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 23, 2015

NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy & His 2015 Season

In the 2015 off season Daniel Murphy's name kept coming up in trade talks again, as the Mets continued to shop him. They did not find a suitable buyer & it was back to Spring Training never expecting the year that was ahead of him. He continued to dodge the questions that came his way & went about his business.

During Spring Training Billy Bean was going around to baseball teams to promote Inclusion to MLB. Murphy a Religious man stated "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. You can still accept him but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100%." After these comments became controversial to some, Murph said he'll stick with baseball & not tell reporters about his Religious beliefs anymore.

Daniel Murphy was the Mets Opening Day second baseman batting in the 5th position. Murph would be the teams main second baseman but would also see action at third as David Wright went down with an injury, missing Most of his season.
He had a slow start in April ending the month batting under .200 (.198) but did have a big four RBI day against the Atlanta Braves on April 23rd in a 6-3 Mets win. At the end of the month he has two RBIs in a subway series loss across town & then the next day, drove in all three runs in 3-1 win over the Marlins in Miami. In May the hits strted to come easier as he raised his batting average to .272 while driving in 12 runs.

In June he went on the DL for three weeks missing action from June 5th through the 30th. In his return he had four hits in a series in which the Mets got swept by the team they would end up sweeping in that year's NLCS, the Chicago Cubs. Considering the amazing post season run Murph would have, it's funny to see that the most HRs he hit any month during the regular season was four, as he did it in both August & September.

On August 2nd he hit a HR off the Nationals Jordan Zimmerman in a 5-3 win at Citi Field, as the Mets swept an important series from Washington taking over first place. Murph collected three hits in the series. This came during a six game win streak, in where Murph hit another HR in Tampa off Jake Odoizzi in a 4-3 Mets victory.

By this point Muph was settling into the number three spot in the line up in front of Yoenis Cespedes, who at that point just arrived after the trade deadline & was the hottest hitter on the planet. In August he raised his average from .266 to .281 while hitting 11 doubles & driving in twenty runs.
In September Murph would drive in 17 more runs while hitting eight more doubles & hitting HRs against the Atlanta Braves twice, the Phillies & the AL New York club. On September 26th Murph had two hits & two runs scored in the NL Eastern Division clincher at Cincinnati.
He ended the year batting .281(best on the Mets team) his lowest batting average since his first full season 2009 where he hit .266. Murph was the hardest man in the league to strike out (13.1) going down just 38 times in 499 at bats.

He collected 140 hits (2nd on the Mets) with 38 doubles (5th in the NL) 2 triples 14 HRs 73 RBIs (first on the club tied with Lucas Duda)56 runs scored & a .322 on base %. He was walked intentionally ten times (8th most in the NL).

Defensively he posted a .279 fielding % at second base (69 games) making six errors, he made six more errors at third (42 games) with a .935 fielding%.

POST SEASON: On October 9th, 2015 Murph got to play in his first post season game, finally enjoying the benefits after playing seven struggling seasons with the Mets.
NLDS: In the bottom of the 4th inning of Game #1 against the LA Dodgers, he put the Mets on the board with their first post season run as he hit a solo HR off one of the games best pitchers; Clayton Kershaw. In the Game #2 loss he collected a base hit off Zack Greinke. In the Game #3 Mets 13-7 rout at Citi Field, Murph added a 4th inning RBI base hit off Dodgers reliever; Alex Wood.
In Game #4 at Citi Field, the Mets only had three hits total in the 3-1 loss. The only run came when Murphy hit a solo HR off Kershaw once again, giving the Citi Faithful something to cheer about.
As the NLDS moved back to LA for the decisive Game #5 Murph's star was really about to shine. In the top of the 1st, Curtis Granderson led off the game with a bse hit. After David Wright struck out, Murph doubled to left field off Zack Greinke, another of the games best pitchers, making it 1-0 Mets.
In the 4th inning, with LA now ahead 2-1 Murphy singled to start the 4th inning. With one out, Lucas Duda walked, the Dodgers had a shift to the right side of the infield on Duda. With no one covering third base Murphy alertly trotted to second & then took off to third base sliding in safely. The Dodger blunder was huge for the Mets possibly being the turning point. Murph then scored the tying run on Travis d'Arnaud's sac fly.
As Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom settled in shutting down the Dodger offense, Murph put them away with a solo HR to right field, this one coming off Greinke as well. Prior to this Murph had only homered in back to back games, once in his career. The Mets went on to the 3-2 win and advanced to their first NLCS since 2006.

Overall in the NLDS Murphy led the Mets in hits (7) runs scored (5) HRs (3) RBIs (5) while batting .33 with a .333 on base % as well.

NLCS: On October 17th, 2015 the Mets hosted the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS Game #1. The man everyone was talking about; Daniel Murphy electrified Citi Field as he blasted a line drive HR to right field, off Cub pitcher Jon Lester, putting the Mets up 1-0. It was Murphs third straight post season game with a HR, his fourth overall. The Mets went on to a 4-2 win.
In Game #2 the Cubs sent their ace & possible Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta to the mound. The Mets took care of him right away as Curtis Granderson singled & then came home when David Wright doubled.
Then the hottest hitter in the universe came up Daniel Muphy, he connected once again after fouling one off down the right field line just missing a HR, this one went over the fence for sure putting New York up 3-0. He would collect another hit later on as the Mets went on to a 4-1 win, taking a commanding two games to none lead in the NLCS.
Trivia: With that HR Murphy tied Mike Piazza for the most Mets HRs in a post season. He now had hit HRs in four straight post season games, breaking Don Clendennon's 1969 franchise record of three straight post season HR games.
As Game #3 moved on to Wrigley Field Chicago, all the talk continued to be Daniel Muphy, people who had never heard of him before know knew his name in New York. Baseball people knew this kind of post season hitting was special & rarely done before.
Rumors circulating that week, that no matter what kind of a playoff run Murph had, that the team still wasn't going to sign him, kind of changed. Reports came in that the Mets would possibly offer him double his salary in the off season, although that probably still would be short of what other teams may offer.
In any event Murph just continued his hot hitting, gave humbling interviews, complimenting his team mates being a true soft spoken gentleman that he is. As he said in post game interviews as long as the interviews keep coming that means the team has won another game.
In Game #3 with the score tied 1-1 in the third inning, Murph continued his hot streak, putting a HR into the center field bleachers at Wrigley Field, this one off of Kyle Hendricks, another solo shot.
This HR tied Carlos Beltran's all time MLB 2004 post season HR streak that went five games.
In the 7th Murphy singled, advanced to third on Yoenis Cespedes' base hit & then scored on Lucas Duda's grounder to first base. The Mets went on to a 5-2 win taking a three to nothing series lead.
Mets fans were so excited about sweeping the series & advancing to their first World Series in 15 years, they also figured with all that going on Murphy couldn't possibly do it again.
Well with the score tied in the third inning, Murphy defied all sanity by connecting with another shot that traveled & carried into the Wrigley Field bleachers.
It was his sixth straight post season game with a HR, a new MLB record. It was also his seventh HR of the post season, 7 Hrs in nine games, during the regular season he hit 14 HRs in 130 games! Amazing. The solo HR put New York up 2-1, a lead they would never give up. The Mets went on to a 5-2 win, and won the 2015 National League pennant.
In the NLCS Murphy was named the NLCS MVP as he led the Mets in hits (9) batting average (.529) HRs (4) Runs scored (6) on base % (.556%) & tied with Lucas Duda in RBIs (6).
Trivia: The so called curse of the Chicago Cubs stems back to 1908 involving a Billy Goat named...............Murphy!

Oct 12, 2015

Remembering The 1973 N.L. Champion Mets: The Drama of A's Second Baseman Mike Andrews in the 1973 World Series

Remembering the 42nd Anniversary of the 1973 N.L. Champion Mets

Michael Jay Andrews was born July 9th 1943 in Los Angeles; California. In 1966 the six foot three infielder, he came up with the Boston Red sox, under manager Dick Williams.

Andrews was the REd Sox main second baseman in their 1967 "Impossible Dream” club that won the pennant& lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. He was a fine defensive second baseman and hit pretty well for infielders of his time. In that 67 season h batted .263 with 8 HRs 20 doubles 40 RBIs & 79 runs scored. In the World Series he hit .308 (4-13) driving in a run in the Sox 8-4 win at Fenway Park.

In 1969 he hit .293 with 15 HRs & 26 doubles making the AL All Star team. He followed up with career bests in HRs (17) doubles (28) hits (149) runs (91) & RBIs (65) in 1970.

After Dick Williams had left Boston as manager, Andrews found himself traded to the Chicago White Sox, along with Luis Alvarado for Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio, who was at the end of his career. Andrews would lead the AL secondbaseman in errors three straight seasons from 1971-1972. In April 1973, he became the first official designated hitter in White Sox history, but was released that July.

A's Manager Dick Williams at Shea Stadium:
1973 World Series
His old manager Dick Williams now manager of the World Champion Oakland A's recruited him. At the time, Oakland's main second baseman was the steady Dick Green. But in the strange world of Charley Finley's A's, Green was often pinch hit for late in games. Andrews was a good late inning hitter & substitute on the field, and a Williams’s favorite.

In 1973 Andrews hit only .190 in 18 games, and got into two games of the ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles going 0-1. In Game #2 of the 1973 World Series against the New York Mets, he pinch hit in the 8th inning grounding out for the third out. He went to second base as a defensive replacement for Green, in the ninth, with the Mets ahead 6-4. The A’s tied thescore in a wild game that just got crazier in extra innings.

In the top of the 12th Bud Harrelson doubled off Rollie Fingers and Mets pitcher; Tug McGraw got on with a bunt base hit. Fingers got the next two outs, but then Willie Mays singled with the last hit of his career, to score Harrelson, putting the Mets ahead.

The drama was just starting for Mike Andrews; with the bases loaded, Manager Williams removed fingers & brought in Paul Lindblad. He pitched to John Milner, who hit a ground ball to Andrews at second base. The ball went right through Andrews’s legs, as McGraw & Mays both scored.

The next batter, catcher Jerry Grote also hit a grounder to Andrews. He fielded it cleanly and threw to first base. But the throw pulled first baseman Gene Tenace off the bag, it was charged an the error, but certainly could have gone either way. Andrews set a World Series record making back to back errors in the same game. The Mets scored four runs in that inning, three due to Andres errors.

A's Owner Charlie Finley & His
Three World Series Trophies
In the bottom of the 12th, the A's got one run back but lost the game 10-7, as the series was tied up one game each. After the game, Andrews was called into the controversial A's owner Charlie Finley’s office.

Finley had an orthopedist doctor examine Andrews and pressured the player to sign a paper saying he had injured his shoulder. Finley then placed Andrews on the disable list and attempted to activate second baseman Manny Trillo.

The rest of the Oakland players were waiting almost an hour on the team bus for the airport, as Andrews & manager Williams were in this meeting. They eventually learned about what happened to Andrews on the flight to New York, with no Andrews aboard. The team was outraged at the antics of the owner.

Team Captain Sal Bando later said: "Andrews was no different in the World Series than he had been in the second part of the season. He just happened to make a couple of errors that day." The next day, an off day between Series games, the A's honored Andrews by taping a make shift #17 to their uniforms, during the work out at Shea Stadium.

According to player rep Reggie Jackson, some players threatened not to play in disgust of their teammate being humiliated. Not only did his players rally behind him, all of America followed the story and supported Andrews. The news came out in the media frenzy of New York City during a World Series, it was a major story.

Bowie Kuhn & Marvin Miller
The Head of the Players s Union, Marvin Miller, stepped in on Andrews behalf, so did baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Kuhn met with Andrews, after learning the whole story he personally had Finley reactivate Andrews instantly. He fined Finley (again) & made a public statement saying "the handling of this matter by the Oakland club has had the unfortunate effect on clearly embarrassing a player who has given many years of able service to pro baseball."

Manager Dick Williams finally had had enough of Finley’s antics, he had been quiet about the incident for two days but before Game #3 at Shea Stadium, he met with his team. He told his players behind closed doors he would be resigning at the end of the series "win, lose or draw".

The A's went out & won Game #3 in extra innings, Catfish Hunter believed the situation made the team play a bit harder. Sal Bando said all the hype made the A's forget they had to face Tom Seaver.

Andrews phoned Reggie Jackson & learned the team supported him 100%. He was now reactivated & joined the team in New York for Game #4, in which the Mets won 6-1.

Manager Williams showed Charlie Finley who was really in charge, shoving it in his face in the 8th inning when he sent Andrews up as a pinch hitter. The New York fans cheered giving Andrews a standing ovation for all his troubles. He grounded out to Wayne Garrett at third base and on his way back to the dugout, received another standing ovation. Finley sat in his box quietly, swallowing the moment giving a phony applause.

Andrews thanked New York in the press saying he was shocked; "I don't think I've ever had a standing ovation in my life. To me it meant everything."

Mike Andrews retired at the end of the season, in an eight year career; he was a lifetime .258 hitter with 803 hits 66 HRs 140 doubles 316 RBIs & a .353 on base %.
He played 787 games at second base (.973%) 39 games at first base & a few games at short as well as third base.

Retirement: He started the Mike Andrews baseball camp, along with his brother, former Major leaguer Rob Andrews. Andrews is the chairman of the popular Jimmy Fund charity in the Boston area since 1984

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.