Jan 21, 2019

Remembering the Mets First Free Agent Signing: Tom Hausman (1978-1982) On His Passing

Thomas Matthew Hausman was born on March 31, 1953 in Mobridge, South Dakota. The six foot four right hander,was an All State basketball player as well as a top pitcher in Laverne, California. He was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the tenth round, of the 1971 amateur draft. 

Hausman would win 13 games at A ball, with the Newark Co-Pilots in the New York / Penn league in 1971. In 1972 & 1973 he won 12 games each season, posting winning records both times, getting called up to the 1975 fifth place Milwaukee Brewers staff. 

 He debuted pitching in New York, allowing two runs in 10-1 loss to the A.L. New York club. He suffered from back issues throughout the season. On the year he was 3-6 with a 4.10 ERA in 29 games pitched. With the exception of three appearances with the Brewers, he spent most of 1976 & all of 1977 with AAA Spokane, in the Pacific Coast League.There he was 13-6 leading the league with 30 starts. 

Trivia: In the winter of 1977 he became the first official New York Mets free agent

signings. It was certainly a small signing, as Mets Chairman- M. Donald Grant (who was now running the team after Mrs. Joan Payson had passed & her daughter was left with a team she didn't really want) had refused to give in to the new age of free agency & giving big money to players. Of course this killed the club for years.

Hausman began the 1978 season at AAA Tidewater, and pitched well going 5-2 there with a 1.22 ERA in ten games. That performance got him a promotion to the Mets big league staff by July '78.

Hausman debuted with the Mets at Shea Stadium on July 7th, 1978 wearing Jon Matlack’s old uniform number 32. Matlack had been traded in a terrible four team deal after the 1977 season.

 Hausman got the start against the Chicago Cubs, allowing six earned runs over 4.1 innings earning no decision in the 7-4 loss. He would win his next two starts including an eight inning shutout performance against Phil Neikro & the Atlanta Braves, at Shea Stadium on July 22nd. 

On August 23rd, he pitched another eight shutout innings, this one against the San Francisco Giants, but lost a 2-1 game to Bob Knepper. When the Giants came to Shea, the next week, he took another 2-0 heart breaker to Knepper. Hausman would make ten starts for the ’78 Mets, going into the 8th inning twice while allowing no runs in those two games. 

He finished at 3-3 with 16 strike outs & nine walks in 51 innings pitched posting a 4.70 ERA. That year at the plate he had three hits good enough for a .176 average driving in two runs as well. 

In 1979 he began the year at AAA Tidewater again, going 6-4 in 12 games with a 4.50 ERA getting called up in June. He lost his first four decisions, three as a starter & one where he pitched six innings of long relief. On June 18th, he lost in the 18th inning at the Astrodome, when Craig Reynolds ended the game with a walk off RBI base hit.

On July 24th, he lost another extra inning game, in the 12 inning to the San Diego Padres. In the top of the 12th inning he served up a HR to Dave Winfield. 

Hausman was put in the bullpen & on July 8th, he earned his first save in win at Shea against the San Diego Padres. He then got another start & pitched a complete game victory against the San Francisco Giants on July 14th. 

He didn’t earn another victory until September 26th, his last start of the year. He pitched into the 9th inning at Wrigley Field, beating the Cubs in a 8-3 Mets win. For the 1979 season he was 2-6 with two saves, 33 strike outs & 19 walks posting a 2.75 ERA in 19 games. 

In 1980 he began the year as a starter, he went 0-1 in April with a 7.27 ERA & was placed in the bullpen where he would spend the rest of the year, as the second right handed reliever. In June he would earn three wins in relief, the first two coming while pitching four strong innings of relief against the Pirates & Dodgers.

He closed out June with a win, when Steve Henderson won a game with a 9th inning hit. On July 3rd he pitched five innings of one run ball in relief of Ray Burris, to earn a win in Montreal. 

In August he went 2-2 and by this time, had lowered his ERA down to 3.10 by the start of the month. Overall he appeared in career high 55 games (second on the staff to Jeff Reardon & Neil Allen) going 6-5 with a save, 53 strike outs & 26 walks posting a 3.98 ERA. He did allow 12 HRs & 125 hits in 122 innings pitched. 

In the strike shortened 1981 season arm troubles began to ruin his career, he appeared in twenty games going 0-1. In 1982 he was with the Mets from May until early September, pitching in 21 games going 1-2 with a hold to his credit posting a 4.29 ERA. 

He was traded to the Atlanta Braves in September 1982 for Carlos Diaz. There he pitched in just three games for the NL Western Champions. 

In his seven year career, Hausman was 15-23 with three saves, 180 strike outs 121 walks & a 3.80 ERA in 441 innings in 160 games pitched. He attempted come backs in the Pacific Coast League but it never worked out & he retired to Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Passing: On January 16th 2019, he passed away at the age of 65.

Jan 20, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (1962) Frank Thomas Hits Six HRs in Three Games

The 1962 Mets were in their first year of existence, on their way to losing a record 120 games. It was a rough season as far as winning games, although it was an important season bringing National League baseball back to New York City. The old fans of the NY Giants & Brooklyn Dodgers took to the Mets & whole new loyal fan base was born.

During the first week of August Mets slugger Frank Thomas brought some excitement to the Polo Grounds.

Wednesday August 1st,1962: Casey Stengel’s Mets were 26-77 in last place, already 43 games back of first. On this day they hosted Gene Mauch’s seventh place Philadelphia Phillies (50-58).

Met pitchers gave up a total of eleven runs,  Al Jackson (five earned runs) Ray Daviault (two earned runs) Bob Miller (one earned run) & Willard Hunter (one earned run) in a 11-9 loss. 

Frank Thomas provided a huge offensive day to start an incredible three day span. 

On August 1st, Thomas began his big day with a bases loaded walk in the second inning. In the bottom of the 4th, with Joe Christopher, Richie Ashburn & Charlie Neal on base he hit a grand slam HR off future Met, Jack Hamilton.

In the bottom of the 6th with the Mets down 10-8 he brought them within a run as he hit a solo HR off pitcher, Dennis Bennett. Thomas completed a two HR six RBI day, the biggest offensive day in team history at that point, which was just four months old. 

Thursday August 2nd 1962, the Mets would take a 9-4 loss to the Phillies on this day. Philadelphia hurler, Art Mahaffey tossed a complete game, five hitter. Two of the hits were from "Marvelous' Marv Throneberry, while the other three came from Frank Thomas.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Thomas hit his 22nd HR of the year, a long solo shot. Then in the 7th, Thomas connected again, as he hit a line drive HR over the Polo Grounds wall for his second straight multi HR game. "Marvelous" Marv Throneberry followed with a HR of his own & then blasted another in the 9th inning. 

Friday August 3rd 1962, Fred Hutchinson’s third place Cincinnati Reds (63-43) were in town & took an 8-5 win in front of just under nine thousand fans. 

Thomas led off the home 2nd, with a solo HR off the Reds pitcher, Joey Jay.

 In the 7th, he would hit yet another solo shot, his 25th HR of the year.

For Thomas, he hit six HRs with eight hits & ten RBIs over the three games, bringing his average up to .296. On the season he would hit 34 HRs (6th in the NL). In his career he hit 286 HRs (156th all time).

Former Mets Backup Catcher: Anthony Recker (2013-2015)

Anthony Vito Recker was born on August 29th in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The six foot tow catcher attended Alvernia College in Reading, Pa. He was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 18th round of the 2005 amateur draft.

Recker played in the minors for seven years before getting an MLB call up & actually considered retirement from the game. He & a friend made a pact they would join the FBI if Recker's career did'nt go anywhere back in the late 2000's.

He did show some power in his minor league career hitting 15 plus HRs in both 2007 & 2009. His best year came in 2011 hitting .288 with 16 HRs & 48 RBIs, finally getting called up to the big leagues..

Recker debuted with the Oakland A's on August 25th in New York in a 22-9 debacle in which he caught the entire four & a half hour loss. He played in five games the rest of the season hitting .176.

In 2012 he began the year with Oakland in hopes of making it as backup catcher, but he hit just .129 through late May & was sent to the minors. In August he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Blake Lalli & then was placed on waivers in October.

He was picked up by the New York Mets, where he was to fill in as a backup catcher behind the newly acquired, veteran John Buck. Buck was to take the catching duties until Travis d'arnaud was ready to get to the big leagues full time.
Recker made his Mets debut on April 7th, getting a start behind the plate at Citi Field in a 4-3 Mets win over the Miami Marlins. In the 5th inning he doubled to bring in Ruben Tejada for his first hit & RBI.

On May 10th he hit his first career HR, coming at Citi Field in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On June 5th at Washington, he had a big two hit three RBI day in a 10-1 Mets win over the Nats. Recker singled off Dan Haren with the bases loaded bringing in a pair & then later doubled home Marlon Byrd in the 5th.

On June 18th he got the call to catch Zack Wheeler in his much anticipated MLB debut at Atlanta. Wheeler struck out seven, allowed no runs on four hits while earning a win, in his home town state.

On June 30th Recker pitched the 9th inning of a Mets 13-2 win over the Washington Nationals, to help out a tired bullpen.

 Although he was only batting .157, he was seeing more playing time from late June to early July & had a strong start to the month. Recker hit HRs in back to back games against the Arizona D-backs at Citi Field collecting three hits. 

On July 9th he homered off Barry Zito in San Francisco, as the Mets took three games from the reigning world series champs. On August 8th, his 4th inning sac fly scored Marlon Byrd in what turned out to be the games 2-1 winning run over the Arizona D-backs.

Recker with Mets Legend Rusty Staub
The Mets traded John Buck at the end of August & Recker was the clubs main back up catcher. In 50 games he hit .215 with 6 HRs 7 doubles & 19 RBIs. 

Behind the plate he has thrown out 21% of would be base stealers & posted a .990 fielding %.

Family: In the off season Recker married his wife Kelly.

The Mets were confident enough to go into 2014 with youngsters; Recker & Travis d'arnaud as their two main catchers.

On April 12th, in an inter league contest in Los Angeles / Anaheim, Recker hit a 13th inning game winning HR off Matt Shoemaker. Earlier in the game he had a two run single as well. 

He hit two HRs in April then would not hit another until July 6th, a three run shot against the Texas Rangers in a 8-4 Mets win. 

On August 11th, Matt den Dekker tied up a game with a 7th inning double at Citizen's Bank Park. Recker followed two batters later with a two run HR, sealing the Mets 5-3 victory.

In his next three games stretching over two weeks, he homered in them all. On August 31st, he hit a three run HR off the Phillies A.J. Burnett leading New York to a 6-5 win over Philadelphia.

On September 7th he blasted a two run shot off the Reds Mat Latos in a
4-3 Mets win at Cincinnati. He added another HR on September 11th.

In 58 games he hit 7 HRs with 27 RBIs nine doubles but hit just .201. But he played a fine defense in a back up role, throwing out 37% of would be base stealers & posting a .998 fielding %. For a brief period he was given the main job as Travis d'arnaud was sent down to fine tune his skills.

In 2015 he began the year backing up Travis d'Arnaud. But when d'Arnaud went down with injury the Mets promoted Kevin Plawecki as their main catcher. 

This made Recker his backup. He enjoyed his first multi HR game in a May 14th Mets loss at Wrigley Field.

After 19 games he was batting just .143 & was optioned to AAA Las Vegas in mid June.

In 18 games at AAA Las Vegas he has hit 7 HRs while batting .292 while winning the June 29th Pacific Coast Leagues Player of the Week Award.

He returned in late July & played with the Mets the rest of the regular season. He finished up 2015 batting .125 with 2 HRs & 5 RBIs in 32 games. He did not play in the post season.

In November 2015 he was granted free agency & signed with the Cleveland Indians. He played there in Spring Training but was traded to the Atlanta Braves in May 2016. He got promoted after an injury to Braves catcher Tyler Flowers. In 33 games he batted .278 with 2 HRs 15 RBIs.

In 2017 he was one of the last two players to make the opening day roster. He played in just six games but by the end of April he was demoted.

In July he was traded to the Minnesota Twins but was outrighted to the minors a week later. In March of 2018 he got a chance with the Arizona Diamondbacks, playing at their AAA Reno club. He was granted free agency in November 2018.

In his seven year career ,he caught 172 games (140 with the Mets) throwing out 26% of would be base stealers, posting a .990 fielding %. Overall he played in 206 games batting .199 with 18 HRs 28 doubles & 70 RBIs.

Short Time Mets Outfielder: Matt Lawton (2001)

Mathew Lawton III was born in Gulfport Mississippi on November 30, 1971. The five ten left hand hitting Lawton was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 13th round of the 1991 draft. In 1994 he hit .300 at A ball Fort Meyers & played in the Florida State League All Star Game.

As an outfielder he was rated a poor defensive player who sometimes made basic fundamental mistakes. But Lawton did make the best of his abilities and after two brief MLB appearances in 1995 /1996, he became the Twins everyday outfielder by 1997.

He had some good hitting seasons with the Twins, batting over .300 twice & hitting over 35 doubles three times. The speedy outfielder scored over 90 runs three times in his career and stole 23 or more bases four times. He drove in over 60 runs five times & manged to hit 15 or more HRs four times.

He had his best season in 2000 making the All Star team, batting .305 with 44 doubles, 13 HRs and 88 RBIs. He was batting .293 through July of 2001 when the Twins traded him to the New York Mets for the popular pitcher Rick Reed.

Lawton made his Mets debut on August 1st in an 8-2 Mets win in Houston over the Astros. In that game Lawton had two hits & drove in a run while scoring another. On August 12th he hit the first of his two Mets HRs, scoring the only run of a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 26th his double broke up a 3-3 tie in the home 7th inning. The Mets went on on to barley win the game 6-5.

In an early September series sweep over the Florida Marlins, Lawton had six hits with three RBIs. Lawton would only play in 48 games as a Met right fielder, as his average dropped to .246 in 183 at bats, with 3 HRs 11 doubles & 13 RBIs. That winter he was involved in a multi player trade going to Cleveland with Alex Escobar for Roberto Alomar and a couple of minor leaguers.

Lawton spent three season in Cleveland, having his best year in 2004, batting .277 with 20 HRs & 70 RBIs making his second All Star team. In 2005 Lawton got caught up in a steroids scandal, he apologized and admitted using horse steroids.

He finished his 12 year career in 2006 batting .267 with 1273 hits 138 HRs 267 doubles 631 RBIs & 165 stolen bases.

Jan 19, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (1993) Anthony Young Losses 27th Game In A Row & the Vince Coleman M-80 Incident

Saturday July 24th 1993: Dallas Green's last place Mets (32-65) are in Los Angeles for a three game series with Tommy Lasorda's third place Dodgers (51-46). 

This Saturday afternoon game at Dodger Stadium has a big crowd of 43301 as the Mets' Pete Schourek goes up against Pedro Astacio for L.A. 

Starting Lineups

In the bottom of the 4th, the pesky Bret Butler triples & comes home on a ground out. The Mets tie up the game in the top of the 5th on a HR by Dave Gallagher.

In the 6th, Eric Davis walks & comes home on Eric Karros double, as the Dodgers regain the lead. 

In the top of the 7th, the Mets get within a run as Eddie Murray rips an RBI single &Bobby Bonilla adds a sac fly to make it 4-3. The Mets tied it up in the 8th, as Jeff McKnight's sac fly scores Todd Hundley.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Mets brought in relief pitcher Anthony Young. Young gave up a base hit in the 8th & then retired the side in order in the 9th.

In the bottom of the 10th, the Dodgers get two lead off singles & then intentionally walk Jose Offerman. Young then walks pinch hitter Dave Hansen with the bases loaded to end the game. The Dodgers win it 5-4.

The loss puts Young at 0-13 on the season. Worst of all it was his 27th losing decision in a row, setting an all time major league record. Young had been used as a starter & reliever in that time dating back to the 1992 season. He actually did well as a reliever converting 12 straight saves in save opportunities.

Drama & Stupidity: After the game Vince Coleman was sitting with the Dodgers; Eric Davis in his blue Jeep Cherokee. Coleman lit an M80 firecracker & threw it toward a fence separating the Dodgers private parking lot & the fans. Coleman gets back in the jeep & the vehicle exits the Dodger Stadium parking lot. 

The M80 fire cracker, went off approximately 25 feet away from a crowd of an estimated 200 people who were looking for post game autographs from Dodger players. A 33 year old woman, suffered inner ear damage, an 11 year old boy suffered bruises on his leg & a two year old girl suffers second-degree burns under her right eye and lacerations of her cornea. 

The news was bad press for an unpopular player & a bad team. Coleman was in the line up the next night as the news spread, he went  0-5. In the mean time the  L.A. County Police Department & Arson unit were busy filing Felony charges on Mr. Coleman. 

Vince Coleman did not comment directly to the media, instead the Mets Spokesperson Jay Horowitz, made a statement on behalf of Coleman: "I take full responsibility for a very foolish act for which I am suffering greatly. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. My main concern is for those injured."

Mets VP at the time Gerry Hunsicker had some harsher words for Coleman and made it known his days were numbered:  "It only involved the New York Mets because he is an employee of the Mets. In large measure, this is Vince Coleman's problem."

Coleman was a problem ever since joining the Mets in 1991 with a four year $12 million deal. His Hamstring injuries constantly kept him out of the line up. 

He once injured Dwight Gooden swinging a gold club in the locker room. He once batted out of turn in batting practice and was told to come out of the cage by then manager; Mike Cubbage. Coleman went on a tirade cursing out his manager & refused to apologize. He then had another huge argument with his next manager Jeff Torborg & received another suspension.

He appeared in just two more games as a Mets player after the fire cracker incident. As he was suspended for the rest of the season. That winter Coleman was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Kevin McReynolds return to New York.
Coleman was lucky enough with the law, to get away with a fine, probation & serving community service in Los Angeles.

This was a horrible point in Mets history...……...