Wes Westrum joined the Mets as a coach in 1964, and became pitching coach in July 1965 after the release of Warren Spahn.
Wes was named the Mets' manager when Casey Stengel was injured on August 30, 1965, and stepped down as skipper of the perennial last-place club. It's been said that Stengel picked Westrum to be manager over coach Yogi Berra because he planned on returning to manage the Mets, and he didn't want to have to ask Berra to step down. "The ol' perfesser" never did return though, and Westrum was the Mets manager on opening day in 1966.
The Mets fared no better under Westrum in 1965, losing 48 of the 67 games under his leadership, but his 1966 club escaped the basement for the first time in the Mets' five-year history. The '66 Mets finished ninth in the ten-team National League, posting a record of 66 wins and 95 losses, a 16-game improvement over the previous season. The Mets were slowly developing an array of young pitchers in the minor leagues; however, apart from Tom Seaver, none arrived in time to help Westrum in 1967, when New York again finished tenth and last. Westrum resigned with 11 games to go in the season and coach Salty Parker managed the team for the remaining eleven games of the 1967 season, and Gil Hodges was named manager for 1968.