Jan 19, 2014

The First "Queens Baseball Convention" - A Big Hit At Citi Field

It was a great day at the First ever Queens Baseball Convention, in McFadden's Restaurant & Saloon at Citi Field. A huge success for friend & the main organizer; Shannon of the Mets Police. Good job to all those involved in organizing the event & all those who participated in the festivities.

Former Mets Pitcher & Broadcaster
Ron Darling
A great day to celebrate Mets baseball, past & present. Mets legends; Ron Darling & Ed Kranepool were the stars of the day. They told stories, posed for pictures & signed autographs.

All Time Met Legend: Ed Kranepool

Various Bloggers held discussion panels & hosted presentations. A few Mets executives also participated in a panel chat with the Mets Police Chief himself.

The Mascots were there as well, a big cheer went up as Mr. Met made a grand, much anticipated entrance. Sandy the Brooklyn Cyclones Seagull & King Henry from Coney Island's Mets A Ball team, were both on hand to greet the fans as well.

Another big hit, were  the 2014 calendar girls from "the 7 line" blog/line of clothing. They were there, smiling for pictures with fans & selling their calendars.

the 7 Line 2014 Calendar Girls
Various vendors lined up selling items, there was a dunk tank, a children's play area, & a Banner Parade. Citi Field reps were there to promote ticket plans. There were discussions on Mets uniforms, Mets Trivia, the Mets in Pop Culture, Mets Marketing & of course various presentations on Mets history.
The Mets Police & the Mets Execs.
There were the Mazzy Awards, the Gil Hodges Award & a Dating Game to win a date with a calendar girl. All in all a great day for Mets fans to share with other Mets fans.

the Sound Man "Cousin Dan"
 I got to help out cousin Dan "the sound man" at the event with various tasks. I got to see some fellow bloggers / authors like Shannon Shark, Media Goon, Mathew Silverman, Greg Prince & a bunch of others. I also got to meet & greet some centerfieldmaz fans, including the worlds biggest Felix Millan & Danny Heep fans.
Faith & Fear In Flushing- Greg Prince

Mr. Met & Calendar Girl

Sandy (Cyclones Mascot) Browsing the Vendors
centerfieldmaz & Ron Darling
Cant wait for next years QBC, expecting it to be a bigger event & one that will continue on an annual basis.


Jan 18, 2014

Remembering Mets History: (1973) The Mays / Matlack Saturday Matinee

June 4, 1973: A huge Saturday afternoon crowd near 50,000 came to Shea Stadium to watch a Mets line up that was missing most of its key players due to injury.

Cleon Jones, Bud Harrelson, Wayne Garrett, Jerry Grote, & Don Hahn were all out of the line up, with some kind of ailment. The Mets were struggling four games under .500 as they took on a second place Los Angeles Dodger team that were eleven games over .500, chasing the Cincinnati Reds.

Manager Yogi Berra, sent lefty Jon Matlack to the hill. Matlack had lost his last five games and hadn't won since he was hit in the head by a line drive the previous month. 

Matlack allowed a run in the top of the 1st inning, 1-0 L.A. In the bottom of the 1st the Mets struck back, Teddy Martinez singled & Willie Mays walked. Then Rusty Staub doubled to left field scoring both runners. In the top of the 3rd, Davey Lopes was picked off 1st base by Matlack, but an error kept him on base. He would score an un earned run to tie the game. 

In the bottom of the 3rd Willie Mays hit his 655th career HR, it turned out to be the game winning run. Matlack settled in going the distance not allowing another run the rest of the way.

The 42 year old Mays also showed shades of his youth in the 3rd inning on the field. With two runners aboard, Manny Mota hit a line drive to center, Mays dove, tumbled and came up with the ball to retire the side. Quite a day for the veteran Say Hey Kid.

Jan 17, 2014

Former Italian / American Player: Bob Ramazzotti (1946/ 1948-1953)

Bob Ramazzotti was born on January 16th, 1917 in Elanora Pennsylvania. The five foot eight, right hand hitting infielder graduated from high school & played local city ball. There he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1940. He would have some setbacks before reaching the major leagues.

First he went off to serve in World War II for three years from 1942-1945, serving as a sergeant in the Army's infantry division.

In 1946 he was brought up to the Brooklyn Dodgers when Cookie Lavagetto got inured & remained on the club when Eddie Stanky got injured. He made his debut in a game against the New York Giants as a defensive replacement on April 20th 1946. He hit just .208 that year in 62 games, as the Dodgers finished second to the Cardinals by two games.

Then in 1947, while playing minor league ball he suffered a severe beaning that affected the rest of his career. During a night game in Columbus Ohio, he was hit in the temple with a fast ball & lie on the field for twenty minutes until an ambulance arrived. He was listed in serious condition suffering from a triple fracture to the skull. He eventually had to have blood clot removed which formed in his brain. The operation was successful, saving his life.

He returned to play four games at the big league level in 1948 but Injuries would continue to haunt him. In May 1949 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, as Brooklyn went on to win a pennant that year & the Cubs finished in eighth place.

Ramazzotti spent four years in Chicago, hitting a best .284 in 1952 playing in 50 games. In a seven year career he batted .230 with 4 HRs 22 doubles 53 RBIs & a 271 on base %. He was a solid infielder that played second (126 games) third (82 games) & short stop (66 games).

Retirement: After baseball he worked in a ball bearing factory in Pennsylvania for twenty years. He also ran a sandwich shop with his wife, worked in a bowling alley & helped out in his brothers billiards hall.

In 1999 he came to New York & joined in the festivities with players from the 1949 World Series who were celebrating its 50th anniversary. He passed away in 2000 at age 83.

Jan 16, 2014

Remembering The Professor & Reuben Kincad Upon Their Passing....

On occasion centerfieldmaz features special articles on classic pop culture (music or TV) from my days of growing up. Today we remember two actors from two legendary classic TV shows.

Russell David Johnson was born November 10, 1924 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. He was a graduate of Girard College, in Philadelphia, a private school for orphans. He served as a lieutenant in the Air Force during World War II winning a Purple Heart, as well as three other Medals & a Ribbon, for bravery.

After the war he attended acting school, met his first wife Kay Levey & became close friends with Audie Murphy. Early on in the fifties he appeared in Westerns & Sci Fi films such as; Law & Order (with Ronald Regan) Loan Shark (with George Raft) It Came From Outer Space (with Barbra Rush) & Attack of the Crab Monsters.

On television he appeared on legendary shows as a guest such as; Superman, the Californians, the Outer Limits, Black Saddle, Lassie, Iron side, Death Valley Days, Gun smoke, Newhart, as well as two episodes of the Twilight Zone. In season 9 of Dallas he appeared in several episodes as a Sheriff.

But it was his three year stint as the Professor on Gilligan's Island that he is most famous for. The show ran from 1964-1967, then continued on endlessly though today, becoming an all time classic through syndication. During the first season (in black & white) The Professor & Mary Ann were not in the opening credits nor mentioned in the theme song. They were referred to as " and the rest". They were put in both the theme song & on screen credits in season two (in color).

In his role as the professor (aka: Roy Hinkley) he was a high school science teacher from Ohio. The well versed professor had attended USC, UCLA, SMU & TCU with a list of various degrees. He had taken the "three hour tour" with a number of books & had planned to write a book about Ferns. His expertise was botany, but he ended up helping make life more livable for the castaways with his clever inventions. His most famous inventions were the different ways he developed to generate electricity, usually Gilligan on a bicycle & batteries made of bamboo.

In real life even he would joke how the Professor could make something out of nothing, except fix a hole in the boat. He was also the calmest most level headed castaway, usually talking sense into the other characters & restoring order from the usual zany chaos.
He never showed a lust for Ginger (actress Tina Louise) or Mary Ann (Dawn Wells) even though he had been teased by them at various times, as they tried to turn him on. In one episode where the Castaways made a Silent Movie, ha has a long kissing scene with Ginger.
In real life Russell Johnson was married three times & had two children; a son & daughter. His son died from AIDS in 1994 & Russell was a full time volunteer for  AIDS research.

On January 16th, 2014 at 520 AM Russell Johnson passed away at his home in Bainbridge, Washington, from Kidney failure, he was 89. Ginger & Mary Ann are the last two living survivors of the show. Actress Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) & he remained life long friends. After his death, she commented that her two favorite People were now gone.


Another passing of an actor from the classic TV era was the death of Dave Madden. Madden was born December 17, 1931 in Ontario Canada, then grew up in Huron Michigan & Haute Indiana after his father had died.

He enlisted in the Air Force & began entertaining, as a standup comic. He eventually landed in Los Angeles, getting a gig in Beverly Hills which led him to Frank Sinatra who recommended him to Ed Sullivan. He did The Sullivan Show, and later landed a part in Rowan & Martin's Laugh In from 1968-1969.

After that he landed his most famous part as Reuben Kincade, the bands manager in the Partridge Family. The show ran from September 1970 through March 1974 on Friday nights & has lived on in syndication ever since.

The show focused on a family of young siblings who convince their mother (a bank teller) played by Shirley Jones to join the band, as singer keyboard/piano player. The lead singer is eldest son: Keith Partridge played by teen idol; David Cassidy (Shirley Jones' real life step son).

Other family members included teenage sweetheart Susan Dey, Tracy (Suzanne Crough), Chris (Brian Foster) & the famous redheaded brother; Danny Bonaduce.

Danny finds Reuben as the bands manager who helps making their first song a top forty hit & get them gigs. Reuben & Danny would usually be bantering amongst each other making for some good comedy as Rubens dry humor mixed well with Danny's wit.  

Reuben was a bachelor guy, who had a soft place in his heart for the Partridge children, although they did get on his nerves at times. He & Shirley never had a romantic relationship. The show featured an endless list of famous stars who appeared as special guests. The family drove around in a multi colored 1957 Chevrolet Series 6800 Superior Bus. 

Off the screen, Madden became friendly with the entire cast through the rest of his life. He had a special relationship with Bonaduce, even having the boy stay with him during problem times in his family.

After Maddens passing Bonaduce tweeted: "Dave Madden was a great guy & like family to me. He taught me to drive a car when I was 10. One of many great memories. I'll truly miss him.

After the Partridge Family he appeared on episodes of Bewitched, Alice, Happy Days, Barney Miller, the Love Boat, Fantasy Island & his last role on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

In real life he was married twice & had two children.
Madden passed away from complications of heart & kidney failure on January 16th, 2014 in Fruit Cove, Florida, he was 82.

long live classic sitcom television.................