Jul 1, 2015

Remembering Mets History: (2000) Al Leiter Strikes Out 12 Braves

Saturday July 1st 2000: The Mets Braves rivalry was at it's peak at this point in time, with Bobby Cox's Atlanta club (48-32) one game in front of the Mets (46-32) in first place. 

44,593 came out to Shea for this Saturday matinee with Greg Maddux (9-2) going up against Al Leiter (9-1). 

 In the home 1st, Derek Bell doubled & reached third a ground out, he then scored when a third strike to Mike Piazza got passed the catcher; Fernando Lunar. The Mets then exploded in the 2nd inning, Benny Agbayani hit a solo HR & the flood gates opened. Al Leiter singled, Melvin Mora doubled then Derek Bell doubled bringing in Leiter. 

Edgardo Alfonzo singled bringing in Bell & Mike Piazza hit his 23rd HR of the season, a two run shot making it 7-0 Mets. Derek Bell would add a two run HR later making it 9-1 Mets. 

On the mound Leiter was having a fine afternoon, he would start out the game striking out two Braves in the first inning. He did the same in the 4th & 5th innings as well. In the 7th he would allow a pair of singles, but strike out the last two batters to end the threat. He struck out all three outs in the inning giving him a total of 12 Ks on the day. 

He would match that season high total twice on the year, as he finished the year with 200 strike outs (fifth in the NL). 

The win was Leiter's fifth win in a row besting his record to 10-1 on the season. He would go 16-8 with a 3.20 ERA in the Mets 2000 Pennant winning season.

Remembering Mets History: (1960's) The Shea Usherettes, Diamond Club Hostesses & Players Wives

Back in 1964 when Shea Stadium opened during the midst of the New York's World Fair, it was a grand place. It was a tourist attraction & one of the biggest most beautiful ball parks in all of baseball.

One of its most interesting & good looking attractions, were the Shea Stadium Usherettes. An usherette is defined as a female hostess who greets & escorts a paying customer to their seat at a stadium or concert hall.

The Shea Stadium Usherettes dressed like the airline stewardesses of the mid sixties, in seersucker suits, with knee high skirts, sexy but yet very professional looking. 
Some wore the solid Mets color jackets & skirts with the Mets logo on their left breast. Others wore a blue & orange pinstripe style with bow ties. Both uniforms were usually accompanied by a hat.

The Shea Stadium, Diamond Club Restaurant also had its own set of ladies, they were hostesses that greeted & sat its patrons down to their seats.

While on the subject of Mets Ladies- here is a promotional photo of the 1964 New York Mets players wives at the Shea Diamond Club. Left to right: Jackie Hunt, Shirley Kanehl, Rachel Altman, Annitte Hunter, Martha Cisco, Nancy Willey, Carol Smith, Barbara Bearnarth, Beverly Cannizzaro, Madine Jackson & Marie Taylor.

Here is a charity event photo, with some of the 1968 Mets players wives. Standing left to right: Lavonne Koosman, Nancy Seaver,Yvonne Harrelson, Sharon Grote, Cecilia Swoboda, Nadine Jackson, Carol Kranepool & Barbara Weis. Kneeling: Caroline Selma, Ruth Ryan  Diane Bucheck.

Former New York Mets Outfielder: Moises Alou (2007-2008)

Moises Rojas Alou was born on July 3rd, 1966 in Atlanta Georgia. He is the son of former MLB outfielder & manager, Felipe Alou who had an excellent 17 year career. He is also the nephew of Jesus & Matty Alou, as well as the cousin of Mel Rojas.

Moises was playing more basketball than baseball back in Redwood City, California during his teen years. His speed, as well as his great hitting, got him noticed by scouts. He was eventually signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a first round draft pick in 1986. He hit over .290 twice in the minors, reaching AAA by 1990. By that time the Pirates felt he was ready, as he was called up to the Pirates team late that season.

After just two games he was traded to the Montreal Expos where his dad Felipe was the manager. His career began well as he came in second in the Rookie of the Year voting batting .282 with 9 HRs 28 doubles 16 stolen bases & 56 RBIs. The following year an ankle injury reduced some of his speed and he primarily became a corner outfielder. His strong arm got him 11 outfield assists that season, in his career he had 53 assists in left field putting him at #89 all time.

In 1994 he had a fantastic season, by the All Star break the Expos were in first place & Alou was batting .335 among the top in the league. In the All Star Game at Three Rivers Stadium that year, he delivered the game winning double which scored the San Diego Padres, Tony Gwynn in the bottom of the 10th inning. He finished out the season batting .339 (4th in the league) with 22 HRs 31 doubles 78 RBIs & a .397 on base %.

That season the Expos finished in first place, for the only time in the teams history. They were one of the game’s best overall teams, but the baseball strike ruined any Championship dreams there were in Canada, as no post season was played.

In 1997 he signed on with the Florida Marlins as a free agent. There he went on to win the '97 World Series with Florida, batting .292 with 143 hits (6th in the league) 23 HRs 29 doubles 115 RBIs (9th in the league) & a .373 on base % (10th in the league) during the regular season. He made his second All Star appearance that year & was fourth in fielding (.990%).

Post Season: In the post season he struggled at the plate in the first two rounds against National League pitching. Against the San Francisco Giants he batted .214 (3-14) with an RBI in the NLDS.

Then in the NLCS he against the Atlanta Braves, he drove in five runs but batted just .067. He then went on to have a strong World Series against the Cleveland Indians.

In Game #1 he hit a three run HR off Orel Hershiser in the 4th inning to break a 1-1 tie. Charles Johnson followed with a back to back HR pushing Florida ahead 5-1 in a game they won 7-4. Alou came back to hit HRs in Games four & five, in losses at Cleveland's Jacobs Field. The series eventually went to a game seven, played in Florida.

In the classic seventh game, he led off the 9thinning facing the Indians closer Jose Mesa, with the Marlins down 2-1. Alou singled, went to third on a Charles Johnson base hit & then made history as he scored the tying run on Craig Counsell’s sacrifice line out to left field. The Marlins went on to win the game & the Series in the 11th inning.

After the Championship, the Marlins dismantled their Championship team, Alou was sent to the Houston Astros. He would spend four seasons in Houston, making the post season twice in his time there.He loved hitting at Minute Maid Park, bashing a career high (up to that point) 38 HRs with 124 RBIs (both sixth best in the NL) there in his first season. He posted a .398 on base % & hit .312 making another All Star appearance as the Astros made the post season.

Alou batted just .188 (3-16) in the loss to the NL Champion San Diego Padres. In the off season he tore his ACL & missed all of the 1999 season. He returned in 2000 to bat a career best .355, coming in second place in the batting race, once again just missing out on winning a batting title.

That year he posted a .416 on base % (10th in the NL) with 30 HRs 114 RBIs & 28 doubles. In 2001 his number remained good as usual, .331 batting average with 27 HRs 108 RBIs. He struggled again in the post season batting just .167 (2-12) in the loss to the Atlanta Braves.

In 2002 he signed a deal with the Chicago Cubs who were now a much improved team under manager Lou Pinella. Alou was one of the Cubs top players in the teams' 2003 NL Central division winning season. He hit .280 with 22 HRs & 91 RBIs, both second to Sammy Sosa.

Post Season: In the NLDS he batted .500 going 10-20 with three RBIs against Atlanta Braves pitching. In the NLCS against his old Florida Marlins team mates he batted .310 hitting two HRs with five RBIs. Both his HRs came in at Wrigley Field in losses in Games #1 & #7.

He is most famous in that series for going over to catch a 9th inning foul ball that seemed like a sure out. That was until a fan snatched the ball away from him. Alou publicly showed his disgust but later apologized for his reaction, as the whole scene grew ugly & way out of proportion. The fan had to be escorted from that game for his safety, as the Cubs fans grew angry. Even after the incident, especially because the Cubs lost the series, he has had nothing but hate mail & threats made to his life since the incident.

The Marlins went on to win that game & the World Series as well. It was to be his final post season appearance.

Alou followed with a big 2004 season, 39 HRs (7th in the NL) 106 RBIs (10th in the NL) while batting .293, although the Cubs fell to a third place finish. That year he made the All Star team for the fifth time & came in 14th place for the MVP voting. In 2005 Alou was back with his father, now the manager in San Francisco with the Giants. Injuries which had always haunted him, were now taking a bigger toll on his career, as he reached his late thirties.

In his first season with the Giants he batted a strong .321 with 19 HRs 21 doubles & 63 RBIs playing in 123 games. That year he saw a lot of playing time in left field due to the injuries to Barry Bonds. The next season Alou was limited to just 98 games, batting .301 with 22 HRs & stated that he would have retired if the Giants had won the World Series. That season in a double header game against the Mets at Shea Stadium, he signed a ball for centerfieldmaz who was lucky enough to be in the first row by the Giant dug out. Alou signed autographs for everyone nearby & was very friendly as well.

In the 2006/2007 off season, Alou signed a deal with the New York Mets. At the time the Mets looked like his best shot at winning a World Series, in the twilight of his career. At the time he arrived in New York, Moises was one of the last MLB players to not wear batting gloves. Strangely he admitted to actually urinating on his hands to toughen them up. Alou was good natured, & also was a famous prankster, especially when team mates were asleep in the locker room. 

He was the Mets opening day left fielder, finding himself batting sixth behind the likes of David Wright, Carlos Beltran & Delgado. He made an immediate impact on a club that was looking ahead to a good follow up year, after losing the NLCS the previous season. Alou would hit safely in 16 of his first twenty games, batting .349 to end April.

On April 17th, he hit two HRs driving in three runs in the Mets 8-1 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. That put him on a streak where he drove in runs in five straight games.

Then on May 11th, in a game at Shea against the Milwaukee Brewers, he suffered a torn quadriceps muscle putting him out for three and a half months. His absence was surely missed by the Mets, although when he returned they were still in first place. Alou came back by the end of July, and picked it right up again.

He broke the Mets club record with a 30 game hitting streak, going to the end of September. Alou also set a record with the longest hitting streak of anyone over the age of forty, the hit streak was the longest of anyone in baseball that season.

On August 4th, he hit a pair of solo HRs in a 6-2 Mets loss at Wrigley Field. On August 8th his 8th inning HR off Rafael Soriano, broke a 3-3 tie & was the game winning run. On August 12th he hit two more HRs, in a game against the Florida Marlins, leading to a 10-4 Mets win. The next day he drove in two runs, breaking a 3-3 tie in Pittsburgh in the top of the 8th inning, also the winning runs in the 5-4 win. The day after that he hit his 8th HR, driving in three runs in the Mets 10-8 win. 

In September he hit four HRs & drove in 18 runs while riding his hit streak, certainly helping the Mets race to a post season. But the team, still blew their NL East lead & missed out on the playoffs on the last day of the season. Overall on the 2007 season Alou played in just 87 games due to the injuries, batting .341, with 13 HRs 19 doubles 49 RBIs & a .392 on base % at age forty. In 84 games in left field, he made seven assists with his strong arm, posting a .971 fielding %.

2008 looked promising for both the Mets & Alou, as the team attempted for forge forward after the let down of '07. But things went bad right away, as Alou needed hernia surgery during Spring Training. He returned in early May, hitting well enough to bat safely in 11 of 12 games. On May 18th he singled with the bases loaded & then added a sac fly RBI in the Mets 11-2 win in the subway series across town.

Alou re-injured himself once again, & while rehabbing in early July, pulled a hamstring. The Mets announced he was done for the year & his career was also over. In just 15 games he hit .347 with two doubles nine RBIs & a .388 on base %.

In his 17 season career, Moises batted .303 with 2134 hits (209th all time) 332 HRs (101st all time) 421 doubles (147th all time) 39 triples, 1287 RBIs (117th all time) 1109 runs scored (243rd all time) & 81 sac flies (82nd all time). 

He also stole102 bases & a .369 on base % in 1942 games played. His 82 career sac flies are 81st most all time.  

Alou made six All Star teams, playing in four post seasons, winning one World Series with the 1997 Florida Marlins.

Trivia: Alou was one of a handful of major league players who hit 20 home runs in a single season & whose fathers had also hit 20 home runs in an MLB season.

Former MLB Player/ Manager & Moises Alou's Dad: Felipe Alou

Felipe Rojas Alou was born on May 12th, 1935 in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. He is a pioneer in the sense that although he is not the first Dominican player to get to the majors, he is the first to play on a regular basis. The six foot right hand hitter, was the oldest of the famous Alou brothers, who all had fine MLB careers.

As a child living in poverty, he dreamed of one day being a doctor to escape, but it was his athletic ability that would make him a success.

Felipe was originally signed by the New York Giants in 1955 7 got to the big leagues three years later, as the team was now relocated in San Francisco. by 1961 he was the teams main right fielder, playing alongside Willie Mays & behind another Hall o Famer, Willie McCovey who was the team's first baseman.

That season his younger brother Matty was also a member of the Giants outfield. Matty would play for the Giants from 1960-1965. In a historic game in 1963 all three Alou brothers would line up the Giants outfield & be in the line up.

In 1962 Alou hit .316 (7th in the NL) his first .300 season, as manager Alvin Dark used the versatile Alou all over his lineup. He answered with 30 doubles (7th in the NL) 25 HRs & a career high 98 RBIs, making his first All Star game. That season the Giants won the NL pennant, beating out the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in a best of three playoff series. The Giants rallied in the top of the 9th inning after being down 4-2, with a four run inning. Matty Alou led off with a base hit & Felipe Alou himself drew a walk.

Both brothers scored, with Felipe scoring the winning run, after Stan Williams walked Jim Davenport with the bases loaded. An insurance run scored as future Met, Larry Burright made an error at second base on a Jose Pagan grounder. In the World Series he hit safely in five of the seven games batting .259.

In 1963 he was involved in a big trade with the Milwaukee Braves, going to Milwaukee with Ed Bailey & Billy Hoeft in exchange for Del Crandall, & future Mets Bob Hendley & Bob Shaw. As a Brave he would play with Hall of Fame team mates Hank Aaron & Eddie Mathews, as well as Joe Torre, Rico Carty & eventually Orlando Cepeda.

In 1966 the Braves franchise moved to Atlanta & it was there Felipe would have his best years. In 1966 he led the league in hits (218) runs scored (122) & at bats (666) while batting .327 runner up in the batting race.

He hit .274 the next season & followed with a huge 1968 campaign, as he made his last All Star game appearance. He would hit .317 (third best in the NL) Leading the league in hits (210) at bats (668) & plate appearances (718). He hit 11 HRs with 57 RBIs & 72 runs scored as his numbers began to decline from this point.

His last season in Atlanta was in the 1969 season, as the club won the NL Western Title. In the first NLCS played, he went just 0-1 appearing as a pinch hitter against Nolan Ryan in Game#3. Alou would play in Oakland with the A's (1970-1971) then go to the AL New York club in their dark days of 1972-1973. He then played with the Montreal Expos (1973) & Milwaukee Brewers (1974).

In his 17 year career, he batted .286 with 2101 hits 359 doubles 49 triples 206 HRs 852 RBIs 107 stolen bases 985 runs scored & a .328 on base %. In the outfield he played1531 games at all three positions making 322 assists posting a .986 fielding %, making just 96 errors in 1586 innings.

Retirement: After his playing career he began a long career with the Montreal Expos in 1976. At first a minor league batting coach soon promoted to manager. He eventually got to the big league Expos team & made to bench coach in 1991. By 1992 he was promoted to the teams manager, replacing Tom Runnels, becoming the first Dominican born MLB manager.

Alou would become the most successful manager in Expos history taking the club to a first place finish & three second place finishes as well.

In 1993 his Expos won 94 games but finished second to the Philadelphia Phillies by three games. In 1994 with his son Moises Alou as the clubs hitting star along with Cliff Floyd, Larry Walker & Pedro Martinez, the Expos were riding high in first place. Unfortunately the players strike ended the season & no post season games were played.

In 1996 the club finished second for the last time, before falling to four straight fourth place finishes. After the 2001 season he was let go by owner Jeffrey Loria who would move the franchise to Florida. Alou retired & did not want to return, but gave in to be bench coach of the Detroit Tigers.

In 2003 he moved on to manage the San Francisco Giants, replacing Dusty Baker who had gotten the club to the seventh game of the World Series the previous year. It was that year Alou's team won 100 games, a career high, finishing in first place. But he lost to his former boss Loria & the Florida Marlins in the playoffs.

In 2004 the Giants finished in second place with another 90 plus win season (91). In 2005 his son Moises joined him for the second time as a team mate in his managerial career.

In 2006 Alou was Barry Bonds manager, as the controversial player kind of broke Hank Aarons all time HR mark. That was Alou's last season as manger. In his managerial career he is 1033-1021 (.503) in ten seasons over 2055 games.

Jun 30, 2015

Mets Catcher: Kevin Plawecki (2015)

Kevin Jeffrey Plawecki was born February 26th 1991 in Carmel, Indiana where his father coached his youth baseball teams. The six foot two right hand hitter can play both catcher & at first base. After attending Westfield High School he went to Perdue University where he was a star baseball player.

He set a freshman school RBI record there getting named Freshman All American. He got better through the years, getting named Big Ten Player of the Year & second team All American batting .359 with 20 doubles in 59 games. He was also voted Most Outstanding Player in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. 

Plawecki was the New York Mets first round draft pick (35th overall) in the 2012 amateur draft. His pick along with Gavin Cecchini were compensation for losing Jose Reyes to free agency.

He spent 2012 with the Brooklyn Cylones batting .250. In 2013 he was with the A ball Savannah Sand Gnats & then a promotion to A ball plus St. Lucie where hit .294. He was gaining a lot of attention & was soon being called the Mets catcher of the Future even before Travis d'Arnaud's career took off.

 He spent the season at both AA Binghamton where he hit .326 & was pushed up to AAA Las Vegas. There he caught the another highly touted Mets prospect; pitcher Noah Syndergaard. The anticipation of the two players development toward the MLB careers was very exciting for the Las Vegas club. Both Players were named to the 2014 Futures Game for the United States Team, where Plawecki was named the starting catcher.

Plawecki was at Spring Training 2015 & there was no rush to bring him up, as the Mets were comfortable with d'Arnaud & Anthony Recker as his back up. But everything changed in April, when d'Arnaud went down with a broken hand. Rather than go with the back up Recker, Plawecki was brought up sooner than planned.

He made his debut on April 21st, getting the start catching Jonathon Niese in a 7-1 Mets win over the Braves at Citi Field. That day he went 2-4 collecting his first big league hits & scored two runs as well. On April 25th he hit his first career HR, it came in an inter league sub way series game, off CC Sabathia where the Mets won 8-2.

On May 5th his 4th inning two run double, ended up being the game winner in Bartolo Colon's fifth win of the season, coming over the Baltimore Orioles. At the plate he struggled as his average fell to the low .200's by mid June, this may have been due to an on going sinus infection.

Behind the plate he showed great defensive abilities & the handling of the Mets young pitching staff, to some of whom he was familiar with from the minor leagues. When Travis d'Arnaud returned from his injury, the Mets chose to keep Plawecki on board to share some of the catching duties & optioned Anthony Recker to the minors.

Quotes: Terry Collins: “He’s such a good prospect, we’re not going to just let him sit on the bench. Now, when Travis is ready to play like normal, we’ll have to make another decision, see how this is working.”

Remembering Mets History:(1962) A Big Day for Craig Anderson & Mets First Two Walk Off HRs In Team History

Saturday May 12th 1962: On a this rare afternoon at the Polo Grounds, the expansion New York Mets (6-17) won a double header, beating the seventh place Milwaukee Braves (13-15) . The twin bill sweep accounted for two of the teams forty victories in the season.

In the first game Roger Craig got the start for he Mets, he pitched seven strong innings giving up two runs, on five hits. Pitcher Craig Andersoin came on with New York down 2-1.

In  the bottom of the 9th, Gil Hogdes got himself an infield single to third base. Hot Rod Kanehl came in to run for him. With two outs, Hobie Landrith hit a two run walk off HR to beat the great Warren Spahn, walk off style 3-2. It was an exciting win for the Mets & the first walk off HR win in the teams history.

In the nightcap the Mets Bob Moorhead got the start against future Met; Carlton Willey. Moorhead gave up five runs through five innings, including a HR as well as four runs driven in by Hall of Famer; Hank Aaron. Moorhead was relieved by Bob Miller.

After Miller, it was Ken Mackenzie, Dave Hillman, Vinegar Bend Mizell & then Craig Anderson once again. Anderson threw a perfect 9th inning & would earn his second win of the day. 

The Mets scoring started in the 1st inning, when Jim Hickman homered off of Willey. Short stop Elio Chacon would have three hits & three RBIs, including a triple, as he lead the Met offense.

In the bottom of the 9th, it was dramatic heroics once again. This time, vertan Brooklyn Dodger & beloved New York player; Gil Hodges hit a walk off home run to win the game. It was like a World Series victory for the 20,000 in attendance that day at the Polo Grounds. 

Overall the Mets used 18 roster players in the second game of this double header.

Craig Anderson was now 3-1 for the ’62 Mets, unfortunately, he would never win another big league game. He went on to lose his next 16 decisions that year and three more the following two seasons. 

In 1963 Anderson started & took the loss in the last game ever played at the Polo Grounds, giving up three runs and five hits exiting in the 4th inning. 

He also pitched in one game during the inaugural season at Shea Stadium in 1964, getting hit for four runs in less than an inning pitched in a May game. 

Original 1962 Mets Pitcher: Craig Anderson (1962-1964)

Norman Craig Anderson was born July 1, 1938 in Washington D.C. The six foot right-handed pitcher attended Lehigh University, where he became the school's star pitcher.

Anderson struck out 289 batters in 189 innings and pitched a no hitter there as well. He became the first player to make it to the big leagues from Lehigh University when he was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960. He briefly pitched in the minor leagues at AA Tulsa, posting a 1.68 ERA, getting brought up to the majors that same year.

He debuted on June 23rd pitching three scoreless innings in relief of Ernie Broglio, while earning his first career victory against the San Francisco Giants. In that game he got a hit scored a run & benefited from a grand slam by Stan the Man Musial. He would go 4-3 with a save & posting a 3.26 ERA with St. Louis in his rookie season. In October of 1961 he became an original New York Met when he was the 16th selection in the expansion draft.

Anderson made his Mets debut In the third game of the teams history, relieving Al Jackson in the 8th inning at the Polo Grounds. That day he pitched two scoreless innings allowing two walks & two hits. On April 24th, 1962 he gave up four runs (two of them earned) taking his first loss of the year, coming at Cincinnati to the Reds.

On May 6th, he entered a game in the 8th inning & pitched four innings to the 11th. He earned his first victory as Gil Hodges singled home the winning run in the Mets top of the 11th. The win would be the start of a personal career best three straight wins in three straight appearances.

His biggest day came on May 12th at the Polo Grounds in a double header against the Milwaukee Braves. At this point in time the team was 5-12, but on this day they would take both ends of a double header from the Braves, enjoying the most exciting day in their short seventeen game existence . Craig Anderson would make Mets history by getting the wins in both games.

In the first game he relieved Roger Craig in the 7th inning with the Braves ahead 3-2. After pitching two scoreless innings, Hobie Landrith came to bat & hit a two run pinch hit walk off HR off future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, to win the game. In the nightcap Anderson was the last of six Mets pitchers to take the mound, pitching a perfect 9th inning in a 7-7 tie.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, local hero Gil Hodges hit his own dramatic walk off HR to win the second game. It was like a World Series victory for the 20,000 fans in attendance at the Polo Grounds on that day. Anderson would save two games on the road in Milwaukee the next week, and have a 3-1 record with three saves & a 2.08 ERA.

Unfortunately from that point on, he would go on to lose his next 16 decisions on the season, and never earn another victory in his big league career. He would lose three games in June, and get a start at the end of the month. He never got the second out of the inning, as he allowed six runs (four earned) to the Pirates in Pittsburgh, as the Mets took a horrible 13-3 loss. Anderson then took four losses in July, although two of them were complete games where he allowed just three runs each time. In August he lost starts to The Phillies, Reds, Dodgers & Cardinals. In September he was in the bullpen, blew one save earned another & took a loss.

He finished the 1962 season leading the team in appearances with 50. He was 3-17 (sixth most losses in the NL) with a 5.38 ERA, allowing 78 runs on 150 hits, walking 63 batters, while striking out 62 in 131 innings pitched. He spent most of 1963 in the minors going 9-12 at AAA Buffalo, getting a September call up at the end of the year. He made the start in the last game ever played at the Polo Grounds on September 18th, 1963. Although he left in the fourth inning, he took the loss, allowing three runs on five hits to the Philadelphia Phillies.

He spent part of May 1964 with the Mets, pitching in just four games. On May 24th he took a loss to the Houston Colt 45’s at the Astrodome in his only start that year. That loss gave him 19 straight losing decisions (over the past three seasons) breaking Roger Craig’s record of 18 straight losses, set in the Mets inaugural season, 1962.

Anderson’s consecutive loss record held for three decades, until Anthony Young lost 27 straight decisions in the early 1990’s. During that period, Anderson sent Young a message of encouragement when he finally snapped the losing streak. He sent him a message saying “I hope you win 27 in a row” signed Craig Anderson- ’62 Mets.

Anderson went back to AAA Buffalo in 1964 and won 12 games, going 12-7 with a 2.96 ERA. He never got back to the big leagues, pitching two seasons in the minors before retiring from playing in 1966. In his four year MLB career, Anderson pitched in 82 games, going 7-23 with a five saves & a 5.10 ERA. He struck out 94 batters in 192 innings, walking 81 batters & pitched two complete games.

Retirement: He then went back to Lehigh University serving as athletic director & baseball coach for 34 years. He now lives in Dunnellon, Florida & serves as a substitute teacher.

He says the teaching keeps him young. Anderson has appeared at three Original Mets reunions & autograph signings shows.

New York Giants Catching Pioneer: Roger Bresnahan (1902-1908)

Roger Philip Bresnahan was born on June 11, 1879 in Toledo Ohio. The fiery player was known as “The Duke of Tralee” because of his Irish ancestry.

The five foot, nine inch two hundred pound right handed began his career at the turn of the 20th Century as a pitcher. He pitched for the Washington Senators (1897) & Baltimore Orioles (1901).

By 1902 he jumped over to the National League with John McGraw & Iron Joe McGinnity to the New York Giants . He would end up playing all infield & outfield positions in New York at one time or another. In New York for John McGraw's Giants, Brenahan became a pioneer catcher, introducing catching gear at the MLB level.

He is credited with inventing shin guards & being the first catcher to use them in an actual game. He also created a leather type batting helmet after he suffered a severe beaning in 1908.

These protective items were slowly being introduced in college play in the early 20th Century, but Bresnahan was the first to use them at the major league level. Because he was a first at doing something different, he was taunted by opposing players in those days. But it didn’t bother Bresnahan.

Giants Manager & friend John McGraw called him one of the best catchers in the game, and one of the toughest to steal on. He threw out 42% of would be base stealer every season he played in New York (1902-1908) & led the league in that category in 1905, nailing 55%. He was second in the league in turning double plays, as well as in passed balls two times each.

He was lucky enough to be a battery mate of the great Christy Mathewson for many of his pitching feats. Even though he was a catcher his abilities made him quick enough to bat in the leadoff spot, during an age when speed was most important over power. He would hit over .300 twice; batting .350 in 1903 (fourth in the NL) with a .443 on base % (second in the NL). That year he also stole 34 bases, hit 30 doubles, eight triples, 4 HRs & drove in 55 runs.

In the Giants 1905 Championship season he batted .302 (tenth in the NL) with a .411 on base %. He hit 18 doubles drove in 46 runs & stole 11 bases in 104 games.

Post Season: In was in that World Series against Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's, that he made history, being the catcher behind the plate when Christy Mathewson tossed three World Series shut outs in the same week.

In Game #1 Bresnahan scored the Series first run, crossing the plate on a Turkey Mike Donlin single. Bresnahan had two hits & drove in a run in the top of the 9th inning, off Eddie Plank in the Giants 3-0 win. Overall he hit .315 (5-16) in his only World Series Championship.

He hit over .280 five times in his six & a half years with the Giants, was among the league’s top ten batting leaders, three times & the top five in on base % six times in his career. He continued to have a great ability to get on base, by any means he could.

In 1906 he led the league in hit by pitches (15) while posting a .419 on base %. (Second in the NL). In 1908 he led the NL in walks (83) while batting .283 & posting a .401 on base %. (third in the league).

In 1909 the Giants traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals where he played for four years, mostly in a backup role. In 1913 he went to play for the Chicago Cubs, retiring after the 1915 season.

In his 17 year career he batted .279 with 1252 hits 26 HRs 530 RBIs 218 doubles 71 triples a .386 on base % & 212 stolen bases. Behind the plate he caught 974 games, throwing out 44% of would be base stealers, posting a .965 fielding %. He made 1995 assists (25th all time) turning 96 double plays (65th all time) while committing 167 errors (60th all time).

Hero: On July 11th, 1911 the Cardinals were on a train to Boston, when the train derailed & fell eighteen feet off an embankment, near Bridgeport, Connecticut. Although 14 people were killed, Bresnahan & his team mates survived, helping rescue some of the injured survivors. Afterward they also helped to remove some of the dead bodies. Before the train ride began it was Bresnahan that requested a change in location of Pullman cars, where the Cardinals were to be seated. At the time he was the team’s player manager (1909-1912).

Retirement: He would also managed the Chicago Cubs for two seasons while still being an active player. In 1916 he returned to his hometown of Toledo Ohio & purchased a baseball team that later became the legendary, Toledo Mud hens.

In 1925 he returned to New York and coached the New York Giants for three more seasons under his former manager John McGraw. Bresnahan passed away from a heart attack at his home in Toledo, Ohio in 1944 at age 65.

Honors: He is considered one of the greatest catchers of all time, & was enshrined at Cooperstown in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

Jun 29, 2015

Remembering Mets History:(2000) Mets Score Ten Runs in 8th Inning To Beat Braves

Friday June 30th 2000:  A huge crowd of 52,000 came out to Shea Stadium to see Bobby Valentines second place Mets (45-32) take on the Bobby Cox's first place Atlanta Braves. The Mets were just two games behind the Braves after having won the night before. At this point in time, the Mets Braves rivalry was at its peak.

The Mets Mike Hampton took the mound against Kevin Millwood. Hampton walked Javy Lopez with the bases loaded in the 1st for a 1-0 Braves lead. In the 3rd, Lopez struck again with a bases loaded single. Two runs scored the a Mike Piazza error allowed a third run to cross the plate, 4-0 Braves.

Hampton gave up five runs overall, and short lived Mets reliever Eric Cammack then gave up a three HR to Brian Jordan. The Mets were down 8-1 going into the bottom of the 8th inning, with Don Wengert pitching.

Derek Bell & Mike Piazza both singled, with one out Robin Ventura grounded out to second base for the second out but Bell scored. Then an amazing two out rally led to the Mets scoring nine more runs, which resulted in a club record ten run inning.

Todd Zeile drove in Piazza with the third run. Next Jay Payton singled, then Benny Agbayani walked. Kelly Ligtenberg was the new Braves pitcher, he walked Mark Johnson & Melvin Mora both with the bases loaded, putting the score to 8-5. Bobby Cox then yanked Ligtenberg & brought in Terry Mulholland. He walked Derek Bell and it was an 8-6 game. Now the Mets fans were going wild at Shea.

Next Edgardo Alfonzo singled, bringing in two more runs to tie the game. The crowd were on there feet as Mike Piazza came up to bat. Piazza blasted a three run HR over the wall, bringing Shea to bedlam as he capped off the record setting inning with what turned out to be the winning runs. Armando Benitez closed out the 9th & got credited with the win (2-3) moving the Mets within two games of  first place. The next night; Al Leiter improved to 10-1, as he combined with Turk Wendell on a six hit 9-1 Mets victory, bringing New York within a game of Atlanta.

Remembering Mets History: (1965) Ron Swoboda Starts His Career As A Slugger

At the start of the 1965 season, the Mets brought up a young 20 year old Ron Swoboda, soon to be their everyday centerfielder. The Mets sold Swoboda as a home grown slugger of their very own.

On April 14th, 1965 Ron Swoboda got his second career at bat coming in his second career game. He came to bat in the top of the 11th inning at Houston Astrodome, with the Mets trailing 7-3 after a tough top of the 10th where Larry Bearnarth & Galen Cisco gave up four runs. Swoboda hit his first career HR a solo shot off Turk Farrell. The Mets came back but still took a 7-6 loss.

Four days later on April 18th, Swoboda got his first start while playing in center field. It came in a huge 7-1 Mets win over the San Francisco Giants, in the second game of a double header in front of 44,179 fans at Shea Stadium. The Mets beat Gaylord Perry that day, with Swoboda hitting a solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd inning.

On April 23rd, the Mets were in San Francisco going into the 9th inning behind 8-4 against Perry once again. Swoboda led off the 9th inning with a HR, his third of the year. Jesse Gonder followed with a HR as well, for a back to back shots. RBI hits from Joe Christopher & Jim Hickman tied the game. Charley Smith's sac fly won it in the 11th.

Two days later on April 25th at Candlestick Park, the Mets won another exciting 4-3 game over the Giants. Veteran & future Hall of Fame pitcher; Warren Spahn closing out his career with the Mets earned his second win (2-0) with the help of Swoboda.

In the the 5th with the Mets up 1-0, Swoboda doubled bringing home Eddie Kranepool with the run. In the 7th, Swoboda blasted a two run HR, once again scoring Kranepool to make it 4-0 Mets. It was Swoboda's forth HR of the year in just his ninth game.

On May 1st the Mets took a 9-2 loss in Cincinnati facing the Reds. Swoboda hit his 5th HR of the season, a solo shot in just his 13th career game.

On May 8th, Swoboda had his biggest day since being in the big leagues. He hit two HRs helping lead the Mets to a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Braves at Shea Stadium. In front of just over 15,000 fans, Swoboda hit a three run HR in the 1st inning off Denny LeMaster, scoring Bobby Klaus & Johnny Lewis making it 3-0 Mets. In the 6th he hit a solo shot off Phil Niekro for HR # 7 in just his 18th career game.

It was quite a career start for the young Swoboda, he quickly became a star & a popular player on a young team hungry for talent. He finished his rookie year with a career high, team leading 19 HRs. He also had 15 doubles & 15 RBIs while batting just .228 with 102 strike outs.