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Showing posts from November, 2014

The Legend of Brooklyn Dodgers- Clyde Sukeforth

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Clyde Leroy Sukeforth w as born November 30, 1901 in Washington, Maine. He certainly wasn’t a star player (.264 lifetime hitter) but he was involved in some classic baseball events for the Brooklyn Dodgers & New York Giants. He was a career backup catcher, first in Cincinnati from 1927-1931, seeing action in over 100 games in his last season there. He damaged his eye in a hunting accident but still continued to play baseball.  He was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers and backed up Al Lopez for four seasons. He hit for awful averages, after a .234 season he dropped to .086 then .163 in his last season. But during the man power shortage of WW II he got another chance to play nine years later, hitting .294 in 51 at bats in his final season of play (1945).   After his playing days, he became a long time Dodgers coach and scout working closely for Branch Rickey. He was coach for both Jackie Robinson & Roy Campanella at the minor league level working closely to ease racial te

Former Mets 1980's Prospect: Randy Milligan (1987)

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Randy Andre Milligan was born November 27, 1961 in San Diego California. Milligan was another highly touted prospect that never quite made it with the Mets at the big league level. Randy was the 1981 first round draft pick for the Mets.  He didn’t develop like the Mets had hoped and didn’t make his MLB debut until September 7th, 1987 as a pinch hitter for Bobby Ojeda.  He struck out in the Mets 8-1 loss at Busch Stadium. He appeared two more times, going hitless, with one walk. It was the only three games he played in as a Met. He was still considered a prospect and the next spring the Mets traded him to Pittsburgh for Mackey Sasser & Tim Drummond.  He hit .220 in 40 games in Pittsburgh then went to the Baltimore Orioles where he spent four seasons. He saw alot of action in Baltimore, playing in over 100 games each season. His best year was 1990 when he hit 20 HRs20 doubles, 60 RBIs and batted .260. He followed that up with 16 HRs70 RBIs and a career high .263 average. 

Former Italian / American Pitcher: Larry Gura (1970-1985)

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Lawrence Cyril Gura, was born November 26, 1947, in Joliet, Illinois. The six foot left handed pitcher attended Arizona State University winning two National championships (1967 & 1969) under Coach Bobby Winkles. He pitched alongside future Mets Gary Gentry & Craig Swan. Gura was selected by the Chicago Cubs as a second round pick in 1969. He made his MLB debut on April 30th 1970 finishing up a game against the Braves in Atlanta. He would go 1-3 on the year making twenty appearances at the major league level. He spent the majority of the next two seasons in the minors winning 11 games each season. After going 2-4 with the Cubs in 1973 he was traded to the Texas Rangers but two months later was sent to the A.L. New York club, in exchange for Duke Sims. He spent two seasons there going a best 7-8 in 1975 appearing in 26 games. That off season he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for future Mets announcer, catcher Fran Healy. Gura would spend ten years with the R

Former Italian /American Player: Paul Sorrento (1989-1999)

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Paul Anthony Sorrento born November 17, 1965 in Somerville, Massachusetts. Sorrento attended Florida State University getting drafted in the 4th round of the 1986 draft by the California Angels. Sorrento was a hot prospect & in 1988 he & two minor leaguers were traded to Minnesota for Bert Blyleven. In 1989 with the Twins organization, he was named to the AA Southern League's All-Star team as he led the league with 35 doubles and 112 RBI. His 27 HRs were  second only to league MVP; Eric Anthony's 28. Defensively Sorrento was rated as a fine first baseman with his glove. Sorrento debuted with the Twins in 1989, hitting his first career HR the following season. He saw brief action in the 1991 World Series going 0-3 as a pinch hitter. In March of 1992, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians where he had two straight 18 HR seasons, driving in over 60 RBIs both years. In 1995 he hit 25 HRs with 79 RBIs for the AL Champion Indians, averaging a HR every 13 at

Three Time World Series New York Giants Pitcher: "Prince" Hal Schumacher (1931-1942 / 1946)

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Harold Henry Schumacher, nicknamed Prince, was born on November 23, 1910 in Hinckley, New York on the Southern end of the Adirondack Mountains. Hal began attending Lawrence University but had to quit due to financial reasons, even though he was an exceptional student in academics as well as in sports. He was offered a contract by the New York Giants, but he told them he’d only sign if they paid for him to finish his education, which they did. From there on, he would spend his entire career with the New York Giants pitching 13 seasons and appearing in three World Series. He threw fast ball which was called a "heavy ball" in those days so hard, it sounded like a cannon ball when it hit the big catchers mit. He made a brief debut in April 1931 pitching just two innings in two games for manager John McGraw. He returned in June & July then got his first career win that September. The next season Bill Terry took over as manager & by 1933 Schumacher became second o

Two Time Eighties Mets Infielder: Bill Almon (1980/1987)

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William Francis Almon was born on November 21, 1952 in Providence, Rhode Island. The six foot three right hand hitter, attended Brown University, getting drafted as the number all around pick by the San Diego Padres in 1974. After flying through AA & AAA minor league ball, the Padres brought him up right away that September after just 39 games. He played in 16 games batting .316 with three RBIs. He spent most of the next two seasons down at AAA, having a rough 1975 season batting .228 while making 48 errors at short stop (.939%). He was brought up for six brief games that September as well. The next season at AAA Hawaii he batted .291, making 36 errors at short for a .947 fielding %.   In 1977 he became San Diego’s main short stop, leading all NL shortstops in put outs (303) errors (41) and sacrifice hits (20). He batted .261 with 2 HRs 18 doubles & 43 RBIs while stealing 21 bases. He was the Padres short stop again in 1978 but his days were numbered in 1979 when a

Short Time Early Nineties Mets Infielder: Dick Schofield (1992)

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Richard Craig Schofield was born on November 21, 1962 in Springfield, Illinois. He is the son of Dick “Ducky” Schofield who played shortstop & infield for 19 seasons from 1953-1971. Ducky backed up Alvin Dark & Alex Grammas in St. Louis with the Cardinals. He then backed up the 1960 NL MVP, Dick Groat in Pittsburgh winning a World Series there that same year. He became the Pirates main short stop from 1963 to 1965, leading the NL in fielding (.981%) in 1965. He would move on to the Los Angeles Dodgers (1966-1967). By 1968 he was back in St. Louis where he got to another World Series with the Cards losing to the Detroit Tigers. After that season he went to the Boston Red Sox backing up Rico Petrocelli (1969-1970). He ended his career in Milwaukee in 1971 after 19 big league seasons batting .227 with 699 hits 21 HRs 113 doubles 20 triples & 211 RBIs. The senior Schofield posted a .961 fielding % turning 385 double plays at short. His son Dick Schofield was draft

Early Eighties Mets Pitcher: Greg Harris (1981)

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Greg Allen Harris was born on November 2nd, 1955 in Lynwood California. The six foot right handed pitcher was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1976. Harris was actually a switch thrower if there is a such thing, as he could pitch both right handed & left handed. He pitched at both A ball Lynchburg & AA Jackson in 1978 going 8-9 with a 2.16 ERA. By 1980 he was promoted to AAA Tidewater after a nine win season at Jackson. He was 2-9 there but improved to 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA in 1981. The Mets were always looking for something positive in those days & brought him up to the big league club. Harris made his MLB debut on May 20th at Candlestick Park, pitching six solid innings allowing two runs, earning no decision in a 4-3 Mets win. His next start came at Shea Stadium where he beat the Philadelphia Phillies. Harris was 2-1 in June & then was sent back to AAA Tidewater returning in August. Upon his return he was put in a relief appearance where he

Short Time 1951 N.L. Champion New York Giants Player: Spider Jorgesen (1950-1951)

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John Donald Jorgensen was born on November 3, 1919 in Folsom, California. He was known as Spider, & would play minor league ball in 1941 before going off to serve in World War II. He returned to baseball in 1946 in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization as a left handed hitting third baseman who threw right handed. He made the Dodgers team in 1947 making his debut on the same day Jackie Robinson made his. At the time Jorgenson didn't remember there being alot of hoopla around Robinson's debut by the Brooklyn papers. As for Jorgensen he was more surprised at being named the Dodgers Opening Day third baseman than seeing Robinson across the diamond. In fact he used Robinson's glove on that historic day, since his equipment was still up at AAA Montreal & Robinson played first base. Spider went hitless but drove in a run with a walk in Brooklyn's 5-3 win. In 1947 Jorgenson hit .274 with 29 doubles, 8 triples (6th in the league) 5 HRs & 67 RBIs playing in 129

Former Italian /American Mets Player & Current A Ball Coach: Val Pascucci (2011)

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Valentino Martin Pascucci was born on November 17th, 1978 in Bellflower, California. The big six foot six right hander was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers but chose to go to college instead. He attended the University of Oklahoma, playing with the Sooners baseball team as a pitcher going 4-0.  In 1999 he was drafted by the Montreal Expos as a position player in the 15th round. After playing three years at A ball he hit 27 HRs with 82 RBIs at AA Harrisburg in 2002 although he batted just .235. In 2004 he made a brief appearance with the Expos in May but was sent back down, where he batted .98 with 25 HRs & 98 RBIs at AAA Edmonton. Pascucci earned a September call up to the major leagues and would play in the final game in Montreal Expos history that October. The next year he went to play in Japan for two seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines under Italian /American former Mets manager Bobby Valentine. He returned to the USA playing in 2007, for the Florida Marlins AAA

Former Queens Born Italian / American Baseball Brothers : Tony & Al Cuccinello

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Anthony Francis 'Tony' Cuccinello was born on November 8, 1907 in Long Island City, Queens New York. He played baseball at Bryant High School in Queens getting a baseball contact with the Cincinnati Reds. Tony hit over .300 three times in the minors getting to the big leagues by 1930. He hit .312 with 22 doubles & 10 HRs in his rookie year, making a big impression. He followed that up with another .300 season (.315) posting a .374 on base percentage, although his power numbers fell off. In 1932 he got traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers and was back home in New York. He spent four seasons in Brooklyn getting to two All Star games, as the Dodgers main second baseman. In 1934 he had career highs in HRs (14) & RBIs (94) with 32 doubles. On July 5th 1935 at the Polo Grounds both Cuccinello brothers (Tony & Al) hit HRs for their respective teams, becoming the first big league brothers to do so in a game while opposing each other. This feat has only been accomplished si

Former Italian /American Player of the Day: Greg Gagne (1983-1997)

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Gregory Carpenter Gagne was born on November 12, 1961 in Fall River, Massachusetts. The shortstop was originally drafted by the A.L. New York team, in the 5th round of the 1979 draft. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins with Ron Davis in the Roy Smalley deal in April 1982. He peeked his head in the majors in 1983 getting a cup of coffee & driving in three runs in 27 at bats. By 1985 he would solidify himself as the Twins shortstop for the eight years, winning two World Championships. He proved to be one of the AL’s better fielding shortstops in that time, leading the league in fielding % (1993) put outs (1994) while coming in tops in most defensive categories during his playing time. He would also lead in errors at short twice (1986 & 1995). In October of 1986 he hit two inside the park HRs in the same inning, tying a modern day MLB record. Both came off Chicago’s Floyd Bannister at Minnesota’s Metro dome. In 1986 he hit 12 HRs with 12 stolen bases & a Twins caree