Sep 29, 2013

Mets Induct Mike Piazza (The Greatest Hitting Catcher In MLB History) Into the Team's Hall of Fame

Sunday September 29, 2013: In a touching moment at Citi Field, Mets legend #31- Mike Piazza, was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame.

Mets radio voice Howie Rose was the on field MC, joined by other Mets Hall of Fame inductees; Ed Kranepool, Rusty Staub, Bud Harrelson, Keith Hernandez, Dwight Gooden, John Franco, Mookie Wilson as well as Al Jackson & the Glider; Ed Charles.

Also on hand with Franco, was 2000 NL Champion teammate Edgardo Alfonzo who spoke some nice words & through a special video message, Piazza's old battery mate; Al Lieter (who was working at MLB studios in New Jersey).

Piazza walked onto Citi Field as Jimi Hendrix's version of "the Star Spangled Banner" & Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" blasted from the speakers. Piazza of course is a tremendous classic rock / hard rock / heavy metal fan. The Italian American Hero, received a standing ovation from the full house crowd that came out just for him.   



The Piazza family; his parents, his brothers, his wife Alicia & daughters all were all seated on the field along side him, for the emotional festivities.

After acknowledging the Mets organization & players, Piazza broke down when thanking his family. There wasn't a dry eye in the house as he thanked his father for all his determination for his son. The festivities concluded with him tossing out the ceremonial first pitch / last pitch of 2013 to David Wright.

Even New York's Mayor Bloomberg declared this day Mike Piazza Day in New York City.

 

Sep 28, 2013

Remembering the 1973 N.L. Champion Mets: Mets Clinch At Least a Tie In the N.L. East


Remembering the 1973 N.L. Champion New York Mets: Mets Split Twin Bill At Wrigley Field, Clinging to First Place



On Wednesday September 26th, the Mets took an 8-5 loss to the Expos, in the final regular season game of the 1973 season at Shea Stadium. 31,000 fans came out that night in support. Around the League the Pirates won, pulling within a half game of New York.

Wayne Garrett
The Mets were off to Wrigley Field, in Chicago to close out the season playing for all the marbles. But they would have to wait it out for three days, as heavy rains postponed games for three straight days. The Pirates would lose three of their next four games & be two full games out by Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals had moved into second place just 1.5 games out. Montreal, who took a pair of games from Pittsburgh were 2.5 games out, still in the mix.

On Sunday September 30th, the Mets & Cubs went to play a double header, in front of a tiny crowd in Chicago.

The first game began at 1100 AM, since there were still no lights yet at Wrigley Field, as Jon Matlack (14-15) went up against young Cubs pitcher; Rick Reuschel (14-15). Matlack was in top form, pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits to that point. But in the home 8th, he gave up a base hit to Dave Rosello & the Don Kessinger got aboard with a sac bunt.


Kooz Shuts Down the Cubs
Then with two outs, the heel clicking Ron Santo drove a single to left field, scoring Rosello with the only run of the game. Santo got a bit even with the Mets, after getting knocked out of first place in 1969. Bob Locker got the win for Chicago. 
The second game began at around 230 PM with 21,500 fans in attendance. Cubs manager Leo Durocher sent future Hall of Fame pitcher; Fergie Jenkins to the mound (14-15).

This was Jenkins last game as a Cub, as in 1974 he went to the Texas Rangers & led the AL in victories (tied with the A's Catfish Hunter) with 24.

The Mets sent Jerry Koosman to the mound, on four days rest. In the 1st inning, the Mets magic began to happen; Wayne Garrett walked & was sacrificed to second.

Rusty Staub then singled & John Milner was walked intentionally. Cleon Jones then hit a grounder to third base, Ron Santo tried to nail the runner at home but his throw resulted in an error, as two runs scored.

Next Jerry Grote grounded to Santo, this time he threw to first & Milner scored, making it 2-0 Mets on two unearned runs. In the top of the 6th, Cleon Jones blasted a solo HR, his 10th of the year, making it 4-1.

In the 7th, Jenkins walked Wayne Garrett & Felix Millan singled. Then Rusty Staub, the team's leading run producer; drove a single to left, scoring Garrett.

In the 9th inning, Ray Burris was now on the mound, after striking out Koosman, he gave up singles to Garrett & Millan.

The big RBI man; Rusty Staub, came through again. His his third hit of the day, brought in Garrett & Millan with his second & third RBIs of the day as well.

Staub closed out the season with a 15 game hit streak, hitting four HRs with six doubles & 16 RBIs in the month of September.

Koosman went the distance, giving up two runs both unearned. He allowed six hits, walked to & struck out seven, giving him 156 K's for the year. The win was his 14th (14-16) on the year as he posted a 2.84 ERA (9th best in the NL).

The nail biting season was still not over, as the crazy NL East was still undecided.

With two more games to go the standings looked like this:

New York Mets 81-79 -
St. Louis Cardinals  81-81 (1.0)
Pittsburgh Pirates 80-81 (1.5)
Montreal Expos 79-83 (3.0)
Chicago Cubs 77-83  (4.0)
Philadelphia Phillies 71-91 (11.0)

Sep 27, 2013

One Time New York Giants Bonus Baby That Didn't Pan Out: Paul Giel (1954-1955)

Paul Robert Giel was born on September 29th 1932 in Winona Minnesota.

 The five foot eleven right hander attended the University of Minnesota & was signed by the New York Giants as a 1954 bonus baby. He received the largest bonus any player had with the Giants up to that point $$60,000.

He found himself pitching with the 1954 World Champions during the regular season, debuting on July 10th, 1954. That day he finished up a 10-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out the last three batters he faced. Giel would pitch in just six games for New York, striking out four batters & walking two in 4.1 innings of work. He did not pitch in the post season.

In 1955 he saw the most action of what would be a short career. He earned his first career win on June 15th, a three inning relief effort at Wrigley Field. He would earn another win there in late July as well.

On July 10th he earned a win against the Brooklyn Dodgers in a classic at the Polo Grounds. With the Giants down 2-1 in the 9th inning, three straight singles led to Davey Williams tying up the game. Then Willie Mays won it with a walk off base hit 2-1. The Giants were the reigning Champions that year but Brooklyn would win the '55 Series taking the title.

Giel would go off to the Military for years, returning with the 1958 Giants who were now in San Francisco. He went 4-5 in 29 appearances posting a 4.70 ERA. He was placed on waivers & was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He pitched briefly there for two years, moving on to the Minnesota Twins & Kansas City Athletics in 1961.He retired after the season.

In a six year career he was 11-9 with a 5.39 ERA in 240 innings in 102 games.

Retirement: After baseball he was athletic director at the University of Minnesota (1972-1988). In 2002 he was returning home after a Twins game & suffered a fatal heart attack in his car.

Sep 24, 2013

Remembering the 1973 N.L. Champion Mets: Willie Mays Night At Shea Stadium

 
It was a super special night at Shea Stadium on this Tuesday evening, as the Mets were 1/2 games up in first place over the Pittsburgh Pirates & they were to honor the great Willie Mays. 54,000 fans showed up to say goodbye to Mays on "Willie Mays Night" in a pre game ceremony before a very important matchup with the Montreal Expos.

The 42 year old Mays, grew tired & was hurting by this point of the season. Mays had always said he felt manager Yogi Berra had used him too much earlier on in the '73 season. Mays had not been in a game since a September 9th, 3-0 win over the Expos in Montreal.

He had planned to leave the team & call it quits, but the Mets owner; Joan Payson, who adored Mays, convinced him to stay with the club & finish out the season. Now the Mets were in a pennant race & Mays would get to go out a winner, on the National League Champion Mets.

He would end playing in the World Series in the two cities that defined his career, as the Mets took on the Oakland A's of the San Francisco Bay area.

In the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds, Mays would have an RBI single at Shea Stadium in clinching Game #5. In the Fall Classic he would get his final career hit, an RBI game winning single in Game #2 at Oakland.

In the pregame ceremony on September 25th, 1973-, Mays was joined by his wife May Mays & their son Michael, donning a military cap & uniform. Mets broadcaster; Lindsay Nelson hosted the ceremonies in which Willie was showered with gifts from the organization.

Some former New York Giants team mates as well as respected rivals were on hand standing behind Mays, to honor the future Hall of Famer.

Bobby Thompson, Monte Irvin, Ralph Branca, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby (now a coach with Montreal), Roy McMillan (now a Mets coach), & Mets manager Yogi Berra. As Nelson said "Ladies & gentleman Willie Mays" in his classic drawl, the crowd went wild.

An emotional Mays stepped up to the microphone saying: "I hope that with my farewell tonight, you would understand what I'm going through right now. Something that I never feared I was to ever quit baseball, but as you know they will always come a time for someone to get out. And I look at these kids over here, the way they are playing & the way they are fighting for themselves, tells me one thing. Willie say goodbye to America."

He stepped back, wiped a tear from his eyes as other rolled down his face. The crowd cheered & he tipped his cap to the Shea Stadium fans. He then walked over to greet Mrs. Joan Payson. It was a big emotional night for all.


After the ceremony an important game was scheduled between the New York Mets & Montreal Expos.
 
The NL East standings now said:
New York Mets 79-77 -
Pittsburgh Pirates 77-76 / 0.5 games back
St. Louis Cardinals 76-80 / 3.0 games back
Chicago Cubs 75-80 / 3.5 games back
Montreal Expos 75-80 / 3.5 games back
Philadelphia Phillies 69-87 / 10.0 games back

Jerry Koosman (12-15) would go up against Steve Rogers (9-4). Koosman was 4-1 in his last five decisions, but had recently taken a loss & three no decisions since September 3rd.

Prior to that he had set a Mets record that lasted thirty nine years, pitching in 36 consecutive scoreless innings, going 4-0. He would finish out the year going 6-1 from mid August on through the pennant drive in September.

The revved up Shea crowd watched Koosman shut out Montreal through the first five innings. On the other side, Steve Rogers held the Mets down through the first four innings. In the Mets 5th they produced a run, playing their style of small ball.

Bud Harrelson led off with a base hit & was sacrificed over by a Koosman bunt. Wayne Garrett then singled but Harrelson was unable to score from third. Then the steady Felix Millan hit a sac fly to left field, getting Harrelson home from third, making it 1-0.

In the top of the 6th, Montreal also scrapped for a run as Ron Woods singled & stole second. Bob Bailey drew a walk & then Manager Gene Mauch called for a double steal. Bailey was nailed at second but Woods stole third. Hal Breeden then hit a grounder to Harrelson, but the usually sure handed short stop made an error, as Woods scored tying the game.

In the home 6th, the Mets took the lead right back as the hot hitting Cleon Jones hit his 9th HR of the year. Jones had missed almost two months with injuries, in the first half of the season.

Jones was now healthy & was the clubs best hitter in the final two weeks of the season. In the last ten games of the year, he blasted six HRs with 14 RBIs & had ten hits. In 92 games he hit 11 HRs with 13 doubles 48 RBIs & batted .260.

In the top of the 7th, Koosman gave up a pair of two out singles & with Felipe Alou coming to bat, Yogi Berra went to his bullpen ace; Tug McGraw. McGraw was now one of the best pitchers in the league, since August 22nd he was 5-0 with ten saves, allowing just three earned runs in 38 innings.

McGraw quickly put out the fire, getting Alou to fly out to left field. He pitched two more scoreless innings, getting Ron Fairly to fly out to end the game.

He walked off the mound, tapping his glove on his upper thigh, earning the save (his 24th).

Trivia: The glove tapping on the thigh after a big out or win, was a secret symbol of love, to his wife Phyllis.

Tonight in Pittsburgh, the Phillies & Steve Carlton beat the Pirates 2-1 on HRs by future Mets hitting coach Bill Robinson, as well as Mike Anderson. The Mets had their biggest lead of the season, up by 1.5 games.

In St. Louis the Cubs beat the Cards dropping them four games back & out of the race.

The Cubs had some life, 3.5 games out, with a four game set to be played against the Mets on the final days of the season at Wrigley Field.

Sep 23, 2013

Remembering the 1973 NL Champion Mets: Mets Extend Win Streak to Five Straight- Take One Game Lead In Division


Remembering the 1973 N.L. Champion New York Mets: Mets Extend Win Streak to Five Games- Take One Game Lead Over Division


Saturday 22 & Sunday September 23rd 1973:

The St. Louis Cardinals rolled into Shea for a two game series just one game behind the first place Mets. The Cards were playing mostly .500 baseball the past week, while the Mets were red hot.



After sweeping the Pirates in two different series, a three game set in Pittsburgh & a two game set at home, they were not stopping. They halted the Cards as well, by sweeping this two game set as well & continuing their win streak to seven straight games. The win streak extended to 11 wins in 13 games.



On Saturday afternoon, Cardinals' manager Red Shoendienst sent Reggie Cleveland (13-9) to the mound to go up against Yogi Berra's young star Jon Matlack (13-15). Both pitchers were outstanding, but Matlack was spectacular. He would go the entire distance, shutting out St. Louis allowing just four hits while striking out nine. The win gave him a personal streak of six straight & seven of the last eight games going back to the start of August.



Tonight's hitting star was Wayne Garrett, in the 3rd inning he blasted a two run HR (his 15th of the year) scoring Bud Harrelson for the only runs the Mets would need on the night. Garrett was hot, hitting safely in six of his last seven games. On top of that looking more closely, the redheaded third baseman had an awesome month.
 

Overall he would hit safely in 19 of the 25 games in September, including hitting safely in the last nine games of the season. He hit six HRs & drove in 17 runs with eight multi hit games.


The Pirates were idle tonight, so the Mets were now up on them by one full game in the standings. The Cardinals & the Expos were both two games back with the Chicago Cubs 2.5 games out.



In the words of Bob Murphy Sunday September 23rd, was a beautiful day for baseball & 52,000 came to Shea to root for the first place Mets.



George Stone (12-3) started for the Mets & Mike Thompson started the game for St. Louis, but an injury had him leave the game after two batters. Former Mets 1969 World Series hero; Tommie Agee hit a 1st inning HR for the Cardinals giving them a 1-0 lead. It would be the last HR of Agee's career, as his playing days were over in early 1974.


In the 3rd inning, former Met; Rich Folkers walked the first three Mets batters & was relieved by Orlando Pena. Then another Mets hot hitter; Cleon Jones hit a sac fly scoring Wayne Garrett.



In the 5th Wayne Garrett drove a single to centerfield & was sacrificed to second by Felix Millan. Rusty Staub, who was steady all season for the Mets; followed with a base hit scoring Garrett for his team leading 72nd RBI of the year.


In the home 6th, Jerry Grote singled with one out but was forced at second base on Buddy Harrelson's ground out. Next, the steady pinch hitter Kenny Boswell came through with his eleventh pinch hit of the year. The Cards changed pitchers bringing in "the Mad Hungarian" Al Hrabosky.

 


Hrabosky was still a young pitcher in his first full season, he would be one of the top reliever's of the seventies, leading the NL with 22 in 1975. In 1978 he would go the Kansas City Royals saving 20 games & 11 in 1979. But tonight he surrendered a triple to the hot; Wayne Garrett, the ball bounced around the right field corner, as both Mets runners scored putting the Mets ahead for good 4-2.



In the 7th Hrabosky, was victim to another hot Mets hitter, as Cleon Jones blasted a HR over the Shea fence capping off the 5-2 victory. In the final two weeks of the season, Jones would drive in 17 runs & hit six HRs, hitting safely in 10 of 14 games, while drawing eight walks.


The win went to Harry Parker, who had relieved Stone in the 3rd inning. Parker had come over from St. Louis before the season, in the Tommie Agee trade. He began the year as a starter filling in on an ailing staff, then moved into the bull pen & was fantastic as a reliever. He went 8-4 on the year with five saves posting a 3.35 ERA in 38 appearances.

Tug McGraw continued his great pitching, earning his 23rd save of the year (second most in the NL).



In Montreal the Pirates swept a twin bill from the Expos, so the Mets were unable to build up their lead on them atop the NL East.
 
But the Cards were now three games back, Montreal & Chicago 3.5 back with five games left to play. The large crowd at Shea left once again, shouting "we're number one"!!!!

Sep 20, 2013

Former Italian / American Player: Rocco Baldelli (2003-2010)

Rocco Daniel Baldelli was born September 25, 1981 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

He was a gifted high school student posting a 4.25 grade average & starring in four sports. He earned All State honors in track, basketball, volley ball & baseball. He would have attended Wake Forest on a baseball scholarship but signed as first round pick with the Tampa Bay Rays instead.

In 2002 he hit .331 at all three minor league levels getting to the Tampa big league club by 2003. He had a fantastic rookie year batting .289 with 32 doubles 11 HRs 78 RBIs & 27 stolen bases. He led all A.L. center fielders in assists (15) for the first of two straight seasons, was second in put outs & posted a .989 fielding percentage.

Baldelli began to get compared with Joe Dimaggio, sharing similar abilities, both being of Italian heritage, wearing #5 & playing center field. Al LaMacchia, a professional scout for over 50 years, went so far as to call Rocco "Joe's twin".

In 2004 he put up similar numbers: .280 average 16 HRs 74 RBIs 27 doubles & 17 steals, with a .978 fielding percentage. In 2005 he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the off season. requiring surgery.

Before his return he was set back again as he needed Tommy John surgery. He missed a season & a half returning in June of 2006. He went on to hit a career high .302 with 16 HRs 24 doubles 10 stolen bases & 57 RBIs in only 364 at bats. In 2007 he pulled his hamstring & worsened it when he attempted to play. He began to suffer from fatigue & doctors found metabolic abnormalities. His physical condition made it impossible for him to play & he held an emotional press conference in 2008 informing the media of his state. He took medication & supplements and made it back to the Rays for 28 games of the 2008 season.

Post Season: He made their post season roster & enjoyed the teams first season of success. In Game #3 of the ALCS he hit a 3 run HR off Boston's Paul Byrd to give Tampa the Series lead. In the Series he hit .333 going 2-6 in two games. In the World Series he had a double play assist in the outfield of Game #2 against the Phillies. He went 1-6 in the Series.

After the season he was the winner of the Tony Conigliaro Award, as he overcame adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage. Further medical testing found that Baldelli suffers from a form of channelopathy, which makes his condition less serious and more treatable than previously thought.

In 2009 he signed with the Red Sox, playing in 62 games with 7 HRs 23 RBIs & a .253 average. His physical condition made it very hard for him to play and he became a free agent at the end of the season.

He came back to Tampa as a coach & then signed a minor league deal. He got promoted &made it back to the Rays squad as a 2010 September call up. On September 5th, he hit a dramatic HR in his Rays return in an 8-7 loss to the Orioles in Baltimore.

He played in ten games the rest of the season, batting .240. He got to play in the 2010 post season, going 0-3 in the ALDS against the Texas Rangers.

Retirement: He announced his retirement in January 2011 & accepted a job in the Rays front office. In his seven year career he hit .278 with 60 HRs 262 RBIs 99 doubles 18 triples & a.323 on base %.

Sep 19, 2013

Remembering the 1973 N.L. Champion Mets: "The Ball On The Wall" Game


Remembering the 1973 N.L. Champion New York Mets: Thursday September 20th, 1973- "The Ball On the Wall Game"




Tonight's game between the Mets & Pittsburgh Pirates was certainly one of the most important games of the 1973 season & one of the most remembered in Mets history. 25,000 fans filled Shea that night to see Jerry Koosman (12-15) go up against the Pirates Jim Rooker (9-5).

Jerry Koosman
In the 4th inning the Pirates scored the first run, Koos walked Willie Stargell & Many Sanguillen singled. Then sloppy play led to a run, when Bud Harrelson threw wildly to first base on a Dal Maxvill groundball, the error scored Willie Stargell.

Rooker rolled along to the 6th inning, when he walked Jerry Koosman to start the inning. Koos was forced at second by Wayne Garrett's grounder, then Felix Millan continued his hot hitting & got a base hit. With two outs, one of the hottest months of September; Cleon Jones came through with a single to left field scoring Garrett. The game was tied 1-1 & as Bob Murphy would say was "getting to be a real nail bitter".

In the 7th Richie Hebner took a Koosman curve ball over the fence for a 2-1 lead. Rooker kept the Mets down until the 8th, pinch hitter Jim Beauchamp came through for manager Yogi Berra once again, with a base hit. Teddy Martinez came in to pinch run & Wayne Garrett laid down a successful sacrifice bunt. Once again it was Felix Millan coming through with a base hit to tie the game. Rooker got out of the inning with two men on getting John Milner to pop out to short.

In the 9th Harry Parker came in to pitch for the Mets. Parker had been a solid reliever throughout the year out of the bull pen. In the top of the 9th tonight, he walked Bob Robertson to lead off the inning. Pinch runner Dave Augustine was brought in to run. Dal Maxvill sacrificed him over to second. Harry Parker then fanned rookie slugger Dave Parker for the second out. With Hebner up again, after homering earlier, Berra wasn't taking any chances, he was given an intentional pass. But Dave Cash. an All Star himself, then doubled past Cleon Jones in left field bringing in Augustine with the go ahead run 3-2.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, the Pirates made three defensive changes & brought in Bob Johnson to pitch. Yogi Berra sent another one of his top pinch hitters in the '73 season up, veteran of the 1969 Amazing Mets; Kenny Boswell. Boswell delivered with a base hit to right field. Dohn Hahn then laid down a beauty of a bunt, advancing Boswell.

The return of "the Stork"
George Theodore
The Shea Faithful were now on their feet chanting "Lets Go Mets". As Ed Kranepool was announced as a pinch hitter, Pirates Manager Danny Murtaugh changed his pitcher, bringing in Ramon Hernandez.

George the Stork Theodore was brought in to pinch hit, it was The Stork's first appearance since early July, after going on the DL after his outfield collision with Don Hahn. Stork was still not at his best & went down swinging.

The Shea crowd still cheered Theodore for his bravery of coming back. He would remain a folk hero in Mets history forever & was honored in the Last Game at Shea in 2009.

Duffy Dyer
Now with two outs & the tying run on second base, Berra put up Duffey Dyer to pinch hit for the pitcher Parker. Dyer doubled to left field scoring Boswell, as the Mets dug out went wild, the Shea fans went wild & Yogi Berra once again made another right move.

Into the 10th inning & it was a whole new ball game. Ken Boswell stayed in the game & took over third base, as Wayne Garrett moved to short replacing Harrelson. The new catcher brought in was rookie Ron Hodges & what a key figure he would turn out to be in this classic game.


Pinch Hitter Ken Boswell
Ray Sadecki was brought in to pitch for New York & Jim McKee for the Pirates. Sadecki was fired up & struck out the side in the top of the 11th. He would pitch four innings, through the 13th, strike out six, allow no runs & two hits. In the bottom half of the 11th, the Mets threatened, John Milner walked & Boswell sacrificed him over to second.

Luke Walker was brought in to pitch & gave Don Hahn an intentional walk. But Walker got catcher Ron Hodges & Sadecki to both ground out.

In the op of the 13th inning, Richie Zisk singled with one out. Catcher Manny Sanguillen flew out to right field for the second out. Then, with the next play, the Mets fans really started to "believe" in Tug McGraw's mantra "You Gotta Believe".

Dave Augustine drilled a fly ball over the head of Cleon Jones in deep left field, the ball was headed to be a HR. But miraculously, it bounced off the top of the wall into Cleon Jones' glove. Jones played it perfectly, he then turned & fired to short stop Wayne Garrett.

From the moment the ball was hit, Pirates runner Richie Zisk took off from first & was rounding the bases. Wayne Garrett took the relay & made a perfect throw to home plate to catcher Ron Hodges. Hodges took the throw, blocked the plate held his ground & tagged out Zisk who was trying to score on the play. "Out at home plate". This play became known as "the Ball off the Wall Play".

The fans still amazed at the great play they witnessed were on their feet shouting "Lets Go Mets". Pirates pitcher; Luke Walker walked John Milner to lead off the inning. Next Ken Boswell walked as well, sending Danny Murtaugh to the mound to replace Walker with Dave Giusti. Giusti got Don Hahn to pop out for out number one.

Then Ron Hodges came through with a base hit to left field, scoring Milner with the walk off Mets win in dramatic fashion.

The win brought the Mets to within a half of game of first place of the Pirates. The Pirates fell to .500 which yes, was the best record in the NL East. The Mets were now 76-77 & had one more game against the Pirates tomorrow night.

Current Mets Outfielder: Jason Bay (2010-2012)

Jason Raymond Bay was born September 20, 1978 in Trail, British Columbia Canada.

At 12 years old he went to the Little League World Series with his Trail team. Eventually he was drafted while attending Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, by the Montreal Expos in the 22nd round of the 2000 MLB draft.

In Spring Training of 2002 he was traded to the New York Mets for Lou Collier. The Mets soon traded him along with Bobby Jones, to the San Diego Padres in July 2002 for relief pitchers Jason Middlebrook & Steve Reed.

The next season he made his MLB debut in a Padres uniform and hit a HR in his first game that May. On May 25th he was hit by a pitch & broke his wrist, finishing his promising rookie season. In August of that same year the Padres sent him along with pitcher Oliver Perez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Brian Giles.

In 2004 Bay became the first Canadian born player to win the Rookie of the Year Award, hitting 26 HRs 24 doubles 82 RBIs a .358 on base % & a .282 batting average. That season he broke Ralph Kiner’s half century old Pirates rookie HR record of 23. In the small market of Pittsburgh, Bay became a local hero & a two time All Star.

In 2005 he hit .306 (10th in the league) with 32 HRs, 102 RBIs, 110 runs scored (4th in the league) a .402 on base % (9th in the NL) & 95 walks (7th in the NL) while playing in all 162 games.

He is considered a slow base runner, but was highly successful when he did attempt to steal a base. In 2005 he tied an MLB record of 21 straight stolen bases without getting caught, a personal career stolen base high. That season he led all NL left fielders in fielding % (.996%).

In 2006 he had a great May winning the Player of the month Award hitting 22 HRs, including a stretch of six straight games with a HR.

The city of Pittsburgh campaigned heavily for Bay to get voted into the 2006 All Star game which was to be played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The cause was pushed a step further, when Pearl Jam was in town for a concert. Lead singer Eddie Vedder told the fans to go out & vote for Jason Bay. He ended up leading all outfielders in the voting and started in right field in the Mid Summers Classic going 1-3. The hometown crowd gave him a huge standing ovation during the pre game introductions.

His 2006 numbers were similar to the previous year 35 HRs 29 doubles 109 RBIs 102 walks (6th in the NL) a .396 on base % (79h in the NL) but his average was lower (.286).

In the outfield he made ten assists posting a .991 fielding %. He battled injuries in 2007 and had his worst year only batting .247 with 21 HRs & 84 RBIs. That year he made 13 outfield assists which was third best in the league.

In 2008 he was part of a huge three team deal that sent him to the Boston Red Sox & Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had another fine year with 31 HRs 35 doubles 101 RBIs while batting a strong .286. He played in his first post season and had a great ALDS hitting a HR in the each of his first two games. Overall he batted .412 with 5 RBIs in the series against the Los Angeles Angels. In the ALCS he hit .292 (7-24) with another HR & four RBIs while losing to the Tampa Rays.

In 2009 he had a good time bashing balls toward the green monster at Fenway Park; he came in third overall in the AL in HRs (36) second in RBIs (119) third in walks (94) & sixth in runs scored with 103.

He had 29 doubles with 94 walks, played in another All Star game & was seventh in the AL MVP voting. Although his batting average dropped to .267 & he struck out 162 times.

Bay strikes out often enough to be among the league leaders in that category & has struck out over 125 tomes five different seasons. For the 2010 season Bay signed a four year $66 million deal with the New York Mets.

On Opening Day 2010 he had two hits & began the year hitting safely in nine of ten games. He hit his first HR against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field in the first game of a double header on April 27th in a 4-0 Mets win. In the last week of April he went on a ten game hit streak and drove in runs in five of six game. In mid May he went on an eleven game hit streak and drove in two runs in back to back games against the San Francisco Giants.

In the May subway series matchup at Citi Field, Bay had a four hit day against Phil Hughes & Chan Ho Park on the Sunday evening game. He came back the next day hitting two HRs & driving in four runs leading the Mets past the A.L. New York club.

Bay peaked at the .300 mark but slowly fell off from there. He hit three more HRs in June but overall wasn't showing any power. He was hanging in there but the big hits like in his past weren't coming, as everyone in New York was waiting for him to adjust.

On June 28th he hit two HRs in Florida & drove in all three runs in the Mets 10-3 loss to the Marlins. On the fourth of July at Washington in a game against the Nationals he had his first Mets four RBI day which included a 1st inning two run triple. , In that game he did strike out three times as well. In July he suffered a concussion while running into the outfield wall in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The injuries got the best of him, shutting him down for the rest of the season.

His first season in New York, was a very disappointing one. Bay played in just 95 games batted .259 with 6 HRs 20 doubles & 47 RBIs posting a .347 on base %. In leftfield he posted a .993 fielding% & made six assists.

In 2011 there was more expectations for Bay but again he has struggled. At the end of Spring Training he suffered a rib injury which kept him out until April 21st missing the first 18 games. On April 23rd he hit his first HR of the season, he drove in three runs in the Mets 6-4 win at Citi Field over the Arizona Diamondbacks. It took him three weeks to hit another HR & then it took another month for him to hit his third HR.

On June 28th in Detroit the Mets had one of their biggest offensive inning outbursts, putting up seven runs in the top of the 4th inning. That inning Bay hit a grand slam HR off the Tigers Daniel Schlereth, breaking a Mets drought of 299 games without a grand slam. In the next inning Carlos Beltran added his own Grand Slam leading to a 14-3 Mets win.

On July 3rd he had his first Mets walk off hit, it came during an interleague Subway Series game at Citi Field as he singled home Scott Hariston in the 10th inning. On July 5th Bay hit two HRs in Los Angeles in a game against the Dodgers, but it was the only two he hit all month.

At the All Star break he had just six HRs & was batting .237. His August was a bit better as he hit three HRs that month, including his 200th career HR on August 8th. It came off the Padres Tim Stuffer & made Bay the third Canadian MLB player to hit 200 HRs. In what is not a big month at all, he drove in six runs raising his average ten points to .248 by mid August.

On September 8th Bay hit a grand slam off the Atlanta Braves Matt Minor, but the Mets still lost 6-5. Bay finished off another disappointing year batting .245 with 12 HRs 19 doubles 57 RBIs & a .329 on base %.

In 2012 his terrible run in New York continued. Although his April was highlighted by hitting two HRs he finished the month batting .240. Then after making a diving catch on April 23rd he went on the DL for eight weeks with a broken rib. He returned in June for one week which was highlighted by a HR in Tampa that helped Johan Santana to a 9-6 win. But Bay once again went down with injuries & missed another month of action.

At the All Star break the Mets were in second place having a surprisingly good year, but as soon as Bay returned it all fell apart. The team lost 12 of 13 and Bay was hitting just .150 by mid August. By that time manager Terry Collins announced he would be a part time player in left field. He finished the year batting .165 with 8 HRs 20 RBIs & a .237 on base % in 70 games.

Bay was released in November 2012 ending his three year run with the Mets in which he batted .234 with 26 HRs 124 RBIs in 288 games.

He was signed by the Seattle Mariners for 2013 & after68 games was hitting .204 & was released.

In his 11 year career he hit .266 with 1200 hits 240 doubles 30 triples 222 HRs 754 RBIs & a .360 on base %.  In the outfield he played 1254 games with 68 assists a .989 fielding % making 27 errors.

Family: Personally Bay is married with two daughters, and lives in the Seattle area during the off season.

Since playing in New York he has bought a home in the Larchmont area of Westchester County.

He is personal friend with Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore & the NHL’s Edmonton Oiler, Shawn Horcoff.

His sister Lauren Bay Regula is a pro softball player and two time Canadian Olympic star. Bay became an official U.S Citizen in 2009 while playing with Boston.