Mar 29, 2017

Remembering Mets History (1988): Mets Smack Six HRs On Opening Day

Monday April 4th 1988: After the 1986 Championship season, Mets fans expected lots more World Series with the powerful lineup & fine pitching the team possessed in the mid to late 1980's.

After failing to make the playoffs in 1987, there was lots of optimism for 1988. This squad did win the N,L, East but lost an upsetting NLCS to the eventual World Champion Dodgers.

Opening Day began in Montreal where 55,413 fans came to Stade Olympique, to see their hone town Expos take on the New York Mets. Many Mets fans made the journey, but the Expo fans came out because they had lots of optimism as well.

The Expos were a fine team, finishing .500 in 1987 & would win 85 games in 1987. The opening day starters were the Mets Dwight Gooden taking on Montreal's, Dennis Martinez. Gooden would make eight Opening Day starts for the Mets winning six.

Starting Lineups

The Mets put two on in the 1st inning but, Lenny Dykstra got picked off first & Keith Hernandez grounded into a double play. The Expos got a run in the home 1st, on former Met Hubie Brooks RBI single.

In the Mets 2nd, Darryl Strawberry began the Mets six HR day with a solo shot to start his season & the inning. In the 3rd Kevin McReynolds drove in his first run of the day with an RBI single, making it 2-1 Mets.

In the 4th inning, Mets short stop Kevin Elster hit a two run HR, scoring Howard Johnson who had singled. The Mets had a 4-1 lead, but Montreal came back to tie it beating up Gooden by the 5th inning. Gooden had allowed ten hits as well as the four runs & only struck out one. He was replaced by David Cone.

In the 6th, Gary Carter singled & pinch hitter Dave Magadan walked. Lenny Dykstra connected with a three run HR Putting the Mets ahead 7-4. By this time Dykstra was  trying to hit more HRs, after another off season where he said he had done push ups all winter while watching TV at home.

In the 7th inning, the Mets greeted new pitcher Randy St. Claire with back to back HRs by Darryl Strawberry (his second of the day) & Kevin McReynolds. McReynolds would add another HR in the top of the 9th as well, giving him a two HR day along with Straw.

The Mets totaled six HR & 13 hits on their way to the 10-6 win. Gooden got the win, Cone the hold & Randy Meyers his first save of the season.

2015 NL Champion Mets Bronx Born Backup Catcher: Johnny Monell (2015)

Johnny Monell was born on March 27th 1986 in the Bronx, New York. His father Johnny Monell SR. was a catching prospect with the New York Mets in the 1980's, peaking with the AAA Tidewater Tides but never making it to the big leagues.

  Monell SR. also played baseball in Italy, Tawain, Mexico & Puerto Rico. As he & his wife divorced he would get half custody of Monell Jr. Johnny would spend time traveling with his father & grew up around baseball clubhouses.

At seven years old he used to take players equipment & put it in his locker. One day former Met Bernard Gilkey & friends put the kid safely in an equipment bag & hung it on a door. It was their way of telling his father to have him stop taking the others equipment. His father said he let him hang there a bit to teach him a lesson, it was all in fun.

He grew up across from Pelham Bay Park & also played baseball in between the apartment buildings where he lived. He & his friends would hit a tennis ball across to another building & each level was a different hit. It was there he said he learned to hit up the middle.

Quotes:  “You had to hit it up the middle. If you hit the buildings, it was an out. To this day, I’m an up-the-middle, gap hitter. I really think it comes from playing that game at Pelham Park.”

While his father was playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, the 12 year old Monell was shagging fly balls in the outfield. It was then that Cubs catcher; Hector Villanueva told him to put on his catching gear & catch. Next thing you know his father hears his son is catching in the bullpen. From then on, Monell Jr. originally a short stop, became a catcher.

Monell was a baseball star at Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx & later attended Seminole Community College in Florida. He was chosen by the San Francisco Giants in 2007 as a 30th round pick.

After six years in the minor leagues he got a big league chance in 2013. He played in 8 games for the Giants batting .125 with an RBI. It was tough for a catcher in the Giants organization with a guy like Buster Posey behind the plate. His contract was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles & LA Dodgers but he never made to their big league clubs. On November 6th, 2015 the New York Mets gave him a shot.

He was invited to the Mets Spring Training in 2015 & impressed with a .357 average in 42 at bats. He was known more of a left handed power bat & not known for being much of a defensive player.

Quotes: “It’s hard to imagine playing in Citi Field, and playing for the Mets, knowing my dad spent his entire career trying to get to the same place. Growing up, it wasn’t that far away, just across the Whitestone Bridge.”

With injury to the Mets main catcher Travis d'Arnaud, Monell got a chance with the Mets. Although highly touted rookie Kevin Plawecki was on board, as well as Anthony Recker, Monell was still getting a chance as the fourth string catcher. He debuted with the Mets on May 9th.

On May 10th, he came into the game as a pinch hitter with the Mets ahead of the Phillies 5-4 at Citizens Bank Park. Monell delivered a two run double scoring Recker & Ruben Tejada. Monell struggled at the plate & saw his average fall to .059. He was sent back to AAA Vegas but returned again at the end of June.

On June 28th he got a start & collected two hits while scoring a run in a 7-2 Mets win over the Reds. In July he had a stretch where he hit safely in four straight games.

On July 6th, he got some revenge on his old Giants team by hitting a two run double in the top of the 9th inning breaking open a scoreless game. He scored the third run on Juan Lagares' base hit. The Mets won it 3-0 as Jonathan Neise pitched one of his best games, a three hit eight inning shut out.

Monell was back down to the minors by late July & was recalled again in September. In 27 games he hit .167 with a pair of doubles & four RBIs. He did not make the post season roster.

He now lives in South Jersey where his father runs a baseball scholl in Margate, New Jersey.

The Only Mets Player To Be Born In England- Former Number One Pick: Les Rohr (1967-1969)

Leslie Norvin Rohr was born on March 5, 1946 and is the only Mets player to be born in England. He was born in the county of Suffolk at Lowestoft, the most easterly town in the United Kingdom, at its home to Ness Point. 

The Rohr family moved to the United States settling in Billings, Montana when Les was a young boy. He went to high school in Billings, Montana and became a star pitcher there.

The big six foot five lefty was chosen by the New York Mets in the first round of the 1965 draft, the number two pick overall behind Oakland’s Rick Monday.

Rohr was a big hard throwing, strikeout pitcher, whom the Mets scout Red Murff compared  to Ray Sadecki saying “he should be a twenty game winner in the majors”. The Mets chose Mr. Rohr ahead of their #12 pick, a Mr. Nolan Ryan.

The six foot five lefty made his debut at Shea Stadium on September 19, 1967 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He went six innings earning the victory, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out six Dodgers. In his next start he only lasted three innings taking a loss to the Houston Astros.

Rohr was fantastic in his next outing, which came  at Dodger Stadium. He pitched eight innings of shutout ball, striking out seven while beating Don Drysdale. Rohr would go 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA striking out 15 batters in 17 innings pitched. The future looked bright for him as he was being penciled in as a starter on the 1968 team.

But in his first appearance of April 1968 he pulled a tendon in his pitching arm which pretty much ended his career. Rohr came into the game at the Astrodome in the 22nd inning, as the eighth Mets pitcher of the day. He would take the loss as Bob Aspromonte would reach base on an Ed Charles error as the winning run scored in the 24th inning. Rohr would pitch in one more game, but miss the rest of the  season.

The former number one draft pick only made one more MLB appearance, and that was in 1969. He pitched one game in September, as the Pittsburgh Pirates hammered him for four runs in just over an inning of work.

Rohr never recovered from his injury and when the Mets tried to trade him to the Atlanta Braves, it was discovered he had a ruptured disc in his lower back. His career was over at age 23. He was with the team, although not in uniform during the 1969 World Series & celebrated with the team in the clubhouse.

Retirement: After baseball he went into the concrete business and  became a high school pitching coach. He now operates the Big Rohr Pitching School in Billings, Montana. 

For many years now, he has been seen driving around town in a ’72 pickup truck with a license plate that reads “69 Mets”. He was invited to the 40th anniversary ceremonies by the team & they offered to pay all expenses.

The humble Rohr, declined because he felt he did not contribute enough to the 1969 team. "Sure, I'd love to see those guys again, but I don't know whether they want to see me," Rohr said with a laugh. "They probably would. I didn't do much, but it's still an honor to be associated with the '69 Mets." he said.

Mar 28, 2017

Remembering Mets History (1962) The New York Mets First Game

Wednesday April 11th 1962: This historic day in Mets history marks the very first ball game the National League New York Mets ever played. The game was played at the old Sportsman Park in St. Louis, Missouri in front of 16,147 fans.

The Mets were the new National League New York team, one of two new NL teams that year, the other being the Houston Colt 45's, later to be renamed the Astros. the Mets donned blue & orange colors, in honor of the departed New York Giants & Brooklyn Dodgers who had left for California in 1957 (but that's another story).

The Mets manager was “the old professor” Casey Stengel. Stengel was 72 years old in 1962 and had been a successful player & manager, since forever.

Stengel was a lifetime .284 hitter who went on to win seven World Series titles as a manager. He was one of select few to have played and or managed all four New York baseball teams. Stengel was a walking Mets public relations machine, giving them the moniker “The Amazing Mets”.

As Stengel once said “when a baby Mets fan is born his first words aren’t mommy or daddy its Metsie, Metsie”. A term Met legend Keith Hernandez uses today all the time on tv broadcasts. Stengel is a member of the baseball Hall of Fame & was the first Met to have his uniform number (#37) retired by the Mets.

The Mets starting line up that day was a rag tag of veteran players, as expansion in those days was different than the developing of a new team in todays times. The starting pitcher was Roger Craig who was to suppose to start the home opener the next day, but he had to start since scheduled pitcher Sherman "road block" Jones had burned himself on a team flight. The saga of the '62 Mets just began...........

Starting Lineups

Ritchie Ashburn stepped up to the plate in the top of the 1st inning as the first batter in Mets history. He flew out to center field, the second batter was Felix Mantilla, he grounded out. Charlie Neal was next & flew out to right, Mets history was under way.

In the bottom of the 1st, Craig got Curt Flood out but then gave up a pair of singles & Hall of Famer Stan Musial singled in the first run against the Mets. Future Met Ken Boyer drove in the next.

In the 2nd inning, former Cincinnati Red; Gus Bell got the first Mets hit, a single to center field. After Gil Hodges flew out in his Mets debut, Con Zimmer got the second Mets hit.

In the 3rd inning, Ashburn singled to left field & Felix Mantilla walked. Then Charlie Neal drove in the first run in Mets history with a base hit & slugger Frank Thomas the second with a sac fly.

In the 4th, after the Cards went ahead 5-2, future Mets manager Gil Hodges led off the inning by hitting the first HR in Mets history. It was #363 of his great career. In the 5th inning,

Charlie Neal hit the second HR in Mets history, a line drive shot that carried right over the fence. Neal had the best day of all the Mets hitters going 3-4 with a HR, and two RBIs. Neal would also make the first error in Mets history when he booted a grounder in the sixth inning, helping the Cards as they scored four runs in the inning.

On the mound, Roger Craig was done by the 4th inning, giving up five runs on eight hits. He recorded the first Mets strike out by a pitcher, fanning catcher Gene Oliver. In the 4th inning, Bob Moorehead became the Mets first relief pitcher to come out of the bull pen.

The Mets would lose their first nine games before winning on April 23rd, 1962 at home in the Polo Grounds. The 1962 Mets went on to lose a record 120 games while winning only 40.

Trivia: The 1962 coaching staff behind Casey Stengel consisted of Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, former Brooklyn Dodger Cookie Lavagetto, Red Ruffing, Solly Hemus, & Red Kress.

Ritchie Ashburn: Ashburn was a longtime Philadelphia Phillies legend, a five time All Star getting inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1995. A life time .308 hitter, and winner of two NL batting titles. He was the Mets first All Star & first .300 hitter. After the terrible losing 1962 season he retired & became a longtime Phillies broadcaster until his death in 1997. He suffered a heart attack & died in New York after broadcasting a Mets Phillies game. His #1 is retired by the team and Ashburn Alley is named in his honor at Citizen Banks Park.

Felix Mantilla: Mantilla was Hank Aaron's roommate with the Milwaukee Braves & was a member of their 1957 World Championship team. With the 1962 Mets he had 11 HRs 59 RBIs and hit .275. He was sent to the Boston Red Sox the next season where he had some good years, hitting 30 HRs in 1964 & driving in 92 runs in 1965.

Charlie Neal: A member of the Brooklyn/ L.A Dodgers who had his best season in 1959 when they won the World Series. That year he made the All Star team, won a gold glove, batted .287, scored over 100 runs & led the league in triples. Neal hit .260 for the 1962 Mets with 11 HRs & 9 triples playing a solid defense. He was traded to the Reds the next season. Neal passed away in 1995 at age 64.

Frank Thomas: Thomas would hit 34 HRs in 1962, a Met record until Dave Kingman hit 37 HRs in 1975. Thomas was a journey man outfielder who hit 266 career HRs, including twelve straight years in double figures. He was second in the NL with 35 HRs in 1958 & appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Thomas who had studied to be a priest before baseball, was on the top 40 all time HR list when he retired. He was on hand for the closing ceremonies at Shea Stadium in 2008.

Gus Bell: Bell was a four time All Star who had hit over .290 six times in twelve previous seasons. Bell was a power hitter had four 20 plus HR & 100 plus RBI seasons. He was a team mate of Ralph Kiner with the Pirates & then a hero in his hometown of Cincinnati with the Reds. Gus only hit .149 in 30 games with the 1962 Mets and was traded to the Milwaukee Braves. Gus is the father of a rare three generation baseball family, his son Buddy Bell was a long time player & manager, and his grand children David & Mike were also MLB players. Gus passed away in 1995 at age 67.

Don Zimmer: Zimmer went on to a successful baseball career as a player, coach & manager. He was a Brooklyn Dodger utility infielder, having his career affected by a terrible beaning that put him in the hospital & almost left him blind ending his career. He was a member of the 1955 & 1959 Dodger championship teams. Zimmer batted .235 lifetime and only hit .077 in 14 games with the 1962 Mets, before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds.

Hobie Landrith: Landrith was the Mets first pick in the 1961 draft. Manager Casey Stengel justified the choice saying "You gotta have a catcher or you're gonna have a lot of passed balls. He was a career backup catcher with seven different teams batting .233 lifetime. In 45 games with the 1962 Mets he hit .289 before going to the Baltimore Orioles in a trade for Marv Throneberry.

Roger Craig: Craig was a former Brooklyn/L.A. Dodger who was a member of the 1955 & 1959 Dodger Championship teams. In the ’59 season he went 11-5 with a 2.06 ERA. He would spend two seasons with the Mets losing twenty games both years. He would have success years later as pitching coach of Detroit Tigers & is credited with developing the split finger fast ball. He then went on to manage the San Diego Padres & San Francisco Giants taking them to the 1989 Earthquake World Series. 

Bob Moorehead: Moorehead would spend two years with the Mets never winning a game going 0-3. In 1962 he went 0-2 giving up 118 hits in 108 innings.

Of course Gil Hodges had a spectacular career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, winning the 1955 World Series there & the 1959 World Series in Los Angeles. He then became a successful Manager with the Washington Senators & New York Mets. He led the Mets to the Amazing 1969 World Championship & had his uniform #14 retired. Hodges passed away from a fatal heart attack in 1972.

Hall of Fame Pitcher: Tom Glavine (The Mets Years: 2003-2008)

Thomas Michael Glavine was born on March 25th, 1966 in Concord, Massachusetts. The six foot left handed pitcher was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in January of 2014.

He was the winningest pitcher of the 1990's, a two time Cy Young Award winner, a five time twenty game winner, a five time NL Pennant winner, an eight time All Star & onetime World Series champion. Glavine was also a long time Player Union Representative since 1991 replacing the Braves Dale Murphy in the position.

Glavine was an excellent control pitcher, with the ability to fool hitters by changing speeds & location of his pitches often during an at bat. He was also a good hitting pitcher with a career .186 batting average, one HR 25 doubles, two triples, 93 runs scored & 90 RBIs. After falling off in the second part of the 2002 season & losing two games in the post season, the Braves refused to offer Glavine the extra year he wanted in his contract.

Fred Wilpon pampered Glavine & his wife around New York & offered him a four year 42.5 million dollar deal to come to New York. All of a sudden the former Mets rival was now a team mate & the fans had to root for him.

The calm soft spoken Glavine came to New York, making his Mets debut wearing uniform #47, on Opening Day 2003 at a cold windy Shea Stadium game against the Chicago Cubs. There was a lot of excitement in the air but it didn't go that well. Glavine walked the lead off batter & gave up three straight hits, it was 2-0 before the first out & 4-0 by the end of the first inning. The Mets lost 15-2 that day with Glavine taking the loss. centerfieldmaz was there.

His next outing was better, he allowed one run over five innings as New York beat the Montreal Expos 3-1 for his first Mets win. Glavine won his next two starts as well, including a seven inning , three run outing to beat the Florida Marlins on April 20th. In May he had a strong outing in San Francisco, going into the 9th inning allowing just one run, as the Mets beat the Giants 5-1.

On May 24th he returned to Atlanta wearing a Mets uniform, receiving mixed reviews from the crowd. Mostly they were appreciative of his years of service & winning efforts with the Braves. He pitched his heart out that day, but was knocked out in the 4th inning after serving up six runs, taking another loss. From there he lost five straight decisions, eight of nine & was at 6-11 at the start of August.

On September 19th he served up the first & only grand slam of his career, to Jose Vidro in a loss to the EXpos. It was clear the Mets were going nowhere this year as they finished 66-95 last in the NL East. Glavine went 3-3 the final two months finishing up a disappointing 9-14 with a 4.52 ERA in 32 starts.

He improved a bit in 2004, starting out the season by beating his old Braves team mates in Atlanta, with a two run two hit, six inning performance. He earned win #2 in Montreal later that week, with a one run seven inning outing to beat the Expos 4-1.

On April 16th he shut out the Pirates over seven innings but got no decision after the bullpen (Orber Moreno, Mike Stanton & David Weathers) allowed seven runs in the 8th inning, blowing his shut out.

On May 23rd, Glavine threw a spectacular one hitter at Shea Stadium, to beat the Colorado Rockies 4-0. He struck out a season high eight batters while walking only one. He bested his record to 6-2 was named to the All Star team in a Mets uniform & things were looking good. Then he was involved in a taxi cab car accident, getting slightly injured while losing his front tooth. He was shaken up off the field & on the field his second half went downhill.

Unfortunately he would win just five more games all year & lose twelve. At the end of June into early July he lost five straight games, while giving up four runs or more three times in a row.

He closed out August with a six inning one run victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 27th. He also closed out the season on October 3rd, with another one run six inning performance, this time beating the Montreal Expos.

The Mets finished the year in fourth place & the Art Howe era came to an end. Glavine went 11-14 with a 3.60 ERA, striking out 109 batters while walking 70 in 212 innings pitched (tenth most in the NL) over 33 starts.

In 2005 the Mets showed much improvement going into the season, some of the credit goes to Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson who suggested he pitch more inside & use a curve ball more often. The new manager was Willie Randolph & the GM Omar Minaya landed Pedro Martinez as the new ace of the staff as well as star outfielder Carlos Beltran.

Pedro began the year as the Opening Day starter & Glavine pitched the second game of the year, getting knocked out by after four innings, taking a 9-5 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati. After starting out 0-2, he pitched a strong game on April 22nd against the Washington Nationals. Glavine went seven innings allowing just one run on two hits, striking out seven batters.

On April 27th the Braves came to town & beat Glavine once again, knocking him out in the 5th inning after he served up seven runs including HRs to Andru Jones & William Betemit. In May when the Mets went to Atlanta, the Braves beat Glavine again, although he did pitch into the 7th inning before giving up four runs. By the All Star break he was 6-7 & then beat the Nationals again to get to the .500 mark. He remained at .500 the rest of the year until mid September when he dropped to 10-13.

But he finished strong, starting out with a complete game win over the Braves at Shea Stadium, for a 4-1 six hit victory.

On September 24th he pitched eight innings in Washington, allowing just two runs to beat the Nats 5-2. Glavine closed out the year with another complete game, the second in two weeks & earned the Pitcher of the Month Award. This time he shut out the Colorado Rockies at Shea, with a spectacular two hitter, striking out a season high eleven batters.

Glavine finished out the year at 13-13 with a 3.53 ERA (both second to Pedro Martinez) striking out 105 batters & walking 61 in 211 innings of work in 33 starts. That season he was a spokesperson for Volunteers of Americas: Operation Backpack, helping homeless children as well as Katrina victims.

2006 started with lots of excitement as the team had acquired Carlos Delgado, Paul Loduca, Jose Valentin & Xavier Nady in the off season. It proved to be the best year for the Mets since 2000 as they won the N.L. Eastern crown, staying on top of the pack all year long.

With Pedro Martinez sidelined, Glavine got the Opening Day start. He out dueled the Nationals; Livan Hernandez for 3-2 victory. Glavine went six innings allowing just one run on six scattered hits. On April 14th he beat the Milwaukee Brewers & then suffered a tough loss on his next start.

On April 19th, he pitched eight innings against the Atlanta Braves, allowing just one earned run but lost to Tim Hudson who threw a complete game 2-1 win. On April 29th in Atlanta, Glavine threw another gem; he went out & shut out the Braves for seven innings, beating John Thomson 1-0. Paul Loduca's solo HR was the only run of the game.

From that point on the Mets & Glavine caught fire. Glavine won six straight games through May & nine straight decisions into July. On May 4th he shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven innings, as he went into stretch of throwing 17 straight scoreless innings over three games.

On May 21st, he beat the A.L. New York team in the subway series, helped out by back to back HRs by David Wright & Carlos Delgado. On May 27th he went into the 8th inning in Florida, allowing three runs in the 7-4 victory.

A month later on June 23rd, he pitched a seven inning one run game in Toronto beating the Blue Jays 11-2 in inter-league play. In July he had three outings were he allowed five runs or more & was just 1-4 through the summer months of July & August.

He had a big scare that August when he felt coldness in his left ring finger & was tested for a possible dangerous blod clot. The results were negative & he was back to work for September.

On September 18th the Mets clinched their first NL East title in 18 years, the next night Glavine beat the Marlins with an eight inning two run performance. On September 30th he closed out the year with a win in Washington, giving him his 15th win of the year.

It was Glavine's best year as a Met, as he tied with Steve Trachsel for most wins on the club, went 15-7 (2nd most wins in the NL, tied with five other pitchers) with 131 strike outs (all his Mets bests) posting a 3.82 ERA in 198 innings over 32 starts. He became the first Mets left hander in thirty years to make thirty or more starts in four consecutive seasons.

Post Season: Glavine got the start in Game #2 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, at Shea Stadium (a game centerfieldmaz was in attendance at).

Glavine was in his usual post season form, throwing six innings of shut out ball, allowing just four hits, two walks & striking out two. He left with a 2-0 lead after Endy Chavez scored the first run, with a single, advancing on a wild pitch & Glavine force play, leading to a Jose Reyes ground out run.

Paul Loduca added a sac fly in the 5th as well. In the bottom of the 6th inning the Mets tacked on two more runs, with a Julio Franco ground out & a Jose Reyes single. Glavine got the win as the Mets went up two games to nothing, on their way to the sweep.

In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals he got the start in the Game One Opener at Shea Stadium. Once again he stepped up & was spectacular; pitching seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits & two walks, striking out two. Carlos Beltran hit a two run HR providing the Mets with all they needed in the 2-0 win over Jeff Weaver.

With a depleted Mets pitching staff, missing Pedro Martinez & Orlando Hernandez, Glavine got the call for Game #5 in St. Louis, as well. Although the Mets scored first, the Cards struck. In the home 4th, Albert Pujols hit a HR off Glavine & Rafael Belliard singled home another run. Glavine allowed one more run before his exit in the 5th & was the losing pitcher. The Mets lost the game & the series in seven games, ending a heartbreaking series after a fine season.

Glavine felt good about the Mets chances in the next few years & signed a two year deal with them in hopes of winning another championship as well as winning his 300th game. He entered the 2007 season with 290 wins & the Mets were proud that he would accomplish this feat in a New York uniform.

In 2007 the Mets returned to carry out a mission to get to the World Series & avenge their NLCS lost from the previous year. It was a strong year but the team collapsed in the final month & lost a playoff berth on the last day of the season. Glavine got the Opening Day win in St. Louis, after the Mets saw the Cards raise their World Championship flag.

Christine Glavine
In his next start, his friend John Smoltz beat him in Atlanta. But Glavine was strong from their winning four straight decisions until the end of May. He then lost four straight decisions, including two inter league game walloping's by the Tigers in Detroit (nine runs in 4.1 innings) & the A.L. New York club (seven runs in 4 innings).

On June 22nd he pitched a strong one run eight inning performance against the Oakland A's at Shea Stadium. In his next start on June 27th, he shut out the Cardinals for six innings earning his seventh win of the year (7-5). On July 14th Glavine beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-1, as he out dueled Matt Beslisle. The Mets won the game as Lastings Milledge singled off Mike Stanton in the bottom of the 8th inning. Glavine rolled along with six straight wins into mid September.

300th Victory: The biggest win of his personal career came on August 5th at Wrigley Field in Chicago. On a nationally broadcast game, he pitched six & a third innings, allowing just two runs on six hits, exiting with a 5-1 lead.

He went on to get the win & become just the fifth left hander in history to win 300 games over the course of a fabulous career. He & his family were honored by the organization, as well as the media, at a post game press conference & festivities.

On September 30th he pitched his final game with the Mets. It was the Mets final game of the year & they needed the win to get to the playoffs after a disastrous week. The day before John Maine pitched the game of his life, flirting with a no hitter into the 8th inning giving the Mets life & a much needed win.

But in the last game, Glavine was shelled for seven runs in the first inning, as the Mets playoff hopes ended as did Glavines career in New York. Many felt he went out their lax & showed no emotion as well as no heart in the game. After a bad start to his Mets career to a promising playoff run, it now ended just as bad as it began.

In his five year Mets career; Glavine was 61-56 with a 3.41 ERA. He struck out 516 batters, walked 114 while pitching 1005 innings in 164 games.

He closed out his career in Atlanta going 2-4 in 13 games in 2008.

In his 22 year career Glavine won two Cy Young Awards, a TSN Pitcher of the Year Award & made ten All Star Games. He was 305-203 (21st in wins) with a 3.54 ERA. He has 2607 strike outs (24th all time) 1500 walks (12th most all time) in 4413 innings (30th all time) in 682 starts (12th all time). He has thrown 22 shut outs (173rd all time) & has 52 complete games.

Retirement: Since his playing days he has become a color analyst for Atlanta Braves games.

Honors: In 2010 the Braves retired his uniform #47 at Turner Field. In 2014 he was elected to Cooperstown into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Family: He & his second wife Christine have five children, they reside in Johns Creek, Georgia. tom coaches his sons baseball & hockey teams.

Glavine is a Catholic & has done a piece for Catholic Athletes for Christ. He has always been very active in charity work, from the Rally Foundation, to CURE to the Georgia Transplant Foundation.

Mid Nineties Mets Outfielder: Alex Ochoa (1995-1997)

Alex Ochoa was born on March 29, 1972 in Miami Lakes Florida. He was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 1991 draft. 

Over the next four seasons Baseball America had his rated along the top fifty prospects each season, peaking at #35 in 1995. He hit over .290 three times in his first four seasons getting up to the AA ball level. 

He eventually got traded to the New York Mets with Damon Buford (son of former 1969 Oriole Don Buford) in July 1995 in exchange for Bobby Bonilla.

After landing at AAA Tidewater he batted .309 in 34 games with two HRs six doubles & 15 RBIs before getting called up to the big leagues in September. He made his MLB debut on September 18th, 1995 getting a hit in his first at bat stealing a base & scoring a run against the Braves in a 7-1 Mets loss at Atlanta.

As a September call up he hit .297 going 11-37, with four multi hit games in eleven games played. There was a lot of hype for the highly touted prospect Ochoa, for the future. In 1996 he began the year at AAA Tidewater, where he hit .339 getting called up to the Mets on June 22nd.

In his first game back up, he singled & drove in two runs helping the Mets to a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds. He would have eleven hits in eight games entering July batting .344. On July 3rd, he had a monster day in Philadelphia, hitting for the cycle in the Mets 10-6 win over the Phillies. 

He went 5-5 that day with a single in his first at bat. He then tripled off Terry Mulholland in the 4th inning, scoring Todd Hundley. He hit a solo HR in the 8th inning & had a pair of doubles with three RBIs and three runs scored in the 10-6 Mets win. 

In the first two weeks og the month he drove in fourteen runs. He had raised his average up to .390 in his first two weeks back in the majors. At the end of July he was still hitting well batting .312 and remained steady through the season. In September he hit safley in ten of twelve games keeping his average over .300, but he went hitless in his final three games, which had him finish off with a .294 batting average. In 82 games he hit four HRs with 19 doubles 33 RBIs 37 runs scored & a .336 on base %.

In 1997 he began as the Mets main right fielder but struggled at the plate, no getting over the .200 mark until mid June. Eventually Manager Bobby Valentine used the slow footed Butch Huskey in right field more often. Ochoa began to hit better in the summer months, including a rare game winning HR in the top of the 10th inning against the Braves in Atlanta on July 13th. On September 10th he had a four hit, three RBI day against the Phillies in a big Mets 10-2 win at Shea Stadium.

Overall he saw action in 113 games as a fifth outfielder posting the league fourth best fielding % in right field (.982%). His batting average dropped to .244 with three HRs 22 RBIs & a .300 on base %. At the end of the season he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Rick Becker who hit .190 in 49 games for the 1998 Mets.

Ochoa batted .288 in Minnesota and then was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers as a player to be named later. In Milwaukee he had a fine season, batting .300 with a .404 on base % along with eight HRs & 40 RBIs playing in 119 games.

Next year he was sent to the Cincinnati Reds where he had career highs in batting average (.316) HRs (13) & RBIs (58). He was the teams fourth outfielder behind Dante Bichette, Dimitri Young & Ken Griffey. That year the Reds finished second under Jack McKeon going 85-77. 

Over the next two years he would play for three teams; Colorado Rockies (2001) hitting a career high 30 doubles between there & the Reds, batting .276. 

In 2002 he played back in Milwaukee & then in Anaheim with the World Champion to be Angels. He saw action in all three post season series, going 2-4 as a pinch hitter in the ALCS against the Minnesota Twins.

Ochoa never hit near the .300 level again. In 2003 he went to play in Japan for & stayed there for four seasons. After an eight year MLB career he batted .289 with 587 hits playing for seven different teams. He also hit 46 HRs with131 doubles 261 RBIs  56 stolen bases & a .344 on base %. 

Retirement: In 2009 he became an assistant coach for the Boston Red Sox. In 2010 he was a Red Sox special assistant for baseball operations. In 2011 he served as batting coach at A ball Salem.