Jun 23, 2009

Today In Mets History: 2007- Mets Trounce A's in '73 World Series Rematch

June 24, 2007: A beautiful Sunday afternoon brought a crowd of over 50,000 to Shea for an inter-league game between the Mets & A’s. This weekend series marked the 1st time the A’s had returned to Shea since the 1973 World Series, 34 years ago.

Willie Randolph’s Mets were in 1st place with a three game lead, and all was good as the Mets rode off with a 10-2 victory. John Maine got his 8th win of the year, going 7 innings allowing two runs on five hits & striking out six Athletics. His ERA was 2.87 with an 8-4 record as he made a good case for the All Star team. Guillermo Mota & Scott Schoeneweis pitched the 8th & 9th innings, not allowing any hits.

Jose Reyes lead off the game in exciting fashion as he doubled to right and scored on Jack Custs throwing error. John Maine drove in the 2nd run with a sac fly. In the 3rd, Damion Easley hit a two run double scoring David Wright & Paul Loduca. Jose Reyes singled off Joe Kennedy in the 4th driving in Carlos Gomez, putting New York up 4-0. The A’s got as close as 4-2, but in the 7th, Jose Valentin hit a three run HR over the left field wall making it 7-2. Carlos Beltran topped it off with a cheap single past 3rd in the 8th, scoring Julio Franco & Reyes, as the Mets rolled 10-2.

Jun 22, 2009

Today In Mets History: 2000- Mets Batter Pirates in Nine Run Third Inning

June 23, 2000: A Friday night crowd of over 40,000 gathered at Shea to see the 2nd place Mets vs the 3rd Pirates. The Mets bats were alive tonight belting out 12 runs and 14 hits. Nine of those runs were scored in the 3rd inning as they knocked out eight hits, sending 13 batters to the plate. Pirate pitcher Bronson Arroyo was charged with all nine runs before being relieved by Jeff Wallace.

With one out Derek Bell walked & Eduardo Alfonzo singled. Mike Piazza followed with his 21st HR of the season putting New York up 4-0. Next Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile & Jay Payton all singled, 5-0 Mets. Benny Agbayani walked and Melvin Mora doubled to cleared the bases, he was driven in by Alfonzo making it 10-1 New York. Everyone in the starting lineup got a hit (except the pitchers spot) Alfonzo, Ziele, Agbayani & Payton all had 2 hits each.
Bobby Jones cruised to the victory, striking out eight Pirates; allowing only five hits through 8 innings, Rich Rodriquez finished it up in the 9th. For Jones it was only his 2nd victory of the season & his best outing until that point, his ERA was still over eight. He would improve, ending up 11-6 for the 2000 NL Champion Mets.

Jun 19, 2009

Today In Mets History: 1971- Dramatic 15 Inning Walk Off

June 19, 1971: As Bob Murphy would say it was “a beautiful Saturday for baseball” as 52,171 fans turned out at Shea to watch Tom Terrific go against Philadelphia's Rick Wise. Frank Lucchesi’s Phillies were in floundering in last place, as Gil Hodges Mets were in second only 2 ½ games out.

Seaver certainly wasn’t having his best day; allowing 4 runs on 12 hits, striking out only 2, before being relieved by Ron Taylor in the 6th. Rick Wise was sailing along until the 6th inning. Ed Kranepool doubled, Ken Singleton singled and Ken Boswell singled scoring Kranepool. Jerry Grote & Tim Foli reached on errors scoring while two more runs scored, tying the game at four. The game went to the bull pens and both sides did a great job. Woodie Fryman & Joe Horner held the Mets scoreless for seven more innings, so did the . The Mets Tug McGraw & Danny Frisella did the same. Tug allowed only allowed 2 hits until the 12th inning giving way to Frisella. Frisella struck out six, but walked four and allowed four hits. In the top of the 14th, Phillies short stop Larry Bowa stole home giving the Phillies the lead.

But the Mets wouldn’t let this one slip away, with one out in the bottom of the 14th; Ken Singleton hit a dramatic home run to tie the game back up. Frisella came out for the 15th and with one out allowed 2 singles then struck out the next two batters. The stage was set for Donn Clendenon, who had come into the game late as a pinch hitter, going 3 for 4. With two outs he connected for a walk off game winning home run over the right field fence, (his 6th of the year) sending the crowd into frenzy. After 4 hours and 40 minutes, 15 innings later the Mets took the win 6-5. Billy Wilson got the loss & Frisella got his third win of the year.

Jun 17, 2009

New York Giants Broadcaster: Russ Hodges "The Giants Win the Penannt"

NY Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges made the legendary call for the baseballs most famous home run. Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard round the world” in the bottom of the 9th inning of the 1951 NL Playoff at the Polo Grounds.

“Hartung down the line at third, not taking any chances. Lockman without too big of a lead at second, but he'll be running like the wind if Thomson hits one. Branca throws. There's a long drive. It's gonna be, I believe -- The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant! And they're going crazy! They're going crazy! Oh-ho!”

Legend has it, the only reason the broadcast exists is because a Dodger fan began recording the last inning to hear the Giants announcer Hodges, "cry" after the last Giants lost. Hodges said the next day the fan called him and said “you have to have this tape” and mailed it to him. It has since become one of the most famous calls in baseball history.
Russell Patrick Hodges, (no relation to Gil) was born in Dayton, Tennessee on June 18, 1910. He began his broadcasting career in 1939 bouncing around with the Cubs, Senators & Reds. In the 1940s the NY Giants & the A.L. NY team shared the same broadcast team, covering just home games. Hodges landed the job alongside Mel Allen. By 1949 he was strictly a Giants broadcaster and would call the Thomson home run in 1951, the 1954 World Series Championship, and the last season at the Polo Grounds in 1957. He moved with the Giants to the West Coast and called the 1962 World Series as well. After 13 seasons in San Francisco he retired in 1970 . His signature home run call was “Bye Bye Baby” as the Giants theme song played behind him.

Hodges also called many boxing bouts covering such greats as Jake Lamotta, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson, Joe Louis & the famous Ali vs. Sonny Liston bout in 1965. In 1971 he died of a sudden heart attack in Mill Valley California, he was 61 years old. Hodges is in the Baseball Hall of Fame & Sports writers Hall of Fame. The Giants broadcast booth is named after him & long time partner Lon Simmons.

Jun 15, 2009

Mike Piazza Coaching Baseball In Italy

These days as Mike Piazza awaits his induction into Cooperstown, he is serving as an Ambassador to baseball, promoting the game in Italy. Piazza being of Italian heritage played on the 2006 Italian National Team in the World Baseball Classic. This past March he was their hitting instructor.

Recently he was holding clinics in Tuscany on hitting. Also coaching the players as they prepare for competition in The European Champion Cup & the World Baseball Cup. Italy has improved greatly in world baseball competition, most notably their victory over the heavily favored Team Canada in the WBC.

Alexi Maestri is the first Italian player to sign with an MLB club, the Cubs. He currently pitches for the Tennessee Smokies but suffered a huge set back as a shoulder injury shut him down for the rest of the year. Alex Liddi is one of the top prospects in the Mariners system, a third baseman who is only 18 years old. He is expected to get up to the major league level in 2012. Alot of hope on Euopean baseball players coming to the American game rides on his shoulders.

Piazza is just one of a few former MLB players promoting the game around the world, after latin America, Japan & the likes, Europe is it's latest target.

Jun 2, 2009

Today In Mets Histoy: 1972- Mets Beat Atlanta But Rusty Staub Goes on the DL For 90 Days

June 3, 1972: One thing this site does is bring back great memories, hopefully another is remembering how good certain players were. That is certainly the case with Rusty Staub, throughout time I think it is forgotton how good he was.

Take the 1972 season: Staub had come over from Montreal in a deal that sent Ken Singleton, Tim Foli & Mike Jorgenson to Canada. Up until June 3rd, 1972 the Mets were in 1st place by 5 games over the Cardinals, with the best record in baseball (31-12 - .721%).

On this Saturday afternoon over 41,000 showed up at Shea to watch Tom Seaver at 7-2 go up against Atlanta's Tom Kelley. The Mets would win the game 5-2, led by catcher Duffy Dyer's three run home run in the 2nd inning. A Cleon Jones double & Teddy Martinez ground out drove in the other two runs. Seaver got his 8th win, pitching into the 8th inning striking out nine Braves, and Tug McGraw got his 8th save of the year. Both Braves runs were driven in by outfielder (future manager) Dusty Baker.

But the Mets suffered a loss that would play a big part in the rest of their season. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Braves brought in George Stone to pitch, as Rusty Staub led off the inning. Stone struck Staub in the wrist with a pitch, causing a fracture that would make Staub miss the next 90 games. Staub had only missed seven games in the past four seasons in Houston & Montreal. It was a big blow to the Met offense, Staub had come into the game batting .313. For the rest of the season the Mets would go 52-61 finishing in 3rd place behind the 1st place Pirates & 2 games behind the 2nd place Cubs.
The Mets would aquire George Stone & Felix Millan from Atlanta for the 1973 season, Stone would go 12-3 with a 2.80 ERA for the '73 NL Champion Mets.