He has his own story of how he arrived at 1962. Next, there is Captain Kid Carlyle, the manager. He never reached the majors as a player, coach, or manager, but is given the chance of a lifetime. Finally the main character. Pete Manley. A well-traveled minor league player who knows, no matter what, 1962 is his last year in baseball.
Each of the three characters is given backgrounds and personalities that uniquely qualify them to be included in baseball’s greatest story.
With baseball season on the horizon, I invite all to return with me to a simple era of baseball and watch the 1962 New York Sewer Rats from your favorite seat in the Polo Grounds. It will also make a great gift for the baseball lover in your life.
The book is available in digital form (Kindle) or paperback.