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Remembering Mets History (1972): First Place Mets Ride On Eleven Game Win Streak

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background: The 1972 New York Mets had started the season without their beloved manager Gil Hodges. Hodges had died of a heart attack at the end of Spring Training. The season also began late due to the first ever Players Union strike. Yogi Berra the popular choice, was named manager. The better baseball choice may have been Whitey Herzog, the Mets head of minor league player development. But all in all the Mets spent 49 days in first place & at one point had a 6 1/2 game lead. Thy remained in first place as late as July 1st. It looked like they have had the horses for another pennant run. That year they cut ties with fire baller Nolan Ryan, he was traded to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi. Fregosi was brought in for power but was past his best years & by the summer of '73 was gone. The most important hitter brought in was Rusty Stuab, but he went down with injury playing in just 66 games. The Mets gave up three good future players to get him, Ken Singleton,

Turk Wendell: 2000 NL Champion Mets Relief Pitcher (1998-2001)

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Steven John "Turk" Wendell was born on May 19, 1967, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The six foot two, right-handed pitcher attended Quinnipiac College, setting single season strikeout & ERA records there. Wendell was then drafted in the fifth round of the 1988 draft by the Atlanta Braves. He began his minor league career as a starter, going 11-11 in 1989 at both the A & AA levels. He fell to 5-12 the next year moving into the bullpen as a relief pitcher. In September of 1991 he was traded with Yorkis Perez to the Chicago Cubs for Damon Berryhill and Mike Bielecki. He debuted with the Cubs in 1993, pitching in just thirteen games over his first two seasons. He would spend parts of five seasons with the Cubs, becoming their closer by the 1996 season. That year he appeared in 70 games, with 18 saves, going 5-4 with a 2.84 ERA. In 1997 the Cubs closer duties went Terry Adams, as Wendell fell to a 3-5 record in mid relief appearing in 52 games. Mets Career: In

Remembering Mets History: (1996) Todd Hundley Homers From Both Sides of the Plate

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Saturday May 18th, 1996:  In 1996, catcher Todd Hundley was one of the bright spots for a Mets team that went 71-91 finishing fourth in the NL East. But changes were starting to happen, that season the Mets fired manager Dallas Green & replaced him with Bobby Valentine.   Valentine would bring the Mets to playoffs in back-to-back seasons in 1999 & 2000. One problem Valentine did have was Todd Hundley's late-night partying & love of the NY night life. On this day, Hundley became the fourth Mets hitter to hit HRs from both sides of the plate in the same game. The others were: Lee Mazzilli (1978) Howard Johnson (1991) & Bobby Bonilla (three times). Hundley himself, had done it before too, two years earlier in 1994. Dallas Green's struggling fifth place Mets (17-23) were on the annual west coast trip. That week thy had lost three of four in San Diego & they were now in San Francisco, facing Dusty Baker's third place Giants (20-20). 15,298 came to 3Com Park

Remembering Mets History (1978): Lenny Randle, Willie Montanez & Steve Henderson All Have A Big Night

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Thursday May 18th, 1978: On this Spring evening, Joe Torre's fifth place New York Mets (16-21) hosted Bobby Cox's last place Atlanta Braves (16-21). The weak match up drew a mere crowd of just 4,431 to Shea Stadium.  These were the bad years & dark years when Shea Stadium became known as "Grant's Tomb". Referring to club president M. Donald Grant who ran the team into the ground. Tonight, the Mets started Pat Zachary & the Braves went with Preston Hana. In the bottom of the 1st inning, the Mets collected three walks, Lenny Randle, Lee Mazzilli & Steve Henderson all got aboard. Willie Montanez "the Hot Dog" followed with a sac fly making it 1-0 Mets. But in the top of the 2nd Darrel Chaney singled & scored on Rod Gilbreath's double. After a fielder's choice, Bob Beall walked & Brian Asselstine singled to bring in the Braves second run. Slugger Jeff Burroughs followed with a two run double making it 4-1. In the 3rd, R

Nelson Figueroa: Former Mets Pitcher (2008 -2009) & SNY Analyst (2015 -2019)

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Nelson Figueroa  Jr. was born on May 18th, 1974, in Brooklyn, New York. Famous High School Alumni: The six foot one, right hander went to Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island. The school has had some famous alumni including former Met Lee Mazzilli. Other notable names are Mel Brooks, Harvey Kietel, Lou Gossett Jr., John Forsythe, broadcaster Marv Albert, author Arthur Miller, singers Neil Sadaka & Neil Diamond, drummer Buddy Rich, & New York Knick Stephan Marbury. Figueroa then attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts where he earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies while pitching on the baseball team.  He was drafted by the hometown New York Mets in the 30th round of the 1995 draft, the 833rd pick overall.   Figueroa was 7-3 with the Kingsport Mets in the Rookie league in 1995, then 14-7 with a 2.04 ERA, at A ball with Capitol City in 1996.  By 1998 he was traded off to the Arizona Diamondbacks along with Bernard Gilkey in exchange for Jor

Remembering The Horrible Injury That Ruined Bobby Valentines Playing Career (1973)

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Bobby Valentine was drafted as a first round pick out of Stamford high school in his native, Connecticut back in 1968. At the age of 18, Valentine was named the MVP of the Pioneer League. He played under manager Tommy Lasorda, who became a mentor & lifelong friend to Valentine. In 1969 Valentine was briefly brought up to the big leagues for five games. He then continued to develop over two more seasons in the minor league level.  At the age 20 he was playing at the Los Angeles Dodgers AAA Spokane club, batting .340 with 14 HRs 39 doubles 16 triples & 29 stolen bases. Valentine was rushed up to the big league club, & he batted .249 with the '71 Dodgers, in 101 games. The next year Bobby still didn't have the power & speed he had in the minors. But Valentine did raised his average to .274 in 1972. That winter the Dodgers & the cross-town California Angels in Anaheim, made a blockbuster trade. Bobby Valentine was part of the deal that sent him, Frank

Remembering Mets History (1972): Rookie John Milner Drives in Five Runs

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Wednesday May 17th, 1972: Yogi Berra's first place Mets (20-7) were off to a good start in the '72 season. The season got started late due to a players Strike. More sadly, at the end of Spring Training, the Mets family lost their beloved Manager, Gil Hodges, who passed away from a fatal heart attack. The organization was devastated, in the aftermath gave the position to the popular favorite, coach Yogi Berra. On evening, 16,905 fans came out to Shea Stadium, to see the Mets host Gene Mauch's Montreal Expos (13-14). Gary Gentry went for the Mets against Ernie McAnally. There were big expectations, for the Mets rookie slugger, from Atlanta Georgia, John Milner. He was even labeled "the hammer" (named after his hero- Hank Aaron). After making a brief debut in 1971, Milner was expected to be the Mets HR star of the future. In 1972, Milner began making pinch hit appearances & got his first start on April 26th. That day he went 2-4, then he got a hit in his next