Fagan, Brian M. New York: Basic Books, 1999.

Once, while I was talking to Stengel, a middle-aged man approached, dragging a sullen teenager. This was clearly a troubled son and dad. The man claimed to have played for Stengel years ago in the minors. Stengel took his time, regaled them with tales of the father’s prowess and promised the kid a Mets contract if he got as good as his old man. As they left with arms around each other, Stengel rolled his eyes at me and shrugged. He had no memory of the man.

Fagan, Brian M. New York: Basic Books, 2000.

Lamb, H. H.  2nd edition. New York and London: Routledge, 1995.

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A version of this article appears in print on February 20, 2012, on Page D1 of the with the headline: Spring of ’62: Revisiting the Dawn of the Mets.

One of the ad men told me that ballplayers were easy to deal with.

Robert Lipsyte, a former New York Times columnist, covered the Mets’ first spring training for the newspaper. He is the author of the memoir “An Accidental Sportswriter.”

For services of worship for some of the seasons of the Church Year, see

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Hook, who had worked on his master’s degree in thermodynamics as a Met, was remembered for explaining Bernoulli’s Law, which describes how planes stay aloft and baseballs curve. When the diagrams he drew appeared in The New York Times, Stengel said, “If Hook could only do what he knows.”

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By that time, my friend Hook was a rising manager in the Chrysler Corporation. He had pitched three seasons for the Mets, failing in his childhood dream of being a 20-game winner (he lost 19 in his first season as the Mets lost 120), but he got credit for the team’s first victory (in its 10th game).

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But I found him again outside for the home opener in 1963. He had renewed hope, he said. And he never lost it, always coming back, through the bedsheet banner years as the Mets beat the Yankees in the first Mayor’s Trophy game, as Marvelous Marv Throneberry became the quintessential Met, as the 17-year-old Ed Kranepool began his 18-year career. He followed the team to Shea Stadium in 1964, and he was there for the seven years in 9th or 10th place until that amazing 1969 season when the Miracle Mets won the World Series. I was actually happy to see him at spring training in 1970. This time, I hurried over when he called. “The Mets will repeat,” he boomed. “You heard it here.”

Stengel later complained about how hard he worked on his Alka-Seltzer commercial.

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Many churches have relied almost solely on the spoken word to carry the burden of proclamation. However, even in the Old Testament the services of worship involved all of the senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, as well as hearing. Modern learning theory also indicates that the more senses are involved in an experience, the more impact it makes, especially for children. This suggests that the worship experience should be concerned with more than just preaching and music (see ). At the very least, worship should involve visual as well as auditory experience.

“When was the last time you threw a ball?” asked Murphy, once a Yankees relief pitcher.

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In the relaxed atmosphere of 1962, Miller Huggins Field was often swarming with Mad Men in button-down shirts, rep ties and Harris tweed jackets overseeing the making of commercials.

“Last Sunday, in New York,” said Pappas, looking down at his black, pointy-toed shoes.

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Hook took care of his customers. After Chrysler, he rose to senior management positions at Rockwell International and Masco before retiring to become a professor in Northwestern’s M.B.A. program. He always played down his baseball career. He thought it would distract people from teaching him what they knew.