Apr 26, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1968) Ron Swoboda Slugs Seven April HRs

April 1968: On April 30th the Philadelphia Phillies (8-9) came to Shea Stadium to face Gil Hodges New York Mets (7-9). Hodges was ending his first month as Mets Manager & was still observing what he had to work with. Both teams were just under .500 but were hoping for good things, for the Mets they were one year away from that Miracle Season.

Tonight's game was a classic pitchers duel as the Mets Don Cardwell went on to a five hit shut out, walking no one while fanning three. It was his first win of the year against two early losses. His opponent was the Phillies Chris Short, Short pitched 7 innings & allowed just one run but that was all New York needed.

In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Ron Swoboda hit the game winning solo shot. It was Swoboda's 7th HR of the month, in which he had played in just 16 games. He also had collected 16 RBIs and was among the league leaders that early in the season.

In the second game of the 1968 season, the Mets visited San Francisco to play the Giants. In a great pitching matchup, Tom Seaver went up against Juan Marichal. The two Hall of Famers went at it, both  lasting eight innings. Seaver took a 4-2 lead into the 9th before running out of gas. The Giants Willie Mays singled & moved up on a passed ball, then scored on Jim Ray Harts base hit. Seaver was relieved by Danny Frisella and hits to Nate Oliver & Jesus Alou ended in a Mets loss.

The Mets hitting star of the day was Ron Swoboda. In the 1st Swoboda's RBI single started off the big day. Then in the 3rd inning with Ken Boswell & Tommie Agee on base, Swoboda cracked a long three run HR off Marichal into the windy San Francisco night. It was his 1st HR of the season & put New York up 4-0.

April 19th - April 21st 1968: This three day four game stretch for Swoboda was certainly a hot one. On April 19th he hit a solo HR off the Los Angeles Dodgers Claude Osteen, but the Mets went down 3-2.

The next day Tom Seaver & Bill Singer went at it, matching zeroes into the 6th inning. Bud Harrelson reached base for the Mets with a bunt single, and Art Shamsky later walked. Swoboda came up hitting a three run HR, his third of the year. The Mets went on to a 3-3 win behind Swoboda & Seaver.

Sunday April 21st was a classic double header matinee at Shea. The Dodgers took the first game but Swoboda remained hot, he hit a 4th inning two run HR off Dodger ace; Don Drysdale, in a five run Mets inning. A four run Dodger 8th & a two run 9th off Met pitchers Bill Short & Deick Selma ended in a 7-6 Met loss.

The Mets dropped the second game as well, but Swoboda stayed hot, hitting a 4th inning solo HR. He kept a five game hit streak in tact & had hit HRs in four straight games with seven RBIs.

On April 27th Swoboda hit another HR & drove in two more runs, although the Mets lost again, this time 5-3 at Cincinnati to the Reds.

 Unfortunately his hot streak ended & he would struggle the rest of the year. He would hit just 11 HRs with 59 RBIs in 132 games.

2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Outfielder: Carlos Beltran (2005-2011)

Carlos Ivan Beltran was born April 27, 1977 in Manati Puerto Rico. The six foot one Beltran was a star baseball & volleyball player in high school.

The switch hitting outfielder was drafted in the second round of the 1995 draft by the Kansas City Royals at age 18. He was highly touted as a five tool player. quickly getting called up to the big leagues by 1998. He would take over the centerfield & lead off positions for the 1999 season. That year he was the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year  hitting .293 with 22 HRs 108 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.

He soon became a star player in a very small market in Kansas City. In 1999 he played in just 98 games due to injury, then had to battle a young budding Johnny Damon for the centerfield job. Damon was soon traded & Beltran rumors began to swirl as him coming to the Mets. It looked like a great fit but wouldn’t happen for a few more years.

In Kansas City he would drive in & score over 100 runs in four seasons. He would hit twenty HRs or more four times, twice 25 or better. He also hit 30 plus doubles twice, with a career high 44 in 2002. 

These were not the current KC Royals & back then times were bad in Kansas City. In 2004 The Royals didn’t have the money to sign Beltran and traded him to the Houston Astros in a three-team deal involving the Oakland A's. Octavio Dotel went to Oakland, Mike Wood, Mark Teahen & John Buck went to Kansas City & Beltran to the Astros.

In a strange but baseball first, Beltran was selected to the AL All Star Team just before the trade was announced. When Ken Griffey Jr. got hurt, Beltran became the first player to start  an All Star Game for the other league.

Post Season: He hit 23 HRs for the Astros helping them get to the post season. It was here that Beltran became a star having a great post season. In the 2004 Post season he would set a HR record hitting HRs in five straight post season games. A record broken by Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets in 2015. Beltran also tied a record with eight post season HRs. His NLCS Game #4 HR in the 7th inning off Julian Tavares broke a 5-5 tie & was the game winner. But the St. Louis Cards prevailed & went on to the World Series losing a historic one to the Boston Red Sox. 

That winter Beltran was the best offensive free agent on the market. He was highly courted by the New York Mets & Met GM Omar Minaya flew to Puerto Rico to meet with the Beltran family. Eventually at the last minute, he chose to come to the Mets, getting a huge seven year $119 million contract  with a no trade clause.

In 2005 Beltran quickly became popular  with the fans, especially after a three hit, three RBI Opening day that included a HR. He & Pedro Martinez also acquired that year, got the Mets t& new manager Willie Randolph o a third place finish (83-79). Beltran took over the centerfield job from Mike Cameron, as he moved over to left, something Cameron wasn’t happy about.

Quotes: Carlos is no doubt one of the best, if not the best defensive centerfielders in the game, and one of the best in Mets history. He plays with a smooth style, covers great range, goes back on a ball better than anyone, and had a strong accurate arm. 

On August 11th, at Petco Park in San Diego, Beltran & Mike Cameron collided in one of the worst outfield collisions in Mets history. Cameron missed the rest of the year with a concussion & temporary loss of vision. Beltran suffered vertigo but returned to the line up a week later. 

Beltrans first season in New York was an adjusting one for sure, as he hit just .266 with 16 HRs & 78 RBIs. All these were career lows at that time in seasons where he played over 100 games. He did hit 34 doubles & stole 17 bases. 

In the 2006 off season, the Mets made even bigger moves than the previous year. They signed slugger Carlos Delgado, catcher Paul LoDuca & closer Billy Wagner. The Mets were ready to compete for the Championship. The addition of the big bats around him & his second year in New York resulted in a big year for Beltran.

He tied Todd Hundley's Mets single season HR record of 41(5th in the NL) , he hit the most HRs of any Met on the road (26) and tied a Mets grand slam single season mark with three. Overall he batted .275 with 116 RBIs (7th in the NL) 38 doubles 95 walks (10th in the NL) & a .388 on base %. In the outfield he won the first of three straight Gold Gloves making 13 assists posting a .995 fielding %. That year he came in fourth in the MVP voting.

He started out April with four HRs then began May with four HRs in the first week. He hit HRs in three straight games May 5th -May7th with the Mets taking two of three of those games. Beltran would hit ten HRs that month, twice coming in back to back games. He also drove in 26 runs that month.

On May 19th, after the AL New York club beat up Geremi Gonzalez for four runs in the top of the 1st, Beltran started the Mets come back with a three run HR off Randy Johnson. The Mets won the game 6-5.

In June he drove in runs in eight straight games, with multiple RBI games in five of them. On June 9th, Beltran hit two HRs in a 10-6 win the Diamondbacks in Arizona. He had hit one previous day as well. He closed out June with three HRs in four games, totaling eight for the month.

Beltran started for the Mets in the All Star Game & was joined by five other Mets players. He was the only player in the game to have more than one hit as well.

He had a huge July belting 10 HRs with 32 RBIs. On July 16th he hit a grand slam HR at Wrigley Field in a 13-7 Mets win, where they clubbed five HRs. The next day in Cincinnati Beltran hit another grand slam, this one off Eric Milton for his 27th of the season in an 8-3 Mets win. On a road trip to Atlanta where the Mets swept the Braves, he started out the first game with two RBIs. On July 29th he hit two HRs & drove in five runs, the next day for an encore he hit two more HRs & drove in five more runs. He entered August with 32 HRs & hit his 33rd on the first day of the month in Florida.

In the final two weeks of August he hit six HRs with 14 RBIs as the Mets continued to roll as well. On August 22nd he hit a walk off HR against Jason Isringhausen to beat the St. Louis Cardinals.

Post Season: In the first two games of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Beltran was hitless. In Game #3 he had two hits, including an RBI single in the top of the 6th inning. In that inning the Mets scored three runs to take a 7-5 lead enroute to their 9-5 win.

Betran got just one hit in the ext two games in which the Mets lost. In Game #4 he hit a solo HR off Anthony Reyes tying up the game. David Wright would hit another two batters later. The Mets went on to score eleven runs, Beltran topped it off with his second HR of the game in the 12-5 Mets win.

2006 NLCS: On October 12th 2006, Beltran hit a two run HR off Jarod Weaver in the 6th inning scoring Paul LoDuca who had singled. Beltrans two runs provided Tom Glavine with what he needed as he Guillermo Mota & Billy Wagner combined on a four hit shut out, to take game one.

Beltran would get one hit in each of the next three games, but his fate was sealed on the one hit he did not get. In Game #7, the game was tied 1-1 until the top of the 9th inning when Yadier Molina hit a two run HR off Aaron Heilman. The Mets manged to get Jose Valentin & Endy Chavez aboard with base hits. With two on & no one out Cliff Floyd struck out looking. Jose Reyes then lined out leaving it up to Beltran. Beltran would watch a third strike on an Adam Wainwright curve ball, endingthe game & the Mets dream of getting to the World Series. It was alla shock & something Beltran would never live down. Mets fans would never forget & or forgive him.

In 2007 Beltran would have another big year with 33 HRs (8th in the NL) 33 doubles 112 RBIs (7th in the NL) batting .276 with a .353 on base %. He struggled the first three months of the season, batting  just .230.

That June he hit six HRs, including two twice in back to back games on June 29th & June 30th. In July he hit 5 HRs with 13 RBIs as the Mets remained in first place & things looked good for another post season berth.

On August 19th he hit two HRs in Washington driving in four runs in the Mets 8-2 win. The next game on August 21st, Beltran had three hits with a HR & four RBIs as they came from behind to beat Trevor Hoffman & the Padres. The next night the Mets lost but Beltran had three more RBIs. On August 29th he hit another grand slam HR, a 9th inning shot to win the game 5-2. He drove in all five runs that night.

In September the Mets had a huge collapse one of the worst in baseball history. They lost 12 of 17 games, blowing a seven game lead they had on September 12th. They were still up one game on September 26th  but lost four of their last five games blowing their chance for the playoffs. Beltran hit 7 HRs with 25 RBIs & hit safely in 13 of the last 15 games. During the teams five game losing streak in the final week, he did hit three HRs including two in a 9-6 loss to the Washington Nats.

In 2008 he played in all but one Mets game, batting .284 with 27 HRs doubles & once again 112 RBIs with a .376 on base %. This year was even more heartbreaking for the Met fans as on the last day of the season, the Mets lost to the Florida Marlins killing their chances to make the playoffs. Beltran hit the last HR by a Mets player in Shea Stadium in the final game. It was also the final game played at Shea Stadium & the closing ceremonies featured many great Mets from the past.

In 2009 the Mets flopped as it all fell apart mostly due to injuries & an aging team. Beltran would play in just 81 games missing action from the end of June to early September. Before the injury he was once again voted to the All Star team.

That April 29th he drove in his career 1000th run. When he went down in June the Mets were still in second place but barely over .500 at 28-24. When he returned they were 62-76 in fourth place 17 games back. On his return he doubled & two nights later hit a HR. He would bat .325 with 10 HRs & 48 RBIs.

In 2011 the Mets were terrible again & it was only matter of time until Beltran was traded as his contract was running out. On April 9th he hit a pair of HRs against the Washington Nats in an 8-4 Mets win at Citi Field. On May 12th he had his last huge day as a Met. That day in a 9-5 Mets win at Colorado he blasted three HRs & drove in six runs. He would hit six more HRs thru July in a Mets uniform. On July 28th he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for top draft pick pitcher Zack Wheeler.
Mets Career: In his seven year Mets career, he has played in 839 Mets games (18th on the all time list) he has 878 hits (14th on Mets all time list) with  149 HRs (6th on Mets all time list) 208 doubles (7th on Mets all time list)  17 triples, 559 RBIs (6th on Mets all time list) bat .280 & scored 551 runs (8th on Mets all time list).

His stay was short in San Francisco as the Giants fell short of a wild card spot & finished second in the West. After the season he signed as two year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, the team he had held his bat back on in Game #7 of the 2006 NLCS. 

His first year in St. Louis was his best in five years as he stayed healthy, Beltran hit 32 HRs  with 26 doubles, drove in 97 runs & played in 151 games. He went just 1-4 in the NL Wild Card game beating the Atlanta Braves. In the NLCS he hit two HRs driving in four runs in the five game win over the Washington Nationals. In the NLCS loss to the San Francisco Giants, he batted .300 with another HR.

In 2013 he batted .96 in 145 games with 24 HRs & 84 RBIs. He had another big postseason driving in 15 post season runs with 15 hits. He hit both his HRs in the NLDS against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He then drove in six runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS & six more in the World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.                 

After that season he signed on with the AL new York club at age 37. In his first two seasons there, injuries continued to haunt him. In the 2014 season  he batted just .233 with 15 HRs playing in 109 games. In 2015 he hit .276 with 19 HRs & 67 RBIs.

In 2016 he found youth again & was the teams hottest hitter at one point. He would hit 22 HRs with 64 RBIs while batting .304 before getting traded to the Texas Rangers on August 1st.

In 52 games with Texas he hit 7 more HRs driving in 29 RBIs batting .280, helping the Rangers to a first place finish. In the ALDS loss to the Toronto Blue Jays he went 2-11. In the off season he signed on with the Houston Astros.

In His 19 year career through 2015, Beltran is batting 280 with 2617 hits (79th all time) 421 HRs  (51st all time) 536 doubles (39th all time) &1536 RBIs (50th all time).

Beltran has 1051 walks (97th all time) 104 sac flies (20th all time) 312 stolen bases (156th all time) 101 intentional walks (125th all time) with 1693 strike outs (34th most all time) & a .354 on base % in 2457 games played.

In the outfield he has played in 2196 games making 75 errors in 5362 chances with 143 assists.

Beltran and his wife Jessica have two daughters, the family live in Port Washington, Long Island during the season & Mantai Puerto Rico during the winter months.  He is a Christian & when he stole his 300th base, to make the 300 300 club, a gold cross popped out of his jersey. He told reporters after the game "all the Glory was God's".                    

Apr 25, 2017

Remembering Mets History (1988) Keith Hernandez Drives In Seven Runs

Tuesday, April 26, 1988 : On this night Davey Johnson's second place Mets 912-6) visited Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, to face Chuck Tanner's last place Braves (3-14). The pitchers for tonight were Dwight Gooden vs. Tom Glavine.

This game was all about Keith Hernandez, the Met first baseman had a fantastic night one of his biggest ever. Hernandez hit two HRs and drove in seven runs, including a career milestone 1,000th RBI.

He started out the game by going 0-2, but then in the 5th inning with Mookie Wilson aboard Keith blasted a a two run HR off Glavine to tie up the game at four. In the 7th he grounded out on a force play bringing in Mookie Wilson once again.

In the 8th inning with the Mets ahead 6-4, Keith came up with the bases loaded, facing former Met Charlie Puleo. Mex lined a HR over the Center field fence for a grand slam HR & giving him seven RBIs on the night. The HRs were his first two HRs of the season & capped off a 13-4 Mets win.

Dwight Gooden would get the win & go to 5-0 on the young season, as he pitched the complete game victory.

Gary Carter was off to a great start as he hit his 7th HR of the young season, a solo shot off Glavine. Kevin Elster doubled and drove in two runs, Mookie Wilson doubled, drove in a run & scored three runs. Howard Johnson & Tim Teufel added RBI base hits as well.

Tom Glavine did not get a decision as the loss went to Jack Acker. Glavine got roughed up for four runs, five hits & three walks in just two innings of work. Glavine would go on to lead the NL in losses with 17 in 1988. The Braves used six pitchers that day.

Former Mets Pitcher Turned 1986 NLCS Public Enemy Number One: Mike Scott (1979-1983)

Michael Warren Scott was born on April 26th, 1955 in Santa Monica, California.

The six foot two right hander attended Pepperdine University getting drafted in the second round of the 1976 amateur draft by the New York Mets. Scott pitched two seasons at AA Jackson going 14-10 with a 2.94 ERA in 1977 getting promoted to AAA Tidewater. He finished the year then pitched three more seasons at AAA Tidewater, going 10-10 in 1978. 

Scott pitched well enough in Spring Training to make the 1979 Mets staff. He made his MLB debut on April 18th 1979 pitching two innings relieving Pat Zachary in a game against the Montreal Expos.

He got his first start on April 24th & pitched five innings getting the win over the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium. He pitched in 14 games until mid June getting just one more decision, a loss before getting sent down to Tidewater until September. He made four appearances with the Mets that month going 0-2 with a hold in relief. He finished up at 1-3 with a 5.33 ERA in 18 games.

In 1980 he was 13-7 at AAA Tidewater leading the staff in ERA, and was tied with Ed Lynch for the team lead in victories. He got the September call up going 1-1 in six appearances. In the strike shortened 1981 season, he started out at 1-4 going into late May. On May 29th he pitched a one run complete game beating the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium.

A week later he allowed just one run against the Astros in Houston & won his second straight decision. He followed that by losing six of his next seven decisions, into late September. He then beat the Montreal Expos on September 27th, shutting them out for 6.1 innings. On the year he was 5-10 with a 3.90 ERA, striking out 54 batters in 136 innings.

In 1982 he pitched the second game of the season, but was beaten the Cubs in Chicago. Scott then beat the Phillies & the Cubs allowing just two earned runs over 17 innings of work. He was 4-5 in early June when he was switched to the bull pen. He earned three saves that month & was back in the rotation by July.

Scott went 2-4 before going back to the bullpen. From that point through the end of the season, he was 0-5 and his ERA went to 5.14. He finished the year at 7-13. In December he was traded to the Houston Astros for Danny Heep.

In his first season in Houston he was 10-6 with a 3.72 ERA but in 1984 he fell to a 5-11 record with a 4.68 ERA. Things then turned around after Scott began to throw a split fingered fastball that he learned from former Mets pitcher Roger Craig. Craig began teaching this pitch in the eighties & has now become a staple in the game. In 1985 it all came together for Scott he went 18-8 with a 3.29 ERA.

But in 1986 Scott was even better, winning the NL Cy Young Award. He was 18-10 (3rd in the NL in wins) leading the league in strikeouts (306) strike outs per nine innings (10.0) ERA (2.22) innings (275) & shut outs (5). After the All Star break he was 9-4 throwing three complete games, going into the eighth inning or beyond seven times. In that stretch he also had eight games where he struck out at least ten batters, enjoying a season high 14 on September 14th at San Diego. 

On September 25th, Scott threw a no hitter at the Astrodome against the San Diego Padres. In the game he struck out 13 batters & the win clinched the NL Western Division title for the Astros. It was considered one of the top five games ever played at the old Astrodome. That year he finished tenth in the MVP voting & made his first All Star appearance.

1986 Post Season: Scott opened up the NLCS against Dwight Gooden in Game #1 at the Astrodome. He was spectacular beating the mighty Mets 1-0 in the pitchers duel allowing just five hits, striking out 14 Mets.

As not only were the Mets were shocked, but they also began to see strange things happen to the baseball & had some evidence to prove it. They accused Scott of scuffing up the baseballs & actually kept some balls for proof. Scott was never caught in the act or ever found guilty of the charges. No matter what he got into the Mets hitters heads.

He became known as "Mike Scuff" and the target of boo birds & Mets fans public enemy number one.

He returned in Game #4 to beat Sid Fernandez 3-1 in another complete game effort. Sid allowed just four hits to Scotts three hits, another pitcher's duel. As Game Six became a Mets classic as well as one of the best NLCS games in history, it was all the more important since Scott was looming as to be the starter in Game #7 if it was necessary.

It wasn't as the Mets won, advanced to the World Series & Mike Scott never pitched in the post season again. He did win the series MVP award, the first time it had ever gone to player from the losing team.

In 1987 he had a good start going 10-4 into July & getting the start for the NL in the All Star game. He pitched two scoreless innings in the game. He finished the year at 16-13 with 233 strike outs (second in the NL) a 3.23 ERA (7th in the NL) leading the league with 36 starts. In 1988 he was 14-8 with a 2.92 ERA.

On June 12th he just missed throwing a second no hitter, as it was broken up by Atlanta's Ken Oberkfell with two outs in the 9th inning.

In 1989 he was second for the Cy Young Award, going 20-10 as the only NL pitcher to win twenty games. He posted a 3.10 ERA & struck out 172 batters in 180 innings with a career high nine complete games. The next year Scott dropped to a 9-13 record & was 0-2 with injuries in 1991 his final season.

In his career he was 124-108 with a 3.54 ERA, striking out 1469 batters with 627 walks in 2068 innings in 347 games. He tossed 22 shut outs & 45 complete games. His is a member of the Astros Hall of Fame & has had his uniform #33 retired by the team

2000 NL Champion Mets Coach: Cookie Rojas (1997-2000)

Octavio Victor Rojas Rivas was born on March 6, 1939 in Havana Cuba. His father wanted him to be a doctor, but Cookie wanted to play baseball for the Havana Sugar Kings instead. He was eventually signed as a second baseman by the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 at the age of 17. 

He got out of Cuba as it was going into political turmoil, debuting as the Reds starting second baseman in the first game ever played at the new Dodger Stadium in 1962. A week later he got his first career hit off the great Sandy Koufax.

After one season with the Reds he was traded to the Phillies as rookie Pete Rose was in the Reds plan as the second baseman of their future. Rojas earned the starting second base job in Philly, leading the league in fielding percentage three straight seasons. He batted over .290 twice, including .a 303 average (8th in the league) in 1965 as he made his first All Star team. He would spend seven seasons in Philadelphia being amongst the league’s top ten in singles & sacrifice hits twice. In 1967 he led the league with 16 sac hits batting .259.

In October 1969 he was part of the famous Curt Flood trade, as he, Dick Allen and Jerry Johnson went to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Tim McCarver, Curt Flood, Joe Hoerner & Byrone Browne. Flood refused the trade and challenged the reserve clause, but was soon forced out of the game since no one really backed him that early on. Rojas will forever be remembered for sporting thick frame eye glasses during his playing days.

Rojas struggled mightily in St. Louis & by June he was sent to the Kansas City Royals for Fred Rico. In K.C. he became one of the American League’s best second baseman of the early seventies. In 1971 he batted .300 with a .357 on base % & posted a .991 fielding percentage quickly becoming a Royals fan favorite.

He made four straight All Star teams from 1971-1974, making history as well. In the 1972 Mid Summer Classic at Atlanta he became the first AL player born outside of the United States to hit a HR in an All Star Game. The HR came in the 8th inning off Montreal's Bill Stoneman, it was a two run shot (scoring Carlton Fisk) putting the AL ahead. The NL would tie it & win the game in the bottom of the 10th on a Joe Morgan base hit.

Rojas posted fielding percentages over .980% through the 1975 season & never made more than 13 errors in a season during his A.L. years.

Rojas was a good contact hitter, who didn’t strike out too often, only going down on strikes fifty times or more twice in his entire career. He was a pure singles hitter, who didn’t hit for power, (like most second baseman of his era) never hitting more than 9 HRs in a season. 

In 1973 he had career highs in RBIs (69) & doubles (69) while batting .276. He played in two ALCS with the Royals, batting .333 overall with an RBI in the 1976 series.

He was eventually released by the Royals after the 1977 season, at the age of 38, with the arrival of long time Royal second baseman Frank White. In his 16 year playing career Rojas would play 1833 MLB games with 1660 hits, 254 doubles, 25 triples, 54 HRs & 593 RBIs while batting .263 lifetime.

Retirement: After his playing days he became a coach & major league scout. Rojas had two brief stints as manager; first with the California Angeles (1988) & second with the Florida Marlins (1996) for just one game after Rene Lachemann was fired. He was only the third Cuban born manager to ever manage in the major leagues.

Rojas joined the New York Mets, as the team's third base coach under Bobby Valentine from 1997-2000. During the 1999 post season Rojas came down the coaching line and argued a foul ball call with umpire Charlie Williams. He then got into a shoving match and was suspended for five games.

He returned as the third base coach during the Mets 2000 Mets pennant season, before leaving the organization. He went on to serve as bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2001-2002.

Broadcaster: Rojas currently does Spanish television broadcasts for the Florida Marlins. He is the father of former MLB player Victor Rojas who currently works on the MLB Network.

Family: His son Victor Rojas is a Los Angeles Angels  TV broadcaster & his son Mike Rojas is the Detroit Tigers bullpen coach.

Apr 24, 2017

Remembering Mets History (2015) Matt Harvey Shines In Subway Series WIn

Saturday April 25th 2105: The new version of the New York Mets were riding high coming into this years early version of the subway series, they were fresh off an eleven game win streak & were in first place by 4 1/2 games.

On the first night of the series the streak was ended, but these Mets proved they would over come. Maybe more importantly, to the team, Matt Harvey, fresh off Tommy John surgery last season, in the big spot light took the ball & showed everybody how tough & serious he was.

A large Saturday afternoon crowd of 47,909 came to the Bronx to see the A.L. New York club (10-8) host Terry Collins' Mets (14-4) aired as the FOX game of the week telecast. Matt Harvey (3-0) for the Mets against a struggling CC Sabbathia (0-2).

Starting Lineups

Lucas Duda started out the Mets 1st inning with a solo HR to make it 1-0. The game was tied in the 4th inning when the Mets had a big four run rally. Michael Cuddyer started out with a base hit, then with two outs the hits came.

Juan Lagares tripled to straight away center making it 2-0. He easily scored on Wilmer Flores base hit to make it 3-1. Rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki then made his mark on the subway series with a two run HR off Sabbathia making it 5-1. Plawecki would add an RBI single in the 8th as well.

The Mets back up third baseman, filling in for an injured David Wright hit a solo HR to start out the 6th inning. Juan Lagares singled knock Sabbathia out after giving up a dreadful seven runs on nine hits. Lagares would eventually score on an Esmil Rogers wild pitch.

With all that offense Matt Harvey had an easy time of the AL New York club. In one of his longest outings of the year he pitched into the 9h inning, not wanting the Terry Collins to take the ball from him.

It wasn't until the 9th inning after getting the first two outs, that he allowed a single & a walk where Collins decided he had enough. He left the field to a huge ovation & had earned a lot of respect for his valiant effort.

Harvey went 8.2 innings, allowing two runs on just five hits, he struck out seven & walked two to get to 4-0 on the season with a 3.04 ERA.

The Mets had now won 12 of 13 games.

Late Seventies Mets All Star Pitcher: Pat Zachry (1977-1982)

Patrick Paul Zachry was born on April 24, 1952 in Richmond, Texas. He was drafted out of Richfield high school in Waco, Texas by the Cincinnati Reds in 1970 in the 19th round.

The tall lanky six foot five, right hander looked more like a fisherman than a ball player with his long bearded face. He pitched as both a starter & reliever in the minor leagues, putting up identical 10-7 records at AAA Indianapolis in 1974 & 1975.

Zachry made the Reds staff as a reliever during the height of the Big Red Machines dominance, in 1976. He began the season in the bullpen, but was moved into the rotation by mid May. He won his first four starts throwing a complete game in San Diego & a complete game shutout against the Dodgers. Zachry was pitching so well he was 11-3 with a 2.63 ERA in mid August as the Reds were rolling through the National League.

He wound up winning the Rookie of the Year Award (sharing honors with San Diego’s Butch Metzger) going 14-7 with a 2.74 ERA (5th in the league), striking out 143 batters in 205 innings pitched. He averaged 6.3 strike outs per nine innings, which was 6th best among NL pitchers.

Post Season: Zachry was the winning pitcher of the NLCS Game #2 against the Phillies, allowing two runs over five innings or work. In the 1976 World Series, he won Game #3 in the Bronx, allowing two runs, on six hits in 6.2 innings pitched, helping the Big Red Machine sweep the Series.

In 1977 he struggled at the start of the year, going 2-2 in April, & then was 0-4 in May as his ERA rose to near six. He was 3-7 with a 5.04 ERA through mid June when he became the main chip in the Tom Seaver trade. He came to the New York Mets on June 15th, 1977 “The Midnight Massacre” along with Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, & Dan Norman. He had no chance following in Seaver’s footsteps no matter how well he would ever do.

Two days after the trade he made his Mets debut at Shea Stadium, losing to the Houston Astros, allowing four runs over six innings. He quickly found out he didn't have the same offensive run support he had in Cincinnati.

In his next start he pitched well, allowing just one run in seven innings of work but got no decision. Almost a month after the trade he earned his first Mets win on July 10th, against the Montreal Expos.

In mid August he began his best streak, winning three straight decisions through early September. He threw a complete game in St. Louis & then pitched a five hit shutout against the Braves at Shea. He did well the rest of the year, going 7-6 overall since joining the club with a 3.76 ERA. He only had 63 strike outs in 119 innings pitching in 19 games.

In 1978 he started out winning the third game of the season by beating the Montreal Expos pitching six innings of one run ball at Shea Stadium. On April 19th he pitched a two hit shutout in St. Louis, striking out five Cardinals batters. Bruce Boisclair drove in both runs of the 2-0 Mets win. Zachry himself scored a run after drawing a walk & then circled the bases.

He finished out the month of April going 3-0, and then went on another four game win streak from May to July. On May 29th he pitched another complete games, allowing just two runs on three hits to the Cardinals at Shea in the first game of a double header. Zachry already had ten wins (10-3) by the fourth of July. He was the only Met chosen for the All Star Game that year, although he didn’t pitch in the game held at San Diego's Jack Murphy Stadium.

On July 24th 1978, Shea Stadium was packed, hoping Zachry could shut down Pete Rose during his N.L. record setting hit streak. Unfortunately, Rose singled off him in the 7th inning; tying the 37 game NL hit streak record. The Reds then started a rally rallied knocking Zachry out of the game, four batters later. On his way into the dugout he angrily kicked a helmet, but missed it & kicked the dugout step. The result was a fracture to his left foot. He was done for the rest of the year, finishing 10-6 with a 3.33 ERA, 78 strike outs & 60 walks in 138 innings. He also threw two shut outs & five complete games.

He started out 1979 by beating the Cubs at Wrigley Field in the second game of the season. He then returned to Shea Stadium to pitch a complete game victory against Philadelphia. Although he gave up 12 hits he only allowed two runs beating the Phillies 3-2.

He missed a month of action but returned very strong in May winning three straight starts going into June. He was 5-0 before taking his first loss on June 8th against the Houston Astros. He was 5-1 until more injuries finished off his season early once again, shutting him down in June. In seven games he was 5-1 with an .833 winning % posting a 3.59 ERA in 42 innings pitched.

In 1980 he wasn’t ready pitch until May, then lost his first two starts going winless until the end of the month when he beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. Zachry was 2-5 by the end of June with a 3.26 ERA. He had a fantastic July going 4-0 while throwing four complete games. He threw a three hit shutout at Shea against the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates on July 10th and tossed two more shut outs before the month was out.

On July 25th when the Reds came to town he threw a six hit shutout against his old team & then in his next start, threw a four hit shut out to beat the Atlanta Braves. In that 3-0 win the Mets had RBI singles from Doug Flynn & Mike Jorgensen.

The Mets were a bad team, winning just 67 games while finishing in last place. Zachary would not get another win for the rest of the season. He never allowed more than three runs in his last five straight losses but the team lacked run support. He finished up at 6-10 leading the team with a 3.01 ERA and two shut outs.

In the 1981 strike shortened season he began the year winning his first three starts, but then lost his next five. He struggled and led the league in both losses (14) & HRs allowed (13). He went 7-14 but somehow still led the team in victories. He also led the team in strike outs (71) starts (24) complete games (3) & hits (151) posting a 4.14 ERA. He allowed 64 earned runs while walking 56 batters in 139 innings pitched.

In 1982 he started out the season taking a no hitter into the 8th inning, on April 10th at Wrigley Field. But Cubs pinch hitter Bob Molinaro broke it up, Zachary ended up with the win but allowed two runs on five hits in that inning.

Overall he was off to a good start going 4-1 pitching another complete game victory against his old Reds team mates. His ERA was up near five at 4.89 at the end of May & he was placed in the bull pen to pitch in relief. He was back in the rotation by August & pitched a complete game win over the Pirates although he allowed eleven hits.

He finished up the year at 6-9, with a 4.08 ERA. He struck out 69 batters, walking 57 in 137 innings pitched in 36 games (16 starts). After the season he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Jorge Orta. Orta would get traded just over a month later in February. In his six year Mets career Pat Zachry was 41-46 with 3.63 ERA, 391 strike outs in 742 innings pitched in 145 games.

Trivia: One of my favorite Zachry stories comes after a Kiners Korner episode in the late seventies. Zachry was a guest on one of Ralph Kiner’s post game shows & received Getty Gas gift vouchers for his appearance. When he tried to use them at a Roosevelt Ave. gas station, the attendant came after him with a hammer. Quite a gift there Ralph!!

Zachry pitched two years in relief for the Dodgers, going 6-1 in 1983 with a 2.49 ERA. He appeared in two games of the 1983 NLCS against the Houston Astros without a decision. Zachry's career ended after ten games with the 1985 Philadelphia Phillies.

In a ten year career he was 69-67, with three saves posting a 3.52 ERA. He threw seven shutouts, with 27 complete games, 669 strikeouts & 495 walks in 1117 innings pitched.

Retirement: In 1989 he pitched in the Senior Professional League & was profiled in a book on the league. Pat still attends Mets fantasy camps and is an elementary school teacher in Waco, Texas.