Sep 14, 2019

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Ron Swoboda Spoils Carltons 19th K Performance

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"

Monday September 15, 1969: Gil Hodges first place Amazing Mets (89-58) came to Busch Stadium to play Red Schoendienst's third place St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards were the reigning NL Champs, a title the Mets would soon be taking away from them.

It was a history making night at Busch Stadium for the 13,086 fans that came, as St. Louis' Steve Carlton set an MLB record (at the time) by striking out 19 batters.

Every body in the Mets line up struck out at least once, six batters went down twice and rookie Amos Otis wiffed four times on the evening, earning "the golden sombrero".

New York Mets       St.Louis Cardinals
1Bud HarrelsonSS1Lou BrockLF
2Amos OtisLF2Curt FloodCF
3Tommie AgeeCF3Vada PinsonRF
4Donn Clendenon1B4Joe Torre1B
5Ron SwobodaRF5Tim McCarverC
6Ed Charles3B6Mike Shannon3B
7Jerry GroteC7Julian Javier2B
8Al Weis2B8Dal MaxvillSS
9Gary GentryP9Steve CarltonP

In the 4th inning, the Mets Donn Clendenon drew a walk, then Ron Swoboda hit his 8th HR of the year, putting the Mets up 2-0. Mets starter; Gary Gentry squandered the lead in the 5th inning on RBI singles by Curt Flood & Joe Torre.

Carlton was rolling along until the 8th inning, he had scattered six hits and was securing a 3-2 lead. But these were the Amazing Mets of 1969.

Tommie Agee led off with a single to center field. Then with one out Ron Swoboda connected once again, hitting his 9th HR of the year, the second of the game which turned out to be the game winner in a 4-3 Mets win.

The Mets, Tug McGraw came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th. With one out, St. Louis threatened, as pinch hitter Phil Gagliano reached on an Ed Charles error at third base. Lou Brock then singled & pinch runner Joe Nossek went to second.

McGraw then got Curt Flood to fly out & Vad Pinson to ground out to short to win the game. Although Carlton went into the record books, he took the loss, thanks to Ron Swoboda.

Quotes- Gil Hodges: "It's great to win when you play badly". The Mets increased their lead to 4 1/2 lengths in the NL East over the falling Cubs.

Remembering Mets History: (1976) Jerry Koosman Wins His 20th Game

Thursday September 16th, 1976: Jerry Koosman, had pitched for the Mets for ten seasons. He had won ten or more games in a season, eight times. He had won 15 or more games three times, with one 19 win season. 

Koosman was the Mets all time best post season pitcher with a 4-0 record, 3-0 in World Series play with a 2.39 ERA. It was on this day in 1976 when he reached the 20th win mark in a single season.

Joe Frazier's Mets were in third place (77-69) 11 1/2 games out of first place and had up until recently had a chance in the pennant race. Tonight they hosted Red Schoendienst 5th place St. Louis Cardinals (65-79). Brooklyn born, Pete Falcone (12-13) a future Met went up against Koosman on this night in front of just 5,472 fans at Shea.

It was Koosmans night all the way, he kept the Cardinals in tow all night long, giving up just four hits. The only run he allowed was an 8th inning, solo HR to a young Keith Hernandez, his 7th of the year. Koosman struck out 13 batters on the night, eight of them coming from the 6th inning on, including striking out the side in the 6th & 9th innings.

The Mets gave Koos run support early on with a little help from the Cards. In the 3rd, Falcone walked Felix Millan & John Milner, then an infield error on a Joe Torre grounder brought in the Mets first run. 

In the 5th, Torre doubled & was brought home by Roy Staiger who singled to center field. In the 7th, Bruce Boisclair hit his second HR of the year making it 3-0. Boisclair added an RBI single in the 8th to cap off the 4-1 win.

After the game Koosman along with his wife Lavonne & his mother enjoyed a toast of champagne in celebration. Sadly that March Koosman lost his father & lived with that inspiration his father provided the whole season.

Going back to July 30th, Koos had won nine of ten straight games, all of them complete game victories. He had tossed three shut outs including a two hitter & three hitter in September. 

He ended the year at 21-10 (2nd in the NL in wins) with 200 strike outs (3rd in the NL) & a 2.69 ERA (4th in the NL) posting 17 complete games (2nd in  the NL) & three shut outs. He lost out to Randy Jones in the Cy Young voting, an honor in which Koosman deserved to get.

Remembering Mets History: (1963) Mets Start the Tradition of Banner Day

Sunday September 15th 1963: As the New York Mets started gathering a fan base, they began to come up with unique ideas to root on their team. The early Mets were not a good ball club but the fans still loved them. Many fans were old New York Giants & Brooklyn Dodger fans.

Others were a new breed of Young New Yorkers getting ready to let loose in the swinging sixties. One of the Mets fans popular things to do was to express them selves with banners. Plaquards as Manger Casey Stengel called them, would soon be seen all around the Polo Grounds.

But Mets President George Weiss banned the banners at the games, claiming they were blocking the view for other fans sitting in their seats. The drama began as Mets fans blasted the team for taking away their banners.

The negative press didn't sit well for a bad ball club just starting out in the largest city in the world. The solution was to have a Banner Day, a parade of banners would be allowed on the field in between a Sunday double header.

On September 15th 1963 at the Polo Grounds, the Mets held their first banner day in between a twin bill loss to the Houston Colt 45's. The winning banner read "This sign is in Favor of the Mets"!

Banner Day was one of the most popular Mets promotional days through the sixties at the new Shea Stadium & right on through the seventies, eighties & mid nineties. In 1996 the last banner day was held at Shea Stadium.

Banner Day took a long hiatus, not returning until 2012 at Citi Field due to popular demand. Banner Day is Alive & well at Citi!

Remembering Rocker Eddie Money

 The Irish Catholic, Edward Joseph Mahoney was born March 21st, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York. He would grow up on Long Island & become a New York City Police trainee in the NYPD, like his father. But after just two years, he left the NYPD, moved to Berkley, California & became Eddie Money.

After playing the San Francisco club circuit, he finally got a record deal with help from non other than, Bill Graham in the middle seventies. By the late seventies, he became a regular on rock & roll radio with the hits "Baby Hold On" "Two Tickets to Paradise".

By the early eighties he was a star, his hits continued as did his successful music videos. "I Think I'm In Love" followed by the great hard rock classic "Shakin".

The video featured Apollonia, who would soon be famous with Price's band in Puple Rain. She replaced Vanity, Nicky Sixx of Motley Crues ex girlfriend, but that's another story.

The record company hid the actual lyrics of "Shakin" a cover up for years. After the line 'She was doing 80 & she slammed on the brakes. Got so high we had to pull to the side".

The lyrics were originally meant to say "We did some shaking till the middle of the night"

But Money recently came clean & said we were right, the words we thought we heard all these years were slipped in. "Her t*ts were shakin till the middle of the night".
Quotes: Eddie Money:" Nobody noticed it & my manager, Bill Graham was so pissed off & me, because he said it could have been a top 5 hit". But when I talk to people, they go 'I loved it when you said that! Wow!"

But one of the reasons he did slip the dirty word into his song was because he was high. At that point he began a battle with drug addiction, which hurt his career for a few years. He beat his demons & realized (in his words) he didn't need drugs for his quick wit.

In 1986 he teamed up with the original rock & roll bad girl, Ronnie Spector. Spector who also needed a career boost, did the a cameo duet with Money "Take Me Home Tonight". The song & video got massive airplay & hit #4 on the Billboard charts.

Money, an all around nice guy with rock star humor, continued with four more top forty hits into the 1990s. He would continue to tour, do musical soundtracks, appear on television shows & commercials, most notably a GEICO commercial where he sings "Two Tickets". In 2018 he even had a reality show with his family called Real Money.

My favorite TV guest spot was on "the King of Queens" in 2002. Doug has to spend a large amount of money before Carrie finds out, so he & Deacon hire Eddie to come to the house & play live.

He sings "Shakin" as Arthur asks with a dumfounded look on his face, who is this guy?

In a 2018 routine check up he was diagnosed with stage four, esophageal cancer.

He & his wife made the public announcement in the summer of 2019. He had to stop treatments due to heart valve issues, that kept him in the hospital for three months.

Money passed away from these complications on September 13th 2019, he was 70 years old.

Eddie was married to his wife, Laurie for thirty years. They have five children.
Rock on Eddie!!!

Sep 13, 2019

Remembering Mets History (1968): Jerry Koosman Sets NL Record With Seven Shut outs

Jerry Koosman had made five appearances in relief for the 1967 Mets, debuting in April getting sent back down in May. He returned in September getting his first starts & ended the year at 0-2. In 1968 he was ready for the majors & was an eligible Rookie.

He had a phenomenal rookie year, coming in second to Johnny Bench as the Rookie of the Year. He was 19-12 (4th most wins in the NL) with a 2.08 ERA (also 4th best). 178 strike outs 69 walks in 263 innings pitched (7th most in the NL) in 35 starts with 17 complete games. That year he set a Rookie record with seven shut outs.

In the second game of the 1969 season, Koosman shut out the Los Angeles in a 4-0 win at Dodger Stadium. He struck out only three & walked four but allowed just four hits. 

His next start was at Shea Stadium, where he beat another old NL New York team, the now San Francisco Giants. In this game he struck out ten Giants, walking only two in the seven hit shut out. Cleon Jones first HR of the year led the way for the Mets.

By June 4th, Koosman was 8-2 with one of leagues best ERA's at 1.43. He earned his 9th win at Wrigley Field with a 5-0 blanking of the Cubs. Another low strike out game (3) with just two walks. Cleon Jones HR led the way as J.C. Martin & Jerry Grote also drove in runs in the 5-0 win.

On July 12th, he shut out those Cubs again, this time at Shea Stadium for his fourth shut out of the year to get to 12-4. His ERA was still under two at 1.83. A Jerry Grote two run HR  & RBI single led the Mets to a 4-0 win.

A little over a week later, in the second game of a double header in St. Louis, Koosman got his fifth shut out. In this 1-0 pitchers duel Nelson Briles, Koosman struck out a season high 12 batters, allowing just four hits & one walk. He was now 13-5 with a 1.87 ERA. J.C. Martins base hit had driven in Cleon Jones with the only run of the game.

His next start was at Shea Stadium, Koosman made it back to back shut outs as he pitched another four hitter this time striking out eight Reds. The Mets won it 2-0 beating Tony Cloninger, as Ron Swobods drove in Ed Kranepool twice with base hits.

On September 13th, 1968, Koosman took the mound at Shea Stadium to face the Pittsburgh Pirates. In this the last season before Divisional play began, the Mets were in last place at 67-82. 

A Shea crowd of 17,245 came out to see Jerry Koosman set an NL Rookie record with his seventh shut out of the season. This another great pitchers duel, this time with Bob Moose. Moose would no hit the Mets the next year in their Championship season.

In this classic, Koosman struck out five batters, walked just three & kept his ERA under two at 1.91. Koosman would not see his ERA go above two until the last two games of the season. Koosman won his 18th game of the year as well.

The only thing that kept Koosman from winning the Rookie  of the Year Award was a guy named Johnny Bench in Cinncinatti. Another Mets rookie on the staff that year was Tom Seaver. Seaver went 16-12 with a 2.29 ERA & 205 strike outs.

Harry Parker: 1973 N.L. Champion Mets Relief Pitcher (1972-1975)

Harry William Parker was born on September 14, 1947 in Highland Park, Illinois. The six foot three right hander was drafted in the fourth round of the 1965 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 1967 at A ball Modesto Parker was 12-5 with a 2.80 ERA. He moved up the ranks of the minor leagues the next two years & in 1970 was 8-6 at AAA Tulsa when he made it to the big leagues. Parker made his debut at St. Louis on August 8th starting against the Montreal Expos allowing six runs over 5,1 innings. Two days later he earned his first career win pitching in relief against the San Diego Padres. Parker made seven appearances on the year.

In 1971 he was back at AAA Tulsa going 11-12 making a brief four game appearances in St. Louis that June. He only pitched 11 games in his first two seasons going 1-1 with 11 strike outs with a 5.11 ERA in 27 innings pitched. He showed great promise as a young pitcher and was sought after by the Mets.

In October 1971 Parker was traded along with Jim Beauchamp, Chuck Taylor and Tom Coulter to the New York Mets in exchange for 1969 Mets outfielder Art Shamsky, pitchers Rich Folkers, Jim Bibby and Charlie Hudson.

Parker spent the 1972 season at AAA Tidewater leading the Tides staff going 14-9 with a 2.61 ERA. For the 1973 Mets pennant team, Parker became an important part of coach Rube Walkers pitching staff.

He began the season as a starter eventually filling in Jon Matlack’s spot when he went on the DL after being hit in the face with a line drive. Parker made his Mets debut on April 15th as a starter in a game at Philadelphia against the Phillies. He pitched seven scoreless innings allowing a run in the 8th inning earning the 2-1 victory. He won his second start as well pitching seven scoreless innings against the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium on April 21st. 

Parker remained in the starting rotation, beating the Pirates & Expos again as well as the San Francisco Giants getting to an impressive 5-0 by the middle of June with a 2.98 ERA. He lost his next two decisions and was put in the bullpen by early July, to compensate for a struggling Tug McGraw. McGraw had trouble getting outs & the bullpen needed help. Parker shifted into the reliever role having a fine month of July, earning a win & three saves in nine appearances.

As Tug McGraw eventually settled down by the end of the season & regained his fireman’s role, Parker became what is known today as the set up man the rest of the way.

In the final two months of the year he was 2-2 with two saves & one hold to his credit. Parker finished the season 8-4 with five saves and a 3.35 ERA. In 38 games, he pitched 96 innings & he struck out 63 batters, walking 36 & allowing 79 hits.

Post Season: In the 1973 post season Parker had a few bad breaks & some hard luck.

In Game #4 of the NLCS at Shea Stadium, he came in relief after George Stone & Tug McGraw had held the Cincinnati Reds to just one run in eleven innings. Parker then surrendered a 12th-inning homer to Pete Rose, taking the loss in relief, evening the Series at two games apiece. This came on the day after the classic brawl between Bud Harrelson & Rose.

In the 1973 World Series, Harry first appeared in the in the Game #2 twelve inning marathon in Oakland, pitching a scoreless 4th inning.

In Game #3 at Shea Stadium Parker entered a 2-2 tie game in the 11th inning. The game started out in a classic matchup between two of the games best pitchers: Tom Seaver & Catfish Hunter. With one out, Parker walked Oakland pinch hitter Ted Kubiak. He then struck out Angel Mangual, but the ball sailed past catcher Jerry Grote, and Kubiak reached second base. Oakland’s rally continued as Bert Campaneris delivered a single to center field scoring Kubiak with what would be the games winning run.

Parker made one more appearance relieving Jon Matlack, pitching 1.1 innings of relief in Game #7. Overall in the World Series he appeared in three games, struck out two A’s & did not allow an earned run in 3.1 innings pitched.

In 1974 Parker made a start on April 28th earning a win against the Giants at Candlestick Park. He pitched in relief most of May, earning two saves, two holds & two losses.

He found himself in the starting rotation again by June & lost his next four starting decisions. During July & August he won three games where he pitched into the 8th inning allowing less than two runs each time.

In mid August he pitched the only complete game of his career, a one run nine hit performance coming against the Dodgers at Shea Stadium. He was eventually back in the bullpen & finished with a hard luck 4-12 season, posting a 3.92 ERA in 40 games pitched. He earned four saves which strangely were enough to lead the team.

In 1975 he entered a 2-2 tie game in the top of the 11th inning of the second game of the season. He allowed a double to the Phillies veteran Tony Taylor taking the loss. On July 20th Parker eared his last Mets save against the Houston Astros at Shea Stadium. He was 2-3 with a 4.41 ERA through the end of June, when the Mets gave up on him, selling his contract back to the St. Louis Cardinals.

He appeared in only 17 more games over the next two seasons going 0-1 pitching in St. Louis & with the Cleveland Indians.

Parker finished his six year career going 15-21 with 12 saves 172 strike outs 128 walks and a 3.85 ERA in 315 innings over 124 games pitched.

Family: His brother Jack Parker was a one time infielder in the Cleveland Indians' organization.

Passing: In August of 2012 there were reports that Harry Parker had passed away but there was little information found to prove this as truth. Eventually Parkers nephew confirmed he had indeed passed away a few months earlier. He was just 64 years old.

Chad Bradford: 2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets -Side Armed Relief Pitcher (2006)

Chadwick Lee Bradford was born on September 14, 1974 in Jackson, Mississippi. When he was a boy his dad suffered a stroke leaving him partially paralyzed. He was only able to throw under handed to the youngster.

Chad recalls this being the reason for his strange delivery which comes underhanded. The submarine styled right hander would stoop down so low when he threw, his hand would sometimes scrape the dirt.

The six foot five right handed Bradford was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1996 and then chose to finish out his college at the University of Southern Mississippi. He would be in the White Sox bullpen in 1998 going 2-1 with a 3.23 ERA in 29 games. He spent three seasons between Chicago & the minor leagues before, getting traded to the Oakland Athletics at the end of 2000.

There he became one of the subjects of the book “Moneyball” enjoying success as an economy priced middle reliever. With Oakland Bradford got to three straight post seasons pitching in seven games allowing no runs on five hits in three ALDS series.

In four seasons at Oakland he was 18-14 with six saves to his credit, striking out 186 batters. His best season was 2003 going 7-4 with 3.04 ERA making 72 appearances, striking out 62 batters in 77 innings, setting up behind closer Keith Foulke.

In July of 2005 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for former Mets outfielder, Jay Payton. He spent one season there making 31 appearances going 2-1. At the end of the season he signed with the New York Mets as a free agent, reunited with his old pitching coach from Oakland Rick Peterson.

Bradford turned out to be a great pick up by the Mets, being used a right handed specialist out of a 2006 strong bullpen. Bradford was tied for second on the staff with Billy Wagner in appearances with 70. He posted a solid 2.90 ERA with a 4-2 record, two saves & eleven holds. He struck out 45 batters in 62 innings walking only 13 & posting a perfect .100 fielding %.

2006 Post Season: In the post Season he appeared in seven games, allowing no runs on three hits over 5.2 innings pitched. In his playoff career he only allowed one earned run in 24 games over ten different post season series.

In the off season he left New York & signed with the Baltimore Orioles for a big $10 million, which was far more than the Mets were offering him. Bradford had to take it & move on leaving another gap in the Mets pen. Mets fans were sorry to see the popular sidearm pitcher go.

In Baltimore he was 4-7 on a bad Orioles team posting a 3.34 ERA in 78 appearances (third most in the AL).

The next year he was 3-3 with eleven holds & a 2.45 ERA when his contract was purchased by the Tampa Rays for the stretch run. He finished the year at 1-0 with a 1. 42 ERA in Tampa, making 21 appearances as the Rays went to the post season.

2008 Post Season: In the ALDS he made two appearances against the Chicago White Sox pitching three scoreless innings. In the ALCS he made three appearances against the Boston Red Sox allowing one run in Game #2 in the sixth inning. In the World Series Bradford made two appearances pitching two scoreless innings.

In 2009 he began to suffer from arm troubles that finished his career by the end of the season.

Over a 12 year career he made 561 appearances, posting a 36-28 record with 11 saves & a 3.26 ERA. He pitched in 515 innings with 313 strike outs & 137 walks.

Retirement: After his playing days he has coached at his old college, in Mississippi.

Day After Pete Alonso's 911 Tribute- Mets Hit Record Six Citi Field HRs & Sweep Arizona

Thursday, September 12th 2019: After a big 9-0 win the night before, where Todd Frazier hit a pair of HRs & Steven Matz won his 10th game (four of his last five decisions), the Mets were going for a four game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 911: On the 18th Anniversary of the 911 tragedies, Pete Alonzo had patriotic 911 commemorative cleats made for everyone of his team mates.

Quotes- Pete Alonso: "No one really knows how deep those emotional scars can be. Living here, just kind of interacting with everybody, I've tried to immerse myself in the New York living. I see traces of it every single day. Little bits and pieces of it. I just want to show recognition to all the people who are heroes. Ordinary people who felt a sense of urgency is an admirable quality. This is for all those people who lost their lives and all those people who did so much to help.”

In an Amazing coincidence, the Mets scored nine runs on eleven hits on the September 11th, 911 game. Todd Frazier & Jeff McNeil led the way with two HRs each.

Arizona had come to New York ahead of the Mets in the wild card race & hot. They were now cold & falling fast.

Jacob deGrom & Zack Wheeler had put in outstanding pitching performances in the first two games of the series, It was deGroms 9th win of the year 9-8 / 2.70 ERA) & Wheeler's team leading 11th win of the year (11-7).

In this matinee at Citi Field, Mickey Callaway's Mets (75-70) hosted Torey Lovullo's Diamondbacks (75-70) in front of 21,856 fans on a cloudy humid day. 

In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Todd Frazier continued his hot hitting, hitting his 21st HR of the season. It was his third HR in his last two games & seven RBIs in his last four games.

In the 3rd inning, Pete Alonso reached on an error & advanced to third on a ground out.  J.D. Davis drove in Alonso with a base hit. Michael Conforto singled to centerfield & Todd Frazier walked. Then Juan Lagares hit his first career grand slam HR, on a career day for him, putting the Mets up 6-0.

In the 5th Robinson Cano hit his 13th HR of the year, the third of the day for the Mets. Michael Conforto drew a one out walk & after Frazier struck out, Juan Lagares stepped in again.

He homered once again, this one a two run shot, giving him a career high six RBIs on the day. It was the Mets fourth HR of the day, as they went up 9-0.

 Then catcher Tomas Nido added a back to back blast into the left field bleachers, making it 10-0 Mets. Their fifth HR of the day, tying a team record for most Mets HRs at Citi Field in a single game.

In the bottom of the 7th, Michael Conforto helped his club set the team record of six Mets HRs in Citi Filed home game. It was Conforto's 30th HR of the year, marking the first time in his five year career he reached the 30 HR milestone.

It was a fine pitching performance from Marcus Stroman, his best yet since joining the Mets.

He struck out a season high, nine batters. In 6.1 innings one run on four hits, six Ks & four walks, earning him his 8th win of the year, his second Mets win in seven outings. Chris Mazza closed out the game with 2.1 innings of hitless / scoreless baseball. He even got an at bat grounding out to short stop.

So the Mets swept the Diamondbacks, after a tough series losing two of three from the Phillies. These Mets have been beat up during the course of the season, but always seemed to bounce back & put themselves right in the mix of things.  No matter how the season ends up, they must be commended for that.  

On July 21st they were in 10th place for

the wild card spot. As of now they are two games out of the second wild card spot (76-70) but there are five teams battling for that position.

Quotes- Manager, Mickey Callaway: "I think we're where we expected to be, a chance to do something special".

Sep 12, 2019

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Mets Win 10th Straight

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"

Saturday, September 13th 1969: A crowd of 10,440 came to Forbes Field on this Saturday afternoon as Gil Hodges first place Mets (88-57) took on Larry Sheppard's fourth place Pirates (76-67). 

Mets ace Tom Seaver (21-7) took on Luke Walker (2-5).

Starting Lineups

Tom Terrific was just that, he pitched his 12th complete game of the season allowing two runs on six hits with four strike outs & an unusual high five walks. It was his  7th win in a row, number 21 of the year (21-7) He was posting one of the leagues best ERA's at 2.41 as well.

Seaver allowed an RBI single to Willie Stargell which gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Luke Walker held the Mets scoreless until the 7th inning. With one out Ed Charles drew a walk. Jerry Grote then singled to right field, Ed Charles "the Glider" went to third. He scored on a Pirate error tying the game at one. 

In the top of the 8th, Bud Harrelson & Tommie Agee both drew walks. After pitcher Chuck Hartenstein threw a wild pitch, he intentionally walked Don Clendenon. With the bases loaded Ron Swoboda connected with a grand slam HR. It was his 7th HR of the year & sealed the Mets 5-2 win. 

The Mets gained a game on the Cubs going up by 3 1/2 games, as they lost to the Cardinals 7-4.