Street Hassle

I probably should have investigated this before the man was dead, but didn’t realize till just now that Andy Hassler is among those Mets who purportedly have worn another number than the one listed here for him.

Game-worn Hassler jersey

Hassler, a lefty whom the Mets acquired at the ’79 June trade deadline from Boston, and who sadly just died at age 68, wore the number 44 jersey pictured here (found this pic on an online auction site, reportedly it’s game-worn). But the shirt I was looking for would bear No. 50, one of two Mets numbers listed as having been worn by Hassler at the Baseball Reference site (bbr appears to use Jack Looney’s NOW BATTING, NUMBER… as a reference. Neither is precise enough to identify the times and dates worn).

Orosco’s debut, opening day 1979 (Bill Buckner batting!)

While anything is possible, I’m fairly confident Hassler didn’t wear No. 50. For one thing that would have made him the very first position player ever to have been issued a number in the 50s for the Mets (as noted here before, it wasn’t until 1980 that the Mets started goofing around like that, even though Jesse Orosco earlier that year broke the 60s cherry). For another it would counter plenty of memories and photos and rosters showing Hassler wearing 44.

Hassler was a Met only through the end of that 1979 year so pickings are slim. If he did wear 50, it would likely have been in his June 19 debut at Houston (occasionally when the Mets were traveling back then a debut player might be issued a number he wouldn’t wear once the club returned home, like Tom Hall wearing No. 42). Would the ’79 Mets be traveling with a spare No. 50 jersey? Perhaps, were they planning to fire a coach but I don’t see an obvious occasion for it.

Do you know something? Please let me know! I know there are several of these mysteries out there still.

As to Hassler, he was acquired on the same day the Mets picked up Dock Ellis in a separate trade, an admission that the pre-season gamble of going with young guys like Orosco over costlier rejects like Nelson Briles that spring had failed. Hassler was just off having hospitalized once-and-future Met Mike Jorgensen with a ball off the noggin. For the Mets he was a swingman with a good curve but poor control and ultimately allowed to leave as a free agent.


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  1. Chris says:

    Any possibility that they didn’t pack enough backup numbers for the road trip, and were caught short-handed trying to make jerseys for both Ellis and Hassler?

    • Jon Springer says:

      I’m sure that was likely the case… But still have no proof that Hassler wore 50 on this trip, or in any other Mets game, so that’s the first hurdle.

  2. Arthur Malkin says:

    That doesn’t seem like a game worn jersey pictured. The Mets already had names on the back of their uniforms in 1979, a year after they introduced the orange and blue stripes on the sleeves. So if Hassler was not acquired until 1979, he most likely would not have worn a uniform without his name on the back,.

  3. Matt B says:

    Looks like Tebow can wear #15 again this Spring Training…..bye bye Carlos.

  4. […] previously relayed, that a 22-year-old Orosco even made the trip was something of a surprise it itself. The lefty was […]

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