Jimmy Piersall
vs. Other Teams
Game Log Memories of
Jimmy Piersall
Jimmy Piersall
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 139 of 1043 players
James Anthony Piersall
Born: November 14, 1929 at Waterbury, Conn.
Died: June 3, 2017 at Wheaton, Ill.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.00 Weight: 190

Jimmy Piersall has been the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup 17 times, most recently on June 5, 2017.


First Mets game: May 24, 1963
Last Mets game: July 16, 1963

Share your memories of Jimmy Piersall


By now, most fans are aware of Piersall's 100th career homer, hit on July 23, 1963, when he ran around the bases backwards.

Mike D.
February 10, 2002
But most fans aren't aware of the story behind the story. Duke Snider hit his 400th home run in a Mets uniform that season. Piersall told Snider, "I bet I'll get more publicity for my 100th home run then you got for your 400th." The rest, as they say, is history.

Larry Burns
June 18, 2002
Jimmy Piersall
Jimmy Piersall celebrates his 100th home run by running the bases backwards.
The subject of the book and subsequent movie---Fear Strikes Out. It chronicled his battles with mental illness. He was a pretty good major league ballplayer. Unfortunately he is remembered mostly for his 100th home run where he ran the bases backwards. I guess you realize you have serious mental conditions when they tap Anthony Perkins (of Psycho fame) to protray you in a movie. Perkins had no athletic talent. Terrible movie, poor choice to portray Piersall. It takes away from the fact that Piersall was a good major leaguer who overcame much.

Steve Green
June 26, 2002
His autobiogrphy depicts him as a humble, nervous kid who learned how to play baseball very well. (He played shortstop at the major league level).

The antics (I'd seen them first when he was the Cleveland Indians; he seemed to save his best for Yankee Stadium visits) were always a part of the show, but will forever overshadow the fact that he was considered one of the best defensive outfielders ever. Contemporary Willie Mays got the ink, and deservedly so, but even Casey Stengel alluded to the possibility that Piersall might've been better at catching a fly ball anywhere in the park.

July 23, 2002
Back in '63 I was a Mets and Angels fan, and it really destroyed my faith in Angels management when the Mets released Piersall and the Angels acquired him. What a bonehead move!

Then Piersall hits .314 for the Angels during 1964 and continues on for a while longer, playing that good defensive outfield (which the Mets could have used given their 1964 outfield of Altman, Christopher and Thomas).

I always thought Piersall just missed being in the American League, which is why he sprang back to life in '63 after changing leagues. The '63 Mets could make anyone wish they were somewhere else!

Ed K
September 12, 2002
Two memories of Piersall:

1. When he was in the AL playing against the Yankees one day, a big argument broke out in the infield. Piersall in centerfield got bored and decided to lay down in the outfield for a while and take a breather. Of course, the tv camaras took a shot of him laying there while the argument continued on.

2. While with the Mets, during an at-bat, Piersall (a righthanded hitter) decided for the heck of it to switch sides and bat lefty for two or three pitches before returning to the right side to finish the at-bat. My recollection is that the Mets released him not too long after that.

Ed K
September 12, 2002
For younger fans who did not see it, we should clarify, that By running around the bases backward, we do not mean Piersall ran initially to third base. He ran to 1st, then, 2nd, then 3rd. He merely ran while facing the other direction from normal. In other words, while he ran to 1st he was facing in the direction of home plate, etc.

flushing flash
September 17, 2002
Perhaps instead of saying "he ran around the bases backward" it would be clearer to say "he ran backward around the bases."

Hank Plaistek
October 11, 2002
I was told that one time Jimmy was sent in to pinch hit, and it was pouring rain. He refused, until threatened. He then retreated to the clubhouse and returned with a knee length yellow rain coat on and got into the batters box.

Jonathan Stern
December 17, 2002
Piersall hit his 100th home run off Dallas Green! I would have loved to have seen that.

Mr. Topps
March 17, 2004
I have been a Met fan all my life and I have never seen the video/film of this crazy baseball moment, only still photos. I'm sure the Hughes Television Network has this in the vault. Or maybe it's on the 1963 Mets highlight film.

Two rumors about Jimmy in 1963. First, he wore number 37 with LA. When he was acquired Casey already had 37. Jimmy asked GM George Weiss if he could have 37A as his number. Weiss told him "You're crazy", Jimmy said "Yeah, I know".

Second, Topps Trading Card Co. was planning on issuing Jimmy a 1963 Hi series baseball card as a Met. Jimmy called the President of Topps and told him that he didn't think he will be with the team that long. Within a week he was gone.

May 18, 2005
Back in 1987, while Jim was a spring training instructor with the Cubs, I spoke with him in Mesa, AZ about his 100th homer. He told me that WOR-TV did not save the replay so that to his knowledge there is no film existing of that memorable home run. There are some sequence photos of him touching each base. He certainly knows all there is to know about playing the outfield as the many ballplayers that he tutored will attest to.

February 22, 2006
I have an autographed 8" x 10" of him approaching home plate backwards on my wall. He's looking over his right shoulder to see where he's going. The next batter, #3, is standing there with his hand on his hip and the catcher looks on. He has his mask on but I wish I could know what he was thinking. Beanball next at bat maybe? Anthony Perkins threw like a girl in the movie "Fear Strikes Out". Sorry ladies.

robert k.
September 16, 2007
I was at the Polo Grounds the day in which Piersall hit his 100th career home run. It was a Sunday doubleheader aganst the Phillies. As Piersall rounded first base, he then backpedaled the rest of the way around the bases to home plate. The crowd went wild in cheering, and I remember standing on my seat in left field and applauding and cheering. It's one of those famous moments when you can say that you were actually there. Way to go Jimmy.

Ronald Barnes
October 6, 2007
Wasn't it Jimmy Piersall who pulled out the can of bug spray while playing the outfield and dramatically began spaying at the bugs flying around his head? I remember seeing this photograph somewhere and would be great to find it in light of the Yankees/Indians bug-game in game 2 of the ALDS last night.

Dan Gurney
November 25, 2007
"I'm not crazy and I have the papers to prove it." -- Jimmy Peirsall

Shickhaus Franks
December 9, 2007
Jimmy hosted a talk show on WFAN when it first started out (it didn't last long) and I called him up to chat about a player he had managed in the Cardinals chain called Randy Poffo. What happened was Randy had a better career after he left baseball by becoming the "Macho Man" Randy Savage of the WWF (now WWE).

November 7, 2008
Whenever the Red Sox were in town Jimmy and others sure loved my Dad's homemade spaghetti. Great memories around the table. Wonder where Jim is now?

March 14, 2010
I remember watching a game at the Polo Grounds. Before the game, Jimmy started kidding a teammate and a friendly wrestling match ensued in the dirt. He had to go up those stairs in the outfield to return to the clubhouse for a change of uniform before the game.

Jimmy also once hid behind the monuments in center field of Yankee stadium during a game.

Jim Eckert
February 18, 2011
The less-than-thrilled looking players in the 100th Homer photo posted above are Tim Harkness #3 for the Mets and Clay Dalrymple for the Phillies. Apparently they couldn't muster much sense of humor or history at the time (6/23/63).

I would have loved to hear a reaction by Phillies pitcher Dallas Green, being Dallas Green, if anyone had had the brass balls to interview and ask him, "and Dallas, what were YOU thinking when Jimmy was rounding those bases?"

Three days later, 6/26/63 Harkness himself was to hit his most memorable homer and an iconic early Mets homer - the walk-off grand slam in the 14th inning to beat the Cubs 8-6.

I saw Piersall hit the homer watching TV, but even more thrilling for me that day was a Mets doubleheader sweep over the Phillies. That was giddiness to early Met fans. Single victories, let alone two, were rare enough in that 51-111 second season, following the 40-120 first season.

March 28, 2011
I recall being at the Polo Grounds for the Mets -Phillies Doubleheader in June of 1963 when Jimmy hit that 100th HR. He ran around the bases in a backwards jog. What also was amazing about that day was that the Mets won both games. It wasn't until many, many years later that I discovered the pitcher who pitched the HR ball to be Dallas Green , a relief pitcher for the Phillies. Yes that Dallas Green!! As for the event it is with fond memories that I can recall being with my Dad at that game and a few others. He passed away in 1968. However I will always recall the ball games I spent watching with him. Jimmy, thanks for the memory.

Tony R
March 12, 2013
Witnessed that 100th homer game and bizarre run on WOR TV. Also recall the camera panning Jimmy as a surprised Ralph Kiner described him pedaling backwards to the dugout from his CF spot just before the between-inning commercial break later in the game.

Didn't find much humor in it at the time...and apparently, neither did Casey. Also caught the Tim Harkness grand slam on radio a few days later.

The grandly glorious and utterly bizarre often alternated closely in those early Met years. Just like REAL life in NYC.

Mr. Roboto
March 19, 2013
One interesting fact about Piersall's backwards-running display is that it was his only home run as a National League player. There is a picture of Jimmy coming to the plate on the homer with Tim Harkness and Phillies catcher Clay Dalrymple looking on. Even with their backs to the camera, it's clear that both Harkness and Dalrymple are unimpressed by his antics.

Linda F
August 28, 2013
The day Jimmy Piersall hit his 100th home run was my first professional baseball game. My father took me, and at the time I didn't know Jimmy's background. I later saw the movie "Fear Strikes Out" and better understood.

Tonight, while watching the Mets - Phillies game, the trivia question was who pitched the ball that Jimmy hit for his 100th home run. Although I clearly remembered the event, I could not remember the pitcher. That brought me to this site. I think it's ironic that today would have been my father's 91st birthday. Sadly, he passed away last week. Thank you, Dad, for teaching me about baseball and making me a diehard Mets fan.

Jim schroeder
April 4, 2015
I was at a new Senators game at DC stadium with my dad. Jimmy hit a home run for the Senators and after reaching home plate, I guess he decided he was really tired from running around the bases and proceeded to lie down on home plate. I loved it. Sometimes my dad was a bit on the serious side and I remember what he said like it was today. He said, "They ought ta get that bum outta baseball." I was like "awwww dad" I loved Jimmy then and I love him now. By the way, the photo of Jimmy with the bug spray in the outfield was taken at Griffith stadium I believe, where I first saw Jimmy play for Boston. When I was kid there seemed to be a lot of gnats around where I lived in Maryland. As a little kid I wondered if that was why we called the team the Nats. Bill Veeck once said that Jimmy was the best fielding center fielder he ever saw, and he saw more than a few. Good luck against us this year Mets fans...I think you may need it Play ball!!!!!

William Stapinski
September 2, 2016
I was in the center field bleachers that June day in 1963. He hit the homer and then after touching 1st base spun around and ran the rest of the way in backwards. After the inning was over upon his return to his center field position he received a fantastic ovation from us bleacher bums. He spent about 15 seconds bowing to every bleacher section. What a day. Between games that day I remember there was a dog act with the dogs running the bases. Always fun at the old Polo Grounds. Long live doubleheaders for 50 cents. Ah the good old days!!!

Meet the Mets
  • All-Time Roster
  • Mug Shots
  • Player Awards
  • Transactions
  • Managers and Coaches
  • Mets Staff
  • Birthplaces
  • Oldest Living Mets
  • Necrology
  • Games
  • Game Results
  • Walkoff Wins and Losses
  • Post-Season Games
  • No-Hitters and One-Hitters
  • All-Star Games
  • Opponents and Ballparks
  • Daily Standings
  • Yearly Finishes
  • Mayor's Trophy Games
  • Stats
  • Interactive Statistics
  • Team Leaders
  • Decade Leaders
  • Metscellaneous
  • Fan Memories
  • Mets Uniforms
  • Uniform Numbers
  • About Us
  • Contact us
  • FAQ

  • Copyright 1999-2018, The Ultimate Mets Database