Mar 22, 2017

Remembering Former Mets Player (1966) & Mananger (1993-1996): Dallas Green

George Dallas Green was born August 4th, 1934 in Newport Delaware. The six foot five Green attended the University of Deleware where he was a roommate to Lee Elia whom became a lifelong friend. He would later hire Elia as a coach, while he was managing in Philadelphia & Chicago.

Green was a right handed pitcher during his playing days getting signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1955. He would spend five years in the minors before getting to the major league level. Overall he played ten years in the minor leagues (seven years at the AAA level) posting an 89-64 record with a 3.59 ERA in 201 games (172 starts).

Green came up with the Phillies in parts of seasons from 1960-1964. He saw Robin Roberts pitch his last days as a Phillie, as well as seeing Dick Allen win the Rookie of the Year Award.

In 1964 Green was aboard early on as the team rolled along staying in first place much of the season. He returned as September call up witnessing the team lose a six game lead with just 12 game left to play, in one of the worst collapses in NL history. The previous year he had his best season going 7-5 with two saves posting a 3.23 ERA in forty appearances.

That same year on June 23rd facing the New York Mets at the Polo Grounds, Jimmy Piersall hit his 100th MLB career HR & ran around the bases backwards in celebration. Piersall stated that he saw Duke Snider hit career HR #400 with little fanfare & wanted to do something special for his milestone HR. The fans were delighted but Green, the Phillies & the Mets weren't as happy.

In May 1965 he was sent to the Washington Senators as a throw in from a previous deal, pitching just six games there. In July of 1966 his contract was purchased by the New York Mets.

Green debuted as a Met on July 23rd in Los Angeles, pitching one inning, allowing a run to the Dodgers in a 6-2 Mets loss. The next day he pitched two innings serving up a HR to catcher Johnny Roseboro. Green pitched just four games in a Mets uniform posting no record with a 5.40 ERA striking out one batter, walking two & allowing three earned runs in five innings of work. On August 10th he weas returned to the Phillies following a previous deal.

He finished him pitching career in 1967 going 20-22 lifetime in the majors with four saves, 268 strike outs 197 walks in 562 innings of work over 185 appearances.

Retirement: By the early seventies Green became an assistant minor league director for the Phillies (1970-1972), eventually becoming the Director of Player Development & scouting (1973-1979).

In 1980 he was named the teams manager and led the team to its first Worlds Championship. Green certainly was not the most popular manager in baseball. He was a rough guy with a loud voice who yelled often & had a nasty temper to with it all. He was very difficult to deal with & did not have good people skills.

He said of himself "I'm a screamer, a yeller and a cusser. I never hold back." He had many issues with players on the team, like slugger Greg Luzinski,and Gold Glovers; Larry Bowa & Bob Boone. He even came to blows with pitcher Ron Reed during an ugly incident.

After 1981 he was hired away by the new ownership for the Chicago Cubs as the team's General Manager. He held the position for five seasons, with his biggest achievement being the trade that landed future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg in Chicago.

In the deal he gave up Ivan Dejesus & Larry Bowa to the Phillies. Green also made acquisitions of the likes of Dennis Eckersley, Gary Mathews & Rick Sutcliffe who went 16-1 winning the Cy Young Award. The Cubs became contenders for the first time in a long time winning the NL East in both 1984 & 1989. In between the team finished last in 1987.

He was named the teams president and continued to bring on the drama. He was a strong supporter of getting lights installed at Wrigley Field & threatened to move the team if the city didn't agree. He blasted his team in the press fired his manager & eventually resigned due to differences with upper management.

In 1989 he managed the AL New York club getting them to a dismal 56-65 record before getting replaced by Bucky Dent. After laying low for a few seasons he was named the eleventh manager of the New York Mets replacing Jeff Torborg in May 1993.

The Mets went 46-78 the rest of the '93 season with Green at the helm. He walked into one of the worst periods in Mets history & the Green era would not be a good one.

A strict disciplinarian with a fiery personality was not going to click among this team. Green was always yelling at players, throwing fits, removing them from games, & having tirades with umpires. His explosive personality was terrible in New York especially on a losing team.

He even managed to anger women & animal rights groups when he asked how he copes with losing, he said "I just beat the hell out of Sylvia (his wife) and kick the dog and whatever else I've got to do to get it out," . Although he was joking it didn't go over well.

In his time as manager he would see Vince Coleman get charged with a endangerment after his firecracker throwing incident outside Dodger stadium which injured a young girl. It was a time when Anthony Young set a record with consecutive losing decisions & Bobby Bonilla needed ear plugs to drown out the boos he heard at Shea Stadium. It was also the time when the Mets Generation K pitching staff failed after being hyped as the teams saving grace.

Also In Greens time in New York, the Dwight Gooden ERA ended. Green showed no sympathy but rather blamed Gooden for his issues which violated the league's drug policy once again. He showed no support for Gooden suggesting it's time for him to move on.

Green constantly berated his players to the press, was always pressing his veteran for more production & was accused of having no patients with the younger players. He clashed with the troubled Carl Everett, insulted David Segui publicly & even got into a public heated argument with star pitcher Bret Saberhagen.

In the middle of all these messes was the 1994 MLB season ending baseball strike. That year the Mets finished 55-58 in third place, 18 games behind the Montreal Expos. In 1995 Green brought the Mets to a second place tie with a 69-75 record, 21 games behind the Atlanta Braves. By 1996 his time was done, he was replaced by Bobby Valentine in August after posting a 59-72 record.

In his Mets career he was 229-283 as manager, with a .447 %.

Overall he was 454-478 as manager with a .487%. After his time with the Mets, Green never managed again, eventually retiring to his farm in Pennsylvania. Since 2005 he as been an advisor to the Phillies.

Family: His son John Green is a supervisor of baseball scouts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Family Tragedy: In 2011 his nine year old granddaughter was one of the tragic victims in the shooting spree that killed six people outside a Tucson Arizona Safeway, following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's.

“They say time heals,” Green said in 2013. “Time, I don’t think, will ever heal that part of my life. I still tear up when I see something that reminds me of Christina.”

Passing: Green was battling kidney disease & had been in declining health since 2016. He passed away on March 22, 2017 at age 82.

Late 2000's Mets Relief Pitcher: Joe Smith (2007-2008)

Joseph Michael Smith was born on March 22, 1984 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The six foot, two right handed Smith was the New York Mets third round draft pick in 2006 (the 94th pick overall).

He pitched on the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones team in 2006 earning nine saves with an 0.45 ERA in 17 appearances. He was named one of the Top twenty Prospects in the minor leagues by Baseball America. 

 When Duaner Sanchez went down after his taxi cab accident in Miami during the 2006 season, General Manager Omar Minaya, considered bringing up Smith, but chose to make the trade for Roberto Hernandez & Oliver Perez instead.

photo by centerfieldmaz
Smith had an outstanding Spring Training in 2007 and surprised everyone when he made the team going north. He became a popular player and was known as an all around good guy at Shea Stadium. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a batting practice session before an interleague game against the Minnesota Twins & he was a gentleman. 

Smith made his MLB debut on Opening Day 2007, pitching in relief of Tom Glavine in a 6-1 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. He would pitch his first 16 2/3 innings before allowing a run, which didn't come until May 13th against the Milwaukee Brewers.

On April 24th he earned his first win, in an extra inning victory vs. the Colorado Rockies. On May 2th he allowed a run in the top of the 12th inning to the San Francisco Giants, but came up with a win as Armondo Benitez balked home a run in the bottom of the inning, followed by a Carlos Delgado walk off HR. Smith pitched well in the first few months of the season, keeping his ERA under two until mid June. 

He earned his ninth hold of the season on June 15th, holding down the A.L. New York club in a 2-0 Oliver Perez shut out saved by Billy Wagner. He began to wear down in July, allowing runs in three of five games taking a loss to the San Diego Padres as well.

Smith was sent back to the minors for a tune up. returning in September, for the pennant run. The Mets fell short again, missing the post season with a loss on the final day of the season. Smith finished the year 3-2 with ten holds, 45 strike outs, 21 walks in 44 innings over 54 appearances, posting a 3.45 ERA. 

 In 2008 he was one of the best Met pitchers out of the bullpen, and one of the only relievers to actually be successful. His pitching motion is somewhere between a side armed & submarine style delivery, which can be especially tough on right handed hitters. He began April with four holds, but blew two saves in May.

On June 10th he took a loss to Arizona, serving up a HR to Chris Snyder. On July 6th he closed out the final three innings in an extra inning game at Philadelphia, the Mets won the game on Fernando Tatis HR, giving Smith the win. 
 In August he recorded seven holds & closed out the month with a win in a 5-4 game at Florida over the Marlins. From September 2nd through the 10th, he was credited with three relief wins & added another against the Chicago Cubs on September 25th.

He appeared in 82 games (second on the club to Pedro Feliciano) posting a 6-3 record with a 3.55 ERA. He struck out 52 batters in 63 innings pitched. HIs .637 winning percent was third best on the club behind Duaner Sanchez & Johan Santana.

In the 2008 off season he was part of a 12 player deal, going to the Cleveland Indians, with the Mets getting J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed & Sean Green. In Cleveland he appeared in 37 games posting a 3.44 ERA in 2009. 

He spent five solid seasons in the Indians bullpen, as a fine middle reliever, earning a reputation as reliable work horse. In 2012 was second in the A.L. in appearances with 71. He would appear in 70 plus games in each of the next four seasons. In 2012 Smith was 7-4 posting a 2.96 ERA, recording 21 holds. 

His manager in his early days in Cleveland (2010-2012) was Manny Acta, whom he knew from their days with the Mets. 

In 2013 Smith started out the year 4-0, for new manager Terry Francona, not taking a loss until mid July. He ended the year at 6-2 with three saves & 25 holds to his credit. He led the AL Wild Card Indian staff in ERA (2.29) and was tied for second to Cody Allen in appearances with 70. Smith was part of a fine Indians bullpen that went 25-11 with a 3.30 ERA. That year he made it to his first post season.

In 2014 he signed on with the LA Angels of Anaheim & continued his fine pitching. Smith was second in the league in appearances with 76. He went 7-2 with 15 saves & 17 holds, posting a 1.81 ERA striking out 68 batters while walking just 15 in 173 innings. He took over the set up role when Huston Street went out with injury.

Post season: Smith pitched two scoreless innings in two games of the ALDS loss to the Kansas City Royals.

For 2015 Smith went back to the set up role to, shining with 32 holds to his credit, as Street went on to 40 saves & Smith notched five more of his own. He also went 5-5 with a 3.58 ERA making 70 appearances (9th most in the AL).

In August of 2016 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a minor leaguer, to help the Cubs in the post season run. He pitched 16 games for the Cubs, earning a win on September 1st against the San Francisco Giants.

He recorded a loss & hold as well in September. Overall in the regular season, he posted a 2.51 ERA in 14 innings. He did not pitch in the post season but earned a Championship ring. In the winter of 2017 he signed on with the Toronto Blue Jays.

In his ten year career, Smith is 41-28 with a 2.93 ERA. He has appeared in 639 games striking out 476 batters & walking 210 in 570 innings pitched.

The Runner Left Standed On Second Base Ending the 2006 NLCS: Anderson Hernandez (2005-2007)

Anderson Mejia Hernandez was born on October 30th 1982 in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic. The five foot nine infielder, is a switch hitter who was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 2001 as a free agent.

Hernandez began his minor league career in 2001 as a speedy base runner, but did not get to the AA level until 2004. In January of 2005 he was traded to the New York Mets organization for Vance Wilson. This was mainly due to the fact he had no patience at the plate & struck out quite often. In 2005, his first full year in the Mets organization he hit .326 & stole 35 bases at AA Binghamton, getting promoted to AAA Norfolk where he hit .303 in 66 games.

Hernandez got a September call up , making his debut on September 19th in a 4-1 win over the Atlanta Braves. He saw action in six games that month getting one hit in 18 at bats. He made the 2006 club out of Spring Training, and was penciled in as the second baseman replacing the injured Kaz Matsui. But Hernandez was hitting just .146 through April 17th & was sent back down to the minors.

Soon Jose Valentin locked up the second base position & Hernandez remained at AAA Norfolk, until September. On September 19th he hit his first career HR, it came off Scott Olsen of the Marlins in a 3-2 Mets win at Shea Stadium.

Post Season Trivia: Hernandez replaced Paul Loduca on second base in Game #7 of the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals. He represented the winning run, but Carlos Beltran struck out looking to end the game & the series.

In 2007 he impressed the organization again batting .301 at AAA New Orleans, although he stole just 16 bases. That summer he saw brief action filling in a roster spot, playing just four games for the Mets all season.

In 2008 his average plummeted to just .208 & that summer he was sent off to the Washington Nationals to complete an earlier deal of pitcher Luis Ayala. In Washington he played in 77 games & hit .251 for the remainder of the season.

In 2009 he was traded back to the Mets for minor leaguer Greg Veloz & he appeared in 46 games the rest of the way. He hit .251 with 2 HRs 6 doubles 2 triples & 14 RBIs while stealing a pair of bases. In March of 2010 he was placed on waivers & was picked up by the Cleveland Indians. He then finished the year with the Houston Astros after being picked up on waivers once again.

He finished out his MLB career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 2012. In a six year career he is a .241 hitter with 4 HRs 25 doubles 5 triples 60 RBIs 10 stolen bases & a .300 on base % in 240 games.

Hernandez recently played in the Dominican Republic where he was having a much better career. He & shortstop Erick Aybar became known as "the kids" as one of the leagues best middle infielder combos.

Former Deaf Mute New York Giants Pioneer Player: Dummy Taylor (1900-1908)

Luther Haden Taylor was known in the politically incorrect world of the early 20th century as Dummy Taylor. Taylor was a deaf mute who was born February 21, 1875 in Oskaloosa, Kansas. He attended the Kansas School of the Deaf in Olathe Kansas, just outside of Kansas City, Missouri. 

He began playing semi pro ball in the Mid West, before breaking through in organized ball in Albany, New York. From there he was signed by the New York Giants and played with New York from 1900-1908. 

He would communicate with the other players on the field through sign language and has been credited with helping expand the use of signs in baseball. He & his team mates would raise their fingers to show how many outs there were and do the same for pitch counts. 

Taylor was a fan favorite with the Polo Grounds faithful at the turn of the century. He was also popular with his team mates & manager John McGraw, possibly because he couldn’t answer back. In any event McGraw learned to communicate with Taylor through sign language as well. On the mound Taylor was noted for an eccentric corkscrew windup that would fool hitters. He also was notorious for some of his antics on the field. 

He loved to bait umpires with his sign language although it did backfire at times. One funny story has McGraw & Taylor insulting an umpire through signage, only to find out the ump had a deaf relative and understood what they were relaying. He ejected them both from the game. Another story tells how Taylor walked on the field under an umbrella with winter boots on, during a rainy day game. The delay in play caused the game to be stopped. 

Taylor debuted in 1900 going 4-3 with a 2.45 ERA in eleven games for the 8th place Giants.

In 1901 he had a rough season, although he won 18 games he also led the league in losses (27). He also allowed a league leading 377 hits, posting a 3.18 ERA pitching 353 innings with 43 starts in 45 appearances. 

He briefly leaped to the recently formed American League in 1902, going to Cleveland but ended up right back with the Giants that same season. He went to 13-13 in 1903 and from there on would never post a losing record again. 

In 1904 the Giants won the Nation League title but did not play in the World Series because manager John McGraw refused to even acknowledge the new leagues existence. Taylor was 21-15 (4th in the league in wins) & third on his team behind thirty game winners; Christy Mathewson & Joe McGinnity. Taylor posted a 2.34 ERA, struck out 138 batters (6th in the NL) pitched 29 complete games & threw five shutouts (3rd in the NL). 

He would win 16 or more games in each of the next two seasons, pitch over 200 innings and strike out over 90 batters. He would post winning percentages over .600% in each of his last four seasons & average an ERA of 2.50. 

 In 1905 he was 16-9 with a 2.66 ERA but did not pitch in the World Series, as this was the year of Christy Mathewson. In the World Series he pitched three shut outs in the same week, & Joe McGinnity pitched the other two games. The Giants won their first World's Championship that year. 

In 1906 he was 17-9 for the second place Giants, coming in third on the staff once again to Mathewson & McGinnity in wins. But Taylor posted the best ERA of the three at 2.20.

Taylor returned in 1907 to go 11-7 as the Giants dropped to fourth place, he posted a 2.42 ERA making 21 starts also getting credit for a save in one of seven relief appearances. His last season was the wild NL season of 1908 where he was 8-5 with two saves. 

 Taylor played on two Giants pennant winners but never pitched in a World Series game. In his nine year career Taylor was 116-106 pitching in 1916 innings over 274 games. His 2.75 ERA is #88 on the all time list & his 21 shut outs are 230th most all time. Taylor has 160 complete games (199th all time) striking out 767 batters with 551 walks. 

Retirement: After baseball Taylor devoted his time to administration in deaf education & coaching the deaf in sports. He worked in schools in Kansas, Iowa & Jacksonville, Illinois. 

Taylor passed away in 1958 at age 82 in Illinois. He was elected to the American Athletic Association of the Deaf Hall of Fame & has the gym at the Kansas State School for the Deaf named in his honor.

Mar 21, 2017

Former Mets First Baseman: Ike Davis (2010-2014)

Isaac Benjamin "Ike" Davis was born on March 22, 1987, in Edina, Minnesota. His grandfather on his father's side was a paratrooper landing in France on D-Day. His mothers side of the family are of the Jewish faith & Lithuanian heritage. Many of his ancestors were killed during the Holocaust on his mother's side. 

His father, a Baptist is former MLB pitcher Ron Davis, who pitched eleven years most notably for the A.L. New York club & Minnesota Twins. In 1979 Ron Davis was 14-2 leading the A.L. in winning % (.875%). In 1981 Davis made the A.L. All Star team & pitched in the World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

After going to the Twins he saved over 20 games for four straight seasons, closing out his career with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers & San Francisco Giants finishing with a 47-53 record & 130 career saves. 

Ike Davis went to high school in Scottsdale Arizona leading his team to three straight State Championships. There he was still a pitcher going 23-0 while batting .447 also playing first base. He then attended the excellent baseball school at Arizona State University, where he was an immediate star player. As a freshman he was ranked second in the nation by Baseball America. He was voted a three time All Pac ten, & two time All American. Davis was still pitching in college throwing a 95 mph. fast ball, but his hitting was even better, as he finished his college career with a .353 batting average. In 2008 he was drafted in the first round (18th pick overall) by the New York Mets. 

He began in his minor league career with the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones batting .256 making the adjustment from college ball to the minor leagues. At this point he stopped pitching & became a full time position player. He went the whole season without hitting any HRs (58 games) later commenting it was his most embarrassing period as a ball player. 

 In 2009 he was promoted to the A ball St. Lucie Mets, where he hit .288 with seven HRs 17 doubles & 28 RBIs in 59 games. He was then moved up to AA Binghamton where he quickly hit 13 HRs with 14 doubles, batting .309 in just 288 at bats. He was named the Mets Organizational Player of the Year & he showed a lot of big league potential. He attended the Mets Spring Training of 2010, and got a lot of attention when he hit three HRs, lead all Mets batters with a .480 average & played a spectacular defense. 

He started out the 2010 season at AAA Buffalo, but after ten games he had two HRs & was batting .364 when he was promoted to the Mets big league club. The highly touted prospect arrived at Citi Field with a lot of fanfare & hype on April 19th in a game against the Chicago Cubs. Davis walked to the plate to a huge ovation as Mets fans were hungry to see the new hopeful home grown star of the future. 

Davis did not disappoint & singled in his first career at bat. On the evening he went 2-4, driving in his first run in the 7th nning with a single up the middle. In his first four games he had two multiple hit games & then Four days after his debut he hit his first career HR. It came against the Atlanta Braves, a monster shot onto the “Shea Bridge” in right center at Citi Field. Davis was batting .355 at the end of April, living up to the hype, although it was a concern if he could handle all the pressure put on him at such a young age. In just two short years he had played only 65 games above the AA level. 

In a season without too many highlights, Ike Davis quickly became a new Mets hero, “I like Ike” banners & t-shirts began to surface among Mets fans. On June 8th he hit a walk off HR against the San Diego Padres’ Edward Mujica. By the All Star break Davis had 11 HRs tying Benny Agbayani & second to only Ron Swoboda in 1965 for most HRs by a Mets rookie in the first half of a season. 

On August 18th his 14th inning sac fly in Houston scored Jose Reyes with the game winning run. His bat cooled off a bit as the season went on but he had a strong September. He hit HRs in back to back games at Wrigley Field, hitting three overall with seven walks & six RBIs in the first week of the month. On September 11th, he had a 7th inning bases loaded single driving his second & third runs of the game, leading New York to a 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. He had nine multiple hit games in September& raised his batting average twenty points for the season, ending a promising rookie year. 

Davis finished the year batting .264 with 19 HRs 33 doubles 72 walks, a .351 on base % & 71 RBIs, all second most figures ever put up by a Met in their rookie season. Davis also set a Mets rookie record for total bases (230) while tying Lee Mazzilli’s rookie record with 72 walks.

He also tied Ty Wigginton’s rookie record in extra base hits (53). Davis had 138 hits (4th most among Mets rookies all time) playing in 147 games. On the field he posted a .993 fielding %, with nine errors, making many spectacular plays throughout the year. He came in seventh in the Rookie of the Year voting & was named to Baseball America’s all rookie team. 

2011 began hopeful for Davis, through the first ten games of the year he had five multi hit games, drove in runs in all but one games & was batting .364. On the Mets second home stand of the year he hit HRs in three straight games while driving in runs in four straight games. In the month he hit five HRs drove in twenty runs & was batting .337. When the west coast teams rolled into Citi Field for an early May home stand, Davis hit HRs in two games. 

Then on May 10thth in Colorado, he collided with David Wright on a Troy Tulowitzki pop up, injuring his ankle. He was placed on the DL & Wright soon followed with a back injury. Davis' ankle did not heal well & an MRI revealed cartilage damage. Davis missed the rest of the 2011 season, in 36 games he hit seven HRs with eight doubles one triple, seven walks a .383 on base % & a .302 batting average. 

In 2012 Davis began slowly, going hitless in his first ten games. In mid April he hit HRs in back to back games, including a three run shot against the Braves, in a 6-1 Mets win in Atlanta. He finished the month batting just .185 and his hitting woes would continue, as he did not get over the .200 mark until June 30th. 

On June 10th Davis drove in a run during the subway series match ups, then drove in runs in four straight games. On June 12th he helped R.A. Dickey to his eleventh win of the season, with a grand slam HR in an interleague 5-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. 

On June 22nd he hit a three run HR off Andy Pettite at Citi Field, leading to a 6-4 Mets victory. On June 27th he hit another HR, driving in four runs in the Mets 17-1 debacle win over the Chicago Cubs. On July 7th he hit a two run HR off Jeff Samardzija, leading the Mets to a 3-1 win over the Cubs at Citi Field. On July 28th, Davis hit three solo HRs in a game the Mets would lose 6-3 at Arizona to the d-backs. 

It was the start of a horrible Mets second half of the season after a solid surprising first half. Davis was hitting more HRs, becoming one of the biggest HR threats in the NL in the second half of the year, hitting twenty HRs after the All Star break. 

 He was driving in runs although his batting average was still suffering from lack of consistent hits. In July he hit seven HRs the most productive power month of his season. On August 18th he hit a two run HR off the Nats Edwin Jackson, driving in both runs in a Jonathon Niese 2-0 shut out on his way to his tenth win. 

On August 26th Davis had another multi HR game, as he hit two solo shots leading to a 2-0 Mets win over the Astros. He continued his hot hitting, closing out the month with a three run HR in Miami, beating the Marlins 3-0 behind R.A. Dickey's seventeenth win. In September he hit seven more HRs, becoming the first Met since 2008 to reach the thirty HR mark. 

On September 24th, Ike had another multi HR game, as he reached the thirty HR mark,& drove in five of the Mets six runs helping Jenrry Mejia to his first win in two years, since his injury. 

 On September 27th, the day R.A. Dickey won his twentieth game, Davis added a solo HR in the second inning off the Pirates Kevin Correia. He closed out the year with another HR on the last day of the year in a 4-2 win over the Marlins in Florida.

On the season he led the club in HRs (32) was second to David Wright in RBIs (90) & runs scored (66). Davis only hit .227 with 26 doubles 61 walks & a .308 on base %. At first base he posted a .994% (5th in the NL) making eight errors (3rd in the NL). 

Trivia: Davis had been known to love the New York City night life, which did concern the Mets organization & made them unhappy at times.

In 2013 there were high expectations for Ike but he began the season with a terrible slump. But first in the second game of the season, he blasted a two run HR helping the Mets to an 8-4 win over the San Diego Padres. On April 19th he hit two HRs at Citi Field, driving in three runs as Matt Harvey beat Steven Strasbug & the Washington Nats 7-1.

He ended April with four HRs & did not hit another until June 2nd. By that time he was only batting .160 & many people were asking Manager Terry Collins how long he planned on sticking with Ike at first base. The manager had stuck by him, but by June 9th he was sent down to AAA Las Vegas for the next month to fine tune his hitting.  There he hit .293 with 7 HRs & 13 RBIs in 21 games.

Davis returned on July 5th & had a two hit, three RBI day at Milwaukee in a 12-5 Mets win. He did not hit a HR until July 26th, a three run shot in a 11-0 romp of the Nats in D.C. On July 29th, the Mets rallied for three runs in the top of the 7th inning in Miami, to beat the Marlins 6-5. Davis provided the winning RBI driving in Marlon Byrd with a double off AJ Ramos.

Ike Davis Parents- Former MLB pitcher Ron Davis
He missed all of September as injuries ended his season. In 103 games he hit just .205 not getting to the .200 level until August. He hit just 9 HRs with 14 doubles 33 RBIs a .326 on base % & 101 strike outs in 317 at bats.

Between the time he missed & with his hitting struggles, the Mets gave Josh Satin more playing time at first base. Satin did a fine job & with a healthy Lucas Duda, there was much competition for Davis at first base.

Throughout the winter the Mets tried to shop Davis for some top young pitching. As Spring Training 2014 began, Davis was back in Mets camp, saying he was surprised he wasn't dealt, but he was happy to still be a Met. 

Davis was with Mets in their Opening Day line up, although it was announced Lucas Duda was the teams main first baseman. On April 12th Ike enjoyed his last moment of glory as a Met. He came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 9th inning, with New York down 3-2 to the Cincinnati Reds. Davis stepped in & hit a grand slam walk off HR off the Reds JJ Hoover. It was an exciting game winner for Ike & the Mets fans.

But just 12 games into the season, Davis was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitcher Zack Thorton & a player to be named later.

In Pittsburgh for the rest of 2014 Davis would become the Bucs main first baseman, making nine errors there (2nd in the NL), hitting .235 with 10 HRs 18 doubles & 46 RBIs in 131 games.

At the end of the season he was designated for assignment & was purchased by the Oakland A's. He would only play in 74 games with Oakland going down with a season ending torn hip labrum in August. He hit 3 HRs with 20 RBIs batting .229 in 214 at bats. In April he pitched a perfect inning in a blow out game against the LA Angels.

After the season he signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers for 2016. He was released & signed with the A.L. New York club. There he played just eight games going 3-14 before an August 10th release.

In his seven year career he has played in 667 games batting .239 with 496 hits 81 HRs 117 doubles 291 RBIs with 538 strike outs & a .332 on base %.

The Mets First All Star Player- Hall of Famer: Richie Ashburn (1962)

Don Richard Ashburn was March 19, 1927 on a farm in Tilden, Nebraska. There his father owned the largest general store in town & little Richie was a childhood friend of future late night talk show star; Johnny Carson. 

Richie became a star baseball player in high school & represented Nebraska playing for the American Legion team at a game in New York City where he was discovered by the scouts. The five foot ten, left hand hitting out fielder with the white hair, earned himself the nick name  "Whitey".

Ashburn was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944 and hit .312 at Utica playing A ball. He went to the US Army serving in World War II in 1945-1946. He returned to baseball the next year & hit .362 in in the minor leagues at AA ball.

He came up to the Phillies in 1948 and would come in second to Alvin Dark in the Rookie of the Year voting. He hit .333 (second in the league) posting a .410 on base % (third in the league) while leading the league in stolen bases with 32. The next year the lead off hitter, led the league in at bats, batting .284 with 188 hits (sixth in the league). 

That year he began a run of leading the league in put outs as a centerfielder for a record, nine of the next ten years. Ashburn was one of the N.L’s best defensive centerfielders during his era, considered to have the best range of anyone around. He led the league in assists three times (including 23 assists in 1952) games played four times & was among tops in fielding consistently.

In 1950 he was a member of the Phillies Whiz Kids, NL Pennant team, batting .303 with a league leading 14 triples & 14 stolen bases. In the last game of the season, against the Brooklyn Dodgers, he threw out Cal Abrams at home plate in the bottom of the 9th inning. The play was crucial as the game was tied up at 1-1. In the top of the tenth he reached base with a sac bunt,& scored on Dick Sisler's three run game winning HR. The win, clinched the NL pennant for the Phillies. That year Ashburn played in the only World Series of his career batting .176 (3-17).

He would play 12 years in Philadelphia, winning two batting titles;1955 & another in 1958. In 1958 he also led the league with 215 hits, the third time in his career he topped the 200 hit mark. He also led the NL in on base % (.440%) walks (97) triples (13) & at bats (725). He was considered a slow runner, as he also led the league in caught stealing, earning himself another nick name- "put put".

Ashburn had the most hits of any player in the 1950’s with 1875. He was known as a hitter who sprayed the ball all over the field, adapting to any situation. He was not known for his power only hitting 29 career HRs. He would be among the league’s best in offensive categories like hits, walks, triples, steals, runs scored, & batting average throughout his career.

Besides the two batting crowns, Ashburn came in second in the batting race two other times (1948 & 1951) and was also in the top ten in the race nine times in his career. He led the league in hits three times, walks & on base percentage four times each, as well as triples twice. Ashburn played in seven All Star games in his career and in the 1951 All Star game, he made a HR saving catch off Cleveland’s Vic Wertz, 400 ft away from home plate at Detroit’s Briggs Stadium.

Strangely in 1957 he hit a foul ball that struck a woman (Alice Roth) the wife of a Philadelphia sports writer, breaking her nose. As she was taken away on a stretcher, Ashburn hit another foul ball that struck her on the way out of the stadium. The two developed a friendship through the years after the incident.

As the fifties ended so did his time in the City of Brotherly Love, Ashburn is still one of the most famous & beloved Phillies players of all time. In 1960 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Alvin Dark & Jim Woods.

That season he led the league in walks (116) & on base percentage (.415%) batting .291 in the first of two seasons at Wrigley Field.

He became popular in Chicago as well, running an on air baseball instructional clinic for children of the television station; WGN viewing audience. This laid the ground work for his post playing career at the microphone as a broadcaster. 

In 1961 he dropped off to .257 and had his contract sold to the expansion New York Mets in December 1961.

Ashburn became an original Met & on a bad team he was one of its few standout players. He was already 35 years of age, an old veteran among a bunch of youngsters.

In the first ever meeting between the two New York teams, in a spring exhibition game, Ashburn drove in the game winning run as the new Mets defeated the mighty '61 champion AL NY team.

He was the first Met batter ever to walk to the plate, batting leadoff on opening day 1962 at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, flying out to center field. In the 3rd inning he got the third hit in Mets history and then scored the team’s first franchise run when Charlie Neal drove him in with a base hit.

On April 21st, he had one of the biggest days at the plate that early in the Mets season. He was 3-4 with two runs driven in & two walks in a 8-4 loss at Pittsburgh. On May 19th in a rare '62 Mets five run come from behind win, Ashburn's 8th inning single scored Charley Neal with the tying run, sending Hot Rod Kanehl to third base, he would score on Jim Hickmans base hit in what was the winning run. 

At the end of the month he was hitting .356 far ahead of anyone on his team, and up with the leagues leaders. In June he had a ten game hit streak, with five multi hit games. He hit his first HR of the year at Wrigley Field on June 10th, as the Mets went into the bottom of the 9th inning with a 4-1 lead. But Ernie Banks hit a three run HR to tie it up & the Mets lost it in the 10th. He showed a rare stretch of power during a home series against the Houston Colt 45's hitting HRs in two of the three games. On June 23rd, he hit two HRs against Houston in a 13-2 Mets win.

In July he had yet another ten game hit streak. During a five game road trip to St. Louis in that stretch he had twelve hits & scored four runs. In August he had his biggest hit streak of the year, hitting safely in 13 games in a row, 19 of 21. On August 14th, he drew four walks in a game against his old Phillies team mates.

It could be said, Ashburn was the Mets first star player, since was their first player to represent the team in an All Star game. He would also be the first Mets player to bat .300 (.306). 

In 1962 he lead the team in batting as well as singles (102) walks (81) & stolen bases (12) playing in 135 games with 7 HRs & 28 RBIs.

His humor as well as his clever wit were priceless and were much needed in the clubhouse. His wore uniform number one & his locker was right next to number two, Marv Throneberry. When the press would come over to talk about Thornberry’s mishaps, Ashburn would call him Marvelous, thus the legend of Marvelous Marv was born.

Trivia: One of the great stories to come out of the ’62 Mets was how short stop Elio Chacon would keep running into Ashburn on fly balls to short center.

Chacon didn’t understand any English, & didn’t know what Ashburn meant when he was yelling “I got it. I got it”. The clever Ashburn, learned to say "Yo la tengo” in Spanish to call off Chacon. It worked with Chacon, but one day left fielder Frank Thomas ran into Ashburn saying “what the hell does yellow tango mean?”

During the season he told the Mets pitchers if I’d hit against you guys I would hit .400. On the last at bat of his career he hit a base hit in a game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. On the next at bat Joe Pignatano looped a fly behind second base, the ball was caught & a triple play was turned with Ashburn getting nailed at first base. It was the last play of his career.

Ashburn was voted the 1962 Mets MVP, to which he later said “‘to be voted the MVP on the worst team in the history of baseball is a dubious honor, for sure. I was awarded a 24-foot boat equipped with a galley and sleeping facilities for six. After the season had ended, I docked the  boat in Ocean City, New Jersey and it sank.''

After the 120 loss season Ashburn chose to retire.

Hall of Fame Career: In his fifteen year career, he made six All Star teams & won two batting titles. Ashburn hit .308 (121st all time) with 2574 hits (89th all time) 2119 singles (33rd all time) 317 doubles & 109 triples (128th all time). He walked 1198 (60th all time) with a .396 on base percentage (75th all time) with 1322 runs scored (118th all time) & 234 stolen bases in 2189 (147th all time) games played.

In the outfield he played 2104 games (41st all time) with 6989 put outs (6th all time) he has 1980 games as a center fielder (9th all time).

In center he has 5804 put outs (2nd all time) 154 assists (8th all time) while posting a .984 fielding %. (3rd best all time) & 106 errors (9th all time).

Retirement: After his playing days he became a broadcaster with the Phillies for 34 years until his passing in 1997. In that time he became best friends with fellow announcer Harry Kalas whom he worked with for 26 years.

Honors: After being on the Hall of Fame ballot for 15 years (1968-1982) he was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in 1995.

He has his place in baseball’s Hall of Fame as an announcer too, winning the Ford Frick award. He is honored in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, as the outfield pavilion there is named Ashburn Alley.

Ashburn was also a good friend of New York Mets announcer Ralph Kiner and the two would join each other’s broadcast & share great old stories together on the air. 

Passing: In 1997 after a Mets Phillies game at Shea Stadium, Ashburn suffered a fatal heart attack in Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street. 

A team official had received a call from Ashburn at 5:30 AM saying he was feeling ill. The baseball world was shocked at his passing, and a huge funeral was held for him Philadelphia, he was 70 years old.

Citizens Bank Park- Philadelphia