Showing posts from June, 2013

Former Italian / American Umpire: Larry Poncino (1985-1999 / 2002-2007)

Larry Louis Poncino was born on February 3rd 1957 in Los Angeles California. He attended San Clemente High School & then the University of Nevada-Reno. Poncino began as an umpire in the Calfornia League (1977) moving on to the Texas League (1978-1979) & the Pacific Coast League for twelve years (1980-1992). He got to the majors as a National League umpire in 1985, working there through the 1999 season. In 1991 he was the home plate umpire working Montreal Expo Dennis Martinez perfect game at Dodger Stadium. He also worked the right field line of the 1996 All Star Game at Philadelphia, won by the National League 6-0. In 1999 Poncino was part of the mass umpire resignation of umpires organized by its union head Ritchie Phillips. The plan backfired as all resignations were accepted by MLB & a new union was formed with. MLB picked & chose what umpires they wanted back over time but 22 were left without jobs. Poncino was hired back in 2002 working the 2003 &

Former New York Giants Second Baseman: "The Twig" Wayne Terwilliger (1955-1957)

Willard Wayne Terwilliger was born on June 27, 1925 in Clare, Michigan. The tall lanky second baseman earned the nickname “Twig” because of his frame & his name. He played at West Michigan University getting signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1948. He spent two season with the Cubs, playing 133 games in 1950 hitting a career high 10 HRs with 32 RBIs and a .242 average. He was a fast infielder coming in sixth in steals that year (13) & had nine sacrifice hits (9th in the league). He spent a brief time with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, although he hit .280 in 37 games he was placed on waivers. He was purchased by the Washington Senators, and after one season in the minors, became their regular second baseman for two seasons. He hit a career-high .252 with 24 doubles 46 RBIs 13 sac hits (6th in the league) and 64 walks, posting a .343 on base %. Defensively at second base, he posted the leagues fourth best fielding percentage (.983) was third in assists (393) & fifth in p

Two Mets Players Turned Agents

Italian / American Umpire: Dan Iassogna (1999- Current)

Daniel Ralph Iassogna was born on May 3rd, 1969 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He went to High school in Trumball, Connecticut, & then earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Connecticut (Uconn). From there he began his pro umpiring career, first working in the New York Penn. League in 1992. By 1994 he was pushed up to the South Atlantic League, then the Carolina League the next season. In 1996 he began a two year stint at AA ball in the Texas League. From there he was promoted to AAA in the International League where he remained through the 2003 season. In August of 1999 he made his MLB debut working as a fill in, a position he held for vacationing umpires for five seasons. On August 13th 2002 at Arlington, Texas in a game between the Texas Rangers & the Chicago White Sox, Iassongna was part of a history making umpire crew. The umpiring crew was made up of the same ethnic background, all Italian / Americans. Iassogna was on the line at third base, Tony Randaz

Former Italian / American International League Star: George Puccinelli (1927- 1940)

George Lawrence Puccinelli was born on June 22nd 1907, in San Francisco California. The six foot one right fielder was part of a long line of early twentieth century second generation Italians. He began his pro career in 1927 with A ball Denver. It was just the start of a long 13 year minor league career. In 1931 he hit 20 HRs between A ball & AA ball. In 1930 he got a chance in the major leagues, playing eleven games with the NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals, batting .563 going 9-16. He showed off his power in just his third game, hitting a three run HR against the Robins in Brooklyn. Two weeks later he hit another HR in his next game, coming in Cincinnati. On August 30th, he hit HR #3 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He got into one World Series game going 0-1 against the Champion Philadelphia Athletics. He returned back to the minor leagues, leading the International League in hitting, batting .391, missing out on a .400 season by nine points. He also hit 28 HRs that year

Zack Wheeler & Matt Harvey Combine For a Twin Bill Sweep

Congratulations to Zack Wheeler on his first MLB victory in an impressive debut in Atlanta. The Mets took two from the Braves as Matt Harvey won the first game for his sixth victory of the year. Mets fans are hoping this is the future of the front end of the pitching rotation for years to come.

Remembering The 1973 N.L. Champion Mets: George Stone Beats Padres For Mets Fifth Straight Win

This is another post remembering the 40th anniversary of the 1973 N.L. Champion Mets. At the end of May 1973, the Mets were on a long west coast road trip, losing nine of twelve games in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego & Cincinnati.  George Stone June started out as a brutal month for the Mets as well, they lost six of seven games & fell to 8.5 games back of first place. Injuries had taken Cleon Jones, Bud Harrelson & catcher Jerry Grote all out of the lineup. Tug McGraw was struggling in the bull pen, although he had eight saves through May, his ERA by mid June was over five. With the Mets on a four game win streak, a Sunday afternoon June 17th, brought a crowd of 32,641 to Shea Stadium, to watch George Stone take on the Padres Bill Grief. In the Mets 1st inning, Felix Millan & Rusty Staub singled with one man out. Then John Milner hit a double play ball to second baseman Derrel Thomas, but Thomas booted the ball allowing Millan to score with the f

Former Italian /American Pitcher: Mike Magnante (1994-2002)

Michael Anthony Magnante was born on June 17, 1965 in Glendale, California. He had a rough start in his college career, with the L.A. Times writing that people thought Magnante, was the Italian word for “It’s outa here”. By the late eighties he became a star pitcher at U.C.L.A and was one of the top college pitchers in the country. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 1988 draft by the Kansas City Royals. His success was never equaled, but in 1991 he was 6-1 with a 3.02 ERA getting a big league call up. In 1992 he was 4-9 with a 4.94 ERA still being used as a starting pitcher. By 1994 he was in the bullpen and would find a home as a quality middle reliever. He spent six seasons in Kansas City before signing with the Houston Astros in 1997 where he went 3-1 with a save and a 2.27 ERA. On August 22, 1997 he struck out three Cincinnati Reds batters on just nine pitches, becoming the 29th major league pitcher to accomplish the feat. In the 1997 NLDS he appeared in two games a

Concert Review: Paul McCartney Rocks Brooklyn, NY at the Barclays Center 6/10/13

Originally expecting to be out of town for this event, plans changed & I needed to get McCartney tickets. After mulling over various ticket broker options, I went to ticketmaster & scored some excellent seats. Section 26 third row, right off the front left side of the stage. What a great view in a private little section of the arena. There were only three seats in our row two seats in the section next to us. Barclays Center Review: As for the new Barclays Center, it is located in downtown Brooklyn, a busy area that is building up around the venue. It is a behemoth building that looks like it was just dropped from the sky, kind of ugly around the sides. I do like the front entrance which has an open rotunda looking up into the sky.  Inside, it's an intimate venue if you're sitting in the lower sections of the arena. From there it looked like the second level seats were way up there, located high above the suites sections. The corridors are filled with concessio

Remembering the 1973 N.L. Champion Mets: Old Timers Day 1973 & Willie Mays' Big Day Afterward

This is another post honoring the 40th Anniversary of the 1973 N.L. Champion New York Mets. Old Timers Day @ Shea Stadium- June 9th, 1973: A big Saturday afternoon crowd of 48,000 filled up Shea Stadium to first witness an Old Timers Day classic between former Brooklyn Dodgers & AL New York Players vs former New York Mets from the sixties. A bunch of original 1962 Mets were on hand; Richie Ashburn, Ken MacKenzie, Jim Marshall, Rod Kanehl, Frank Thomas & Roger Craig. Other Mets on board included 1969 Amazing Mets Reliever Ron Taylor & pitcher Larry Bearnarth. It was on this day, the Mets officially retired Gil Hodges #14, as Mets GM Bob Scheffing presented Gil's widow; Joan Hodges with his Mets uniform. Former Brooklyn Dodgers; Carl Furillo, PeeWee Reese, Ralph Branca, Carl Erskine, Sandy Amoros & Cal Abrams were all in attendance. The Old Professor Casey Stengel was on hand along with AL New York players Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford & current 1973 Me