Dec 5, 2016

Former Mets Number One Draft Pick: Tim Foli (1970-1971 / 1978-1979)

Timothy John Foli was born on December 6, 1950 in Culver City California. Foli was a star high school baseball & football player in the Los Angeles area in the late sixties. He turned down a football offer from USC to play baseball instead.

The fiery, passionate shortstop with the quick temper was nicknamed “Crazy Horse” by his fellow team mates. The shy mild looking Foli was notorious for getting into fights with opposing players, umpires & his own team mates as well.

Early on he would throw temper tantrum's & cause trouble if the situation wasn't right. But he was a fierce competitor & hard nosed player that gave it his all.

He was the number one overall draft pick in the 1968 draft, chosen by the New York Mets. Although he was a tough hitter to strikeout, he had little power, not much speed on the bases & didn’t draw many walks.

He was a very good bunter & sacrifice hitter, finishing in the leagues top ten in sacrifice hits eight times. Foli was all about his glove, he was an excellent defensive short stop.

In 1969 while the Mets were on their way to winning the World Series, Foli showed off that glove& hit over .300 for their A ball Visalia club. In 1970 he spent most of the year at AAA Tidewater, hitting .261 getting a cup of coffee in September, making his debut on September 11th 1970.

In his second career game, he had two hits and drove in an 8th inning insurance run as the Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

Drama: Early on in his career he got into a dugout scuffle with Mets veteran Ed Kranepool. Kranepool believed Foli had been throwing bouncing balls to first base intentionally during infield practice. He then refused to have a pre game warm up toss with Foli near the dugout, Foli confronted Kranepool & teammates had to break it up.

With All Star Bud Harrelson at short stop, Foli almost had to beg to see some playing time in 1971, as he made most of his appearances at second & third base. On May 9, he had one of his biggest offensive games, getting three hits with an RBI triple and a three-run double in a 9-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. It would be his only four-RBI game until eight years later in 1979.

In August he had a three RBI day in the second game of an August 3rd double header. The Mets won the game 9-5 beating the reigning World Series Champion Cincinnati Reds. On the last day of the season, he drove in two runs as Tom Seaver beat the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium for his twentieth victory.

Overall he finished 1971 playing in 97 games, batting .226 with 12 doubles, 32 runs scored and 24 RBIs. In 12 games at his natural short stop position he was perfect, making no errors. He posted a .964 fielding % in 58 games at second base making nine errors & .954 % in 36 games at third.

Just before the 1972 season began, Foli was involved in a huge Mets trade, getting traded along with Ken Singleton and Mike Jorgensen to the Montreal Expos for star outfielder Rusty Staub. In Montreal Foli became the Expos main shortstop for the next five seasons, batting between .238 and .264 each year.

Foli was a popular player in Montreal, and in a July 1973 game against Houston, Bob Watson slid hard into second base, to break up a double play. Foli was leveled falling to the ground, breaking his jaw.

When Watson went to left field in the next inning, the Montreal fans at Jarry Park hurled any kind of debris they could find at Watson stopping the game. Foli missed the next month of the season but did make a triumphant return.

In 1975 he led all NL short stops in games (151) assists (497) put outs (260) & was fourth with a .973 fielding %. One story says Foli spent the whole night sitting on second base at Montreal's Jarry Park after making an error leading to an Expo loss. In 1976 he posted career highs with 36 doubles (5th in the N.L.) HRs (6) and slugging (.366%).

In an April 21st, game, he singled, doubled and tripled against the Chicago Cubs before the game was suspended due to rain. The next day, the game resumed and he hit a HR to complete the first cycle in Montreal Expos history. He was third in fielding that season & in the top five in assists & put outs once again.

Foli remained in Montreal until mid way through the 1977 season, when he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for their short stop Chris Spier. After 104 games as a Giant, rated as the league's fourth best shortstop, his contract was purchased by the New York Mets.

In 1978 he returned to a very different Shea Stadium than he had left six years ago. The Mets were in last place and playing to empty crowds to what became known as Grants Tomb. Foli struggled at the plate, not hitting over the .200 mark until mid June.

On June 5th he doubled in the bottom of the 9th inning off the Dodgers Terry Forster, tying up the game. He then scored the winning run when Doug Flynn reached on an error.

On June 11th he had his own walk off hit, a single off the Pittsburgh Pirates Eddie Whitson, scoring John Stearns. On September 19th he hit his only HR of the year, coming off Tom Bruno in St. Louis. Foli would play in 113 games for manager Joe Torre’s last place Mets, batting .257, hitting one HR with 21 doubles and 27 RBIs. He posted a .967 fielding%, turning a league leading 78 double plays with second baseman Doug Flynn. Foli made 18 errors in 522 chances in 112 games on the year.

After playing just three games for the Mets in 1979, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for shortstop Frank Taveras. The trade sent Foli from the worst team in the league to the best team that was on their way to a World Series title.

He set career highs in Pittsburgh in batting average (.288) RBIs (65) runs (70) and hits (153). He only struck out once in every 38 at bats, which the best ratio in baseball. Post Season: Foli hit well when it counted most as he compiled a .333 batting average in the 1979 postseason.

Post Season: Pittsburgh went on to sweep the 1979 NLCS, with Foli driving in a run in all three games. In the World Series, against the Baltimore Orioles, he had a hit in six of the seven games, with a double, triple, two walks & three RBIs.

In Game #5 with the Pirates down three games to one, Foli scored the tying run and drove in three runs off Cy Young winner Mike Flanagan. He would also score a run in Game #6 against Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, as the Pirates won the Worlds Championship.

In the eighties Defensively, Foli led all shortstops in fielding in 1980 & again in 1982. He would also lead the league in double plays & chances twice.

In 1982 he was traded to the Angels, where he was reunited with his old Expo skipper Gene Mauch. When main short stop Rick Burleson went down with injury, Foli took over batting .252 with 56 RBIs as the Angels went on to win the AL Western title. In the 1982 ALCS he only went 2-16 with an RBI hit.

He spent 1983 in California as well, playing more of a back up role now, at the age of 33. He went to the AL New York team in 1984 & then to Pittsburgh again before retiring after the 1985 season.

He closed out his 16 year career playing 1524 games at short (59th all time) with a .972 fielding percentage (51st all time) making 4804 assists (52nd all time) & 2687 put outs (61st all time). He batted .251 with 1515 hits, 25 HRs, 241 doubles, 501 RBIs & a .283 on base % in 1696 games.

Retirement: After playing he coached with the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals and then managed in Puerto Rico under General Manager, former Met Felix Millan.

Millan had to fire the quick tempered Foli during the Caribbean World Series claiming he had been disrespectful.

He managed the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League in 1998 and spent 1998 to 2000 with the New York Mets organization as an infield and base running coordinator.

He went to the Cincinnati Reds and got into a brawl there with his fellow coach; Ron Oester. Most recently he has worked in the Washington Nationals organization, as manager of the AA Syracuse Chiefs.

Family: Foli lives in Ormond Beach, Florida with his longtime wife of over forty years, the lovely Ginette. His son Daniel Foli was a minor league pitcher, who spent time in the Mets organization in 2005.

Short Time Mets First Baseman: Luis Rosado (1977/1980)

Luis Rosado Robles was born December 6th 1955 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. The six foot right handed hitter was a back up catcher & first baseman. He was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1972. Luis' nickname was "Papo".

Rosado would have a long baseball career playing 15 years over all with just two brief appearances in the major leagues. He started out with the Marion Mets in 1972, going through A ball Visalia, AA with the Jackson Mets & reaching AAA Tidewater by 1977. After batting .275 with career bests in RBIs (59) hitting 9 HRs that year he got a September call up to the Mets.

Rosado debuted on September 8th, playing first base going 0-4 in a 8-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. In his next game on September 14th he got his first career hit, coming off Hall of Famer Steve Carlton. The hit was a big one as he soon scored on pitcher Nino Espinosa's base hit. It was the only run of the game as the Mets beat Carlton 1-0.

Rosado came back with two more hits the next day including his first RBI. He would drive in two more runs that September, both in games against the Pittsburgh Pirates resulting in Met loses. Rosado played in nine games, batting .208 with a double & 3 RBIs.

Rosado appeared in just two more games with the Mets three seasons later in 1980. The next year he was sent to the Mexican League in an unknown transaction. In 1984 he signed with the Baltimore Orioles & was traded to the Detroit Tigers organization in 1985. He finally hung them up after the 1986 season.

Post Playing Days: He was the President for the Association Baseball Players of Puerto Rico for 15 years.

The First Short Stop Out of The Dominican Republic: Amado Samuel (1964)

Amado Ruperto Samuel was born on December 6, 1938 in in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. The six foot utility infielder was signed in 1938 by the Milwaukee Braves.

He was a pioneer in his own right, being the very first player in a long line of short stops signed out of the small town of San Pedro des Marcoris. He bounced around the minors for a full decade before spending parts of three seasons in the major leagues.

Samuel made his debut in 1962 with the Milwaukee Braves, playing in a career high 76 games batting .206 hitting all three of his MLB career HRs. In 1963 he played in only 15 games at the major league level, batting a weak .176 before having his contact purchased by the New York Mets.

He played mostly at short stop (34 games) with some third base as well (17 games) in 53 appearances for the ’64 Mets. In the first game ever played at Shea Stadium, he batted in the 8th position was the starting short stop. He drove in the second & third runs of that historic game with a base hit off Bob Friend in the fourth inning.

He had a five game hit streak in June, collecting ten hits during the stretch. He had his career day at the plate, on Saturday June 20th, getting three hits against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium.

The next day was Fathers Day 1964, & Samuel was robbed of a hit by Cookie Rojas, preserving Jim Bunning’s perfect game. In 53 games on the season, he hit a career high .232 with seven doubles and five RBIs. He posted a .945 fielding percentage making six errors in 106 chances.

By July he was sent back down to the minors finishing off his three year MLB career. He played in 144 games with 79 hits 3 HRs 25 RBIs 18 doubles & a .215 batting average.

Dec 4, 2016

2006 N.L. Eastern Champion Mets Outfielder: Cliff Floyd (2003-2006)

Cornelius Clifford Floyd was born on December 5, 1972 in Chicago Illinois. His father worked two jobs in order to have the family live in a safe suburb outside of Chicago.

Cliff was a star baseball player but passed up college baseball scholarships when the Montreal Expos made him their first round pick (14th pick overall) in 1991. He hit 16 HRs with 98 RBIs & a .304 average in A ball in 1992 getting promoted the next year. He went from AA to AAA quickly hitting a total of 28 HRs & 119 RBIs, which earned him a September cup of coffee.

In 1994 he made the regular Expos squad as an outfielder. This was Felipe Alou's first place Expo team that may have very well won it all if not for the Baseball strike cancelling the rest of the season. In 100 games he batted .281 with 4 HRs 41 RBIs 19 doubles & a .332 on base %. He came in fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting. He suffered an injury limiting him to just 29 games in 1995, then slowly began to develop in Montreal through the 1996 season.

Floyd was then traded to the Florida Marlins just in time to win the World Series there in 1997. In 61 games he hit 6 HRs and drove in 19 runs batting .234 with 24 walks & a .354 on base %. I

n the World Series against the Cleveland Indians he went 0-2. By the next season he was becoming a solid player hitting 22 HRs with 90 RBIs but injuries kept nagging him. If Floyd was healthy he may have been one of the games top players, in 1999 he was limited to just 69 games batting .303.

His next three years in Florida were big ones, he drove in over 90 runs each year hitting over 22 HRs as well. His biggest year was 2001 when he hit 31 HRs with 44 doubles (7th in the NL) 123 runs scored (6th in the NL) 103 RBIs batted .317 stole 18 bases & posted a .390 on base %. 

At first he wasn’t named to the 2001 All Star team and he criticized Mets manager Bobby Valentine’s decision not to name him to the squad. After an injury opened a position, Bobby V named him to the squad; it was his only All Star appearance.

In 2002 he went from Florida back to Montreal then briefly to Boston hitting 28 HRs with 79 RBIs combined and batting .288. In 2003 he was signed by the New York Mets as a free agent. Floyd would spend the next four seasons as the Mets left fielder, when he wasn’t injured or on the disabled list.

He debuted on Opening Day 2003 going went 0-4 in the Mets Opening Day loss to the Chicago Cubs. The next day he hit a two run HR, leading the club to a 4-1 home victory. In May he hit eight HRs with 24 RBIs, including a grand slam in Milwaukee on May 4th, leading to a 5-3 Mets win. In June he hit HRs in back to back games during interleague play when the Mets hosted the Seattle Mariners.

Three days later he drove in five runs, with a HR & three hits in the Mets 8-2 victory against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. After a decent July he drove in a dozen runs in the first part of August, including a four RBI day on August 16th against the Colorado Rockies.

Then on August 18th, his season was cut short as he went down with injury. In his first season in New York, Floyd hit .290 playing in 108 games. He tied for the team lead in HRs with Jeromy Burnitz (18) and also lead the club in walks (51). He also hit 25 doubles while driving in 68 runs with a .376 on base%.

In 2004 he began the season with a HR in the third game of the year, helping in a 3-2 Mets win. But then he missed a month of action going down on the DL once again. He returned in mid May, and in his second game back hit a grand slam off the Astros Roy Oswalt in Houston. On May 18th he drove in the winning run with a walk off single against the St. Louis Cardinals & former Met; Jason Isringhausen. In the week of June 10th, Floyd drove in runs in five of six games, although the Mets lost all but one of them.

On June 29th he led the team to a win bashing a pair of HRs in Cincinnati against the Reds in a 7-5 win. He had a good start to July hitting three HRs with nine RBIs in the first week of the month.

On July 3rd he hit a big three run HR at Shea Stadium, off Jose Contreras leading the Mets to a 10-9 Subway series win. He started out August with a bang as well, driving in seven runs in the first week of that month. On August 14th he hit a two run HR & drove in another run ,leading the Mets to a 4-3 win over the Diamondbacks.

In September his only HR came against the Atlanta Braves in a 7-0 Mets win. His season ended early, as he got injured again on September 18th. He finished the 2004 season batting .260 with 18 HRs 26 doubles 63 RBIs (second most on the club) & a .352 on base %, (second to Mike Piazza .362%). That year the Mets finished fourth under Art Howe.

 In 2005 the Mets were improving, with a new manager Willie Randolph & the off season signings of Pedro Martinez & Carlos Beltran. Floyd would have his best season in New York that year as well. Mainly because he stayed healthy playing in 150 games. He led the club with a career high 34 HRs (8th in NL). He drove in with 98 runs (second to David Wright's 102) with 22 doubles, a .273 batting average, 12 stolen bases & a .358 on base %.

Defensively he was second among left fielders with a .993 fielding % making 15 assists. That year he received votes for the NL MVP Award. Floyd had an early season 20 game hitting streak, while driving in 20 runs in the month of April. On May 13th he hit two HRs against the St. Louis Cardinals, & drove in both runs of a Tom Glavine combined five hit shutout. Later in the month, he drove in the only run of a Pedro Martine eight inning five hit shutout performance in Florida.

He had a hot June hitting in all but four games, with nine HRs & driving in 16 runs. He hit two HRs on June 5th, in the second game of a 12-1 double header sweep over the San Francisco Giants.

On June 11th, he hit a huge three run walk off three run HR, against the L.A. Angels Brendan Donnelly for a 5-3 Met win. On June 24th he opened up the subway series matchup across town, with a HR off Mike Mussina in a 6-4 Mets win. The next day on June 25th he hit two HRs while driving in four runs in the Mets 10-3 victory. Both his HRs came off Sean Henn, helping the Mets take the first two games of the Series.

In August he drove in runs in nine of his first twelve games played, raising his average to .290. On September 15th he hit a grand slam at Shea Stadium, off Livan Hernandez of the Washington Nationals. The Mets lost the game when Vinny Castilla singled home the winning run off Roberto Hernandez in the top of the 10th inning.

In the month he hit HRs on back to back days twice, the first time on a road trip to Florida & the latter at home against the Atlanta Braves. He finished the month with seven HRs & 18 RBIs.

In 2006 he was surrounded by a good team with better hitters all around him. A long personal history of Injuries began to wear him down & wind down his career.

He struggled at the plate at first not reaching the .200 mark until May 18th. He missed almost all of June as well as most of August with injuries. When he was playing he wasn't the same hitter. In APril he drove in eleven runs although he hit just .185. On May 5th after the Atlanta Braves took the lead off Billy Wagner in the top of the 11th inning, Floyd delivered with a solo HR to tie it back up in the bottom of the inning.

The Mets won it in the 14th on David Wrights walk off single. In July Floyd had two of his biggest days of the year; first a three hit five RBI day against the Florida Marlins at Shea Stadium on July 8th. That day the Mets beat the Marlins 17-3 in the night cap of a double header. Then the next week at Wrigley Field in Chicago, he hit two HRs & had another big five RBI against the Cubs in a 13-7 win.

He only appeared in 97 games in the Mets 2006 NL Eastern Division winning season, batting .244 with 11 HRs 26 doubles 44 RBIs & a .324 on base %.

Post Season: He had a good NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers , starting out with a Game #1 HR off Derek Lowe at Shea Stadium. In Game #2 he had a 6th inning single off Brett Tomko, & scored a run on Julio Franco's force play, in the Mets 4-1 win. Overall he batted.444 getting four hits in nine at bats.

His NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals wasn’t as good. He was injured again and just went 0-3 appearing as a pinch hitter. His last Mets at bat came in the 9th inning of Game #7, when he struck out looking Adam Wainwright for the first out of 9th inning. The Mets did not resign him in the off season & Floyd went home to Chicago signing a one year deal with the Cubs.

There he batted .284 with 9 HRs & 45 RBIs in 108 games. In 2008 he went to Tampa playing for the AL Champion Rays as a fourth outfielder.

In 80 games he hit .268 with 11 HRs 13 doubles & 39 RBIs. He got to another World Series going 4-18 in the post season as a reserve outfielder. He hit .333 in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies going 1-3 in three games.

In 2009 he played in just ten games with the San Diego Padres but was released in October.

In a 17 year career Floyd played in 1621 lifetime games hitting .278 with 1479 hits 233 HRs 865 RBIs 340 doubles 23 triples 601 walks 1064 strike outs and a .358 on base %.

Retirement:  Cliff Floyd lives in South Florida with his long time partner & wife Mary. They have two children together. They are involved in an annual bowling charity in South Florida, which involves the Miami Marlins team as well.

Cliff & Mary Floyd have gone into business with UnFranchise & have became executive coordinators in Market America &

In Spring Training 2015, he broadcast his first Mets game for SNY as an analyst with Gary Cohen. He did a small part time job with them during the season. Floyd also has worked as an analyst for FOX Sports baseball Night America, Sirius radio, the MLB Network & Fox Sports Florida as a Marlins broadcaster.

Floyd was on hand in New York for festivities surrounding the 2013 MLB All Star Game at Citi Field.

From the Polo Grounds to Hollywood- Early 20th Century New York Giants Star: Turkey Mike Donlin

Michael Joseph Donlin was Born on May 30, 1878 in Peoria, Illinois. His family moved to Erie, Pennsylvania where he tragically lost both his parents in bridge collapse while still a young boy.

Eventually he made his way out west to California & began to play baseball. He earned the nickname Turkey Mike due to the way he walked with gait like a turkey.

He was acquired by the National League’s St. Louis Perfectos (who became the Cardinals) in 1899 & 1900. He was an excellent hitter but a poor defensive player, and he decided to jump over to the American League. He went to Baltimore & played for his former team mate John McGraw. He ran into trouble when he got arrested during a drinking binge & was waving a loaded revolver on a train. He had to do six months time in Albany New York.

The Orioles released him but the Reds picked him up and in 1903 he was 2nd in the NL in hitting (.351). He was in the league’s top five in most offensive categories becoming one of the games best hitters. In 1904 he was having another great year when his heavy drinking got him arrested again & suspended for 30 days which eventually led to a trade to the New York Giants.

He arrived in New York playing outfield for his old team mate John McGraw again. He hit .280 in the last 42 games of the season, helping the Giants win the NL pennant. They didn’t play in the World Series because John McGraw refused to acknowledge the American League as an equal.

Turkey Mike loved New York, he was a heavy drinker & a real ladies man, who loved to stay out late. He was a sharp dresser with dashing looks and always seemed to find trouble. He was popular with the ladies, & the guys like hanging out with him too.
In 1905 he had one of his best seasons; finishing third in the NL in hitting (.356) second in hits (216), leading the league in runs scored (124) fifth in on base percentage (.415) third in HRs (7) eight in steals (33) & fourth in doubles (31).

The Giants went on to the World Series & beat Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. In the Series Turkey Mike hit .263 (5-19) with a double, 2 walks and an RBI.

Actress Mable Hite
In April of 1906 he decided to settle down and married Vaudeville actress Mable Hite. He was hitting .315 after 37 games when he broke his ankle sliding into second base & had to miss the rest of the season.
Turkey Mike still wanted the same salary next year as well as the $600 bonus he received for staying sober. Giants owner John T. Brush refused. The result had Turkey Mike sit out the entire 1907 season until an agreement was made. He spent time with his wife & lived the high society life.
He returned in 1908 & hit the game winning walk off HR on opening day at the Polo Grounds. He again came in second in the league in hitting (.334) for the fourth time in his career. He was second in hits (198) fourth in doubles (26) & HRs (6). Sixth in stolen bases (30) eighth in triples (13) & in runs scored (71).

The Giants finished 2nd to the rival Cubs, in the famous year of “Merkles Boner” which some blamed on losing the pennant. Defensively Donlin had his finest year only making a career low six errors (155 games) & posting a career best .977 fielding percentage.
In October of 1908, Donlin & his wife Mable Hite, wrote a one act play called “Stealing Home” & he made his stage debut. Although he received mixed reviews, critics raved over his wife's performance and the show became a huge hit.

He claimed he made more money from his play & he left baseball vowing to never to return. The shows success lasted for three years, after that Mable Hite couldn’t land any leading roles. This led to Turkey Mike returning to baseball and once agin playing for John McGraw.

By now Donlin was 33 years old & no longer the player he used to be. He was traded to Boston and finished the season batting .316 overall with 234 at bats. He briefly played in Pittsburgh in 1912 batting .316 in 77 games but wasn’t resigned. He had one last chance with the Giants in 1914, batting .161 in 34 games before retiring for good. After a 12 season career he batted .333 lifetime with 1282 hits 176 doubles 97 triples 51 HRs 543 RBIs & 213 stolen bases.

In 1912 his wife Mabel died of cancer and two years later he marr
ied actress Rita Ross of Fenton & Ross comedy fame. After baseball he returned to acting and switched from the stage to the screen in Hollywood. He had a number of small roles in the era’s silent movies including the classic starring Buster Keaton “The General”. Also “Raffles The Amateur Cracksman” (1917) and “The Sea Beast” (1926).

One of Turkey Mikes best friends and drinking buddies was renowned actor John Barrymore who helped place him in a few of his movies. He was also used as an advisor on a number of baseball movies. He passed away from a heart attack, in his sleep at age 55 in Hollywood.
Quotes: As night baseball was first being introduced, Donlin said “Think of that, taking a ball player's nights away from him!"

The First Italian American Baseball Pioneer: Lewis Pessano

Lewis Pessano  known as "Buttercup Dickerson" is a pioneer for Italian Americans. He is credited as being the first Italian American professional baseball player, paving the way for many greats to come after him.

Due to the prejudice against Italians & Americans of European descent back in those early days, many people change their names to make them sound more American. (Very unlike today where people want to sound non American and get everything handed to them beacuse of it.) Pessano changed his to Dickerson, and was known by the nick name Buttercup. The origins of that name come from a character in the Gilbert & Sullivan play H.F.S. Pinafore.

Lewis Pessano was born on October 11, 1858 near Baltimore Maryland. He began his playing career back in 1878 as an outfielder with the Cincinnati Red Legs. He led the league in triples (14) in 1879 while hitting .294 the following season. He was mostly a part time player, also playing for the Troy Trojans & Worcester Ruby Legs batting .316 in 1881. After that season he was put on the National League's blacklist (probably because of his ethnicity) but did get reinstated the next year.

In 1883 he went to play for the Pittsburgh Allegheny’s, who were known as one of the hardest drinking teams of all time. He went to play briefly with franchises in St. Louis, Buffalo, Baltimore & Louisville. Pessano played in 408 career games with 500 hits and a .284 batting average.

Pessano passed away in July of 1920 in Baltimore, Maryland at age 61. He was inducted into the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 1979 as one of its first members.

Dec 3, 2016

Mets Infielder & 2012 Second Round Pick: Matt Reynolds (2015-2016)

Matthew William Reynolds was born December 3rd 1990 in Tulsa Oklahoma. The six foot one right handed short stop / second baseman, attended the University of Arkansas playing third base for the Razorbacks. There he led the team in HRs (7) & RBIs (45) while batting .323. 

Reynolds was selected by the New York Mets in his Junior year, as a second round pick, a pick they received from the Florida Marlins from the the Jose Reyes signing.

In 2012, Reynolds began his Mets career at A ball Savannah Sand Gnats hitting .259 in 42 games. By 2013 he was a full time short stop for the A ball St. Lucie Mets, hitting just .226 with 5 HRs & 46 RBIs. He still impressed the organization although his hitting numbers weren't too impressive & he ended the year with a one game promotion to AA Binghamton.

In 2014 his bat came to life, as he hit .355 for the AA Binghamton Mets while posting a .430 on base %, collecting 75 hits & 29 walks in 211 at bats. His power numbers were still low with just one HR, five doubles & 21 RBIs. He was pushed up to AAA Las Vegas filling Dilson Herrera's roster spot as he went North to New York. In 68 games at Las Vegas, he hit .333 with 5 HRs 16 doubles 4 triples & 40 RBIs. He posted a .385 on base % which gave him a combined .405 % on the season.

He was invited to the Mets 2015 Spring Training camp & started out by hitting well turning a lot of heads. He impressed quickly as he hit a 9th inning walk off HR against the Detroit Tigers to win a game in the first week of play. People started saying he may compete with Wilmer Flores & Ruben Tejada for the Mets short stop position.

Quotes: Matt Reynolds- “I came in here with the attitude I’m going to compete my butt off to try to win the job, I am just going to come here and compete every day, and by me competing I’m making Flo’ better, I’m making Tejada better and vice versa. By us competing together it makes us stronger and better players.

Reynolds spent 2015 at AAA Las Vegas batting .267 with 6 HRs 32 doubles & 65 RBIs in 115 games.

2015 World Series: Amazingly, Reynolds made the 2015 Mets post season roster for infield security, but did not play in any games.

He began 2016 at AAA Las Vegas but would make three trips up to the Mets big league squad. He made his big league debut on May 17th, playing third base in a Mets 2-0 win over the Nationals. He got his first hit on May 25th in another 2-0 Mets win over the Nats. When Wilmer Flores came off the DL, Reynolds was sent back down.

He returned when David Wright went down with his injury. On June 18th he came to bat in the top of the 11th inning & lined out to short. On the play a force was made at second but Asdrubal Cabrera scored in what was the game winning run.

On June 22nd, he hit a 6th inning HR off the Royals Joakim Soria, in what once again turned out to be the winning run.

He was back down & up again, hitting a three run HR in the subway series, although the Mets took a 6-5 loss. On September 5th he  hit his third HR, it came on a big three hit day in a 5-0 win at Cincinnati. Reynolds ended the year batting .225 with 3 HRs 8 doubles & 13 RBIs in 47 games, 89 at bats.

Former Mets Outfielder & the Best Trade That Never Happened in 2015: Carlos Gomez (2007)

Carlos Argelis Gomez was born on December 4th, 1985 in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The six foot three outfielder, was signed out of high school as an amateur free agent by the New York Mets in 2002.

In 2004 he was playing in the Rookie league for Kingsport & the Gulf Coast Mets. He hit .275 at A ball Hagerstown in 2005, getting promoted to AA Binghamton in 2006. There he stole 41 bases & hit .281 getting a lot of attention. In 2007 after a quick five games at St. Lucie, he was at AAA New Orleans where he hit .285 with 17 steals in 36 games.

Gomez was brought up in mid May, debuting against the Milwaukee Brewers in a 9-1 Mets win at Shea Stadium. Gomez impressed the fans with two hits, a double & two runs scored in the game. On May 16th, in his third game, he had another two hit game, driving in runs with a single & a double in a 8-1 Mets win at Shea over the Chicago Cubs. 

After a quick start his average fell off until mid June when he bottomed out at .218. On June 10th he hit his first career HR, it came at Tiger Stadium in Detroit in a 15-7 Mets loss. In the June subway series he had five hits over two games, including two in Oliver Perez's five hit shut out over Roger Clemens on June 15th, in the Bronx.

On June25th he hit a solo HR off Mike Maroth, in a 2-1 win at Shea Stadium over the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Gomez got his average back up to .279 and stole seven bases in the month. In July he was sent back down to sharpen his skills, returning in September. He struggled as did the Mets, as the team missed getting into the playoffs in the final days of the season. Gomez hit .232 with 2 HRs 3 doubles 12 RBIs & 12 stolen bases in 58 games.

He showed signs of a promising future & was highly touted by the club. That February of 2008, he was used to get Johan Santana to the Mets, as he, Philip Humber & Kevin Mulvey were sentto Minnesota in excahnge for the super star pitcher.

Gomez got the start in centerfield right away for the Twins in 2008. In May he became the first Twin since Kirby Puckett (1986) to hit for the cycle. In center, he led the AL in put outs (436) as well as errors (8while making nine assists (3rd in the league). He batted .258 with 7 HRs 24 doubles & 59 RBIs, but most impressive was his 33 stolen bases (7th in the AL).

In 2009 he missed some action as his average fell to .229, while he stole just 14 bases, for the first place Central Twins. In the ALDS loss he played in just one game going 0-4, with a walk & a run scored. After the season the Twins gave up on him, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for JJ Hardy. He split time with veteran Jim Edmonds in center and disappointed once again batting just .247.

In 2011 he was the Brewers main centerfielder & after 81 games broke his collarbone diving for a fly ball. He ended the season batting .225 with 8 HRs & 24 RBIs in 94 games.

Post Season: Gomez returned to action in September & was ready for the post season, as Milwaukee faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. In Game #4 he had two hits including a two run HR off David Hernandez in the Brewers 10-6 loss at Arizona. Playing in three games of the series he got three hits in four at bats . In the NLCS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals he played in five games but got just two hits.

In 2012 Gomez improved to a .260 average, hitting 19 HRs 19 doubles & driving in 51 runs. He stole 37 bases getting caught just six times while scoring 72 runs.

By 2013 he was having himself an All Star year, finally playing up to the potential he was thought to be at. He had career highs in HRs (24) doubles (27) triples (10) RBIs (73) runs (80) & on base % (.338). He was forth in the NL with 40 steals getting caught just seven times for a 85% (4th best in the NL). On the down side he struck out 146 times (6th in the NL).

In centerfield his superior range & strong arm had him win the Gold Glove Award. He made 12 assists (2nd in the NL) posting a .988 fielding% leading the league in put outs as well. Gomez was honored with an All Star appearance, getting a nice ovation from the New York fans at Citi Field.

Just before the All Star Game on July 8th, he robbed Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds a Game winning HR by leaping over the fence for the grab, sealing the 4-3 win.

Drama: On September 25th, he hit a HR off the Braves Paul Maholm in a 4-0 Brewers win. He stood & watched the ball go over the fence then slowly ran the bases while shouting at Maholm. Gomez later claimed it was pay back for a past game when Maholm had hit him with a pitch.

The incident caused a bench clearing brawl, after catcher Brian McCann blocked home plate getting an obstruction call. Gomez was fined one game by the Commissioner. 

In 2014 he got into another brawl with Travis Snider of the Pittsburgh Pirates, serving a three game suspension. Gomez claims he is prone to getting into fights because his androgen levels get high at times.

In 2014 he put up almost exact same numbers as in 2013, batting .284 with 73 RBIs both season with 23 HRs in 2014 & 24 HRs in 2013. He was 4th in the league in steals both years with 40 swipes in 2013 & 34 swipes in 2014.

Gomez began 2015 in Milwaukee, his sixth season there, as one of the teams star & top players. Gone were the Brewers playoff teams as they fell to a fourth place finish (68-94). At the trade deadline he was rumored to be coming to the New York Mets for the postseason run.

As the news spread a bit too prematurely, Gomez was snapping photos with his Brewer team mates on a flight, saying goodbye & posting the picture on line. Word came to Citi Field & the fans told Mets short stop Wilmer Flores he was being traded for Gomez. This led to Flores breaking down emotionally on the field & a new Mets hero was born.

The Mets did not like what they saw in Gomez' medical report & the trade was off. His personality issues may have also played a part in that decision. There was some negative press at first because the wash women in media must always cry about something, but it turned out to be the best trade the Mets may have never made in recent history. GM Sandy Alderson would acquire Yoenis Cespedes & others getting the Mets to the World Series.

Gomez ended up going to another good young ball club, the Houston Astros. There he hit .242 with 4 HRs 9 doubles & 13 RBIs in 41 games.

Post Season: In the AL Wild Card game he went 1-3 with an RBI. The troubled Gomez got into another shoving match with the losing AL New York teams catcher there as well. In the ALDS loss to the Kansas City Royals he went 3-12 (.250) with a HR in the Game #4 loss at Houston & two RBIs.

He began 2016 back in Houston, with high expectations for him & the team. But after 85 games he hit just .210 with 5 HRs & 29 RBIs. Things got so bad that he was designated for assignment & released by the Astros. Two days later he was given a minor league contract by the Texas Rangers for their playoff run. In his first Rangers at bat, he hit a HR. Overall in 33 games he was a bit revived batting .284 with 8 HRs & 24 RBIs.

In an ten year career he is hitting .257 with 1003 hits 195 doubles 116 HRs 239 stolen bases 453 RBIs & a .312 on base %. In the outfield he has a .985 fielding % & has 62 assists.