Jan 22, 2018

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Jacob deGrom Ks 10 in Two Hit Shut Out

Wednesday August 12th 2015: Terry Collins first place Mets (62-52) riding high ten games over .500 hosted Walt Weiss' 5th place Colorado Rockies (47-65).

Tonight the Mets Jacob deGrom had one of his best outings of the year as he went up against Jorge De La Rosa in front of 37,175 at Citi Field.

Starting Lineups

deGrom would blank Rockies very easily tonight, striking out at least one batter in every inning he worked striking out at least two three times on the evening.

His ten strike outs marked the fourth time on the year he had reached double figures in Ks, with a season best 11 strike outs coming on May 21st against the Cardinals.

He would allow just two hits, making it the second time on the season he had allowed just two hits in at least seven innings of work.

Tonight the win got deGrom to 11-6 with one of the leagues best ERA's at 2.02. He would actually go below the two mark after his next outing at Baltimore where he allowed just one run in 7.2 innings.

In the 4th inning, Juan Lagares singled, Juan Uribe doubled him in & he was driven in by Micahel Cuddyer making it 2-0 Mets. Yoenis Cespedes added a solo HR in the 8th, his 19th blast of the season as he continued his tear since coming to the Mets.

The Relief Pitcher Traded To Get Keith Hernandez to New York: Neil Allen (1979-1983)

Neil Patrick Allen was born January 24, 1958 in Kansas City, Kansas. The six foot three right hander was selected by the New York Mets out of Bishop Ward high school in Kansas City, Kansas in the 11th round of the 1976 draft.

In 1977 at A ball, with the Lynchburg Mets, Allen was 10-2 with 126 strikeouts & a 2.79 ERA. The next year he was brought up through the ranks going 7-16 but posted a strong 2.79 ERA, getting a promotion to the Mets staff for 1979. He made his debut on April 15th, 1979 against former Met Nino Espinoza & the Phillies, 1979 and took the loss while giving up four runs.

Allen struggled as a starter losing his first five decisions, two to both the Phillies & Dodgers as well as one to the San Diego Padres. By July he was put into to the bull pen and found a new home. From there on in he had four straight winning decisions & five saves before taking another loss in mid August. He would finish up 6-10 with eight saves, second on the team to Skip Lockwood & a 3.55 ERA.

In 1980 he got the save against the Chicago Cubs to start the season on Opening Day in relief of Craig Swan in front of just 12,000 at Shea Stadium. He finished April with four saves a loss & two blown saves, with an inflated 8.22 ERA. He then had a good May saving five games with two victories. In that month he he only allowed three earned runs in 17 innings.

On June 4th he pitched three innings of relief but the one hit he allowed was the game winning HR to St. Louis Ken Reitz. Three days later he pitched three innings again, this time a Ron Hodges walk off RBI single got him a win. He also had a strong August with five saves and a 1-1 record. He would save a career high 22 games on the season (4th in the NL) going 7-10 with a 3.70 ERA striking out 79 batters in 97 innings pitched.

In the 1981 strike shortened season, he saved 18 games (3rd best in the NL) going 7-6 posting a 2.97 ERA, while becoming one the league’s best closers. At the same time Jeff Reardon was also developing into a fine relief pitcher on the same Mets club.

The Mets were trying to improve their team by shopping for a good hitting outfielder. The Expos were willing to trade star outfielder Ellis Valentine but wanted one of the Mets young reliever’s In return. The Mets chose to give up Reardon, at the end of May he & Dan Norman were sent to Montreal for Valentine.

Allen remained with the Mets & started out 1982 with a good April posting five saves not blowing an opportunity until the end of the month. He finished out May with 13 saves & 2.03 ERA. At the All Star break he had 17 saves but the rest of the season didn’t go as well, he finished with a 3-7 record 19 games (6th in the league) while posting a .306 ERA.

In 1983 after a 2-4 start with a two saves & a blown save the Mets converted him back to a starter. Allen made his first start since 1979 against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium on May 25th allowing five runs in 4 innings of work. His next start in San Francisco wasn’t much better as he allowed another four runs over 4.2 innings of work. He went 2-7 with an ERA over four into June, but was still considered a good young pitcher with a great future.

Meanwhile the new Mets ownership were hard at work trying to make a big deal behind the scenes. As the St. Louis Cardinals, Whitey Herzog & Keith Hernandez were having their issues, a deal was worked out with New York. On the trade deadline of 1983, Allen was sent to the 1982 World Champion Cardinals (along with Rick Ownbey) for All Star Keith Hernandez. What a deal for the Mets, one of their best ever.

At the time of the trade the Mets were playing the Cardinals & Neil Allen had a two strike count on a hitter when a rain delay came. The next time the two teams faced off, the rain delay was picked up, Allen was now pitching for the Cards & struck out the Mets batter who was filling in his old spot in the batting order with two previous strikes on him. You can say Neil Allen is the only player in history to strike himself out.

Mets Career: In his five year Mets career Allen pitched in 223 games (21st on the Mets all time list), going 25-40 with 69 saves (8th on the Mets all time list). He struck out 285 batters, walked 179 in 381 innings while posting a 3.54 ERA.

Allen made his first start for the Cardinals against the Mets at Busch Stadium a few days later. He was spectacular pitching eight innings of shutout ball allowing just four hits while striking out six. He pitched well for the Cards, including back to back shut outs in July against the Dodgers & Padres. He finished the year at 10-6 in St. Louis going 12-13 overall (8th most losses in the NL) with a 3.94 ERA. His three shutouts were 5th best in the NL, & his eight wild pitches within the top ten most.

In 1984 he was 9-6 & was put back in the bullpen for the 1985 season. Allen struggled & wasn’t as effective as he was in the past. The Cardinal fans let him have it and he was traded to the AL New York team mid season. Over the next three seasons he would bounce from the Bronx to the South Side of Chicago & pitch for the White Sox.

In 1986 the White Sox put him back in a starting role & in May against his old AL New York team mates he pitching a four hit victory against Ron Guidry. Next month he tossed a two hit shutout against them in New York as well. He went 7-2 that year with a 3.82 ERA. He finished his playing career in 1989 with Cleveland going 0-1. 

In his 11 year career he saved 75 games with a 58-70 record and a 3.83 ERA in 434 games. He struck out 611 batters with 417 walks in 988 innings.

Retirement: Since his playing days Allen has been a pitching coach in the minor leagues. He was with the Toronto Blue Jays organization the Staten Island A ball team & more recently in the Tampa Rays organization.

Former Mets Back Up Catcher / Infielder: Alex Trevino (1978-1981)

Alex Castro Trevino was born on August 26, 1957 in Monterrey Mexico. The New York Mets purchased his contract in 1974 when he was just 16 years old. The five foot ten, catcher never batted over .240 in the minors until 1978.

That year he hit .294 at AAA Tidewater leading the club in hitting. He earned a September call up getting inserted as a defensive replacement on September 11th in a game vs. the Chicago Cubs. At the end of the month he started his first game catching pitcher Mike Bruhert in a game at Wrigley Field. He got his first career hit, that day and went 2-4 the next day finishing the year batting .280 in six games.

In 1979 the 21 year old Trevino became a versatile utility player, mostly backing up John Stearns behind the plate in 36 games. With his strong arm, he had the league’s best percentage of throwing out would be base stealers for two seasons. In 1979 he threw out 48% of base runners trying to steal & also played 27 games at third base. in 1979 & 14 in 1980. On June 11th he doubled off the Cincinnati Reds Fred Norman with the Mets down 2-0, and helped lead them to a 3-2 win.

On June 17th 1979 he singled off the Atlanta Braves ace reliever Gene Garber in the bottom of the 9th inning driving in Lee Mazzilli with the Mets game winning run. On July 24th he had another big hit, a single scoring Joel Youngblood in the top of the 12 inning in San Francisco. John Stearns would drive him home in what turned out to be the games winning run. In mid August he drove in runs in three straight games, including a three RBI day in Atlanta in the Mets 18-5 win.

In 1979 Trevino hit .271 with no HRs 11 doubles & 20 RBIs on the season. He never hit a HR in his Mets career (256 at bats) which lasted parts of five seasons.

In 1980 he had Mets career highs in games (106) as main backstop John Stearns battled through many injuries. On June 28th in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Trevino singled home Joel Youngblood & Steve Henderson tying up the game 4-4. The Mets would win it in the top of the 9th on a Henderson RBI single. Trevino drove in runs in three straight games in July, and still had his average up over the .300 mark for the season. In August he drove in two runs in a tight game against the Pittsburgh Pirates leading Ray Burris to a 3-1 win.

At the end of the month he also had a pair of double RBI games coming against the Giants in San Francisco. He had a good September driving in tens runs, finishing the year batting .256 with 11 doubles & 37 RBIs. Behind the plate he threw out a league leading 43% of would be base stealers.

In 1981 he saw half the playing time, due to injuries and batted .262 with 10 RBIs. In 45 games he threw out 41 % of would be base stealers while posting a .963 fielding %.

In the off season he was the main chip, in the deal that brought George Foster to Shea Stadium. He went to the Cincinnati Reds along with Greg Harris & a washed up Jim Kern. Trevino would remain in the majors for nine more seasons bouncing around to the Cincinnati Reds (1982-1984) & Atlanta Braves (1984).

In Atlanta he drove in 28 runs playing in 79 games batting .243. He then went to the San Francisco Giants (1985), Los Angeles Dodgers (1986 & 1987) where he was battery mate of fellow Mexican, pitcher Fernando Valenzuela. He then went to the Houston Astros (1988-1990), there he hit a career high .290 in 131 at bats. He made a brief return signing with the New York Mets in 1990 as a free agent.

He appeared in just nine games that season, going 2-5 as a pinch hitter. Trevino also appeared in eight innings over seven games behind the plate. He was released that August & finished his career playing seven games for the Reds later in 1990. In a 13 year career Trevino was a lifetime .249 hitter with 604 hits, 23 HRs 117 doubles a .310 on base % & 244 RBIs. After years of being among the best in the league at throwing out base runners, he finished his career with a 35% average nailing runners trying to steal on him.

Retirement: Trevino remained in the Astros organization moving into broadcasting. He has been an analyst for the Houston Astros Spanish radio broadcasts for 15 seasons.

Jan 21, 2018

Remembering Mets History: Regular Season Walk Off Grand Slam HRs

centerfieldmaz looks back on Mets regular season walk off grand slams of the past:

1963: On Wednesday June 26th 1963, Tim Harkness hit the first walk off grand slam HR in Mets history. The game was in the 14th inning at the old Polo Grounds in New York. Galen Cisco had just gave up a two run inside the Park HR to the Chicago Cubs future Hall of Famer; Billy Williams. With the Mets now down 6-4 in the home 14th, Jim Hickman & Ron Hunt both singled, but Hickman was thrown out trying to go to third base.

Next the wacky Jimmy Piersall  drew a walk but slugger Frank Thomas flew out for the second out. Pitcher Jim Brewer was brought in & gave up a walk to Sammy Taylor to load them up. Harkness stepped in & hit a HR down the right field line, to win the game.

It was Harkness' 7th HR of the year & thrilled who ever was left of the 8183 fans in attendance. In fact there were enough left to cheer him on at the steps of the Polo Grounds Mets club house. Harkness came out to greet the fans. Even then die hard Mets fans were there. Tim Harkness would only play two seasons with the Mets (four in the majors). In 1963 he saw the most playing time (123 games) batting just .211 with 10 HRs & 41 RBIs.

1963: Six weeks later, on Friday night August 9th 1963, Jim Hickman hit the second walk off Mets grand slam. The game was in the Polo Grounds against the Chicago Cubs & tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 9th. The Cubs'; Paul Toth was still on the mound after making the start, nine innings earlier.

With one out Jim Hicks singled, Cho Cho Coleman struckout & the Mets were down to the last out. But Al Moran doubled, putting two men on. Cubs manager Bob Kennedy brought in Lindy McDaniel to close it out.

The Cubs remembered what Tim Harkness had done to them a little over six weeks ago & weren't going to let it happen again. They gave him a free pass to first, bringing up Hickman with the bases loaded. Hickman blasted the grand slam & the Mets had a 7-3 win for the 11,566 fans in attendance. Jim Hickman led the Mets in HRs in 1963 with 17 & was second in RBIs with 51 batting just .229.

1980: It took another 17 years, before the Mets had another walk off HR. On June 11th, 1980 the Mets hosted the L.A. Dodgers in front of 23,540 fans at Shea Stadium. Craig Swan had gone the entire way for New York, allowing late HRs to Dusty Baker & Steve Garvey tying up the game.

The game now in the bottom of the 10th inning & Rick Sutcliffe was the Dodger pitcher. Mets infielder; Doug Flynn lead off with a base hit & stole second. With one out, Lee Mazzilli was walked intentionally to get to Frank Taveras, who struck out. With two outs, Steve Henderson also drew a walk, to load up the bases.

Mike Jorgensen who was on his second go around as a Met, won the game with a walk off grand slam. Jorgensen was a local boy, born in New Jersey but moved to Queens, attended Francis Lewis high school & St. Johns University.

He was a Mets reserve player in 1968, 1970-1971 then moved on to a good career in Montreal. He returned to the Mets from 1980-1983. In 1980 he hit seven HRs & batted .255 in 119 games.

1986: Six years later, on Tuesday June 10th 1986, Tim Teufel hit the next walk off granny, coming in front of 27,472 fans against the Philadelphia Phillies in Shea Stadium.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, the Mets & Phils were tied up at 4-4, as Randy Lerch gave up a lead off single to Ray Knight. After Rafael Santana grounded out, pinch hitter Barry Lyons was walked as was Lenny Dykstra. Wally Backman was scheduled to hit but as Tom Hume was brought in relief, Tim Teufel got the pinch hit assignment.

In classic 1986 Mets dramatic fashion, Teufel hit the first Mets pinch hit, grand slam in team history for the 8-4 win . Teufel was in his first year with the Mets in 1986, sharing time at second behind Wally Backman. He would hit just four HRs all year (279 at bats) & hit .247. The following season he hit a career high 14 HRs (matching his total in 1984 with  Minnesota).

Trivia: Teufel was the Mets third base coach in 2014 & congratulated Ike Davis on his walk off blast as he rounded third.

1991: On Tuesday, June 25th 1991, it was the quiet Kevin McReynolds who hit the next walk off grand slam. 28,809 fans came out to see the Mets face the Montreal Expos. Many left as the Mets trailed 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Veteran Gary Templeton led off with a base hit & Keith Miller was brought inn to pinch run. He was quickly picked off, but an error made him safe. Tom Herr struck out , but Daryl Boston drew a walk & a pitching change was made, Scott Ruskin in for Barry Jones.

With Dave Magadan up, Manager Bud Harrelson called for a double steal, which was successful. Magadan was walked & up came McReynolds who took the ball over the center field wall for the game winner, 8-5 New York.

McReynolds was in his fifth season as a Met, hitting 16 HRs with 74 RBIs & a .259 average. He had hit twenty or more HRs with 80 plus RBIs the four previous years. He was a good player who never got the recognition he deserved, a true quiet professional going about his business. He returned briefly in 1994 (51games) ending his career.

2013: It was another 22 years before Jordany Valdespin did it last season against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On April 24th 2013 the Mets were in a 3-3 deadlock with L.A. going into the tenth inning. W

ith Josh Wall on the mound, John Buck singled & Ike Davis walked. Marlon Byrd sacrificed & Lucas Duda was walked intentionally. Valdespin delivered with a walk off grand slam, for a 7-3 Mets win, in front of 24,130 fans at Citi Field.

The fired up Valdespin showed a lot of emotion & this would eventually hurt him since he did not produce long enough stay in the big leagues.

He had moderate success in 2012 & had a good start in 2013. But he was sent down that June & finished up batting .188 with 4 HRs 8 steals & 16 RBIs in 66 games.

2014: On Saturday afternoon April 5th 2014, Ike Davis delivered with a walk off pinch hit grand slam leading the Mets to a 6-3 win over JJ Hoover & the Cincinnati Reds. It was the last hurrah for Ike as a New York Met. After Dillon Gee had pitched a fine game, he served up a two run 8th inning HR to Brandon Phillips putting the Reds ahead 3-2.

In the bottom of the 9th, Juan Lagares walked & was moved over on a successful bunt hit by Anthony Recker. At first Lagares was called out at second but Terry Collins challenged the call, & the new replay review showed he was safe. The call was over turned to safe & the rally continued. Ruben Tejada then walked setting the stage for Ike.

The Mets had tried to shop Davis all winter but there were no takers for the asking price. Just that week he was told Lucas Duda won the first base job & he would be a role player.

Duda had just hit two HRs the night before, leading to the Mets first win. But on this day Ike pleased the 25,424 fans at Citi Field with his walk off grand slam blast.

It was the seventh walk off grand slam in team history, the second pinch hit grand slam & it came the earliest in any season.

Note: The grand daddy of Mets walk off grand slams was Robin Ventura's walk off "grand slam single" in the 1999 NLCS. It was officially ruled a single as Todd Pratt never rounded the bases after the winning run had crossed the plate.

Former N.L. Cy Young Winner & Early Eighties Mets Pitcher: Randy Jones (1981-1982)

Randall Leo Jones was born January 12, 1950 in Fullerton, California located in Northern Orange County.  The tall six foot lefty was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the fifth round of the 1972 draft. He only spent parts of two seasons in the minors blowing through AA at 8-1 with a 2.01 ERA in 1973 getting brought right up to a needy Padre pitching staff. 

He made his MLB debut at Shea Stadium on June 16th against Jerry Koosman, allowing two runs in four innings but getting no decision in the Mets 10-2 win. Jones then lost his first two decisions before earning his first career win in Los Angeles on July 3rd. Overall he went 7-6 in 1973 with a 3.16 ERA & became known with the nickname “The Junkman”.

In 1974 he led the league in losses (22) going 8-22 on a Padre team that lost 102 games. He had losing streaks of four straight to begin the season, then five straight from May into June. The year got worse as he lost seven straight including going 1-8 in the final two months. Overall he threw over 208 innings while striking out 124 batters while posting a 4.45 ERA.

Somehow Jones turned it all around in 1975, and won the NL Comeback pitcher of the Year Award. He threw a four hit shout for nine innings on Opening Day but got no decision. He threw another four hitter the next month & one July 3rd pitched a one hitter against the mighty Big Red Machine.

By the end of the first half of the season he was 11-6 with one of the league's best ERA's at 2.25. He made the All Star team earning the save pitching a scoreless 9th inning, retiring the Minnesota Twins Rod Carew for the last out.

The 1975 Padres won 71 games (71-91) finishing in fourth place under manager John McNamara, Jones finished with 20 wins himself (20-12) the second most victories in the NL. He led the league with a 2.24 ERA, was second with 18 complete games & in shut outs (6). He had the second best walks per nine innings ratio at 1.76 & made 36 starts.

In the bicentennial year, he won the Cy Young Award beating out the Mets Jerry Koosman. Many Mets fans (myself included) believed Koosman should have won the Award; he was 21-10 (second in wins) with three shutouts, 17 complete games, a 2.69 ERA (4th in the NL) & 200 strikeouts (3rd in the NL) in 247 innings pitched.

Jones led the league in wins (22) complete games (25) starts (40) and an incredible 315 innings pitched. His 2.76 ERA was sixth in the league behind some very good pitchers.

The junkman only struck out 93 batters & in his career never had more than 124 strikeouts in a season. That season Jones set a record for most chances by a pitcher without an error (112), posting a perfect fielding percentage (1.000. ) He also tied the NL pitchers season record for the most double plays with twelve.

He began the year at 4-0, in May he pitched five straight complete games besting his record to 9-2. In June he shut out the Mets at Jack Murphy Stadium allowing seven hits in a 3-0 win over Tom Seaver.

He was 16-3 at the All Star break, and got the start against Mark the Bird Fidrych at the All Star game in Philadelphia. He pitched three scoreless innings allowing just two hits earning the victory.

He had a rough August 2-6 and a rough September as well 2-4. At the end of the season he injured a nerve in his pitching arm and required surgery. He was never the same pitcher, going just 6-12 the next season with a 4.58 ERA pitching 27 games.

He then two had a pair of sub .500 seasons, first in 1978 he was 13-14 but lowered his ERA to 2.88 on a Padre team that was 84-78 finishing fourth. In 1979 he was 11-12 with a 3.63 ERA.

1980 was an injury ridden season again as he lost a month of action from June 14th -July 10th. He then was lost from August 22nd through September with more injuries. He went 5-13 with a 3.91 ERA in 24 starts.

On December 15, 1980 Jones was traded to the New York Mets, for John Pacella and Jose Moreno.

He made his Mets debut in the third game of the 1981 season at Wrigley Field, pitching six innings allowing just one run getting no decision. It was one of his best starts, after that he lost his first five decisions as a Met, pitching past the 6th inning just once. After being 0-5 he finally got a win, beating the Cubs at Shea Stadium, allowing just one run in 5.2 innings of work. 

Jones then lost three more games although he pitched well in two of them. He pitched six innings allowing two runs at Houston on June 5th but was beaten by Nolan Ryan who threw a five hit shutout striking out ten Mets. 

His next start was at Shea, Jones went into the 8th inning on a two run five hitter but lost to the Reds Mario Soto who pitched a 2-0 twelve strike out shut out. Jones then went on the DL for three months returning in September for two more appearances. He finished the year at 1-8 with 12 starts striking out 14 batters walking 38 in 59 innings pitched posting a 4.85 ERA.

1982 would be his last year pitching as he rebounded a bit, starting the year at 2-0. He was given the start on Opening Day by manager George Bamberger. Jones beat Steve Carlton in Philadelphia, allowing just one run in six innings of work. On May 2nd he pitched 8 innings of shutout ball in San Francisco as the Mets beat the Giants 3-1 in the night cap of a double header. Jones threw a complete game victory against the Padres on May 10th besting his record to 4-1.

He had a fantastic May going 4-2 pitching seven or more innings in all but one of seven starts. On May 23rd in Houston he threw his best Mets game, a four hit six strikeout performance in 2-0 win over Joe Niekro. After entering June with a 6-3 record he then went on to lose six straight decisions going 7-10 posting a 4.60 ERA on the year.

Injuries only had him make one appearance after August 25th, on the year he allowed 11 HRs, with 51 walks, in 107 innings striking out 44 batters. The Mets released him that winter; and he finished his playing career.

In ten career seasons he went 100-123 with a 3.42 ERA & 735 strikeouts 503 walks in 1933 innings in 305 games. In 285 starts he had 73 complete games & 19 shut outs Jones is the only Cy Young Award winner to have a career losing record.

Retirement: He is the owner of Randy Jones Big Stone Lodge, the home of his catering business that sells a famous Randy Jones BBQ sauce.

In San Diego’ s Petco Park he has a concession stand named after him called the Randy Jones BBQ. He also does Padres local radio broadcast for pregame shows.

Jones was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions and has his number retired by the Padre team as well.

Short Time Met & Belinda Carlisle's ex-Boy Friend: Mike Marshall (1990)

Michael Allen Marshall was born January 12th, 1960 in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. The big six foot five right handed hitter was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 6th round of the 1978 draft.

He developed as a power hitter in the minors, winning Minor League Player of the Year as well as the Triple Crown in the Pacific Coast League in 1981. He hit 34 HRs with 137 RBIs while batting .373 at AAA Albuquerque.

The big season got him a September call up & in his first MLB at bat he hit a line drive HR over the Dodger Stadium wall. The ball hit a stairway & came back to the field where outfielder Jack Clark played the ball & threw it in to second base immediately. Marshall was robbed as the umpire called it a double due to Clark's quick reactions.

Marshall would play in 14 games and at have an at bat in the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies in the Dodgers 1981 Championship season. In 1982 he batted .388 in 66 games, winning the AAA Player of the Year Award once again. In 1984 he became the Dodgers regular right fielder batting .284 with 17 HRs & 65 RBIs.

Playing in Los Angeles has it's advantages, especially for the higher profiled players. He began dating Go-Go's lead singer Belinda Carlisle of "We got the Beat " fame & the two became a Hollywood celebrity couple. The highly publicized romance supposedly inspired Neil Simon's movie "The Sluggers Wife". The two settled in a beachfront Marina Del Rey condo where Carlisle battled an addiction to cocaine, as admitted in her 2010 book.

The next two seasons he hit twenty plus HRs making the NL All Star team in 1984 & having his best year in 1985. He batted .293 with 28 HRs (7th in the NL) 27 doubles 95 RBIs (8th in the NL) & a .342 on base %. In the outfield he posted a .991 fielding % with 10 assists in 1985 (3rd in the NL) & then led the league two seasons later at .987%.

He would lose time to injuries over the next two seasons but still had 16 plus HRs each year despite playing in no more than 104 games both years. In the Dodgers 1988 Championship season, Marshall remained healthy enough to play in 144 games, 90 in the outfield as well as 53 at first base. He led the club in RBIs with 82 (10th in the league) hitting 20 HRs (second on the club to Kirk Gibson) while batting .277.

Post Season: In Game #2 of the NLCS against the New York Mets he had three hits & drove in three runs off David Cone in the Dodgers 6-3 victory. In Game #5 he had three more hits including an RBI triple off Roger McDowell.

In the final Game #7 he reached on an error scoring a run in the Dodgers five run 5th inning at Dodger Stadium, as they went on to clinch the pennant. He drove in five runs in the series batting just .233. In the World Series he hit a HR in Game # at Dodger Stadium in the Dodgers 6-0 win over the Oakland A's.

1989 was another season where he battled injuries; playing 105 games with 11 HRs 42 RBIs & a .260 average, as he was back as a full time outfielder. That December Marshall along with team mate Alejandro Pena got traded to the New York Mets for Juan Samuel.

Marshall began the year as the Mets Opening Day first baseman. He hit HRs in back to back games against the Cubs in mid April, & had the teams first game winning walk off hit of the year, an infield hit on April 24th against the Atlanta Braves. On May 22nd he had a huge day in Los Angeles against his old Dodger team mates.

In the 6th inning he hit a grand slam HR off Mike Hartley & drove in two other runs, totaling six RBIs in the Mets 8-3 win. After 53 games in early July, Marshall was batting .239 with 6 HRs & 27 RBIs when the Mets traded him to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later. By this time the Mets had fired Davey Johnson & Bud Harrelson took over as manager. Dave Magadan took over as the first baseman. He would bat .328 on the season.

Marshall played with the Red Sox through the following summer when he was released. He was picked up by the California Angels playing in just two games before injuries ended his playing career at age 31. In 11 seasons he batted .270 with 971 hits 148 HRs 173 doubles 8 triples & a .321on base % in 1035 games.

Retirement: For the past decade Marshall has been a manager, team president & general manager for teams in the Independent Northern League. Marshall was of course mentioned in Belinda Carlisle's 2010 autobiography " Lips Unsealed".

Jan 20, 2018

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Mets Open Up Five Game 1st Place Lead in Big Labor Day Matchup

September 7th 2015: After stumbling, losing two of three games in Miami, the Mets had also lost 2 1/2 games in their lead in the NL East. Terry Collins first place Mets (75-61) came to Washing DC to face Matt Williams Nationals (71-65) for a Labor Day matinee.

The Nats arranged their pitching staff so their ace Max Scherzer would face the Mets in the opener, the Mets sent the struggling Jonathan Niese to the mound.

Today the Nats faced a much different Mets team then they had known earlier in the season. In the 2nd inning, two of the Mets "new comers" helped put New York on the board, as Rookie Michael Conforto hot a solo HR (his 6th HR of the season) & veteran Kelly Johnson added another making it 2-0.

In the 4th Yoenis Cespedes hit a towering Dave Kingmanesque HR into the flower pots in left field, putting the Mets up 3-0. For Cespedes it was his 31st HR of the year, his 13th as a Met & his 30th RBI as well.

In the 4th inning, Jonathan Niese fell apart once again, loading the bases with a pair of walks & then giving up a grand slam to Wilson Ramos. After blowing the lead he served up an RBI double to Werth putting the Nats up 5-3.

Neise has now allowed the most five run innings in Mets history, now including the last three. He's lucky to get a bullpen spot if the Mets do get to the post season, he has been horrible.

In the 5th the Mets fought back, Ruben Tejada got a hit & was driven in by Curtis Granderson.

In the 6th Cespedes doubled and then danced around second base, distracting Scherzer enough to balk. With Cespedes on third, Travis d'Arnaud hit a sac fly to left field that Jason Werth had to slide to catch. He never had a chance to throw out Cespedes, as the Mets tied it up at five.

In the 7th the Mets got Tejada & Granderson on base. David Wright had maybe his biggest hit in eight years, as he singled to center field scoring Tejada. Wright, as well as us fans, has been waiting eight long years for the Mets to be in a pennant race.

Next Cespedes continued his big day & hot hitting driving a base hit to Bryce Harper in right. There was a play at the plate as David Wright gave a good old fashioned slide into the plate, making it 8-5 Mets. He let out a loud safe call himself & showed some happy excitement on his way to the dug out.

The Mets bullpen were super as well, Eric Goeddel threw a scoreless inning & then Carlos Torres did a fine job until he went out of the game with a calf strain.

In that 6th inning, after Torres left the game, Dario Alvarez made his 2015 debut & struck out Bryce Harper after he had fallen behind 3-0. Alvarez was the pitcher of record & got his first win.

Hansel Roebles has everybody thinking about his quick pitching & has shown he cane pitch in big situations. He was perfect over two innings, while striking out four. In the 9th Jeurys Familia got his 37th save, as he struck out Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper & Ryan Zimmerman.

The Mets lead the NL East by five games over the Nats.

Mid Sixties Mets Catcher: Jesse Gonder (1963-1965)

Jesse Lamar Gonder was born on January 20, 1936 at Monticello, Arkansas. Gonder’ s family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in Oakland during his teen years.

There he played high school ball with the likes of Frank Robinson, Curt Flood & Vada Pinson. Robinson was the first to get signed by a Cincinnati Reds scout Bob Madic, who later became a GM in Toronto. He ended up signing all three players for the Reds including the more out spoken Gonder in 1955.

Gonder hit over .320 in his first two years at the AA Level, but fell off to .238 when he reached AAA IN 1959. He was traded over to the A.L. New York club in 1960 but didn’t have a chance to beat out Elston Howard, who had just secured the catcher’s job from Yogi Berra. Gonder batted .326 that year at AAA & got a September 1960 call up debuting for seven brief games going 1-7 mostly as a pinch hitter. The next year he went 4-12 gathering his first three career RBIs in another September call up. That December he was traded back to the Reds for Marshall Bridges.

He spent most of 1962 at AAA in the Pacific Coast League, leading the league in batting (.342) & RBIs (116). The scouting reports said; he was a good left handed hitter, but lacked power and solid defense with his glove. On July 1st, 1963 he was traded to the New York Mets for Charlie Neal & Sammy Taylor.

Jesse debuted with the Mets on July 6th 1963 at the Polo Grounds. He was behind the plat, as batterymate for Al Jackson in game against the Pittsburgh Pirstes, where he got two hits with a walk. He had a pair of hits in three of his first four career Mets games. On July 11th he hit two HRs against the Los Angeles Dodgers driving in all three Met runs, in a 4-3 loss at the Polo Grounds. Later that week, he had a four hit day against the Houston Colt 45's making a quick impact on a poor hitting team.

On July 17th he hit a three run HR off the Giants Gaylord Perry helping the Mets to a 9-7 win at the Polo Grounds. On August 2nd in the second game of a doubeheader in Milwaukee, Gonder had a big four hit day. He also drove in the first run of the 3-1 Mets win. He saw less playing time in the final two months & an 0-11 September neded his season at .304.

Overall Gonder hit .304 becoming the second Met in history (Ritchie Ashburn was first in 1962) to finish a season batting over .300. He was the only player on the 1963 team to do so. He hit three HRs, with four doubles & 12 RBIs in 42 games for the ’63 Mets as a backup catcher to Choo Choo Coleman & Norm Sherry. He made the Topps All Star Rookie team batting .304 with 6 HRs & 20 RBIs in 73 games overall on the season.

In 1964 Gonder was the Mets primary catcher behind the plate catching 97 games. He was second in the NL, nailing 33 base runners attempting to steal, throwing out 43% of would be base stealers overall. In the first game ever played at Shea Stadium, he was the starting catcher batting in the clean up position. In the bottom of the 4th inning he drove in the Mets first run at Shea, with a base hit off the Pirates Bob Friend, scoring Ron Hunt. He was then the second Met to cross the plate in Shea Stadium history, as he scored on Amado Samuel's double.

On June 9th he had a bottom of the 9th inning, game winning base hit off Lindy McDaniel, to beat the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium. On June 28th in San Francisco, with the Mets down 3-2 in the 9th inning, Gonder hit a two run  HR off Bobby Bolin, leading to a 4-3 win.

In mid July he had a big road trip, with three straight multiple RBI games, while hitting HRs in back to back games. He kept his average up over .290 in July, in a month where he had eight multi hit games. He blasted a three run HR in Philadelphia on Augsut 8th & brought his average right up to the .300 mark. He slowed up in September but closed out the season hitting safely in 10 of 14 games.

Gonder ended the year at a solid .270 which was third best average among the regular starting players. He hit seven HRs with 11 doubles, had 29 walks with a .329 on base % (fourth best on the team) & 35 RBIs.

In 1965 Chris Cannizzaro had taken over as the clubs main catcher, & Gonder only was used behind the plate in 13 games going into July. He hit well in a pinch hitting role but as a regular his overall average fell to .238 with 4 HRs & 9 RBIs.

On July 21st, 1965 he was traded to the Milwaukee Braves for Gary Kolb. Gonder hit just .151 & spent the next two years of his career in Pittsburgh as third string catcher. He played out two more seasons in the Pacific Coast League not reaching the major league level again.

He finished up his eight year playing career in 395 games with a .251 average 220 hits 28 doubles 26 HRs 94 RBIs throwing out 39% of would be base stealers from behind the plate.

Retirement: After baseball Gonder worked for the Bay Area Rapid Transit Company driving a bus in San Francisco Bay for twenty years. He passed away in Oakland, California on November 14, 2004 at the age of 68.