Mar 29, 2014

Remembering Mets Opening Days of the Past: 2013 Mets Romp Padres

Rusty Staub Tosses Out 2013 First Pitch
The Mets began the 2013 season with Mets legend Rusty Staub throwing out the ceremonies; first pitch.

With Johan Santana down with injury, Mets Manager; Terry Collins gave Jonathon Niese the Opening Day start. 41,053 came to Citi Field to see the Mets take on Bud Black's San Diego Padres, as Edison Volquez took the mound vs. Niese.

The line up featured the latest Mets Marlon Byrd signed via free agency & John Buck, who came over in the R.A. Dickey Trade. Another new face was Colin Cowgill, another player Terry Collins inserted in an Opening Day line up (ala Brad Emus) who would not be on the club for too long.

The 2013 Mets starting line up was:
Colin Cowgill CF
Daniel Murphy 2B
David Wright 3B
Ike Davis 1B
Marlon Byrd RF
Lucas Duda LF
John Buck C
Ruben Tejada SS
Jonathon Niese P

In the home 2nd, John Buck drew a two out walk, Ruben Tejada then doubled bringing in Buck & Jon Niese singled home run number two, 2-0 Mets. In the top of the 3rd, the Padres got a run on Carlos Quentin's RBI single.

In the home 3rd, David Wright singled & stole second. He advanced to third on a ground out & then scored on Marlon Byrd's base hit. Lucas Duda walked & John Buck singled, bringing in the Mets fourth run. 4-1 New York.



In the 4th, the Mets struck again. Niese walked & Cowgill doubled. Daniel Murphy drove in Niese with a single. A slow groundout to third by David Wright scored Cowgill with the sixth Mets run. After Ike Davis struck out, Marlon Byrd singled again, driving in Murph to make it 7-1 Mets. In the home 7th, Colin Cowgill added a three run HR, capping off the 11-2 Mets victory.

Niese gave up a lead off HR in the 6th but that was all he surrendered. In 6.2 innings he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits 2 walks & 4 strike outs earning the win. Brandon Lyon finished out the 7th. Scott Atchison came in for a scoreless 8th & Scott Rice closed it out for the Mets first win.

The Mets are one of the most successful opening day clubs in the history of the game. The rest of the season had them finish 74-88 in third place. It was th clubs seventh losing season in a row.

Mar 28, 2014

Remembering Mets History: Alex Ochoa Hits For the Cycle (1996)

July 3, 1996: A large crowd of 43,000 came to Veterans Stadium to see Dallas Green's visiting New York Mets (38-45) take on Jim Fregosi's hometown Phillies (34-48).

On this day, Mets right fielder Alex Ochoa had a career day, hitting for the cycle with five hits, three RBIs & three runs scored.
Ochoa started out with a single in the 2nd inning off starter; Terry Mulholland. In the 4th he added an RBI triple scoring Todd Hundley, putting the Mets up 4-2.

In the 6th inning. Ochoa doubled off Mulholland and scored on Butch Huskey's HR, putting the Mets up 6-3. In the 8th, Ochoa hit a solo HR, (his 6th of the year) off Ken Ryan.

In the 9th inning, he completed the cycle with a double off pitcher Steve Frey. This scored Jeff Kent with the Mets tenth run of the game. The Mets won the game 10-6 and Alex Ochoa finished the day batting .390.

The winning Mets pitcher that day was Paul Byrd who went to 1-1. Doug Henry recorded the save, his sixth of the year. He would have nine on the year, second on the club to John Franco who would save 28 after coming back from injury.


The Mets would finish fourth that year at 71-91, with Bobby Valentine taking over as manager in late August.

Mar 22, 2014

Remembering Mets History (1964): Mets Open Up the New Shea Stadium

The 1963 Mets finished tenth at 51-101 but there was not to be much improvement in 1964.

After Spring Training & just one month after the Beatles had landed in America, the New York Mets played an exhibition series in Mexico City. The lost the first game to the Mexico City Red Devils 5-4, but took the next two in front of solid crowds.

On April 3rd 1964, they played an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers and won 9-1. Unfortunately, Mets pitcher Carl Willey was hit in the mouth by a line drive off the bat of Gates Brown. It broke his jaw & Willey went on to win just one more career game over the next two years.

The Mets opened the 1964 season on the road with a two game series in Philadelphia. Then that weekend they would open at home in their new grand ballpark; Shea Stadium. Located at the center of the Worlds Fair at Flushing Meadows in Queens, Shea was one of the most biggest beautifal stadiums of the day.

On Tuesday April 4th 1964, the Mets opened their third professional season, at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. 21,000 fans showed up to see the Mets; Al Jackson go against the Phillies; Dennis Bennett.

The 1964 Mets Opening Day lineup:
Dick Smith 1B
Amado Samuel 2B
Ron Hunt 3B
Frank Thomas LF
Jim Hickman CF
Hawk Taylor C
Joe Christopher RF
Al Moran SS
Al Jackson P

Joe Christopher
The Phillies struck in the 1st inning, as Jackson walked Johnny Callison & Dick Allen. The clean up hitter; Roy Sievers then hit a three run HR to make it 3-0. In the 2nd Clay Dalrymple singled & advanced on a wild pitch. Short stop Bobby Wine singled him in to make it 4-0. In the 4th, the Mets Joe Christopher hit a solo HR to put New York on the board.

In the 5th, Dick Smith & Amado Samuel led off with base hits. Ron Hunt grounded into a double play but Frank Thomas singled putting runners on the corners. Next Jim Hickman drew a walk to load the bases.

Hawk Taylor
Phils manager; Gene Mauch removed Bennett & brought in Johnny Klippstein. Hawk Taylor greeted him with a two run single bringing the Mets within a run. But the Mets couldn't come back, in the 8th Dick Allen added an RBI double to cap off the 5-3 Philadelphia win. Jackson took the loss.

The '64 Mets would finish tenth again going 53-109.

Mar 20, 2014

Former New Jersey Born Italian / American Pitcher: Paul Mirabella (1978-1990)

Paul Thomas Mirabella was born on March 20th 1954 in Belleville, New Jersey. He attended high school in Parsippany New Jersey & then college at Montclair State University, the current home of the Yogi Berra Museum. 

The six foot, one left handed Mirabella, was selected as the Texas Rangers number One draft pick in 1976, the 21st pick overall. 

 He would be a journey man middle relief pitcher for the most part of his career. He pitched for Texas (1978) the A.L. New York team briefly in 1979 going 0-4. He then went to Toronto where the Blue Jays tried him out as a starter in 1980, as he went 5-12 with 4.34 ERA in 22 starts (33 games overall). In 1983 he pitched for the Baltimore Orioles, then moved on to the Seattle Mariners (1984-1985). He then went to Milwaukee & pitched for four seasons with the Brewers before retiring in 1990. In 1989 he spent a short period with the West Palm Beach Tropice of the Senior Pro League before returning to Milwaukee.

In his 13 year career he was 19-29 with 13 saves. He struck out 258 batters, walked 239 in 499 innings pitched over 298 appearances.

Mar 12, 2014

Remembering Mets Opening Days of the Past: 2008 - Johan Santana Debuts

There was plenty of excitement for Opening Day 2008, the Mets had their new ace Johan Santana taking the mound for the first time as a Met.

The Mets had blown a first place lead the previous year & failed to make the playoffs on the final day of the season. The front office made the trade for Santana hoping he was the final piece of the puzzle. Willie Randolph's Mets, opened up in front of 38,808 at Florida against Fredi Gonzalez's; Marlins.

The Mets wore a commemorative patch on their sleeve, honoring the final season at Shea Stadium1964-2008.

The 2008 Mets Opening Day line up was:
Jose Reyes SS
Luis Castillo 2B
David Wright 3B
Carlos Beltran CF
Carlos Delgado 1B
Angel Pagan LF
Ryan Church RF
Brian Scneider C
Johan Santana P

The Mets exploded in the 4th, Beltran doubled & Delgado walked. Angel Pagan then doubled brining in the first run. Ryan Church singled making it 2-0. With two outs, Jose Reyes singled home Pagan, David Wright later doubled, bringing in Reyes & Church making it 6-0.

The Marlins scored their only two runs on 4th inning, Josh Willingham HR. The Mets got another run in the 9th, when Marlon Anderson scored on a Matt Lindstrom wild pitch.

The final was 7-2, Santana went 7 innings allowing two runs on three hits, 8 strike outs & 2 walks. Matt Wise, Scott Schoenweis & Jorge Sosa all pitched the 8th inning & Aaron Heilman closed it out in the 9th.

The Mets would fire manager Willie Randolph in 2008  & make coach Jerry Manuel his replacement. It didn't help as they would finish second again in 2008 (89-73), missing the playoffs on the final day of the season.

Santana would finish his first year as a Met leading the NL in ERA (2.53) Innings pitched (234) & starts (34). He was 16-8 with 206 strike outs (2nd in the NL) & 63 walks with three shut outs & two complete games.