Feb 20, 2017

1986 World Champion Mets Forgotten Pitcher: Bruce Berenyi (1984-1986)

Bruce Michael Berenyi was born August 21, 1954 in Bryan, Ohio. Berenyi was the nephew of MLB pitcher Ned Garver (1948-1961) who once won 20 games for the St. Louis Browns. Garver a lifetime 129-157 pitcher with a 3.73 ERA also pitched for the Detroit Tigers & Kansas City A’s.

Bruce Berenyi attended Northeast Missouri State University and once tied a college record by striking out 21 batters in a game. The six foot two inch, right hander was the Cincinnati Reds first round draft pick (third pick overall in the secondary draft) in 1976.

He went on to lead the American Association pitchers in strikeouts & ERA, getting a Reds, September 1980 call up. He went 2-2 in Cincinnati although he had a rather high 7.81 ERA pitching in six games. In 1981 he was 9-6 with 157 strikeouts (6th in the NL) & a 3.50 ERA. He also threw a pair of two hitters that season but had some control issues as well.

He led the league in walks with 77, and in one game against the Los Angeles Dodgers threw 15 straight balls. In that game he walked seven batters over 3.3 innings. The next week he came back to tossed a one hitter against a strong Montreal Expo team that made it to the post season. The next season things fell apart as he led the league in losses (18) but pitched better than his record showed. He was best in the league in giving up fewest HRs, as his HRs allowed per nine innings (0.324) was tops in the NL. He went 9-18 but put up a solid 3.36 ERA, striking out 157 batters (9th in the NL).

In 1983 he once again had a decent ERA (3.86) but had a poor 9-14 record. In 186 innings, he allowed 102 walks & gave up 80 earned runs, striking out 151 batters (10th in the NL). In June 1984 he was 3-4 with an ERA of 6.00 when he was traded to the New York Mets for Jay Tibbs & Eddie Williams, two players who never suited up in Mets uniforms.

Berenyi debuted for New York on June 17th 1983, although he lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing four runs over seven innings. In July he won three straight starts including a seven inning shutout performance in Atlanta, beating the Braves 7-0. He was 5-1 from mid August to the end of the season, pitching into the 7th inning four of those times. He finished up the 1984 season at 9-6 with 134 strike outs 95 walks & a 3.76 ERA.

In 1985 he started the third game of the season on April 12th at Shea Stadium. In that game he pitched seven innings of one hit baseball, allowing no runs earning a win in the 1-0 shutout of the Reds. The only run of the game came on a Gary Carter HR. He had pitched with shoulder pain throughout his career and in his third start of the 1985 season he had to leave the game in pain. He found out he had a torn rotator cuff and was done for the year. He had the surgery and returned to the Mets for the start of the 1986 Championship season.

On April 29th he earned his first win since the injury of the previous year. He got the win in relief of Ron Darling in a 10-5 win in Atlanta against the Braves. He was put back in the rotation by May, going 2-2 posting an ERA of 6.35, but there wasn’t much room for him on the staff with Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, & Bob Ojeda.

Berenyi was demoted to AAA Tidewater, where he went 2-6 but never returned to the big leagues. He did sign a deal with the Montreal Expos but his arm acted up in pain when he pitched forcing him to retire.
In a seven year career he was 44-55 with a 4.03 ERA, 607 strikeouts 425 walks in 781 innings pitched in 142 games.

Bronx Born Third Baseman the Mets Received In Exchange For Amos Otis: Joe Foy (1970)

Joseph Anthony Foy was born on February 21, 1943 in the Bronx, New York. He attended Evander Child’s high school on Gun Hill Road in the early sixties, & was a standout baseball player. He originally got signed by the Minnesota Twins in early 1962 but was then drafted away by the Boston Red Sox later that year.

In 1965 he won the International League batting title , hitting .302 with 14 HRs & 73 RBIs at AAA Toronto. He was named the Minor League Player of the Year & the league’s MVP. In his rookie year of 1966 he got the job as the Red Sox everyday third baseman replacing the departed, Frank Malzone.

Foy deuted in the second Sox game of the year at Fenway Park going 0-3 against the Baltimore Orioles. In just his third career game he was in the Bronx where he had grown up playing against the AL New York team. He got his first career hit that day, an RBI double off Bob Friend, as the Red Sox went on to an 8-5 win. Foy started out slow not getting above the .200 mark until mid May.

He had a fine Rookie year, coming in second in the league in walks (91) fourth in triples (8) fifth in runs scored (97) & eighth in on base % (.364). He hit .262 with 15 HRs 23 doubles, 63 RBIs & was rated the leagues fifth best third baseman. 

In the Red Sox 1967 "Impossible Dream" Pennant season, Foy saw action in 118 games at third base, but led the league in errors for the first of two straight seasons. At the plate he hit .252 with 16 HRs 22 doubles 4 triples and 49 RBIs.

On a road trip to New York that summer, he learned of a fire at his family’s house & that it was burning down while on his way to the ballpark located less than a mile away. In that series he was involved in a bench clearing brawl when he was hit in the helmet with a pitch by Thad Tillotson. Foy just went to first base after he was beaned, but when Sox pitcher Jim Lonborg retaliated against Tillotson, when he came to bat, the two pitchers had words. Foy stepped in & said “why don’t you just fight me since it all started with me”. The benches cleared & a full scale brawl ensued.

Foy enjoyed some fame appearing in photo in Life magazine that season as well, although not as the main figure. The magazine did an article of Triple Crown Winner Carl Yastrzemski, and it featured a photo of Yaz jokingly tackling Foy in the Boston club house.

In the 1967 World Series Foy hit only .133 (2-15) playing in six games, driving in one run. In 1968 Foy was selected by the expansion Kansas City Royals & became an original Royal, the next season. On Kansas City's Opening Day, Foy was the team's first cleanup hitter, going 1-6 that day. He played mostly at third base (113 games) but he made 17 errors, the Royals also tried him at first base & in the outfield. At bat he hit .262 with 11 HRs 71 RBIs & 72 runs scored, stealing 37 bases (fifth in the AL).

His stay in K.C. was short though, when on December 3rd, 1969 the New York Mets made another one of their worst trades. In trying to solve their long time third base problem, they sent a young Amos Otis & Bob Johnson to the Royals for Joe Foy. Otis went on to play seventeen seasons in Kansas City, making five All Star teams, winning three Gold Gloves. He hit over .290 five times, stole thirty or more bases five times, also leading the league in doubles twice & stolen bases once. Pitcher Bob Johnson struck out 200 batters going 7-8 in 1970 & then was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for short stop Fred Patek. What a deal the Foy fiasco turned out to be for the Royals & their future.

Foy was in the 1970 Mets Opening Day lineup, batting in the third position, going hitless with a sac fly RBI. He never got it going at the plate finishing up at .206 hitting his only HR that month against the Phillies on April 19th. That month he did drive in runs in three straight games against the Phillies at home. Foy did have a few shining moments in a Mets uniform; On May 3rd his 7th inning double off the Padres Pat Dobson in a game at San Diego broke a 2-2 ties & was the games winning run.

He would miss some action in June playing in just 12 games that month. His best month would be July and in the middle of the month he had a seven game hit streak on a West Coast road trip. In that series he had a three hit game in Los Angeles & a huge five hit day in San Francisco. 

On July 19th in the second game of a Mets Giants doubleheader, Foy had five hits, hitting two HRs & driving in five runs. His tenth inning HR off Don McMahon proved to be the game winner in the Mets 7-6 victory. When the Padres visited Shea at the end of the month, he added another RBI hit & then scored the tying run on Tommie Agee's double in a Mets comeback win.

On August 5th Foy came to bat with the bases loaded & two out in the bottom of the 9th inning in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. Reds pitcher Wayne Granger walked Foy allowing the winning run to score and crediting Foy with a game winning RBI.

As the season went on Foy never fit in with Gil Hodges ballclub. He was back in his hometown of New York City playing with the Mets, and hooked up with the wrong crowd from his old neighborhood. He got mixed up in drugs and developed an addiction problem.

During a summer double header, he noticeably appeared to under the influence of something during the game. In the opening game, he stood in front of manager Gil Hodges and began cheering a pitch loudly while awkwardly laughing. Hodges chose to start him in the nightcap to prove a point to his team. A hard grounder was hit to Foy at third and he never saw it. Reportedly even after the ball passed him he kept shouting "hit it to me". Pitcher Jerry Koosman & his team mates were furious, but Hodges made his point- "this guy doesn't belong here!"

1970 was his only season with the Mets, Foy saw action in 99 games, batting .236 with 6 HRs 12 doubles 68 walks & 36 RBIs. His best stats were his 22 stolen bases, although he was thrown out 13 times & his .367 on base %. At third base he made 18 errors & certainly wasn’t the answer to the Mets third base puzzle. He was picked up by the Washington Senators in 1971 (Rule 5 draft) and hit .234 in just 41 games before getting sent to the minors.

He finished out his career playing in 15 games at AAA Denver, getting released in July. In his six year career, Foy was a lifetime .248 hitter with 615 hits 58 HRs 102 doubles 99 stolen bases 390 walks, a .351 on base % & 291 RBIs, playing in 716 games.

Retirement: Foy did give back to the community, appearing at Mets events, teaching children to play ball & coached little league in the South Bronx as well. Sadly he had his demons & maybe wasn't given enough of a chance by M. Donald Grant & the organization.

The Mets tried Bob Aspromonte at third in 1971, Jim Fregosi in 1972 and neither one worked out either. Eventually Wayne Garrett got the job and in 1973 the Mets went to another World Series. Garrett remained at third for the good part of four seasons.

Passing: In 1989 Joe Foy died of a heart attack in the Bronx, New York at the age of 46.

Early Eighties Mets Outfielder: Jerry Morales (1980)

Julio Ruben (Torres) Morales was born February 18, 1949 in Puerto Rico. The right hand hitting five foot, ten inch outfielder was originally signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1966 at the age of 17. He was taken away as the 16th pick by the National Leagues new San Diego Padres during the 1968 expansion draft. 

Morales was an original Padre outfielder, making his debut as a September call up that season batting .195 with one HR & 6 RBIs in 19 games. He had good speed in the outfield & often made two handed basket catches playing as a reserve his first three seasons. By 1972 he was seeing regular action hitting .239 with seven triples, (sixth most in the NL) 4 HRs & 18 RBIs in 115 games. 

In 1973 he played 122 games in the Padre outfield under manager Don Zimmer on a last place team going 60-102. Morales had 23 doubles, while batting .281. He would bat over .270 each of the next five seasons. But by 1974 the Padres had young outfielders Dave Winfield & Johnny Grubb to team up with Cito Gaston in the outfield. Morales was the odd man out & was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Glenn Beckert & Bobby Fenwick. 

He would spend the next four seasons as a Cubs regular outfielder, putting up decent numbers at Wrigley Field. He hit 15 or more HRs twice, as well as driving in 80 plus runs two times as well. In 1975 he drove in a career high 91 runs (just missing the top ten in the NL) on a team that drove in the fourth most runs in the league. His 11 sac flies that season were second best in the NL. He also hit twenty plus doubles three times during his Chicago years. 

In the outfield, playing the walls of Ivy at Wrigley Field, he had eleven assists in right field (second in the league) in 1975, followed by twelve assists in 1976 (3rd most in the NL). He would come in the top five of the league in fielding % every season from 1975-1979.

In 1977 he represented the Cubs in the All Star game along with Rick Reuschel, Bruce Sutter, and Manny Trillo. The Cubs had a five game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East at the break that season. In that All Star game, played in the Bronx, at the A.L. New York's new revamped ballpark, Morales was hit in the knee by a Sparky Lyle pitch, in the 7-5 N.L. win. Morales was on track to have his best overall season that year, but he broke his finger toward the end of the summer, finishing his season after 136 games. His injury added to the Cubs demise & falling out of contention. He posted career highs in batting (.290) doubles (34) on base % (.348) & outfield assists (12). 

In December 1977 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Steve Swisher in exchange for Hector Cruz & Dave Rader. His average fell to .239 and he only hit four HRs with 46 RBIs for the fifth place Cardinals. That December he was traded along with Aurelio Lopez to the Detroit Tigers for Bob Sykes & Jack Murphy. 

In one season there he batted a lowly .211 in 129 games. But he did hit 14 HRs with 23 doubles while driving in 56 runs, a lot more production than he had in 1978. On Halloween 1979 Morales was traded to the New York Mets for a very unhappy Richie Hebner, who spent just one season with the Mets. 

Morales debuted on Opening Day 1980, batting seventh for the Mets, playing center field alongside Joel Youngblood in right & Steve Henderson in left. In his first Mets at bat he singled home Mike Jorgensen with the first Mets run of the season. The hit came against former team mate Rick Reushel, he later drove in another run, helping Craig Swan beat his old Cubs team mates 5-2. He started out hitting safely in his first six games as a Met, driving in six runs. On April 15th he hit a HR against the Montreal Expos & the next day drove in two runs with a third inning single, leading the Mets to a 3-2 win. 

On May 14th, he drove in the Mets winning run, with a tenth inning RBI single off the Reds Tom Hume, in a 7-6 win at Cincinnati. He went into a slump after his hot start falling below the .200 mark into mid June. He hit well through the summer, as a reserve outfielder, raising his average up over .260. On July 23rd, in a tie game at the Houston Astrodome, Morales hit a top of the 9th sac fly, bringing in the game winning run off Frank LaCorte. 

In August he hit a solo HR at Montreal in a 4-3 Mets win over the Expos. In the next game he played in, he hit a two run HR & drove in another run in the Mets 7-1 win. In September he had four pinch hit RBI sac flies. He played all around the outfield in 63 games and appeared often as a pinch hitter, playing in 94 games overall. He batted .254 with three HRs, seven doubles 30 RBIs and a .293 on base %. His eight sac flies put him in the top league’s top ten in that department. But after one brief season with the Mets, he left New York & signed back with the Cubs as a free agent. 

He spent three more seasons in Chicago as a reserve player, batting a best .286 in 1981. Morales finished up his 15 year career in 1983, batting .259 with 1173 hits, 95 HRs, 199 doubles, 36 triples, 56 sac flies, 570 RBIs & a .313 on base %. In right field (563 games) his .980 fielding % is 91st all time. In center field (510 games) he posted a .986 fielding % which is 98th best all time. 

 Retirement: After his playing days he was a roving coach for the Cubs, then a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After a twelve year absence from the game, he became a Montreal Expos first base coach from 2002-2004. 

In 2007-2008 he coached with the Washington Nationals. In 2006 he coached the Gulf Coast Mets, and in 2009 was a coach for the St. Lucie Mets.

Feb 19, 2017

Remembering the Mayor's Trophy Games: Part One (1946-1963)

The Mayor's Trophy Game was an exhibition game held in New York City between the Nations League New York Giants & the A.L. New York Club starting in 1946. Eventually by 1950 the Brooklyn Dodgers took over representing the New York National League. The funds that were raised went to help promote sandlot baseball in New York City.

When the Giants & Dodgers left for the West Coast, the Mayors Trophy game looked like it was doomed. But efforts were made & in 1958 an exhibition game between the Milwaukee Braves & AL New York Club was played. In 1960 the now relocated Los Angeles Dodgers played & in 1961 the San Francisco Giants came back to the Bronx for the game in July.

In 1946 two games were held one in the Bronx & one in the Polo Grounds. That year the AL new York team took both games. In 1947 after losing the first game the Giants took the second game on August 18th, with a 4-1 win, as Bobby Thompson & Johnny Mize were the hitting stars.

By 1948 only one game was to be held annually, alternating ballparks for home field advantage. In the 1948 game, the game was overshadowed by Babe Ruth's death. The players paid tribute as a moment of silence was recognized. The game went into extra innings with the AL club winning it.

In 1950 the Brooklyn Dodgers played their first Mayors Trophy game to a record (at the time) 71,289 fans for an exhibition game. Although Brooklyn lost in the 10th inning, Roy Campanella won MVP honors with a HR, while throwing out three base runners trying to steal.

In 1953 Brooklyn walloped with a 9-0 win, as Wayne Belardi hit a pair of HRs & drove in six runs. Johnny Podres was the winning pitcher. T

he next year, the Dodgers had only two hits the entire game but won it 2-1. Duke Snider hit a solo HR & Jim Gilliam drove in Don Hoak in the 8th inning for the game winner. For this game attendance had dropped drastically to 28,084.

The Giants returned in 1955 & in 1956 no game was played. In 1957 an estimated crowd of 30,000 showed up for the final game in which the two National League New York clubs would be in existence.

In 1958 the Milwaukee Braves came to town to play the exhibition game. A HR derby was held before the game with Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Joe Aadcock, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle & Moose Skowron all participating. Milwaukee won the game 4-3 in front of just 13,000 fans.

After another hiatus, the Los Angeles Dodgers came to town in 1960. Their proceeds went to the Roy Campanella fund. This was part of the home & away exhibition series with the AL New York team & the Dodgers.

Many remember the game at the L.A. Coliseum the previous year, where Pee Wee Reese took Campy to the field in his wheel chair as the Coliseum was lit up in candlelight. At the '60 Game, Gil Hodges drove in the winning run with a 7th inning triple.

In 1961 it was the Giants return to New York & the crowd of 47,346 seemed to go wild, cheering Willie Mays every time he came onto the field.

On this hot humid night The Sporting News wrote that Willie Mays "drew what amounted to a continuous ovation whenever he was on the field, and at times it thundered louder than the turbulent storms which had almost washed away the game."

Mays two run single proved to be the winning runs in the 4-1 win.

Remembering The Mayor's Trophy Game: (Part Two 1963-1983)

The New York Mayor's Trophy Game: By 1962 New York now had established a National League franchise in the city. Although top position players usually participated, pitchers were brought up from AAA to preserve the staff. In 1963 The New York Mets traveled to the Bronx, to play in their first Mayors Trophy Game.

After a June 3rd rain out, over 50,000 fans, mostly "New Breed" Mets fans, piled into the old Stadium on June 20th. They came with their placards & banners, but most were confiscated by the stuffy AL New York teams workers. Casey Stengel got some revenge against his old team, as the Mets took the game 6-1. Stengel went with his best pitcher Carl Willey that day for the win.

After a loss at the new Shea Stadium in 1964, where 55, 396 fans showed up, the Mets took the May 3rd 1965 Mayors Trophy Game 2-1. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Chris Cannizzaro was on third base when a young Cleon Jones attempted a squeeze bunt. He was successful as the throw was wide & the Mets won it with veteran Warren Spahn taking the victory.

In 1966, the game was back at Shea Stadium. New York's Mayor John Lindsay got greeted with boo's on this June 27th night game. Whitey Ford beat the Mets 5-2 behind HRs by Ray Barker, Billy Bryan & Joe Pepitones. Pepitones blast was remembered by Ralph Kiner as one of the longest he ever saw at Shea.

In 1967, the Mets; Don Cardwell, Dennis Bennett, Bob Shaw & Jack Lamabe combined for a five hit shut out. In 1968 back at Shea, the Mets made it two straight as 35, 1968 saw Don Bosh's triple bounce over the head of Bill Robinson in the 8th inning leading to the 4-3 win.

In the Mets Miracle Year of 1969, the original game on July 7th was rained out. The make up was on September 29th, a week before the Mets were to open up the Playoffs against the Atlanta Braves.

Despite this, Manager Gil Hodges still played his regulars. Art Shamsky led Mets hitting in the 7-6 victory, as Jim McAndrew got the win, in front of over 35,000 Shea Stadium fans.

Over the next three years the Mets lost all the games including two back to back heart breaking one run games in 1971 & 1972. In the '72 game, Bob Rauch served up the game winning HR to John Ellis.

In 1973, new Mets; Felix Millan & George Stone were the stars of the game, played at Shea Stadium. The Mets scored five runs in the 2nd inning never looking back in the 8-4 win. In 1974 the AL's Fernando Gonzalez hit a grand slam off the Mets; Mike Wegner in the 9-4 Met loss.

In 1975, Ed Kranepool & Dave Kingman received Perfect Man Permanents prior to the game held at Shea Stadium, now home for both clubs. In this game Gorge Stone pitched well after coming back from arm troubles but Randy Tate took the loss after a disastrous 7th inning.

After another loss in 1976, just 15,000 fans showed up at Shea on June 23rd 1977 for the Mayors Trophy Game. Despite the smallest crowd ever for the Mets vs AL New York club series, Ron Hodges & Joel Youngblood bother homered leading to a 6-4 Mets win. Farmhand Tom Makowski got the win over Roger Slagle.

In 1978 interest had really hit a low as 9,792 fans showed up in the Bronx for the April 27th match up. In the 11th inning Sparky Lyle claimed that Graig Nettles attempted to throw the game, when he threw a ball about ten feet over his first baseman's head on a Ron Hodges ground ball. Nettles denied the charge. In the bottom of the 13th, Mardie Cornejo took the Mets loss, when Fran Healy's suicide squeeze scored Jim Spencer from third.

The 1979 game was called on account of rain, ending in a 1-1 tie. No games were played in 1980 nor 1981, as both teams donated cash to the causes.

The Mayors Trophy Game resumed in the Bronx, in 1982 as New York's Mayor Ed Koch gave each team "crying towels' before the game. He stated "one of you will need this after the game".

Just six hours before the game, Mets pitcher Steve Ratzer, (who never played a regular season Mets game) arrived from AAA Tidewater. His name was sewn on the uniform so fast, the letter "A" fell off during the game. The game was tied into the 8th, when Joel Youngblood drove in John Stearns with what was the winning run. The crowd of 41,614 was the largest crowd the AL NY team drew up to that point.

The last Mayors Trophy Game was held in 1983 at Shea Stadium in front of 20,471 fans. Controversy was in the air, as MLB umpires refused to work the game. Some say it was because of NL & AL umpires feud over labor practices, others say because Commissioner Bowie Kuhn's had not suspended the AL new York clubs owner, after he questioned the integrity of NL umps in Spring Training. Willie Randolph hit a HR off Rick Ownbey in the 4-1 Mets loss.

The classic New York game is forever lost with the development of inter-league play.

Feb 18, 2017

2015 NL Champion Mets Bench Coach: Bob Geren (2012-2015)

Robert Peter Geren was born on September 22nd 1961 in San Diego, California. He was a star athlete in high school, winning the San Diego HS Player of the Year Award. The six foot three catcher, was drafted in the first round (24th pick overall) by his hometown San Diego Padres in 1979.

A year later he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals as a player to be named later in the deal that sent Gene Tenace & Rollie Fingers to the Cardinals. Fingers was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in a huge deal four days later.

As for Geren, it almost took him a decade to get to the big leagues, after spending five years at AAA ball where he eventually was signed by the AL New York club.

He hit .271 at AAA Columbus in 1988 getting three call ups throughout the season. That year he appeared with his family, on the daytime version of the game show Family Feud. His family won the $5000 grand prize.

He spent two years as back up to Don Slaught, taking over as the clubs main backstop in 1990.

On July 1st, he was the catcher behind the plate when Andy Hawkins tossed a would be no hitter, although he lost the game 4-0 due to New York's errors. The game has been erased as a no hitter since baseball rules have changed. That year Geren hit just .213 with 8 HRs & 31 RBIs as the AL New York team finished seventh in the East.

In 1991 Matt Nokes took over as catcher, and Geren hit .219 in a backup role. He was placed on waivers that winter, going to the Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox & San Diego Padre organizations over the next two years.

In 1993 he made his last appearance in the majors sharing time at catcher with Kevin Higgins & Brad Asmus in San Diego. In his five year career he hit .233 with 22 HRs 21 doubles & 76 RBIs in 307 games. He threw out 38% of would be base stealers & had 126 assists with a .992 fielding %.

 Retirement: After his playing days, Geren managed in the Boston Red Sox & Oakland A's farm systems. In 1999 he won the Manager of the Year Award in the California League. He was also a Red Sox minor league roving catcher instructor.

In 2003 he became an Oakland A's coach through 2005 under Ken Macha. In 2007 he became the A's manager and his club never finished above .500 in his four plus years at the helm.

In 2010 the A's finished at 81-81 making the .500 mark. In June 2009 he was fired & replaced by Bob Melvin. After he was fired he was criticized by some of his players for lack of communication skills. Huston Street & Brian Fuenetes were among some of his critics.

In 2012 he was hired as a New York Mets bench coach, replacing Ken Oberkfell under Manager; Terry Collins. He held that position for four seasons, winning the National League Pennant with the Mets in 2015. Geren was known to rely heavily on stats & was praised by the team for the statistical aptitude in which he used. The team was quoted as saying he has a "strong working knowledge of advanced analytics." 

After the Mets World Series appearance, he took a job with the Los Angles Dodgers as their teams bench coach in 2016. His reason for leaving New Yorl was to be closer to his family in Southern California.

Family: Geren and his wife, Pam, reside in the Bay Area suburb of Danville with their sons, Brett and Bobby.

Former Mets Late 2000's Manager: Jerry Manuel (2008-2010)

Jerry Manuel was born December 23, 1953 in Hahira, Georgia soon moving with his family west to Cordova, California.

He was picked in the first round of the 1972 draft, by the Detroit Tigers, the 20th pick overall. He was a solid middle infielder never known for his hitting. Life time he was a .150 hitter, going 19-127 in his brief career. He made his debut in 1975 as a September call up, going 1-18 in six games. The next season he hit only .140 in 43 at bats and found himself toiling in the minors for the next three years.

In 1980 he was traded to the Montreal Expos for former Mets backup catcher, Duffy Dyer. He spent two seasons playing sparingly in Montreal; hitting a career best .200, with 3 HRs & 10 RBIs in 27 games in 1981. The 1981 strike shortened season was the only time the Expos ever made the post season. I

In the first round of the playoffs, Manuel went 1-14 playing in five games as Montreal defeated the Philadelphia Phillies. In the NLCS he appeared as a pinch runner only, against the eventual World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. He played two games in San Diego in 1982 and ended a quick five season career playing in 96 career games with 19 hits 3 HRs, 6 doubles one triple 13 RBIs and a .150 average.

Retirement: Manuel began as a scout in the White Sox organization then moved over to the Expos organization for the next eleven years. In 1991 he became the Expos third base coach, remaining there through 1996. In 1997 he was bench coach under Jim Leyland winning a World Series title with the Florida Marlins.

The next season he was hired as the White Sox manager, a position he held for six seasons. After two straight second place finishes, his 2000 White Sox won 95 games and a division title earning him the Manager of the Year Award.

They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. His Sox finished second four times during his time at the helm, posting winning records three times along with one 81-81 season. He is fourth all time in wins in White Sox history, posting a 500-471 record.

Trivia: Along with GM Ken Williams, the two made up the first African American manager/General Manager combo in baseball history.

In 2005 he was hired by the New York Mets as a first base coach under new skipper Willie Randolph. The next season he was promoted to bench coach, a position he would hold for the next season as well. He wanted to be manager again badly, and announced if he didn’t get a big league job by 2009 he would leave to head up a baseball program at William Jessup University in California.

On June 17, 2008 when Willie Randolph got the axe, Manuel was named the Mets interim manager becoming the 19th manger in Mets. On his first day on the job, he removed Jose Reyes from a game and had an argument with him in the dugout runway. Reyes returned to the dugout and apologized to his team mates for the incident.

Manuel’s easy going style, sense of humor & contagious laugh made him interesting at media press conferences. Manuel’s impact was felt right away as he brought the Mets from .500 to first place into September going 55-38 under his leadership. They held a 3 ½ game lead with two weeks to go, but they ended up blowing it all down the stretch. Their playoff hopes faded when they lost on the last day of the season, at the final game ever played at Shea Stadium.

In 2009 injuries plagued the Mets in their inaugural season at Citi Field, they finished fourth 70-92. It was their worst effort in six seasons, finishing 23 games out of first place.

Mets ownership gave Manuel another chance for 2010 and at the Winter meetings he himself admitted he’s on the hot seat. Things didn't get better, he finished the year at 79-83 in fourth place, 18 games back. Manuel was fired at the end of the season.

The Pitcher Who Was Traded to New York For Ron Darling: Tim Burke (1991-1992)

Timothy Philip Burke was born on February 19, 1959 in Omaha, Nebraska. The six foot three right hander became a star pitcher at the University of Nebraska where he went on full scholarship. There he was a four year All Big Eight player for the Cornhuskers baseball team, getting signed as a second round selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1980.

He was shipped around in the minors, first going to the A.L. New York club with three other minor leaguers for former Met Lee Mazzilli in 1982. Burke got married the same year & was then traded to the Montreal Expos organization, where he played for his future MLB manager Buck Rodgers. He went 11-8 with a 3.49 ERA & three saves at AAA Indianapolis in 1984.

The next year he made the Expos staff out of Spring Training & went on to tie a record with 78 appearances in his rookie season. That season he was mainly a set up man to Jeff Reardon, having a 20 2/3 scoreless inning streak going from June to mid July. He went 9-4 with 13 holds a 2.39 ERA & eight saves in 78 games for the 1985 Expos.

When Jeff Reardon went to Minnesota in 1987, Burke took over and became one of the leagues better closers in the late 1980’s. In 1987 he was 7-0 with 18 saves, posting a fantastic 1.19 ERA in 55 appearances. He saved 18 more games the following season, going 3-5 & leading all NL pitchers in fielding%. 

He had his best overall year in 1989. coming in fourth in the league with 28 saves, going 9-3 with a 2.55 ERA making his first All Star appearance. 1990 was his last big save season, posting 20 saves going 3-3 with a 2.52 ERA.

During those years he was amongst the league’s top ten in saves four times, but by 1991 Barry Jones took over the closing role. Midway through 1991 he was 3-4 with five saves when he was traded to the New York Mets for Ron Darling. Darling had been struggling & the Mets felt it was time to move on as the final pieces of their 1986 Championship season were going fast.

Burke came to the New York bull pen mostly being used as John Franco’s set up man, and to work as a middle reliever. He debuted at Shea Stadium on July 18th against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The next day he earned his first win pitching two innings in relief of Sid Fernandez also against the Dodgers. The Mets would win the game led by Kevin McReynolds three run 8th inning HR. Burke would blow a save and then lose two games before earning his first Mets save at the end of August.

In September he won two more games, & was credited with three hold but also blew two save opportunities well. Overall In 35 games he went 3-3 with a save, four holds and a 2.75 ERA. In 1992 after 15 games his ERA was up near six & he was traded to the A.L. New York team for Lee Gutterman. After going 2-2 there in 23 appearances he chose to retire from baseball at age 32.

Retirement: Burke is a born again Christian & wanted to get away from a life on the road. He chose to leave the game in order to have a more settled down style of life with his wife & form a family. The Burke’s have four adopted children from different parts of the world, two from Korea, one from Vietnam & one from Guatemala.

He wrote a book in 1994 about his career ending decisions, called Major League Dad: The Moving Story of an All-Star Pitcher Who Gave up Baseball for His Family. In his eight year playing career he was 49-33 record with 102 saves and a 2.72 ERA. He pitched in 498 games, with 444 strikeouts in 699 innings.

Feb 17, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (2002) Roger Clemens Comes to Bat in SubWay Series 2002

Saturday June 15th 2002: Today the Mets hosted their cross town rivals in a subway series game on an overcast day at Shea Stadium. It was a huge game, since this was the first time Roger Clemens was to come to bat, since the game was in an NL ballpark against the Mets, since the controversies between he & Mike Piazza.

Back in the 2000 regular season Subway Series, Clemens had hit Piazza in the head with a pitch, laying him out at home plate. Piazza had continuously owned Clemens blasting HRs & hit after hit off the steroid ridden pitcher again & again. After the beaning Piazza missed time but returned to lead the Mets to the World Series, the first New York Subway Series since 1956.

More controversy followed in Game #2 of that Series, when the two faced off & Piazza broke his bat on a pitch from Clemens. The bat barrel rolled to the mound & Clemens threw it in the direction of Piazza. Piazza walked to the mound & shouted words to Clemens but the umpire stepped in the middle. It was a big game so cooler heads prevailed. Fast forward to June 2002.

54,347 fans filled up Shea Stadium including centerfieldmaz, in anticipation of an exciting showdown. The game had been talked about & hyped up by the media, as well as the fans for days. It was no doubt the hottest ticket in town. 

Bobby Valentine's Mets were just below .500 (33-34) at this point & gave the ball to Shawn Estes, who had only been a Met for a few months. He was now in the spotlight on the worlds biggest stage in the middle of this madness.

The Met fans outnumbered the NL New York fans & since most of the game went the Mets way, they had to take the grunt of the verbal abuse.
The Shea crowd was loud as Mets fans shouted insults at Steroid abuser Clemens & his team.

In the top of the 3rd inning, it all came to a head, the fans; many on their feet held their breaths as Clemens stepped in to bat, looking a bit shy & meek. You could hear a pin drop as Estes wound up & threw the pitch.

The pitch went behind his back, it did not knock him down nor hit him. Most Mets fans wanted to see him lying in the dirt but it was not to be. Estes made the moment pass, some praised his effort to keep peace, even Clemens touched his helmet in a tip of the hat style gesture. Others were furious that Estes had not throw at Clemens. Most likely his team mates felt the same way, Estes was traded away two months later.

In the home 3rd inning, Rey Ordonez doubled to left field to start the inning. Pitcher Shawn Estes laid down a bunt down third base, on the throw to first Ordonez hustled & scored the Mets first run.

In the home 5th Roger Cedeno led off with a double & Sean Estes gained some respect from the fans when he took a Roger Clemens pitch over the fence to make it 3-0. In the 6th Mike Piazza who was 0-2 at this point stepped in & blasted a Clemens pitch over the fence for another HR.

The Mets were now up 4-0 & two batters later manager Joe Torre removed Clemens from the game. The Mets fans had their moment as he walked off the field, letting him have it at the top of their lungs. Ted Lilly was the new AL New York pitcher.

In the home 8th, the Mets got to Sterling Hitchcock as Piazza walked & Mo Vaughn singled. Jeromy Burnitz then singled to centerfield bringing in Piazza, as the Mets crowd roared once again. By this time most AL New York fans were long gone.

Roger Cedeno singled, giving Hitchcock his exit. Rey Ordonez greeted new pitcher Mike Thurman with a bases clearing triple, capping off the 8-0 Mets romp.

Shawn Estes got the win (3-5) as he allowed five hits, one walk & 11 strike outs over seven innings. Scott Strickland & Mark Guthrie closed out the last two innings.

Clemens took the loss (8-3) allowing four runs, six hits & a walk in 5.2 innings. Lilly, Hitchcock & Thurman finished it up.

Burnitz, Dedeno & Ordonez all had two hits each, with Piazza Vaughn & Estes collecting one hit each. Piazza & Estes had the big blows with the HRs.

Short Time Mets Pitcher & His Big Start In A Mid Season Subway Series Classic: Shawn Estes (2002)

Aaron Shawn Estes was born February 18, 1973 in San Bernardino, California. The six foot two inch, left handed pitcher was a highly sought after prospect attending high school in Nevada, getting offered a scholarship to Stanford University.

He turned it down when he was selected as a first round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1991, the 11th pick overall. After four seasons in the minor leagues he was traded to the San Francisco Giants organization in 1995, along with Wilson Delgado in exchange for Salomon Torres. 

 He made his MLB debut in September of 1995 losing all three games he pitched. After a 3-5 year the next season, he turned it all around to have a career year. He went 19-5 (second most wins in the league) with 181 strikeouts, pitching 201 innings, posting a 3.18 ERA and making the NL All Star team. He was never known as a control pitcher & that year was no exception. He led the league in walks (100) and hit batters with eight. 

Estes would walk 100 plus batters three more times in his career  & would lead the league in wild pitches again in 1999. He was in the leagues top ten four times in that category. In 1998 he began the year at 0-4 after staring out with an opening day no decision. He closed out the year losing seven of eight decisions, dropping to a 7-12 record. He came back the following year to improve to 11-11 with a 4.92 ERA. 

In 2000 he was in the league’s top ten in wins once again, going 15-6 with 136 strikeouts in 190 innings, for the NL Western Champion Giants. He did post a high 4.26 ERA and walked over 100 batters for the second straight season. 

Post Season: In the NLDS against the New York Mets, he started Game #2 in San Francisco & was pulled in third inning for a pinch hitter. He left the game behind 2-1, after allowing a Timo Perez's two run single in the top of the third inning. Estes earned no decision in the Mets 5-4 win.

 In 2001 he put up a 9-8 record posting a 4.02 ERA. That December he was traded to the New York Mets for Desi Relaford and Tsuyoshi Shinjo. He was placed into a 2002 Mets starting rotation that featured Al Leiter, Steve Trachsel, Pedro Astacio & Jeff D’amico. 

Estes got the start in the third game of the season taking a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing three runs.He got two more no decisons in close one run ball games & then took his second loss in Montreal on April 20th. On April 26th, Estes threw a one hit gem against the Milwaukee Brewers at Shea Stadium. He struck out eight & allowed just one walk in the classic 1-0 shutout. But as May began he lost two more games, falling to 1-4 with a 4.71 ERA. By mid June he was 2-5, when on a rainy Saturday afternoon he was to set to pitch in a media hyped game at Shea Stadium. 

It was an inter league game against the cross town rivals and Roger Clemens's was his opponent. Since the game was being played in the National League Park at Shea Stadium, Clemens would have to come to bat against the Mets. It Would be the first time he’d face a Mets pitcher, since he had hit Mike Piazza in the head with a pitch, placing him on the DL back in 2000. 

The game was talked about for days and was blown way out of proportion by the media & the fans alike. It was the hottest ticket in town that day & the anticipation was gut wrenching for those of us lucky enough to attend. You almost felt sorry for Sean Estes, who was thrown in the middle of this madness, and had only been a Met for a few months. 

It was his first taste of the rivalry as he was given the ball that day. It was quite a moment when Clemens's came to bat. The Shea Mets fans stood up loudly anything they could at him. Since the Mets were winning & we had the larger numbers, the A.L. New York fans also took a verbal harassment. 

 On the first pitch to Clemens as he stepped in looking a bit shy, Estes threw a slow pitch behind his back. It did not hit him or knock him down. Most fans wanted to see Clemens go down and nothing short of that was going to satisfy the hungry mob. Clemens seemed to gesture a tip of the cap to Estes during the at bat.

Estes fate was sealed that day, as he would not be a Met for long. But on that day it was one of his best as a Met, besides the one hitter. He pitched seven innings of shutout ball, striking out eleven batters, while allowing just five hits. At the plate, he drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice bunt, then later added insult to injury, when he hit a two run HR off Roger Clemens. This was the during the height of Clemens steroid days, in which he later admitted guilty to. 

 But it was Mike Piazza’s who really brought the Met fans to their feet that day, He blasted a lead off 6th inning HR off Clemens, once again hitting him so well. The Mets won the game 8-0 making for good day at Shea for the fans. 

Estes returned to the mound later that week, facing the Kansas City Royals in a rare visit to Shea. He pitched into the 7th inning, allowing three runs, earning no decision in the 4-3 Mets win. Although he allowed just two runs to the Braves in his next start, he took another no decision as Tom Glavine & Chris Hammond & John Smoltz took care of the Mets 6-3. 

He would take three more losses through July before winning his first game since the subway series victory, a month & a half ago. His last Mets win was a fine outing, as he tossed a seven inning, two hit performance beating the Astros 10-0. But Estes was traded by mid August, going to the Cincinnati Reds (with cash) for players to be named later. The Reds would send Pedro Feliciano & a minor leaguer to New York to complete the deal. 

In 23 games with the Mets he went 4-9 with a 4.55 ERA, striking out 92 batters & walking 66 in 132 innings. 

Estes would move on to the Chicago Cubs (2003), Colorado Rockies (2004) Arizona Diamondbacks (2005) & San Diego Padres (2006-2008) over the next four seasons. He had another 15 win season (15-8) in Colorado in 2004. 

He pitched 202 innings, striking out 117 batters while posting a 5.84 ERA & leading the league in earned runs (131). In 2006 he pitched only one game and then needed Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2007 season but returned for nine games with San Diego in 2008. Estes retired at the end of the year. 

In his 13 year career he was 101-93 with a 4.71 ERA. In 283 games pitched he struck out 1210 batters, walking 858 over 1617 innings pitched. He threw 14 complete games with eight shut outs for seven teams. 

Honors: In 2010 he received a plaque on the Giants wall of fame at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco.