Oct 31, 2015

Remembering Murray the Cop (Al Molinaro)

(A break from baseball) as a huge fan of the Odd Couple original TV series, as well as Happy Days it is with sadness we learn of the passing of one of TV's greatest all time character actors: the Great Al Moliaro............

Umberto Francesa Molinaro was born on June 24th 1919 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In English his name translates to Francis Albert Molinaro which he became known as Al. He was one of ten children born to Italian immigrants, who were prominent in the Italian Community of Kenosha. His father owned a restaurant / tavern & helped fund hundreds of Italian immigrants in coming legally over to America.

After getting married he moved to California & worked as a collection agent as well as a realtor. A real estate investment that became a large retail shopping mall made him wealthy enough to peruse his dream as an actor.

In the sixties he had minor roles on Bewitched (1971 episode- Bewitched, Bothered & Baldoni. where he plays a guide in Rome), Green Acres (1969-1970 / three episodes), Get Smart (1969 as agent 44 / two episodes) That Girl (1971 as Marv in Chef's Night Out) Love American Style (1972-1974 three episodes) & in the short lived series Name of the Game (1969 where he played the owner of a head shop).

In 1970 he met Penny Marshall at an improv class which led him to her brother Gary Marshall who was producer of the TV show the Odd Couple. Al landed the part as the classic dim witted but loveable NYPD officer; Murray Greshler, aka- Murray the Cop.

He played Murray for all five seasons of the Odd Couple (1970-1975). He was one of Felix & Oscar's best friends, always the butt of nose jokes usually from Oscar. (Nose' Feliciano, Nosenstien, when "Greshler looks up it looks like a two car garage"

He always had the patrol car double parked outside the Cental Park Apartment building & was certainly New Yorks most dim witted bumbling officers. But with that puppy dog face, Al was a loveable character especially when he used his classic line " Oscar I'm a police man...." usually followed by something that made no sense.

Who could forget when he went undercover as a woman in Central Park to catch muggers & Oscar said "And YOUR THE BAIT".  Or when he told Oscar to trick Felix into saving his life by choking on a chicken bone.

When Oscar says he used boneless chicken he replies "wont work without a bone Oscar". In his spare time Murray plays poker,  the ukulele & likes female roller derby. He was married to his wife Mimi.

In 1976 Garry Marshall had another big hit with Happy Days & he hired Molinaro to replace Pat Morita, as Al owner of Arnold's Malt Shop (later renamed Big Al's). Al played on Happy Days for seven more seasons (1976-1982) where his classic lines were "yup yup yup" & "did I ever tell you about Rosa Colleti?"

Everyone liked Al, the Fonz & Ritchie would confide in him as well as the teens who hung at Arnolds. Al was always welcome into the Cunningham Family & was an extended member.

Quote's: Molinaro once said: "Molinaro said, "I spent twenty years here before I got anything going, and from that I got lucky. It takes a lot of luck in show business. You've just got to be lucky and in the right place at the right time."

He would also play roles in Laverne & Shirley (1976) as Father Delvecchio, a role he also played on Happy Days when he Baptized the Fonz.

He also appeared on Love Boat (1977) Fantasy Island (1979 & 1982) Freaky Friday (1976) Gridlock (1980)  Joanie Loves Chachi (1982) Punky Brewster (1985) Family Man (1990-1991 a regular role in the short lived series) Step by Step (1992) & the Weezer video Buddy Holly (1994).

Molinaro also did a series of commercials from the late eighties to the early 2000's for Mr. Big, Cortaid  & On Cor products.

Passing: He retired from the business in the nineties & passed up roles offered to him by Marshall because he didn't want to be in anything with curse words in it.

He passed away in Glendale, California at age 96 in October 2015.

Oct 27, 2015

2015 National League East Champion New York Mets Pitching Leaders

2015 Mets Pitching Leaders

14 Jacob deGrom
14 Bartolo Colon
13 Matt Harvey

205 Jacob deGRom
188 Matt Harvey
166 Noah Syndergaard

0.979 Jacob deGrom
1.000 Jeurys Familia
1.019 Matt Harvey
1.019 Hansel Robles
1.047 Noah Syndergaard

1.85 Jeurys Familia
2.54 Jacob deGrom
2.67 Sean Gilmartin
2.71 Matt Harvey
3.24 Noah Syndergaard

76 Jeurys Familia
59 Carlos Torres
57 Hansel Robles

31 Bartolo Colon
30 Jacob deGrom
29 Matt Harvey
29 Jon Niese

194 Bartolo Colon
191 Jacob deGrom
189 Matt Harvey
176 Jon Niese
150 Noah Syndergaard

Walks per 9 Innings
1.1 Bartolo Colon
1.8 Jacob degrom
1.8 Matt Harvey

Strikeouts per 9 Innings
10.2 Hansel Robles
10.0 Noah Syndergaard
9.9 Jeurys Familia
9.7 Jacob deGrom
8.9 Matt Harvey

In the National League Mets pitchers ranked second in walks (381) third in saves (49) fourth in innings (1462) fourth in ERA (3.45) fifth in wins (89) fifth in runs (613) & earned runs (557) & sixth in strike outs (1323)


2015 National League East Champion New York Mets Batting Leaders

2015 Mets Batting Leaders:

27 Lucas Duda
25 Curtis Granderson
17 Yoenis Cespedes
16 Wilmer Flores
14 Daniel Murphy


73 Lucas Duda
73 Daniel Murphy
69 Curtis Granderson
59 Wilmer Flores
44 Yoenis Cespedes

.283 Daniel Murphy
.263 Wilmer Flores
.263 Ruben Tejada

.259 Michael Cuddyer
.259 Juan Lagares

38 Daniel Murphy
33 Lucas Duda
32 Curtis Granderson
23 Ruben Tejada
22 Wilmer Flores

91 Curtis Granderson
66 Lucas Duda
38 Ruben Tejada
31 Daniel Murphy
26 Eric Campbell

97 Curtis Granderson
67 Lucas Duda
56 Daniel Murphy
55 Wilmer Flores
47 Juan Lagares

On Base %
.361 Curtis Granderson
.352 Lucas Duda
.341 Ruben Tejada

156 Curtis Granderson
142 Juan Lagares
137 Wilmer Flores

In the National League Mets hitters ranked first in doubles (293) fourth in HRs (176) sixth in slugging% (.400) total bases (2201) & at bats (5500) seventh in runs (682) & walks (486) eleventh in hits (1346) & on base% (.312) thirteenth in average (.245) fourteenth in triples (17) & fifteenth in steals (51)

2015 Kansas City Royals Team Leaders

As a team the 2015 Royals were first in the AL strike outs (973) second in batting (.296) hits (1497) & stolen bases (104) third in doubles (300) fourth in triples (42) sixth in runs (724) seventh in on base % (.322%) fourteenth in HRs (139) fifteenth in walks (383)


Lorenzo Cain .307
Eric Hosmer .297
Kendrys Morales .290
Mike Moustakas .284
Alex Gordon .271

Kendrys Morales 22
Mike Moustakas 22
Salvador Perez 21
Eric Hosmer 18
Lorenzo Cain 16

Kendrys Morales 106
Eric Hosmer 93
Mike Moustakas 82
Lorenzo Cain 72
Salvador Perez 70

Eric Hosmer 178
Lorenzo Cain 169
Kendrys Morales 165
Alcides Escobar 157
Mike Moustakas 156

Kendrys Morales 41
Mike Moustakas 34
Lorenzo Cain 34
Eric Hosmer 33
Salvador Perez 25

Lorenzo Cain 101
Eric Hosmer 98
Kendrys Morales 81
Alcides Escobar 76
Mike Moustakas 73

On Base %
Alex Gordon .377
Eric Hosmer .363
Kendrys Morales .362

As a team the 2015 Royals staff first in wins (95) second in saves (56) HRs (155)  third in ERA (3.73) runs (641) & sixth in hits (1372)

Edinson Volquez 13
Yordano Ventura 13
Chris Young 11

Wade Davis 0.94
Ryan Madson 2.13
Kelvin Herrera 2.71
Chris Young 3.06
Franklin Morales 3.18

Strike Outs
Yordano Ventura 156
Edinson Volquez 155
Danny Duffy 102

Edinson Volquez 200
Yordano Ventura 163
Jeremy Guthrie 148

Edinson Volquez 72
Yordano Ventura 58
Danny Duffy 53

Greg Holland 32
Wade Davis 17
Ryan Madson 3

Oct 24, 2015

2015 National League Champion Mets Visit Jimmy Kimmel

David Wright, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey & Wilmer Flores drop by to visit with Jimmy Kimmel Live

Billy Joel Plays Meet the Mets @ MSG

Oct 12, 2015

MLB Suspends Public Enemy #1 Utley For Two Games

NLDS Game #2 Dodger Stadium Los Angeles, California:

In the 7th inning, with one out & two men on, Bartolo Colon (on in relief) threw what looked like a possible double play ball to Howie Kendrick.

As Utley came into second to break up the play, he was no where near the base. He gave a dirty tackle /slide/ then collided with Mets short stop. Ruben Tejada. Tejada landed & broke his fibula. Although Utley took a knee to the head it still knocked no sense into him. It was the that rocked the baseball world, the biggest in Mets playoff history since Pete Rose & Bud Harrelson went at it 42 years ago.

The umpires blew the call & it led to the Dodgers winning 5-2 to even the series. But now some justice has been served. MLB has suspended Chase Utley for Game 3 & 4 of the series.  

The MLB man in charge of discipline Joe Torre said: "After thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley's action warrants discipline. While I sincerely believe that Mr. Utley had no intention of injuring Ruben Tejada, and was attempting to help his Club in a critical situation, I believe his slide was in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a) (13), which is designed to protect fielders from precisely this type of rolling block that occurs away from the base.

The determination of whether a base runner has intentionally interfered with a player attempting to turn a double play is left to the judgment of the Umpire on the field, and that judgment call is not subject to review. I should add that determining where to draw the line between an illegal slide and a legitimate hard play is an extremely difficult call for our Umpires."

Second base umpire Chris Guccione blew the call by not calling Utley out & having the inning end with a double play.

Hopefully Mets fans will let him hear it & it's nice to know he's got two days to think about how he'll be greeted in New York.

The Mets said in a statement: "The Mets feel this was the appropriate course of action. With this decision behind us, the team and our fans can now focus on playing winning baseball."

Apparently Utley apologized to Tejada through a text to David Wright. Wright said after the game he had a problem with the play on a number of different levels.

Mets manager Terry Collins said, the Mets players are angry.

Dodger Manager Don Mattingly cried that if it had been Wright who made the slide, it would have been ok with Mets fans. What's that all about???

Matt Harvey said he'll take care of business in Game #3 & hopes there won't be no pre game warnings.

So now it's Wilmer Flores back in the spot light once again, Lets go Mets, win it for Ruben!!

** update: Utley appealed & will be available to play Game #3. In fact a centerfieldmaz friend who works at Citi saw Utley enter the stadium with four security guards earlier on 10/12/15.

Oct 11, 2015

2015 Italian / American ALDS Player: Chris Colabello (2013-2015)

Christopher Adrian Collabello was born on October 24th 1983 in Framingham, Massachusetts. He grew up in Rimini Italy, located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. His mother Silvanna was originally born in Rimini & his father Lou played baseball in Italy for seven seasons. In 1984 he was part of Team Italy's baseball team.

Collabello went to high school in Massachusetts & attended Assumption College there but was not drafted by any MLB team. He began a baseball career in the Independent Cam Am League from 2005 - 2011. In 2012 he signed with the Minnesota Twins as a free agent playing at AA New Britain.

In 2013 he was the AAA Player of the Year hitting .352 with 24 HRs & 76 RBIs in 89 games. He had a short stay in the big leagues with the Twins that season as well. He made his MLB debut in May of 2013 & hit .194 in 55 games at that level.

He started getting offers from the Korean Baseball League but did not want to give up his dream to play in the USA Big Leagues. That year he played for Team Italy just like his dad, in the WBC.

In 2014 he had a great start making the Twins starting line up & breaking Kirby Puckett's Twins record of 26 RBIs in a month. His production fell off to .229 average on the year & was placed on waivers at the end of the season. In December 2014 he was picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays.

In 101 games for the AL Eastern Champion Blue Jays, he hit 15 HRs with 19 doubles 54 RBIs & a .367 on base % while playing at first base, out field & DH. In the first two months of the season he hit 5 HRs & drove in 30 of those runs.

He got the start at first base in NLDS Game #2 against lefty Cole Hamels & the Texas Rangers. He hit a ground rule double in the 2nd inning & scored the tying run after Kevin Pillar grounded into a double play.

2015 NLDS Game #2 -An Embarassment for MLB

Mets get robbed in NLDS Game#2, period. Blown calls from a bad umpire crew & a coward replay crew hiding anonymously in New York. Chase Utley's dirty late slide into second base (which he never touched) to take out Ruben Tejada deservers retaliation. A fight should have broken out right then & there. The next Dodger batter should have gotten one to the head as well. Since it didn't, if the .212 hitting, Utley ever gets up to bat again in this series (or ever) the Mets pitcher that faces him Better throw one at his temple & not miss!

How does MLB have rules not to run over catchers who are wearing protective gear & not have any rules to protect infielders from dirty plays like what happened in Game #2.

Oct 8, 2015

Late Nineties Mets Utility Player: Jim Tatum (1998)

James Ray Tatum was born on October 9th 1967 in Grossmont, California.  He is the only player to ever come from Grossmont. The six foot two, right hand hitter was signed by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 1985 amateur draft. In 1992 he was selected by the Colorado Rockies as the 44th overall pick in the expansion draft.

Tatum spent seven years in the minor leagues, before getting a big league promotion, missing all of 1989. At AAA Denver in 1992 he hit .329 with 36 doubles & 101 RBIs, earning himself a September call up. In 1993 he played a career high 92 games & led the majors with 17 pinch hits, but hit just .204.

In 1996 he played for the Boston Red Sox (two games) & San Diego Padres at the big league level. Tatum played 14 years in the minor leagues, hitting .292 with 1318 hits 22 HRs  275 doubles & 152 RBIs.

In 1998, Tatum signed as a free agent with the New York Mets. Tatum debuted on Opening Day as a pinch hitter in the Mets 1-0 thirteen inning win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

On April 22nd, he had his day in the sun as he came to bat as a pinch hitter, in a 7-7 tie at Shea Stadium. Tatum hit a walk off three run HR against Doug Henry to beat the Houston Astros 10-7.

Tatum was seeing quality playing time early on, as he batted .300 with two HRs & ten RBIs in the month of April. In May he fell off to a .220 average with just two RBIs playing in thirteen games. By mid June he was sent down to AAA Norfolk & would not return to the majors again. For the Mets he hit .180 with two HRs one double & 13 RBIs & a .211 on base %.  He would play at first base, outfield, third base, DH & even catcher (four games) for New York.

In a five year career he batted .194 with three HRs seven doubles & 13 RBIs.

Early 20th Century New York Giants Pitching Star: Rube Marquard (1908-1914)

Richard William Marquard was born on October 9, 1886 in Cleveland, Ohio. Marquad was the son of an Ohio engineer. He grew up making a name for himself pitching on the sandlots of Cleveland.

He pitched in organized ball until he was 18 years old, against his parents' wishes he signed a contract with the New York Giants who out bid his home town Cleveland Indians.

He earned the nickname "Rube" because he looked like the great pitcher Rube Wadell. The six foot three inch, pitcher threw left handed but batted right handed. He was tall & so skinny, one paper commented, that he looked like the number one on that mound. He arrived with the Giants in late 1908 just in time to witness the famous “Merkles Boner” game from the bench.

He made his debut a few days later at the Polo Grounds. He hit the first batter he faced, walked the next two & then gave up a grand slam HR. It was not a good start & the fans let him have it. He was quickly labeled "the $11,000 lemon". The Giants finished second that year after losing a make up game (which was really like a one game playoff) to the Chicago Cubs.

In his first full year in 1909 he went 5-13, posting a strong 2.60 ERA as the Giants fell to third place. He followed with a -4 year but turned it all around by 1911. He know controlled his good fastball, added a forkball & change up.

Marquard went on an incredible record setting winning streak & had one of baseball best ever pitching seasons. He got the Giants Opening Day start in 1911 and beat the rival Brooklyn Dodgers. He went undefeated in all of that April & got stronger in May winning seven straight games.

In June he won eight more games besting himself to 18-0. At the start of July he notched another victory over Brooklyn, setting a post 20th century MLB record of 19 straight wins.

He had actually won twenty straight games but a relief win wasn't credited to him at the time. The streak ended in Chicago On July 8th, when he was beaten by the Chicago Cubs. During the win streak he had beaten every team in the league at least twice, He beat Brooklyn three times, Boston & Philadelphia four times each.

By the time he was 19-0, only two other pitchers in the league had as many as ten wins. Marquard pitched 16 complete games in the stretch allowing only 49 runs, 41 of which were earned. He went out & celebrated buying an opal stick pin, but then friend told him opal was bad luck, so he went & threw it into a river. Bad luck or not the win streak ended and he went 7-11 the rest of the season.

He finished the Giants Pennant 1911 season winning 24 games (24-7) leading the league in winning percentage (.772) & strike outs (237) posting a 2.05 ERA.

The Giants staff that season also featured Christy Mathewson (26-13) Doc Crandal (15-5) Hooks Wiltse (12-9) & Red Ames (11-10). John McGraw's Giants won 99 games but lost the World Series to Connie Mack's Philadelphia A’s. Marquard was the losing pitcher to Eddie Plank in Game #2, he pitched into the 8th inning allowing three runs.

In Game #4 at the Polo Grounds he gave up three runs in the third inning & was relieved by Coc Crandall. The Giants went on to a 4-3 win with Marquard earning no decision. Over all he pitched in three games of the Series, allowing six runs only two earned runs over 11 innings of work taking going 0-1.

Actress Blossom Seely
The historic winning streak brought him fame & plenty of show-business offers. He had made his vaudeville debut after the 1912 season made a movie with Alice Joyce called "19 Straight."

Soon he married singer/actress Blossom Seeley who had some hits records & was part of a famous vaudeville act. He teamed up with her in a skit called "Breaking the Record" & They did a dance called the Marquard Glide.

In 1913 they did an act called "The Suffragette Pitcher," in which Rube put on a dress and pitched for Blossom's all-girl team. In 1912 he had another great season, leading the league in wins (26-11) with 175 strike outs & a 2.57 ERA. The Giants won the pennant that year too but lost a heart breaker World Series to the Boston (Pilgrims) Red Sox.

Post Season: Marquard had a fine Series that year, starting out with a complete game victory in Game #3 at Boston's Fenway Park.

In Game #6 Marquard took the mound in the Polo Grounds and allowed two runs on seven hits, beating the Red Sox 5-2 in another complete game outing.

In the 1912 World Series he was 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA, striking out nine batters in 18 innings. He allowed 14 & two walks hits but kept them in check, baring down with runners in scoring position.

In 1913 he won twenty games for the third straight season, 23-10 with 151 strike outs while posting a 2.50 ERA. He pitched in 288 innings only walking 49 batters. That season McGraw's Giants went to their third straight World Series but this time losing again to the Philadelphia A’s. Marquard took the loss in the Series opener, getting hit hard for five runs on eight hits in five innings pitched. In Game #4 he came in to relieve Al Demaree in the 5th inning, he allowed two more runs earning no decision in the 6-5 loss in Philadelphia.

In 1914 he dropped to 12-22, the second most losses in the league, while posting a 3.06 ERA. The next season he threw a no hitter against the Brooklyn Dodgers in April and had a better year, going 9-8 but finding it harder to strike guys out.

Toward the end of the year he was traded to the Brooklyn Robins and would spend the next six seasons there (1915-1920). He made a comeback to win 13 games for the first place Robins in 1916 (going 13-6) but lost two games to the Boston Red Sox in the 1916 World Series.

In 1917, although the Robins dropped to seventh place, he won 19 games (19-12). Marquard posted a 2.55 ERA, striking out 107 batters, while pitching over 200 innings, for the second of three straight seasons. Strangely the next season he fell off to lead the league in losses with 18 (9-18) but still posted an ERA of 2.64.

He got into another World Series with Brooklyn , in 1920 after pitching a 10-7 season. In the World Series he took a 3-1 loss in the opener to the Cleveland Indians. He was sent to Cincinnati where we won 17 games for the Reds in one brief season.

Marquard then was off to the Boston Braves where he had two 11 win seasons but both years lost more games than he won. He missed most of the 1924 season due to illness & in 1925 pitched in 26 games, making eight starts going 2-8 at the age of 39.

He ended his 18 season career at 201-177 (110th most wins all time-79th most losses all time) with 1593 strike outs (162nd all time) and a 3.08 ERA (189th all time) pitching in 3306 innings (89th all time) over 536 games. He made 407 starts (119th all time) with 197 complete games (142nd all time) & 30 shut outs (110th all time).

Retirement: After baseball he was a coach, a scout and a manager at the minor league level. He was even an umpire for a brief time. For years he then worked at mutual betting windows at racetracks in Florida and Maryland.

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown by the Veterans committee in 1971. He lived until 93 years of age, passing in Baltimore Maryland in 1980.

Oct 3, 2015

Best Wishes to Mets Legend Rusty Staub

Former New York Mets Hall of Fame Player, Rusty Staub suffered a heart attack while on a plane from Ireland to New York on Thursday.  The plane was rerouted back to Ireland & the 71 year old Staub is recuperating & resting privately in a hospital there. Rusty is expected to be fine.

Staub known as "Le Grande Orange" was one of the hitting stars of the 1973 Mets National League Championship team. Staub made a return to the Mets at the end of his career & was one of the games best pinch hitters.

see the Staub postings below: