Jul 22, 2017

Concert Review: Iron Maiden "Book of Souls" Tour- Brooklyn, New York

34 years ago (1983) I saw my first concert, it was Iron Maiden on the "Piece of Mind" Tour at Madison Square Garden. 34 years later, I see Iron Maiden at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Who would have thought?

This is the sixth Maiden show I've been to through the years. I always carry the 1985 Iron Maiden "World Slavery" Tour patch, I bought then, with me at each new show.

Iron Maiden is a musical family, only the fans & the band understand it. Never receiving  any radio, media air play or exposer, but still the band has sold over 90 million records & have toured performing nearly 2500 shows selling out all over the world.

Probably due to the tremendous art work of the band's mascot Eddie, almost everyone at an Iron Maiden concert wears an Iron Maiden t-shirt. I had to buy the Brooklyn Eddie logo shirt!

Now as us fans have gotten older, it's amazing how many families with children are at these shows. It's also amazing how many young people have jumped on board who were not even born when the band started out. But after all they are still active & a current band so it makes sense.

Different from many other shows of top name main stream classic rock acts, when going to a Maiden show you feel you have much in common with other attendees. This is a smaller tight knot, loyal group & we're still doing it- "UP THE IRONS"!!

*Where else would you see a band member (Janick Gers) greeting his friends right outside the venue & have no one notice, I did but wasn't sure & blew the opp.

This show was one of the final shows of a very successful two year "Book of Souls Tour". This, the third time this tour has hit the New York area over the past two years. It's Maiden's first time in Brooklyn & the first show sold out so fast another was quickly added.

The Book of Souls Tour has played 117 dates in 36 countries around the world & is the bands longest tour since the mid eighties. The band travels around on their own air plane "Ed Force One" which is piloted by non other than Bruce Dickinson.

The band was nothing less than outstanding, everything Iron Maiden has always been. The style is the same with some new flavors added, but one thing is clear Iron Maiden is the greatest Heavy Metal band ever, they took the mold of Black Sabbath & Deep Purple & took it to the standard classic Heavy Metal is. Everyone after followed.

But not only that, beyond Metal this is an incredible rock band & one of the best live bands you'll ever see. The band is so tight & loose on stage, you can see how much they are enjoying, smiling & goofing around at times, then getting a game face while one of three excellent guitarists play a lead.

Those three guitarist are Adrian Smith, Dave Murray & Janick Gers, all whom share lead guitar duties.

Steve Harris, the bands founder, main song writer, occasional producer & backing vocalist is the heart of the band with his signature galloping bass style. Considered one of Metal's bassist along with the amazing Nicko McBrain, who is cited as one of metals most influential drummers.

The front man Bruce Dickinson is one of the worlds best showman & front man. Dickinson is very theatrical in his performances, famous for dressing like in an "English Red Coat" & waving the Union Jack while singing Trooper.

He donned a pharaoh style mask while performing Powerslave & battled (jokingly) with a giant Eddie (Book of Souls image) on stage ripping his heart out, squeezing ooze out of it & then tossing to the crowd. He also wore monkey mask behind his head during Death or Glory, why? well the lyrics say "climb like a monkey out of hell where I belong".

Dickinson is a very athletic guy, as he is seen running & leaping all over the huge stage. All this while belting out the vocals in his high pitched operatic singing style. Ys, he too is considered one of the best in his field & set the standard for high pitched Metal singers.

The huge stage had an old world Mayan civilization design. As Iron Maiden is always writing songs about historical events, the theme here is the disappearance of ancient civilizations.

The stage is complete with ramps & different levels for Dickinson to leap around on. There were large banners of Eddie in various scenes in the current Book of Souls style.

And as I mentioned a Giant Eddie came on stage & messed around with the band, as it has become more of a funny scene than anything else. Toward the final numbers a huge inflatable Eddie head (in Mayan guise) came out over the drum kit peering at the crowd.

The set list focused on the current Book of Souls album with many classics covering the bands career mixed in. If any of the thrash metal fans didn't think Iron Maiden can do that too, a thrashing performance of Iron Maiden (the 1980 song off the 1st album) closed out the show before the encore. 

All in all an amazing, excellent show, one of the best!

Barclays Center, Brooklyn NY  Friday Set List:

If Eternity Should Fail
Speed of Light
Children of the Damned
Death or Glory
The Red & the Black
The Great Unknown
The Book of Souls
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden

encore: Number of the Beast
Blood Brothers
Wasted Years

The opening band was Ghost, an interesting band from Sweden. The five musicians in the band, wear identical steel faced masks & are known as "nameless ghouls", with no one seeing who they actually are.

They are a changing hired line up fronted by the groups singer, song writer & business leader; Tobias Forge, who goes by the stage name Papa Emeritus, a demonic Pope figure, donning full Pope attire & a synthetic face mask.

I was familiar with these guys prior to the show & was excited to see them. The band is excellent, putting on an entertaining stage show with damn good music. Ghost have been recognized by Revolver Magazine for best metal song of 2016 "Square Hammer' & also won a grammy in 2015 for "Cirice".

Ghost set list:
Square Hammer
From the Pinnacle to the Pit
Year Zero
Mummy Dust
Monstrance Clock

Jul 21, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Ray Knight Starts A Classic Brawl In Cincinnati

Tuesday July 22nd 1986- Davey Johnson's New York Mets were riding high 13 games up in first place, very confident & cocky. Controversy was still surrounding the club after the incident in Houston where four of the Mets had been arrested at a popular night spot. But that just added to the 86 Mets legacy. On the field they were the best team in baseball & also the most rowdy.

On this road trip to Cincinnati there was yet another on field brawl that once again just added to their legacy.

On this Tuesday night the Mets (62-28) were at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, facing Pete Rose's fourth place Reds (44-47).

Starting Lineups

The game began with Bobby Ojeda going up against Scott Terry in front of 23,707 fans. But this wild game would see eight Mets pitchers take the mound & 22 players overall on the field. The Reds would have six pitchers & 22 players overall as well.

The game started out with the Reds taking a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning when Dave Parker hit a two run HR. New York answered in the 5th, as Lenny Dykstra drove in Ojeda with a triple. In the bottom of the inning, the Reds Buddy Bell homered putting the Reds up 3-1. The game stayed that way until the 9th inning.

With two outs, Dykstra walked & Tim Teufel doubled, bringing up Keith Hernandez. Hernandez hit a fly ball to left field that should have been the third out, but Dave Parker dropped the ball.

Parker who had admitted his anger toward the '86 Mets, as he would curse out the TV set when he would see their nightly highlights. Now his error allowed Dykstra & Teufel to score tying the game. It was just another routine night for the Mets on their way to another win.

In the bottom of the 10th, Jesse Orosco came in to pitch for the Mets. He started out by striking out Dave Parker. Then player / manager Pete Rose pinch hit & singled. He brought in Eric Davis to pinch run for him, Davis stole second base & then stole third as Eddie Milner was struckout by Orosco.

When Davis went into third base he popped up into Mets third baseman; (Ray Knight. Knight had played for the Reds from 1974 to 1981).  Not a good idea, Knight a former Gold Glove Boxer, had already been the center of a few team brawls during the season. He yelled "Whats wrong with you" to Davis, he shoved Davis back, trying to push him off the base. Davis pushed back, Knight then punched Davis in the face, dropped his glove like a hockey player was ready to box. 

Third base umpire Eric Gregg tried to break it up but that wasn't going to happen. Davis stepped back & then tried to come again but Gary Carter tackled him to the ground. He was pulled away by the umpire & his coach Tommy Helms. Eddie Milner came at Knight & was tackled by Mets, then tossed to the ground. 

Big Dave Parker came running in pulling Mets players aside shouting at Knight. Another Mets tough guy; former gang member, Kevin Mitchell went after Parker but was stopped when Mario Sotto & Bill Gullickson tackled him. Gullickson was tossed aside as well as Soto but karate expert John Denny managed to keep Mitchell down.

The area around third base  had a lot of pushing & shoving going on. Ray Knight continued to yell wanting to go after Reds players. Order was finally restored after a long delay, Knight, Mitchell & Davis were all ejected.

As the Mets returned to the dugout, they saw George Foster (a long time Reds player) sitting there. He was the only player or coach for that matter who had not gotten involved. He would later say he did not want to send the wrong message to the kids. This was the end of George Fosters Mets career. Soon after, Davey Johnson (who enforces team work) would demote Foster from the left field position, giving the job to Kevin Mitchell, Danny Heep, Mookie Wilson & Lee Mazzilli would be signed a few weeks later. Foster was released a few weeks later.

After all the madness in this wild game, the Mets were short of position players. Davey Johnson thought fast & made the only moves he could. Mets pitcher Roger McDowell went to play right field, Gary Carter went to play third base & Ed Hearn came in to catch. 

McDowell would switch from right to left field & eventually relieve Orosco on the mound. Orosco would go out to then play the outfield.

The game went to the 14th inning when Ed Hearn doubled & Jesse Orosco walked. Howard Johnson finally ended it with a three run HR off Ted Power. McDowell closed out the Reds in the bottom of the inning & the Mets won the game.

2000 NL Champion Mets Short Stop: Mike Bordick (2000)

Michael Todd Bordick was born July 21, 1965 in Marquette Michigan. His father was in the Air Force & the Bordick family moved around during Mike’s youth. They went from Michigan to upstate New York, finally settling in Maine.

Bordick attended the University of Maine, playing for the school’s team, the Black Bears. He signed with the Oakland A’s in 1986 spending four seasons in the minor leagues.

He came up with the 1990 A.L. Champion Athletics, eventually taking over the shortstop position from Walt Weis. He spent the next seven years in Oakland as their main shortstop hitting .300 in 1992 with 151 hits 19 doubles 48 RBIs & 62 runs scored. In the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays he only hit .053 going 1-19 in six games. During those years with the Athletics he twice led the league in put outs, once in games played & assists. He was a consistent player and very solid defensively, always among the tops in the league at shortstop in fielding.

In 1996 he signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles, taking over at short stop when Cal Ripken moved over to third base. Bordick played in Camden Yards as the main short stop for six seasons, getting to the post season in 1997. As the league’s hitting numbers increased in the late nineties so did Bordick’s. He would hit 13 HRs in 1998 while leading the league in sacrifice hits with 15.

In 1999 he hit 35 doubles with 77 RBIs having career highs in hits (175) & runs scored (93). That season he also led all AL shortstops in fielding & assists. He also was in the top ten of getting hit by pitches three times, doing it 227 times in his career (#67 all time). He had his best season in 2000 with career highs in HRs (20) RBIs (80) making his only All Star team, batting .285 with 30 doubles.

That summer, the Mets lost short their stop Rey Ordonez for the remainder of the season & had to make a move. Ordonez was an excellent fielder but was only batting .188 at the time he went down. The only other short stop on the club at the time was the little used Kurt Abbott & the team was not confident enough in him to take over the role. Melvin Mora was still being used as an outfielder at the time. On July 28th they traded Melvin Mora, Mike Kinkade, Leslie Brea & minor leaguer Mike Kinkade to the Orioles in exchange for Bordick for the stretch run.

It was a good move for the Mets, receiving a solid defensive veteran player who was also hitting well to fill the gap, even though it was just for the season. Mike Bordick debuted as a Met on Junly 29th at Shea Stadium in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. In his first Mets at bat he hit a solo HR off Andy Benes tying up the game, welcome to New York Mike Bordick. The Mets went on to 3-2 win. On August 1st he singled to drive in a run in the 6th inning, the run turned out to be the game winner in the Mets 3-2 win & the eleventh victory of the year for Mike Hampton.

Bordick contributed to the Mets Wild Card chase with three HRs & 11 RBIs in the month of August keeping his average at .300. His average tailed off in September but he finished the year at .285. On the last day of the regular season he had two RBI singles leading the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Expos. Bordick batted .260 with 4 HRs 8 doubles 18 runs scored & 21 RBIs in 56 games for the 2000 NL Champion Mets.

Post Season: In the post season, he was 4-33 (.123), never hitting above .200 in any of the three Series. In the Division series against the San Francisco Giants he scored a run in each of the first three games, twice on hits by Timo Perez.

The following season he went back to Baltimore, signing as a free agent. Bordick played two more seasons in Baltimore having his best defensive season in 2002, when he set the MLB records for fielding% (.998%), fewest errors (one), consecutive errorless games (110) and consecutive errorless chances (543). He closed out his career in Toronto hitting .274 in 103 games in 2003.

In a 13 year career Bordick played in 1720 games hitting .260 with 1500 hits 257 doubles 30 triples 91 HRs 676 runs scored & 626 RBIs. Defensively he made 128 errors with 2606 put outs (64th all time) 4410 assists (65th all time) with a .982 fielding %.

Retirement: In 2005 he was invited to the White House to honor the Little League Champions from Toms River, NJ. Bordick has worked as a minor league instructor for the Blue Jays & Orioles since his playing days. In2011 he was elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame.

Remebering Mets History: (1965) Al Jackson Takes A No Hitter Into the 8th Inning

Wednesday July 21st 1965: The tenth place 1965 New York Mets headed by Casey Stengel, were already 25 games out of first place at this point. The Mets (30-63) headed to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh to face Harry Walkers sixth place Pirates. Future 1969 Met; Don Cardwell (8-3) was the Pirate pitcher taking on the Mets; Al Jackson (4-12). 

This game was all about good pitching. Cardwell went the distance, giving up just five hits & a walk, striking out two. In the top of the 5th inning, Ron Swoboda singled to left field. He was forced out at second on Chuck Hiller’s ground out. Hiller advanced on Chris Cannizzaro’s ground out. The Mets pitcher; Al Jackson came up and grounded to second base, there Bill Mazeroski booted the play, Jackson was safe but more importantly Hiller scored. It was the only run of the entire game. As good as Cardwell was, Jackson was better. 

Al Jackson had himself a perfect game going until the 7th inning, then with one out he walked Roberto Clemente. Next another future 1969 Met; Donn Clendenon grounded into a double play to end the inning. Jackson entered the 8th inning with a no hitter & a one run lead. The first batter Bill Mazeroski grounded out to Charley Smith at third base. 

The next batter was future Hall of famer; Willie Stargell. Stargell singled to left field, spoiling Jackson’s no hitter. Stargell would be a Mets nemesis his entire career hitting the most HRs against the team than any one. Jackson got Jim Pagleroni & Gene Alley to ground out, ending the inning. 

In the 9th Ozzie Virgil led off with a single but Jackson then retired the rest of side in order, completing the two hit shutout. Jackson walked just the one batter & struck out three. Jackson would win eight games (tied for the team lead with Jack Fisher) & lose twenty in 1965 (3rd most in the NL) with a 4.34 ERA for the tenth place Mets (50-112).

Jul 20, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Mets Honor "Le Grande Orange" On Rusty Staub Day

Sunday, July 13th 1986: Rusty Staub Day: The Mets took this chance to honor "Le Grande Orange" Rusty Staub inducting him in the Mets Hall of Fame. 

Rusty Satub came out from center field riding & waving to the fans in an orange convertible. Bob Murphy was the opening MC for the on field ceremonies, donning a pink jacket & blue pinstripe shirt with blue tie. Rusty's Satub 's family was on hand including his mother, two sisters & brother.

Ralph Kiner also helped out with the on field ceremonies, where Rusty was honored for his playing days, his restaurant business & charity work with the NYPD. Mets GM Frank Cashen then gave Rusty Staub a check for $25,000 for the Rusty Staub Foundation.

Even the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O'Connor was on hand to make a speech & a few jokes referencing the Pope on Rusty's behalf.

The highlight of the event was when Keith Hernandez came out honoring Staub with a plaque from his former Mets team mates. Hernandez called for the team & the 1986 Mets came out of the dug out donning long red wigs to congratulate Rusty on his day. 

Some of the players including Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson & Wall Backman also padded their bellies in honor of Rusty's growing waist size.

After the ceremonies, Davey Johnson's first place Mets (59-25) took on Chuck Tanner's fifth place Atlanta Braves (42-46). Ron Darling (8-2) went up against veteran Doyle Alexander (6-4).

Alexander only surrendered four hits in the game, the first was a 1st inning triple to Lenny Dykstra, who would score on Wally Backman's ground out. Dykstra returned in the 6th inning with a solo HR giving the Mets all the runs they would need for the win.

Ron Darling went the distance, shutting out the Braves scattering none hits & striking out seven. Darling did not walk anybody on his way to his ninth win of the year. He closed out the day with a 2.84 ERA as well.

Remembering Mets History: (1975) Joe Torre Grounds Into A Record Four Double Plays

Monday July 21, 1975: A small crowd of 13,414 came out to Shea Stadium to see Yogi Berra's third place Mets, just over .500 at 46-44. ten games back of first place, take on Preston Gomez's last place Houston Astros (34-63).

The Mets sent George Stone (2-1) to the mound. Stone was recovering from rotator cuff surgery & although he was never as effective as he once was especially in the 1973 Mets pennant season, he was one of the first pitchers to come back to pitch after the surgery.

His opponent that night for Houston was Ken Forsch (3-7). 

Starting Lineups

Houston knocked out George Stone by the 3rd inning, knocking him around for five runs on eight hits. In the 1st inning after Wilbur Howard & Kevin Gross singled, ground outs by Enos Cabell & Bob Watson gave the Astros a 2-0 lead.

In the 2nd, Wilbur Howard doubled home Larry Milbourne for a 3-0 lead. In the 3rd, Roger Metzger hit a triple with two on, making it 5-1.

The Mets scored in the bottom of the 2nd, on a Rusty Staub solo HR, his 12th of the year. Later Dave Kingman added a solo HR, his 19th of the year, to add to the 6-2 Mets loss.

On this night Mets Brooklyn born, third baseman; Joe Torre  set an MLB record by grounding into four double plays in the game. Each time Torre came to bat, Mets second baseman Felix Millan had reached base ahead of him, getting four base hits.

In the 1st inning Millan singled, Torre followed up grounding out to the pitcher Ken Forsch who turned the double play. In the 3rd inning, Del Unser & Millan both singled, Torre killed that inning by hitting a double play ball to the short stop.

In the 6th, Millan got his third hit of the night, with a single to right field. He was quickly erased when Torre grounded out to second baseman Larry Milbourne who turned the double play.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, Del Unser singled for the second time, followed by Felix Millan who collected his fourth hit of the night. Torre came to bat & grounded to short stop Roger Metzger.

Felix Millan
Metzger threw to Milbourne who stepped on second, then threw to Bob Watson at first, successfully turning the double play.

With that Torre became the first player in MLB history to hit into four double plays in one game.

Twenty other players in MLB history had grounded into three double plays in a game, but never had anyone done it four times. The Mets own Teddy Martinez had grounded into three DPs in a game the previous year.

Quotes: After the game Torre joked “I’d like to thank Felix Millan for making this all possible, I’ll just tell the kids they were all bullets”.

Former Mets First Round Draft Pick: Preston Wilson (1998)

Preston James Richard Wilson was born on July 19, 1974 in Bamberg, South Carolina. Preston Wilson is the stepson & nephew of former Mets player & current coach, Mookie Wilson. Mookie married his brother’s ex-wife who is the mother of Preston. Preston went to the same high school as Mookie and was a star outfielder there as well. He was drafted by the New York Mets as a first round pick (9th pick overall) in 1992.

He spent five seasons in the minors hitting over 20 HRs four different times. He was voted one of the top 100 prospects by Baseball America four separate times as well. Preston also spent one season playing in the Australian baseball league. He was an aggressive hitter known to swing at the first pitch & strike out often.

He was brought up in May of 1998 as a highly touted prospect. In his first two games he got three hits apiece and drove in two runs against the St. Louis Cardinals. He went hitless on a West Coast road trip and while still in California, he learned he was being traded. He was sent to the Florida Marlins with two minor leaguers, for All Star Mike Piazza. Wilson spent the rest of the season back in the minor leagues hitting 26 HRs batting .273.

In 1999 he was the starting centerfielder in Florida playing in his first full season, hitting 26 HRs with 21 doubles 11 steals & 71 RBIs with a .280 batting average. He came in runner up for the Rookie of the Year Award. In 2000 he joined the 30-30 club, with 31 HRs & 36 stolen bases, driving in 121 runs (8th best in the league). The free swinging Wilson, also led the NL in strikeouts with a whopping 187, two shy of Bobby Bonds record (189) at that time.

His numbers fell off the next two seasons although he did hit over twenty HRs & stole twenty plus bases each year. In November 2002 he was traded to the Colorado Rockies with Charles Johnson for Mike Hampton & Juan Pierre. Preston enjoyed hitting in Colorado and bashed 36 HRs with 43 doubles, while leading the NL in RBIs (141) in 2003.

He never had the same numbers again, and went to the Washington Nationals (2005), the Houston Astros (2006) & St. Louis Cardinals (2006) before getting released in 2007. He finished his career after ten seasons with 1055 hits 189 HRs 221 doubles 668 RBIs 124 stolen bases & a .264 average with 1085 strikeouts in 4003 at bats. He struck out over 100 times seven out of ten seasons he played.

In 2009 he played in the Independent league for the Long Island Ducks under former Met, Gary Carter.

Jul 19, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (2008) Jose Reyes Sets Mets All Time Triples Mark

Sunday July 20th 2008: Jerry Manuel's first place Mets (53-46) were on the road in Cincinnati at Great American Ballpark to play Dusty Baker's fourth place Reds (48-52).

The starters were the Mets Mike Pelfrey & the Reds Edinson Volquez. A good crowd of 31,195 came out for the matinee . The Mets were trying to salvage a game in the series & avoid being swept.

In the 1st inning Jose Reyes led off the game with a base hit. He advanced to second on a wild pitch & then scored a typical Reyes run on a Carlos Beltran base hit. In the 2nd inning, Reyes singled for his second hit of the day.

The Reds, Adam Dunn hit a solo HR in the 2nd inning, but Ramon Castro answered with a two run shot in the 3rd putting New York up 3-1.

In the top of the 4th inning, Jose Reyes got his third hit of the night, as he tripled to right field setting the Mets all time triple mark with #63. It was his 11th three bagger of the season, certainly a historic one. Reyes still holds the Mets record today which now stands at 99.

Two batters later Reyes scored on David Wright's sac fly making it 4-1. But Mike Pelfrey had a bad 4th inning topped off by Edwin Encarnacion's HR, tying the game. In the 6th Brandon Phillips connected off Pelfrey to put the Reds ahead, but in the top of the 7th Carlos Delgado drove in David Wright with a base hit to tie it.

The game went into extra innings, then in the top of the 10th, pinch hitter Robinson Cancel doubled to lead off. Jose Reyes then dragged a bunt for an infield hit. Then Argenis Reyes (an infielder who played 58 games for New York over two seasons) with no relation to Jose, reached on an error which led Cancel to score.

An eventual Carlos Delgado sac fly scored Jose Reyes & the Mets sealed their 7-5 win, as Billy Wagner saved it in the 10th inning

On the night Jose Reyes had four hits, scored three runs & kept his average over .300.

Former Mets Player / Coach & Manager: Mike Cubbage (1981-1991)

Michael Lee Cubbage was born July 21, 1950 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The six foot, left handed hitting Cubbage; attended the University of Virginia.

He was drafted twice by the Washington Senators; first in 1968 but he did not sign. In 1971 he did sign as the club's  second round draft choice in the June secondary draft.

He was primarily a third baseman who would also play some second base in his pro career. After batting .345 while playing for Geneva in the New York Penn. League he was promoted to A ball Burlington in 1972. In 1973 he hit .312 at AA Pittsfield getting promoted to AAA Spokane.

Mike Cubbage made his debut against his cousins World Champion A’s in April 1974. He was sent back down to the minors returning in September for a call up. At that time the Texas Rangers had Lenny Randle hitting well at second base. Toby Harrah was settled in at short & Roy Howell was set for taking over the third base position. There was no room on the infield for Mike Cubbage.

 In 1976 he was part of the trade that brought Bert Blyleven to Texas, going to the Minnesota Twins along with Roy Smalley & pitcher Bill Singer.

Cubbage became the Twins main third baseman for the 1977 & 1978 seasons, having his best year in 1978. That year he batted .282 with 7 HRs 12 doubles & 57 RBIs, playing a solid third base with good range, posting a .971 fielding percentage (4th best in the A.L.). 

The next season he lost his starting job to John Castino who hit .285 & followed up with a .300 average the next season. Cubbage became the Twins backup third baseman until he was granted free agency in 1980.

He signed on with the New York Mets as a free agent for the 1981 strike shortened season.  Cubbage made his Mets debut on Opening Day at Wrigley Field in Chicago as a pinch hitter. He would be used in that role in the majority of his playing time going 11-46 in that role.

On April 12th in the last game of the Opening Series, he hit a sac fly in the top of the 9th inning scoring Hubbie Brooks in what would be the game winning run over the Chicago Cubs.

He got into 67 games mostly as a pinch hitter, seeing limited action (12 games) at third base, behind Hubie Brooks. Cubbage only hit .213 overall (17 -80) driving in four runs, with five extra base hits. He hit a pinch hit HR, in his last career at bat, on the next to last day of the 1981 season off Montreal’s Jeff Reardon in a 5-4 Mets loss.

Cubbage would get released the next April (1982) finishing his eight year career batting .258 with 503 hits 34 HRs 74 doubles 20 triples & 251 RBIs in 703 games played. 

 Retirement: After his playing days he became a long time manager in the Mets organization.

He first managed A ball at Lynchburg (1983-1985) then AA Jackson (1986) & finally, AAA Tidewater (1987-1989). He became highly regarded and seemed destined as a future MLB manager, expecting to one day take over the Mets. In 1990 he was hired as a third base coach under manager Bud Harrelson. 

During the last week of the 1991 season, Harrelson was fired as the Mets were in third place, 18 ½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cubbage got a brief chance to manage as he became the 13th manager in Met history. On September 29th 1991 Frank Viola & the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium giving Cubbage his first managerial win. Cubbage would go 3-4 as skipper winning the last game of the season 7-0 at Veterans Stadium.

After all the years of Cubbage managerial hype, he was replaced by Jeff Torborg for the 1992 season.

Cubbage has the distinction of managing the fewest games for the Mets in their history, winning & losing the least amount of games. Overall he spent 13 years in the Mets organization, seven of them on the big league level; mostly as a third base coach.

He moved on to coach the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and then scout for the Tampa Rays. Cubbage is a diabetic and in 2003, had a seizure while coaching third base for the Red Sox. The seizure was a result of a hyperglycemic event; he was taken to a hospital then soon released.

Mike Cubbage had two MLB cousins that were a father son combo, Chris & Larry Haney. 

Larry Haney born November 19, 1942 was a journey man back up catcher, for twelve seasons playing with four different teams.

The Baltimore Orioles (1966-1968) The Seattle Pilots (1969) Oakland A’s (1969-1973/ 1974-1976) St. Louis Cardinals (1973) & the Milwaukee Brewers ( 1977-1978).

He was a member of A’s 1974 World Series team, playing in 76 regular season games, behind Ray Fosse. He also appeared in two World Series games, finishing up both as a defensive replacement.

Haney hit .215 with 198 hits 30 doubles, one HRs 73 RBIs & a .252 on base % playing in 480 career games.

As a catcher he threw out 39% of would be base stealers & posted a .985 fielding %. After his playing days he served as a longtime coach in the Milwaukee Brewers
organization until 2006.

Chris Haney was born November 16th 1968, & played 11 seasons as an MLB pitcher. He played for the Montreal Expos (1991-1992) Kansas City Royals (1992-1998) Cleveland Indians (1998-2000) & Boston Red Sox (2002).

In his career he was 38-52 with 442 strike outs & 286 walks posting a 5.07 ERA in 196 games.