Jun 22, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1983) Rusty Staub Ties MLB Consecutive Pinch Hit Record

Sunday June 26, 1983: Today, Frank Howard's last place Mets (27-43) hosted a double header against Pat Corrales third place Philadelphia Phillies (32-33). 

In the first game, a couple of old familiar faces figured in the outcome. Tug McGraw (now a Phillie) got the win over the Mets Tom Seaver. With the Mets down 8-4 in the 9th Inning, Rusty Staub came to bat as a pinch hitter. Staub singled to right field & tied an MLB record. It was Rusty’s eighth straight successful pinch hit, tying an MLB record held by Dave Philley.

On the previous home stand Staub had five successful pinch hit appearances. The streak began on Saturday June 11th, in a 5-2 loss to the Montreal Expos. Staub came to bat against Jeff Reardon, with the bases loaded in the 7th inning & New York down 5-0. Staub singled driving in Mark Bradley & Jose Oquendo.

The next night Staub came to bat as a pinch hitter in the 6th inning, facing Montreal's Charlie Lea. Rusty smashed a double driving in rookie Darryl Strawberry & George Foster. That night Staub helped contribute to his old pal, Tom Seaver who beat Montreal 9-1.

June 13- June 15th: The Chicago Cubs came to town next and took two of three games. But Staub continued his pinch hit streak. On June 12th, he singled off Chicago's Mike Proly in the 8th inning for his third straight successful pinch hit.

Walk Off Win: The next night was a big one for Staub, in front of a small Shea crowd of 10,000 fans. The Mets Ed Lynch & the Cubs Dick Ruthven pitched well, both getting to the 8th inning. Dave Kingman & Danny Heep both homered for the Mets, as the game went into extra innings tied at 3-3. In the bottom of the 10th, Staub came in to pinch hit against Lee Smith. The Mets had two men on, Bob Bailor on third & Daryl Strawberry on second. The games best pinch hitter of the early eighties, came through  once again. Staub hit an opposite field base hit scoring Bailor with the walk off game winning run. 

The next day, Staub was inserted into the starting lineup, playing at first base & batting fifth. The hot hitting "Le Grande Orange" went 3 for 4 in the Mets ten inning 7-4 loss.

June 18th: The Mets went north up to Montreal, a city where Staub was a legend after being the Expos first star player back in 1969. On the first night of the series, he had a 7th inning pinch hit single inning off Expo pitcher; Bill Gullickson. It was Staub's fifth pinch hit in a row, as the Mets won the game 6-1.

The next night the Mets lost a 4-3 heart breaker to Expo legend Steve Rogers. Staub did come through again, as he brought the Mets within a run, in the 9th inning, hitting his first HR of the year. It was his sixth straight pinch hit.

June 20th: The Mets came home to Shea Stadium, for a double header with the St. Louis Cardinals. In the first game the Mets took a 3-1 loss, as Staub got another start. He played right field and batted fifth, going 1 for 4.

In the second game, he made another pinch hit appearance, coming to bat for Carlos Diaz in the 7th inning. Staub singled off pitcher Dave Von Ohlen for pinch hit seven straight. The Mets also won the game 6-4. Staub played out field in the next two games and went hitless.

June 24th:The Mets came back home to Shea & took a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Staub came to bat as a pinch hitter getting hit by a pitch from Hall of Famer; Steve Carlton, safely reaching base. 

June 26th: Two nights later Staub would get into the record books as he tied the pinch hit record, leading off the  9th inning, batting for Junior Ortiz. Staub singled off veteran Phillie, Ron Reed, receiving a nice ovation from the Shea Faithful, as he accomplished his feat.

Rusty Staub's streak was ended three nights later, in St. Louis. In the 9th inning of a 4-3 loss, Bruce Sutter got Staub to ground out to second base.

On the season, the 39 year old Staub would bat .296 in 104 games, becoming one of the games best all time pinch hitters.

Remembering Mets History: (1963) Jimmy Piersall Rounds The Bases Backwards

Sunday June 23, 1963: In the first game of a sunny Sunday double header at the Polo Grounds, Casey Stengel’s young New York Mets (27-44) took on Gene Mauch’s Philadelphia Phillies (31-39). 

Starting Lineups

New York pitcher Carl Willey had a great day, as he threw a complete game two hit shut out. Willie walked no one striking out six batters. He bested his record to 6-6 with a 2.62 ERA, best on the Mets staff. That day he earned the win over Phillies pitcher &  future Mets manager; Dallas Green.

The Mets scored first, in the 3rd inning apaif of walks to Tim Harkness & Ron Hunt set the stage for a Duke Snider RBI single. 

In 5th inning a strange but funny & classic thing happened. Jimmy Piersall a character in his own right, led off the inning with a HR. It was a milestone in his playing career, being the 100th HR for him. Piersall dropped the bat and went to circle around the bases. But he did so running backwards.

Piersall was a veteran two time All Star & gold glove outfielder in his days with the Boston Red Sox.

He was diagnosed with a nervous breakdown due to emotional exhaustion. He related it back to his father, who had put a tremedous amount of pressure on him in becoming a pro ball player.

He did make a successful comeback taking over centerfield in Boston after Dom DiMaggio's reign. But it certainly did not come without any drama. He fought with his own teammates, and other players as well. Once in a huge brawl he beat Billy Martin to a pulp. During another game he went up to the grand stands to heckle an umpire. 

In 1964 he came to the plate wearing a Beatles wig & playing air guitar on his bat. Eventually he was traded to the Cleveland Indians then to the Washington Senators in exchange for Gil Hodges. Piersall was ejected from games, six games in 1960.

Legend has it he was once seen sprinting back & forth in the outfield when Ted Williams came to bat. He was the subject of the great baseball movie “Fear Strikes Out” starring Tony Perkins in 1957.

On hitting his 100th HR, Piersall had observed Duke Snider hit his 400th home run just a few weeks earlier. He noted that there wasn’t much fan fare for such a great feat. He vowed when he hit his 100th HR, he would do something to make it festive. 

He certainly did, the Polo Grounds loved it, as he trotted around the bases backwards, even some of his team mates  laughed. He never tripped and even shook third base coach; Cookie Lavagetto's hand on the way around.

The Phillies team & pitcher Dallas Green were not amused. Neither was MLB Commissioner Ford Frick who was in attendance that day. The Mets organization didn’t like it either, Manager Casey Stengel was so angry, he cut Piersall from the team two days later.

The Mets won the game 5-0 and the night cap as well 4-1.

Trivia: Jimmy Piersall once appeared on The Lucille Ball Show as himself. In Boston he was praised by Hall of Famer; Ted Williams as the best outfielder Williams ever saw.

Remembering Mets History: (1979) Mets Score Ten Runs In An Inning

Tuesday June 12th 1979: In 1979 the Met's didn't have much going on as this was a bad time in Mets history. But looking for a bright spot, here was a historic day in team history as the Mets scored a franchise record ten runs in the 6th inning.

Tonight's game had John McNamara's second place Cincinnati Reds (33-28) come to Shea to play Joe Torre's sixth place Mets (23-32) in front of a tiny crowd of 9,805 fans. The Mets sent Pete Falcone to the mound against the Reds Bill Bonham.

Starting Lineups

Pete Falcone gave up five runs & by the 6th inning, the Mets were down 5-2 by the bottom of the 6th inning & it looked like another day in the lives of the '79 Mets.

But in the home 6th a rally started. John Stearns doubled & Steve Henderson drew a walk. The Reds changed pitchers as Manny Sarmiento came in relief. Second baseman Doug Flynn then reached on an error to load up the bases.

Pinch hitter Ron Hodges then drew a walk and the Mets had their first run of the inning. Sergio Ferrer came in to pinch run for Hodges. After a pop out by Joel Youngblood, short stop Frank Taveras doubled to right field bringing in Henderson & Flynn tying up the game.

The Reds brought in Dave Tomlin to pitch & Lee Mazzilli was walked intentionally. Richie Hebner then singled bringing in Sergio Ferrer & the speedy Taveras, as the fourth & fifth runs of the inning scored.

The Mets Willie Montanez then reached on another Reds error.

John Sterans who started the inning off, flew out to center for out number two. Steve Henderson then singled to center bringing in Hebner. If the Red weren't haven't an inning from hell already, the light hitting Doug Flynn added to their misery.

Flynn hit a shot to center that got through the outfielders, Montanez scored, Henderson scored & Flynn rounded the bases for an inside the park HR. The three runs put ten runs on the board for the Mets setting a single season franchise record. (The record held until 2006 when they scored 11 runs.) The Mets sent 13 men to the plate, collected five hits, with two walks & two Reds errors. The Mets went on to a 12-6 win, with Dale Murray earning the victory.

Trivia: Doug Flynn hit four HRs in 1979, he had not hit a HR in the three previous seasons. In his 11 year career he hit a total of seven HRs.

Jun 21, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1994) John Franco Sets All Time Save Mark For Lefties

Wednesday June 22nd 1994: Dallas Green's Mets (33-38) came to Atlanta to face Bobby Cox's Braves (45-24). A large Georgia crowd of 47,907 were on hand to see the Mets Pete Smith (3-7) go up against Cy Young Award Pitcher; Greg Maddox (10-2).

Starting Lineups

The Braves struck Smith first as Roberto Kelly & Jeff Blauser hit back to back HRs in the Atlanta home 1st inning. In the top of the 2nd, Jeff Kent doubled for the Mets & Ryan Thompson then singled him in with a two out base hit, making it 2-1 Braves.

The game stayed that way until the 8th inning, as both pitchers dueled it out & settled in. Todd Hundley & Ryan Thompson started off the 8th with base hits. Shawn Hare pinch hit for the Mets & delivered with an RBI single to tie the game.

A Young Fernando Vina then reached for the Mets, on an error as he attempted a sac bunt. Braves third baseman Bill Pecota threw wild to Fred McGriff at first, both Thompson & Hare scored putting the Mets up 4-2. With Vina on third, Jose Vizcaiano hit a sac fly making it 5-2 Mets.

The Mets Mauro Gozzo pitched a scoreless 8th inning. Then in the 9th John Franco came on to close it out & secure himself a spot in MLB history. Franco got Javey Lopez to line out for the first out. Bill Pecota flew out & Mark Lemke then flew out to right field to end the game.

With this save, Franco's 253rd of his career & his 17th of the season, John Franco became the all time saves leader for left handed pitchers.

Franco would go on to lead the NL with 30 saves that season.

He ended his career with 1,119 appearances, third most all time. He has 424 saves, placing him fourth on the all-time list & is still first among left-handers.

In 14 years with the Mets (1990-2004) Franco saved 276 games for New York, first on the Mets all time list. Franco became Mets team Captain & was elected to the clubs Hall of Fame.

1973 N.L. Champion Mets Reserve Catcher: Ron Hodges (1973-1983)

Ronald Wray Hodges was born on June 22, 1949 in Rocky Mount, Virginia. Although he shared the same name, he was not related to Gil Hodges in any way.

The six foot one catcher was drafted three different times Baltimore (1970) Kansas City & Atlanta (1971) but didn’t sign with anyone, until 1972. That year he was the second round draft pick of the New York Mets. He spent 1972 at A Ball Pompano Beach bashing 15 HRs with 15 doubles & 48 RBIs in 112 games.

Hodges began 1973 in AA Memphis hitting only .173 but took a giant leap forward very quickly. All of a sudden he was called up to the Mets big league squad when injuries struck Jerry Grote & short time backup catcher Jerry May. Hodges was needed to help back up Duffy Dyer, who had taken over the main catchers job. Hodges made his Mets debut on June 13th 1973 at Shea Stadium against the San Francisco Giants.

He was behind the plate catching Tom Seaver’s eighth victory of his 1973 Cy Young season. In the 7th inning he got his first career hit at the plate.

Hodges caught the next game as well, helping Jon Matlack to a victory, getting another hit & driving in his first career run. Hodges hit safely in eleven of his first thirteen games and seventeen of his first twenty two. He found himself batting over .300 into July, before tailing off just in time for Jerry Grote to get healthy.

He received good reviews from the pitching staff and settled right in with the 1973 Pennant team as the number three catcher. He threw out 43% of the base runners trying to steal & posted a .992 fielding percentage, making only two errors. 

 In late September the Mets were the hottest team in baseball & were in fourth place in the NL East but just 2 1/2 games back of the Pittsburgh Pirates. On September 18th in a crucial three game series at three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh the Mets came back from a 4-1 deficit in the 9th inning. After Felix Millan tripled home two runs, Hodges singled scoring Millan with the tying run.

The Mets went on to win the game 6-5. Hodges was involved in a famous play that was important to the Mets 1973 pennant run. On September 20th The Mets were in a tight pennant race with three teams, including their opponent of the evening, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

With two outs & the game tied in the 13th inning, Ritchie Zisk was on first base. Dave Augustine lined a shot over the head of left fielder Cleon Jones. The ball hit off the top of the wall, and bounced back into Jones' glove. He grabbed it, turned & threw a perfect relay to short stop Bud Harrelson.

Harrelson then threw a perfect bullet to Hodges at the plate. Hodges blocked the plate perfectly and tagged Ritchie Zisk for the third out. It was an exciting play that electrified the team & the Shea fans in the year of "You Gotta Believe".

In the bottom of the inning, with two on, Hodges singled home John Milner with the winning run. It is considered one of the key points to the 1973 pennant season & is known as “the ball off the wall” game.

Overall in 45 games Hodges hit .260 (33-145) with one HR two doubles eleven walks & 18 RBIs. Hodges was on the Mets' postseason roster in 1973 and played in one game of the World Series, drawing a walk in his only appearance. Hodges remained a backup catcher with the Mets for the next decade.

He was there from the 1973 Pennant, through the down years when Shea Stadium became known as "Grant’s tomb". Hodges was also there for the resurgence of the Mets in the mid eighties Dwight Gooden & Keith Hernandez’ squad. He averaged getting into 50 to 60 games a year each season; backing up main catchers Jerry Grote, Duffy Dyer, John Stearns, Alex Trevino & Mike Fitzgerald.

In 1974 Hodges was back on the club as a backup catcher. On April 28th his 8th inning two run HR broke up a tie game with the Giants in San Francisco and ended up being the game winner. In 59 games on the year Hodges hit .221 with 4 HRs 4 doubles & 14 RBIs. Behind the plate he had one of his worst years making 12 errors posting the lowest fielding % of his career (.959%) while only throwing out 20% of would be base stealers. He would never make double figures in errors again until the 1983 season.

In 1975 he spent most of the season at AAA Tidewater, playing in only nine games with the Mets. On September 20th, he hit a two run walk off HR against the Philadelphia Phillies Gene Garber & hit another HR the next day as well. 

In 1976 he had one of his best years, he started off the season well driving in six runs in seven games played in the month of April. In the eight game of the season he had three hits & drove in two runs in the Mets 17-1 debacle of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On April 26th his two run single off Atlanta's Dick Ruthven led the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Braves. He got a chance to play in 16 games in July and drove in 12 runs over that period, playing a solid defense as well. He hit HRs in back to back games in a series in Atlanta driving in five runs over the two games. He saw less playing time at the end of the season, finishing the year with 4 HRs & 24 RBIs batting .226 in 56 games.

He followed that up in 1977 batting .265 with a .992 fielding percentage in 66 games throwing out 34% of would be base stealers. He increased his percentage in throwing out base runners each season from then on, reaching a career high 43% by 1980.

On April 22nd 1978 Hodges helped New York win a game at Wrigley Field in Chicago with an 8th inning two run single off the Cubs Rick Reuschel. On the year he batted .255 with seven RBIs in 47 games.

In 1979 his average fell to a measly .163 in 59 games played. The next year he improved to .238 but did not hit a HR for the third straight season. In the 1981 strike season his HR drought was over when in the seventh game of the season he hit a HR against the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium in a 4-3 Mets loss.

In the short season he hit over .300 (43 at bats) driving in six runs in 35 games. That season he also had some success being used as a pinch hitter, getting five pinch hits in the month of September.

Drama: On a road trip to Montreal, he and Mets pitcher Dyar Miller were suspended without pay for three days by Mets' manager Joe Torre. The two were drinking in at the bar of the hotel where Mets coach Chuck Cottier, reminded them they were violating a club rule. There was to be no patronizing of a bar of in a hotel where the team was staying.

According to a statement issued by the team, the two players refused to leave the bar. Hodges said ''I guess a clean record doesn't count; I've never been involved in this kind of thing before. The more I think about it, the madder I get.''

In 1982 he had career highs in HRs (5) doubles (12) runs scored (26) & RBIs (27) playing in 80 games overall under new manager George Bamberger. Hodges had multi RBI games in each of the first three months. In early June he hit HRs in back to back games, as he also drove in three runs in the Mets 6-3 win at Cincinnati. On September 8th Hodges hit his only career grand slam, it came off the Pirates Grant Jackson in Pittsburgh.

In 1983 he saw the most playing time of his career behind the plate, seeing action in 96 games. He was finally the team’s main catcher after ten seasons, ahead of Junior Ortiz, Ron Reynolds & Mike Fitzgerald. In 110 games he hit .260, matched his career high 12 doubles, drew 49 walks posting a .358 on base percentage. He didn’t hit any HRs & only drove in 21 runs.

In 1984 Hodges was the back up catcher to Mike Fitzgerald as the Mets were now contending for first place for the first time in almost a decade. Hodges was thrilled to be back on a winning club where he started out.

On July 2nd Hodges was behind the plate catching the league's new phenom pitcher Dwight Gooden as he beat former Met Mike Scott 4-2 in a game at Shea Stadium. On July 12th he hit his last career HR helping New York to an 8-6 win over the Braves in Atlanta. On September 25th Hodges caught his last game, a 6-4 Mets win that began with Ron Darling on the mound getting relieved by Ed Lynch. On September 30th, the last game of the year, he made his last appearance as a pinch hitter in Montreal going hitless.

In his 12 year career Hodges played in 666 games, batting .240 with 342 hits 56 doubles two triples 19 HRs a .342 on base % 224 walks & 147 RBIs. He caught 445 behind the plate (6th most in Mets history) throwing out 31% of would be base stealers. He posted a .978 fielding % making 52 errors in 2358 chances.

Defensively he had 2095 putouts making 52 errors in 445 games (3326 innings) posting a .978 fielding percentage, throwing out 31% of base runners attempting to steal. Retirement: After baseball Hodges sold real estate in his home town of Rocky Mount, Virginia.

New York Giants Hall Of Fame Pitcher: "The Meal Ticket" Carl Hubbell (1928-1943)

Carl Owen Hubbell was born June 22, 1903 in Carthage, Missouri. The six foot left hander became known as King Carl & The Meal Ticket.

As a young boy he would throw stones against his barn door, he got so good he was able to hit them on a hole the size of a dime. In his career Hubbell’ s best pitch was a screwball, he threw it so often it left his arm twisted and had his palm facing outward after his baseball career.

Hubbell attended high school at Meeker Oklahoma & was originally signed by the Detroit Tigers. He was first sent to minor league Toronto & then to Decatur Georgia as well as the Texas League. After two years of frustrations, he was released by Detroit, because player manager Ty Cobb feared the screw ball would hurt his arm.

In 1926 the New York Giants signed him, manager John McGraw said "after all Christy Mathewson threw a screw ball pitch called the fade away." Hubbell went 10-6 in his 1929 rookie year, with a 2.83 ERA. On May 8th, he threw a no hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was the first by a left hander in over a decade.

He then won 17 games or more over the next four seasons, coming in second place for the ERA title three times. By 1933 he established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game. He would win twenty or more games for five straight years, leading the league in wins three of those times. He would lead the league in ERA three times & winning percentage twice. In that time he threw over 300 innings each year, leading the league one time in that category as well as in complete games, strike outs & shut outs all one time.

He won his first MVP Award in 1933, going 23-12 with a 1.66 ERA & ten shut outs, pitching in 308 innings, all the best numbers in the league. He led his Giants to a pennant & a World Series win over the Washington Nationals.

Post Season: In the 1933 World Series he opened up Game #1 & threw a complete game five hit victory over Washington at the Polo Grounds. The Senators scored two un earned runs as Hubbell struck out ten batters. In Game #4 at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C., he went ten innings and allowed just one unearned run, leading the Giants to their third victory of the Series. They would win the Worlds championship in five games.

Hubbell followed with two more twenty win seasons, but the Giants finished second in 1934 & third in 1935. In 1934 he led the league in ERA (2.30) complete games (25) & saves (8). His 23 wins (23-12) in 1935 were second best in the league, but he also allowed a league leading 27 HRs.

In the 1934 All Star Game, played at the Polo Grounds, Hubbell accomplished one of his most remembered feats. He struck out five consecutive batters headed to the Hall of Fame; Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin. Then after allowing a single he struck out Left Gomez to make it six Hall of Famers going down on strikes in two innings. Overall he played in nine All Star games throughout his career.

In 1936 he had another incredible year & won his second MVP Award. During a stretch from July 1936 which lasted to the end of May 1937, he won a record 24 straight games. Hubbell pitched 46 1/3 scoreless in that time. By mid July he was 10-6, when the streak began.

On July 17th he shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0 & then two days later he came in relief earning another win over the Reds in Cincinnati. On the next home stand he earned four wins; beating the Cardinals, Cubs, Reds & Pirates. In August not only did he go 6-0 but also earned himself a pair of saves in relief. All of his wins were complete games & on August 12th he tossed a two hit shutout over the Dodgers in Brooklyn. In September he went 6-0 once again, allowing just one run, pitching complete games three times that month.

He finished the year at 26-6, leading the league in wins, winning percentage (.813%) & ERA (2.31). He struck out 123 batters & walked 57 in 304 innings in 42 games (34 starts) leading the Giants to another pennant.

Post Season: In the 1936 subway series he won Game #1 at the Polo Grounds, allowing just one run in nine innings, striking out eight in the Giants 6-1 win. He returned in Game #4 buy took the loss across the Harlem River to Monte Pearson. Hubbell allowed three earned runs on eight hits in seven innings. The Giants lost the series in six games.

The Meal Ticket returned in 1937 and was receiving a lot of attention. In the second game of the season he shut out the Brooklyn Dodgers on a three hitter. At home in the Polo Grounds he won his next three starts, two of them complete games. It was on the road from there & he won in St. Louis, Pittsburgh & Cincinnati bringing the streak to 24 straight regular season wins.

On May 31st, 1937 at New York's Polo Grounds, the NYFD had to turn away a crowd of an estimated 20,000 fans who did not have tickets for the game, for public safety. An incredible 60,000 had already jammed into the Polo Grounds and the surrounding hills, to watch Carl (The Meal Ticket) Hubbell continue his win streak.

But it was on this day that he took his 1st loss in ten months losing 10-3 to the Brooklyn Dodgers. One of the things that makes baseball so great are the unsung heroes, that shine for a day to break or spoil a record. Today it was Brooklyn Dodger, back up catcher Paul Chervinko, making his first MLB start of a short 45 game career. Chervinko would contribute with two RBIs helping Brooklyn defeat the Giants & beat Hubbell for the first time on the season.

In June after earning a save, he went on a personal four game losing streak. He rebounded with a July that had him throw four complete game victories. He finished the year at 22-7, leading the league in wins (22) win percentage (.733) & strike outs (159).

Post Season: The Giants went on to win another pennant that season & Hubbell made his final World Series appearance. In Game #1 he gave up four runs & was knocked out of the game in the 6th inning, taking the loss to Lefty Gomez.

He came back in Game #4 to salvage the only game of the Series for the Giants. He pitched a two run, six hit complete game in a 5-3 win. In six World Series starts in his career, he was 4-2 with 32 strikeouts in 50 innings and a 1.79 ERA. At the plate he even had four hits in 19 at bats.

Hubbell went on to win double figures in the next five seasons for the Giants but the glory days were behind him. The Giants suffered a series of bad seasons, finishing a best third twice in those years. His last year pitching was 1943, Hubbell was 4-4 with a 4.91 ERA at age 40 & he was released.

Lifetime he was 253-154 (44th all time in wins) with 1677 strike outs (127th all time) 227 walks & a 2.98 ERA (165th all time) in 3590 innings pitched (62nd all time). He threw 260 complete games (69th all time) & 36 shut outs (63rd all time) in 433 starts (89th all time).

He was so respected by his peers, he was elected to the Hall of Fame four years after he retired, before the five year rule. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in the class of 1947. He was also a good hitter, batting a career .191 with 4 HRs 30 doubles & 101 RBIs.

Retirement: After his playing days, Giants owner Horace Stoneman, put him in charge of player development. He held that position for 35 years through the 1979 season. After that he became a scout through the next decade until the time of his death.

Honors: He was the first player in the NL to have his number retired (#11) and he was the last New York Giants player to still be involved in baseball.

Passing: In 1988 Hubbell passed away after complications following a series automobile accident. It was thiry years to the day that his team mate Mel Ott died of the same cause. He is interred in Meeker Oklahoma.

Jun 20, 2017

Remebering Mets History: (1973) Jon Matlack Gets Hit In The Face With Line Drive

Tuesday May 8th 1973: It was a chilly rainy evening at Shea Stadium, as Yogi Berra's Mets (13-14) hosted Eddie Mathews' Atlanta Braves (10-17) in front of a small crowd of 6,840.

The Mets had fallen just under the .500 mark the night before, two games out of first place.

The Mets southpaw, Jon Matlack (2-5) took the mound against Atlanta's Ron Reed (1-4).

Starting Lineups

In the home 3rd inning, the Mets Teddy Martines singled & scored on Felix Millan's double.  The Braves answered with a solo HR from future Met manager; Davey Johnson, it was the first of two HRs he'd hit on the night.

In the Mets 5th, Felix Millan & Wayne Garrett both singled. Then clean up hitter, Rusty Staub singled home another run putting the Mets up 2-1.

The game rolled along with Matlack pitching well into the 7th inning. With one out he walked catcher Dick Dietz, the gave up base hits to Paul Cassanova & Rod Gilbreath.

Then with two outs, Braves short stop Mary Perez drilled a Matlack pitch straight up the middle. The ball grazed Matlack's glove but drilled him right in the left side of his forehead. The ball flew in the air landing near the Mets dugout & the outfield. All three runs scored as Perez scampered to second base with a double.

But more importantly on the mound, Jon Matlack was laying on the ground with his hands covering his face. His team mates rushed to his aide & he had to be carried off the field on a stretcher.

It was a horrifying scene, similar to an injury that ruined the Cleveland Indians pitcher Herb Score back in 1957. It was feared his season & possibly his brilliant young career was over. Matlack was taken to nearby Roosevelt Hospital where an x-ray revealed a hairline fracture to his skull.

Amazingly, Matlack would recover well enough to be back on the mound in just eleven days. On May 19th he took the mound at Shea Stadium pitching six scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He struck out six, walked just one & allowed nine hits taking no decision in the loss.

In the 1973 season Matlack who was the 1972 Rookie of the Year, went 14-16 with a 3.20 ERA striking out 205 batters (third most in the NL) while walking 99 in 242 innings pitched. He threw 14 complete games (5th most in the NL) & tossed three shut outs (7th in the NL). 

Trivia: As for the rest of that May 7th 1973 game, Phil Hennigan came in to relieve Matlack. He intentionally walked Hank Aaron then served up a grand slam to non other than Davey Johnson. The Braves went on to a 10-6 win.

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Mets Pounce On Cubs As The Kid Drives In Four Runs

Friday June 20th 1986: Davey Johnson's first place Mets (45-18) were rolling over the NL East, proudly holding a ten game lead over the division.

Today, Sid Fernandez went up againstScott Sanderson & Gene Michael's, last place Chicago Cubs (25-78). A large crowd of 44,817 piled into Shea Stadium for this Mets Cubs match up.

Starting Lineups

The Cubs scored first as Leon Durham had an RBI sac fly & Ron Cey added a base hit RBI, in the 4th inning to make it 2-0. But in the bottom of the 5th the '86 Mets attacked. Mookie Wilson & Wally Backman led off with singles. Kieth Hernandez then drove a base hit to the outfield brining in Mookie with the first run. Gary Carter tied the game up with a sac fly to centerfield.

In the home 6th inning Keith Hernandez his fifth HR of the season, putting New York ahead.

The Mets exploded in the bottom of the 7th inning, scoring six runs with three hits. Ray Knight led off with a triple and Cubs pitcher Ray Fontent then threw a wild pitch, easily scoring Knight. Kevin Mitchell walked & pinch hitter Ed Hearn reached on an error.

Tim Tuefel then doubled scoring Hearn making it 6-2 New York. Darryl Strawberry was walked intentionally to put two men on for "the Kid". The big blow came as Gary Carter blasted a three run HR, blowing the game open to 9-3.

In the 8th inning, Ed Hearn who stayed in the game to catch, replacing Gary Carter hit a solo HR to top off the 10-3 Mets win. It was Hearn's second HR of the year, his second on the week, he would hit four on the year in 49 games, 136 at bats.