I’ve written a few posts about mom, and how frenetic a Mets fan she was. But growing up, this was not a house divided. It had been, because as big a Giants fan as mom was, Henry J. Geus was every bit the Dodger fan. I was mercifully not around for that and can only imagine it all. So I have never held any ill will toward Robert Moses, or Walter O’Malley, or Horace Stoneham. They all conspired to bring me a team that my parents could band together to love. No whiny pining for those who had fled in my household. Nope, there was a new team in town, and you move forward in life, things change. And in 1962, National League baseball fans got another team to embrace, the New York Mets. My parents never gave it a second thought, they were all in.
Having been born in 1958 myself, I have no personal memories of the Brooklyn Dodgers or the New York Giants. My very first baseball memory, in fact, is not about a particular game. When I have looked at retrosheet, any actual games I have memories of start in 1963, with a game in which Tim Harkness hit one into the darkness. A fabulous first game to remember. Many more have come, I have had a wonderful life to date following this team, despite any current struggles. I could write up 50 incredible games I have attended and a hell of a lot of great ones would miss the list.
But today I want to write about my first Mets memory, which dates back to 1962. It is not about a game. It’s about a team, and my family, and how that team has always been a part of my family. And always will.
My father shared a love of photography, including film photography, with his love for baseball. The two were often intertwined, as it was commonplace for dad to bring a camera to the game. He didn’t just shoot footage, he had some early 1960s equipment, and he would view, edit, and maybe add some stop-motion to the final product. And whatever else he was doing. I can’t say I understood any of it.
Well we lived in a tiny apartment in Astoria, four people in three rooms. My parents slept in the living room, which doubled as the film room. And so my first memory of the Mets is of the production of a video, of my dad working on a pet project, a video of the new 1962 Mets.
I don’t know exactly how long he worked on it, but it was much more than a day or two. And you couldn’t ignore him, there was no place to go. But you didn’t need to go away, he never seemed frustrated, he was always happy as a clam working on his films. That was an early life lesson.
Anyway, at some point it was done, and we viewed it. Dad was pretty pleased with his product, he understood the historical importance, this being year one. We viewed it a few times and then it went away, since when you live with a photographer there is always more product coming in to view. It never really stopped coming until 1982, when Dad passed away, at what sure seems like a young age to me now. And now, since then, all the films have been safely tucked away in a box with the intention of viewing them, which never comes to fruition.
Well, this week would have been my dad’s birthday. Knowing how much he loved the Mets, and his hobby, it hit me that it was time to get this film out of the attic and do something with it. Share it with anyone who would like it, as there is not a ton of film footage of the 1962 Mets and other than a select few people, no one has seen the film. Having this blog it seemed like a natural enough place to share, and Youtube as well. So I got the film out of mothballs, but of course, had no idea what to do from there. I was never a media guy.
Well, my daughter Kelly Geus is a passionate Mets fan herself. She is also a talented video maven. And this week she came over to help me, and she did whatever she did to get an old 8MM film onto Youtube, and ultimately, here. Watching her, taking her time, no reason to rush, working on this film about the 1962 Mets, was all very familiar. I got one more memory, one I never knew I would get. My dad and my daughter, connected by this project.
So yes, I kind of love this video.
I hope you like it too.