In the aftermath of the recent passing of longtime Mets official scorer Bill Shannon, I received the below message from Dennis D’Agostino, whose “This Date in Mets History” was a major forerunner to the MBTN project containing as it did the first all-time Mets numerical roster ever published in one place. It turns out Dennis owed a good deal of his work to Bill, who died in a fire at his New Jersey home. Mike Vaccaro and Marty Noble also this week shared terrific stories of Shannon, an unsung hero of the press box and Met history. Take it away, Dennis:
Bill Shannon’s tragic passing should not go unnoticed by your little corner of the world. When I did the original numerical roster for This Date in 1980, it was Bill who filled in a lot of the holes as I was finishing it. I could not have done that thing without his help.
I don’t know if this was still true at the time of Bill’s death, but back in 1980 he possessed (or so he said) each and every scorecard insert from the Mets home game programs, starting with the opening series against the Pirates in ’62. I distinctly remember — several times that summer — handing Bill a list of three or four players I couldn’t find numbers for, and then a few days later he’d give me back the list with all the numbers filled in.
The mere thought of anyone possessing EVERY scorecard insert was mind-boggling (the Mets, as Tim Hamilton will remember, had very little in their files back then). The way Bill helped me with that roster was something I’ll never forget (but, like you and I, Bill could not solve the mystery of what number Johnny Murphy wore in ’67).
It was unbelivable, and even more so since, in 1980, I was a 23-year old punk who didn’t know anything, just hanging around press boxes. Bill became a great friend right off the bat, which is what he did with everyone, no matter what rank or standing you had among the press box fraternity. Now that I am a 53-year old punk, I still hang around press boxes. . .and have lost a dear friend.
Keep the faith. . .DD
Thanks again to Dennis for the great tribute.