Feb 21, 2014

Former Bronx Born- Italian/ American Player: Dom Zanni (1958-1966)

Dominick Thomas Zanni was born on March 1, 1932 in the Bronx, New York. The right handed pitcher was signed by the New York Giants in 1951, but never got to pitch for New York in the Polo Grounds.

He spent seven years in the minors before getting to the big leagues. His first season was rough, as the big league club got to the World Series, Zanni went 1-12 in the low level of the Giants farm system. In 1952 he rebounded to a 20-8 record getting pushed up to Muskogee in the C level.

In 1954 he pitched a no hitter, getting future Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver as the last out. In a 1994 interview Zanni said "I'll never forget Weaver saying, 'just throw a strike, buddy, and that's the end of your no-hitter.' But he just popped it up to second. "That's Weaver for you. He would bother you for everything...."

Zanni posted two 15 win seasons along the way &; in 1958 after going 14-11 at AAA Phoenix he made it to the Giants staff, who were now in San Francisco. At the end of September he earned his first win in his MLB debut, coming against the St. Louis Cardinals. He beat Sam Jones while pitching four innings of relief.

Although his 1959 Topps baseball card listed him as a rookie star for 1959 it didn’t quite work out that way. He would bounce back & forth to the minors his entire career. He pitched in the big leagues with the Giants (1958-1961) the Chicago White Sox (1962-1963) & Cincinnati Reds (1963-1966). He pitched in the minor leagues a total of 15 seasons going 140-122 with a 3.44 ERA.

He saw the most action with the White Sox in 1962 going 6-5 with five saves in 44 games pitched, posting a 3.79 ERA. He came to play the A.L. New York club that year & everyone he ever knew in the Bronx wanted free tickets.

He said in the book “The Giants of ‘58” that he left tickets for about a million people; his grammar school & his high school were also in attendance. He was so excited when manager Al Lopez called him in to pitch in relief.Lopez had t yell at him to get out of there, so he could start pitching. In a late July series, he struck out four batters (Clete Boyer twice, Tommy Tresh & Elston Howard) pitching 2.1 innings of work. His friends & family in the stands, were thrilled.

Retirement: In his seven year career he was 9-6 with 10 saves & a 3.79 ERA in 111 games pitched. After his playing days he became an insurance agent & has retired on Long Island in the town of Massapequa.

Feb 17, 2014

2014 Mets To Honor Ralph Kiner

The 2014 Mets will honor former broadcaster; Ralph Kiner all season, by wearing a commemorative uniform patch on their right sleeve. They will start donning the patch during Spring Training & continue during the regular season.

In addition; there will be a pre game Opening Day ceremony at Citi Field when the logo will be displayed on the left field wall. The Mets Museum at Citi Field, will also have a special "Kiners Korner" display added to it's memorabilia section.

The new Kiner logo will be painted onto the grass at Port St. Lucie's Tradition Field during Spring Training as well.

Feb 6, 2014

"Going Going Gone Good Bye" The Passing of Ralph Kiner ( A true Mets & Basbeall Legend)

Today centerfieldmaz remembers Ralph Kiner on his passing.

Kiner was a Mets broadcaster from the teams very first season in 1962.

 For those of us growing up in the "golden age "of Mets baseball, it was Ralph Kiner, along with Bob Murphy who brought us all the great Mets memories.

Kiner was there at start for the Mets 120 game losing season. He was there when the Amazing Mets won the 1969 World Series.

Kiner with Casey Stengel
He was there for Tom Seavers three Cy Young Award seasons. He was there for the 1973 You Gotta Believe NL pennant winners. He was there for the bad years & the rebirth in the 1980's. He was there for Dr. K as he struck out everyone on his way to an electrifying year. He was there for Mex, Daryl & the Kid.

Kiner & Willie Mays
He was there when the '86 Mets, clinched the pennant after a 16 inning NLCS thriller. He was there when the ball went under Bill Buckner's legs &  the Mets won it all once again. He was there for the Mike Piazza years & when Bobby Valentine took the team to two straight post season appearances & the Subway Series &

Thanks for all you gave us Ralph. The classic one liners, the mistakes, the malapropisms, the great baseball stories & the actual live action of Mets baseball.

No matter what jokes people remember about Ralph & his style, he was a true, great baseball broadcaster. He is forever enshrined in Cooperstown in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Broadcasters wing. In a time where baseball was simpler & really for the fans, Kiner gave us a legendary TV show; Kiners Korner.

After each Mets home game, Kiner would interview a star player of that days game for a small bonus check. Kiner not only featured Mets players but visiting players as well. Great stuff. As Ralph would say on his HR calls "going going gone good bye".