Though the Mets had a lot of veteran star power, the team was not expected to fare too well. Of course, they exceeded expectations by compiling the worst regular season record in the modern history of the game at 40-120. Manager Casey Stengel on several occasions tried to make light of the situation, but it was evident even he was frustrated with what happened during the season. Lets go back in time, though, (before the entire season unfolds) and recap the first game played in the history of the new franchise.
Roger Craig was given the opening day ball by Stengel. He was opposed by Larry Jackson. Jackson's first batter was future Hall of Fame outfielder Richie Ashburn, whom Jackson got to fly out to centerfield. After the Mets did not score, Craig got leadoff batter Curt Flood to do the same, fly to CF. Craig struggled in his 3 innings pitched, giving up 5 runs on 8 hits. Bob Moorhead relieved Craig and was not helped by his defense, giving up 5 runs, 2 earned on 6 hits. Herb Moford pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and former Brooklyn and LA Dodger RHP Clem Labine gave up an unearned run on a hit in the last inning.
The Mets were relatively kept at bay by Jackson, who gave up 8 hits while going the distance; three were by 2B Charlie Neal, who went 3-4 with a HR and 2 RBI. Ashburn went 1-5, RS and SS Felix Mantilla went 1-4, RS, BB. LF Frank Thomas went 0-3 with a SF and RF Gus Bell was 1-3, BB. Gil Hodges got the start at 1B and went 1-4 with a solo HR. 3B Don Zimmer went 1-4 and C Hobie Landrith went 0-4. Ed Bouchee and future MLB manager Jim Marshall each came up as pinch hitters and drew walks.
The Cardinals were lead by future HOF Stan Musial, who was 3-3 with 2 RBI and 2 RS. 1B Bill White drove in 3 runs and 2B Julian Javier went 4-5 to inspire the St Louis attack. Jackson went the distance to get the win, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits, walking 4 and striking out 2. Mets pitchers also only recorded 2 Ks. The final out of the game was made by Mantilla, who grounded out to 3B to end the game.
For the Mets 4 runs, 8 hits, 3 errors, 7 LOB; Cardinals 11 runs, 16 hits, 1 error, 5 LOB. WP Jackson 1-0, LB Craig 0-1.