Mar 20, 2015

Former Mets Second Baseman: Brad Emaus (2011)

Bradley Mark Emaus was born on March 28th, 1986 in Kalamazoo Michigan. The six foot right had hitting infielder attended Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

There he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 11th round of the 2007 draft. He hit .298 in 2010 at AAA Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League & was drafted away (Rule V) by the New York Mets that winter.


As the new Terry Collins managerial era began, everyone had a chance of making the ball club. The Mets were fed up woth Luis Castillo & he was released in mid March. Emaus had a good spring surprising everyone & manager Collins named him the clubs second baseman for 2011.

He found himself as the teams Opening Day second baseman batting in the seventh position. He drew a walk that day & got his first career hit the next day against the Marlins in Florida.

On April 5th he singled off the Phillies Cole Hamels driving in the fifth run of a Mets six run third inning, in a game they went on to win 7-1. In his fourth career game he had two hits and was batting .308 but it all fell apart from there.

By April 17th his average fell to .162 with no extra base hits, and he was designated for assignment. He was sent back to Toronto soon after. Justin Turner was called up & took the position over for the remainder of the season. Emaus was traded to the Colorado Rockies for a minor leaguer & hit .313 at AAA Colorado Springs with 9 HRs & 28 RBIs in 45 games.

In January 2012 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox system but was released. He resigned with the New York Mets & batted .212 at AAA Buffalo in 73 games the rest of that year.

Retirement: Since then he has retired from playing & has opened up a hitting academey at Monroe, Louisiana. 

Mar 1, 2015

Former Met Who Claims He Started the Tradition Of Pitchers Warming Up In the Bullpen Pregame: Jack Fisher (1964-1967)

John Howard Fisher known as "Fat Jack", was born on March 4, 1939 in Frostburg, Maryland. The six foot two right hander was signed out of high school in 1957, at Augusta, Georgia by the Baltimore Orioles. 

In 1958 he won 14 games going 14-12 at the low levels of the minors leagues, getting up to AAA Miami the following season. There he was 8-4 making it to the big leagues as part of the Orioles “kiddie corps” pitching staff, going 1-6 on the year. He made his debut in New York pitching three innings of relief allowing four runs on seven hits. He earned his first win pitching a three hit shutout against the Chicago White Sox on September 11th. 1960 was his only winning season, as he went 12-11 with a 3.41 ERA, striking out 97 batters in 197 innings pitched. 

He went into the record books that season, giving up Ted Williams last career HR (#521) in Williams' final major league at bat. The next season he gave up another famous HR, this one was Roger Maris’ #60 tying him with Babe Ruth for the single season record. 


Overall he was 10-13 in 1961, pitching ten complete games posting a 3.90 ERA, while leading the league with 10 wild pitches. He saved one game & pitched eleven games in relief as well making 25 starts. After another season in Baltimore (7-9) he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Mike McCormick & two other players. After just one season in the Bay Area (going 6-10), where he led all N.L. pitchers in fielding, he was drafted away by the New York Mets before the 1964 season. 

 Fisher went into the Mets record books right away, by starting the first game ever played at Shea Stadium on April 17, 1964. According to Fisher, the crowd noise was so over whelming during the pregame, he asked manager Casey Stengel if he could warm up in the bull pen rather than on the mound. Due to this request, he credits himself with starting the tradition of having the starting pitcher warm up in the bullpen before a game. "I could actually feel the sound waves hitting me on the chest," he said of the game that day. 

As Bob Murphy made the call, Fisher threw a strike on the outside corner of the plate christening the beginning of Mets baseball at the new Shea Stadium. Fisher pitched into the 7th inning that Opening day, although he allowed eleven hits, he only gave up three runs while getting no decision. That day he also allowed the first HR at Shea Stadium, to Pittsburgh’s future Hall of Famer; Willie Stargell. Fisher got two more starts that April, taking a loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh. 


He would have an up & down season that year; At the end of May he tossed back to back complete games where allowed just one earned run each time. He beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field & beat the Giants at Shea Stadium. On July 19th he allowed just two runs, in a complete game 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cards. By the All Star break Fisher was 5-8 and put up the same win loss record in the second half. On August 21st Fisher pitched a seven hit shutout at Shea Stadium against the Chicago Cubs. In September he was 1-2 & also pitched a few games in relief. 

He finished up 1964 at 10-17 (5th most losses in the league) with a 4.23 ERA. He topped the staff in many categories, innings (227) hits (256), HRs (27) & a league leading 107 earned runs. 

 In 1965 he began the year with a good May winning three straight games, beating the Cardinals, Braves & Reds all at home. Wins on the road at Chicago & Pittsburgh brought him to 5-4 into early June, but then it got worse from there. Fisher then lost 12 of his next 14 decisions, including a terrible 0-6 September. On October 3rd, in the last game of the season, he pitched 13 innings at Shea Stadium against the Philadelphia Phillies. He allowed just three runs, but a top of the 13th RBI single to "Dr. Strange Glove" Dick Stuart, ended up being the game winning hit & he took the loss. 


Fisher led the league in losses that season, going 8-24, he also allowed the most earned runs in the league, for the second straight year (111). He pitched in 253 innings which gave him a respectable 3.94 ERA, strangely the best ERA on the staff. More amazingly, he actually led the staff with his eight wins. 

 In 1966 he started out the year at 0-4, giving him eleven straight losing decisions, dating back to the previous season. He broke the string with a win against the San Francisco Giants, on May 14th, pitching into the 8th inning. He had a good June going 3-1 & pitching four complete games. On June 3rd he tossed a one run, three hitter at Shea Stadium, beating Don Drysdale & the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2. On July 4th, in the second game of a twin bill, he pitched a one run complete game striking out seven Phillies in Philadelphia. 

On July 20th, he pitched ten innings at Candlestick Park, against the Giants allowing just two runs, earning the victory. August brought wins against the St. Louis Cardinals Al Jackson & Ray Washburn both at home & on the road. In September he closed out the season with a four hit shutout in Houston & a six hit shutout at Shea Stadium against the same Astros. 


1966 would be his best Mets season, as Fat Jack went 11-14 with a 3.68 ERA, striking out a career high 127 batters in 230 innings pitched, while walking just 54. He allowed 26 HRs which was 7th most in the league & his 229 hits allowed was tenth most. Fisher was always a good fielding pitcher, he led the league with 26 put outs. 

In 1967 he started the third game of the year, allowing four runs on eight hits against the Philadelphia Phillies, taking the 5-1 loss. When the Phillies came to Shea, he beat them next time around 6-3. In May he pitched two consecutive games of eleven innings or more, but earned just one win, which came against the Cincinnati Reds. 

He won his next start by beating the St. Louis Cardinals on a six hit, one run complete game performance, besting his record to 3-2. But then he lost five straight games from mid May until mid June, before getting another victory. 

It took a two hit shutout against the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium to earn another win. The rest of the year wasn’t much better; he lost eight of his last 12 decisions, although he pitched until the eighth inning or beyond eight more times. On July 14th he lost a 1-0 pitchers duel to the Reds Gary Nolan, Tony Perez ended the game with a 10th inning walk off HR. 


Fisher again went on to lead the league in losses (18) & earned runs (115). He allowed 25 HRs (5th in the league) & 221 hits (3rd most). He was 9-18 pitching in 220 innings with a 4.80 ERA, he struck out 116 batters walking 68 in 220 innings pitched. In his Mets career Fisher, led the league in losses twice & earned runs three times. Every year allowing the most HRs, hits & earned runs on the New York staff each as well. 

In his four seasons with the Mets, he was 38-73 allowing 92 HRs, 427 earned runs while posting a 4.12 ERA in 160 appearances. On December 15, 1967, Fisher was traded along with Tommy Davis, Buddy Booker, and Billy Wynne to the Chicago White Sox for Tommie Agee and Al Weis. 

Fisher went 8-13 in Chicago, and pitched just one more season (1969) in Cincinnati. In his eleven year career he went 86-139 with 1017 strikeouts in 1975 innings pitched posting a 4.06 ERA in 400 games pitched. 

Retirement: After his pitching career, he was briefly a pitching coach before opening his own business. He opened Fat Jack's sports bar in Easton, Pennsylvania, running the establishment until he sold it in 1998. While living in Easton he lived just a few blocks from former Heavyweight boxing champ, Larry Holmes. 


In 2008 he visited the skeleton of Shea Stadium as it was being demolished, after he had attended a banquet in Times Square for former ball players. "I guess it's trying hard to stand up, like we were as a young ballclub," said Fisher to the Daily News "It's a pretty sad scene." 

He can still be found at autograph shows signing "first pitch at Shea- Fat Jack".

New York Giants Hall of Famer: Mel Ott (1926-1947)

 Melvin Thomas Ott (Known as “Master Melvin”) was born on March 2, 1909 in Gretna, Louisiana. He was born into a family of Dutch ancestry and semi pro ball players. A young Ott worked in a lumber yard 90 miles outside of New Orleans, eventually going to play for their semi pro baseball team. The millionaire lumber company owner went to New York to tell New York Giants manager John McGraw about his star player, Ott. 

McGraw signed Ott as soon as he saw him belt line drive HRs during the try out, he was only 16 years old. He was not built like your typical HR hitter, standing only 5’ 9” at 170 lbs. Ott had an unusual swing, lifting his forward leg just before hitting the ball. This helped his power swing and he would go on to become one of the game’s best all time HR hitters. 

McGraw was afraid minor league managers would ruin his swing, so he brought Ott right up to the big league club. He sat on the bench all year studying the game. By 1928 he was the Giants starting right fielder, and became one of the game’s best players. In the outfield he made 29 assists, with 12 double plays, and mastered the caroms off the Polo Grounds strange dimensions. 

Those dimensions would help his power production down the short 258 foot, right field line. He hit 42 HRs & drove in a career high 151 runs coming in second in both categories. He would go on to lead the league in HRs six times, come in second seven times, and be in the top eight 14 straight seasons. He became the youngest player at age 22 to reach the 100 HR mark in 1931. 

By 1937 he passed Rogers Hornsby as the all time NL HR leader, a record he held until Willie Mays broke it 31 years later. Ott became the first National Leaguer to hit 500 home runs in 1945, and was the all time NL leader when he retired from the game. 

He also holds the MLB record for leading his team in HRs, 18 consecutive years from 1928 to 1945. In today’s free agency era, that record will probably never be surpassed. Of Ott's 511 career home runs, 323 of them, or 63 percent, came at home, the most by any player ever hit at the Polo grounds. He also has the distinction of hitting the most HRs in any MLB city and in New York as well. Ott hit 343 career HRs in New York ball parks, four more than Babe Ruth. In 1934 he led the league in RBIs (135) and came in the top ten 12 times.

  In 1936 he became the first player to drive in over 100 runs, eight straight seasons, and only three other players have done it since. He would have twelve 90 plus RBI seasons. When he retired he was the NL RBI leader of the 20th century & second overall to only Cap Anson.

He hit over .300 nine times including a career high .349 in 1930. He made the All Star team 12 straight seasons (1934-1945) and although he never won an MVP Award, he was in the running 13 times. Ott also put up incredible on base percentages, leading the league four times, coming in second another four times, and postings a .414% in his career. 

He also led the league in walks six times, and walked over 100 times ten different seasons. Ott is only one of five players ever to be walked with the bases loaded. Twice in his career he walked six times in a doubleheader, setting the MLB record. He drew five walks in a game on three different occasions & set another record walking seven straight times in June 1943.

Ott didn’t strike out too often either, in his career he only whiffed 896 times in 9456 at bats. Mel Ott was also one of the most popular players in the game. He was known a true gentleman, easy going & considerate. He once said "I could watch the fans yelling and laughing and I'd think, 'What an ungrateful fellow a ballplayer would be who just didn't give everything he had every moment of every inning in every game.”

Post seasons: Ott would play in three World Series (1933-1936-1937) winning the championship in 1933. 

 In the 1933 World Series against the Washington Senators, Ott Opened up game #1 with a big four hit day, topped off by a two run HR, leading to a 4-2 Giants win. He would go hitless in the next two games, then return to have a two hit game in Game #4. 

In Game #5 he was the tenth inning hero as he hit a solo HR off the Senators Jack Russell, breaking the tie & leading New York to the win. the victory clinched the first Worlds Championship for Manager Bill Terry, after the John MCGraw era, with New York going up four games to one. 

 New York finished second in 1934 to the St. Louis Cardinals Gas House Gang. Ott went on to lead the league in HRs (35) as well as RBIs (135) that season and have the first of none straight seasons with on base percentages over .400%. 

 In 1936 the Giants won another pennant, with Ott earning another HR crown (35) as well leading the league in slugging, while driving in 135 runs (2nd in the NL). 

Post Season: In the '36 version of the subway series, Ott began Game #1 with a pair of hits. he returned to have another multi hit game in Game #3, then finished off with a two run HR off Lefty Gomez in Game#5. Overall he batted .304 in the series (7-23) with two doubles, a HR & three RbIs. The Giants lost this series four games to one. 


 In 1937 New York won another pennant, Ott led the league in HRs (31) & walks (102) while posting a .408 on base % (5th in the NL) with 95 RBIs (6th in the NL). The Giants lost this World Series in five games as well, with Ott hitting another HR in the final game, but overall he hit just .200 in the series (4-20).

In 1942 Mel was Named player-manager, at age 33. That season he led the league in HRs (30) for the sixth & last time. He also led the league in runs scored (118) and walks (109). He also hit .295 and drove in 93 runs. 

 Manager: He would serve as team player/manager for five years, finishing his playing career in 1947. As a manager he finished third in his first season at the helm of the Giants in 1943, it was the team's best record under his leadership. They then fell into an eighth place finish in 1943, the teams lowest finish since the 1915 season. The Giants rose to fifth place in 1944 & 1945 then another horrible eighth place(61-93) season in 1947.

Ott managed the Giants for seven years between (1942 -1948) going 464-530 (.467%) in 1004 games. After 76 games in 1948 he was replaced by Brooklyn Dodger rival; Leo Durocher, as the Giants would enter a new era 


 Quotes: It was Leo Durocher who came up with the famous line “Nice guys finish last”, this was in reference to Mel Ott. Although it was taken somewhat out of context, Durocher was referring to Ott's easy going style, "I never knew a baseball player who was so universally loved. Why, even when he was playing against us, he would be cheered and there are no more rabid fans than in Brooklyn." said Leo Durocher. 

In his 22-season Hall of Fame career, Ott played in eleven All Star games. He batted .304 with 511 HRs (24th all time), 1,860 RBIs (12th all time), 1708 walks (9th all time) 1,859 runs scored (14th all time) 2,876 hits (41st all time) 1071 extra base hits (23rd all time) 488 doubles (67th all time), 72 triples, a .414 on base percentage (27th all time) and a .533 slugging average (42th all time). 

 Defensively he twice led NL outfielders in double plays, and only made 98 errors in 4865 games played. As a right fielder he is second all time with 238 assists, fourth in put outs & games played at the position. Overall Ott posted a .990 fielding % as an outfielder. He also turned 60 double plays from the outfield position. He is also one of only six NL players to spend a twenty or more seasons with one team. 

 Retirement: After managing, Ott was a broadcaster for the Detroit Tigers (1956-1958) on radio and television.

Passing: In November 1958; Mel and his wife Mildred, were driving on a Mississippi highway on a foggy night. A car crossed over the lane and hit them head on. They were both rushed to the hospital with severe injuries. One week later, Mel Ott passed away from his injuries, he was only 49 years old. His wife did survive the injuries. 

New York Giant Hall of Famers; Frankie Frisch & Carl Hubbell also died in car accident related deaths. Ott is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York. 

Honors: He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951 with 87% of the vote. His #4 was retired by the New York Giants in 1949. Today his number is posted on the left field facade of the San Francisco Giants ball Park. In 1999 Ott was ranked #42 in the Sporting News top 100 players list. The Mel Ott Little League, named in his honor is celebrating over 50 years in Amherst, NY.



Early Sixties Mets Short Stop: Chico Fernandez (1963)

Chico Fernandez was born on March 2nd, 1932 in Havana Cuba. The six foot, right handed shortstop was originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1951.

For a short time Fernandez was actually considered to be the heir to Pee Wee Reese at short sop in Ebbets Field. In the Dodgers farm system at AAA Montreal he hit .300, as well as being considered an outstanding defensive shortstop.

Fernandez made his MLB debut appearing in 34 games for the 1956 Dodger pennant team, hitting .227 in 66 at bats. His Dodger days were soon over by April 1957 when he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with Elmer Valo for future Met Tim Harkness & cash.

Fernandez spent three years in Philadelphia coming in the top ten in stolen bases (1957 & 1958) as well as sac hits (1958). In 1958 he posted the league's second best fielding % at short (.975) coming in second in put outs (296) third in games played (148) & fifth in assists (381).

In 1959 Fernandez was sent to the Detroit Tigers becoming their main short stop for the next three seasons, until a young Dick McAuliffe was ready. McAuliffe would play short for three seasons before moving to second base through 1973.

In 1960 Fernandez led the AL in errors at short with 34 posting a .947 %. In 1962 he had a career year at the plate hitting 20 HRs with 17 doubles & 59 RBIs batting .249.

On May 8, 1963 Chico Fernandez had the distinction of being one of the few players traded twice in the same day. The first trade of the day was going to the Milwaukee Braves for Lou Johnson, then he was shipped to the New York Mets for Larry Foss.

Fernandez debuted with the Mets on May 11th at the Polo Grounds going hitless as a pinch hitter. The next day he played in both games of a double header getting three hits & scoring a pair of runs against the Reds. On May 16th he hit his only HR as a Met & the last of his career, it came against the San Francisco Giants off Billy O'Dell.

He only played in 58 games for the ’63 Mets hitting .200 with one HR six doubles & nine RBIs in 145 at bats. On the field he made eight errors in 45 games playing at short stop, five at second & three games at third base. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Charley Smith in 1964, but he did not play in the majors again.

Fernandez then played baseball in Japan, then back in the minor leagues for another four seasons, through 1968.

In his eight year career he batted .240 with 666 hits 91 doubles 19 triples 40 HRs 68 stolen bases & 259 RBIs.

At short stop he posted a .960 fielding % making 146 errors in 3631 chances.

Retirement: After baseball he worked for twenty years selling insurance for Met Life & has since retired in Sunrise Florida.

Feb 28, 2015

Mets Pitcher: Rafael Montero (2014)

Rafael Quezada Montero was born October 17th 1990 in Higuerito, Banica Dominican Republic. The six foot right hander was signed by the New York Mets at the age of 20, getting a late pro start.

Montero began his career in 2011, going from the Rookie League to A ball Brooklyn. In just two games with the Cyclones, he was 1-0 allowing two  runs on three hits in five innings of work.

In 2012 he was 11-5 overall between Savannah & St. Lucie. He posted a 2.36 ERA striking out 110 batters in 110 innings making 20 starts.

He was invited to the Mets Spring Training camp in 2013, impressing people with his aggressiveness against big league hitters. Mets assistant GM Paul DePodesta said; "He didn't care, he went right after them".

Quotes: Montero said of getting to face major-league hitters- “I think it helped me last year, I knew what I had to work on. I am excited to do it again.”

In 2013 he was promoted to AA Binghamton, where he impressed going; 7-3 with 72 strike outs & just ten walks in 66 innings pitched, while posting a 2.43 ERA. He was promoted to the AAA level at Las Vegas. There he was 5-4 with a 3.05 ERA, 78 strike outs & 25 walks in 88 innings pitched. His overall 2013 numbers were 12-7 with a 2.78 ERA, 150 strike outs & 35 walks in 155 innings in 27 games.

Montero had an impressive early Spring Training in 2013, gaining a lot of attention behind the most popular prospect; Noah Syndergaard. He got the start in the first Spring Training game of 2014, pitching two scoreless innings at Port St. Lucie against the Washington Nationals.

He was ranked at #68 among all minor league prospects by Baseball America. He strikes out a lot of batters without using a blazing fastball, topping off in the low nineties. Most impressive, is that he walks very few batters, so far Montero has walked just 100 batters in 434 minor league innings through 2014. 

At AAA Las Vegas he went 6-4 with a 3.60 ERA, striking out 80 batters in 80 innings pitched.

Montero made his MLB debut on May 14th, replacing an injured Dillon Gee. He got a start in a subway series game at Citi Field. He pitched six innings but took a 4-0 loss, where he gave up three earned runs & five hits. His next start was against the L.A. Dodgers & didnt go well either, as he gave up five runs in 4.1 innings.

On May 25th he got no decision in a 2-1 loss to the Arizona d-backs. In six innings he allowed just one run on two hits, striking out an impressive ten batters. After four starts he was sent back to AAA Las Vegas to tune himself up & get ready for the big leagues.

He returned in mid August & was greeted back with a loss to the Nationals at Citi Field. He then pitched another fine game which resulted in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, this time he went into the 8th inning, allowing one run on five hits.

On September 10th, Montero earned his first career win, he went into the sixth inning, shutting out the Colorado Rockies, allowing just three hits with seven strike outs.
On September 27th he went into the 6th inning, allowing just one run, striking out six, in a 2-1 Mets win over the Houston Astros.

In ten games he was 1-3 with a 4.06 ERA, with 42 strike outs & 23 walks in 44 innings of work. The future looks very bright for this young pitcher.

The First Mets Player To HR In Four Straight Games: Larry Elliot (1964/1966)

Lawrence Lee Elliot was born on March 5, 1938 in San Diego, California. The left handed hitting outfielder was signed out of Herbert Hoover high School by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1958. 

Elliot was a power hitter in the minors, hitting 25 HRs in the Carolina League in 1959. At the AAA level he hit over 20 HRs in both the 1962 & 1963 seasons at Columbus. He made the Pirates club starting the 1962 season, hitting an even .300 in eight games. He hit his first MLB career HR in his last game before going back to the minors at San Francisco on May 3rd. His contract was purchased by the New York Mets in December of 1963. 

 In 1964 he was primarily used as Jim Hickman’s backup centerfielder. He made his first Mets start on April 15th, 164 in the third game of the season. He batted sixth & played centerfield, going 0-4 in the 4-1 loss at Philadelphia. 

On April 17th, in the first game ever played at Shea Stadium, he came in to pinch run for Jim Hickman, in the fourth inning. He remained in the game & got an 8th inning single off Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Bob Friend.

That May Elliot hit his first Mets HR, coming in 10-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium. Elliot didn't get over the .200 hitting mark until July, but then had a good month as he got himself going. 

That month Elliot saw the most playing time of his season, seeing action in 23 games. He started out the month with a three hit day, including a HR in Houston, in an 8-6 Mets win over the Astros. On July 12th he drove in two runs in a 5-1 Mets win over the Reds, in the second game of a rare twin bill sweep. Then starting on June 21st, he had the best week of his career. 

He became the first Met in history to hit HRs in four straight games, it began on a road trip to Cincinnati when he hit HRs in all three games. Two of them were solo shots, in the first two games, then a two run shot off the Reds Jim Maloney, in the third game. 

 The next day when the club returned home to Shea Stadium, Elliot hit another HR against the Milwaukee Braves. Two games later, he hit a three run pinch hit HR in the bottom of the 7th inning, in a wild 15-10 loss to the Braves. Overall during that week in a seven game stretch he hit five HRs, drove in nine runs & scored nine runs while gathering up ten hits. 

On August 2nd, Elliot hitting a three run HR against the Houston Colts, & drove in another run with a sac fly, but the Mets still lost 9-7. On August 11th, he hit a HR in the 3rd inning in a game at Pittsburgh, then later hit a game winning double in the 7th inning. The game officially ended after eight innings, with New York winning 3-2.

He then missed two weeks of action, after getting injured trying to break up a double play & getting hit in the face with the ball. He returned in early September. He was mostly used as a pinch hitter, but went 2-14 in the month. For the season in 80 games, Eliot hit .228 with 9 HRs, eight doubles & 22 RBIs. He drew 28 walks which gave him a .320 on base %. 


Elliot spent the entire 1965 season playing in the AAA Pacific Coast League for San Diego, hitting .247 with 14 HRs 26 doubles & 48 RBIs. In 1966 he returned to New York batting .303 at AAA Jacksonville, getting called back up to the Mets squad that July. Upon his return he went on a nine game hit streak & at one point got his average up to .348. 


On July 7th at Philadelphia he came to bat in the top of the 9th inning with two men on base. Al Luplow had just broken a 6-6 tie with the Phillies, Elliot then doubled giving the Mets a three run lead in a game they would win 9-6. 

On July 18th he drove in four runs, with a three hit day including a solo HR in a 6-3 win over the Astros. That August he drove in runs in three straight games, during two different stretches. Over a mid month road trip to Pittsburgh & St. Louis, Elliot had three straight multiple RBI games. Overall he drove in 18 runs from the end of July to the end of August, ending the month hitting safely in ten of thirteen games. 

He tailed off in September & would finish the season batting .246 with five HRs, playing in 65 games. He had also added career highs in RBIs (32) & doubles (14). That season he played all three outfield positions and appeared eleven times as a pinch hitter. Elliot had a strong throwing arm & made ten assists in just 54 games in the outfield on the season. He did make eight errors posting a .912 fielding %. 


In May of 1967 the Mets traded him to the Kansas City A’s (with $50,000) cash for a key member of the 1969 Mets squad, veteran third baseman "The Glider" Ed Charles. Elliot would play three more seasons in the minor leagues never appearing in the majors again. 

Retirement: In a four year career, he batted .236 with 103 hits 22 doubles 2 triples 15 HRs & 56 RBIs posting a .311 on base % playing in 157 games. After his playing days he became a high school baseball coach in San Diego.

Early Sixties Mets Reserve Catcher: Sammy Taylor (1962-1963)

Samuel Douglas Taylor was born on February 27, 1933 in Woodruff South Carolina. The six foot two, left hand hitting catcher was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1956. After two seasons in their minor leagues he was traded along with Taylor Phillips, to the Chicago Cubs for Eddie Haas, Don Kaiser and Bob Rush.

 Taylor became the Cubs regular catcher in 1959, batting .269 with a career high 13 HRs, 13 doubles & 43 RBIs. In June of the 1959 he was involved in a strange play while behind the plate.

The legendary Stan Musial walked on a ball four, wild pitch that got past Taylor. He argued the call, saying Musial had foul tipped the ball as it rolled to the backstop. Musial ran to second, Alvin Dark ran to the backstop to retrieve the ball. The ball wound up in the hands of the field announcer, a new ball was taken, and thrown into the outfield.

As Musial tried for third; the old ball was retrieved then thrown to third base where Ernie Banks tagged out Musial. Behind the plate that season, he caught 109 games and committed a league leading ten errors. 

In 1960, he was a second string catcher behind Ed Tappe, batting only .207 in 74 games. The next season, Dick Bertell took over as the Cubs main catcher, with Taylor as a aback up seeing action in 89 games; batting .238. On April 26, 1962 he got traded to the expansion New York Mets for Bobby Gene Smith. Taylor arrived at the Polo Grounds where the young Mets had played just 14 games in the team's history. At that point they were 2-12 already 8 1/2 games back. 


On April 28th he appeared as a pinch hitter drawing a walk in a 8-6 loss to the Phillies. In his second game as a Met, Taylor got a hit. driving in a run, in a rare '62 Mets 8-0 win, also over the Phillies. On May 19th, he helped spark an 8th inning, four run Mets rally, as he singled in a run, off Milwaukee's Lew Burdette. Hot Rod Kanehl came in to run for him & scored the winning run on a Jim Hickman sac fly. 

Eleven of his twenty RBIs came in the month of June, when he saw the most playing time (21 games) getting 13 hits, including a four game hit streak. On July 7th, Taylor had a big day, hitting HRs in both ends of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds, in games against the St. Louis Cardinals. In the first game he hit a sixth inning solo shot off Larry Jackson, which was the first run in the Mets 4-3 win. In the second game he hit another solo shot, this one off Ray Washburn, although the Mets lost the game 3-2. It would be the last HR of Taylor's career & he would finish with just three on the season. 

In July he went down with injury missing over a month of time, returning at the end of September. He spent the season in a revolving door of New York Mets catchers who tried out for a regular job in that position.

Included in the cast were; Chris Cannizzaro, Choo Choo Coleman, Joe Pignatano, Hobie Landrith & Harry Chiti. Overall in 68 games Taylor hit .222 but led all the weak hitting catchers with three HRs & twenty RBIs. In 56 games behind the plate he threw out 33% of base runners attempting to steal & posted a .992 fielding %. 

In 1963 he didn't get to the Mets club until late May, & would see action in 22 games through June, batting .257 with six RBIs. On July 1st he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with Charlie Neal, for another catcher; Jesse Gonder.

After one month there, Taylor was sent to the Cleveland Indians for Gene Green. He played just four games in Cleveland & spent the next two seasons in the minor leagues before retiring from the game. 

Taylor finished his brief six season playing in 473 lifetime game, hitting .245 with 309 hits 33 HRs 47 doubles, 147 RBIs & a .313 on base %.

Feb 27, 2015

Early Nineties Mets Speedster: Chuck Carr (1990-1991)

Charles Lee Glenn Carr was born on August 10, 1967 in San Bernardino, California. The switch hitting speedy outfielder was drafted out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds in the 9th round of the 1986 draft. Over the next two years he moved to three organizations mostly due to his bad attitude.

By 1989 he was with the New York Mets, stealing 47 bases at AA Jackson, but only hitting .241. In 1990 he made a one game appearance with the Mets in late April, filling in a quick roster spot going 0-1. Back at Jackson, he stole 48 bases in 93 games & was promoted to AAA Tidewater. In 20 games there, he hit .259 stole six more bases & was briefly brought up to the Mets big league squad again in August.

He mostly was used as a pinch runner in two games, stealing a base against the San Diego Padres in a 2-1 Bob Ojeda win on August 25th. With the Mets, Carr first donned uniform #1, this just a season after Mookie Wilson had been traded to Toronto, he then switched to uniform #27.

In 1991 he was up for two games in June, where he was used as a pinch runner stealing another base. He was sent back to AAA Tidewater but hit just .195.

He was back with the Mets from August 16th - August 28th but hit just .182 on the year in 12 games. In December 1991 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals organization for a minor leaguer.

From there he was chosen as the 14th pick of the expansion Florida Marlins. He became one of the teams first top players, as he led the NL in stolen bases (58) as well as caught stealing (23) batting .267 with 19 doubles & 75 runs scored. He played a centerfield as well & came in fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting. That was the Year Mike Piazza won the Award. He would play outfield alongside Jeff Conine & Gary Sheffield the next two seasons, stealing 32 & 25 bases respectively.

By 1995 he fell off to a .227 average & his attitude wasn't the most positive one in the clubhouse. In November of 1995 the Marlins signed free agent Devon White & the writing is on the wall for Carr. He is soon traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for a minor leaguer.

On Opening Day 1996 he had a huge debut for the Brew Crew, hitting a HR, driving & scoring three runs in the 15-6 win at Anaheim over the Angels. His hitting fell off & he was still batting .274 at the end of May when he went down for the season with injury. While playing with the Brewers he was best remembered for popping up on a 2-0 pitch, after being given the take sign by third base coach; Chris Bando.

Carr was leading off the inning, with Milwaukee down 4-1 to the Angels. The call came from then Brewer Manager; Phil Garner. When questioned Carr said " That aint Chuckies game. Chuckie hacks on 2-0." Carr was soon released from the team, at the time he was batting just .184.

He finished the season & his playing career in Houston with the Astros that same year. In his eight year career, Carr batted .254 with 435 hits, 81 doubles, 7 triples, 13 HRs 123 RBIs, 144 stolen bases & a .316 on base %. He played in 484 games in the outfield making 28 assists with a .984 fielding %.

Retirement: By 1999 he was playing in the Independent Atlantic League for the Atlantic City Surf. In 2000 he played for Bud Harrelson, who had been his manager with the Mets, on the Long Island Ducks. Carr later became a minor league coach in the Astros organization.

The First Brooklyn Cyclone Player To Make the Mets Big League Club: Brain Bannister (2006)

Brian Patrick Bannister was born on February 28, 1981 in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the son of former big leaguer Floyd Bannister, who pitched in the majors for 15 seasons, with the Houston Astros (1977-1978) Seattle Mariners (1979-1982), Chicago White Sox (1983-1987) & Kansas City Royals (1988-1989) going 134-143 lifetime with a 4.06 ERA. 

 Floyd had double figures in victories for seven straight seasons, including two 16 win seasons with the White Sox in the eighties. In 1982 while pitching for the Mariners, Bannister led the AL in strike outs (209) going 12-13 pitching 247 innings (8th in the AL) posting a 3.43 ERA (8th in the AL).

Bannister was a good strikeout pitcher, having the best strike out per nine inning ratio in 1983 & 1985. He was in the league's top ten in strike outs five times, finishing his career with 1723 (108th all time). He was also in the top ten in ERA three times. In his career he also allowed 291 strike outs (53rd most all time). 

Brian Bannister attended the University of Southern California and starred as both a starting pitcher as well as a closer there. The six foot two right hander, was drafted by the New York Mets in the seventh round of the 2003 draft. In 2003 he pitched for the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones, going 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 12 games. 

 In 2006 when he made the Mets pitching staff, he became the first Cyclones player to make it to the big league team. He was honored at Brooklyn's Keyspan Park in September 2006, having his number retired by the Cyclones on Brian Bannister bobble head night. In 2004 he went from A ball St. Lucie to AA Binghamton & was highly touted at this point in his career. In 2005 he was 9-4 at AA Binghamton getting promoted to AAA Norfolk. There he was 4-1 witha 3.18 ERA in eight games.

In 2006 he had a good spring training & made it to the Mets staff as a fifth starter. Bannister debuted at Shea Stadium in the Mets second game of the season, pitching six innings against the Washington Nationals, allowing three runs getting no decision.

In his second career start, at Washington he earned his first career win, allowing just one run in seven innings. On April 16th he got his second win, it came against the Milwaukee Brewers where he allowed just one run in five innings. After five starts he pulled a hamstring while running the bases in San Francisco & went on the DL with a 2-0 record. 

He missed four months, returning back in late August, in his first start he took a loss to the Phillies allowing four runs in six innings of work. He was sent right back to AAA Norfolk after the game, but returned to make two relief appearances in September.

On the season he would go 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA, striking out 19 batters in 38 innings while walking 22. Bannister was a good hitter as well going 4-12 with three doubles and two RBIs, good enough for a .333 average. 

Over the winter the Mets traded him to the Kansas City Royals in order to boost up their bullpen, as they acquired Ambiorix Burgess. In Kansas City, Bannister was put right into the rotation, and had a great start, winning the Pitcher of the Month Award in June. He went on to make the Topps All Star Rookie team, leading the staff in wins with 12 (12-9). He posted a 3.67 ERA pitching 216 innings making 34 starts. 

He struggled the next season on a 4th place Royals club, losing 16 games (second most losses in the league) while allowing 29 HRs, posting a 5.76 ERA. He went an identical 7-12 the next two seasons, and in 2010 his ERA climbed to a whopping 6.34. In 2011 he signed to pitch in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants, but left before the season started due to concerns with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. 

Retirement: Bannister has now retired from the game in both countries. He is also a professional photographer and had his work published in the NY Times, NY Daily News as well as other publications. 

Bannister is also the founder of Loft 19 Photography Studios in Phoenix, Arizona.

One of The Players the Mets Got In the Tom Seaver Trade: Dan Norman (1977-1981)

Daniel Edmund Norman was born on January 11, 1955 in Los Angeles, California. The six foot two switch hitting outfielder was drafted in the 15th round of the 1974 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds.

He played through the Reds system next to outfielder Steve Henderson s getting promoted together through the minor leagues. In 1976 he hit 17 HRs batting .273 at AA Trois-Rivieres getting promoted to AAA Indianapolis the following year.

On June 15, 1977 he was traded along with his pal, Steve Henderson as well as Doug Flynn & Pat Zachary to the Mets for Tom Seaver in the famous “Midnight Massacre” trade. According to former WFAN Radio talk show host, Jody Macdonald; he thought Norman was going to be a star player. He told his dad, Joe MacDonald who was the Mets GM at the time to make sure he got Norman in the trade.

Coming to New York Henderson got promoted right away to the Mets team while Norman was sent down to AAA Tidewater. There he batted .264 with 10 HRs & a .344 on base % in 80 games. He got a late September call up, debuting in Pittsburgh against the Pirates on September 27th as a pinch hitter. He went 4-16 with four walks on the season.

He was back at AAA Tidewater in 1978 leading the team in HRs (18) RBIs (66) & batting (.281) getting another September cup of coffee. In his second game he hit his first MLB HR at Olympic Stadium against the Montreal Expos.

Two days later he had a career day, going 2-4 with a pair of HRs and three RBIs leading the Mets to a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium. He closed out the season driving in runs in his last two games. On the year he hit .266 with 4 HRs one triple 7 runs scored& 10 RBIs.
In 1979 he was back at AAA Tidewater getting up to the Mets big league squad in July. He saw action in 44 games batting .245 with 3 HRs 11 RBIs. In 1980 he was on the club for the entire season, & manager Joe Torre used him mostly as a pinch hitter. This probably wasn't a good idea for a 25 year old kid, he played in 69 games overall, (19 in the outfield) but his average fell to.185 with just two HRs & 9 RBIs.

In May of 1981 he was playing at Tidewater when he was part of another big Mets trade. This time he was sent to the Montreal Expos along with Jeff Reardon for outfielder Ellis Valentine.

He spent 1981 in the minors & in 1982 played in only 53 games for the Expos batting .212 before his ending his MLB career. He would play in the minors through 1986 spending 12 years there playing in 1183 games. In five seasons he hit .227 with 79 hits 11 HRs 8 doubles 3 triples 29 runs scored 37 RBIs & a .287 on base %.

Retirement: After his playing days Norman became a manager in the Florida State League (1987) the Arizona League (1995/2000) & the Canadian baseball League (2003).