Mar 18, 2019

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Gil Hodges Cools Down Jerry Grote's Temper

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"

Manager Gil Hodges led the Mets to an improbable 1969 World Series Championship. He was a stern disciplinarian who took no garbage, but also respected the players & let them prove themselves. His leadership is the players on that team said made them play to the best & above their abilities. In this example, Hodges spoke to a fiery tempered Jerry Grote & helped bring him down a notch.

Jerry Grote came from the Houston Colt 45's (later to be the Astros) for pitcher Tom Parsons in October 1965. Parsons was 2-12 with a 4.58 ERA in two seasons with the Mets (39 games). He never played a game for Houston at the major league level.

Grote noted for his defense, batted just .181 in Houston in 1964 with 3 HRs 24 RBIs. This was one of the Mets brilliant trades early on in their history. Grote would get to two World Series with the Mets, play on the team for 12 years, mostly as the main catcher in every season. 

He was voted onto the 1968 All Star team by the players ahead of Johnny Bench. Bench once said of Grote, if he were the catcher on my team I'd be playing third base. Grote became known as one of the best backstops in league defensively during his era.

At first Grote had a big temper problem. He would argue with umpires, batters, even his own pitchers. He would sometimes throw the ball back to the mound harder than the pitcher threw it to him. The first time he did it to Tom Seaver, Seaver called him to the mound & told him to never do it again.

Grote was tossed from games for arguing with umpires & making it bad for his pitchers by doing so. No way he was getting any close pitches his way. Mets Manager once said of Grote "if he ever learns to control his temper, he could be the best catcher in baseball".

Once during a1968 intra squad game in Spring Training, Grote even managed to argue with the umpire. Manager Gil Hodges called him into his office. Hodges told Grote he was not doing what he is capable of doing to help the pitcher.

Quotes- Gil Hodges: "There's a time to argue, if you think he's blown a call, tell him. Then you get over it. You have to be more concerned with the course of the game. You have to think about situations. There's more to catching than putting down one finger & here comes the fastball. You cant get all riled up."

Hodges warned Grote about throwing the ball back to his pitchers hard, when he was shook off on signs, stop it. At the plate, Hodges had Grote cut down on his swing & go the opposite field more often.

Grote also had the advantage of getting tips from Yogi Berra who was a coach with the Mets & later became his manager.

No doubt Hodges influence got Grote to calm down & be good at his position for another decade. Knowing how important pitching is, Grote may have been the first person in 1969 to call the Mets Miracle. When he saw the staff he was catching, he said " we can win it all". A bold statement in Spring of 1969.

The Mets First All Star Player- Hall of Famer: Richie Ashburn (1962)

Don Richard Ashburn was March 19, 1927 on a farm in Tilden, Nebraska. There his father owned the largest general store in town & little Richie was a childhood friend of future late night talk show star; Johnny Carson. 

Richie became a star baseball player in high school & represented Nebraska playing for the American Legion team at a game in New York City where he was discovered by the scouts. The five foot ten, left hand hitting out fielder with the white hair, earned himself the nick name  "Whitey".

Ashburn was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944 and hit .312 at Utica playing A ball. He went to the US Army serving in World War II in 1945-1946. He returned to baseball the next year & hit .362 in in the minor leagues at AA ball.

He came up to the Phillies in 1948 and would come in second to Alvin Dark in the Rookie of the Year voting. He hit .333 (second in the league) posting a .410 on base % (third in the league) while leading the league in stolen bases with 32. The next year the lead off hitter, led the league in at bats, batting .284 with 188 hits (sixth in the league). 

That year he began a run of leading the league in put outs as a centerfielder for a record, nine of the next ten years. Ashburn was one of the N.L’s best defensive centerfielders during his era, considered to have the best range of anyone around. He led the league in assists three times (including 23 assists in 1952) games played four times & was among tops in fielding consistently.

In 1950 he was a member of the Phillies Whiz Kids, NL Pennant team, batting .303 with a league leading 14 triples & 14 stolen bases. In the last game of the season, against the Brooklyn Dodgers, he threw out Cal Abrams at home plate in the bottom of the 9th inning. The play was crucial as the game was tied up at 1-1. In the top of the tenth he reached base with a sac bunt,& scored on Dick Sisler's three run game winning HR. The win, clinched the NL pennant for the Phillies. That year Ashburn played in the only World Series of his career batting .176 (3-17).

He would play 12 years in Philadelphia, winning two batting titles;1955 & another in 1958. In 1958 he also led the league with 215 hits, the third time in his career he topped the 200 hit mark. He also led the NL in on base % (.440%) walks (97) triples (13) & at bats (725). He was considered a slow runner, as he also led the league in caught stealing, earning himself another nick name- "put put".

Ashburn had the most hits of any player in the 1950’s with 1875. He was known as a hitter who sprayed the ball all over the field, adapting to any situation. He was not known for his power only hitting 29 career HRs. He would be among the league’s best in offensive categories like hits, walks, triples, steals, runs scored, & batting average throughout his career.

Besides the two batting crowns, Ashburn came in second in the batting race two other times (1948 & 1951) and was also in the top ten in the race nine times in his career. He led the league in hits three times, walks & on base percentage four times each, as well as triples twice. Ashburn played in seven All Star games in his career and in the 1951 All Star game, he made a HR saving catch off Cleveland’s Vic Wertz, 400 ft away from home plate at Detroit’s Briggs Stadium.

Strangely in 1957 he hit a foul ball that struck a woman (Alice Roth) the wife of a Philadelphia sports writer, breaking her nose. As she was taken away on a stretcher, Ashburn hit another foul ball that struck her on the way out of the stadium. The two developed a friendship through the years after the incident.

As the fifties ended so did his time in the City of Brotherly Love, Ashburn is still one of the most famous & beloved Phillies players of all time. In 1960 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Alvin Dark & Jim Woods.

That season he led the league in walks (116) & on base percentage (.415%) batting .291 in the first of two seasons at Wrigley Field.

He became popular in Chicago as well, running an on air baseball instructional clinic for children of the television station; WGN viewing audience. This laid the ground work for his post playing career at the microphone as a broadcaster. 

In 1961 he dropped off to .257 and had his contract sold to the expansion New York Mets in December 1961.

METS CAREER: Ashburn became an original Met & on a bad team he was one of its few standout players. He was already 35 years of age, an old veteran among a bunch of youngsters.

Spring Training 1962: The first time the Mets went up against the AL New York team, was a 1962 Spring Training game. With the score tied at three in the bottom of the 9th inning, manager Casey Stengel put in Ashburn as a pinch hitter. He delivered with a game winning base hit, scoring Joe Christopher. 

In more Mets history, Ashburn was the first Met batter ever to walk to the plate, batting leadoff on opening day 1962 at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. In that at bat he flied out to center field. In the 3rd inning he got the third hit in Mets history and then scored the team’s first franchise run when Charlie Neal drove him in with a base hit.

On April 21st, he had one of the biggest days at the plate that early in the Mets season. He was 3-4 with two runs driven in & two walks in a 8-4 loss at Pittsburgh. On May 19th in a rare '62 Mets five run come from behind win, Ashburn's 8th inning single scored Charley Neal with the tying run, sending Hot Rod Kanehl to third base, he would score on Jim Hickmans base hit in what was the winning run. 

At the end of the month he was hitting .356 far ahead of anyone on his team, and up with the leagues leaders. In June he had a ten game hit streak, with five multi hit games. He hit his first HR of the year at Wrigley Field on June 10th, as the Mets went into the bottom of the 9th inning with a 4-1 lead. But Ernie Banks hit a three run HR to tie it up & the Mets lost it in the 10th. He showed a rare stretch of power during a home series against the Houston Colt 45's hitting HRs in two of the three games. On June 23rd, he hit two HRs against Houston in a 13-2 Mets win.

In July he had yet another ten game hit streak. During a five game road trip to St. Louis in that stretch he had twelve hits & scored four runs. In August he had his biggest hit streak of the year, hitting safely in 13 games in a row, 19 of 21. On August 14th, he drew four walks in a game against his old Phillies team mates.

It could be said, Ashburn was the Mets first star player, since was their first player to represent the team in an All Star game. He would also be the first Mets player to bat .300 (.306). 

In 1962 he lead the team in batting as well as singles (102) walks (81) & stolen bases (12) playing in 135 games with 7 HRs & 28 RBIs.

His humor as well as his clever wit were priceless and were much needed in the clubhouse. His wore uniform number one & his locker was right next to number two, Marv Throneberry. When the press would come over to talk about Thornberry’s mishaps, Ashburn would call him Marvelous, thus the legend of Marvelous Marv was born.

Trivia: One of the great stories to come out of the ’62 Mets was how short stop Elio Chacon would keep running into Ashburn on fly balls to short center.

Chacon didn’t understand any English, & didn’t know what Ashburn meant when he was yelling “I got it. I got it”. The clever Ashburn, learned to say "Yo la tengo” in Spanish to call off Chacon. It worked with Chacon, but one day left fielder Frank Thomas ran into Ashburn saying “what the hell does yellow tango mean?”

During the season he told the Mets pitchers if I’d hit against you guys I would hit .400. On the last at bat of his career he hit a base hit in a game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. On the next at bat Joe Pignatano looped a fly behind second base, the ball was caught & a triple play was turned with Ashburn getting nailed at first base. It was the last play of his career.

Ashburn was voted the 1962 Mets MVP, to which he later said “‘to be voted the MVP on the worst team in the history of baseball is a dubious honor, for sure. I was awarded a 24-foot boat equipped with a galley and sleeping facilities for six. After the season had ended, I docked the  boat in Ocean City, New Jersey and it sank.''

After the 120 loss season Ashburn chose to retire.

Hall of Fame Career: In his fifteen year career, he made six All Star teams & won two batting titles. Ashburn hit .308 (121st all time) with 2574 hits (89th all time) 2119 singles (33rd all time) 317 doubles & 109 triples (128th all time). He walked 1198 (60th all time) with a .396 on base percentage (75th all time) with 1322 runs scored (118th all time) & 234 stolen bases in 2189 (147th all time) games played.

In the outfield he played 2104 games (41st all time) with 6989 put outs (6th all time) he has 1980 games as a center fielder (9th all time).

In center he has 5804 put outs (2nd all time) 154 assists (8th all time) while posting a .984 fielding %. (3rd best all time) & 106 errors (9th all time).

Retirement: After his playing days he became a broadcaster with the Phillies for 34 years until his passing in 1997. In that time he became best friends with fellow announcer Harry Kalas whom he worked with for 26 years.

Honors: After being on the Hall of Fame ballot for 15 years (1968-1982) he was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in 1995.

He has his place in baseball’s Hall of Fame as an announcer too, winning the Ford Frick award. He is honored in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, as the outfield pavilion there is named Ashburn Alley.

Ashburn was also a good friend of New York Mets announcer Ralph Kiner and the two would join each other’s broadcast & share great old stories together on the air. 

Passing: In 1997 after a Mets Phillies game at Shea Stadium, Ashburn suffered a fatal heart attack in Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street. 

A team official had received a call from Ashburn at 5:30 AM saying he was feeling ill. The baseball world was shocked at his passing, and a huge funeral was held for him Philadelphia, he was 70 years old.

Citizens Bank Park- Philadelphia

Mar 17, 2019

Remembering Mets History (1962): MLB Fines Casey Stengel For His Beer Ad with Kathy Kersh (Miss Rheingold)

In 1962 the Mets started their long time relationship with Rheingold beer. Rheingold a local beer with its headquarters in Brooklyn became the official beer of the New York Mets. It was originally introduced in 1883 & by the time the Mets were born, the beer claimed to hold 35% on New York State's beer sales. 

Rheingold had already sponsored the Jackie Robinson Radio Show for a decade, on AM Radio 66 in New York. Robinson, Leo Durocher, as well as stars like the Marx Brothers, Linda Darnell, John Wayne, Nat King Cole & Sara Vaughan all represented the beer in ads across the City.

Each year they would also hold the Miss Rheingold contest, where the public voted for the winner. The first Miss Rheingold was Jinx Falkenburg, a 1930s supermodel, tennis star, actress & pionereeress in talk shows. 

There were also the Rheingold girls would also be spokespersons & appear in ads, as well as appearances for the beer.

In 1962 Mets manager Casey Stengel was a larger than life public figure,  forever promoting his Mets. So it was no surprise that Rheingold wanted him & he wanted was happy to oblige. Casey appeared in his Mets uniform, holding a bat ready to bunt, alongside Miss Rheingold 1962.

Trivia: Miss Rheingold 1962 was Kathy Kersh. Kersh, a model/ actress who would eventually marry Batman TV series co-star, Burt Ward (Robin the Boy Wonder) they met on the set, quickly marries & were divorced two years later. 

She appeared on Batman as Cornelia, now a beautiful blonde moll to the Joker, wearing a skin tight purple outfit. 

She appeared on the music show Shindig twice & the Beverly Hillbillies four times, but her career soon faded. Many say when the studio signed Sharon Tate, Kersh became forgotten.

At the time MLB prohibited players or managers to be in uniform while promoting any alcohol or cigarette products. Out of uniform, no problem. 

So whether rival beer companies or rival teams ratted out Casey to the league office,  MLB Commissioner Ford Frick had to react. He responded by fining  Stengel $500 for the ad. It is rumored that Rheingold paid the bill for the Mets & Stengel.

Stengel & Kathy Kersh would do more ads together for Rheingold all throughout her reign as the beers spokeswoman.

Quotes- Casey Stengel: "The Rheingold people been so nice to us that I didn’t have the heart to turn them down when they asked me.”

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Jacob deGrom Ks 10 in Two Hit Shut Out

Wednesday August 12th 2015: Terry Collins first place Mets (62-52) riding high ten games over .500 hosted Walt Weiss' 5th place Colorado Rockies (47-65).

Tonight the Mets Jacob deGrom had one of his best outings of the year as he went up against Jorge De La Rosa in front of 37,175 at Citi Field.

Starting Lineups

deGrom would blank Rockies very easily tonight, striking out at least one batter in every inning he worked striking out at least two three times on the evening.

His ten strike outs marked the fourth time on the year he had reached double figures in Ks, with a season best 11 strike outs coming on May 21st against the Cardinals.

He would allow just two hits, making it the second time on the season he had allowed just two hits in at least seven innings of work.

Tonight the win got deGrom to 11-6 with one of the leagues best ERA's at 2.02. He would actually go below the two mark after his next outing at Baltimore where he allowed just one run in 7.2 innings.

In the 4th inning, Juan Lagares singled, Juan Uribe doubled him in & he was driven in by Micahel Cuddyer making it 2-0 Mets. Yoenis Cespedes added a solo HR in the 8th, his 19th blast of the season as he continued his tear since coming to the Mets.

Mar 16, 2019

2014 N.L. Gold Glove Center Fielder: Juan Lagares (2013-2019)

Juan Osvaldo Lagares was born on March 17,1989 in Constanza, Dominican Republic. The six foot, one outfielder attended high school at San Pedro de Macoris, a city that has exported some 76 different major league players including: Luis Castillo, Rico Carty, Pedro Guerrero, Juan Samuel & Tony Fernandez. 

 Lagares was signed by the New York Mets in 2006 & at first, played in the Dominican Summer League. He spent four seasons playing for the Savannah Sand Gnats, getting to the Mets A Ball; Brooklyn Cyclones club for 19 games batting .250. He spent 2009 back with Savannah as well as the Gulf Port Mets. 

In 2010 he hit nine triples (second in the South Atlantic League) & stole 25 bases in 30 attempts for the St. Lucie Mets. In 2011 he was promoted to the Mets AA Binghamton club where he hit .338 in 82 games.

In 2012 he fell to a .282 average but played a fine outfield, leading the Eastern League in assists (17) & put outs (353) setting a Binghamton Mets record. 

In 2013 he began the year at AAA Las Vegas & hit well, batting .346 through the first 17 games, with 13 runs scored. At the end of April he was called up replacing a struggling Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Lagares made his MLB debut, on April 23rd, in a 7-2 loss to the LA.A. Dodgers at Citi Field. In that game he got his first career hit, a single off Paco Rodriguez. With the '13 Mets outfield in question as to who has a regular job, Lagares began to see more playing time. 

On May 7th he got his next hit & then after a hitless game against the Chicago White Sox, he went on a three game hit streak working his average up to the .200 level.

On May 9th, he made a game saving catch, robbing the Pirates Andrew McCutchen of an extra base hit with a runner on & two out in a tie game in the top of the 9th inning. The Mets won the game on a Mike Baxter walk off game winning hit. 

On Sunday May 12th, he made another circus catch diving ahead for a ball, that landed in his glove then popped out up in the air as he landed on the ground. Lagares stayed focused & caught the ball a second time, making an outstanding play in the Mets 3-2 loss to the Pirates. 

 By now Lagares was getting a lot of attention for his outfield play. He was making the highlight reels with his leaping & diving catches. His arm was now respected throughout the NL. The question is can he hit at a major league level?

On Sunday May 19th, he hit his first career HR, tying up a game at Wrigley Field off Cub's pitcher Travis Wood. The Mets went on to win the game as well. It took him until mid June to get over the .200 mark, as he had 15 hits over an 11 game span getting to .235. 

 On June 21st, his 6th inning double off Cole Hamels at Citizens Bank Park, scored the games winning run in a 4-3 win over the Phillies. On July 5th, he had his first three RBI day, in a 12-5 Mets win over the Brewers in Milwaukee. On July 21st, he repeated that feat with a three run HR against the Cliff Lee & the Phillies at Citi Field helping Matt Harvey to his 8th win.

On August 1st he peaked with a .275 average, proving he could play at the big league level. Later that week, he drove in all three runs in a 3-0 Mets win over the Colorado Rockies. Going into September he hit safely in 17 of 20 games, staying at the .270 mark. 

His hitting tailed off from there as he finished the 2013 year hitting .242 with 4 HRs 21 doubles 5 triples 34 RBIs six stolen bases in nine attempts, but a poor .282 on base %, while playing in 121 games. 

Defensively he began to show his talents, leading all NL center fielders with 14 assists & was second overall among all outfielders with 17 assists. He posted a .982 fielding % & his range factor was considered the best over nine innings among all NL center fielders. 

There was questions about Lagares being able to win the center field job starting out the 2014 season. There was competition in the outfield with guys like Eric Young & Chris Young. But it was quickly obvious, Lagares could not be overlooked. His play in the outfield was outstanding, as he made the highlight reels almost every night, making diving catches, sliding catches, leaping catches & throwing out runners.

He covered tremendous range & according to baseball reference had the best range factor of all outfielders. He made 12 assists & posted a .984 fielding%. Lagares became the third Mets outfielder in team history to win a Gold Glove. 

Lagares biggest question mark was his hitting, but he improved well, by raising his average forty one points. He began the season with an Opening Day HR, collecting two hits a walk & scoring three runs.

A good April had him batting .314 with seven RBIs & runs scored over 13 games, but he was then shut down with a hamstring injury for the next two weeks. Lagares would hit safely in 17 of his first 20 games. On May 17th, he hit a two run HR & had a three RBI day leading the Mets & Bartolo Colon to a 5-2 win over the Nats in D.C. His batting was steady as he was still above .290 at the end of May & he drove in 11 runs. 

In June he was back on the DL missing most of the month of June. In July, he had seven multi hit games, plus a streak of driving in six runs over a nine game span in the middle of the month.

On August 26th his 4th inning, two run HR off the Braves Alex Wood broke a 1-1 tie leading New York to a 3-2 win. That week, he drove in seven runs hitting a pair of HRs in just a four game span. 

Lagares started out September with a nine game hit streak, getting his average back over .280. On September 16th his season was cut a bit short by an elbow injury. On the year at the plate he hit .281 with 117 hits 24 doubles 4 HRs 46 runs scored 47 RBIs 13 stolen bases & a .321 on base %. 

2015: On April 2nd 2015 the Mets agreed to a four year extension worth $23 million through 2019.

Lagares started out the 2015 season as the Mets main centerfielder batting sixth on Opening Day. But it wasn't to be the season he was hoping for, as he had a hard time hitting right & suffered from an achy elbow which affected his fine defense.

In the early season subway series he had a four hit day as the Mets beat the AL New York team 8-2 behind Matt Harvey. As April went along he hit well enough to get his average up to a season high .311 by early May. Five muti hit games that week certainly helped his cause.

On May 9th his first HR of the year a two run HR in Philadelphia, helped lead the Mets & Jonathan Niese to a 3-2 win. On June 14th he had a three hit three RBI day, hitting his third HR of the year in a 10-8 Mets win over the Atlanta Braves. In the first week of July he drove in five runs helping a struggling Mets offense win four games.

On the July 31st trade deadline, the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes & Lagares became more of a fourth outfielder for the Mets. Rookie Michael Conforto was hitting well enough to be an everyday player & Curtis Granderson was having a fine year in right.

Lagares carried on about his business & was happy to contribute any way he could. In August he had himself five multi RBI games while hitting two HRs.

A quite September at the plate had him finish the year batting .259 with 114 hits 16 doubles 6 HRs & 41 RBIs. He played in 143 games, 139 games in the outfield posting a .993 fielding % with three assists & two double plays turned.

2016 Post Season: Lagares made his post season debut in the NLDS Game 31 as a defensive replacement in the 7th inning. He got the start in Game #3 at Citi Field hitting a double & drawing a walk while scoring three runs in the Mets 13-7 win over the LA Dodgers. 

He got the start against Clayton Kershaw in Game #4 going 1-2 in the 3-1 Mets loss. Lagares got another hit in Game #5, a double off Kenley Jansen in his only at bat. He was once again used for late inning defensive purposes.

2016 NLCS: Lagares got the start in Game #1 of the NLCS at Citi Field going 2-3 with two runs scored. In the 5th inning he followed Wilmer Flores with a base hit of his own & scored on Curtis Granderson's base hit putting the Mets up 2-1.

He later singled, stole third base & scored on Granderson's sac fly, leading to the Mets 4-2 win.

He would come in as a late inning defensive replacement the next two games & then come in the 2nd inning of the clincher game sweep Game #4 after Yoenis Cespedes was hurt.

2016 World Series: Lagares came into Game #1 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals as a defensive replacement in the 6th inning. He may have been the hero if things wored out differently.

In the top of the 8th he singled off Kelvin Herrera & stole second base. He then scored on an error by Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. The run put New York up 4-3 but it wasn't to be.

Lagares got the start in Game #2 & went 0-3. He then got another post season hit in the only Mets series win, coming in Game #3. Overall Lagares had a fine post season at the plate, as he hit .348  going 8-23 with a walk & seven runs scored.

Lagares came to Spring Training 2016 a lot leaner this year, losing some twenty pounds, after working out with Jose Reyes in the off season. He has also changed his eating habilts & is on a much better health kick.

Quotes: Juan Lagares for 2016- "I don’t know what’s going to happen yet. But like I said, I feel 100% and I’m ready to help the team in any way that they need me.”

Lagares entered 2016 as a reserve outfield, behind Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson & Michael Conforto. He saw action on Opening Day 2016, getting a hit with a run scored in the Mets 4-3 loss at Kansas City. He would stay consistent hitting .280 through May. On May 27th, he had three hits with a HR & three RBIs in a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He would play just seven games in June, missing time with a thumb injury. He then missed all of August as well as half of September.

By this time the Mets had acquired Jay Bruce & his role remained that of a back up, even after Michael Conforto had lost his starting spot. After peaking at .286 in early July his average dropped off to .239 by seasons end. Overall he hit 3 HRs with 7 doubles 2 triples 9 RBIs & 15 runs scored posting a .301 on base % with four steals.

He did not see action in the 2016 NL Wild Card Game. With the Mets not able to shop Jay Bruce in the off season, the Mets have a very crowded outfield. There was interest in Lagares during early Spring, but nothing materialized & the fine defensive outfielder once again must prove he can hit to make the Mets outfield.

In 2017 was once again limited by injuries, playing in just 94 games batting .250 with 63 hits 16 doubles 2 triples 3 HRs 15 RBIs & 7 stolen bases.

On June 11th his 3rd inning RBI single against the Atlanta Braves proved to be the winning run as Seth Lugo, Jerry Blevins & Addison Reed held down the Braves for the win.

From June 15th he went on the DL with another thumb injury, not returning until two months later in mid August. In September he had six multi hit games a & had a streak hitting safely in 11 of 15 games.

In the outfield, he shined once again, even in limited play he led the Met outfielders with seven assists.

 He is known & praised for his glove in the outfield making sparkling, dazzling catches almost every day. In the outfield he has a .987 fielding % with 16 errors in 1166 chances while making 32 assists.

In the 2017-2018 off season he spent ten days in California with noted hitting guru Craig Wallenbrock, working a new approach to the plate & a new swing.

But once again injuries ruined his season. On May 17th he tore the plantar plate in his toe while attempting a diving catch. He missed the rest of the season. Lagares only played in 30 games batting a promising .339 with 6 RBIs (59 at bats).

In his six year career he has played in 583 games with 443 hits, batting .260 with 20 HRs 85 doubles 18 triples & 152 RBIs while posting a .300 on base %.

Although it seemed he would get traded in the off season, nothing ever happened. The Mets added some protection behind him as he is likely to start until Yoenis Cespedes returns, whenever that may be.

In Spring Training 2019 he was batting just .184 with one extra base hit in 12 games (38 at bats).
Quotes: Juan Lagares- “I am trying to hit the ball a little more in the air. The last couple of years I have hit the ball super hard, but on the ground, so I am just trying to get it a little more in the air.”

Family: Juan & his wife have one son Juan Jr. His name is stitched in Juan Sr.'s baseball glove.