May 18, 2019

2000 NL Champion Mets Relief Pitcher: Turk Wendell (1998-2001)

Steven John "Turk" Wendell was born on May 19, 1967 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The six foot two, right-handed pitcher attended Quinnipiac College, setting single season strikeout & ERA records there. Wendell was then drafted in the fifth round of the 1988 draft by the Atlanta Braves.

He began his minor league career as a starter, going 11-11 in 1989 at both the A & AA levels. He fell to 5-12 the next year moving into the bullpen as a relief pitcher. In September of 1991 he was traded with Yorkis Perez to the Chicago Cubs for Damon Berryhill and Mike Bielecki.

He debuted with the Cubs in 1993, pitching in just thirteen games over his first two seasons. He would spend parts of five seasons with the Cubs, becoming their closer by the 1996 season. That year he appeared in 70 games, with 18 saves, going 5-4 with a 2.84 ERA.



In 1997 the Cubs closer duties went Terry Adams, as Wendell fell to a 3-5 record in mid relief appearing in 52 games.

In August of 1997 he was traded to the New York Mets along with Brian McRae and Mel Rojas for outfielder Lance Johnson, who was coming off a career year. (The Mets later sent Mark Clark and Manny Alexander to complete the trade.)

Wendell soon became a work horse reliever for Bobby Valentine, with good control & a good fastball. He also became popular with the Shea fans due to his zany antics. Wendell wore a necklace around his neck made from teeth of various animals he had hunted down. 

He would wave to the centerfielder before each inning & wouldn’t start pitching until the outfielder waved back. He would start out each inning by drawing three crosses in the dirt on the pitcher’s mound. He would crouch down on the mound when his catchers would stand up back of the plate. 

Turk chewed black licorice instead of tobacco and would hide in the corner of the dugout to brush his teeth between innings. For good luck he superstitiously leapt over the white base line on his way to the dugout. He would also have the umpire roll the ball to him instead of having it thrown back.

He wore #99 in honor of Charlie Sheen’s Wild Thing character in the movie Major League, and signed a three year contract in 2000, worth $9,999,999.99 in honor of his number. His most famous trademark was when he would slam down the rosin bag before getting set to pitch, drawing a huge cheer from the Shea Faithful.

Turk Wendell made his Mets debut on August 9th at Shea Stadium pitching one inning of relief against the Astros. On September 2nd he pitched four innings in an interleague game against the Toronto Blue Jays & earned a save. On Opening Day 1998 he came in for the 13th inning pitching against the Philadelphia Phillies. He earned the victory after a four hour & thirty five minute season winning home opener.

Two days later he got another win in extra innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although he was a primarily middle reliever by the end of August he was 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA. On the year he would make 66 appearances going 5-1 with four saves, eleven holds and a 2.93 ERA over 76 innings. 

In 1999 he allowed an earned run in Florida in the season opener, but got no decision in the 6-2 loss to the Marlins. After that game he would only allow one more earned run over his next sixteen appearances, going through mid May. I

n that time he gathered up nine holds and kept his ERA at 1.57 well under two. He had a good July as well, earning his second win on July 5th, and then earned his third save on July 26th coming against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That month he earned five more holds but did blow a save & took a losing decision against the Expos.

After two straight losses during the first week of September, he came back to earn wins in back to back outings that next week. He finished the year setting a Mets team record with 80 appearances, while getting credit for 21 holds amongst the tops in the NL, going 5-4 with 77 strike outs 37 walks in 85 innings pitched, with three saves & a 3.05 ERA.

1999 Post Season: NLDS: In Game #1 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks he was the winning pitcher in Arizona, after pitching a scoreless 8th inning. The Mets then had Edgardo Alfonzo hit a 9th inning grand slam HR leading to an 8-4 win.

1999 NLCS: In the NLCS he earned another win against the Atlanta Braves when John Olerud singled home the winning runs off John Rocker in the 8th inning of Game #3 at Shea Stadium. Overall in the 1999 post season he made seven appearances going 2-0 allowing three runs over seven innings pitched. He struck out five & walked six in 7.2 innings of work.


In 2000 he began the year with five holds in the month of April, earning two victories during the week of April 20th. The wins both came at home, first on April 20th he pitched a scoreless 11th inning then got the win courtesy of Melvin Mora's walk off HR.

In May he had a rough start blowing two saves & taking two losses in the first two weeks.


On May 21st he earned a win at Shea against the Arizona Diamondbacks & then two days later earned another victory in San Diego after pitching two scoreless innings against the Padres. He earned himself four more winning decisions over the last two months as the Mets chased the Braves for the Eastern title & won the NL Wild Card title.

Wendell finished with a career high eight victories, going 8-6 with one save, leading the team in appearances once again (77) while posting 17 holds, & a 3.59 ERA. He struck out 73 batters in 82 innings of work. He also did a lot of charitable work with children in the New York area & won the New York Press' Good Guy Award for the 2000 season.

2000 Post Season: In the 2000 post season he appeared in two games of each series, including earning a strange win in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.

2000 NLCS: In Game #2 of the NLCS, he entered the game in the 8th inning and allowed J.D. Drew to tie up the score at 5-5. He intentionally walked slugger Mark McGwire then struck out Craig Paquette to end the St. Louis threat. The Mets scored a run in the 9th inning on Jay Payton’s RBI single and Turk ended up with the win.

On the eve of the 2000 World Series he said " The AL NY Teams Stadium, I don't give a hoot about it. We played there before."

2000 World Series: In the 2000 Subway World Series he was the loser in the twelve inning loss in the opening game. Wendell served up former Met Jose Vizcaiano’s game winning base hit. Turk would make one more appearance in that Series, overall allowing one run on two hits, with two strike outs &a walk in 1.2 innings of work.

Wendell pitched in two post seasons with the Mets going an overall 3-1 in thirteen appearances, striking out 14 batters in 12.2 innings pitched, allowing four runs on six hits.

In 2001 he made 40 appearances going 4-3 with six holds & a 3.51 ERA into late July . On July 27th he was traded along with fellow reliever Dennis Cook to the Phillies for Bruce Chen & Adam Walker. 

In his five seasons with New York, he never posted a losing record or had an ERA above 3.60. He made 285 Mets appearances (12th all time in Mets history) going 22-14 with ten saves, 55 holds and a 3.34 ERA, striking out 259 batters in 312 innings while walking 147.

Wendell, was always outspoken & never afraid to speak his mind. When asked if he thought Barry Bonds & Sammy Sosa used steroids, he said yes. He also said everyone in baseball; players, coaches, managers & owners alkie knew about steroid use. He spoke out against steroid use and believed everything in Jose Canseco’s controversial book “Juiced”.

In 2001, he hit Vladimir Guerrero with a fastball saying; “ If he doesn’t like it, he can freaking’ go back to the Dominican and find another line of work." Less than a month later, he was ejected from a game against the St. Louis Cardinals for throwing behind catcher Mike Matheny. After the game, he told the media "When Rick Ankiel is out there throwing balls everywhere, why don't they throw him out of the game?"

After his Mets days his career was plagued by injuries, even missing the entire 2002 season. He went 3-5 in those last three seasons, finishing up his career in Colorado with Rockies in 2004. In his 11 year career, he went 36-33 lifetime with 33 saves, posting a 3.93 ERA with 515 strikeouts & 324 walks in 645 innings pitched making 552 appearances.

Retirement: In 2006 he visited the Troops in Afghanistan as part of MLB’S Heroes of the Diamond tour. He says he was so inspired by that trip he tried to enlist but was denied because he is color blind.

Wendell owns Wykota Ranch, a 200-acre hunting and fishing camp in Larkspur, Colorado.

In 2010 he told the Daily News he believes there should be a worldwide draft in baseball, and told former union president Donald Fehr just that. “These kids are coming over from Japan, Cuba or where ever and they’re giving them $30 million and they’ve never set foot in a minor league facility and they’ve just robbed every kid in Triple-A that’s competing for that spot.”

Remembering Mets History: (1980) John Stearns Tackles A Fan On the Playing Field

Thursday June 12th 1980: A crowd of 19,501 fans came out to Shea Stadium, for this series finale. They were eager to see Joe Torre's fourth place Mets (26-27) sweep Tommy Lasorda's second place Los Angeles Dodgers (32-24). The Mets sent John Pacella to the mound to go up against L.A's Dave Goltz. It was a wild series that already had had a bench clearing brawl two days earlier.

In the top of the 2nd inning Dusty Baker singled & scored on a Mike Scoscia RBI double. In the 3rd, Bill Russell doubled & Reggie Smith drove him in with a single. Steve Garvey also singled & Baker hit a three run HR making it 5-0 L.A.

But the Mets bounced back, in the 5th inning John Stearns & Eliott Maddox both singled.

Goltz attempted to pick off Maddox at first, but Steve Garvey's error advanced the Maddox & Stearns from third. After Ron Hodges walked, Lee Mazzilli singled home Maddox making it 5-2. Frank Tavares then singled, bringing in Hodges. Another Dodger error scored Mazzilli to bring the Mets within a run.

In the home 6th, Mike Jorgensen & John Stearns both walked. Eliot Maddox then sacrificed to the pitcher & got himself an infield hit. Jorgensen scored on a wild throw by new Dodger pitcher; Bobby Castillo. The throw went all the way to the backstop & Stearns scored all the way from first base. It was all the Mets needed for the 6-5 win, as Neil Allen came on & got the save. 

But there was more excitement during the game when two fans jumped onto the field & ran across the outfield. Security guards chased the fans but weren't able to track them down & the game was delayed.


Mets catcher; John Stearns saw enough, the former college football defensive back (University of Colorado) left his catchers spot & ran into left field after the fans. He managed to tackle one of the fans & hold him down until the police came over to arrest the individual. 

 John Stearns was certainly a tough guy, he had been known for brawls & head on collisions at home pate. One famous one was with Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Dave Parker & another with Montreal Expos star (& future Mets All Star) Gary Carter. Stearns even once attacked the Atlanta Braves mascot; Chief Nocahoma after he had been heckling him.

Former New Jersey Born Italian /American Pitcher: Al Santorini (1968-1973)


Alan Joel Santorini was born May 19, 1948 in Irvington, New Jersey. Santorini attended Union high school starring in baseball by the mid sixties. He had gone 50-1 at the junior high & high school levels.

There was rumors that he would be the Mets number one draft pick but that all changed when Casey Stengle attended a game in his native Glendale, California. Stengel watched a young catcher named Steve Chilcott hit three HRs & the Mets went with him. The six foot right handed Santorini, was instead the Atlanta Braves first round pick of the 1966 draft, the eleventh pick overall.

On September 10th 1968 he made his MLB debut in a game against the San Francisco Giants. He was greeted with a two run HR by Willie McCovey taking a loss allowing three runs in three innings pitched. It was his only appearance that season. That winter he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft making him an original Padre.


He got his first MLB win on April 18th 1969 at Candlestick Park, beating the San Francisco Giants 3-1. Overall he went 8-14 on the year, tying Joe Niekro for most wins on the staff in that inaugural Padre season. He struck out 111 batters (also second on the staff) posting a 3.95 ERA, with twelve wild pitches (sixth most in the league).

In 1970 he struggled, falling to 1-8 with a 6.07 ERA, getting sent back to the minors. In May of 1971 he got to start both games of a double header against the Houston Astros. He only pitched to one batter a righty, in the first game, and then gave the ball to Dave Roberts who faced seven consecutive left handed batters in the lineup.

In the second game, manager Preston Gomez, started Santorini again, this time he went six solid innings but allowed two runs, as the Padres lost both games of the twin bill. He was 0-2 in June and then got traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Fred Norman & Leron Lee.

Trivia:  His 1971 Topps card has him warming up at Shea Stadium. He is over near the right field side with the classic Mets score board behind him.

By 1972 Santorini was back as a starting pitcher, going 8-11 with three shutouts posting a 4.11 ERA for the Cardinals. In 1973 he appeared in just six games before finishing up his big league career.

In six seasons he went 17-38 with three saves, striking out 268 batters while walking 194 & posting a 4.09 ERA. At the plate he was a career .109 hitter.

Retirement: After baseball, he was a real estate agent, painter & carpenter.


May 17, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (1972) Willie Mays Returns To New York With A Game Winning HR

Sunday Mothers Day-May 14th 1972: This was a historic & emotional day at Shea Stadium, as the great Willie Mays made his triumphant return to New York.

A deal had been finalized on Thursday, May 11th 1972, that would send Wiillie Mays to the Mets from the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Charlie Williams & cash.


The future Hall of Famer had always been a favorite of Mets owner Joan Payson since his early days as a New York Giant. Mrs. Payson had pursued Mays for years, but was never able to make a deal. The San Francisco Giants were losing money, long time owner & friend to May, Horace Stoneman could not afford to pay Mays any longer & certainly not after his retirement.

The Mets could, also offering a coaching job & a salary for life. Mrs. Payson finally got her man, Mays would finish out his career in the City where his great Hall of Fame career began.

Although he was at the twilight of that career, his presence meant everything to the young players & fans. Mays had debuted in New York with the New York Giants 21 years earlier in 1951. The National League, New York fans were thrilled to have the Say Hey Kid back home.


In his first game with the Mets, Mays was batting lead off and playing fat irst base. It was a day filled with standing ovations from the Shea crowd of  35,505 as the Mets took on Willie's old team; the San Francisco Giants.

Left hander; Ray Sadecki started for Yogis Berra's first place Mets (17-7) against "Sudden" Sam McDowell & Charlie Fox's sixth place Giants (9-19).

Willie Mays led the game off with a walk, the first of two he'd have on the day. McDowell couldn't find the plate, as he followed with walks to Bud Harrelson & Tommie Agee. Next up came was another new addition to the '72 Mets; Rusty Staub.


Staub had come over from the Montreal Expos in the off season. Staub gave Willie & the mom's in attendance a huge Mothers Day gift, blasting a grand slam HR, putting the Mets up 4-0.

Sadecki cruised along until the 5th inning, as the Giants Fran Healy singled & Bernie Williams tripled to score him. Then the Giant short stop Chris Speier doubled to bring him Williams in. Next up; second baseman Tito Fuentes hit a two run HR & it was a tie ball game.

Reliever Don Carithers came in to pitch for the Giants, as Willie Mays led off the bottom of the 5th inning.

In story book, dramatic fashion, Willie gave the crowd a thrill as he hit a HR over the Shea Stadium wall, putting the Mets up 5-4.


The Mets dugout jumped up in excitement & the wet Shea crowd went crazy. Welcome home Willie, it was quite a home coming!!

That HR would end up being the game winner, as Jim McAndrew came on to pitch four scoreless innings to earn the save. The Mets only had four hits in the game but held on to win it 5-4 and had a nice three game lead ahead in first place.




SNY Analyst (2015-2018) & Former Mets Pitcher: Nelson Figueroa (2008-2009)


Nelson Figueroa was born on May 18, 1974 in Brooklyn, New York.

The six foot one, right hander went to Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island. The school has had some famous alumni including; the Mets Lee Mazzilli. Other notable names are Mel Brooks, Harvey Kietel, Lou Gossett Jr., John Forsythe, broadcaster Marv Albert, author Arthur Miller, singers Neil Sadaka & Neil Diamond, drummer Buddy Rich, & New York Knick Stephan Marbury.

Figueroa then attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts where he earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies while pitching on the baseball team. He was drafted by the hometown New York Mets in the 30th round of the 1995 draft, the 833rd pick overall.
 
Figueroa was 7-3 with the Kingsport Mets in the Rookie league in 1995, then 14-7 with a 2.04 ERA, at A ball with Capitol City in 1996. By 1998 he was traded off to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with Bernard Gilkey for Jorge Fabergas.

Nellie pitched for Arizona (2000) the Philadelphia Phillies (2001), Milwaukee Brewers (2002) & Pittsburgh Pirates (2003-2004) going a combined 7-17 in 74 games overall as a both a starter & middle reliever.

911: The tragedies of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, affected the New Yorker Figueroa, who is also an artist. He helped design patriotic t-shirts sold for charity by MLB in the aftermath of 9/11.


Nellie had surgery for a torn rotators cuff, & then spent three seasons in the minor leagues. He would pitch briefly in China & for Puerto Rico in three World Baseball Classics.

In 2008 he got back to the big leagues, getting signed by the New York Mets. He was a long shot to make the team, but a solid Spring got him a spot on the staff going North.

On April 2nd, he made his Mets debut pitching a scoreless 7th inning in Florida in a 13-0 romp over the Marlins. He appeared in two games in relief in the first week of the season.

On April 11, 2008 he was called to help out an ailing staff making a start against the Milwaukee Brewers. His family was on hand at Shea Stadium watching from Billy Wagner’s private box as he went six innings allowing only two hits, and striking out six while earning the win.

He earned his second victory against the Braves at the end of April, allowing three runs while pitching into the 6th inning.

In May he allowed nine earned runs over ten innings in two games, taking the losses in both of them getting designated for assignment on May 13th. He was brought back to the Mets bullpen in September finishing the year at 3-3 with a 4.57 ERA appearing in 16 games.

He signed a minor league contract for 2009 and got another chance to start at the big league level, for the Mets in April taking a loss.


He returned in August going 1-2 and then began September with five straight losing decisions. But on the last day of the season, he pitched the best game of his career in what turned out to be his Mets outing. He threw a four hit shutout against the Houston Astros at Citi Field in front of 38,000 fans, striking out seven batters. He finished the year at 3-8 with a 4.09 ERA, 59 strike outs in 70 innings in 16 games pitched.

In 2010 he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies & Houston Astros earning a career high seven wins (7-4) with a 3.29 ERA.

In 2011 he began the year on the Houston staff going 0-3 in eight games getting sent down to AAA Oklahoma in early May. He finished up 6-7 there & pitched at AAA Scranton in 2012 at age 37 .

In his career he was 20-35 with a 4.55 ERA, 337 strike outs & 203 walks in 499 innings pitched in 145 games.

Retirement & SNY: In 2015 Figueroa replaced the popular former Met pitcher; Bobby Ojeda on the SNY network as an studio analyst.
 
One of the first greetings he got was big boo from comedian Jerry Seinfeld who was a big supporter of Ojeda. Shortly afterward Seinfeld back tracked & told Nellie that he was on his side as well.

With big shoes he had to fill, Nellie did a fine job at SNY and became popular with the Mets fans.

He contributed to the SNY programs, Mets Hot Stove, Daily News Live, Loud Mouths & SNY tv. 

In December of 2015 he received a hip replacement & has recovered well.

In 2019 Todd Zeile replaced Figueroa as the SNY lead studio analyst. Figueroa continues to work for the network in a supporting role.

Family: Nelson, his wife & daughter live in Jersey City, NJ during the season. They live in San Diego & Arizona during the off seasons.

Former Italian American New Jersey Born Met: Rick Cerone (1991)

Richard Aldo Cerone was born on May 19, 1954 in Newark, New Jersey. After attending Essex Catholic high School he went to the local Seton Hall University. There he was a star baseball player for the Seton Hall Pirates. In 1975 the five foot eleven catcher became the first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians.

He was brought right up to the team that same year, debuting in Minnesota in a game against the Twins. He would play in seven games that year & appear in seven more at the end of 1976.

In December 1976 he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with John Lowenstein for former batting champion, the veteran Rico Carty. There he shared catching duties with Alan Ashby for two seasons taking over the starting job by 1978. He wasn’t known for his bat, hitting .239 in his first full season in 1979, with 7 HRs & 61 RBIs in 136 games.

Defensively he threw out 40% or more of would be base stealers, with a .980 fielding %. Although he was second in the league in past balls (8) in 1978 & second in errors (13) in 1979. In November 1979 he was traded along with Tom Underwood to the A.L. New York team for Chris Chambliss, Damaso Garcia and Paul Mirabella.

In 1980 he led all A.L. catchers throwing out 57 of 110 would be base stealers (52%) with a .990 fielding %. At the plate he had career highs in HRs (14) doubles (30) RBIs (85) & batting (.277) while posting a .321 on base %. In 1981 his average fell off 33 points & he got back to reality never matching his previous season numbers again. In the strike shortened season he batted .244 with two HRs 13 doubles & 21 RBIs.

In the post season he batted .333 in the ALDS against the Oakland A's with one HR & five RBIS. In the next two series he batted just .145 with a HR in the World Series loss to the L.A. Dodgers. Cerone spent five seasons in New York sharing time with Butch Wynager.

In 1984 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves spending the '85 season there sharing time with Bruce Benedict. He then went to Milwaukee in 1986 batting .259 in 68 games. In 1987 he signed again with the AL New York team getting released at the end of the season. He then spent two seasons in Boston behind Rich Gedman with one more brief stint in AL New York, before signing on with the New York Mets for the 1991 season.

Cerone debuted as a Met in the second game of the 1991 season, catching Frank Viola. In the 9th inning of that game at Shea Stadium he hit a HR off former Met Roger McDowell to tie the score as the Mets went on to win it on a Hubbie Brooks walk off HR in the 10th. In his third Mets game of 1991, he had a 1st inning bases loaded single scoring two runs in the Mets 7-1 win over the Expos. He then drove in runs in three straight games going into May, while keeping his average above .300 through the middle of the month.

In August he hit safely in 13 of 17 games while driving in three runs. Cerone led met catchers, Mackey Sasser, Charlie O’Brien & Todd Hundley with 81 games behind the plate that year. His .273 batting average was third best on the team, behind Keith Miller & Daryl Boston. At age 37 he threw out 45% of would be base stealers, posting a .987 fielding % making just six errors in 466 chances.

The next season the Todd Hundley Mets era began at catcher & Jeff Torborg took over as the teams manager. Cerone was not resigned & went to Montreal to finish out his career.

In his 18 year career Cerone threw out 37% of would be base stealers, posting a .990 fielding % (78th all time) He caught 1279 games behind the plate (57th all time) with 705 stolen bases allowed (81st all time). Cerone batted .245 with 998 career hits 59 HRs 190 doubles a .301 on base % & 436 RBIs in 1329 games.

Retirement: Cerone did a short time as a broadcaster in the 1990's with New York & Baltimore. He currently lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey as well as Long Branch to be near his three daughters from his prior marriage. Cerone has been honored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for his tremendous efforts in raising money & awareness to the disease.

May 16, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (1999) Robin Ventura Becomes the Only Player To Hit Grand Slams In Both Ends Of A Double Header

Thursday May 20th 1999: Bobby Valentine & the New York Mets (22-18) get set to play a twi-night double header against Phil Garner's Milwaukee Brewers (18-20) at Shea Stadium. The Brewers joined the National League in 1998 after 27 years of American League baseball.

The starting pitchers in the first game of the twin bill, were  Al Leiter & Jim Abbot. Both were to be the pitchers of record, but neither one had a great outing.

The game turned into a huge hit & run explosion with an 11-10 Mets win. The Mets had 13 hits in the game with the Brew Crew collecting  12 hits of their own in the 25 hit barrage.


 
 
Starting Lineups

In the bottom of the 1st, Robin Ventura began his historic night. The Mets began a two out rally, as John Olerud & Edgardo Alfonzo both walked. Mike Piazza then got an infield single to load the bases. Robin Ventura then hit a grand slam HR off Jim Abbot, making it 4-0.

For the Mets, Benny Agbayani would hit two HRs of his own, a three run shot in the 5th inning, as well as a solo shot in the 7th inning. They were his second & third HRs on the season. Agbayani enjoyed a big game, with four hits & five RBIs.  Mike Piazza added his seventh HR of the year, a 6th inning two run shot giving the Mets their tenth run of the night.
______________

Night Cap Starting Lineups


In the second game a Bobby Valentine favorite, Masato Yoshi took the mound against Milwaukee's Steve Woodward. This one was a real Mets Blowout, New York scored ten runs on twelve hits, knocking out Steve Woodward in the 4th inning.

The Mets scored early, in the home 2nd inning Robin Ventura continued his big day, leading off with a double.  Then Brian McRae also doubled bringing in Ventura & putting the Mets on the board 1-0. Luis Lopez singled driving in McRae for a 2-0 Mets lead.

In the 3rd, Roger Cedeno singled, advanced to second & scored on a John Olerud double making it 3-0.

In the 4th inning, Benny Agbayani tripled & was brought in by Luis Lopez who doubled. Roger Cedeno then singled in Lopez to put the Mets ahead 5-0.

The Mets big 4th inning continued, Cedeno stole second & third base as well. Edgardo Alfonzo walked & John Olerud was hit by a pitch to fill the bases again.

With the bases loaded, Robin Ventura stepped in a familiar spot. The Brewers changed pitchers as Phil Garner gave Horatio Estrada the ball.

The RBI, grand slam machine Robin Ventura greeted him with a long blast, sailing down the right field line. It stayed fair and was certainly gone, for Ventura's second grand slam of the day. It was his 8th HR of the year taking the Mets team lead at that point from Mike Piazza. This put the Mets ahead 9-0 & they cruised to victory from there.

Ventura made MLB history, becoming the first & only player to hit grand slam HRs in both ends of a double header.

Trivia: In his career Robin Ventura is tied for sixth place (with The San Francisco Giants Willie McCovey) on the All Time grand slam HR list with 18.

Remembering Mets History (1972): Rookie John Milner Drives in Five Runs

Wednesday May 17th, 1972: Yogi Berra's first place Mets (20-7) had gotten off to a good start of the '72 season which began with a Players Strike & the death of beloved Mets Manager; Gil Hodges. 16,905 fans came out to Shea, to see the Mets host Gene Mauch's Montreal Expos (13-14).

The Mets were certainly hoping for big things from Rookie slugger John Milner. Milner was hopeful to being the Mets next outfield star, the youngster from Atlanta, Georgia was even nicknamed after his hero Hank Aaron, calling himself "the baby hammer". Mets fans would know him as the "hammer" when he arrived in the big leagues as well.

After making a brief appearance in 1971, he made the roster in 1972. He began making pinch hit appearances & got his first start on April 26th. That day he went 2-4, he got a hit in his next start & then got two more hits in his third start. On n May 17th he had one of his biggest days of his Rookie campaign &  one of his biggest run production days ever.


Starting Lineups


In the home 1st, Montreal's Ernie McNally walked the first three Mets to come to bat. A Rusty Staub sac fly made it 1-0. John Milner then cracked a double to left field bringing in two more runs & it was quickly 3-0 Mets.

In the 3rd, Tommie Agee walked & Rusty Staub reached on an error. John Milner then hit his first career HR, as the Hammer collected three more RBI's topping off a big five RBI day. It was now  6-0 Mets. New comer, Jim Fregosi & Duffy Dyer both singled, then Bud Harrelson added an RBI base hit & Ken Boswell drove in Dyer & Harrelson making it 9-0 Mets.

Later, Ted Martinez walked with the bases loaded making it 10-2. In the 7th, Agee walked & Jim Fregosi tripled bringing him in. Fregosi had four triples that year for the Mets, in 1968 he led the league with 13 triples for the California Angels. Duffy Dyer later singled topping off the Mets twelve run, seventeen hit day in a 12-2 victory.

Milner led the run scoring with five RBIs, Dyer had four hits, Fregosi collected three hits & Harrelson, Agee, Staub & Milner two hits each.

Remembering Mets History (2009) Mets Steal A Franchise Record Seven Bases

Thursday May 14th, 2009: Jerry Manuel's New York Mets (19-15) were making an early West Coast California trip to take on Bruce Bochy's Giants (18-16) in San Francisco's AT & T park.

On this night the Mets would set a franchise record by stealing seven bases in the game. Ironically, the teams most famous base stealer; Jose Reyes was not in the lineup, this in an injury prone season where Reyes would only play in 36 games.

Starting Lineups


The Mets began in the 1st inning, as Alex Cora singled & stole the first of his two bases on the evening. He scored on Gary Sheffield's base hit. Team Captain; David Wright, who had a career night of his own, also singled & stole the Mets second base. Wright would lead the Mets on this night with four stolen bases.

On the mound John Maine had a terrible first inning, issuing three hits, two walks & two wild pitches giving the Giants a 2-1 lead. The Mets got the lead back in the 3rd, as Carlos Beltran singled, Sheffield hit a ground rule double & David Wright singled in Beltran. Wright then stole second & Sheffield scored on a wild pitch. Mets now ahead 3-2.

The Mets added a run in the 4th, when the slow footed Ramon Castro walked. He advanced on two singled & then finally scored when Luis Castillo hit into a double play.

Later, David Wright stole another base in the 7th inning. The Mets had a 4-2 lead into the 8th inning, when Bobby Parnell blew the save & the lead, allowing three hits & walk, with future Met, Juan Uribe & Jose Renteria collecting the RBIs.

In the top of the 9th, with one Carlos Beltran doubled & stole third. Sheffield walked & stole one of his only two bases of the season. David Wright then singled in the games go ahead runs & collected his fourth stolen base, both coming off the bearded reliever, Brian Wilson. Ramon Castro drove in the Mets 7th & final run of the 7-4 win.

Trivia: David Wright would lead the 2009 Mets with 27 stolen bases, Luis Castillo was next with 20 & Angel Pagan came in third on the club with 14.