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Nolan Ryan: The Mets Years (Part One:1966 thru the Amazing 1969 Championship Season)

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Lynn Nolan Ryan was born on January 31st, 1947 in Refugio, Texas, a son to Robert Ryan & Martha Lee Hancock a descendant of John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence . The Ryan family moved to Alvin, Texas when Nolan was just six weeks old. He began to pitch in Little League & tossed his first no hitter at nine years old. From the ages of 8-18 he learned a strong work ethic, working with his dad who besides working for a local oil company was also a Houston Post distributor. Young Nolan rolled up & tossed the news papers, strengthening that gifted arm. With the arrival of major league baseball in Houston, Ryan was able to go watch games & it was there he was first mesmerized by the pitching of Sandy Koufax.  In high school the Ryan stories are legendary, one tells of a game in the first inning where he cracked the lead off man's batting helmet, hit the number two man & broke his arm & had the third hitter refuse to enter the batter's

Rafael Santana: 1986 World Champion Mets Short Stop (1984-1987)

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  Rafael Francisco Santana was born January 31, 1958, in La Romana, Dominican Republic. The town was a thriving tourist spot with plenty of employment far removed from many small poor towns in the Dominican.  In 1976 he signed with the Al New York club as an amateur free agent, playing in their farm system until 1981. That year he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later, who turned out to be George Frazier. He hit over .280 in both the 1982 & 1983 seasons. They were both minor league bests for him, while he was playing a fine short stop. Santana began the 1983 season with the Cardinals & watched the team raise their 1982 World Series Champion flag in the home opener. There he was a team mate of future Met, Keith Hernandez, one of the Cardinals biggest stars.  He would appear in 30 games for the Cardinals, mostly as a defensive replacement & pinch hitter batting just .214. By the end of June he was sent back down to AAA. With Ozzy

Former Italian / American Jersey Born Mets Pitcher Turned GM: Jerry Dipoto (1995-1996)

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Gerald Peter Dipoto was born on May 24, 1968, in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is one of three children. The Dipoto Family lived in a Jersey City apartment next door to his grandparents before briefly moving to Point Pleasant & then settling in Toms River, New Jersey.  There he went to high school at Toms River High North.  The big six-foot two right hander  attended Virginia Commonwealth University, where he played baseball, getting drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the third round of the 1989 draft.  He spent parts of five seasons in the minors, going 12-4 in his second year at A ball & the promotion to AA. In 1993 at AAA, he posted a 1.93 ERA in 34 games with a 6-3 record, getting him up to the big leagues. MLB Career:  Dipoto was a pleasant rookie surprise for sixth place Cleveland in 1993, going 4-4 with 11 saves and posting a 2.40 ERA. In 1994 he struggled with injuries pitching in only seven games posting a 8.07 ERA.  That November he was traded along with Paul By

Bob Apodaca: Mid Seventies Mets Relief Pitcher & Long Time Pitching Coach (1973-1978)

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Robert John Apodaca was born on January 31, 1950, in Los Angeles, California. The five foot eleven Mexican / American right hander was drafted by the New York Mets during their pitching rich days in 1971. At A ball Visalia in 1971 he was 7-1 with a 3.60 ERA making a quick impression. By 1972 he was up at AA Memphis going 11-7 (second to only Randy Sterling in wins) with a 2.80 ERA becoming a highly touted prospect. The next year he was 6-3 posting a 1.80 ERA at AAA Tidewater the third best pitcher on the staff behind Sterling & John Glass. 1973 Mets Pennant Season: Apodaca made his debut in late September 1973, in a crucial game against the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. He allowed one run & two walks in less than one inning of work giving him an infinity ERA. He did not appear in any other games that regular season nor the post season. 1974:  The next season he had a good spring and made the 1974 Mets roster. How could Met fans ever forget the