Oct 23, 2014

Remembering Mets History: 2000 World Series Game #3- Mets Win First Game of Sub Way Series At Shea

Tuesday October 24th, 2000- World Series Game #3- Shea Stadium, NY: 

This is the only game I acknowledge from that Series. centerfieldmaz & entourage sat in the very last seats of the left field upper deck at Shea Stadium. Us & fellow Met fans really let the other NY teams fans have it.

This was the first World Series game back at Shea Stadium since the Championship Year of 1986. A New York crowd of 55,299 came to Shea for Game Three of the Subway Series. 

Bobby Valentine's Mets (94-68) had won the NL Wild Card, beaten the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS in five game & the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS in five games as well.

This World Series was the first New York Sub Way World Series since 1956, when the Brooklyn Dodgers took on the AL New York team.

The Mets had dropped the first two games of the series, losing a 12 inning nail bitter 4-3 & then a heartbreaking 6-5 loss in Game #2. In that game they had scored five runs in the 9th inning & fell just short of a comeback. An earlier base running blinder by Timo Perez may have been the difference. That game also featured the next round of the Mike Piazza vs Roger Clemens drama.

On this nigt the Mets stopped pitcher; Orlando Hernandez's post season win streak at eight games, as they took a 4-2 victory. The Mets starter was Rick Reed (11-5 / 4.11 ERA / 121 Ks).

In the bottom of the 2nd, Robin Ventura put the Mets on the board first with a lead off HR to right center field, almost hitting the famous HR Apple.

The A.L. New York team scored in the 3rd & 4th inning, as Rick Reed lost the lead and the Mets trailed 2-1 going into the 6th inning. 

In the home 6th, Mike Piazza hit a ground rule double to lead off. Next, Robin Ventura got aboard on a walk. Todd Zeile followed with a double bringing in Piazza to tie the game up 2-2, much to the delight of the Shea Mets fans. 

Turk Wendell came on & struck out the first two batters of the 7th inning. He then walked a batter & was relieved by Dennis Cook. Cook hit his first batter with a pitch but then struck out Bernie Williams to end the threat. 

John Franco came on in the 8th with no one out & a runner on. He got a double play ball, gave up a base hit & then retired the last batter of the inning.

In the bottom of the 8th, Todd Zeile singled to center with one out. Benny Agbayani (who hit over .350 in the post season) came up big once again, as he doubled home Zeile in what would be the games winning run. 

Benny Agbayani was removed for pinch runner "Super" Joe McEwing. Next up, Jay Payton got on with an infield hit, advancing McEwing to third. 

Mets pinch hitter; Bubba Trammell then hit a sac fly to center, McEwing scored to make it 4-2 Mets.

Armando Benitez came on in the 9th, he allowed a single & a then a strange play involving defensive put the runner on second base. Benitez managed to get out of it & close out the game with the save.

Former Mets Back Up Short Stop: Omar Quintanella (2012-2014)

Omar Quintanilla was born on October 24, 1981 in El Paso, Texas. The five foot nine left hand hitter, throws right & is a fine defensive player.

Quintanilla attended the University of Texas at Austin on a baseball scholarship. He played second & third for the Longhorns, appearing in two National Championship games. He became the first round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2003 (the 33rd pick overall).

While still a hot prospect he was traded along with Eric Byrnes to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Joe Kennedy & Jay Witacisk. Quintanilla spent five years with the Rockies as a backup middle infielder, playing behind Troy Tulowitzki, Kazo Matsui & Clint Barnes.

He saw the most action in 2008, batting .238 with 17 doubles, two HRs & 15 RBIs. He was part of the 2007 NL Champion Rockies season, playing 27 games. He was with the club in April May & September but did not play in the post season.

In 2010 he received a 50 game suspension by MLB for using a performance enhancing drug. The solid infielder signed with the Texas Rangers in 2011 seeing action in just 11 games at the big league level for the AL Champion Rangers.

In 2012 he signed with the New York Mets, and played at 48 games with AAA Buffalo, hitting an impressive .333. He was called up to the Mets in May debuting on May 29th at Citi Field. Quintanilla had a huge day, with three hits & a pair of doubles in a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. He began to see regular action filling in at shortstop & was batting over .300 until md June. On June 9th he hit his only HR of the season, it came off the AL New York's Phil Hughes.

In 29 games he hit his career best .257 with one HR & Four RBIs. In July he was traded to the first place Baltimore Orioles, to help out defensively for the playoff run.

The deal was for the Mets to have future considerations. He was granted free agency by Baltimore & got resigned by the Mets for 2013.

 When Ruben Tejada went down with injury, Quintanilla was called up joining the club in time for the subway series sweep in New York. On June 2nd, at Marlins Stadium he hit his seventh career HR, it came at the start of a nine game hit streak, that saw him hit two doubles, two HRs & drive in three runs. He ended the streak batting .325 & with a HR against the Cardinals in a 9-2 loss at Citi Field.

On July 2nd, he drove in three runs with a pair of hits in the Mets 9-2 win over the Arizona D-backs. On August 31st, he collected two hits with a season high two RBIs in an 11-3 win over the Washington Nationals. Through September he saw a bit less playing time when Ruben Tejada returned to the line up from an injury. 
In 2013 he saw action in 95 games (92 at short) posting a .978 fielding %. Overall he hit just .222 with 2 HRs 21 RBIs but did draw 38 walks.

Defensively Quintanilla's smooth play at short, impressed everyone, posting a .977 fielding% turning 44 double plays. In 2014 he played just 15 games at the big league level batting .207. He played 46 games for AAA Las Vegas & was designated for assignment in early summer.
In a nine year career he has played in402 games, batting .207 with 228 hits, 43 doubles, 5 triples 8 HRs & 74 RBIs. He has posted a .981 fielding % in 229 games at short stop. He has also played 140 games at second base & 14 games at third.


Former Mets Infielder Turned Sucessful Manager: Ron Gardenhire (1981-1986)

Ronald Clyde Gardenhire was born October 24, 1957 in Butzbach West Germany. His family migrated to the United States, settling first in Oklahoma where Gardenhire went to high school. He then attended college at the University of Texas at Austin.

The six foot right hand hitting infielder, was drafted by the New York Mets in 1979 in the sixth round. In his first pro season he made the Carolina League All Star team while at A ball Lynchburg. He was promoted to AA Jackson in 1980 & then had a fine season at AAA Tidewater in 1981.

He hit just .254 but played a fine defense & made it to the Mets team by September 1981. He debuted on September 1st at the Astrodome, as a pinch runner for Rusty Staub & stayed in the game playing at second base in a 3-2 loss to the Astros. He went 13 for 48 that month good for a .271 average. He played mostly at short stop (18 games) posting a .969 fielding %.

The next season in 1982 he got the Mets main short stop job after the departure of veteran Fran Tavares. he saw the most playing time of his career playing in 141 games, making 29 errors (third in the NL) while turning 68 double plays.

On April 11th at Wrigley Field he singled in the top of the 6th continuing a Mets rally that he helped tie the game, in the 8th he added an RBI sac fly for insurance in the 5-4 Met win. He was certainly not known for his power but he did hit three HRs on the year.

On June 29th with the Mets behind 4-3 in the 7th inning, he hit a two run HR off the Expos Ray Burris in Montreal, leading New York to a win. On September 22nd Gardenhire hit a surprising walk off HR against Byrn Smith to beat the Montreal Expos in the 10th inning. Overall he batted .240 with 3 HRs 17 doubles & 33 RBIs while stealing five bases.

In 1983 he wasn’t hitting, batting just .083 in early May when he was sent back down to AAA Tidewater. There he hit .287 but kept getting hamstring injuries which certainly added to shortened his career. He returned to the Mets in September & by now Jose Oquendo had become the teams main short stop. He finished the year batting .063 playing in just seventeen games.

In 1984 he spent the entire season up with the Mets big league team. He played in 49 games at short stop, behind Oquendo & Rafael Santana who would eventually take over the position. On the year he hit .246 in 74 games posting a .947 fielding % at short stop. Gardenhire, played in just 26 games with the second place 1985 Mets as injuries kept nagging him. He would bat .179 with two RBIs.

In the 1986 Championship season he spent the entire year at AAA Tidewater as well as missing time due to injuries. In November of 1986 he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later.

Manager: He never played on the Twins big league squad & ended his playing career in 1987 at age 30. He soon managed in the Twins minor leagues winning two first place finishes in three years. He was promoted to the Twins big league team as the third base coach in their 1991 Championship season.

He was a Twins coach for eleven seasons before being named manager in 2002 as Tom Kelly’s replacement. Kelly was had a very quiet demeanor about him, and Gardenhire just the opposite.

He is fiery & aggressive known to exit the dug out to argue with umpires quite often. He is known as "Gardy " & is a very successful manager for the Twins over the past decade. He has made the post season six times as manager and only had three losing seasons. After finishing third or better for nine seasons, the injury ridden 2011 Twins finished last, the worst season of Gardenhire's career. The Twins finished last again 2012, although that season he won his 900th games as a Twins manager.
In 2013 the Twins finished fourth but in 2014 they fell one more spot to last place.

His Twins have won 90 games or more five times, with a career high 96 wins in 2006. On the down side; his teams have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs each time with the exception of 2002. That season they lost in the ALCS to the eventual world champion Anaheim Angels.

Through 2014 Gardy has managed the Twins for 13 seasons, second only to Tom Kelly (15 seasons) since the franchise moved from Washington D.C.

Family: His son Toby was born in Manhasset, Long Island New York during Ron’s days with the New York Mets. Toby was an infielder in the Twins organization through 2011. In 2012 he was named head coach at University of Wisconsin (Stout).

Early Eighties Mets Backup Catcher: Junior Ortiz (1983-1984)

Adalberto Colon Ortiz was born October 24, 1959 in Humacao, Puerto Rico. The five foot eleven catcher, was originally signed as a teenager by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1977.

He had a good year at AA Buffalo in 1980 hitting 12 HRs while batting .334, although he never matched those numbers again. He debuted for the Pirates in seven games of the 1982 season. In 1983 he began the year in Pittsburgh as a back up to catcher Tony Pena but after five games played, he was traded to the New York Mets for Marvell Wynne in early June.

For the remainder of the 1983 season, Ortiz spent his time in New York backing up Ron Hodges. In 68 games he batted .254 with five doubles & 12 RBIs. Behind the plate he threw out 25% of would be base stealers & posted a .965 on base %.

In 1984 he was the back up to Mike Fitzgerad as the team’s catcher. He got the start in the second game of the season & drove in a run in the Mets 2-0 win at Wrigley Field in Chicago against the Cubs.

The next game he drove in two more runs in the Mets 8-1 win against the Astros in Houston. He struggled at the plate through the season finishing the year up with a .198 average, three doubles & 11 RBIs in 40 games played. With high expectations for rookie catcher Mike Gibbons & a trade for Gary Carter on the horizon, Ortiz returned to Pittsburgh as a Rule V draft player in December.

In Pittsburgh he was a backup up to Tony Pena & then Mike Lavalliere from 1985-1989. He went to the Minnesota Twins and played in the 1991 World Series for them hitting .200 and driving in a run against the Atlanta Braves.

Ortiz then spent two years in Cleveland with the Indians playing in a career high 95 games in 1993 due to main catcher Sandy Alomar’s injuries. Ortiz then went to the Texas Rangers in 1994 playing behind Pudge Rodriguez in his final season.

In his 13 year career, Ortiz was a life time .256 hitter, with 484 hits, 5 HRs, 71 doubles, 5 triples & a .305 on base % in 1894 at bats in 749 games.

Behind the plate he threw out 32% of would be base stealers, also posting a .986 fielding %.

Trivia: During his career he suffered one of the strangest injuries in baseball history, having to sit out a game because he stepped on a papaya. Junior named his son Junior and he is known as Junior JR.

Oct 22, 2014

Remembering Mets History: 1988 NLCS Game #3- Mets Go Up Two Games to One On L.A.

Saturday, October 8th, 1988: NLCS Game #3-Shea Stadium in New York.

After a split in the first two games at Los Angeles, the first game back in New York on Friday was postponed due to bad weather. The Mets returned home to play at Shea in front of 44,672 for Game #3 on Saturday afternoon.

In a rematch of Game #1 starters, Davey Johnson sent Ron Darling (17-9 / 3.25 ERA) to the mound for New York & Tommy Lasorda sent Orel Hershiser (23-8 / 2.26 ERA) for L.A. But neither pitcher would figure in the decisions in the end. The Dodgers would use five pitchers & the Mets four.

Mets Pitcher Roger McDowell Confirms Rain Out
Darling was shaky in the 2nd, he walked the first two batters in the inning, then gave up a base hit to Mike Scoscia which brought home the first run. The next run scored on a ground out to short stop, it was quickly 2-0 Dodgers. A Kirk Gibson ground out in the 3rd made it 3-0.

In the home 3rd, Mookie Wilson struck out but reached base on a wild pitch. Darryl Strawberry's double brought in Mookie with the Mets first run.

Both pitchers rolled along until the bottom of the 6th. Keith Hernandez & Strawberry both singled. Kevin McReynolds then reached on an error to load the bases. Gary Carter & Wally Backman both collected RBI base hits to tie the game at three. 

Ron Darling pitcher six innings, allowing three runs on five hits with four walks & five strike outs. In the 8th Roger McDowell was on for the Mets, after getting the first two outs he surrendered two base hits & a walk to load the bases. Randy Meyers came in but walked Mike Sharperson to put L.A. ahead 4-3.

For the Dodgers, Orel Hershiser went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits with four strike outs & four walks. 

In the home 8th, Jay Howell started the inning but walked Kevin McReynolds. Howell was relieved by Alejandro Pena. With two outs, Wally Backman doubled tying the game back up at four. After Len Dykstra walked, Mookie Wilson singled to bring home Backman. Greg Jefferies was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Keith Hernandez then drew a bases loaded walk bringing in another run. Darryl Strawberry followed with a pop fly single, bringing in two more runs to cap off the Mets victory.

In the 9th David Cone was brought in to shut the door with a save. The Mets took a two games to one lead in the series with the 8-6 victory.

1969 World Champion Amazing Mets Outfielder: Art Shamsky (1968-1971)

Arthur Louis Shamsky was born October 14, 1941, in St. Louis, Missouri. Art Shamsky grew up a Cardinals fan & his hero was Stan the Man Musial.

He went to the same high school as future big league pitcher Ken Holtzman. Other notable school alumni are Tennessee Williams & Mets outfielder Bernard Gilkey.

The six foot one, left hand hitting outfielder would also play at first base.

In 1959 Shamsky was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cincinnati Reds. At age 18 he was Pete Rose roommate for the 1960 Geneva Red legs, and homered in his first at-bat there.

He led all outfielders in assists & was second in the league with 18 HRs just ahead of future MLB sluggers; Tony Perez and Dick Allen. Shamsky got to the AAA Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres in 1963 & the following season hit 25 HRs behind Tony Perez’s league leading 34.

In April of 1965, Shamsky made the Reds team debuting against his favorite child hood team the Cardinals & striking out against Bob Gibson. He ended up getting in 64 games as a reserve outfielder behind Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson & Tommy Harper. He batted .260 with two HRs & 10 RBIs in 64 games played.

In 1966 he made the club once again as a reserve outfielder being used mostly as a pinch hitter. From August 12th through August 14th 1966 he tied an MLB record by hitting HRs in four consecutive at bats.

In the first game of a double header against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the 12th, he hit HRs against Al Mcbean in the 8th inning, Roy Face in the 10th inning & another off Billy O'dell in the 11th inning.

On that day he also became the first player in Reds history to hit two HRs in an extra inning game.

On the 14th he tied the consecutive HR record when he came in to pinch hit in the 7th inning & connected off Vern Law of the Pirates.

The other players who had accomplished this feat were; Ralph Kiner, Stan Musial, Hank Greenberg & Mickey Mantle. The bat that he used to set the HR record is on display in Cooperstown in the Hall of Fame.

In just 234 at bats on the year he was second on the club to Deron Johnson with 21 HRs. He also had 14 doubles with 4 triples & 47 RBIs. In 1967 he battled injuries and hit just .197 with 3 HRs & 13 RBIs in 76 games. Before the 1968 season he was traded to the New York Mets for Bob Johnson.

Shamsky debuted on Opening Day 1968 getting two hits in the 5-4 Mets loss to the San Francisco Giants. In his first seven games as a Met he was batting .391 with five RBIs. On May 7th he hit a two run HR off Nelson Briles helping the Mets beat his childhood favorite Cards 4-2. At the end of the month he was batting .286 with 10 RBIs in 32 games played. 

From June 16th to the 26th he had a power surge belting four HRs in that period, driving in seven runs. His average fell of through the summer and he fell to .218 by mid August. On a road trip to Cincinnati he hit HRs in back to back games against his old team mates. On August 30th he hit a grand slam off Nelson Briles, leading tom Seaver & the Mets to an exciting 8-2 win at Shea Stadium.

In the week of September 3rd another power surge led to HRs in three of five games in the week. On September 20th he broke a 4-4 tie in Philadelphia with an RBI single scoring Cleon Jones in what turned out to bet he game winning run. He got to play 100 games in 1968 with 300 at bats, hitting .238 with 12 HRs 14 doubles 4 triples & 48 RBIs.

In the 1969 Championship season Shamsky started out on the DL when he injured his back in practice with his roommate Kenny Boswell. He then was sent to AAA Tidewater & hit a grand slam HR in his first game there.

Tides Manager Whitey Herzog said to him “what the hell are you doing down here”. After thirteen games he hit 4 HRs with 12 RBIs & was back on the Mets big league club in mid May.

Shamsky became the regular starter against right-handed pitchers, with Ron Swoboda starting against lefties in Gil Hodges platoon system. He was also a valuable late inning guy and pinch hitter, batting .385 as a pinch hitter, and .388 in the late innings. A month after he came up to the Mets team, he was batting over .300.

On June 6th he lined an 8th inning pinch hit single putting the Mets ahead of the San Diego Padres, in a game they won for their eighth straight win. That day he hit a pair of HRs & drove in four runs in the Mets 6-5 win over the Phillies. On June 14th he hit a HR off Don Sutton at Dodger Stadium, helping the Mets & Tom Seaver win a close 3-1 game.

On June 19th he brought his average up to .351 with a four hit day, highlighted by a pair of HRs & three RBIs in a win over the Phillies. That week he drove in runs in four of five games, hitting another HR two days later. Shamsky stayed hot in July batting well over .330 all month. On July 16th he hit a two run HR off Ted Abernathy in Chicago, helping the Mets beat the Cubs 9-5 and jumping to just four games back, in second place.

In his next game he homered again, in Montreal helping the club to a 5-2 win. On August 20th he hit a two run HR & drove in four runs off Gaylord Perry at Shea Stadium, helping Jim McAndrew shut out the San Francisco Giants 6-0. When the Dodgers came to town three days later, Shamsky hit a HR off Jim Brewer helping the Mets win another close one 3-2.

On September 7th he hit a two run HR at Shea, leading the Nolan Ryan to his fifth win & helping the Mets get to 2.5 games of the first place Cubs. 

On September 9th in front of a sold out house at Shea, Shamsky homered in the 7-0 Tom Seaver victory over the Cubs Fergie Jenkins. The win put New York within a half game of first place. 

Shamsky would drive in a run in four of five games he played in that week, including one the night of September 10th when the Mets took over first place after a 3-2 win over the Montreal Expos.

In thee first game of a September 21st twin bill at Shea Stadium, Shamsky homered & drove in arun in the next game as well, as the Mets swept the Pittsburgh Pirates. The night before the Mets clinched the NL East, Shamsky singled scoring Tommie Agee while tying up a game against the St. Louis Cards.

On the 1969 season Art had five game winning RBIs, while batting an even .300 with a .375 on base %, playing in 100 games on the year. He showed power with 14 HRs (second on the club to Tommie Agee) nine doubles, a .432 slugging % & 47 RBIs in only 303 at bats. In the outfield he posted a .992 fielding % making just one error, turning two double plays making two assists.

Post Season: He started all three games of the NLCS, where he batted .538, leading all batters going 7 for 13. In Game #1 he led off the second inning with a base hit off Phil Niekro. In a piece of Mets trivia, it was Shamsky who crossed the plate with the first ever Mets post season run, scoring on a Jerry Grote base hit.

In Game #2 at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, he had another three hits, going 3-4, driving in Cleon Jones with a run in the 2nd inning. On the day he had three hits. In Game #3 at Shea Stadium, he got another hit (1-4) scoring on his roommate ken Boswell’s two run HR off George Stone in the 5th inning.

In the 1969 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, he started only Game #3 going hitless, at Shea Stadium. Shamsky also went 0 for 2 as a pinch hitter during that Fall Classic.

Honors: In 1969 after the Amazing Mets Championship run, he enjoyed fame as did many of the New York players. He he appeared in Harpers Bazaar Magazine with model & future actress Lauren Hutton.

In 1970 Art was played in a career high 122 games having another good season. He led the team batting .293 with a .371 on base percentage. He hit 11 HRs (4th on the club) 19 doubles, & 49 RBIs. Despite only 402 at bats, he was 7th in the league with 13 intentional walks.

He played 58 games in the outfield posting a perfect .1000 fielding %. He also played in 56 games at first base (.995 fielding %) behind Don Clendenon & Ed Kranepool.

By 1971 injuries ruined his season. Shamsky’s batting average fell over 100 points, in only 68 games & 135 at bats he hit just .185. With Rusty Staub arriving in the outfield for 1972, Shamsky’s days in New York were done. He was traded by the Mets along with Rich Folkers, Jim Bibby & Charlie Hudson, to his childhood favorite team, the hometown Cardinals in exchange for Jim Beauchamp, Harry Parker, & Chuck Taylor.

His dream of playing in St. Louis fell short, as he was released at the start of the season, and then picked up by the Chicago Cubs. He played 22 games in Chicago and then moved on to the Oakland A’s that year but nagging back problems forced him to retire at age 32.

In a short eight year career he batted .253 with 426 hits 68 HRs 60 doubles 15 triples 233 RBIs and a .330 on base % winning one World Series.

Retirement: After Baseball, he remained in New York and became involved in real estate as a consultant with First Realty Reserve.

He also worked as a sports broadcaster for eight years, including tenure with the Mets from 1979 to 1981.

For a brief period he owned a midtown restaurant, "Legends” in Manhattan. Shamsky co wrote the book, “The Magnificent Seasons,” with Barry Zeman about the 1969 New York sports season.

In 2006, he was embroiled in a bitter public divorce from his second wife, Kim.

In 2007 Art was manager to one of the six teams for the short lived professional Israel Baseball League. He has appeared at two New York area Beatlefest- Beatles conventions promoting his 1969 heroics.

Honors: He was at the closing ceremonies on the final day at Shea Stadium in 2008. In 1994 Shamsky was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Trivia: In the American sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray and Robert's childhood bulldog was named Shamsky Number 1, after 1969 Met, Art Shamsky.

On a trip to Cooperstown the Romano Brothers talk about the 1969 Mets. Teammates Art Shamsky, Tommie Agee, Jerry Grote, Bud Harrelson, Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda, Tug McGraw & Ed Kranepool all make an appearance on the show. (Episode: 'Big Shots' - Series 3, Episode 19).

Former Mets Infielder: Kazuo Matsui (2004-2006)

Kazuo Matsui was born on October 23, 1975 in Osaka Japan. Matsui was an All star shortstop in Japan, winning seven Best Nine awards, four gold gloves and two stolen base titles. His teams won four titles but never the final championship series.

In 2004 he became the first Japanese infielder to sign with a major league team when he became a New York Met.

Matsui debuted on Opening Day 2004 & hit a HR in his first MLB at bat off the Atlanta Braves Russ Ortiz at Turner Field. He is the only player in MLB history to hit HRs in his first plate appearance three straight seasons (2004-2005-2006). On may 18th he singled off the Cardinals Jason Isringhausen in the bottom of the 9th inning tying up the game, then Cliff Floyd drove in the winning walk off run.

On July 2nd he had a huge day at Shea in the subway series against the cross town rivals. Matsui hit two HRs off Mike Mussina driving in five runs in the Mets 11-2 win. By the All Star break he was batting .260 & in the second half he was limited to just 28 games due to injuries.

In his rookie 2004 season Matsui played short stop and the Mets moved the short stop of the future Jose Reyes over to second. None of these ideas worked out and Kaz was back at playing second base by the end of the season.

On the year he hit .272 with 32 doubles, 7 HRs, 44 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in his rookie year, not a bad showing but more was expected after the club had promoted him so highly. At short stop his 23 errors were second most in the league as he posted a .956 on base %.

The next season he once again hit a HR on Opening Day, this time in Cincinnati in the Mets 7-6 loss. He then drove in two more runs the next day. On April 29th he was batting .280 but it dropped off from there as he fell to .234 on June 21st when he went on the disabled list.

Back in the week of May 14th he drove in nine runs in seven games, including two in two games of the subway series. He missed almost two months of action & played in just 87 games the rest of the year, batting .255 with 3 HRs o doubles 4 triples & 24 RBIs.

On the field he posted a .970 fielding % making nine errors in 303 chances.

He began 2006 with a HR for the third straight season, this one was an inside the parker against the San Diego Padres. He slid past his former team mate Mike Piazza, now catching with the Padres at home plate for the score. By this season the Mets were a totally different team than when Matsui first joined the club.

Jose Valentin was surprised everyone in Spring Training and took over the second base spot. After 38 games Matsui was hitting only .200 and was shipped to the Colorado Rockies for Eli Marero.

After spending his first two months in the minors, he came up and hit over .300 the remainder of the season. Colorado seemed like it was light years away, when the ’06 Mets finished first & the Rockies finished fourth. Well by 2007 the Rockies won almost every game in the month of September and made the post season, as they surprised everyone.

Kazuo hit .288 with 24 doubles six triples and stole 32 bases during the regular season. He posted a .992 fielding % (best among all second baseman) & turned 26 double plays with Troy Tulowitzki up the middle infield.

The Rockies swept the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS & the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS getting all the way to the World Series, before losing to the Boston Red Sox.

Post Season: Matsui hit his first career grand slam in Game #2 of the NLDS & almost became the first player to hit for the cycle in a post season game missing just a single. Overall in the post season he hit .304 with 8 RBIs.

In 2008 he signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros and batted a career best .293 stealing 20 bases. In 2009 he was still Houston’s second baseman hitting .250 in his last full season of MLB play.

In 2010 he saw action in just 27 games, getting released & signed back in Japan for 2011.

In his seven season career Matsui hit .267 with 615 hits 32 HRs 120 doubles 20 triples 102 stolen bases 211 RBIs & a .321 on base %.

Former Mets Broadcater & His Amazing Career: Tim McCarver

James Timothy McCarver was born on October 16, 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee. The six foot left handed hitting catcher was signed out of the Christian Brothers High School in Memphis in 1959.

That year he flew through the minor leagues all the way up to AAA Rochester batting .359 overall. At 17 years old he was briefly called up to the Cardinals, debuting on September 10th, 1959 in a game against the Milwaukee Braves. He appeared in nine games that season.

In the next two years he shuttled between St. Louis and the minor leagues, developing his skills. By 1963 he was up for good at age 21 becoming the Red Birds main catcher taking over the position from Jimmy Schaffer. McCarver established himself as one of the top defensive catchers of the 1960s and early 1970s, throwing out over 40% of would be base stealers five times & leading all backstops in fielding percentage twice.

He became the personal catcher for Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson, helping develop him into one of the games most dominant pitchers. He was Gibson's battery mate for his 1968 Cy Young Award season, where he posted a 1.12 ERA. He also caught Gibson in four twenty win seasons & two World Series, including his dominant 1967 performance where he won three games.

McCarver also would be personal catcher to another Hall of Famer; Steve Carlton. In 1965 he got into an argument with the stubborn rookie pitcher over pitch selections. The two would form a friendship & have a great working relationship as well. He would catch Carlton in his early years with the Cardinals, then move on with him to the Philadelphia Phillies. McCarver was Carlton's personal catcher over Bob Boone, handling the plate in two of Carlton's Cy Young seasons (1972 & 1977).

As he was developing his skills he led the league in passed balls twice & errors committed once. But by the late sixties he was on top of his game. Besides his outstanding defense and abilities to call a good game, he was a good hitting catcher especially for his time. In his first two full seasons (1963 & 1964) he batted .288 with over 50 RBIs both seasons. He hit double figures in HRs from 1965-1967, with seventeen plus doubles six times in his career.

In the 1964 Cardinals championship season, he hit .288 with a .343 on base %, 9 HRs 19 doubles 52 RBIs & 15 intentional walks (5th most in the league). That season McCarver handeled not only Gibson (19 wins) but future Met Ray Sadecki who won twenty & Curt Simmons who won 18 games.

Post Season: In the 1964 World Series McCarver opened up the Series with two hits in Game #1. He had a big Game #5 putting the Cards ahead in the Series, as he broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 10th inning, with a three run HR off New York's Pete Mikkelsen.

In the Cards Game #7 win he drove in the first run of the game with a sac groundout off Mel Stottlemyre.

In that Game#7 Gibson pitched a complete game win for his second win of the series, clinching the title. McCarver was the World Series' leading hitter with a .478 average, getting 11 hits with one HR, one double, one triple, five RBIs & five walks.

In 1966 he became the first catcher in the modern era, to lead the N.L. in triples with 13. That year he even stole nine bases with 12 HRs 68 RBIs & 19 doubles. In the Cardinals dominant NL years he hit .275 or better each season, batting a career high .295 with 54 walks in 1967.

That year he made his second straight All Star team, & was leading in league in hitting (.355) at the All Star break. That season he posted a .369 on base percentage with 14 HRs 26 doubles & 69 RBIs playing in 138 games. He finished second in the N.L. MVP voting, losing out to team mate Orlando Cepeda.

During the season he contributed with many key hits, especially in tight games. In the last week of July he drove in eight runs & from August 19th to September 1st he drove in ten runs. On August 30th he hit a two run HR at Shea Stadium off Danny Frisella scoring the only two runs of the game.

Post Season: In the late sixties the Cardinals were riding high with a strong team playing in their new Bush Stadium. They would win two World Series in four years, & playing in three Series in a five year span. In the 1967 World Series, the Cards beat the “Impossible Dream” Boston Red Sox in seven games.

Tim only hit .127 in this Series driving in two runs overall. But it was in this series Bob Gibson won three games, extending his streak to five straight World Series wins. In Game #1 he struck out ten Red Sox matching that total in Game #7 as well.

In 1968 St. Louis returned to win another NL pennant, by nine games over the San Francisco Giants. McCraver hit .253 with 5 HRs 15 doubles & 48 RBIs in 128 games played. He threw out 37% of would be base stealers that season.

Post Season: In the World Series the Cards faced off against the Detroit Tigers. In this series, Detroit pitcher Mickey Lolich won three World Series games.

In Game #1 two of the game's best went at it, Gibson vs. Denny McLain at Busch Stadium. Gibson was incredible pitching a five hit shut out striking out a World Series record 17 batters.

In Game #3 at Tiger Stadium, McCarver hit a three run HR off Earl Wilson in the 7-3 St. Louis win. Gibson returned for his seventh straight World Series win in Game #4, as McCarver had three hits in the 10-1 victory. In Game #7 it was Lolich & the Tigers coming out on top.

McCarver had another good Series, hitting .333 (9- 27) with a HR, two triples, four RBIs and three walks. McCarver’s played in three Fall Classics, batting .311 playing in 21 games.

In 1970 McCarver was traded along with Curt Flood, Joe Hoerner, & Byron Browne, to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen, Cookie Rojas& Jerry Johnson.

This was the famous trade where Curt Flood refused to report to his new team deal, challenging the reserve clause. Instead a young Willie Montanez went to the Phillies in his place.

McCarver missed a lot of action in 1970 batting .287 in just 44 games as injuries got the best of him. The next season he batted .278 but committed 11 errors with 18 passed ball behind the plate, leading the league in those categories.

On June 23rd 1971, he was behind the plate catching Rick Wise no hitter at Riverfront Stadium, against the reigning NL Champion Cincinatti Reds. In 1972 McCarver began the year in Philadelphia, catching Steve Carltons 27 win season 310 strike out Cy Young season. But he was traded to the Montreal Expos for John Bateman on June 14th.

On October 2nd 1972, at Jary Park in Montreal in the final series of the regular season, McCarver he caught no hitter number two.
That day Bill Stoneman threw a no hitter against the New York Mets, striking out just two & walking seven.

The next year McCarver was back to St. Louis (1973-1974) then to the the Boston Red Sox (1974-1975) behind Carlton Fisk. In mid-1975, Steve Carlton now one of the league's best pitchers was pitching in Philadelphia.

He requested the Phillies get McCarver back to be his full time personal catcher. Carlton preferred McCarver over Phillies regular back stop Bob Boone. The Phillies granted his request & it was there he would spend the rest of his career through 1980. McCarver used to joke that when he and Carlton pass away, they'll be buried 60 feet six inches apart from each other.

On Americas 200th birthday, July 4, 1976, McCarver hit what is known as a "Grand Slam Single". That day after hitting a game-winning home run with the bases loaded, he passed teammate Garry Maddox on the base path. He supposedly said to the umpire, "I didn't pass him; he lapped me due to sheer speed".

Post Season: In the mid to late 1970’s McCarver got to play in three consecutive NLCS with the Phillies from 1976-1978. All three times they were eliminated, once by the Big Red Machine & twice by the L.A. Dodgers.

McCarver went 3 for 14 with three walks in seven games catching Carlton, in those years. McCarver briefly returned to play in September 1980 becoming one of the few players in history to play in four different decades.

He finished his 21 season playing career with a .271 batting average, 1501 hits 97 HRs 242 doubles 57 triples 548 walks & 645 RBIs with a .337 on base %. He is 41st all time in games behind the plate with 1387. He has 8206 put outs (24th all time) a .990 fielding percentage (96th all time) 132 passed balls (84th all time) while throwing out 34% of base runners.

Broadcasting Career: In 1980, he began his broadcasting career at WPHL Philadelphia, where he was paired with Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas calling games for the Phillies.

He moved on to the New York Mets booth in 1983 and would remain there for 15 years. McCarver worked with the Mets mainly alongside Ralph Kiner through those years through 1998.

He also worked with Rusty Staub, Steve Zabriske, Howie Rose, Matt Laughlin, Bud Harrelson & Fran Healy on television with channel 9 as well as the cable outlets. In his time he worked on Sports Channel, Fox Sports Net & the MSG network. McCarver went on to call the Mets 1986 NLCS games for the ABC network alongside veteran broadcaster Keith Jackson.

This included the 16-inning Game #6 clincher in Houston, where Tim got to interview the NL champion Mets. He also worked the 1988 NLCS disappointing Met loss to Los Angeles Dodgers for the network.

As a broadcaster, McCarver became a star. His knowledge of the game is outstanding. He has won three Emmy Awards for Sports Event Analyst. McCarver has revolutionized the color analyst job, with his tremendous baseball intelligence & ability to break down a situation affecting all aspects of the play.

He tells the viewer things that we had never heard before from a broadcaster. He explains the importance of the positioning of fielders, as well as the upcoming circumstances that may occur with future hitters coming up in the line up. He foresees pitching matchups, base running possibilities and certain points that may result in the out game of the game like no one had done before. He is never afraid to tell it like he sees it & can be critical at times as well. When rule questions come up during a broadcast, McCarver will explain the rule in detail. He goes by the book with hunches & like to play percentages.

Some people have criticized his style all throughout his career, saying he over analyzes . McCarver will outspokenly second guess a managerial move if he doesn’t agree with it. No matter what anyone says, he knows the game better than anybody, as well as any situation which occurs.

He is author to two books, Tim McCarver's Diamond Gems. & his Tim McCarver's Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans: Understanding and Interpreting the Game So You Can Watch It Like a Pro. That book is an incredible breakdown of the game explaining baseball situations on every level.

On a broadcasting network level he began with ABC, where he was originally teamed with Don Drysdale on Monday Night Baseball games in 1984. Next he worked with Al Michaels and Jim Palmer from 1985-1989 and again from 1994-1995. He worked at CBS teamed with Jack Buck in 1990-1991 and then Sean McDonough from 1992-1993.

Since 1995 he has been working on the FOX Network, paired with Joe Buck for Saturday afternoon games of the week and the post season. McCarver has been on hand for some of baseball's most memorable and exciting moments since 1984.

In 2003, McCarver set a record by broadcasting his 13th World Series on national television passing the legendary Curt Gowdy. He has covered every post season in the last 28 years. The first World Series that McCarver worked on was in 1985 for ABC, replacing the legendary Howard Cosell. Tim served as a field reporter during the 1984 NLCS between the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs & never missed commentating on the League Championship Series since.

While covering the Mets, McCarver criticized Darryl Strawberry for staying in the same place in the outfield regardless of the hitter at bat. He often said Strawberry would make more outs if he made some adjustments. Then-Mets manager, Davey Johnson responded, saying that Darryl sees the ball come off the bat best in that spot . Anywhere else, he cannot read the ball well, and any advantage will be lost because he will misplays it.

During the 1992 NLCS, he criticized Deion Sanders for playing both football and baseball on the same day. Sanders dumped a bucket of water on McCarver three times while he was covering the clubhouse celebration for CBS.

McCarvers's showed who the real mature man was, holding back any verbal abuse. Being the true professional, all he did was say sarcastically to Sanders “You’re a real man Deion”.

On October 17, 1989 before Game 3 of the World Series in San Francisco, McCarver was talking about the Giants slim chances to win when the earthquake hit California. Some game footage of the Oakland Athletics was being shown, when, the ground began to shake. The broadcast picture became full of static, and a distracted McCarver, did a verbal double-take. Al Michaels broke in and said, "I'll tell you what; we're having an earthqu-" just as power went out.

In 2008 he publicly called Manny Ramirez despicable for his lazy play in Boston & then turning it up when he arrived in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.

In 2010, he compared how the AL New York teams ownership treated former manager Joe Torre to Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia treated its generals, a position he was later forced to apologize for .

McCarver is one of three sportscasters (the others being Fran Healy and Tom Seaver) to have covered both New York teams on a regular basis. He also covered the A.L. New York team (1999-2001) & then did one season with the San Francisco Giants in 2002.

The Tim McCarver television Show, had been syndicated for over a decade. He has also hosted the HBO series Race for the Pennant & the 1992 Winter Olympics with Paula Zahn for CBS.

In 2009 he released a CD of Jazz standards where he sang the lead vocals. McCarver has recently lived in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Honors: In 2012 he was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford Frick Award. The minor league stadium in Memphis was christened Tim McCarver Stadium in 1978. .

Originally 2013 was suppose to be Tim McCarver's last year behind the mic at as he decided to retire. He did leave the Fox broadcast booth but chose to work about a quarter of the St. Louis Cardinals games on Midwest Sports network.