Oct 29, 2014

Late 2000's Mets Pitcher: Darren O'Day (2008)

Darren Christopher O'Day was born on October 22nd 1982 in Jacksonville, Florida. The six foot four right handed, side armed pitcher attended the University of Florida where he was a top pitcher.

In 2006 he was signed by the Anaheim Angels as an amateur free agent. In 2007 he shot through all levels of A ball saving a total of 21 games going 7-4 with a 2.53 ERA. The Angels were impressed and he made the 2008 club out of Spring Training as a reliever. He appeared in thirty games going 0-1 with a 4.47 ERA. In 2008 he was a Rule V draft selection of the New York Mets.

O'Day began the year with the Mets making his debut in Cincinnati in the third game of the season relieving Oliver Perez after an eight run outing. O'Day would only pitch in four games with the Mets, three innings of work overall. On April 11th he allowed two runs on three hits to the Marlins in Florida pitching just 1.1 innings. On April 22nd he was placed on waivers & was picked by the Texas Rangers.

O'Day arrived with the Rangers during a game in Toronto against the Blue Jays. That night he was needed to pitch in relief but a uniform with his name had not been completed yet.

With nothing else to do, he borrowed team mate Kason Gabbard's #30 and went on to pitch. Eventually his uniform with O'Day #56 was ready the next day. He went to have a good year in Texas going 2-1 with 21 holds posting a 1.94 ERA in 64 appearances.

He remained with the Rangers for through 2011 getting to two World Series with them. In 2010 he led the staff with 72 appearances going 6-2 with 21 holds & a 2.03 ERA. In the ALCS he appeared in three games taking a loss in Game #1. In 2011 he only pitched in 16 games and was injured missing the rest of the year. He was placed on waivers in November & picked up by the Baltimore Orioles.

In 2012 he was back as a solid middle reliever going 7-1 with 15 holds & a 2.28 ERA making 69 appearances for a surprising Oriole team that won an AL Wild Card spot.

Post Season: He pitched two scoreless innings of the AL Wild Card game, as the Orioles beat the reigning AL Champion Texas Rangers. O'Day made four appearances in the ALDS pitching five scoreless, hit less innings.

In 2013 he returned with the Orioles going 5-3 with a pair of saves posting a 2.18 ERA with 20 holds.

For the 2014 AL East Champion Orioles the side arm thrower, was second in the O's bullpen to Zach Britton in ERA (1.70) & appearances (68). He finished 14 games going 5-2, which posted the staff's second best win % (7.14%).

Post season: In the 2014 ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, O'Day gave up one run in his only appearance, coming in the Game #1 Orioles win. In the ALCS he made three appearances, taking two of the series losing decisions to the Kansas City Royals.

In Game #1 he gave up a lead off 10th inning HR to Alex Gordon breaking the 5-5 tie. He then walked Salvatore Perez who turned out to be the winning run when Mike Moustakas hit a two run HR off Brian Matusz, later in the inning. 

In Game #2 he gave up a lead off walk in the 9th inning of a 4-4 tie. He was relieved by Zach Britton who gave up two runs including Infante which turned out to be the winning run. O'Day was charged with the loss.

In a seven year career he is 25-11 with eight saves, 349 strike outs & 97 walks in 378 innings pitched in 391 appearances.

Family: O'Day has been married to FOX News reporter; Elizabeth Prann since 2010. For FOX Prann is based in the Washington D.C. area & also is a rotating anchor for the America's News on Saturday afternoons. 

Elizabeth graduated from the University of Florida & began her career working locally in Florida. In 2006, she began as a production assistant for the show; On the Record With Greta Van Susteren. She helped launch Gretawire.com & became a FOX TV correspondent in 2010.


Remembering Mets History: 1999 NLDS Game #1 - Fonzie's Grand Slam Wins It

Tuesday October 5th, 1999: NLDS Game #1 at Bank One Ball Park- Phoenix, Arizona.

The 1999 New York Mets (97-66) won the NL Wild Card spot under manager Bobby Valentine. It was the club's first playoff appearance since 1988, eleven years earlier. The Mets opponents in the Division Series was the first place Western Division Champion; Arizona Diamondbacks (100-62) headed by manager Buck Showalter.

Game One of the series opened up at "the BOB" in front of 49,584. The Mets sent Masato Yoshi (12-8 / 4.40 ERA) to the mound against that year's Cy Young Award winner; Randy Johnson (17-9 / leagues best 2.48 ERA & 364 Ks).

Starting Lineups


In the 1st inning, Edgardo Alfonzo put the Mets on the board with a solo HR. In the 3rd, Rickey Henderson led off with a walk & John Olerud delivered with a two run HR, making it 3-0 Mets.


Arizona scored a run in the 3rd & the Mets scored a run in the 4th playing small ball. Robin Ventura doubled, then Shawon Dunston singled, putting two men on. Rey Ordonez then bunted & Ventura scored on the sacrifice. It was now 4-1 New York.

The Diamondbacks came back with HRs from Erubiel Durazo & Luis Gonzales, both off of Yoshi. After the Gonzales HR, Bobby Valentine pulled Yoshi & brought in Dennis Cook. Cook went to the 7th inning, holding down Arizona. Turk Wendell & Armando Benitez held them down the rest of the way as well.

In the visiting 9th, Robin Ventura singled. Roger Cedeno popped out & then Rey Ordonez singled to left field. 

Melvin Mora then drew a walk & with the bases loaded Randy Johnson hit the showers. Reliever Bobby Chouinard came on & after getting Rickey Henderson to ground out, he gave up a big blow.


Edgardo Alfonzo blasted a grand slam HR, putting the Mets up for good 8-4, taking the first game of the series.

Mets Player Who Set A Record Hitting Four HRs In His First Four MLB Games: Mike Jacobs (2005 / 2010)

Michael James Jacobs was born October 30, 1980 in Chula Vista California. 

The six foot three inch, left hand hitter, was originally selected by the New York Mets as a catcher in the 38th round of the 1999 draft. By 2003 he had developed into a power hitter (17 HRs) and won the Sterling Award as the Mets top prospect.

In 2004 he suffered a torn labrum while at AAA Norfolk and the next season learned how to play first base. In 2005 he hit 25 HRs with 93 RBIs at AA Binghamton, getting called up to the Mets in August, to replace Doug Mientkiewicz and help solve the first base problem.

He made his MLB debut on August 21st, in a game against the Washington Nationals. He became the fourth Met in history to homer in his first MLB at bat, bashing one off Esteban Loiza. Two days later during a four game sweep in Arizona, Jacobs homered again. The following day he hit two more HRs, both coming off Claudio Vargas in the Mets 14-1 win. In that game Jacobs set an MLB record hitting four HRs in his first four career games.

On September 25th the Mets entered the top of the 8th inning behind 4-3. In the inning David Wright homered to tie the game & two batters later Jacobs hit one as well, it turned out to be the winning run. In only 100 at bats that season Jacobs hit 11 HRs with 23 RBIs, a .310 batting average, and a .375 on base percentage.

He closed out the season with hopes of being the Mets first baseman of the future. There was a quick change of plans around Thanksgiving, when the Mets traded him along with Yusmeiro Petit and Grant Psomas to the Florida Marlins for Carlos Delgado.

In 2006 in Florida he hit 20 HRs with 37 doubles with 77 RBIs batting .262. He became one of the Marlins most popular young players. That year he got married and had twin daughters in his first season in the sunshine of south Florida. He played a few less games in 2007 (114) hitting 17 HRs with 27 doubles 54 RBIs & a .265 average. The free swinger struck out 101 times on the season.

In 2008 he played a career high 141 games and had his biggest year; 32 HRs 27 doubles & 93 RBIs but his average dropped to .247. The Marlins needed a closer and on October 31st, 2008 traded Jacobs to the Kansas City Royals for Leo Nunez. He struggled defensively and found himself as the Royals DH, batting a career low .228 with 132 strike outs. He did hit 19 HRs with 16 doubles & 61 RBIs in 2009.

In 2010 he signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets & found himself as the teams Opening Day first baseman when Daniel Murphy went down with injury. But by April 18th, he was batting .208 & was designated for assignment. In just seven games he went 5-24, with one HR & two RBIs.

While playing at AAA Buffalo he hit 15 HRs batting .260 with 57 RBIs. On July 30th he was traded to the Toronto Blues Jays for a player to be named later.

In 2011 he was playing at AAA Colorado Springs hitting 23 HRs, but after he came up positive for using a human growth hormone, he was released by the Rockies organization.

He signed with the Arizona D-backs & after hitting 18 HRs was given another big league shot. He got into 13 games batting .208 but was granted free agency after the season.

In seven career seasons he batted .253 with 493 hits 100 HRs, 116 doubles, 312 RBIs & 492 strike outs in 1949 at bats in 569 games.

Mid Nineties Mets Utility Player: Tim Bogar (1993-1996)

Timothy Paul Bogar was born October 28, 1966 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended East Illinois University getting drafted by the New York Mets in the 8th round of the 1987 draft.

He spent six years in the minors having his best year at A ball Columbia in 1988 batting .282. Bogar was a member of the last AAA Tidewater Tides team before they moved over to Norfolk.

He was one of the teams top hitters batting .279 behind Jeff McNight (.307) Chris Donnels (.301) & Steve Springer (.290) . Bogar made the Mets in 1993 debuting as a pinch hitter at Shea Stadium against the San Francisco Giants.

The versatile Bogar would play all infield & outfield positions for the Mets from 1993-1996. One of his biggest days at the plate came on August 1st, 1993 in his rookie year. He hit a pair of HRs & had four hits in Philadelphia in a game against the Phillies. He would only hit 6 HRs in 491 at bats in his entire Mets career. Unfortunately he got injured and was sidelined for the rest of the season. He hit .244 with three HRs 13 doubles & 25 RBIs in 78 games played.

In 1994 he remained with the club until early August but was only batting .154 in fifty games before getting sent to AAA Norfolk. In 1995 when play resumed after the great baseball strike, Bogar was back on the big league club.

He struggled hitting just .158 at the end of May. From June through the end of the year he hit well as he saw more steady playing time. He finished the year drawing a bases loaded walk in the final game of the season, giving the Mets a walk off win over the eventual World Champion Atlanta Braves.

Bogar had his best season batting .290 in 78 games, with one HR seven doubles & 21 RBIs. In 1996 he saw action in 91 games behind Jeff Kent (third base), Rey Ordonez (short stop) & Butch Huskey (first base) around the infield but his average fell off to .213. Bogar was traded at the end of Spring Training 1997 to the Houston Astros for Luis Lopez.

He spent four years in Houston hitting a high of .249 in 1997 getting to the post season in 1999. In 2001 he played his final season with the Los Angeles Dodgers He finished his nine year career with a lifetime .228 average with 345 hits 24 HRs 69 doubles 9 triples & 161 RBIs.

Retirement: After his playing days he became a manager in the Cleveland Indians minor leagues winning Baseball Americas Future Manger Award. He then coached for the Tampa Rays as their quality assurance coach.

In 2009/2010 he was the Boston Red Sox first base coach moving over as the third base coach for 2011. In 2012 he was the Boston bench coach under Bobby Valentine. Bogar has since become the Manager of the AA Arkansas Travelers.

Oct 28, 2014

Remembering Mets History: 2006 NLCS: Mets Good Until the Last Inning

Thursday October 12th, 2006- NLCS Game #1- Shea Stadium, New York:  The 2006 New York Mets (97-65) were in first place for most regular season, winning the Eastern Divisional title rather easily. Manager Willie Randolph brought the Mets to their first post season in six years, with one of the most potent Mets offenses since the 1980's.

The Mets opponents were Tony LaRussa's; St. Louis' Cardinals (83-78).

 A sold out Shea Stadium, with a crowd of 56,311 hosted the first Game of the 2006 NLCS as Tom Glavine (15-7 / 3.82 / 131 Ks) went up against Jeff Weaver (8-14 / 5.76 ERA / 107 Ks). This would be one of Glavines best performances while pitching for the Mets, in the post season spot light. Willie Randolph & the Mets sure needed a big pitching performance, with Pedro Martinez & Orlando Hernandez both on the DL.


Starting Lineups


Glavine added another gem to his post season career throwing a four hit shut out over seven innings. He only struck out two Cards, walked two and never had a runner reach third base. Guillermo Mota & Billy Wagner both pitched perfect eight & ninth innings respectivley, to seal the 2-0 shut out.

The Mets offense only needed one big blow and it came in the 6th inning off Jeff Weaver. With two outs, Paul Loduca singled to left field. Then Carlos Beltran, who had hit 41 regular season HRs, blasted a long shot over the right center field fence. The Mets took the opener 2-0.



The Mets lost Game Two, 9-6 as reliever; Billy Wagner gave up three runs in the 9th inning. The Mets were then shut out 5-0 by Jeff Suppan in Game Three. The  losing pitcher; Steve Trachsel seemed to have given up and on this night lost the faith of his team forever,as he never returned in a Mets uniform.


Sunday October 15th, 2006 NLCS Game #4 - Busch Stadium, St. Louis Missouri.

With the Mets down in the series two games to one, there was some concern in Mat land. The bats were asleep & they needed to be woken up fast. They also needed a big night from their pitching.

Willie Randolph sent Oliver Perez (3-13 / 6.55 ERA ) to the mound against St. Louis' Anthony Reyes (5-8 / 5.06 ERA / 72 Ks). Perez had come over late in the season in the Roberto Hernandez, Xavier Nady deal.

This was the night the Mets bats finally woke up. The Mets hitters went through six Cardinal pitchers, scoring twelve runs on 14 hits, evening the series at two games each.

                      Starting Lineups

The Mets were down 1-0 after a Yadier Molina RBI single in the 2nd inning. In the top of the 3rd, Carlos Beltran & David Wright hit solo HRs putting the Mets up 2-1.

Carlos Delgado had a big five RBI night, including a two run HR in the 5th inning. In the 6th inning, Jose Reyes & Paul LoDuca both singled & Carlos Beltran walked. Delgado then hit a ground rule double scoring Jose Reyes & David Wright putting the Mets up 7-3.

Also in that inning Sean Green & Jose Valentin both singled giving the Mets a 11-3 lead. Carlos Beltran also had a big night, in the 7th inning he blasted his second HR of the night, capping off the 12-5 win. Beltran had three hits onthe night, two HRs, two walks, two RBIs & four runs scored.

Shawn Green & Jose Valentin both had a pair of hits on the night as well.

In Game Five The Cards edged the Mets 4-2, as Jeff Weaver beat out Tom Glavine.I was back to New York, do or die for the Mets. Centerfieldmaz was in attendance for this one in a wild, loud & excited Shea Stadium filled with a full house of 56,334.


 

Wednesday October 18th, 2006 NLCS Game #6- Shea Stadium, New York.
 Wille Randolph sent John Maine (6-5 / 3.60 / 71 Ks) to the mound against Cards ace; Chris Carpenter ( 15-8 / 3.09 / 184 Ks). Maine had come over in the off season in the Kris Benson trade & pitched well. With the injuries to Pedro Martinez & Orlando Hernandez he got the ball in the big spot.

Starting Lineups


In the 1st inning, Jose Reyes got things started with a lead off HR. In the 4th inning, Carlos Beltran & David Wright reached with base hits. Sean Green  then singled & drove in the second run for New York.

After a lively 7th inning stretch, the Shea crowd let former Mets reliever, now a Cardinal; Braden Looper, have it as he entered the game. Then with two outs, pinch hitter Michael Tucker singled and Jose Reyes followed with another hit. Both runners took off on a sucessful double steal, Paul Loduca then drove them both in with a single center field, making it 4-0 Mets.

On the mound it was one of Johnny Maine's finest moments as a Met, as he stepped up big into the spot light & pitched a shut out into the 6th inning, allowing only two hits while striking out five. He wasn't to happy getting pulled out of the game by manager Willie Randolph in the 6th inning, but left to a standing ovation.


Three Mets relievers; Chad Bradford (1 inning), Guillermo Mots (0.2 innings) & Aaron Heilman (1 inning) led the way to closer; Billy Wagner. Wagner struggled again, giving up three hits including a two run double to So Taguchi. 


2006 NLCS Game Seven is still a tough one loss to look back on. Especially since it was the last post season appearance for the Mets. The game was highlighted (for New York) by Endy Chavez stealing a HR in the 8th inning making one of the greatest over the fence catches in post season & Mets history.

Oliver Perez stepped up pitching six good innings allowing only a run. The score remained tied in a 1-1 nail bitter until the 8th inning. Aaron Heilman,then served up a two run HR to Yadier Molina, the catcher who had then just hit .216 on the season with just 6 HRs in 417 at bats.

That was it, the Mets did threaten in the bottom of the inning as Jose Valentin & Endy Chavez both singled. Cliff Floyd then struck out & Jose Reyes lined out. Paul Loduca walked to load the bases then Adam Wainwright struck out Carlos Beltran looking to end it. 

The 2012 N.L.Cy Young Award Winner: R.A. Dickey (2010-2012)

Robert Alan "R. A." Dickey was born October 29, 1974 in Nashville, Tennessee. He majored in English Literature with 1 3.3 GPA at the University of Tennessee, before getting drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996.

That year he was a member of the US Olympic baseball team that won a bronze medal at the summer games in Atlanta. Dickey was the winning pitcher in two of the games.

The Intelligent right hander was offered a contract over $800,000 until a doctor noticed his arm hanging in an odd way. An x-ray found a missing ulnar collateral ligament and the Rangers lowered their offer to $75,000.

Doctors said he shouldn’t be able to turn a door knob let alone, pitch in the major leagues. Upset & angry he found a spiritual enlightment and moved on. He began a minor league career that lasted straight 14 seasons where he pitched at least three games at the level every seasons.

Dickey made his MLB debut in Texas on April 22nd, 2001 finishing off an 11-2 win over the Oakland A's pitching one scoreless inning. He made four appearances & was sent down to AAA Oklahoma in early May. 

In 2002 he pitched 38 games making 13 starts going 9-8 for Buck Showalter's fourth place Rangers. The next year he pitched 25 games going 6-7 with limited success. He pitched just nine games the next year & was back in the minor leagues.

He eventually realized his forkball pitch which he called “the thing”, was actually a hard knuckle ball. He realized he needed to perfect the knuckler to stay in the major leagues.

In 2006 the Rangers gave him a shot to show off his new knuckleball, but he hadn't perfected it yet. He allowed six HRs in his first start of the season, tying fellow knuckle baller Tim Wakefield’s MLB record.

He pitched just the one game in Texas & then spent the entire year at AAA Oklahoma going 9-8. He was granted free agency at the end of the year & then signed with the Milwaukee Brewers to a minor league deal.

His new knuckle ball was successful as he went 12-6 with a 3.80 ERA at AAA Nashville, winning the Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Year Award. He would get drafted away from the Brewers, as a Rule V pick by the Seattle Mariners. In 2008 in Seattle he went just 5-8 with a 5.21 ERA.

On August 17th he set an MLB record with four wild pitches in a single inning, during a game against the Minnesota Twins. In the inning he allowed two runs on a single, with two walks, a passed ball the four wild pitches & retired one batter.

The record tied a mark with Hall of Famers Walter Johnson & Phil Niekro. After one season with the Mariners he then signed on with the Minnesota Twins.

In 2010 he was signed by the New York Mets and began the season at AAA Buffalo. On April 29th he allowed a single to the first batter he faced then retired the next 27 batters in a row, for a one hitter. He was 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA by May when the Mets brought him up to their staff.

He made his debut against the Nationals earning no decision after pitching six innings allowing only two runs. Dickey then went on to win his first six decisions as his knuckleball surprised all N.L. hitters. He was 6-2 at the All Star break posting a 2.62 ERA.

On August 13th he pitched a one hit shutout at Citi Field against Cole Hammels & the Phillies. He pitched another complete game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in mid September for his 11th victory on the year.

He struggled the rest of the way taking losses in his last three decisions of the year, although he only allowed one run in seven innings against Milwaukee on September 27th.

He finished up 2010 with the best year of his career & as a pleasant surprise on a disappointing Mets team; he was 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA (7th best in the N.L.). He pitched in 27 games, posting 174 innings & striking out 104 batters while walking only 42. 

At the plate he was one of the leagues better hitting pitchers, batting .255 with two doubles & five RBIs.

He began the 2011 season, pitching in the third game of the season earning a win against the Florida Marlins allowing just one run in six innings. He then lost his next five decisions, finding himself 1-5 with a 5.08 ERA by mid May.

In early June he had some success, pitching into the 8th inning twice allowing one run against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field earning a win. But he then allowed three runs to the Pirates in Pittsburgh, taking a loss.

Dickey’s 2011 wasn’t going as successful as 2010, by mid August he was 5-11. He closed out that month, pitching seven shutout innings against the Florida Marlins in the second game of a double header, earning a win. He won his first two starts in September as well, highlighted by tossing seven shutout innings in Florida beating the Marlins 1-0 on September 7th. 

On September 24th Dickey earned no decision in a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies where he threw seven innings while allowing just a run.

He ended the year at 8-13 with a 3.28 ERA striking out 134 batters with 54 walks in 208 innings of work. On the mound he led all pitchers with 58 assists.

In 2012 Dickey started the second game of the Mets season beating the Atlanta Braves. He had a solid April going 3-1 then went on a roll from there. On May 6th he pitched eight solid innings, allowing just one run on four hits against the Arizona Diamondbacks for his fourth win.

He rolled through the month undefeated, finishing up May at 7-1. At the end of the month he was the N.L. Pitcher of the month with two outstanding performances that week. He struck out eleven Pirates in Pittsburgh on May 22nd, followed by a ten strikeout performance at Citi Field on May 27th against the San Diego Padres.

In June he would be even better, winning the Pitcher of the Month Award going 5-0 with a 0.94 ERA.

On June 7th Dickey pitched a complete game shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out nine Cardinals lowering his ERA to 2.69. On June 7th the Mets were 1.5 games behind the Washington Nationals, surprising everyone with their winning. But after losing two straight from the Nationals they were in jeopardy of a sweep. Dickey ended any chance of the Nats sweep by throwing 7.1 shutout innings earning win number nine.

On June 13th Dickey took the mound in Tampa Florida, he allowed a first inning single to B.J. Upton on a ball David Wright failed to play cleanly. No one thought about it, as Dickey went about his business.

He went on to retire the next the next twenty two batters until Elliot Johnson reached on an error in the ninth. In the inning there were two passed balls & a run scoring ground out. He finished the game with a one hit 9-1 victory, while striking out 12 batters.

He established a Mets record of 32.2 scoreless innings besting Jerry Koosman's old record from 1973. The Mets attempted to appeal the official scorer's decision on ruling Wright's play a hit, but MLB denied the appeal. 

 Dickey entered his next start, by having only allowed one earned run, with three walks & 50 strikeouts over his five previous starts.

On June 18th he went out & pitched another one hitter, this time a shutout, striking out a career high 13 Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field. He became the first NL Pitcher since 1944 to throw back to back one hitters. He had now won six straight starts, winning nine straight decisions, while becoming the first pitcher in the league to reach eleven victories.

Another amazing stat has Dickey being the only pitcher in MLB history to throw back to back one hitters & have over ten strikeouts in each of those games. In history only Nolan Ryan & Sandy Koufax have ever thrown one hitters in the same season.

He was named to the 2012 NL All Star team, but did not get the start which angered a lot of Mets fans as manager Tony Larussa went with San Francisco's Matt Cain. Dickey came in to pitch a scoreless 6th inning, allowing a base hit in the 8-0 National League win at Kansas City.

Quotes: Hall of Fame Pitcher and fellow knuckleballer Phil Niekro commented on Dickey's 2012 performance saying "I had a few streaks, but nothing like he’s going through.

I don’t know if any other knuckleballer has ever been on a hot streak like he has been. He is just dynamite right now." Mets manager Terry Collins also stated he never saw anything like the streak Dickey was on in June.

The Mets quickly faded away from the race after the break with a long losing streak, broken up by Dickey as he beat the first place Nationals on July 19th in Washington. 

In August he went 3-2 highlighted by two complete games, both against the Marlins. On August 9th at Citi Field he struck out ten Marlins becoming the first pitcher to toss four complete games on the year.

 On August 31st, he pitched a complete game shutout in Miami string out seven, becoming the first Mets pitcher since Al Leiter to win 17 games in a season. 

On September 5th he earned win #18 beating the Cardinals in St. Louis. He then lost his next two starts & it was looking doubtful he would reach twenty wins. But as usual he bore down winning #19 on September 22nd at Citi Field.

On September 27th he took the mound at Citi Field & pitched into the eighth inning, striking out 13 Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing three runs on eight hits. He earned the win becoming the first Mets pitcher since Frank Viola to win twenty games.

Dickey ended the year at 20-6 (second in the NL in wins) while leading the league in strike outs (230) starts (33) innings pitched(233) , batters faced (927) complete games (5) & shut outs (3).

His fielding was also excellent, posting a .933 fielding %, second in the league in assists (44)
In September Dickey who entered the last year of his contact- along with the clubs best hitter David Wright, said he would only sign an extended contract if the team aggressively perused Wright.

In December he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Mike Nickeas, as the Mets decided to go with youth, getting Top prospects Travis d'Arnaud & Noah Syndergaad along with veteran John Buck.

In Toronto he debuted on Opening Day taking a loss to the Cleveland Indians, allowing four runs on five hits in six innings. He was 0-2 before earning his first win, which was a 3-2 victory at Kansas City where he pitched into the 7th inning. On April 18th, he shut out the Chicago White Sox for six innings, striking out seven batters for his second win.

On May 14th, he struck out ten Giants during an interleague game going six innings in a Blue Jays 9-6 win. On May 20th, he earned his fourth win pitching eight innings to beat the Tampa Rays 7-5.

The Blue Jays season did not go as expected, with injuries & lots of struggles. Dickeys year went up & down as he pretty much stayed at .500 all season. 

On June 5th, he had one of his best games with Toronto; pitching a one hit shut out into the 9th inning. He left the game with one out finishing up a two hit shut out win over the Giants in San Francisco. 

In July he got to the .500 mark (8-8) but then lost three straight & had to play catch-up once again. He did, finishing up the year winning four of five decisions, while going to the 8th inning three times. 

On September 22nd, he took a loss to the AL Eastern Champion Red Sox but struck out a season high 11 batters. He finished the year winning a Gold Glove & leading the AL in starts (33) going 14-13 (8th most wins in AL) with 174 strike outs 70 walks & a 4.27 ERA in 217 innings. He allowed 35 HRs which was second most in the AL.

In 2014 he was pretty much at .500 most of the year, earning wins followed by losing decisions. The Jays had a fine season, contending for a playoff spot into September, Dickey along with Mark Buehrle led the pitching staff.

From August 20th through the end of the year he went 4-0 pitching into at least the 6th inning every time, giving three seven inning outings as well. 

He ended the year at 13-12 with a 3.82 ERA and pitched over 200 plus innings for the 4th straight year. He led all pitchers in hit by pitches (14) & served up 32 HRs (3Rd most in the AL).
 
Personal: Off the field he is a born again Christian, married with four children. His favorite hobby is reading, he is notorious for having a stack of books in his locker at all times.

In 2012 he wrote a book of his own about the amazing journey of his life where he found success as well as God in his life. The book called Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest or Truth, Authenticity & the Perfect knuckleball.

The book was a huge success & inspiration to many, in a season where he personally found the most success of his own career.

His story has become an inspiration to many people. He has made rounds doing interviews in the baseball world, Christian publications, & television shows, including a stop by on David Letterman. Even Forbes magazine did an article on how C.E.O.'s can learn from Dickey's book to make a successful company.

Former Bronx Born New York Giants Prospect Turned Manager: Charlie Fox (1942)

Charlie Francis Fox was born on October 7th, 1921 in the Bronx, New York. Fox earned the nickname Irish and as a boy sold newspapers in the shadows of the Polo Grounds. He later attended high school at James Monroe High School in the Bronx. This was the same high scholl long time Met Ed Kranepool would also attend.

As a young ball player he dreamed of playing for the team he rooted for the New York Giants. Fox got his chance, getting signed by the New York Giants in 1942 & making it right to the big league club. He got to play in three career games going 3-7 giving him a lifetime .429 batting average. From there he went off to serve in the Navy in World War II for the next three years, where he was involved in some very dangerous assignments.

Fox returned to baseball but would never play in the big leagues again. He spent 12 seasons in the minor leagues, mostly playing catcher & batting a career high .271. In those years he coached & managed in the Giants minor leagues. As the Giants moved to the West Coast, Fox became a scout for them from 1957 through 1963. He then managed & coached again in the Giants minor leagues through 1970.

In May of 1970 Fox took over as manager of the Giants big league club, replacing Clyde King. That season the Giants finished third behind the NL Champion Reds & the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1971 he won the Manager of the Year Award, in what became known in San Francisco as "The Year of the Fox".

That season he led the Giants to a first place finish & a 90 win season. That year the Giants were loaded with four future Hall of Famers; Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry & Juan Marichal.

In the NLCS they lost to the eventual world champion Pittsburgh Pirates. Fox would manage the Giants into 1974 when he was replaced by Wes Westrum. Overall he would be associated with the Giants for over thirty years. Fox would move on to the Montreal Expos organization where he would serve as a manager briefly in 1976.

He then was named the team's General Manager through 1978, getting credit for selecting players like Bill Gullickson, Charlie Lea, Scott Sanderson & Tim Raines. He also maneuvered trades that brough Tony Perez, Will McEnaney, Chris Spier & Stan Bahnsen to Montreal.

Fox would again get a chance to mange, briefly in 1983 with the Chicago Cubs. In his final years in baseball he served as a scout with the Houston Astros until 1993.

Passing: Fox died of pneumonia at age 82 in Stanford, California in 2004.

Former Mets Prospect Who Went On To A Fine Career: Jim Bibby (1965-1971)

James Blair Bibby was born on October 29th, 1944 in Franklinton, North Carolina. The six five, right handed pitcher was signed by the New York Mets in 1965.

Bibby began his career pitching for the Marion Mets in the Rookie League in 1965, going 2-3 giving up 30 earned runs in 24 innings. He then went off to serve in the military for two years during Vietnam, where he saw actual combat action. When he returned he was assigned to A ball Raleigh Durham in the Carolina League going 7-7.

In 1969 as the Amazing Mets were winning the World Series, Bibby started out by going 10-6 at AA Memphis getting promoted to AAA Tidewater. He went 4-4 with the '69 Tides posting a 3.48, on a team that featured 14 game winner; Jon Matlack & 11 game winner; Danny Frisella.

 In 1970 he missed the entire season with an injury & returned to have a top year in 1971. In 1971 at AAA Tidewater Bibby led the club in wins (15-6) strike outs (150) innings (176) & starts (26). He was the top pitcher on a staff that included Buzz Capra (13-3) Jon Matlack (11-7) Don Rose (11-10) & Rich Folkers (7-11) all of whom would have major league success.

At the end of the 1971 season, Bibby was traded along with Folkers, Art Shamsky & Charlie Hudson to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Harry Parker, Jim Beauchamp, Chuck Taylor & Chip Coulter. The deal did help the 1973 Mets, as Parker did a fine job out of the bullpen & Beauchamp was a solid pinch hitter. But Bibby did go on to have a long career in the major leagues & had much success.

Bibby made his big league debut with the Cards in 1972 & in June of the 1973 season, was traded to the Texas Rangers for Johnny Wockenfuss & Mike Nagy.

On July 30th, he threw a no hitter in Oakland, shutting out the World Champion A's while striking out 13 batters & walking six. Bibby would have seven double digit strike out games that season, including a 15 K performance on August 30th against the Minnesota Twins. He ended up going 9-10 that season with 153 strike outs, posting the seond best strike outs per nine inning ratio at 7.7. He allowed just six hits per nine innings which was best in the AL.

In 1974 Bibby won 19 games (10th in the AL) tied with three other 19 game winners. That season the A.L. proudly showcased ten twenty game winners. Bibby was second, on the second place Rangers staff to Hall of Famer; Fergie Jenkins, who led the league with 25 wins (tied with Catfish Hunter).

Bibby also lost 19 games (4th in the AL) while walking 113 batters 3rd most in the AL) , throwing 11 wild pitches (6th most) & serving up 25 HRs (8th in the AL). Over the next few years he was used both as a starter & reliever, getting traded to the Cleveland Indians (with Rick Waits & Jackie Brown) in 1975 for Gaylord Perry.

There he went 13-7 for the 4th place Indians in 1976 behind Pat Dobson & a young Dennis Eckersley. After spending three seasons in Cleveland (1975-1977) he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent in 1977.

In 1979 he was 12-4 with the league's best winning percentage (.750%) for the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates. He posted a career best (up to that pint) 2.81 ERA , striking out 103 batters in 110 innings.

Post Season: In the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds, he got the start in Game #3 against Frank Pastore. Bibby allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings. The Pirates used six pitchers that day, winning the game on a Dave Parker base hit to score Omar Moreno in the 10th inning.

In the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, he started Game #4 pitching into the 7th inning, allowing three runs (two earned) striking out seven in the 9-6 loss. He then started the final Game #7, against Scott McGregor, but was relieved after four innings when he gave up just one run.

He returned in 1980 to win 19 games once again (3rd most in the NL) while posting the league's best win percentage for the second time. In the strike shortened 1981 season, he was 6-3 but then needed surgery after suffering a torn rotator cuff. He missed all of the 1982 season, returning to go 5-13 in 1983. He signed with the Rangers again in 1984 ending his playing career there.

In a 12 year career Bibby was 111-101 with 1079 strike outs & 723 walks in 1722 innings of work over 340 games posting a 3.76 ERA.

Retirement: He earned himself a bachelor's degree in health & phys ed. from Lynchburg College in 1980. Bibby pitched for the Senior Professional Association in Florida in 1990.

After his pitching days, he coached at Lynchburg for the Mets & then Red Sox from 1985-2000. There he is a legendary coach, having his #26 retired by the Hillcats.

In 2010 he passed away at age 65 due to bone cancer.

Family: His brother (Henry) & nephew (Mike) both played in the NBA.