The rise and demise of the Mayor's Trophy Game
By Jim Snedeker
In 1957, New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner is seen holding the Mayor's Trophy, alongside Dodger manager Walter Alston and Yankee manager Casey Stengel
The Mayor's Trophy Game started in 1946 as a way to raise money for New York City's Amateur Baseball Federation, which included sandlot baseball programs. The game initially pitted the Giants against the Yankees. In 1951, the Brooklyn Dodgers became the Yankees' National League opponent and later on traded years with the Giants. The exhibition ended in 1958 when the Dodgers and Giants moved to California. It was revived in 1963 as the new team in town, the Mets, once again provided the Yanks with a senior circuit opponent. The two teams' annual grapple proved quite popular with both sets of fans and brought in over $2 million during its 19-year run.
But as time wore on, both management and the ballplayers seemed less and less interested in staging the game. Ultimately, what seemed like such a good idea-an exhibition game of New York's two major league baseball clubs who, outside of the unlikely event of meeting in the World Series, would never play each other otherwise-fizzled after the 1983 contest. While many New Yorkers today don't even know about the event, the truth is back then it was more than just a curiosity. The fans loved the uniqueness and the chance to retain unofficial City bragging rights. And while with today's interleague schedule the two clubs do have an annual battle, it's clearly not the same thing. The Mayor's Trophy Game only happened once a year, and being an exhibition, did not count for anything in the standings (as today's interleague games do) except enjoying a fun time at the park. And having two teams who were not supposed to mix during the regular season had an unnatural quality about it, and was truly cause for wonder, especially for the younger fans.
So why in 1984 did they stop putting on such an enjoyable and meaningful show? It turns out several factors, some reasonable and some suspect, came into play. In March of 1984, the Mets and Yankees announced that the game would not be played that year because they couldn't work it into their schedules. This seemed odd, since they had always worked it into their schedules before. In February of 1985, Met GM Frank Cashen nixed any hopes of a tussle that year, telling the New York Times, "The last few years, we have had difficulty arriving at a mutually agreeable date with the Yankees." He then added, "But we are still trying to put something together for 1986 and each year thereafter."
But nothing materialized and it was clear that staging the game was not high on anybody's agendas. In October 1988, the two teams again blamed the loss on a lack of mutually open dates. But it had not been a secret that Yankee owner George Steinbrenner no longer wanted to play the Mets. On the other hand, reports that it was because he didn't like losing to the Mets were probably false as the Yankees had an overall series lead, 10-8.
Finally, in 2012, ex-Yankee hurler Ron Guidry and former Yankee public relations director Marty Appel revealed perhaps the most practical reasons for the game falling out of favor. "It was a pain in the butt," Guidry told the Times. "It was supposed to be an off day and they made us play another game. It didn't mean anything, except to George. Bragging rights? Who cared? A couple of times guys got hurt and we just said, forget it." According to Appel, the demise of the series essentially had to do with scheduling conflicts and a dwindling fan interest. Attendance for the final game in 1983 was only 20,471. "It died of natural causes," Appel said. "The teams finally decided to just donate the money to the charities and skip the game."
When it comes, change can be fun and joyful; it can also be hard and unsettling. But sometimes, it's natural. The Mayor's Trophy Game had seen its day and had provided New York City with an entertainment that befit both the mood and needs of the times. Sandlotters still receive money from the two teams, so they are not bereft in this regard. And even many of the contest's die-hard fans might admit that they don't miss the annual show. But they might add that they do miss a time when more games were played in the daylight, ball players made the same amount of money as everyone else, and the players couldn't wait to get out onto the field and play another game.
The Trophy: Where is it now?
June 20, 1963
Mets 6, Yankees 2
August 24, 1964
As the Mets and Yankees resurrected the annual intra-city matchup once hosted by the Yanks, Dodgers and Giants, New York City was baseball mad. Fans stormed the portals to watch the newly birthed Metropolitans joust with the men in the black pinstripes. In the end, the senior circuit upstarts emerged victorious, 6-2. Jay Hook earned the win and Stan Williams took the loss.
Jimmy Piersall led off the game for the Mets with a double and eventually scored on a Williams wild pitch. The Yanks tied it in the bottom of the first on a Bobby Richardson double and a single from Elston Howard. In the third, the Mets scored when Yank third baseman Pedro Gonzalez booted an Eddie Kranepool grounder with the bases full. Tim Harkness plated two more Metsies with a single, and after another wild pitch it was 5-1. The Mets scored their final tally on an Al Moran double down the left-field line which drove in teammate Harkness. The crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of the Mets, and their joy reigned oddly throughout Yankees Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Bronx Bombers managed only one hit after the first inning until Joe Pepitone blasted a meaningless round-tripper in the ninth for their second and final run.
Hook pitched five innings and was relieved by Carlton Willey, who finished out the day for the Mets. The Yanks' Steve Hamilton took over for Williams and let only one man reach base in four innings.
Just before the Mets' big inning in the third, Piersall's bat flew into the stands and hit Deputy Police Commissioner William L. Rowe in the ribs. After some first aid, Rowe was able to return to his seat and enjoy the rest of the afternoon. 52,430 tickets were sold this day, with 50,742 fans actually clicking through the turnstiles. As per tradition, the game proceeds went to various sandlot baseball charities.
2B-Piersall, Moran 2, Richardson
Yankees 6, Mets 4
May 3, 1965
The Yankees came roaring back after last year's inaugural loss to claim the city's braggin' rights, out-hustling the Mets, 6-4. The win was particularly meaningful for the Bronx Bombers, as they were presently engaged in a titanic struggle for the pennant with the Orioles and White Sox. The Mets, meanwhile, had won seven of eight games heading into this much-anticipated annual urban contest.
In the top of the first, the Yanks scored a run on a Tom Tresh homer off Tracy Stallard. But the Mets scored two in the third off kid hurler Jim Brennamen. A hit, walk, another single and a double by Roy McMillan saw the orange and blue take the lead, 2-1. But in the fourth, Roger Maris blasted his own solo homer off Jack Fisher to knot things up, 2-2. In the fifth the Metropolitans broke the tie on a single by George Altman that drove in Bob Klaus. The Met fans danced in the aisles as their beloveds now led, 3-2.
The see-saw battle continued in the sixth when Joe Pepitone (who had replaced Mickey Mantle in center field) launched a two-run homer off Ron Locke, putting the Yanks up 4-3. But the Metsies answered back in the eighth, tying the game 4-4 on singles by Messrs. Altman and Kranepool, and a sac fly by Jim Hickman.
The ninth inning opened dramatically as first baseman Kranepool muffed a Pepitone ground ball. Archie Moore then laid down a bunt which was picked up by relief hurler Bill Hunter. Hunter threw true to second, but the ball hit Pepitone on the noggin and all hands were safe. Pedro Gonzalez, a goat in last year's Trophy game, attained a measure of atonement with a single that moved Pepitone to third. Pepitone then scored on a ground single by John Blanchard. After the Yanks added an insurance run, the Mets went quietly in the bottom of the frame as the Mayor's Trophy was carefully packaged and transported from Flushing Meadows to the Bronx.
HR-Tresh, Maris, Pepitone
2B-McMillan, Klaus 2
Mets 2, Yankees 1
June 27, 1966
The Mets bested the Yankees in their third Mayor's Trophy exhibition, 2-1, in 10 innings.
Mets helmsman Casey Stengel, always deft in his use of managerial strategy, combined tactics with work for eight twirlers, well seasoned and rookie alike. Warren Spahn was the victor for the Mets and Pete Mikkelsen the loser for the Yanks.
The two teams racked up goose eggs for the first four innings. Met starter Tug McGraw, entrusted with the first three innings, struck out three while walking four. Meanwhile, Yank hurler Bill Stafford sailed through six innings of two-hit ball. The Yanks scored one in the fifth and the Mets tallied once in the sixth to tie it, 1-1. Though the Bombers had the bases loaded with one out in the eighth, Met third baseman Bobby Klaus engineered a double play on a Pedro Gonzalez groundball and the Mets escaped the scare.
The contest remained knotted up at one until the fateful top of the 10th. The Mets' Chris Cannizzaro worked out a one-out walk against Mikkelsen and promptly took off for second. Catcher Bob Schmidt's throw was in the dirt and skipped into the outfield, enabling Cannizzaro to reach third. After Roy McMillan fanned for out #2, youthful phenom Cleon Jones laid down a squeeze bunt toward first. Mikkelsen jumped off the mound to field the ball, but his toss to first eluded Bobby Richardson covering. As the ball bounced down the right-field line, Cannizzaro dashed home to provide the go-ahead run for the Mets. The demoralized Yankees went meekly in their half of the frame, sending their fans home sad and the Mayor's Trophy back to the display case at Flushing by the Bay.
Yankees 5, Mets 2
July 12, 1967
The Yankees outshone the Mets in the City's annual interleague benefit for sandlot baseball, rolling over them, 5-2. The show was marred by unruly fan behavior that saw firecrackers being tossed around and a less-than-cordial welcome given to Mayor John V. Lindsay, whose presence elicited choruses of boos and catcalls that threatened to override the on-the-field situation.
A more fitting highlight was the pitching of the Yanks' veteran lefty Whitey Ford, who had been sidelined by a sore elbow for over a month. The canny portsider tossed three perfect innings, inducing six weak ground balls while striking out two and retiring the other on a foul pop. Met hurler Larry Bearnath bore the brunt of the Yankee attack and was pasted with the loss.
Scoring commenced in the second inning as the Yanks scratched out a run on a single by Elston Howard, a double by Lou Clinton, and a sac fly from Roger Maris. But the Mets stormed back in their half of the frame, thanks mainly to some Yankee ineptness in the field. Ed Kranepool's Baltimore Chop put him on first. He hardly had time to catch his breath before a wild pitch saw him trot gamely to second. Ed Bressoud produced a towering pop into medium-left field for which shortstop Dick Schofield gave chase; he nabbed the pill but then dropped it, allowing Kranepool to steam across the plate with the tying run.
In the fourth, errors by Schofield and third-sacker Ray Barker preceded a Kranepool single which brought in another Met tally, making it 2-1. But goat Barker redeemed himself in the fifth with a solo round-tripper to tie the game yet again.
With the score still 2-2 in the top of the seventh, Bill Bryan brought the visiting Yank fans to life as he lifted a solo homer off Bearnath. Not to be outdone, colorful teammate Joe Pepitone smacked a two-run round-tripper off Dick Selma one inning later that all but sealed the Mets' fate. Pepitone's homer was a prodigious blast and possibly one of the longest home runs ever hit at Shea. After that, the Met bats went more or less quietly as the men in the black pinstripes retained the Mayor's Trophy for another season's cycle.
HR-Barker, Bryan, Peptione
2B-Clinton, Bressoud, Pepitone
Mets 4, Yankees 0
May 27, 1968
The Mets easily handled the Yankees in this season's Mayor's Trophy Game, using four pitchers to dominate the Bronx Bombers in the series' first shutout, 4-0. Crafty vet Don Cardwell took the win and rookie Cecil Perkins accepted the loss. Met relief hurlers Dennis Bennett, Don Shaw and Jack Lamabe held the Yanks to just five singles.
Met batters provided all the offense they would need in the third as Jerry Grote singled off Perkins with two out and then, in a true feat of derring-do, promptly stole second. The gambit paid off as Buddy Harrelson hit a pop to center that fell in for a hit, allowing Grote to score. Larry Stahl then drove a screaming grounder past keystone sacker Dick Howser for a double, with Harrelson wisely choosing to stop at third. The strategy proved successful as righty Perkins then uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Harrelson to score unfettered.
The Met bats came to life again in the seventh as pinch-hitter John Sullivan knocked a home run high into the right-field stands. Its fair-foul status seemed too close to call as Sullivan himself was doubtful until given the familiar round-trip signal from the umpire. An infield hit, two wild pitches and a walk saw Manager Ralph Houk send Perkins to the showers and bring in righty Joe Verbanic. Verbanic struck out Bob Johnson, but then Met striker Tommy Reynolds—batting lefty for the first time in his career—scratched out an infield hit to drive in the Mets' final run.
The Met bullpen took care of things after that, as the once-glorious Yankees held their heads in shame as they realized that they were no longer the overlords of New York, with that status now being usurped by their spunky rivals from Flushing. Even the Yank faithful who booed Mayor Lindsay at the game could not escape this hard fact of life.
Mets 4, Yankees 3
September 29, 1969
The normally docile play accompanying the City's annual interleague baseball contest was disrupted as this year's exhibition turned into an arc-light tussle, with the Mets besting the Yanks, 4-3, in a show that featured strange bounces with even stranger results. Danny Frisella, one of the new crop of impressive Met twirlers, pitched six strong innings of four-hit ball to earn the win. Yank hurler Steve Barber allowed only one hit in five innings of work but ultimately took the loss.
The Metropolitans' evening began inauspiciously in the first with a Tommie Agee single. Two batters later, Ron Swoboda launched a fly to right that Andy Kosco unsuccessfully tried to shoestring. As Kosco desperately chased after the ball, Swoboda gamely chugged around the bases and landed safe at home, credited with an inside-the-park home run and two rbis.
Frisella didn't suffer damage until the fifth. With a 2-0 advantage, he allowed run-scoring singles by Gene Michael, Dick Howser, and Roy White which put the Yanks up, 3-2. Manager Stengel elected to keep the young forkballer in the game, and Frisella successfully escaped any further drubbing.
The Mets' fortunes turned in the eighth and in the oddest of fashions. With the score still 3-2, Al Weis greeted reliever Dooley Womack with a single. One out later, Agee knocked a low pop fly to right that Howser muffed, and the Mets had two men on base. To the delight of the Mets' milling throng, Don Bosch then lined a single to center and it seemed certain that the game would be tied. But Shea Stadium's present ardor turned to delirium when the ball bounced over center fielder Bill Robinson's head. When the dust had settled, both Weis and Agee had scored to give the Mets the lead, and Bosch had a triple. Met southpaw Billy Short, who had entered in the seventh, then shut down the Bronx Bombers in the ninth for the win.
Mets 7, Yankees 6
August 17, 1970
The Mets continued their winning ways in the annual interleague classic by humbling the crosstown rival Yankees, 7-6, in an exciting contest that saw the introduction of a "lively" ball, used (unknowingly to the players and the fans) for the first five innings. The game also saw aging southpaw Steve Hamilton toss his celebrated "folly floater" to great acclaim and success.
The Mets scored early and often. In the first inning, Art Shamsky came up with the bases full and delivered a three-run triple. Jerry Grote followed with a two-out single and just like that, the Amazin's were up, 4-0.
Met mound nominee Don Cardwell was knocked out of the box in the third. With a man on first, second baseman Ken Boswell committed a throwing error. This lit a fire under the Yanks as Horace Clarke tripled, Gene Michael singled, and Roy White homered. Joe Pepitone then scratched out a hit and Frank Tepedino popped a double to put the Bombers up, 5-4. Cardwell was then summarily sent to the showers.
But the Metsies regained the lead in the bottom of the third as a Shamsky two-run homer made it 6-5. They added what proved to be the winning run in the fifth as hitting star Shamsky looped a single to right and Ed Kranepool lined a triple off the right-field fence to put the Mets ahead by two. The Shea faithful had to hold its collective breath in the ninth, however, as with one man down the Yanks ticked three consecutive singles off fireman Cal Koonce to draw within one. The doughty right hander induced White to fly out for out number two. Bobby Murcer then bounced to first baseman Kranepool for what by all rights would be the final out of the game. But Kranepool bobbled the ball, causing a momentary groan from the stands. He quickly recovered, though, and tossed the sphere to Koonce covering to nick Murcer in time for the final out.
3B-Shamsky, Clarke, Kranepool
Yankees 9, Mets 4
September 9, 1971
In the most lopsided decision yet of the City's annual interleague imbroglio, the Yankees fairly drubbed the newly crowned World Champion Mets, 9-4, at Yankee Stadium. Steve Kline got the mound assignment for the Bronx Bombers and worked all nine innings of this one-sided fray. Promising freshman Rich Folkers started the game for the Mets and yielded five runs, three hits and three walks in three innings before Manager Hodges mercifully removed him from the game. He was relieved by rifle-armed hurler Nolan Ryan, who did no better, yielding four runs on two hits and four walks in only two innings of work. It was up to veteran sparkplug Ray Sadecki to finally close the door on the Yankee barrage; he yielded no runs in the final three innings.
The game began with Danny Cater knocking a first-inning, two-out offering from Folkers out of the park to give the Yanks the lead, 1-0. Then in the third, Kline reached on a grounder fumbled by third-sacker Joe Foy. After walks to Gene Michael and Curt Blefary, Cater again approached the plate. He obviously had Folkers' number on this day as he drove the ball down the right-field line to send two runners across the plate while prancing easily into second. Folkers then issued an intentional pass to Roy White, but the strategy backfired as John Ellis singled to left for two more runs, putting the Yanks further ahead, 5-0.
The Bombers were just getting started. In the fifth, after Ryan had walked both Jim Lyttle and Ellis, Ron Woods singled for another run. Pete Ward then blasted a circuit clout to the deepest parts of the right-center bleachers for three more runs. The Yanks now held an insurmountable 9-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Mets bats were virtually silent for five innings. In the sixth, a single from pinch-hitter Cleon Jones was followed by a single from Foy and a triple to center by Ken Singleton which drove in Jones and Foy. Singleton raced home on Ron Swoboda's line-drive sac fly to Bobby Murcer in center to make the score 9-3. In the ninth and still down by six, the Mets feebly tried to make a game of it as Swoboda singled, Kranepool doubled and Duffy Dyer rapped a single behind third to score Swoboda. But Weis popped out to first for the third out and all the scoring was done for the day.
2B-Kranepool 2, Cater
Yankees 2, Mets 1
August 24, 1972
A Mayor's Trophy Game is supposed to be a mere exhibition, a curio for half the fandom of New York to claim braggin' rights after each contest, and the players to grab a cast-iron trophy and spirit it away to their headquarters. The games are often played by farmhands, youngsters called up for a cup of coffee that may well end up being their only appearance in a major-league uniform. For them, it's a chance to prove themselves and to play in a big-league ballyard. For the regulars, it can be a time to sit back, relax and perhaps enjoy a little fun.
Last night broke the mold as Jim McAndrew and Nolan Ryan, two aces of the Mets' mound corps, held the once-vaunted Yankees hitless through eight innings. Ryan was the original starter for the game, but showed up late to the park. McAndrew took his place and went five innings, striking out five.
Unfortunately for the Metropolitans, a cadre of Yankees twirlers was equally effective. After Wayne Garrett singled off Stan Bahnsen to drive home Teddy Martinez in the first, the Mets were held scoreless for the rest of the game by Bahnsen, Steve Kline, Jim Hardin, and Alan Closter. Closter pitched two innings, giving up two hits while striking out two and receiving credit for the win. Ineffective Met fireman Ron Taylor took the loss.
Late-riser Ryan entered the game in the sixth and allowed no hits during his three innings of work. Ryan faced Jerry Kenney in the sixth and the cheering Met crowd, aware of the potential no-hitter, was quickly hushed as Kenney smashed a liner to left that Dave Marshall, normally a right-fielder, was able to shoestring as he veered wildly to his right to the great comfort of all present.
Marshall contributed another defensive gem in the eighth. After skipper Hodges called on Taylor to relieve Ryan, Ron Hansen drove another seemingly uncatchable fly ball to left. This time, the nimble Marshall ran back and then to his left, and at the last second made a circus catch just in front of the 396 marker to again preserve the no-hitter. But one out later, Frank Baker smashed a line single and the Shea faithful let out a sigh. The no-hitter was gone; the Mets' one-run lead, though, was still intact.
The ninth proved both heart stopping and heartbreaking. Kenney and Danny Cater opened the frame by knocking back-to-back singles off Taylor, who was not having one of his better days. Ex-Met Ron Swoboda then stepped into the box. Swoboda, once the darling of the Met fans, had asked to play center field this evening simply to prove to his former club that he could. Hitless in three at-bats, the stage was set for him to set the record straight. After two failed bunt attempts, though, Rocky popped a high foul fly by first that was grabbed by Donn Clendenon.
Swoboda's drama was over, but the Yanks still had some fish to fry. As the fans groaned, Taylor walked Rusty Torres to load up the bases, with Kenney on third and Cater moving to second. John Ellis stepped to the dish and, wielding his mighty bludgeon, sent the apple to the furthest reaches of left field. Marshall once again gave chase and caught the ball just in front of the fence for the second out, but the sac fly allowed Kenney to jet home with the tying run with Cater moving to third. Hansen then topped a single through the left side to score Cater, putting the Yanks in front, 2-1. The Mets were unable to capitulate in their half of the frame, allowing the Yankee fans to brag all the way back to the Bronx.
Yankees 2, Mets 1
May 10, 1973
The Yankees, looming as pennant contenders in the AL eastern division race, nicked the rapidly fading Mets in the Mayor's Trophy game by a score of 2-1. Highly touted stripling Doc Medich, called up from the Eastern League for the game, pitched nine innings of four-hit ball for the Yanks. Bob Rauch took the hard-luck loss for the Mets.
The contest sailed along for three innings without much drama as both Medich and Met southpaw Brent Strom held their rivals in check. Met batsmen Willie Mays, Strom, and Bud Harrelson all contributed meaningless singles. In the fourth, though, John Milner hammered the pill into the right-field corner where Charlie Spikes had trouble negotiating the bounce off the low fence. This saw Milner artfully trundle his way to third. Seemingly rattled by this turn of events, the youthful Medich committed his second of three balks in the evening, enabling Milner to amble home unfettered.
But the Yanks were not to be denied. In the bottom half of the frame, Ron Blomberg singled off Strom with one out. Spikes, proving that baseball is a game of redeeming features, tanned the horsehide into the right-center alley and steamed into second with Blomberg a-hugging third. Second baseman Lute Barnes then made a throwing error on John Ellis' grounder which loaded up the bases. Celerino Sanchez then slugged the ball into deep right field; it descended in a perfect arc and landed comfortably into the glove of Dave Marshall, but the sac fly enabled Blomberg to cross home and tie things up, 1-1.
Met manager Yogi Berra opted to replace Strom with Bob Rauch in the sixth. But this use of managerial strategy backfired, for batter Ellis promptly knocked the ball out of the park to put the Yanks ahead and cap the scoring for the evening. In the top of the ninth, Dave Schneck, Ed Kranepool, and Milner all sent towering blasts into the outfield, but all were caught, allowing both the Yankees and Yankee faithful to exhale and celebrate their one-run victory.
Mets 8, Yankees 4
May 30, 1974
In a strikingly one-sided affair between the two denizens of New York baseball, the Mets prevailed over the Yankees, 8-4. Five runs in the second were all they needed to send their faithful fans home happy. Lefty George Stone, who had spent five weeks in the bullpen, responded to manager Yogi Berra's mound nomination with seven innings of four-hit ball. Aspiring Yankee rookie Mike Pazik, up from Syracuse for a cup of coffee, was charged with seven earned runs, eight hits and four walks to earn the loss.
The Mets took a-liking to Pazik quickly. In the second, Jim Fregosi singled, George Theodore walked, and Bud Harrelson doubled for the Mets' first run. Stone came up and helped his own cause with a single, driving in Theodore for the second run. Pazik then issued a free pass to Ted Martinez to load the bases. Felix Millan responded with a single up the middle that saw both Harrelson and Stone dash across the plate. Center fielder Bobby Murcer noticed that Martinez was fancying a score as well, but his heave home was hurried and flew past home. Martinez scored easily as the Mets and their fans celebrated with gleeful abandon.
The Mets must have been licking their chops as the bottom of the fifth saw Pazik walk Cleon Jones and Rusty Staub. Theodore then delivered a run-scoring double. The Amazin's continued to feast on Pazik in the sixth when, with two men aboard, Jones delivered a triple to put the home team up, 8-0.
In the eighth, however, the Yanks mounted a respectable rally. With Stone still on the mound, Gerry Moses and Hal Lanier both struck singles. Stone then dealt an intentional walk to Jim Ray Hart. The Shea ball yard held its collective breath as Graig Nettles strode confidently to the plate. He proceeded to lift a long, high fly ball to right center which cleared the 396-foot sign with ease. In an instant, the visiting Yankee fans saw their fortunes shift from zero to possessing a small modicum of hope.
One swing of the bat and the Yankees had cut the seemingly insurmountable Met lead in half. But, it was all for naught as Stone regained his bearings and successfully retired the side. Sparsely used Met right-hander Hank Webb came on in the ninth for the save.
Yankees 9, Mets 4
May 15, 1975
This year's interleague exhibition fracas saw the Bronx Bombers out-bomb their National League counterparts, 9-4. Yankee hurler Dave Pagan earned the win even though he tossed just a duo of innings while giving up three hits and the Mets' first run. The Metsies, meanwhile, called up youthful prospect Mike Wegener from Tidewater to start. The six-foot-four-inch Wegener, who normally mopped up in relief, probably jumped the first Pullman back to Virginia after the game as he yielded seven earned runs and granted five walks in just 3 1/3 innings.
How did they decide who were the visitors? This year the two teams shared Shea Stadium as their home turf whilst the erstwhile Yankee Stadium was seeing extensive renovation. In any event, the Mets were the home team and they struck first in the first. John Milner singled to drive in Cleon Jones. But Met celebrations were short-lived, as the Yanks scored five times in the third, highlighted by a Fernando Gonzalez grand-slam to make it 5-1. Met manager Berra chose to keep Wegener in, perhaps to give the kid a chance to build his self-confidence. But the towering righty could do no better in the fourth, as the Yanks threw up a quartet of tallies and the black-pinstriped visitors had the game in the bag, 9-1.
The Mets managed to manufacture single runs in the fifth, sixth, and eighth, but fell far short of any respectable rally. Wayne Garrett with three hits and Ron Hodges with two were the Met batting stars in the losing cause.
2B-White, Williams, Dempsey, Martinez
Yankees 9, Mets 4
June 14, 1976
In an identical result from last year's interleague scrap, the Yankees downed the Metropolitans, 9-4. The junior circuit team did a number on Met tossers, scoring six times in the seventh to add to a 3-0 lead they had already garnered at that point. The Mets showed some life in the eighth with four tallies of their own, but it was not enough. Met starter George Stone, sailing along through five, was roughed up in the sixth and took the loss. Mound adversary Mike Wallace pitched only two innings for the Bombers. He was relieved by Bob Johnson, who pitched three innings to earn the win.
The Yankees led off the scoring in the fourth as Elliott Maddox singled and Bobby Bonds doubled. Stone then induced Chris Chambliss to ground out, but this allowed Maddox to score while Bonds scampered to third. Walt Williams then lifted a sac fly that scored Bonds, and just like that the Yanks were up, 2-0. They added to their lead in the sixth as Ron Blomberg doubled off Stone and Chambliss singled for another run to make the score 3-0.
Apparently this lead was not satisfying to the Bombers, so they broke the game open in the seventh. Rick Dempsey singled off reliever Randy Tate and subsequently raced home on Jim Mason's double down the left-field line. After Fred Stanley walked, Tate induced Pagan to pop out on an attempted sacrifice bunt. Lou Pinella then bounced a grounder to Tate, who got a glove on it and deflected the ball to shortstop Mike Phillips. But Phillips' throw to second was rushed and the pill ended up in right field, enabling Mason to score. Tate, clearly rattled by this unfortunate turn of events, uncorked a wild pitch that saw Stanley steam across the dish. The Yanks were to show Tate no mercy this night, as after another walk, Chambliss and Williams both batted in runs on singles. At long last, Manager Berra saw fit to remove the battered Tate in favor of righty Jerry Cram. Both Cram and Bob Apodaca silenced the Yank bats the rest of the way. The Mets struck late in the eighth, as they loaded 'em up against Ken Clay. John Milner then came through with a towering double to center field. But it was too little, too late and the Mayor's Trophy remained ensconced at the big ballyard in the Bronx.
2B-Bonds, Blomberg, Mason, Alou, Milner
Yankees 8, Mets 4
June 23, 1977
The Yankees continued their interleague mastery over the Mets, fairly drubbing the senior circuit reps in the annual Mayor's Trophy Game, 8-4. Ron Guidry started for the Yanks and gave up two runs and six hits. Jim Beattie came on in relief in the fourth, going four innings to notch the win. Ken Sanders started for the Mets and was ineffective, giving up three runs in three innings. Rick Baldwin took over in the fourth and was shelled for six runs in 2 2/3 innings, ultimately being charged with the defeat.
The game was noteworthy in that players from each team--Elliot Maddox for the Yanks and Mike Vail for the Mets--were using the game as a way to ease back into playing after serious injuries. Manager Joe Frazier liked Vail's swing (which seemingly had recovered, along with his dislocated foot) but remained skeptical about employing the redoubtable kid in the outfield. Maddox also had mixed results: he was able to hit but his knee began to bother him and he removed himself from the game.
The Mets struck first in the second with two runs, but the Yanks tied it in the third with their own duo of tallies. The Bronx Bombers then blew things open in the fourth with four runs and then tacked on an additional two in the sixth to lead the Metsies, 8-2 with two Met errors responsible for six unearned runs. The men in the orange and blue made a valiant effort to stay respectable in the seventh with two runners crossing the plate, but that was all the scoring they would see this evening.
Carlos May was the hitting star for the Yankees, rapping four singles and driving in three, while Oscar Gamble plated three additional runners with a single and a two-run round-tripper. The lone bright spot for the Mets was the play of 26-year-old catcher Jay Kleven, whom the Mets summoned up from Tidewater just for the game. The light-hitting (.204) backstop probably elicited smirks from the Yankee dugout, but Kleven proved his worth with a two-run single that put the Mets ahead in the first. He further blew back the naysasyers with another single later in the game and a run scored.
Mets 6, Yankees 4
April 28, 1978
This year's Mayor's Trophy game took on particular significance as New York City teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Mayor Abe Beame saw fit to take leave of his worries and attend the contest. It's not known who he was rooting for (or if he even had to buy a card of admission), but he was treated to a fine scrap that saw the Mets upend the Yankees, 6-4. Steve Henderson led the 13-hit Met attack with three hits. Previously untested farmhand Tom Makowski won the game for the Mets in relief, while the equally unknown Roger Slagle tossed for the Yanks and lost.
The Yanks scored early and often, posting a 3-0 lead after a half-inning of play. But the Mets struck back in their half of the frame to pull within two, 3-1. After the Yanks added a lone tally in the fourth to make it 4-1, the Mets' Joel Youngblood knocked one into the seats to make it 4-2 after four.
Both teams then dilly-dallied for two innings before the Mets mounted a spectacular comeback to take the lead in the seventh. Mike Vail tripled in a run and Ron Hodges hit a towering three-run blast over the fence to put the Mets ahead 6-4, as the milling throng at Shea went fairly bananas.
Mets starter Bob Myrick went five innings, giving up four runs, four hits and yielding four walks while striking out two. Dick Tidrow started for the Yanks but was gone after only two innings of one-run, two-hit ball as Yankee skipper Billy Martin elected to rest his regulars and pin his hopes on two well-regarded fledgling hurlers. This included Larry McCall, who went four and two-thirds (seven hits, three unearned runs, two walks and four Ks), and Slagle, who gave up four hits and two earned runs in the losing effort.
After Myrick's exit, Met manager Joe Torre elected to bring in Makowski, who proved impressive in his major-league exhibition debut. Makowski clearly was not intimidated by the Yanks, as he struck out three and gave up three hits, one walk and no runs. By the time the game ended, Mayor Beame had already exited the stadium. Yankee owner George Steinbrenner may have also beat a hasty retreat, as it surely would have spared him some embarrassment.
Yankees 4, Mets 3
April 16, 1979
The Yankees successfully utilized the golden arm of Catfish Hunter tonight, winning the annual Mayor's Trophy Game, 4-3, in 13 innings. They did so in thrilling fashion as Fran Healey dropped a squeeze bunt in the bottom of the 13th to bring home runner Jim Spencer. Yank twirler Ken Clay was the victor and Met tosser Mardie Cornejo took the loss.
The Mets began the game auspiciously as Ed Kranepool knocked a Ruthian homer into the right-field stands for the Mets' first run. The game see-sawed from there on out and was all knotted up, 3-3, after nine. In the top of the 11th, Ron Hodges bounced one to Graig Nettles at third. Nettles tossed the apple about 10 feet over the head of first-sacker Chris Chambliss, enabling Hodges to make second. But he died there as Yank shortstop Brian Doyle then executed two stellar defensive plays to end the inning, setting up Healey's bunting theatrics in the 13th. (In his book The Bronx Zoo, author Sparky Lyle claims that Nettles threw the ball wild on purpose in an effort to try to give the Mets the lead and end the game so everyone could go home, something Nettles vigorously denied.)
No line score available.
Mets 1, Yankees 1
Mayor's Trophy Games 1980, 1981 NOT PLAYED
For the first time in the history of the Mayor's Trophy matchup, the Mets and Yanks played to a draw, 1-1, as rain both dampened the ardor of the fans and ended the game early.
Rumors were rampant at the start of the fray owing to gossip that Yankee third-baseman Graig Nettles, itching to go home, had literally tried to throw the previous years' contest with a wild heave in order to end the game. But regardless of the rumor's veracity, it was soon evident that both teams came to play this evening. Veteran hurler Luis Tiant, winner of 204 regular season games, started for the Yanks while the Mets nominated rookie righty Mike Scott (yes, that Mike Scott)--someone no one had ever heard of and who had never before pitched in the majors.
Scott's entry to major league baseball was short lived as lead-off batter Mickey Rivers' grounder to the mound struck struck Scott on the middle finger of his pitching hand, resulting in a ruptured blood vessel. Scott elected to pitch to Juan Beniquez, but found that he had no feeling in the finger and so had to exit the field after throwing a total of five pitches.
The Mets' Bruce Boisclair came up in the second and, according no respect to the legendary Tiant, struck a long drive far over the fence for a 1-0 Met lead. But the Yankees were not to be outdone, for in the top of the third Rivers got a double and then scored as Reggie Jackson topped a clutch two-out single. And that's the way it stayed until the close of the fifth, when the skies opened up, forcing the men in blue to shut down the proceedings.
Due to scheduling difficulties and dwindling fan interest, the Mets and Yankees' front offices decided not to play the Mayor's Trophy Games in 1980 and 1981. The annual interleague contest began in 1946 as a way to raise money for New York City's sandlot baseball leagues. But now the two teams' Shrewd Mahatmas decided to donate money directly from their coiffers instead.
Passions (and perhaps some marketing) seemed to have gotten the better of the suits, however, and the matchup resumed in 1982.
May 27, 1982
Mets 4, Yankees 1
April 21, 1983
New York City's baseball moguls saw fit to bring the annual interleague tilt back to life after a two-year hiatus, and nobody was disappointed. Over 41,000 fans turned out to see the Mets defeat the Yankees at storied Yankee Stadium, 4-1. Charlie Puleo started for the Mets and pitched five strong innings. Sidearmed reliever Terry Leach, called up from Tidewate, ended up with the win. Mike Morgan started for the Yanks while reliever Roger Erickson took the loss.
Holding the 1982 Mayor's Trophy after the Mets' win are George Bamberger, Nelson Doubleday, Mayor Ed Koch, and Fred Wilpon.
The well-played contest saw the Yanks grab the lead in the second as Bobby Murcer, Roy Smalley and Butch Wynegar bunched singles to load the bases. Diminutive Bucky Dent then knocked a sac fly to the outfield, enabling Murcer to trot home unimpeded. But one inning later, mighty Met batsman Rusty Staub crashed a home run to tie up the game, 1-1.
The game blew swiftly by with neither team mounting anything of significance until the Mets came up in the eighth. With two out, John Stearns rapped a double off Erickson and then dashed home on a Joel Youngblood single to put the Mets ahead, 2-1.
Adding insurance runs is always a good idea, but the Mets needed to do little on their own in this department as the Yankees gave away the game in the ninth. After Met Gary Rajsich drew a free pass from Shane Rawley, the Yank twirler uncorked a wild pitch that saw Rajsich gain second. A passed ball enabled Rajsich to move to third. Dependable clutch-hitter Wally Backman drove Rajsich in with a single and Tom Veryzer followed with a double to score Backman, making the score 4-1, which is how it stayed until the final out.
No line score available
Yankees 4, Mets 1
Although nobody knew it at the time, the Met/Yankee annual contest for charity came to a quiet end last night as the two teams engaged on the field of battle for the last time, with Yankees emerging victorious, 4-1. Newcomer Ben Callahan, called up from Columbus for the game, pitched four strong innings of one-hit ball to garner the win for the Bombers. Strapping right-hander Rick Ownbey took the loss for the Metropolitans.
The Yanks got all the runs they needed in the first three innings. In the first, Ken Griffey singled and later scored on a Steve Kemp single to left. Willie Randolph added a round-tripper in the third to make it 2-0. Ownbey was not impressed, though, and struck out the side in the fourth. But veteran pilot George Bamberger, guiding his team's destinies from the dugout, promptly yanked him for his efforts.
Callahan, meanwhile, was giving the Mets all sorts of problems. The rugged and towering (6-7, 225) farmhand retired the first six Metsies he faced and had a one-hitter after four innings of work. The Mets may have felt like they had finally solved Callahan in the fifth as Mark Bradley led off with a two-bagger. The scrappy Bradley dashed to third on Mike Bishop's sac fly and then raced home on Ron Gardenhire's groundout. By that time, however, the fates had already decided the outcome of the contest as well as the fate of the Mayor's Trophy Game. In 19 contests, the Yankees had the winning record over the Mets, 10-8 (with one tie). In that time, the exhibition raised over $2 million for the city's sandlot baseball programs.
The Mayor's Trophy Game, which had started in 1946 as a Yankee/Giant matchup and later included the Dodgers and Mets, was now a bit of history. It had been a unique way for fans to fairly state, with no fear of contradiction, whose team was better. And even today, as one turns an eye toward a forgotten past, the wise chortle of Casey Stengel reminds us of the game's ultimate benefit: you could look it up.
No line score available.
The Mayor's Trophy: Where is it now?
The Yankees won the final Mayor's Trophy Game in 1983, and so presumably took the hardware home and had it prominently
displayed in a suitable trophy case. And one would assume that that's where it resides today.
That assumption would be wrong, as the Yankees do not have it. Neither do the Mets. The truth is, no one knows where it is.
It turns out that after each game, the trophy would be paraded around by the winning team for a suitable period
and then returned to New York City Hall, its permanent home during the off-season. And just like there was more than
one Lassie, there was more than one Mayor's Trophy. The piece would fall apart after a certain amount of handling,
to be replaced by a brand-new replica.
So, if the Mayor's Trophy does indeed still exist, it is most likely
sitting in a crate deep in the bowels of some big government building. That location and the last time it saw the
light of day are unknown. Perhaps some intrepid Met or Yankee fan could take up the cause and see fit to track down
and unearth this small but memorable piece of New York baseball lore, and to ultimately give it the proper
and respectful display it deserves.
About the author, Jim Snedeker
Although the first baseball game his father ever took him to was a 1969 Yankee
contest against the Royals, Jim Snedeker is a life-long Met fan. Jim grew up in
Grover's Mill, NJ and has followed the Mets through thick and thin. Unlike most
people, he fondly recalls the Mets of the late 1970s, including Tim Foli, Nino
Espinosa and Alex Trevino, who garnered the nickname "The Comeback Kids" because of
their ability to stage late-inning rallies. They didn't win a lot, but they made
their wins exciting.
Jim is a full-time school band teacher and musician, and enjoys writing about his
many hobbies. He lives in western Massachusetts.