01 Apr

homecoming

No foolin’: The Jackson Mets are back. Some members of the minor league team that occupied Smith-Wills Stadium for 16 seasons beginning in 1975 are gathering for a reunion this weekend. A meet-and-greet is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum adjacent to the old ballpark. The JaxMets had a special bond with the community. The Capital City had not had a pro club since 1953 before the New York Mets moved their Double-A franchise to newly constructed Smith-Wills in ’75. In some circles the team was affectionately referred to as “Our Jackson Mets,” or OJMs for short. During their stay that ended in 1990, the OJMs won three Texas League championships and sent dozens of players to the big leagues. The 1984 team, which won a pennant, trotted out eight players on opening day who reached the majors. The bond with fans was such that when The Clarion-Ledger conducted a reader poll to select an all-time Jackson team in 1999, the last year the Generals were in town, nine of the 10 players picked were former Mets. The roster of alumni includes the likes of Darryl Strawberry, Lee Mazzilli, Jeff Reardon, Billy Beane, Kevin Mitchell, Rick Aguilera, Lenny Dykstra, Greg Olson, Kevin Elster, Todd Hundley and Mississippi’s own Bobby Myrick and Barry Lyons. Davey Johnson, Clint Hurdle, Sam Perlozzo and Mike Cubbage were among the managers. Credit the late Bill Hetrick, who worked in the JaxMets’ front office in the early days, with originally hatching the idea for this event, which promises to be very special.

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