Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
SNY series digs into Mets history
Call it offseason filler if you must, but SNY's new "Mets Yearbook," debuting Thursday night after its "Hot Stove" show, is off-the-charts cool for sports and TV nostalgia buffs.
The series features 27 season highlight films from 1962 through '88 that had been languishing in the Mets' archives for years.
The ones from the early years were made for promotional purposes and shown mostly to community groups; they were not designed for television and in some cases never have been seen on TV before.
Gary Morgenstern, SNY's VP of programming, said the hodgepodge of films followed various formats and were of varying lengths but have been turned into half-hour shows for "Mets Yearbook."
The first five - 1971, '84, '75, '68 and '63 - will be shown on Thursdays in 2009, with about 10 more in '10 and the rest sometime the following year.
So far I have watched '71, '68 and '63.
The '71 show includes footage of an old-timers' game in which Satchel Paige is seen pitching, and in which Bobby Thomson pitched to Ralph Branca. (You read that right.)
In the '68 show, Gil Hodges is seen going over scouting reports in the locker room with his young pitching staff, including Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman.
The '63 highlights were most interesting of all, because they included extensive, full color, rarely seen footage of the Mets playing at the Polo Grounds.
That includes the final major league game played there, after which Casey Stengel is shown walking off through centerfield in a scene similar to the one featuring Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza at Shea 45 years later.