NEW YORK -- A few days before starting the first game in franchise history in 1962, former Mets pitcher Roger Craig recalled spraining his ankle during spring fielding drills. Craig approached the team's trainer, told him about the injury, then politely asked him to forget it.
"I'm going to pitch Opening Day one way or the other, so don't tell nobody," Craig recalled beseeching the trainer.
Craig lost that game to the Cardinals, allowing five runs over three innings -- though five decades later, Craig wouldn't blame it on the ankle. Fifty years to the day after that game, Craig threw out Wednesday's first pitch at Citi Field as part of the Mets' anniversary celebration.
"It was just an honor to be able to start that first game," Craig said. "It was just an honor to be here."
Craig, who also pitched the last game in Brooklyn Dodgers history, only spent two years with the Mets, leading the league with 46 losses over that span. But his place in franchise history is permanent.
"I really don't remember that much about it," Craig said of his first game, laughing. "I wonder why? It was only 50 years ago."