Mets Jay Horwitz The PR Guru

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

The longtime Mets publicity guru Jay Horwitz had a press conference Wednesday afternoon and it was about himself. But the Vice President of Media Relations who has been with the organization since April 1, 1980 is not retiring  or going away.

Horwitz, 72 years of age, is assuming a new role as Vice President, Alumni Public Relations and team historian. That’s a good thing. Horwitz is an icon with the Mets and also around the game of baseball as a longtime publicity man and has dedicated his career to the organization.

It’s been quite a ride for Horwitz, and not many have had this stability with one team all these years. It takes him from the Mets bad days to the world championship year of 1986, and six other postseasons that include the division series, NLCS, and NL wild card games.

So, Horwitz has been a major part of NY baseball history and will take that experience with him in his new role that begins October 1st.

Credit: Joe McDonald

Horwitz has never been or wanted to be the center of attention. And that includes his years with Mets greats such as Doc Gooden, Daryl Strawberry  and the arrival of Mike Piazza.

With the 50-year celebration next year of the 1969 Mets Amazing run to World Champions, Horwitz will assume that role of being the major player in celebrating a significant part of NY Mets history.

“I’m ready for this new chapter in my life,” said Horwitz Wednesday afternoon in the Citi Field press conference room.  “I’m looking forward to working with players, managers and coaches that I’ve known close to four decades. My goal is to expand the Mets alumni family.”

That alumni family, a good many of them were there for Horwitz and so were the many members of the media who got to turn the table and ask the questions. Usually it was Horwitz looking at the hand and making sure the microphone was handed over to ask the questions for pre and post game meetings with the media.

Gooden, Strawberry, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez from that 1986 team were there. Former managers Bobby Valentine and Terry Collins along with outgoing GM Sandy Alderson, just to name a few of Mets history, also came to wish Horwitz well.

It was Mets history for a day. But there will be many more days like this, now that Jay Horwtiz has assumed a role that the Mets should have initiated many years ago.

Said David Wright, who offered similar sentiments of past and current players, “He’s been a teacher. You’ve always had our backs. I’ve seen you get pretty close to fist fights with members of the media and that’s certainly something that we’ll never forget.”

Horwitz came out of that mold of old school, in other words the laptop, cell phone and social media were not the tools of his trade. Instead it was the typewriter and fax machine. E-mails back in 1980 were still a few years away.

So the only way back then to get Horwitz, if he could be reached, was the phone call. Needed a credential to cover the Mets at Shea Stadium and he asked that the letter be faxed from the editor. Needed confirmation, you had to reach Jay by phone.

Simply put, it worked and as Mets ambassador and former closer John Franco said, “He would fight for the players.”

On a personal note, as many know, Frank Howard the former home run hitter became a personal friend when assuming the managers job back in that horrific losing year of 1983, though Howard in 116 games after taking over for George Bamberger would guide the Mets with a  52-64 record.

After another Mets loss at Shea Stadium, “Hondo” as he was called, closed the door of the managers office and asked that yours truly remain. It was unusual to single out one reporter and there was suspicion.

Jay Horwitz wanted to know? He said, “Richie, this is not good.” But the talk was about boxing, a passion that Frank Howard had in common with this writer.

It would take a few weeks to understand that situation.  This was Jay Horwtiz who broke in with the big league team three years earlier. This was the new beat writer for the Mets and it was easy to understand.

Jay Horwitz was doing his job then and he still is. The good thing, he will be staying put for a long time more at Citi Field.

 Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


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