Mar 30, 2015

Long Time New York Giants Pitcher: Dave Koslo (1941-1942/ 1946-1953)

George Bernard Koslo was born on March 31, 1920 in Menasha, Wisconsin just outside of Milwaukee. The left hander was signed out of high school, making it to the big leagues in 1941 pitching in four games, posting a 1.90 ERA. He went 3-6 in 1942 before going off to serve in World War II from 1942 through 1945.

He returned to the Giants rotation three seasons later to win 14 games (6th most in the NL). He also lead the league in losses (19) hits (251) earned runs allowed (107) as well as starts (35) while overall posting a decent 3.63 ERA. Koslo was also a work horse pitching in 265 innings on the year, while pitching 200 plus innings in three of the next four seasons.

In 1947 he gave up Jackie Robinsons first career HR & served up 23 HRs to lead the league in that category. On the ’47 season he won 15 (15-10) posting a 4.39 ERA and once again allowed the most earned runs in the National league.

Two years later he had his best season, leading the league in ERA (2.50) going 11-14 while saving four games pitching 212 innings. He would post another losing record in 1950 but would then win ten or more games for the next four seasons. In the 1951 Giants pennant season, he was used mostly as a reliever, but had some big games as a starter as well. In his first start he pitched a two hit shutout in the Polo Grounds against The Cardinals. Two months later he threw another two hit shutout in St. Louis.

He won four games during the crucial September pennant race, pitching into the 9th innings three times in four starts. His 10 victories (10-9) tied him with George Spencer for fourth best on the staff. He had three saves & posted a 3.31 ERA making 39 appearances.

Post Season: He got the surprise start in Game #1 of the 1951 World Series and pitched a one run complete game victory. He struck out three & allowed seven hits beating Allie Reynolds. He came back in Game #6 and took the loss allowing 4 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings pitched in the final game.

After going 6-12 in 1953 his contract was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles where he pitched just three games. During that season he was sent to the Braves where he finished up his career near his hometown area of Milwaukee in 1955. In his final career appearance he gave up a game winning walk off HR. In his 12 season career he was 92-107 22 saves with a 3.68 ERA making 348 appearances.

Retirement: After baseball he worked for a publishing house in Menasha Wisconsin. He passed away there from unknown causes at age 55 in 1975.

Mar 26, 2015

Short Time Brooklyn Born Mets Third Baseman: Ted Schreiber (1963)

Theodore Henry Schreiber was born on July 11th 1938 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended James Madison High School, & the five foot eleven infielder then attended St. Johns University.

In 1959 he was signed as an amateur free agent by the Boston Red Sox. When he first arrived to his locker, veteran Jim Piersal said to him "get every dollar you can get out of 'em kid". Schreiber had an on going feud with his minor league manager Johnny Pesky & his days were numbered.

In 1962 he was scooped up by the Mets in the Rule V draft & spent three years mostly playing at AAA Buffalo. He was not a favorite of Casey Stengel but was rather chosen by GM Johnny Murphy.

On April 14th, 1963 he got a chance in the majors, playing for manager Casey Stengel. He debuted as the tenth third baseman in Mets history, batting leadoff & wearing uniform #43. He got his first career hit that day as well, in a 1-0 ten inning ,ets loss to the Milwaukee Braves. He got three hits in the month but was sent to the minors at the end of April. He returned in late July & remained with the club for the rest of the season.

He hit just .160 (8-50) with two RBIs & no extra base hits, playing in 39 games. It was his only big league season.

In his next to last career at bat, he grounded into a double play & made the final out in the Polo Grounds. The Mets lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1 that day. Schreiber got one more at bat on the final road trip & had four appearances as a defensive replacement.

Retirement: After baseball he became a long time school teacher in Brooklyn.

Mar 22, 2015

Early Nineties Mets Pitcher: Cory Lidle (1997)

Cory Fulton Lidle was Born on March 22, 1972 in Hollywood, California. Lidle was a descendant of the inventor of the steamboat Robert Fulton, as reflected in his middle name. His brother Kevin, was a minor league catcher as well.

The right handed Lidle was signed by the Minnesota Twins in 1990, and then released by 1993. From there his contract was purchased by the Minnesota Twins, where he pitched in their minor leagues though 1995. During the baseball strike of 1994, Lidle crossed the picket lines to pitch, therefore he was never able to join the Players Union.

In January he was traded to the New York Mets for Kelly Stinnett. At AA Binghamton Liddle led the staff with 14 wins (14-10) 140 strike outs & a 3.38 ERA. He began 1997 at AA Norfolk going 4-2 that April before getting called up to the big league squad.

Liddle made his MLB debut on May 8th, 1997 pitching in relief of Rick Reed at the Astrodome, in a 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros. Three days later, he would earn his first career win in St. Louis pitching one scoreless inning of relief against the Cards. On May 19th he earned another win, when John Olerud hit a 9th inning walk off HR to beat the Colorado Rockies. He would start out his career at 3-0 with one save, going into early June. 

In July he would earn five holds out of the bullpen, earning another win on July 11th against the Atlanta Braves. On August 5thhe came in to pitch a tenth inning tie against the St. Louis Cardinals. He earned the win after holding them down & Edgardo Alfonzo hit a game winning sac fly. The following week he earned a win in St. Louis as Butch Huskey singled in the top of the 9th driving in the game winning run. Lidle would pitch well for the Mets, going 7-1 through September 23rd, not earning another loss until his last outing of the season. 

In 54 games, he was 7-2 with two saves posting a 3.53 ERA striking out 54 batters in 81 innings pitched. That November he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the expansion draft.

He would make his way to Tampa for two seasons, before becoming a starting pitcher and going to Oakland in a huge three team deal. The deal sent Ben Grieve to Tampa, Mark Ellis & Johnny Damon to Oakland, & future Mets Roberto Hernandez & Angel Berroa to Kansas City. 

Lidle quietly had the best year of his career, going 13-6 with a 3.56 ERA (10th in the league) behind the Big Three of Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson & Barry Zito for the wild card winning Oakland A’s. He helped Oakland in their historic August run of 20 straight wins, going 5-0 allowing just one earned run all month in six games pitched.

Post Season: In the ALDS with Oakland leading two games to one, Lidle got roughed up taking the loss allowing six runs over 3.1 innings.

The next year he fell to 8-10 & was granted free agency. He went to Toronto going 12-15 then had another 12 win season pitching between the Cincinnati Reds & Philadelphia Phillies.

In 2005 he tied his career high 13 wins going 13-11 with a 4.53 ERA. After leaving the Phillies he criticized his team mates for not playing behind him on days he pitched.

By 2006 he signed with the A.L. New York club and went 4-3 on the season, making an appearance against the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. After the series ended in defeat he publicly said the Tigers were more prepared than his team. 

He put blame on manager Joe Torre & appeared on WFAN defending himself & his team. Then hosts of Mike & the Mad Dog show both jumped on Liddle saying he wasn’t entitled to a day in New York, nor did they think much of him.

Passing: On October 11, 2006 Liddle took off in a small plane from Teterboro airport in New Jersey with a co pilot/ instructor. After circling the Statue of Liberty twice, he went up the East River past the 59th St Bridge where they lost radar contact.

While attempting to make a U-turn the small plane crashed into the Bel Aire apartments on 72nd St. overlooking the East River.

Lidle & the co pilot Tyler Stanger were both killed, shocking the baseball world, he was 34 years old.

The next night a moment of silence was held in his memory during the NLCS at Shea Stadium in a game between the Mets & Cardinals.

1954 World Champion New York Giants Relief Pitcher: Marv Grissom (1946/ 1953-1958)

Marvin Edward Grissom was born March 31, 1918 in Los Molinas, California. His older brother Lee Grissom was a left handed pitcher, mainly playing with the Cincinnati Reds (1934-1939) going 29-48 lifetime with seven saves & a 3.89 career ERA. Marv began to pitch on Sundays because his high school had no baseball team. He went off to World War II in 1941 & did four years of military service.

There he pitched against a team managed by the New York Giants star Johnny Mize. Mize was impressed the six foot three right handed Grissom, especially his wicked curve ball. When he got back from the war he was asked by the Giants if any ball players had impressed him in the service, he recommended Grissom. He was signed and began pitching with the AAA Jersey City Giants going 4-10 in 1946.

That season he got a brief call up for four games and went 0-2 before going back to the minors. He would go to the Pacific Coast League, then get drafted Rule V by the Detroit Tigers. He would appear with them in 1949 and by this time was already thirty years old. Grissom was sent once again to the Pacific Coast League as two more seasons would pass him by. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox where he went 12-10 as a starter in 1952. He was then traded to Boston, before getting put on waivers then getting picked up, returning to the Giants in 1953. That winter the Giants toured Japan & since they only had six pitchers Grissom was always willing to pitch. He later said that those innings built up his arm to have a strong 1964 campaign.

Grissom came to New York with a 3-6 record & went 3-2 the rest of the way. He saved the first game of the 1954 season against the Brooklyn Dodgers, in relief of Sal Maglie. He had a great month of June going 6-1 with four saves lowering his ERA to 1.52 by July 1st. He made the All Star team and helped the Giants win the World Series as one of the league’s best relievers. He finished with a solid September going 1-0 with three saves. In that 1954 Giants Championship season he went 10-7 with 19 saves (3rd best in the league). He appeared in 56 games pitching 122 innings, striking out 54 batters while posting a 2.35 ERA.

Post Season: In the 1954 World Series Grissom had a front row seat for Willie Mays famous Game One catch which is now called the greatest catch of all time. He was warming up in the bullpen a few feet away from Mays when he made the grad in deep center field off Vic Wertz. Right after the catch Manager Leo Durocher summoned Grissom from the bull pen, to relieve pitcher Don Liddle. As Grissom arrived on the mound, Liddle gave Grissom the ball & said “I got my man”.

Grissom later said while pitching in the Polo Grounds he always felt safe with Willie Mays out there in center field. He entered that Game #1 with a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning. He pitched 2.2 innings allowing no runs on one hit, striking out two & walking three Cleveland Indians. He pitched out of a few jams & earned the win on Dusty Rhodes three run pinch hit HR. It was his only Series appearance.

Over the next four years he was among the tops in the league in saves, appearances & had four straight seasons with perfect .1000 fielding percentages. In the Giants last year at the Polo Grounds he saved 14 games (second most in the league) going 4-4 with 55 appearances (4th most in the league) posting a 2.61 ERA. When the Giants moved out west he was happy to return close to his home in Red Bluff, California. In San Francisco in 1958 he saved ten more games (4th in the league) going 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA.

In October 1958 he was traded along with Ernie Broglio to the St. Louis Cardinals for future Met Hobie Landrith. By now Grissom was 40 years old & only pitched in three games that season before retiring. In his ten season playing career he was 47-45 with 58 saves, making 358 appearances posting a 3.41 ERA in 810 innings pitched.

Retirement: After his playing days he became a long time pitching coach for the Los Angeles / California Angels (1961-1966/1969) also the Chicago White Sox (1967-1968) and Chicago Cubs (1975-1976). Grissom passed away in Red Bluff, California, at the age of 87 in 2005.

Mar 20, 2015

Brooklyn Born- 1999 New York Mets Wild Card Champion Utility Player: Shawon Dunston (1999)

Shawon Donnell Dunston was born March 21, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, the same school as Danny Kaye, Shelly Winters, Riddick Bowe & Grandpa Al Lewis had all gone too.

Dunston was a slick fielding short stop with a strong throwing arm, getting drafted in the first round (the number one pick overall) for the Chicago Cubs in 1982. In the rookie league he batted .321 then moved up to A ball where he would bat .310 in the mid western league. He made the jump right through to AAA the next year & made his MLB debut in 1985.

He would spend eleven years in Chicago making two All Star teams, working as a double play partner with Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg. In his first full season he led the NL in errors at short (32) while also leading in assists (465) & put outs (320). Two seasons later he stole 30 bases for the first time in his career. He would steal a career high 32 in 1997 (9th in the league) & steal 20 or more bases five times overall.

He hit a career high 17 HRs twice (1986 & 1990) while driving in 60 or more runs four times. His batting average seemed to get better as his career moved ahead, in 1995 his last year in Chicago (the first time around) he batted .296 playing in 127 games.

In 1996 he signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent & batted .300 for the first time in his career playing a full season. He had batted .315 in an injury ridden 1992 season (19 games). The next year he signed back with the Cubs & was traded to the Pirates where he once again hit .300 overall on the season.

Over the next two years he would pack his bags quite often, playing for Cleveland, San Francisco, St. Louis & then the New York Mets. At this point in his career he had primarily become an outfielder, leaving the short stop position. He arrived in New York on July 31st, 1999 going to the Cardinals in exchange for Craig Paquette.

He was happy to be playing in his hometown, for the team he had rooted for while growing up in Brooklyn. He debuted the next day entering the game in the 3rd inning in Milwaukee. He got two hits & an RBI,  in the Mets 7-2 win over the Brewers. 

The next day he made his first start & had three hits with another RBI in the Mets 10-3 victory. Dunston hit well with the Mets playing in 22 games that August, having six multiple hit games. He raised his average to .317 at the end of the month. 

On August 30th, Dunston entered the game in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter, getting a base hit to bring home a run. The next inning he doubled scoring Benny Agbayani & Edgardo Alfonzo in the Mets 17-1 win over the Astros in Houston.  On September 12th he had another multi RBI game, driving in three runs in a 10-3 win in Los Angeles. He played in 42 games for the 1999 Wild Card winning Mets, batting .344 with six doubles 16 RBIs 4 stolen bases & 12 runs scored.

Post Season: In the 1999 NLDS against the Arizona Diamond Backs, he got the start in centerfield in Game #1 going 1-3 being pulled for a pinch hitter late in the game. Overall he went hitless in the next three games as a pinch hitter. In Game #1 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, he reached on an error as a pinch hitter in the 9th inning scoring a run on Todd Pratt’s base hit off John Rocker.

He went hitless as a pinch hitter in the next two games & then appeared in the marathon Game #5 at Shea Stadium. In the bottom of the 15th inning he lead off with a walk & scored the tying run on Todd Pratts base hit, setting the stage for Robin Ventura’s grand slam single. Overall in the post season he was 2-13 with a stolen base & a run scored.

In the 2000 season he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals batting .250 & appearing in his second straight post season. In the NLCS he faced off against his old Mets team mates, going 2-6 with a double & a run scored. Dunston played out his last two season with the San Francisco Giants retiring in 2002.

In his 18 year career he batted .296 with 1597 hits 292 doubles 62 triples 150 HRs 668 RBIs 212 stolen bases & a .296 on base %. 

In 1363 games at short stop he posted a .967 fielding % making 205 errors in 6223 chances. He also played 242 games in the outfield, 25 games at second, 11 games at third & 16 games at first,

Retirement: Dunston works as a special assistant for the San Francisco Giants & resides in Freemont California.

Mar 16, 2015

Former Mets Pitcher : Josh Stinson (2011)

Joshua Randall Stinson was born on March 14th, 1988 in Shreveport Louisiana. The big six foot four right hander was drafted by the New York Mets in the 37th round of the 2006 amateur draft. He struggled at Savannah in 2007 going 3-11 with a 4.86 ERA. He would bounce between there & A Ball St. Lucie the next two seasons. 

In 2010 he improved to 9-3 at AA Binghamton although his 4.34 ERA was still a bit high. He got pushed up to AAA Buffalo where he was 2-2 in four games with a 2.57 ERA. 

In 2011 he began the year at AA Binghamton going 4-3 with six saves in 27 games. He was moved up to AAA Buffalo back in a starting role going 3-7 with a 7.44 ERA.

Stinson got a September call up to the Mets and debuted on September 2nd against the Nationals in Washington. He pitched the final two innings of a 7-3 Mets win, giving up no runs on two hits with two strike outs. Two days later he was credited with his first of three hold on the year. On September 6th in Florida Stinson got his first career save. it came in Florida against the Marlins.

On the ten year anniversary of September 11th, the Mets had a touching ceremony remembering the tragic events in New York in a game at Citi Field. Many former players from the 2000 NL Champion Mets team were on hand that night & although the Mets came close to a comeback they could not pull of a win. Stinson came on to pitch in the 11th inning with the score tied 4-4 against the Chicago Cubs.

He allowed a walk, a single, an RBI single to Carlos Pena & another walk before being removed for Ryota Igarashi who gave up four more runs. Dale Thayer then came in & allowed another as the Mets lost it 10-6 with Stinson taking the loss. He would blow one more save & take another loss on September 20th. 

In 14 appearances he posted a 66.92 ERA going 0-2 with eight strike outs & seven walks in 13 innings of work.

In April of 2012 he was placed on waivers & picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in six games for them in relief with no record.

At the end of Spring Training 2013, Stinson was placed on waivers. He was picked up by the Baltimore Orioles a week later. He had a terrible outing on April 24th, giving up five runs in 5.2 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was back at AAA returning in September making 11 appearances posting a 3.18 ERA.

In 2014 he pitched mostly at AAA Norfolk going 5-5. He did pitch in eight games at the Major league level for the O's posting a 6.23 ERA in 13 innings pitched.

In his four year career he is 0-2 with two saves, posting a 4.41 ERA in 52 innings pitched in 39 games.

Mar 15, 2015

Former Italian /American Umpire: Frank Pulli (1972-1999)

Frank Victor Pulli was born on March 22, 1935 in Easton Pennsylvania. In high school he played baseball well as basket ball eventually turning to umpiring. 

He began working games in the Mid West, Eastern & International Leagues in the sixties & early seventies. Pulli made it to the major leagues as a National League Umpire by 1972 using the number 14. 
 On April 8th, 1974 he was the first base umpire at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium in the game where Hank Aaron broke the All Time HR record. Pulli would officiate sic NLCS Series: 1975 / 1979/ 1986/ 1991 / 1993 & 1997. 

In the 1986 NLCS Pulli worked home plate at Shea Stadium in Game #3 where Lenny Dykstra hit a two run walk off HR to beat the Houston Astros & put New York up two games to one. Pulli would officiate four World Series: 1978 / 1983 / 1995 & 1990 where he was the crew chief. 
 In the 1978 World Series blew a major call in the 6th Inning of Game #5. The A.L. New York club's Lou Pinella hit a low liner to Dodger short stop Bill Russell. He dropped the ball then flipped it to second baseman Davey Lopes.

Lopes threw to first base but base runner Reggie Jackson stuck out his hip in order to get hit by the ball. The ball caromed off Jacksons' leg & the runner scored from third base as Steve Garvey argued the call.

Dodger Manager Tommy Lasorda came out to argue as well but the call stood, as L.A. lost the game 5-4 in extra innings. Had the call been corrected, the Dodgers would have won the game & been ahead 3-2 in the Series. 
Pulli also worked the 1977 & 1988 All Star games, being the crew chief in the latter game. In 1993 he was named an NL Umpire chief.

In 1989 he along with Umpire; Rich Garcia was placed on probation by Commissioner Fay Vincent, when it was learned they had placed bets on other sporting events, not baseball.

In 1999, Pulli was the first umpire to use instant replay. In a game in Florida between the Marlins & the St. Louis Cardinals, Cliff Floyd had hit a ball near the yellow line on the outfield wall. The play was first ruled a HR but then Pulli used a television monitor to review the play. He reversed the call to a double & the Cards won the game 5-2. 

The play caused a lot of attention, & the NL Office ruled the umpires erred in using Instant Replay. Instant Replay would not be used in MLB again for almost ten years. 

In 1999 he was one of 22 MLB umpires who resigned, because they were unable to strike due to an earlier labor agreement. MLB accepted the resignations, hiring back just 13 of the 22. Pulli was not one, but was allowed to retire. He was later hired back as an umpire supervisor.

Pulli retired at the end of the 1999 season completing 28 years of MLB umpiring. In 2000 he was named an umpire supervisor served as a liaison between the umpires & the league until 2008.

Pulli passed away at his home in Palm Harbor, Florida, from complications of Parkinson's disease in August of 2013, he was 78.

Short Time Mets Pitcher With a Perfect Winning Percentage: Don Florence (1994)

Donald Emery Florence was born on March 16, 1967 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The six foot  Italian / American lefthander was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1987. 

He pitched in the Sox minor leagues for seven years going 28-39 before being granted free agency in 1994. He was signed by New York Mets and pitched in 41 games at AAA Norfolk posting a strong 0.46 ERA going 0-1.

Florence was called up that August debuting in Philadelphia on August 12th. Although he is forgotten by most fans, Don Florence posted a 3-0 record, with a perfect .1000 winning %. His three victories most amongst no losses is the best in Mets history.

In his first win, which was his second career outing; he pitched one perfect inning between Bill Pulsipher and John Franco in Philadelphia. On August 28th he finished a game at Shea Stadium, getting credit for win #2 as the Mets scored three runs in the bottom of the 9th inning. He then notched his third & final win in San Francisco in September pitching two scoreless innings.

On the season Florence appeared in 14 games going 3-0 posting a 1.50 ERA with five strikeouts & six walks in 12 innings pitched. But arm troubles would ruin his promising rookie year and the only Met ever to be born in the State of New Hampshire would fade away into obscurity.

Mar 12, 2015

2015 Mets Spring Training Player: Wilfredo Tovar (AA short stop)

Wilfredo Jose Tovar was born on August 11th 1991 in Santa Teresa, Venezuela. The 5' 10 right hand hitting short stop was signed out of high school by the New York Mets in 2007.

He began playing for the Mets in the Venezuelan Summer League for two years, landing with the Gulf Coast Mets in 2009. He had a busy 2009 starting out playing 18 games for the Brooklyn Cyclones where he batted .265. He was promoted to the Savannah Sand Gnats where he hit even better (.281) playing good defense. He finished out the year playing at A ball + St. Lucie for 30 more games.

In 2011 he played a full season for the Sand Gnats (131 games) batting .251 with 2 HRs & 41 RBIs. 

In 2012 he was back at St. Lucie batting .284 getting promoted to AA Binghamton. In 2013 he was invited to his Mets first Spring Training playing in nine games. He then was the Binghamton Mets main short stop playing 128 games posting a .981 fielding % while hitting .263.

In late September he got a call up to the Mets squad, debuting on September 22nd in a 4-3 Mets win at Philadelphia. In the 7th inning Tovar got his first hit & MLB RBI as he singled off Cliff Lee. Juan Lagares scored to put the Mets ahead in the game & a Phillies error brought in Anthony Recker with what turned out to be the games winning run. Two days later he drove in another run in a 4-2 Mets win over the Reds in Cincinnati. In seven games he hit .200.

Tovar was invited to his second Mets Spring Training in 2014 where he went 1-3 in three games. He then played that season with the Gulf Coast Mets (2 games)St. Lucie Mets (5 games) & then back with the Binghamton Mets (78 games). He hit .282 with 2 HRs 8 doubles & 29 RBIs.

The slick fielding Tovar is back with his third Mets Spring Training in 2015.

Mar 11, 2015

2015 Mets Spring Training Player: Italian American Pitcher- Cory Mazzoni

 Cory Mitchell Mazzoni was born October 19th 1989 in Evans City, Pennsylvania. The six foot one right hander, attended North Carolina State & was selected in the second round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft. He has a good fast ball in the mid nineties, a good slider & a great splitter if it's working as well as it did in 2014.

Mazzoni's career began in 2011 as he pitched six games for Mets A ball Brooklyn Cyclones team. He won his first game there going 1-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA, before moving on to the St. Lucie Mets where he went 1-1 in six games. 

He began 2012 at A ball St. Lucie, where some of his team mates included future Mets pitchers: Jacob deGRom, Rafael Montero & Jenry Mejia. There he was 5-1 with a 3.25 ERA, getting a promotion to AA Binghamton going 5-5. Over the course of the year he reached 104 strike outs but allowed 154 hits.

Mazzoni was invited to his first Mets Spring Training in 2013, he appeared in four games taking a win & a loss, posting a 3.38 ERA allowing three runs in eight innings. He returned to AA Binghamton but his 2013 his season was cut short due to arm issues, as he pitched in just 13 games going 5-3 with a 4.36 ERA.

In 2014 Mazzoni attended his second Spring Training, as he was getting healthy again he appeared in six games going 1-2 but allowed ten runs in 6.2 innings. Mazzoni's return to pitching started out with the Gulf Coast Mets in the Rookie League. He went back to St. Lucie for a game & then AA Binghamton where he was 2-0 although his ERA was a high at 4.50. 

He was then promoted to AAA Las Vegas where he went 5-1 in nine games, most wins on the club behind Logan Verrett (11 wins) Noah Syndergaard (9 wins) & Rafael Montero (6 wins). In 52 innings he struck out 49 batters & in his four year career he has 271 strike outs in 300 innings going into the 2015 season.

In 2015 he has returned for his third Mets Spring Training. He has had health issues through out his career, and it is taking him a while to crack the Mets big league staff. He still projected to have a spot in the Mets bullpen more likely than a starting role soon.

2015 Mets Spring Training Player: Cesar Puello

Cesar David Puello was born April 9th, 1991 in La Romana Dominican Republic. The six foot two right hand hitting outfielder was signed as an 18 year old by former Mets GM Omar Minaya. Puello was highly touted as a five tool prospect.

Puello started out with the Rookie League Gulf Coast Mets in 2008 & then had a short season at Kingsport (49 games) in 2009. He was promoted to A ball Savannah in 2010 where he hit .292 & stole 45 bases.

 In 2011 Puello played for the A ball St. Lucie Mets, he was second on the club with 10 HRs driving in 50 runs while batting .259. At the start of the 2011 season he was rated as the #77 prospect by Baseball America, the Mets liked his development & new GM Sandy Alderson protected his contract.

The next season was cut short due to an oblique injury & a wrist injury as well. That year he hit .260 with 4 HRs 21 RBIs & 19 steals in 66 games. He stayed busy playing in the Arizona Fall League & Dominican Winter League. 

The Mets gave him an invite to Spring Training where he played in six games hitting .143. He was promoted to AA Binghamton in 2013 where after 91 games he was batting .326 with 16 HRs & 73 RBIs.  

In August his career took a bad turn when he was suspended for fifty games for his relationship with the Biogenesis clinic. The Biogenesis Clinic was located in Coral Gables, Florida and provided many MLB players with performance enhancing drugs. Some players suspended & linked to the clinic are: Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Antonio Bastardo & Jordany Valdespin. 

In 2014 Puello returned to winter ball & git another invite to Mets Spring Training. He did well hitting .364 (4-11) in ten games. Puello then got promoted to AAA Las Vegas playing for Wally Backman's 51's. He struggled in the outfield & hit just .252 with 7 HRs & 37 RBIs. He saw less playing time with the talented outfield cast in Las Vegas.

This year he was invited to his third Spring Training camp. It is assumed he will return to Las Vegas as he heads into his eighth pro season & age 24 his time is running out. He is currently ranked as the Mets #13 prospect falling off from #9 last year.

Mar 8, 2015

2010 NL MVP- Italian / Canadian Player: Joey Votto (2007-2012)

Joseph Daniel Votto was born on September 10, 1983 in Toronto’s Little Italy section of Ontario Canada. He was a strange kid in Canada more into basketball & baseball then the local favorite sport, hockey.

He joked saying his parents broke laws by leaving him home alone as an 11 year old, after Joe Carter hit the HR winning the 1993 World Series for the hometown Blue Jays. They went downtown to celebrate with the other fans at Sky dome.

His high school didn’t even have a baseball team, but Votto who was originally a catcher, got signed as a second round pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 2002. In the minor leagues his career began slowly, struggling against left handed pitching. In 2005 he played in the World Baseball classic for Team Canada. He hit .333 with 5 HRs & 16 RBIs.

In 2006 he tore up the Southern League winning the MVP Award, The Reds Minor League Player of the Year Award & was names Baseball America’s #7 prospect. He was invited to Reds  Spring Training in 2007 but didn’t come North with the team, going to AAA Louisville and playing in the Futures Game.

After another great minor league season where he played in the IL All Star Game, he got the September call up, debuting against the New York Mets, and striking out against Guillermo Mota as a pinch hitter. The next day he hit his first career HR, coming off Mets pitcher; John Maine. In 24 games that year, Votto hit .321.

The next year (2008) he began sharing time with Scott Hattenberg at first base until Dusty Baker gave him a shot playing regularly. Votto excelled, and was the Reds regular first baseman by the end of April. He hit three HRs in a game against the Cubs in early May. Votto had a great rookie year, hitting .297 with 24 HRs 32 doubles & 84 RBIs. He made it to the Topps All Star Rookie Team & finished second in the Rookie of the Year Award. His 84 RBIs broke Frank Robinson’s Red’s Rookie RBI record.

In 2009 he played again in the World Baseball Classic for Team Canada. He hit a HR getting four hits against team USA in the first game. When he got back to Cincinnati in the Opening series against the Mets, he went 3-5 with a HR & three RBIs in the second game of the 2009 season.
The next day he hit another HR & drove in four runs, crushing Mets pitching.

Votto had some personal issues during the year, taking his father’s death very badly, putting him into a depression. He also suffered dizziness from an ear infection, and missed almost a month of action that summer.

He still finished the year  strong, winning the Player of the Week Award in late September. He out up  great '09 numbers; batting .322 (5th in the league) with 25 HRs 38 doubles & 84 RBIs 70 walks and a .414 on base percentage (4th in the league).

In 2010 Votto become one of the league’s best hitters, winning the National League MVP Award, leading the Reds to their first Divisional title in 15 years. He began hitting right out of the gate, and in early May had his first career grand slam. In the middle of August he was leading the league in batting, on base percentage, runs scored & slugging for his first place Reds.

He made his first All Star game thanks to winning the on line voting Final vote, he went 0-2 in the N.L victory. At the end of the game he refused to congradulate Marlon Byrd who had thrown out David Ortiz with a game saving play.

He said “"And I'm not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back. We are Cincinnati Reds. We're taught to hate everything in the Central Division. That's just how it is."

He finished the year leading the NL in on base % (.424) with 37 HRs (3rd in the NL) 36 doubles (8th in the NL) 171 hits (6th in the NL) 91 walks (4th in the NL) & 113 RBIs (3rd in the NL). At first base he posted a .996 fielding % & led the league in assists (136). In the NLDS he was shut down going just 1-10 batting .100.
He began 2011, with a HR on Opening Day and scored the games winning run, after Jose Hernandez’s walk off HR against the Milwaukee Brewers. He had a great April, with six HRs 17 RBIs batting .372. He hit a pair of HRs & drove in five runs in an interleague game at Camden Yards against the Orioles in late May.

In a four game series against the New York Mets the next month, he hit HRs in three straight games. He drove in four runs, while gathering six hits, although the Mets swept the set from the Reds.

In late August he had an eight game hit streak in which he hit four HRs with RBIs. Entering September he was in the run for the batting title, but finished the year batting .309 (5th in the NL). He led the league in walks (110) on base % (.465) & doubles (40). He hit 29 HRs with 103 RBIs & came in 6th in the MVP voting & won the Hank Aaron Award. 

He was awarded the Gold Glove for his excellent defensive play at first base, posting a .996 fielding %, leading the league in put outs, assists & games played at the position.

That year he was given the longest contract in MLB history, a twelve year $251 million dollar deal. The contract included provisions for a Corporate Suite to be used by his charity at Great American Ball Park.

In 2012 he  began the year with a huge day on May 12th. He hit two solo HRs, & then doubled in the 8th scoring a run. He ended the game with a grand slam , two out walk off HR off Washington's Henry Rodriguez. The day finished with three HRs & six RBIs. In July he made his third straight All Star team.

He was on pace for another great season batting when on July 15th, he went down with a knee injry that shut him down until September.

He finished up leading the league in on base % (.474%) & walks (94). He hit .337 (5th in the NL) with 14 HRs 44 doubles & 56 RBIs for the NL Central Champion Reds. In the NLDS loss to the San Francisco Giants, he went 7-18 (.389) with no extra base hits or RBIs, but did score three runs.

Votto was voted the "Face of MLB" in a February 2013 Twitter contest & played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.

Charity works: In the off season he helped launch a foundation to help asiist veterans, but after one year the foundation folded up.

He  began the Year, getting the game winning, walk off hit in the second game of the season, a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Angels. By mid May he got hot, from May 18th through the 31st, he hit 5 HRs with ten RBIs raising his average to .340. In July he made it to his fourth straight All Star game. 

His consistency continued, especially his ability to be patient & draw walks. He drew walks in ten straight games in April, then again in July. During a four game stretch in early August he drew nine walks, which also came during a nine game hit streak.

Votto had one of his healthiest seasons in 2013 playing in 162 games, coming in 6th in the MVP voting, leading the league in on base % (.435) walks (135) intentional walks (19) & plate appearances (726). He hit 24 HRs with 30 doubles 73 RBIs & a .305 average.

In 2014 he had a dissapointing injury plagued season playing in just 62 games batting .255.

In his eight year career Votto is batting .310 with 1055 hits 243 doubles 12 triples 163 HRs 553 RBIs & a .417 on base % in 952 games.

In 2015 he made his return going 1-2 in his first Spring Training game. In his contract year he & the Reds are hoping for a great comeback year.

Quotes: Joey Votto "All of it was great. All of it was fine. I think we're just about done with these sort of questions. I'm so glad to be back and play with the team and just fit in and to focus on a winning 2015 season."

Mar 3, 2015

Three Time Giants World Series Pitcher: Jeff Tesreau (1912-1918)

Charles Monroe Tesreau was born on March 5th, 1888 in Ironton, Missouri. Tesreau was a six foot two right handed pitcher, who started out pitching for a mining company before getting into pro ball. The tough pitcher earned the name Jeff after a boxer named Jim Jeffries of the times. 

 He was first signed by the St. Louis Browns but had his contract purchased by the New York Giants. At the time the NY Times wrote: "Tesreau has curves which bend like barrel hoops and speed like lightning. He's just the kind of a strong man McGraw has been looking for." 

He joined the 1912 New York Giants NL pennant winning staff joining the likes of the Great Christy Mathewson (24 wins) & Rube Marquard (26 wins). He fit right into the Giants staff, winning 17 games (17-7) and leading the league in his rookie year in ERA; at 1.96. He also led the NL in hits per nine inning (6.5) & was third in winning % (.708%). He won the NL Pitching Award & came in 14th in the MVP voting as well. 

Post Season: He pitched in Game #1 of the 1912 World Series at the Polo Grounds, taking a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox & Smoky Joe Wood. He was the loser in Game #4 as well, taking a tough 3-1 loss to Boston.

Game Two of that Series had ended in a tie, so the series went to an extra game. It was in Game #7 he earned his first Series win, pitching a two run complete game, tying up the Series at three games each. (Game #2 had ended in a tie.) He benefited from an eleven run Giants offense in that seventh game. 

 He returned to win 22 games (22-13) fourth most in the NL in 1913. On that incredible staff, he was third behind Mathewson (25 WINS) & Marquard (23 Wins). Tesreau led the league in starts (38), he posted a 2.17 ERA & stuck out 167 batters (2nd in the NL). His strike outs per nine innings ratio was the league's best at 5.33. The Giants repeated as NL Champions that year but lost the World Series to Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's. Tesreau was the Game #3 losing pitcher to Bullet Joe Bush 8-2. 

 In 1914 he won 26 games (26-10) coming in second in the league to Philadelphia's Pete Alexander. That season he actually topped the Giants staff beating out Christy Mathewson by two games. He once again leading the league in starts (41) as well as shut outs (8) & hits per nine innings (third straight year).

He posted a 2.37 ERA & struck out a career high 189 batters. In 1915 he won 19 games & began to fall off from there, although he did still pitch well. It was tough to match the fantastic numbers he put up in his first few seasons. 
 In 1917 the Giants won another pennant as Tesreau went 13-8 with a 3.09 ERA. That year they lost the World Series to the Chicago White Sox in six games. Teserau took the loss in Game #2.

In World Sries he play he was 1-3 with a 3,62 ERA in six games pitched. Tesreau left baseball after having a disagreement with Giants Manager John McGraw. 

In his seven year career he was 115-72 with nine saves & a 2.43 ERA. He struck out 880 batters while walking 572 in 1679 innings over 247 games. He tossed 27 shut outs & 123 complete games. 
 Retirement: Tesreau coached baseball at Dartmouth University for 27 years, from 1919 through 1946. There he held the school record for victories (348) until 2010.

His son played for him as did future major leaguer Red Rolfe. He coached against his old pitching rival Smokey Joe Wood who was the baseball coach at Yale University in those days as well. He was perused to return to pitching, by the Boston Braves but did come back to the big leagues. 

Passing: He passed away from complications due to a stroke while on a fishing trip in 1946 at Hanover, New Hampshire at age 58.