Apr 15, 2021

Remembering Mets History: (2010) Mets Play Fourth Longest Game In Team History

Saturday April 17th, 2010: At 3:15 PM, Jerry Manuel's New York Mets took the field to play Tony La Russa's, St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, in St. Louis. 

43,709 attended the game but how many were still there when the games ended six hours & fifty three minutes later after 10 PM? 

This was to be the fourth longest games in Mets history which ended after twenty innings. The game would feature a Mets record nine pitchers & twenty four players overall.

Starting Lineups

Johan Santama would have a good outing throwing seven shut out innings striking out nine batters while allowing just four hits. Ryota Iqarashi & Pedro Feliciano both pitched 1.1 innings each.

Fernando Nieve put in 2.1 scoreless getting relieved by Hisanori Takahashi who got the Mets to the 14th inning holding the Cards scoreless.

A young Jenry Mejia who had just debuted a couple of weeks earlier would give up three hits but also held the Cards scoreless.

Raul Valdes who pitched 38 games for the Mets in 2010, then tossed two more scoreless.

Nine Cardinal pitchers held the Mets scoreless until the 19th inning. Jose Reyes lead off with a walk & was sacrificed over to second. David Wright walked & Jason Bay was hit by a pitch.

then St. Louis pitcher Joe Mather served up a sac fly to Jeff Francoeur. It seemed that maybe this one would be over.

But in the home 19th, Mets pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, walked Ryan Ludwick & gave up a double to Albert Pujols. Then Mets nemesis Yadier Molina singles to tie the game & give K-Rod a blown save.

In the top of the 20th Angel Pagan led off with a base hit & Mike Jacobs followed with another. Pagan alertly got third & would score on Jose Reyes sac fly. This time Mike Pelfrey was brought in to close it out & that he did earning the only save of his career.

The 2010 Mets ended the season in fourth place at 79-83, it was the final year Jerry Manuel was the helm getting replaced by Terry Collins in 2011. The front office also changed as Sandy Alderson took over for Omar Minaya.

Remembering Mets History (1968): Jerry Koosman Tosses Back to Back Shut Outs As Mets Win 1st Home Opener

Wednesday April 17th 1968: At the time no one could have possibly known that the Mets were one season away from being the Amazing Mets & winning a World Series. But there were early signs as they opened the 1968 season, when one of their young star pitchers, tossed back to back shut outs.

Gil Hodges, the new Mets skipper was on hand for his first Opening Day at Shea Stadium. His team hosted the former New York National Leaguers, the now San Francisco Giants, managed by Herman Franks. This year marked the Giants tenth year on the West Coast.

The Giants always drew well returning to New York & on this day 52,079 were on hand at Shea Stadium. Hodges sent his young lefty, Jerry Koosman to face the Giants' Mike McCormick. McCormick was the NL leader in victories the previous year, posting a 22-10 mark with a 2.85 ERA.

Starting Lineups

The 1968 Mets Opening Day line up were soon to be all key players for the Miracle of '69. 

In the home 2nd it was Cleon Jones who got the Mets off to a 1-0 lead with his first HR of the season. The score would stay that way until the 6th, when Ken Boswell singled & advanced, scoring when "The Glider" Ed Charles doubled to left field.

The final Met run came in the 7th, reliever Bobby Bolin surrendered a double to catcher Jerry Grote. Bolin then booted a grounder hit by Koosman putting two men on for the Mets with no outs. Al Weis would then single to left field bring home Grote to top off the 3-0 win.

As for Koosman, he was excellent, scattering seven hits, walking two & striking out ten batters. He would strike out eleven in his next start. In the 7th he struggled a bit giving up a hit & a walk but then ended the inning when he struck out Jim Davenport for the third time on the day.

Koosman would start out the year at 4-0 & finish up at 19-12 on a team that was 73-89. His 19 wins were 4th best in the NL. He struck out 178 batters but incredibly he kept an ERA under two all season until September 24th. That day he gave up five earned runs to the Atlanta Braves, putting his ERA at 2.12, the first time it was over two all season.

He ended the year with a 2.08 ERA (4th best in the NL).

Thursday April 11th, 1968: In his first start,
Koosman pitched the second game of the '68 season, He threw a four hit shut out in Los Angeles, beating the Dodgers 4-0. He struck out just three & walked four, in the complete game effort.

Koosman & Bill Singer matched zeroes until the 8th inning, when Ken Boswell tripled & Singer walked Ron Swoboda then Ed Kranepool. Art Shamsky then delivered a two run single. 

In the 8th, Tommie Agee got all the way to third base on an outfield error to lead off the inning. Swoboda then singled him in. Ken Boswell's 8th inning sac fly gave New York their forth run. 

Remembering Mets History (1964) Shea Stadium Christened With Water From Harlem River & Gowanus Canal

 April 16th 1964: Bill Shea, the man whom Shea Stadium was named, was instrumental in bringing back National League baseball to New York City. When MLB originally denied New York a new NL team, the prominent New York lawyer proposed the start up of a third league, in a newly formed Continental League, which would rival the major leagues.

On the even of the opening of Shea Stadium, Shea christened the ballpark. Using water from the Harlem River, near the Polo Grounds, the former home of the New York Giants & the Mets in their first two seasons, as well as water from the Gowanus canal, which flows near the former Ebbetts Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Shea poured water from two separate bottles onto the field of the new grand ballpark, which was a spectacular new venue in the early sixties. With the elaborate Worlds Fair going on thru the summer near the new ballpark, Flushing Meadows Queens was the place to be.

Apr 14, 2021

Remembering Mets History (1972): Mets Remember Gil Hodges- Yogi Berra's Managerial Debut & Shea Wecome Rusty Staub

Saturday April 15th, 1972: On March 31st 1972, the newly formed MLB Players Union headed by Union leader Marvin Mitchell voted to strike.

It was the first ever MLB Baseball strike & the dawn of a new era.

The season would be delayed, starting almost two weeks late as the strike lasted 13 days, 86 regular season games were cancelled.

The New York Mets began the 1972 season in the wake of Gil Hodges' death that happened less than two weeks earlier. The team was in shock & for the players that were with Hodges from the Miracle of 1969 it was something they could not get over. 

With the organization totally lost, they named former Mets coach & New York legend Yogi Berra the teams manager. Berra had just been named to the Baseball Hall of Fame that off season. Berra was the popular choice although Minor League VP Whitey Herzog was probably the better choice.

1972 marked another huge event in Mets history, that was one of the worst traded ever made when Nolan Ryan was traded to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi. 

Fregosi a former All Star short stop was brought in to play third base. He arrived out of shape & never started hitting like expected. Ryan went on to be one of the games top pitchers setting all kinds of records on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Another big deal for the Mets that off season was another blockbuster trade. The Mets acquired Rusty Staub from the Montreal Expos. 

Staub a true All Star would help lead the Mets offensively to the 1973 World Series & become one of the franchises' most popular players. He would return late in his career to become one of the games best pinch hitters as well. 

In return for Staub the Mets gave up a young Ken Singleton who would have a fine career in Montreal & Baltimore as well as short stop Tim Foli who also had a long good career in Montreal as well as Pittsburgh. 

Also youngster & Queens born Mike Jorgensen was also thrown into the deal, he too had a decent career albeit not as big as Singleton & Foli. 

Both  deals had had Hodges blessing & he was key to getting Staub. Yes, the future was sacrificed but the Mets were looking to win now.
The season opened up on a rainy cold dismal New York Spring Day. Just 15,893 fans came out to Shea Stadium to see the Mets open the season. In a pre game ceremony they honored their former manager Gil Hodges. 

The American Flag was held at half mass & a moment of silence was observed. The team also wore black arm bands on their sleeve for the entire season. 

The game was nationally broadcast on NBC's game of the week.

The Mets hosted Bill Virdon's reigning World Series Champions from 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates of the early seventies were awesome winning five NL East titles from 1970-1975, with the Mets breaking the reign in 1973.

The Pirates featured Roberto Clemente in his final season before a tragic plane crash took his life, they also had Hall of Famer Willie Stargell. That day the wild wacky Doc Ellis went up against the Mets future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.

Starting Lineups

Seaver started out the game striking out Rennie Stennett looking. After Al Oliver singled he struck out both Clemente & Stargell.

In the home second the new Mets made their debuts to nice ovations. Rusty Staub led off with a single, Cleon Jones also singled. Then new comer Jim Fregosi doubled to right field scoring Stau with the Mets first run of 1972. An Ed Kranepool sac fly made it 2-0 Mets. Kranepool returned in the 6th inning hitting a two run HR off Ellis. The HR scored Fregosi who had drawn a two out walk.

It was all the Mets needed for the somber Opening Day win. Seaver pitched six innings allowing no runs on five scattered hits while striking out six Pirates & walking nobody. 

Tug McGraw came in for three scoreless, hitless innings of relief. 

McGraw was blossoming into one of the games best relievers, a new glorified role at that time. The reliever who closed out games were then known as Fireman.

The Mets started out the year at 8-2 winning six straight in that stretch. They would be in first place until June when things dropped off for them. They returned in 1973 to win the NL Pennant.

Remembering Mets History: (1968) Mets Lose 1-0 In One of the Longest Games In MLB History

April 15th 1968: On a warm Texas night, 14219 Astros fans cane to what was billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Houston Astrodome. This was the very first indoor stadium used for baseball & it had its own artificial turf known as Astroturf.

The Mets & Astros had both come into the league in 1962 as part of baseballs big expansion. 

Neither team had yet to see a winning season, the Mets were getting close as their 1969 Miracle Amazing World Championship  was one year away. 

The Astros would get to .500 in 1969 & not have their first winning season until 1972. Their first playoff berth would come in 1980.

This game would last six hours & six minutes going 24 innings, with only one run being scored. It is one of the longest games in MLB history, currently the ranking as the fifth longest game ever. 

At that time no game had ever gone scoreless beyond 22 innings & no night game had ever gone that far. Gil Hodges would use a Mets record eight pitchers on the night & a total of 23 players. The Astros used five pitchers & 17 overall players.

Starting Lineups

Two very good pitchers started out in this one & both put in great performances. The Mets Tom Seaver pitched 10 shut out innings, allowing just two hits.

Seaver walked no one & struck  out three batters. Seaver allowed a hit in the 2nd & not another one until the 10th inning, when Rusty Staub singled with two outs.

From the 11th inning to the 17th, five Mets pitchers; Ron Taylor, Cal Koonce, Bill Short, Dick Selma & Al Jackson would allow just four hits & two walks (both by Chris Short). Danny Frisella would come in to pitch five shut out innings allowing four hits, with four strike outs & a walk.

The Astros Don Wilson pitched nine shut out innings, allowing five hits, three walks & striking out five. 

Astro pitchers John Buzhardt & Danny Cobs got them to the 15th inning. From there Jim Ray came on to pitch seven innings, striking out 11 Mets allowing just two hits. Quite a performance. In the 20th inning, Wade Blasingame came on to pitch the last four innings.

The Mets had two men on in the 7th, but Al Weis grounded out to end the inning. In the top of the 9th with two men on, Tom Seaver came to bat & grounded out to end that inning. 

In the top of the 12th the Mets had a golden opportunity, as Jerry Grote & Al Weis both singled.
Second baseman Ken Boswell then singled as well, but Grote a slow runner couldn't score. Tommie Agee then grounded out to end the inning. Agee as well as Ron Swoboda both went 0-10 on the night.

The Mets got two men on in the 19th inning & a runner actually reached third base. Only three runners reached third base all night. But Jim Ray struck out Jerry Grote, that's when Cleon Jones stole third. Then pitcher Danny Frisella came to bat & Ray struck him out as well.

The last Mets pitcher of the night was Les Rohr. In the 22nd inning, Rohr walked Rusty Staub and a wild pitch advanced him to second. With two outs (future Met) Bob Aspromonte was walked intentionally. Rohr then struck out Julio Gotay to extend the game.

In the bottom of the 24th, Norm Miller led off with a hit, Les Rohr then balked him over to second. The "toy cannon" Jimmy Wynn was given a free pass. 

Rusty Staub grounded out & the runners advanced to second & third. John Bateman was then walked to load the bases in hope of  a force at any base.

Next up, Bob Aspromonte hit a ground ball to short stop Al Weis, Weis committed an error & Norm Miller crossed the plate at 1:37 AM to end the game. It was a heartbreaking loss for New York.

Four years earlier the Mets had lost the longest day game in history at that time, a 23 inning seven hour 23 minute 8-6 loss to the Giants in San Francisco.

Behind the plate that night was New Jersey born Umpire, Ed Sudol. 

Strangely enough, Sudol would be behind the plate at Shea Stadium on September 11th, 1974 as the Mets & St. Louis Cardinals played a 25 inning game, lasting seven hours, five minutes. That game is ranked as the second longest in history.

Apr 13, 2021

Remembering Mets History: (2000) Mike Piazza Has A Career High Five Hit Night

Friday April 14th 2000: It was early in the season for the eventual NL Champions but these Mets were showing they could hit & score runs. The reigning NL Wild Card Champs were led by future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza & it was his night.

Tonight Bobby Valentines Mets visited Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium to face Gene Lamont's Pirates.

It was to be a long four hour & ten minute affair that would go twelve innings.

Starting Lineups

The Mets would send five pitchers to the mound, starting with Al Leiter who pitched into the 8th inning. Leiter allowed just three runs, two earned on six hits while striking out six. Turk Wendell closed out the 8th.

Armando Benitez came on for the 9th inning and in a familiar scene blew a one run lead sending the game to extra innings. From there it was John Franco who would eventually earn the win pitching two scoreless innings the 10th & 11th. Dennis Cook came on to close it, he allowed a run but the Mets won it 8-5.

The hero of the night was Mike Piazza, it was on this night Piazza had one of his biggest nights, collecting a career high five hits. He began his night with a base hit leading off the 2nd inning. In the 3rd inning, Piazza drew a walk.

In the 5th, with the score tied 1-1, Piazza delivered a double to right field off Jason Schmidt, scoring Edgardo Alfonzo.  In the top of the 7th with the score tied 2-2, Piazza hit hs first HR of the night. Robin Ventura followed with a HR of his own, ack to back blasts made it 4-2 Mets.

As the game went to the 12th inning, the Mets attacked Pirate reliever Jose Silva. Rey Ordonez singled, pinch hitter Benny Agbayani doubled to left field & Melvin Mora brought them both in putting the Mets ahead 6-4 with a base hit.

Then Pizza came up with Edgardo Alfonzo on base & hit his second HR of the night. The HR was his third on the season where he would go on to hit 38 & drive in 113 runs. On this night he had five hits, two HRs four RBIs, two runs scored & a walk.

This raised his season average to .350 this early on, he would go on to hit .324 leading the Mets to the World Series & a NL Championship crown.

Jeromy Burnitz: Two Time Mets Outfielder (1993-1994 / 2002-2003)

Jeromy Neal Burnitz was born on April 15, 1969 in Westminster, California. He went to high school in Conroe Texas, & attended college at Oklahoma State University. Burnitz was the Mets number one round draft pick in 1990 (17th pick overall).

By 1991 he became the first player in the Eastern League to hit 30 HRs & steal 30 bases, ranking him the #3 prospect in the country by Baseball America. He was considered the second top prospect to Todd Hundley in the Mets organization as well. His speed began to fade away early on, and he began to strike out a lot more often.

In 1992 the last season for the AAA Tidewater Tides before their move to Norfolk, his average fell to .243. He only hit 8 HRs in 121 games setting him back even further. The next year at AAA Norfolk, he hit 8 HRs in just 65 games although his average fell to .227 but was still promoted to the Mets big league ball club. 

He made his MLB debut in June of 1993 at Shea Stadium as a pinch hitter against the Montreal Expos. He got a hit in his second game & then hit a HR in his first start in Florida against the Marlins on June 29th. 

By the 4th of July he had already hit three HRs, all coming during that week. On July 3rd, Burnitz had a three hit four RBI day, against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium.

On August 5th at Stade Olympique in Montreal, he had a four hit game while driving in seven runs against the Expos in a 12-9 Mets win. In the 5th inning of that game he hit a grand slam HR off Dennis Martinez. Later his two run double in the 13th inning off Expo pitcher John Wettland proved to be the winning runs. In 86 games that year, he hit 13 HRs with 10 doubles & 38 RBIs a .339 on base %, batting .243.

He started out 1994 with the Mets but was hitting just .192 in early May & was sent to AAA Norfolk. There he hit .239 with 14 HRs 49 RBIs playing in 85 games. He returned to the Mets in late July & overall in 45 games would strike out 45 times hitting only .238 with three HRs. 

In November 1994 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Dave Mlicki, Paul Byrd, & Jerry Dipoto.

After a season and a half in Cleveland he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers where he had his best years. On a small market Brewer team he was one of the top stars & most popular players. He started the All Star game in 1999, just the second Brewer to have that honor as an outfielder. He filled in for the injured Tony Gwynn, getting a hit & scoring a run in two at bats.

Burnitz would hit over 30 HRs four straight years in Milwaukee, driving in over 100 runs three times. He came in the NL’s top ten twice in each of those categories, but also was among the tops in the league in strike outs.

In 1998 he was second in the NL with 158 Ks & would have nine 100 plus strike out seasons. Burnitz also stole 20 bases & hit .281 in 1997. He never stole more than 10 in a season again. In 1999 & 2000 he walked well over 90 times each season giving him good on base percentages (.402 in 1999 & .356 in 2000).

The Mets wanted him back & needed his power bat, so in January 2002 he was part of a three team trade. In the deal the Mets got Burnitz, Lou Collier, Jeff D'Amico & Mark Sweeney from Milwaukee, sending them Lenny Harris and Glendon Rusch.

They also sent 2000 NL Pennant Mets players, Benny Agbayani,& Todd Zeile to Colorado for Ross Gload and Craig House.

Return to New York: Burnitz debuted back at Shea Stadium on Opening Day 2002 batting sixth playing right field. He hit two HRs in the third & fourth games of the year, including a four RBI day against the Atlanta Braves giving Pedro Astacio his first Mets win of the year. Burnitz then hit another pair of HRs on the returning home stand a week later.

As May began he had a hot stretch, hitting three HRs from April 28th to May 3rd, giving him seven HRs on the young season. But then he went into a drought only hitting two more HRs until the All Star break as his average fell to just above the .200 mark.

He struggled thrugh the season but had a decent September hitting HRs in three straight games while driving in six runs, from September 4th through the 7th. On September 12th he hit two HRs in an 8-2 Mets win against the Expos in Montreal.

He closed out that four game series with another HR on September 15th, driving in the only Mets run of the 10-1 debacle. In his next game back at Shea, he hit a walk off HR in the bottom of the 13th inning helping Grant Roberts to a win, as the Mets beat the Chicago Cubs 3-1.

Burnitz hit seven HRs in the final month but overall struggled, batting a career low .215 and hitting only 18 HRs with 54 RBIs, his lowest totals since becoming a full time player. He led the team in games played (154), hit by pitches (10) & caught stealing (7) while striking out 135 times.

He struggled and heard it from the Shea faithful, but Burnitz always a good natured guy took it in stride and gave it 100% every day. In the outfield he played 140 games (5th in the NL) made nine errors (2nd most in the NL) but had eight assists (5th in the NL) .

In his career the strong armed Burnitz had double figures in that category four times. In 2002 the Mets finished 75-86 in fifth place.

He rebounded a bit in 2003, starting out with two doubles on Opening Day in a 15-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium. It was a cold day at Shea that day, as I was in attendace to witness To Glavine's terrible debut. 

On April 15th he led the Mets & Tom Glavine to a 3-1 win at Pittsburgh beating Josh Fogg. Burnitz went down with an injury & missed a month of action.

When he returned on May 24th he hit a grand slam HR off Russ Ortiz leading the Mets to a 6-5 win in Atlanta. Burnitz hit HRs in three of his first four games back & drove in runs in all of the four games upon his return. In June he hit three HRs in an inter league game at Anaheim, including two in an 8-0 Mets win over the Angels in the series finale.

In a cross town double header against the AL New York the first game then hit a three run shot two games later. For June he hit eight HRs while driving in 18 runs. In July he hit three HRs in the first week & drove in runs in seven straight games getting his average all the way up to .286.

On July 17th he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Victor Diaz, Jose Diaz (no relation) & Kole Strayhorn. At that point Burnitz had 18 HRs which was enough to tie for the season team lead with Cliff Floyd. Burnitz batted .274 with a .344 on base %, 18 doubles & 45 RBIs.

Even though the 2003 Mets weren’t going anywhere it was still a tough trade to figure out, especially since Victor Diaz did not work out. No matter what is said about his production, Burnitz played hard & always was a good natured guy during his stay in New York.

Burnitz finished with 31 HRs that season, and then signed on with the Colorado Rockies for 2004. There he hit 37 HRs (8th in the NL) drove in 110 runs (7th in the NL) and batted a career high .287 in the mountain air. He moved on to the Chicago Cubs in 2005 where he hit 24 HRs at Wrigley Field batting .258 with 87 RBIs.

He then moved on to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2006 signing as a free agent. He batted.230 with 16 HRs 12 doubles 49 RBIs & a .289 on base %.

The laid back Burnitz once held a press conference in Pittsburgh to apologize for not running out a grounder, he joked "I'm your Highest-Paid Free Agent. That, in and of itself, should tell you the big picture that the team's in." The Pirates didn’t renew his contract in 2007 and he chose to retire at age 38.

He finished a 14 year career with 315 HRs (130th all time), 981 RBIs, 298 doubles, a.253 batting average & a .345 on base % . He struck out 1376 times (112th most all time) in 5710 at bats in 1694 games.

He played 1365 games in right field (35th most all time) with a .977 fielding % making 2473 put outs there (37th all time) with 82 assists (78th all time) & 61 errors (42nd most all time). He also turned 18 double plays in right.

Retirement: In February 2008 Burnitz and former Dodger Eric Karros began a sports talk radio show in San Diego called Live At Five. He now lives in a San Diego suburb with his wife & children.

Remebering Mets History (2012): Daniel Murphy's Walk Off Single Beats Nats As Mets Start Out 5-0

Monday April 9th 2012: Terry Collins Mets got off to a good start in 2012 going 4-0 through the first four.

Today they hosted former Mets World Champion Manager Davey Johnson's Washington Nationals (2-2).

A crowd of 23,970 came out on a chilly night at Citi Field as Mike Pelfrey took on Edwin Jackson.

Starting Lineups

In the 1st, Pelfrey surrendered three straight singles giving the Nats a 1-0 lead. In the 3rd, Ian Desmond singled Ryan Zimmerman doubled making it 2-0 & Adam LaRoche singled making it 3-0.

In the 3rd Pelfrey helped his own cause with a lead off double. David Wright brought him in with a base hit. In the 4th Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a two run HR to tie up the game at three.

Miguel Batista got out of a 6th inning jam, Ramon Ramirez &  Jon Rauch got the Mets to the 9th inning, as did the Nats pen. Henry Rodriguez came on for the save, but got into trouble right away.

Mike Baxter drew a walk, then Ruben Tejada reached on an error. It was then Daniel Murphy who came through with the walk off  single to right field. The Mets won it 4-3 to start out the season 5-0.