Howie Karpin is a fixture at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. The Bronx native and Riverdale resident is an official scorer for Major League Baseball, and for the past 30 years has covered the World Series and Stanley Cup Finals as well as being an accomplished radio sports reporter.
His passion is baseball, reporting games for radio stations in the tri state area, and now scoring a good amount of Yankees and Mets games as the guy who determines a hit from an error on the field up in the press box where we sit. A fan of the New York Mets contemplate when good fortune will return for their franchise because the team is off to their third worse start since their inception in 1962.
So here is Karpin, during the past year, in between scoring games, doing his research. And plenty of going back in time to select the greatest wins in Mets history and for those who joke about the Mets, they would say, “How many great games have the Mets played?
There could be more than the 162 games that Karpin chronicled in his latest work, “Imagine a Mets Perfect Season – 162-0” published by Triumph Books. Yes, 162 games, the schedule for a team in regular season play. But the Mets going 162-0, especially for a Mets fan is far from reality.
“The nature of the game-the grind of a 162-game season does not lend itself to team perfection as it does in the National Football League or college football,” says Karpin. “There have been undefeated teams in both pro and college football, but not in baseball. Nor is it likely to ever happen. But within the boundaries of this book, it does happen to the Mets.”
Meaning, as Karpin, says, “In nearly 50 years of existence, the New York Mets have provided many memorable regular season moments.” Of course, always remembered was the run to a World Series championship in 1969 and how the Mets became the team in New York City.
The memorable moments, that is a theme about the 162 games that are highlighted by Karpin. Because as every Mets fans knows, there have been more than a share of unmemorable moments, a huge amount at their old ballpark, Shea Stadium, in Flushing Queens.
You don’t have to be a fan of the New York Mets to share in the memories that Karpin recaps. There is the emotional game of the first sporting event in the city since the September 11, 2011 disaster. Titled “Emotions Run Deep in Tribute to Post 9/11 America,” the game at Shea Stadium against the Atlanta Braves, a game where rivalries meant nothing and a start of the healing process in New York.
There is no particular order of significant games with the 162 that Karpin recaps so well. “The history of the Mets was thoroughly researched to put together a mythical, undefeated season,” says current New York Mets third baseman David Wright who provided a perfect foreword to the book.
“In this book, time is no problem,” says Wright. So well put because you can don’t have to go from page-to-page, and the summations of each game are captured with the highlights Mets and baseball fans always remember.
Because the Mets, as much as they have become the secondary baseball team in New York, have a brief and interesting history, though not as long, as the Yankees on the other side of town. The managers and players that have worn the uniform have been interesting personalities from Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver to the Hall of Fame New York outfielder, the great Willie Mays.
“From the very first season of 1962 to the miraculous championship year of 1969, to a second world title in 1986, right up until a new era at Citi Field, the Mets have put together a glorious history in their own right,” says Karpin.
Each game selected is chronicled by month, again in no particular order. The box score of some games and photos of the players that are a part of this 162-0 season provide smiles for Mets fans that have not much to be happy about as of late. And there are of course, some of the less memorable moments.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Bill Shannon, the longtime official scorer of New York baseball and writer who tragically passed away last October. A longtime friend of Karpin who gave him his opportunity to score games in the press box, Shannon was an inspiration in putting this must read together.
Because as everyone knows, in New York the Yankees have been the memorable team, but after going through the pages of these 162 games, it certainly appears the past 49 years have been memorable for the New York Mets.
E-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]