Sep 30, 2015

Short Time 2006 Mets Pitcher: Jose Lima (2006)

Jose Desiderio Rodriguez Lima was born in the Dominican Republic on September 30, 1972. He was originally signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1989, making his debut there in 1994. The colorful, animated pitcher, pitched there for three seasons, going 8-16 with three saves. He began as a started but by 1996 was put in a relief role.

In 1997 he was traded to the Houston Astros along with Brad Ausmus, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski and Daryle Ward in exchange for Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller and cash. In Houston Lima would have his best seasons. He had a successful 1998 season, winning 16 games (16-8) tenth most wins in the NL. He posted a .667 win loss % also tenth best in the league. He posted a 3.70 ERA pitching in 233 innings. At the plate he even hit .138 driving in four runs.

He went on to have his best season in 1999, making the All Star team, going 21-10 (2nd most wins in the NL). He lead the NL in starts, posting a 3.58 ERA (9th in the NL) striking out 187 (7th in the NL) batters pitching in 246 (3rd in the NL) innings & throwing three complete games. When he started games, the fans in Houston would call it “Lima Time”.

In the post season he lost Game #2 of the NLCS 5-1 to the Atlanta Braves & Kevin Millwood. Even in those successful seasons he allowed over 100 runs both times & gave up over 30 plus HRs.

In 2000 the roof fell in on him he lead the league in earned runs (145) & HRs (48) going 7-16 with a huge 6.65 ERA. 2001 wasn’t much better (6-10 5.54 ERA). The wacky Lima was always up to something zany. Whether it was dying his hair light blonde, or sporting braids, he was always joking & smiling on any team he was with.

On the mound he was very emotional, pumping his fist or yelling up to the sky with some kind of emotion. It seemed no one enjoyed Lima Time more than himself. Over the next few years he was a spot starter & reliever for Detroit (again) Kansas City, Los Angeles & the New York Mets never regaining his top form.

In 2003 he was with the Newark Bears in the Atlantic league but got a break when the Royals came and grabbed him. The next season in L.A. (2004) he did go 13-5 although he posted a 4.07 ERA, allowing 33 HRs & 77 earned runs in 170 innings. In 2005 he posted the highs ERA of all time for a pitcher with 30 or more starts at 6.99. In February 2006 the Mets gave him a shot, and he began the year with the AAA Norfolk Tides.

He got called up when the staff needed some help in early May, but the Lima experiment didn’t last too long. Lima debuted as a Met on May 7th, getting the start at Shea Stadum against the Atlanta Braves. He allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings of work earning the loss. In his next start the Brewers roughed him up for five runs in Milwaukee in 9-6 Mets loss. On May 18th he took the mound in St. Louis but was gone in the 5th inning as well giving up five runs (four earned) in a 6-3 loss.

He was designated for assignment by May 20th, but then got another shot on July 4th. In his final start the Marlins pounded him as pitcher Dontrell Willis even blasted a grand slam off him. He went 0-4 with a 9.87 ERA allowing 19 earned runs, & 10 walks in just 17 innings pitched. His career was finished at the end of the year, and there was no more Lima time.

In his 13 year career Lima was 89-102 with five saves & a 5.26 ERA. He had 980 strikeouts, with 393 walks in 1567 innings of work in 348 appearances. He allowed 917 earned runs, & 267 HRs in that time.

Retirement: After his MLB playing days, he played in the Independent League, Korea & Dominican winter ball. He sang the National Anthem during his time in L.A. & wanted to peruse a singing career.

On May 22, 2010 he suddenly passed away from a heart attack, he was 37 years old. Later that night in Philadelphia, friend & Red Sox slugger David Ortiz wrote R.I.P Lima on his cap during a Sox – Phillies game.

Sep 28, 2015

Former Mets Relief Pitcher Turned Pitching Coach: Mike Maddux (1993-1994)

Michael Ausley Maddux was born August 27, 1961 in Dayton, Ohio. Mike Maddox is the younger brother of future Hall of Fame pitcher, Greg Maddux. The six foot two right handed pitcher attended the University of El Paso Texas.

He was then drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the fifth round of the 1982 draft. He pitched five seasons in the minors before getting a 1986 call up to the Phillies. He made his MLB debut on June 3rd pitching into the second inning, as the Los Angeles Dodgers welcomed him with five runs on five hits.

He took his first loss that day & started out at 0-5 before getting a win on August 15th. In his first year he was 3-7 with a 5.42 ERA. After that season he became a career journey man middle reliever for 15 seasons.

He pitched with the Phillies (1986-1989) for four years going 10-13 overall with a 4.40 ERA. He then went to the Los Angeles Dodgers (1990) & San Diego Padres (1991-1992). It was there in 1991, Maddox had his best year, going 7-2 with five saves & a 2.46 ERA in 64 games. The following year he was 2-2 with nine holds, setting up some games for closer Randy Meyers.

In December of 1992 he was traded to the New York Mets for pitcher Roger Mason. Maddox debuted for the Mets on April 7th, 1993, at Colorado in the second game of the Mets season. He pitched one inning in relief of Bret Saberhagen in a 6-1 Mets win. In mid April Maddux got credit for two Mets saves, on the road at Colorado & Cincinnati.

Things went downhill as he lost five straight decisions and blew two saves going to through the end of June. On May 1st he served up an 8th inning HR to Gary Sheffield taking the loss. Four days later he blew a save in Los Angeles & took the loss. On the 4th of July he gave up three runs to the San Francisco Giants in the 8th inning, taking his sixth straight loss.

In August he had some luck go his way, winning three games, earning a save & a hold lowering his ERA to 3.38. He would made 58 appearances (second on the staff to Jeff Innis) in 1993, going 3-8 with five saves, three holds & a 3.60 ERA. That year the Mets finished seventh going 59-103 under managers; Jeff Torborg & Dallas Green.

The next season;1994, he earned his first win on May 28th, pitching 3.1 innings of relief against the Cincinnati Reds in a 5-4 win. Maddux went 2-1 with two saves posting a 5.11 ERA, in 27 games. He allowed seven HRs in 44 innings while walking 13 & striking out 32. In August the baseball strike happened & the season came to a halt. Maddox was granted free agency at the end of the year & would go on to play for six more teams.

He went to the Pittsburgh Pirates (1995) Boston Red Sox (1995-1996) Seattle Mariners (1996) Montreal Expos (1998-1999) & then back to L.A. (1999) & then the Houston Astros (2000).

Maddux pitched for a total of ten teams in his 14 year career in 472 games. He was 39-37 with 20 saves, 564 strike outs, 284 walks & a 4.09 ERA in 861 innings pitched.

Retirement: Maddux is an avid fisherman, a hunter & golfer during the off season. Since his playing days he became a very successful pitching coach.

He spent 2003-2008 as pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, leading them to a wild card berth in 2008. That year his staff was ranked the second best staff in the league.

In 2009 he moved over as pitching coach for the Texas Rangers under manger Ron Washington. The Rangers organization began to use their pitchers longer, in the old belief that it strengthens the arm making them more effective. The new teams C.E.O Nolan Ryan has certainly proved his point.

The Texas Rangers went to their first World Series in 2010 & a made a repeat visit in 2011. In 2010 Maddox staff was fourth in the league in wins (90) third in ERA (3.93) second in innings pitched (1455) & saves (45) & fourth in strike outs (1181).

In 2011 they were first in shut outs (7) second in wins (96) fourth in complete games (10) & strike outs (1179) They were fifth in ERA (3.79) & eleventh in innings (1441).

In 2012 the Rangers were shocked by the surprising Oakland Athletics who won the division on the final day of the season, after sweeping a three game series in Oakland.

The Rangers then lost a one game wild card playoff to the Baltimore Orioles. Maddux's staff was third in wins (93) complete games (7) & walks (446). They were 4th in strike outs (1286 ) & 7th in ERA (3.99).

In 2013 the Rangers finished second to the Oakland A's once again in the West. This time they did not make the playoffs.  Maddoz's staff had pitched the third most innings & had the fourth lowest ERA in the league (3.62) but they were also fourth in runs & hits, as well as strike outs.

In 2014 the Rangers had falled out of the race altogether & were struggling in the pitching department, at the bottom of the league in wins, saves, ERA, hits, HRs  & runs.

In 2015 the Rangers started out slow but got into second place by early September and were just three games behind the Houston Astros on September 6th.

Sep 27, 2015

The Mets fans were out fast in Queens to purchase the NL Eastern Champion apparel. Lets Go Mets!!

Modell's at Queens Center Mall

Sep 25, 2015

Old Time Member of Four New York Giants Pennant Teams: Davey Robertson (1912-1919 /1922)

Davis Aydelotte Robertson was born on September 25th, 1889 in Portsmouth Virginia.

The six foot left hand hitting outfielder, was an educated man, attending North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina. He was the first MLB player to come out of the school, where he starred in baseball, football, basketball & track.

By 1912 he was signed with the New York Giants & played three games there that season, collecting a stolen base & RBI in just two at bats. He played minor league ball in 1913, batting over .330 getting back to New York by 1914.

In 1916 he led the league in HRs with 12, and in singles with 142. He would bat.307, while driving in 69 runs (8th in the NL) & stealing 21 bases. He was one of the leagues top players, leading all right fielders in turning double plays (5) put outs (248) errors (1) & was third in assists with 17.

The following season, he helped lead John McGraw's team to a pennant & World Series win over the Chicago White Sox. These were the same Sox of Shoeless Joe Jackson, just two years away from their Black Sox scandal of 1919.

Robertson once again led all NL hitters in HRs with 12, (tied with Cy Williams & Gavy Cravath) a big number in the "dead ball era".

Most of his HRs came down the short right field line at the Polo Grounds. His HRs became such an issue in the league, officials met & voted on shortening the distances between home plate & the fences. His other numbers fell off as he hit just .259 with 53 RBIs & 17 steals.

Post Season: In the 1917 World Series he hit .500, collecting 11 hits in 22 at bats. He scored three runs, had two extra base hits & one RBI.

Robertson never matched those same numbers he had during his big 1916 season. He did not play in the big leagues in 1918 & by 1919 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he played mid way through the 1921 season.

That year he finished up in Pittsburgh, batting .322 in 60 games for the second place Pirates, who finished four games behind the World Champion New York Giants.

Robertson was released & got signed by the Giants to finish his career out in New York with the 1922 World Championship team. He appeared in just 42 games, batting .277 having some key pinch hits during the season.

In his nine year career he batted .287 with 812 hits 47 HRs 117 doubles 44 triples 94 stolen bases & 364 RBIs.

Retirement: After his MLB playing days, he played in the Virginia League until 1931. He also managed in that league, going 280-258 while winning a co-championship. He passed away at age 81 at Virginia Beach in 1970.

Sep 24, 2015

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Mets Magic Number Down to 3

September 24th 2015: After a rough home stand, Terry Collins first place Mets (85-67) took to the road with a Magic number of 5 to clinch the NL Eastern title.

The second place Washington Nationals have been helping the Mets and finishing off getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles earlier in the day, brought the Magic Number down to 4.

The Mets opened up a series in Cincinnati against the last place Reds (63-88). On the mound for the Mets was Steven Matz, who allowed a run in the 1st inning. In 5.2 innings he gave up three runs on ten hits, while striking out eight not figuring in the decision.

In the 3rd inning, with Matz aboard, David Wright doubled to left field bringing in the Mets first run. Daniel Murphy followed with a single, sending Wright to third. Yoenis Cespedes then hit a sac fly scoring Wright and a Lucas Duda base hit brought in Murphy with the Mets third run.

The Reds came back with RBI singles from Brandon Philips & Adam Duvall to tie it up.

The Mets broke it open in the 7th, Curtis Granderson singled & with two out Murphy tripled to put New York ahead. Cespedes singled bringing in Murph to make it 4-3. It was Cespedes 105th RBI. Then Lucas Duda hit his 33rd double of the year scoring Cespedes with his 60th RBI, to make it 6-3.

The Mets went on to a 6-4 win, seeing the bullpen have a solid night as Erik Goeddel (1-1) got the win, with some help from Addison Reed, Hansel Robles & Jeurys Familia.

Robles was docked a ball by the home plate umpire for another of his quick pitches to the Reds Jay Bruce. Terry Collins stormed out of the dugout to argue, he did not get ejected. Bruce followed with a HR.

Familia saved his 42nd game of the year, one shy of the club record held by Armando Benitez.

The Mets now lead the NL East by 7 1/2 games with nine left to play. The Mets would have to lose all of their remaining games & the Nats would need to win eight of ten just to force a one-game playoff.


Mets Relief Pitcher: Gonzales Germen (2013-2014)

Gonzalez Germen was born on September 23rd, 1987 in La Romana, Dominican Republic. The six foot, two right hander was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 2007.

He pitched at low levels of the minors through 2011, with the Gulf Coast Mets, Kingsport Mets & Savannah Sand Gnats. In 2012 he began the year in Florida with the St. Lucie Mets going 3-0 with a 3.04 ERA.

He moved on to AA Binghamton going 8-12 with a 4.49 ERA. He ended the year at AAA Buffalo (1-0) compiling a total of 12 wins on the year, tying Zack Wheeler for most Mets wins in the farm system.

In 2013 Germen started out at AAA Las Vegas, where he struck out 51 batters in 44 goings, going 3-4 with four saves. He posted a 5.52 ERA in 35 games.

Germen got his big league call up in early July & debuted as the sixth pitcher in an 11 inning loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh. German walked two batters in the 12th inning, then gave up the game winning hit to Jordy Mercer. 

On July 20th he pitched 1.2 innings of middle relief against the Philadelphia Phillies & earned his first career win, as the Mets went on to a 5-4 victory.

He saw steady action out of the pen for New York in August, earning his first big league save on August 15th against the Padres in San Diego. The next day he blew a save chance, when in the 8th inning he gave up a base hit to Chris Denorfia tying the game. Pedro Feliciano served up a walk off HR to Will Veneble in the 9th.

On September 1st, as the Mets were ready to sweep a series in D.C, but a late inning Nats rally denied them. Germen took the Sunday Night Baseball loss, as the Nats scored three runs in the 8th, topping off with a Jason Werth RBI double.

He finished the year at 1-2 with a 3.93 ERA, 33 strike outs & 16 walks in 34 innings in 29 games.

He began 2014 with the Mets, seeing middle & late relief action. On April 25th he blew save against the Marlins but the Mets did win 4-3 over Miami. His ERA began to creep up, hitting 4.78 (in 21 appearances) by early July. As other relievers pitched better, Germen was sent down to AAA Las Vegas. 

By early August he was 2-0 in Las Vegas, with an ERA below one in ten games. He returned to the Mets on August 19th & would pitch in four more games on the season. He finished off three of them, closing out the year with no record & a 4.75 ERA in 25 appearances.

That winter his contract was sold to the AL New York team, then to the Texas Rangers. From he was let go there & spent 2015 with the Chicago Cubs & then the Colorado Rockies as a mid reliever.

Sep 22, 2015

Long Island Born - Fordham University Graduate- Mets Nineties Pitcher: Pete Harniisch (1995-1997)

Peter Thomas Harnisch was born on September 23, 1966 in Commack Long Island. The six foot right hander went to college becoming a star baseball player at Fordham University in the Bronx. Harnisch was a top prospect drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles in 1987. He went 11-7 at both A & AA in 1988 posting a 2.45 ERA striking out 184 batters in 190 innings.

He got a September call up making his debut at Fenway Park taking a loss & then another in New York in front of many friends & family members. He began 1988 with the Orioles but was sent down to AAA after two poor starts in April. He went 5-5 at AAA Rochester being brought up again in early July. For the remainder of the season he went 5-9 with a 4.62 ERA. 

He earned a spot in the Orioles rotation in 1990 and began the year at 3-0. At the end of July he was 9-5 although he was allowing quite a bit of runs, his 4.31 ERA was respectable. He only won two more games in the final two months, finishing the year at 11-11 with 122 strike outs in 188 innings pitched, posting a 4.34 ERA. On January 10, 1991 he was traded along with Steve Finley and Curt Schilling to the Houston Astros for Glenn Davis. In Houston he became top starter going 12-9 with a 2.70 ERA (3rd in the NL) & 172 strikeouts (4TH in the NL) making the 1991 All Star team.

In September of that year, he struck out three Philadelphia Phillies batters on nine pitches. Overall he had the best hits per nine innings ratio in the league at 7.0 as well as the third best strike outs per nine innings ratio (7.15).

After an off year going 9-10 in 1992 he won a career high 16 games in 1993, leading the league with four shutouts. He threw two one hitters that year, one coming against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 10th in the first game of a double header. The second came at home in Houston, on September 17th against the San Diego Padres.

Overall he pitched over 200 innings for the third straight year while posting a 2.94 ERA (6th best in the NL). He struck out 188 batters & had five complete games as well (7th in the NL). He allowed the fewest hits per nine innings (7.0) of any pitcher in the NL once again that season. He went 8-5 in the strike shortened 1994 season before being traded to the New York Mets for Juan Castillo in November 1994.

Harnisch was happy to return to his home town area, and the team hyped him up as a local top of the line acquisition. He debuted in the fourth game of the season, pitching six innings while only allowing a run on three hits at Shea Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals. 

He had a few good starts but would not earn his first win until May 20th when he pitched 8 shut ut innings against the San Diego Padres. He lost his next five decisions and didn’t earn another victory until two months later.

In a game against the Cubs that season, he & Chicago pitchers were throwing bean balls at each other all night. Harnisch came up with no one on base in the late innings & he knew he was going to get it. The ball whizzed by his head & he started yelling, but instead of getting into it with the pitcher, he got into it with the catcher Scott Servais. Interestingly he & Servais were very good friends. Next a 15 minute bench clearing brawl occurred, resulting in over $1000 in fines.

His season was a huge disappointment as he went down with injury missing the final two months. Harnisch would only pitch in 18 games with the Mets that season, after his highly anticipated arrival. He was a measly 2-8 with a 3.68 ERA, 82 strike outs & 24 walks giving up 13 HRs & 45 earned runs in 101 innings.

In 1996 he beat the Rockies in Colorado in his first start, and remained at the .500 mark until mid August. On July 23rd he pitched a four hit shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out seven at Shea Stadium; it was his best outing of the season.

 From there he pitched his best baseball of the season as well, winning three straight games allowing just four runs over 26 innings pitched. He bested his record to 807 but then lost his last four decisions of the season. He pitched in 31 games overall with 194 innings going 8-12 with a 4.21 ERA. He allowed 111 hits in 110 innings, striking out 82 batters. As Generation K failed, Harnisch & the ’96 Mets didn’t do much better.

In 1997 Harnisch quit a 13 year habit of chewing tobacco and suffered depression as a result. The withdrawals gave him headaches, weight loss, sleeplessness, and mental anxiety. He literally became the poster boy for Paxil, making public appearances promoting the drug that helped him cope.

Harnisch said he enjoyed his days playing in New York. The former Fordham guy had moved to Howell, New Jersey & then to Colts Neck New Jersey, commuting up the Garden State Parkway to Shea Stadium for home games. 

The Mets released him in 1997 after Bobby Valentine took over, and he signed with the Cincinnati Reds.

In 1998 he was revived in Cincinnati going 14-7 with a 3.14 ERA pitching 202 innings. In 1999 he was the ace of the Reds staff winning 16 games (16-10) with a 3.68 ERA as they tied the Mets for the wild card crown. On the final day of the season Harnisch beat the Brewers in Milwaukee to force the one game playoff. The Mets won the playoff game that decided the wild card winner. Pete suffered arm trouble had surgery, and was finished by 2001.

Retirement: He finished up a 14 year career with a lifetime 111-103 record with 1368 strike outs 716 walks, posting a 3.89 ERA pitching 1959 innings in 321 games. Harnisch resides in Colts Neck, New Jersey with his wife whom he met back at Fordham through his roommate & teaches kids instructional baseball.

Hall of Fame Italian / American Manager: Tommy Lasorda

Thomas Charles Lasorda was born September 22, 1927 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. Tommy originally signed a baseball contract with his local Philadelphia Phillies back in 1945, then went off to do two years of military service.

He returned to play minor league baseball & got noticed by the Brooklyn Dodger organization when he struck out 25 batters in a 15 inning game setting a pro record. Lasorda even drove in the game winning run, & the Dodgers bought his contract out from the Phillies.

 He was mostly a career minor leaguer, spending 14 seasons there, nine of them at AAA Montreal. He compiled a 107-57 record over those seasons, having his best year in 1954, going 17-8 with a 2.41 ERA. He earned a late season call up, pitching in four games, allowing five runs in nine innings.

In the Brooklyn 1955 Championship season he earned himself a World Series ring, although he only pitched in four games during the regular season posting a 13.50 ERA.

His contract was sold to the Kansas City A’s the next season and he appeared in a career high 18 games going 0-4 with a 6.15 ERA. His contract was eventually sold back to the Dodgers and he finished his playing career at AAA Montreal. His playing career ended in 1960 and he served as a scout in the Dodger organization.

In 1965, he began a seven year stretch as a minor league manager. In 1973, he was named to the Dodgers coaching staff under Manager; Walter Alston. Lasorda was a loud & talkative third base coach for Los Angeles. He got national recognition during the 1974 World Series, in the first all California World Series (Oakland A's vs Los Angeles Dodgers). Lasorda was wired with a microphone by NBC television & his antics were put into that years World Series highlights film.

Lasorda turned down other managerial jobs in order to remain with the Dodgers, & was Alston’s understudy until he retired in 1976. Lasorda was named the new Dodger manager in the bicentennial year.

Lasorda would become one of the games most sucessful managers of all time. He loved to play small ball, & built his teams around solid pitching & regular every day line ups. He had a great ability to get the most out of his young players, & wasn’t afraid to give them a chance in big game opportunities. Lasorda became a media darling, and a Hollywood celebrity.

Local Hollywood stars would hang around the Dodgers clubhouse, especially fellow Italian / American; Frank Sinatra. Lasorda loved the Dodgers, just as much as he loved good Italian food. 

The Dodger infield at the time consisted of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, & Ron Cey all players he helped develop in the minor leagues. 

In his first season at the helm he finished second to the Big Red Machine but he & his Dodgers would shut the machine down taking over the N.L. West from there on in. Over the next two seasons he brought the Dodgers to the World Series, although they fell short of the Worlds Championship in six games both times.

He was the UPI & AP Manager of the Year in 1977. Three seasons later he took them to another World Series in the strike shortened 1981 season, winning the AP Manager of the Year award. His Dodgers won the NLDS over Houston, the NLCS over Montreal & then his first World Series title over the A.L. New York team. Lasorda would win two more Divisional titles in the 1980’s losing in the NLCS both times.

In 1988 the Dodgers came out of nowhere to win the West, beat a heavily favored Mets team in the NLCS & a powerful A’s team in the World Series. He was named Baseball America & Sporting News Manager of the Year. Lasorda would win two more divisional titles in 1994 & 1995 then finish second in 1996, when he retired from managing.

In his 21 year managing career he was 1599-1439 posting a .526 %. He won eight divisional titles, four pennants & two World Series. He managed nine players who won the NL Rookie of the Year award. The winners came in two sets of consecutive players (1979 -1982) Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela & Steve Sax. From (1992 -1995) Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raúl Mondesí & Hideo Nomo. Then in 1996 he also managed that year's rookie of the year, Todd Hollandsworth.

He won his last game as manager & the next day drove himself to the hospital with abdominal pains, as he was having a mild heart attack. 

The following year he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. After managing he became a Dodgers executive & a great ambassador for the game of baseball.
He was then named Dodgers Senior V.P & then special advisor to the Chairman under the new ownership. He has been working for the Dodgers spanning a stretch of seven decade;

Quotes: "I bleed Dodger blue and when I die, I'm going to the big Dodger in the sky." - Tommy Lasorda.

His number 2 was retired by the club in 1997. Lasorda also does motivational speaking, usually averaging over 100 speaking engagements a year. He does everything from charity work with children to international events, military appearances, television shows, book signings, Dodger appearances, Italian American events & just about anything else that comes his way. He was a regular on Johnny Bench’s old TV show the baseball bunch in the early 1980’s, playing the character "The Dugout Wizard".

He was at one time the spokes person for slim fast diet when he actually trimmed down, although he didn’t keep the weight off. He has appeared on the Tonight show many times through the years from the Johnny Carson days to the Conan O’Brien /Jay Leno years. He was known for getting angry and using expletives during TV interviews, even having a fist fight during an TV interview with former coach Jim Lefebvre.

He was a close friend of Mike Piazza’s father who is also from Norristown, Pa. He was Piazza’s godfather & made sure the Dodgers signed the kid as a favor to his father. The rest of course is history. Bobby Valentine also gives Lasorda credit for being his mentor.

In 2000 he managed the United States Olympic team & won the Gold Medal, becoming the first manager to do so as well as win a World Series title. He was coaching third base As honorary captain of the 2001 Al Star Game, when a Vlad Guerrero bat shattered flying down toward the coaches box. Lasorda fell backwards to the amusement of all including himself, of course he was fine. he

In 2006, Lasorda was the recipient of the Branch Rickey Award, which is given to the major league personality who best demonstrates exemplary community service.

In 2009, a portrait of Lasorda in a Dodgers uniform was added to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. He has been honored in Jpan for his work in Japanese baseball, the Dominican Republic as well as Cuba.

Family: Lasorda has been married to his wife Jo for 60 years. In 1991 his son passed away from Aids, but Lasorda insists it was cancer refusing to acknowledge his sons homosexuality. 

The Lasorda’s also have a daughter & granddaughter.

Sep 21, 2015

Early 2000's Mets Relief Pitcher: Mark Guthrie (2002)

Mark Andrew Guthrie was born September 22, 1965 in Buffalo, New York. The six foot four, left hander's family moved to a warmer climate & he attended high school in Venice, Florida. Guthrie then went to LSU, pitching for the Tigers baseball team there.

Guthrie was signed in the 7th round of the 1987 draft, by the Minnesota Twins. Two years later he was in the big leagues with the Twins, beginning his career as a starting pitcher. He would win seven games two straight years in the Twins rotation, then got moved to the bullpen becoming a middle reliever.

Post Season: He appeared in the 1991 post season with the World Champion Twins, pitching two games in the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays. In Game #3 he earned the win, after pitching a scoreless 9th inning.

In the World Series win over the Atlanta Braves, he appeared in four games. He took the loss in Game #4 at Atlanta, giving up a 9th inning triple & an intentional walk, before getting relieved.

He gave the ball to Steve Bedrosian, who allowed the game winning sac fly to Jerry Willard. Guthrie would get into five more post seasons in his career, pitching in 15 games going 1-2 with a 3.46 post season ERA.

Guthrie spent six years in Minnesota, then four seasons in Los Angeles with the Dodgers (1995-1998) getting to two post seasons. The journeyman also pitched for the Boston Red Sox (1999)& Chicago White Sox (1999-2000). In 2000 he pitched for three teams, Chicago, Tampa Rays & Toronto Blue Jays.

For 2001, he signed with the A.L. Western Champion Oakland Athletics having his best season. He was a successful part of the 2001 wild card Oakland A's bullpen, going 6-2 with 12 holds, one save and a 4.47 ERA making 54 appearances.

Post Season: In the ALDS he appeared in two games, pitching three scoreless innings. That December he was traded to the New York Mets with pitcher Tyler Yates, in exchange for David Justice.

Guthrie debuted with the Mets, on April 3rd in the second game of the season in a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Guthrie would pitch well for the 2002 Mets, from May 25th through August 3rd he would not allow a rub in 33 consecutive appearances (27 innings). Through early June, he had himself seven holds & recorded a save.

He earned his first Mets win on June 16th, during a subway series game, where the Mets scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning on Mo Vaughn's three run HR. Later that week he earned a win in an interleague game against the K.C. Royals.

A busy July had him make 22 appearances & earn eight more holds. More importantly he earned three victories in the month as well, ending the month with a 1.05 ERA.

On August 4th, he gave a up a 7th inning, three run HR to Arizona's Luis Gonzales & took his first loss, as the D-backs beat New York 12-7. He then lost his last three decisions of the year over the next two months, as he saw less time. Overall in 68 games he was 5-3 with 17 holds while posting a solid 2.44 ERA. He struck out 44 batters, while walking 19, allowing 13 earned runs in 48 innings of work.

Guthrie went to the Chicago Cubs in 2003 getting to another post season there, going as far as the NLCS. He was the losing pitcher of NLCS Game #1 allowing an extra inning HR to the Florida Marlins; Mike Lowell at Wrigley Field.

It was his final season, at age 37, he ended a 15 year career going 51-54 with 14 saves & a 4.05 ERA in 765 games pitched.

New Jersey Born Italian / American Player: Vinny Mazzaro (2009-2014)

Vincent Michael Mazzaro was born on September 27, 1986 in Hackensack, New Jersey. He grew up in the shadow of the Meadowlands & Giants Stadium, attending East Rutherford High School where he pitched his high school to two straight championships.

In 2005 the six foot two, right handed pitcher was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the third round. After winning nine games twice at the A ball level he was promoted to AA where went 12-2 with a 1.90 ERA in 2008. He was promoted to AAA Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League going 3-3 then making the A’s big league staff in 2009.

He made his MLB debut in June and won his first start, pitching into the 7th inning in Chicago allowing no runs on three hits to the White Sox. He won his next start against Baltimore as well, this time pitching into the 8th inning allowing no runs on 5 hits, with 4 strike outs, in Oakland.

From there he struggled losing his next eight decisions, before winning at Kansas City & Baltimore in early August. He closed out his rookie year at 4-9 with a 5.32 ERA. 

He set a strange record that season, having four plate appearances without recording a single at bat. In each case he safely sacrificed. The old record of three PA belonged to former Mets pitcher Dwight Bernard.

In 2010 he began the year 2-0 although his ERA was near five in early June. He had a good July winning four straight decisions lowering his ERA to 3.45. But then again he suffered a rough losing streak, dropping seven of eight games. He was 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA before getting sent back down to the minors in early September.
In November Mazzaro was traded to the Kansas City Royals for David Dejesus.

In his Royals debut, he earned no decision in a May 11th outing against the AL New York club. The Royals went on to win the game 4-3. On June 12th he pitched seven shut out innings against the L.A. Angels earning his first & only win of the year. By mid June he was 1-1 with an ERA over ten & was sent back down. Mazzaro was successful at AAA Omaha going 7-2 striking out 107 batters in 123 innings, returning for a September call up.

In 2012 he began the year with the Royals starting out at 2-0 beating good Texas & Oakland teams. He fell to 3-3 with a 6.12 ERA in mid Juluy & was sent back down to AAA Omaha. He returned in September to finish 4-3 with a 5.73 ERA in 18 appearances. In November he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates with Clint Robinson for two minor leaguers.

In 2013 he is having his best season with the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates who have been in first place most of the summer. On April 24th he earned his first win. coming against the Philadelphia Phillies.

In May he earned two more wins to get him to 3-0. At the start of June his ERA was under two, but he suffered two losses in the middle of the month, coming to the Los Angeles Dodgers & Cincinnati Reds, as his ERA went over three. Mazzaro moved on & continued to pitch well for Clint Hurdle's bullpen.

On July 12th he pitched against the New York Mets, earning the win, when Jordy Mercer singled off Gonzales Germen, to score Andrew McCutchen with the walk off winning run.

On July 30th he pitched a scoreless 11th inning, earning his sixth win in an important game against the St. Louis Cardinals, keeping the Pirates 1 1/2 games in front of the Cards. In August he pitched well in relief, allowing just one run in ten appearances while earning a hold. 

On September 1st he did allow a run, but earned a win in two innings of relief at Milwaukee. He ended the year with a win at Cincinnati on September 28th, the Pirates swept the series & won a wild card playoff spot. On October 1st, they beat the Reds in Pittsburgh advancing to the NLDS.

Post Season: Mazzaro saw action in three post season games, allowing no runs on no hits with two strike outs in 1.2 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2014 he has spent most of the season pitching at AAA Indianapolis with just five games at the MLB level with the Pirates in May.

In 2015 he pitched most of the year at the minors, but appeared in ten games for the Miami Marlins. In July he was picked by the Atlanta Braves organization.

Trivia: He holds the record for most plate appearances in a single season without an at bat, with four. In 2009, he had four plate appearances but hit sacrifices in each. The old record belonged to Dwight Bernard of the 1979 Mets