Meet Wilbur Huckle. Again.

Last month I introduced you to Wilbur Huckle, the latest apparent inductee into a very unfortunate, star-crossed club: guys who were on big league rosters, eligible to play in big league games – and never did.

Huckle, according to a scorecard owned by a photographer who works the New York ballparks, Steve Moore, was listed on the Mets’ roster in September, 1963. He never appeared in a major league game, and his two claims to fame were having been Tom Seaver’s first minor league roomate in Jacksonville in 1966, and later a Mets’ minor league manager.
Well there is a little clarification on his prospective membership in the DNP Club – and a third, delightful, claim to fame.
The ’63 scorecard turns out to list Huckle – but the listing is done in pencil, by hand, by a scout who attended the game. It assigns him uniform number 24. And it fits perfectly into the one piece of archived Huckle news found in contemporary reporting.
The San Antonio Express of September 12, 1963, reports:

HUCKLE CALLED UP TO VARSITY

San Antonio’s Wilbur Huckle, who was named the all-star shortstop in the Class A Carolina League, has joined Casey Stengel’s Mets.

So far, so Eureka! But wait, after a resume of Huckle’s brief pro career (and his signing by the same scout who found Nolan Ryan for the Mets), there’s more:

Huckle flew from Raleigh to New York Tuesday to join the parent club. “He didn’t know whether the Mets planned to play him any, or whether they just wanted him to work out with the club a few days,” his father, Allen Huckle said Wednesday. “We’ve been hoping to see his name in a box score.”

Wow. That last line – given that they never would, is particularly poignant.

Worse still, a UPIarticle from a month later, October 16, announces the addition of a dozen minor leaguers to the Mets’ off-season roster. Huckle is among them. This seems conclusive; it strains credulity to think he was added to the Met roster for a couple of days in September only to be removed, and then returned to it in October.
He appears to belong to a still more select and unfortunate club: guys who were in uniform on a major league field but didn’t even to not get in a game.
Huckle’s name, would, however, ring briefly in Mets’ history. He was with the team for most of Spring Training in ’64, and enough fans were enchanted by his handle that in that year of a presidential election, the Mets produced at least two “campaign buttons” for a fictional Huckle Presidential Campaign:
The one on the left is particularly sublime. Other than the word “Mets,” the slogan is a direct quote from the man who would ultimately be the 1964 GOP nominee, Senator Barry Goldwater.

15 Comments

“He (Lyndon B. Johnson) wanted to see poverty, so he came to see my team (1964 New York Mets).”
- Casey Stengel

Lol!!!!!!

The stole Goldwater’s quote or he stole it from them?

I read your excerpt in BP 2009, Keith. If you see this comment, just wondering how often you get a chance to read their work.

“Other than the word “Mets,” the slogan is a direct quote from the man who would ultimately be the 1964 GOP nominee, Senator Barry Goldwater.”

Not exactly; if that one word was the only difference Goldwater’s quote would have been “extremism in defence of the is no virtue,” which wouldn’t have made much sense.

Goldwater actually said “let me remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice… [and] moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue” (RNC speech, 1964); he was quoting the Roman statesman Cicero. If those buttons are actually from Spring Training 1964 then they pre-date the Convention speech, which took place in July of that year. Perhaps Goldwater had already said something similar earlier; I’d certainly assume that the Mets took the phrase from him, and not the other way around. Or perhaps it was just a weird coincidence (maybe the Mets’ PR staff were classically trained?).

…hey kids…

those buttons are hilarious!….my family stumped bigtime for

goldwater, and republicans in general.

So my first real political memories are door to door with

Pops in the evening after dinner…but I have bunches of stuff from

that campaign and the similarities is perfect…right down to the

choice of colors…i have always been grateful for those memories

as it, as well as watergate and the church comm, made it very easy

for me to become the political animal that I am…thanks Barry!

with love and prayers kids,

ctao223javascript:d=document;w=window;t=”;if(d.selection)t=d.selection.createRange().text;else{if(d.getSelection)t=d.getSelection();else{if(w.getSelection)t=w.getSelection()}}void(w.open(‘http://edit.mlblogs.com/app?__mode=view&_type=entry&blog_id=83081&qp=1&title=’+encodeURIComponent(d.title)+’&text=’+encodeURIComponent(d.location.href)+encodeURIComponent(”)+encodeURIComponent(t),’_blank’,’scrollbars=yes,status=yes,resizable=yes,location=yes’))

Keith, I could not find any other way of e-mailing you. I think you should check out the story of the people of Greenfield, Ohio that all pulled together to save their youth baseball for this year. About half the town has lost their jobs in the last year and the town has NO budget for much of anything. The parents and townspeople did whatever it took to save baseball for the kids. You should read the story.
Thanks, JIM

Keith

I have to admit that I am reading this the second time around, and since I grew u in NY, I am ashamed to call myself a fan when I had no idea who the hell this guy was.

thanks for sharing these quirky stories. Love your research.

I have spoken to many Philly fans that made the trip. I was at the point of dismissing the Phillies till I remembered they won in Oct. (I was out of the country in Sudan)

Taking up the story, I was in Baltimore when the Yankees came to town and there were more Yankee fans than Orioles in the stadium. Something I enjoyed.

I am reading this the second time around, and since I grew u in NY, I am ashamed to call myself a fan when I had no idea who the hell this guy was.

a man is not out of the woods until he can use a hydraulic log splitter!

I was in Baltimore when the Yankees came to town and there were more Yankee fans than Orioles in the stadium. Something I enjoyed. Admission essay | dissertation

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The blog is quite amazing and wonderful and will help the students to understand the real and correct meaning of the structure, beautiful work.

I’m 57, I grew up in Forest Hills, Queens and was such a huge Met fan. Today out of nowhere I started reminiscing about names like Sherwin Minster, Glenn Ezell, and Wilbur Huckle, all of whom “made the Mets” in my pre-pubescent mind when playing stickball with friends, or creating Strat-o-Matic cards for prospects, etc. My stepfather and I used to talk about Wilbur Huckle all the time… well, when we talked, which wasn’t often… he wasn’t that nice a guy :)

Anyway, it was amusing to read about this stuff, and to see that there’s a 70-something year old guy named Wilbur A. Huckle living in a small Texas town. I would hope someone stays in touch with him and lets him know his legendary status.

I am the proud owner of both of Huckle’s campaign buttons.

my name is Joe huckle Wilbur Huckle was my great uncle I would very much like to find one of these buttons if anyone can help me i would greatly appreciate it.thanks…joe huckle

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