Mar 29, 2016

First Mets Player To Hit A Grand Slam: "Hot Rod" Kanehl (1962-1964)

Roderick Edwin Kanehl was born on April Fool’s Day 1934 in Wichita, Kansas. The six foot one, right hand hitter was signed after high school by the A.L. New York club as an amateur free agent in 1954.

In his first year of pro ball he hit .316 but toiled at the lowest levels of the minors for four seasons. In 1958 he went to AA ball and batted .295 getting promoted to AAA the next season.

The next two years he spent at the AA & AAA levels going to the Kansas City A’s, Cincinnati Reds &; Minnesota Twins organizations. He hit over .300 in 1961 but still didn’t’ have a contract after the season. The expansion New York Mets gave him a shot to try out at Spring Training, probably due to Casey Stengel remembering him from the minor leagues.

After eight years in the minors, Kanehl played his heart out in Spring Training to earn a spot on the 1962 expansion Mets roster. He once jumped over a fence to attempt catching a fly ball, as his hustle and all out determination earned him the nick name “Hot Rod” Kanehl.

He became a favorite of manager Casey Stengel and made the team, despite the wishes of upper management. According to the book; Once Upon the Polo Grounds," General Manager George Weiss told Stengel 'I ain't seen him do anything in the field. Stengel replied 'You're full of baloney, he can run the bases."

Hot Rod began the Mets first month being used mostly as a pinch hitter & pinch runner. Kanehl debuted on April 15th in the second home game in Mets history, that day he was hitless as a pinch hitter. On April 28th he came in the game as a pinch runner in an inning where Frank Thomas, Charlie Neal & Gil Hodges had just hit three straight HRs.

With the Mets John DeMerit at third base & Kanehl on second base, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Chris Short threw a wild pitch. DeMerit scored & the always hustling Kanehl, scored right behind him. His run turned out to be the games winning run in the first ever Mets home victory. 

He became an early Mets fan favorite, claiming to have the first banner in the Polo Grounds read “We Love the Mets-Hot Rod Kanehl”. Kanehl did hit well enough to reach the .300 mark by mid May although he didn't have too many at bats.

On June 1st he hit his first career HR, it came at the Polo Grounds against the old New York Giants now visiting from San Francisco. The following month on July 6th, he hit the first grand slam HR in Mets history. On July 6th 1962 at the Polo Grounds, Kanehl stepped in as a pinch hitter, in the bottom of the 8th inning against the St. Louis Cardinals Bobby Shantz. Kanehl's blast cleared the bases as Jim Hickman, Elio Chacon & Joe Christopher all scored on the way to the Mets 10-3 win. Hot Rod hit well enough to get his average back up to .310 at the start of August.

In the final ten days of that month he drove in runs in five different games. He would never be a good hitter, by the end of the season his average fell to .248. He was certainly versatile on the field making him very valuable on a poor fielding team. He would play at seven different positions for the ’62 Mets, everywhere but at catcher & pitcher. He wasn’t a great fielder either, making 22 errors at second base (second in the league).

Playing at third base he made eight more errors in 63 chances, & made two more in the outfield. He slumped off from there finishing the season hitting .248 with 4 HRs 10 doubles 2 triples 8 stolen bases 27 RBIs & a .296 on base %.

In 1963 he was batting just .174 in early June then began to hit a bit before falling just around that .200 mark again by mid August. He finished the year at .241 with just one HR six doubles & nine RBIs playing in 109 games. Once again he played all seven positions and made fewer errors on the field.

In 1964 he made the team again, getting to play in the new Shea Stadium. In his first start of the year he drove in two runs in the Mets first win at the new Shea Stadium in the Mets 6-0 win over Pittsburgh.

At the start of May he hit safely in 16 of 19 games and at that point was batting over .400. His average fell from there bottoming out at .232 at the end of the season. In 98 games he hit one HR with seven doubles& 11 RBIs with a .256 on base %. It would turn out to be Kanehl’s last season in the major leagues.

In a three year career he batted .241 with 6 HRs 23 doubles 47 RBIs 17 stolen bases & a .277 on base %.

Kanehl was upset at his demotion saying "Baseball is a lot like life. The line drives are caught; & the squibbers go for base hits. It's an unfair game."

Retirement: In 1975 at the passing of Casey Stengel he was loyal to the very end, being one of the few Mets players to go to the funeral. In 2004 at the age of 70 Kanhel himself passed away in Palm Springs from a heart attack.

Mar 28, 2016

The St. Lucie Mets

As Spring Training winds down, lets take a look at the St. Lucie Mets who will be playing at Tradition Field once the big league club heads North.

Port St. Lucie is a city of approximately 175,000 people located in the mid eastern sections of Florida in St. Lucie County. The area has grown rapidly in the last decade.

The St. Lucie Mets began playing Advanced A ball in 1988, the same year Thomas White Stadium opened up & the New York Mets started playing their Spring Training games there. White was a real estate developer who along with sports writer Jack Champion helped bring the Mets to St. Lucie. The Mets moved on from their previous Spring Training spot of St. Petersburg, Florida.

That same year, the St. Lucie Mets went on to win the Florida State League Championship. Johnny Monell Sr. was the clubs second baseman, father of current Met Johnny Monell Jr.  

After two years the team became the Class A affiliate of the New York Mets & have been that way ever since. In 2004 the stadium's name was changed to Tradition Field, a 7160 seat venue. For a short lived time it was also called Digital Domain Park.

The St. Lucie Mets have won four more Florida State League titles : 1996 with future big leaguers Vance Wilson, Preston Wilson & Guillermo Mota. 1998 with players like Jason Tyner, Melvin Mora, Todd Hundley (12 games) & Grant Roberts.

The 2003 Champions featured David Wright who went on to a fine Mets career, Angel Pagan, Scott Kazmir & Tyler Yates. The last time the St. Lucie Mets won the FSL Championship was in 2006, although they did win a 2011 Divisional title.  

That team featured current Mets Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, Wilmer Flores, Juan Lagares as well as Josh Edgin & Matt den Dekker.

Other current Mets who played at St. Lucie are Jacob deGrom, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejasa & Dilson Herrera.

In 2015 Tradition Field hosted the FSL All Star Game. Current MLB Managers Clint Hurdle (1988-1989) & John Gibbons (1996-1997) both former Mets players have managed the St. Lucie team. Current Mets third base coach Tim Teufel managed the team in 2004-2005 & then again in 2008-2009. Gary Carter managed the 2006 squad.

The team mascot since 2013 is "Klutch" who replaced "Slider" who had been the mascot for 17 years before moving to the Kingsport Mets. A Floridian Mr. Met is also used as a team mascot.

Late 2000's Mets Utility Player: Mike Hessman (2010)

Michael Steven Hessman was born March 5th, 1978 in Fountain Valley, California. The six foot five inch, two hundred fifteen pound right hand hitter was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1996. From 1997 through 2002 the big guy hit 19 or more HRs each season in the minor leagues.

 In 2001 & 2002 he blasted 26 HRs in each season. The power also came with low batting averages as well as a lot of strike outs, including six straight minor league seasons of 125 or more strike outs. 

In late August of 2003 he was brought up to the Braves big league club & in his second game hit a 9th inning pinch hit HR against the New York Mets. The HR came against Mike Stanton bringing the Braves within a run, although the Mets prevailed 6-5. He hit another HR two games later & it would be his last for the season. In 21 at bats he hit .286 with two HRs & three RBIs. 

 In 2004 he made the club out of Spring Training but was back down in the minors by July 1st hitting 2 HRs batting just .130. He spent two seasons in the minors, then signed on with the Detroit Tigers.

Hessman played in less than twenty games each season batting 296 in 2008. Previously in 51 at bats (17 games) during 2007 he hit 4 HRs and drove in 12 runs with the Tigers.
 In 2008 Hessman was a member of the U.S. Olympic & hit 34 HRs for the AAA Toledo Mud Hens. In an early September game he played all nine positions in a game for the AAA Toledo Mud Hens. In December of 2009 he signed with the New York Mets as a free agent. At AAA Buffalo, he hit .274 leading the Bison's with 18 HRs & tying for the team lead in RBIs along with Russ Adams with 58. Hessman was brought up to the Mets at the end of July 2010 debuting as a pinch hitter on July 27th.

The next day he got a start & Hessman drove in two runs with a double against the St. Louis Cardinals. Albert Pujols would drive in the winning run to defeat the Mets in extra innings.

On August 5th Hessman hit a three run HR against the Philadelphia Phillies although the Mets still lost the game 7-5. He never got his batting average back up over the .200 mark through the seasons. Overall he played in 32 games being mostly used as a pinch hitter for the Mets batting .127 with one HR & six RBIs. On the field he played eight games at third base & six games at first base. 

After the season he refused a minor league assignment & was granted free agency. He then went on to play the 2011 season in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes in their Pacific League.

In 2012 he signed with the Houston Astros & had to play in the minor leagues, as he hit 35 HRs with 78 RBIs, batting .231 at AAA Oklahoma City. In 2013 he played for the Cincinnati Reds & Detroit Tigers minor leagues.

In five MLB seasons he hit .188 with 14 HRs 8 doubles 33 RBIs & a .272 on base % in 109 games.

Mar 26, 2016

The Girlfriends Of Matt Harvey 2013-2016

Lets take an amusing look at Matt Harvey's famous model girlfriends, that we know of since he's been with the Mets


Anne Vyalitsyna was born March 19, 1986 in Gorky Soviet Union Russia. Both of her parents are doctors, she began modeling at age 15. Her career quickly took off as she appeared in Glamour, Vouge, Elle & then Sports Illustrated Swim suit Issue every year since 2005.

She had appeared in music videos by Maroon 5 & Alanis Morisette as well as a cameo in Die Hard's A Good Day To Die Hard.

She dated Maroon 5's Adam Levine & in 2015 had a daughter with Adam Cahan SR. VP of Yahoo. She was Harvey's main chick during his rise to stardom & possibly was in the limelight most with him 2013-2014.

Ashley Sara Haas is a the brunette model whom Harvey dated after breaking up with Vyalitsna & after his Tommy John surgery in 2014.

They were seen on the NY Post Page Six but the relationship didn't last too long.

Asha Leo was born January 5th 1982 in Kingston Upon Thames, England. She attended the University of Arts College of Fashion & began modeling at age 13. She was also BBC America's red carpet host for the Brit List & their pop culture guru talking about trends in fashion, film & music. She now lives in Los Angeles & works for Access Hollywood.

She had been spotted with Harvey at Madison Square Garden at Knicks & Rangers game.

Matt Harvey with former model girlfriend Asha Leo .

Shannon Rusbuldt was born on Valentines Day 1985 in the United States. She is a New York runway model & has played the goddess of Water in the Vikings TV series.

She is very involved in charity work with the National MS Society (whom she is model for) Fashion Delivers & Project Sunshine
Harvey & Sharon were an item in Summer of 2014, being seen around Manhattan. Most famously on a karaoke date where Katy Perry interrupted the two by dropping by.

Ania Cywinska is a Polish model, very big with Sachs Fifth Avenue. She seems to be pretty steady with Matt Harvey since last Spring Training.

It seems Harvey has been a bit lower key with his social private life as well. The two are spotted together during the season & the post season of 2016.

Mar 25, 2016

Early 2000's Mets Relief Pitcher: David Weathers (2002-2004)

John David Weathers was born on September 25, 1969 in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Weather was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 3rd round of the 1991 draft. The six foot three right hander was a journey man pitcher who pitched in the big leagues for 19 years. Weather is only the twentieth pitcher in history to appear in over 900 games.

His long career began in Canada, & after two brief seasons in Toronto he became a starter with the Florida Marlins going 8-12 in 1994. He eventually became a full time middle inning reliever by 1996, and would land in New York (A.L.) Cleveland, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Chicago (NL) until he landed in with the New York Mets in 2002.

He arrived via free agency and found a spot as a solid middle reliever having one of his best seasons going 6-1 with a 2.91 ERA. On Opening Day he got credit for the hold in the Mets 6-2 win at Shea Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the month of April he made 12 appearances with three holds, a blown save & earning himself two victories. Weathers became a workhorse already having 12 holds in 44 appearances by the All Star Break.

In late July he got credit for two wins in a three day span in Chicago & at home against the Montreal Expos. In the final three months of the season he won three games, got credit for eight holds & only blew one save which came on September 24th at Pittsburgh against the Pirates. For the season Weathers struck out 61 batters in 77 innings posting a .667 winning percentage.

In 2003 he wasn’t as effective, as he dropped to 1-6 with a 3.08 ERA in 77 appearances, although he struck out 75 batters in 84 innings pitched. In 2004 after 32 appearances, he was 5-3 with an ERA of 4.28 in June when he was traded along with Jeremy Griffiths to the Houston Astros for Richard Hidalgo. For the remainder of the season he pitched in both Houston & Florida.

In 2005 he went to the Cincinnati Reds and found a spot as a quality closer for four seasons. In 2005 he was 7-4 with 15 saves & a 3.94 ERA. In 2007 he saved 33 games (7th in the NL) and led the league finishing up 60 games posting a 2-6 record with a 3.59 ERA. He was still active at age 40, pitching moving on to the Milwaukee Brewers going 1-3 with a 4.88 ERA in 2009 before retiring.

Lifetime Weathers pitched in 964 games in 1376 innings, going 72-87 with 75 saves 976 strike outs 604 walks and a 4.53 ERA.

Mar 24, 2016

Remembering Mets History & the Slogans: "The Magic Is Back " & "Catch The Rising Stars"

In 1980 the New York Mets ownership changed hands as the team was purchased by Fred Wilpon & Nelson Doubleday. 

One of the first things the Doubleday people did was, hire a Madison Avenue advertising company to promote the team. The firm of Della Femina, Travisano & Partners were paid a hefty $400,000 to come up with a new slogan to sell a Mets new image.

Jerry Della Femina, was a giant in the ad industry, also having a bestselling book under his belt, he spoke out right away for his new clients. 

He said attendance should rise by 50,000 just getting rid of M. Donald Grant & the De Roulet sisters. He said New York fans had to settle for a Reggie Jackson when the Mets started losing in the late seventies. If the Mets were where they were in ’69, a guy like Jackson couldn’t get arrested in New York. He also said going to a game in the Bronx baseball Stadium was a very unpleasant experience and Shea was a better & safer place to go. 

He promoted Lee Mazzilli as a guy with Bucky Dent looks that could actually hit. Of course the AL New York team got upset at these comments, even baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn stepped in and fined the Mets $5000.

This was at this time when the advertising firm came up with the classic slogan “The Magic Is Back” for the 1980 season. 

Obviously the Magic wasn’t back in 1980 as the Mets lost 91 games. In the strike shortened 1981 season they went 41-62, and in 1982 they lost another 94 games. The media laughed at the slogan as did some teams driving into the ball park. It didn’t do well. 

After 1983 the team changed it to another Della Femina advertising classic; “Catch the Rising Stars”. In the 1988 Mets Yearbook, there is a 25th Anniversary tribute to Shea. In is a picture dated around the mid eighties where the slogan atop Shea says "The Magic Is Real- Catch It."

As those words were painted atop the sides of Shea Stadium, a strange thing happened, in 1984, the Mets began to win & became contenders. 

Those Rising Stars did actually rise, most of the most of them right out of the organization and by 1986, they won another World Series.

Mar 23, 2016

Early Seventies Mets Reserve Catcher: Bill Sudakis (1972)

William Paul Sudakis was born on March 27, 1946 in Joliet, Illinois. The six foot one switch hitter, was nicknamed “Suds” getting signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1964 as an amateur free agent. 

Suds was originally known as a power hitting third baseman as he began his pro career, belting out 23 HRs at A ball Santa Barbara in 1966. In 1968 he was the Texas league co-MVP along with Jim Spencer, batting .298 with 16 HRs & 75 RBIs.

He got called up to the Dodgers making his MLB debut in September1968. In his first career game he hit a HR off the Phillies Dick Hall in the 8th inning of a 10-9 Dodger win. That rookie year he led the club in slugging percentage (471%), with three HRs & nine extra base hits in only 87 at bats. 

In 1969 he was named the Dodgers regular third baseman playing in 132 games batting .294 with 17 doubles five triples & 53 RBIs. He hit 14 HRs for two straight seasons coming in second on the team to Andy Kosco in 1969. He also had 17 doubles with 53 RBIs while batting .234. At third he made 21 errors in 391 chances for a .946 on base %. In 1970 along with his 14 HRs (second to Billy Grabarkewitz) he batted .264 with 44 RBIs, drawing 35 walks giving him a .352 on base %. At third base he improved to a .983 % making 14 errors in 178 chances.

For the 1971 season the Dodgers acquired Dick Allen to play third base, Allen hit .295 with 23 HRs & 90 RBIs. In the meantime a young future star named Steve Garvey, who was originally a third baseman, was on the horizon in the Dodger organization. 

The team tried to convert Suds to a catcher, but bad knees and a .193 batting average got him put on waivers by Spring Training 1972.

The New York Mets picked him up, and sent him to their AA Memphis farm club. Although he only hit .167, he came up to the big league club that July making his Met debut at Shea Stadium on July 11th playing at first base He drew a walk in four at bats that night & got a his first Mets hit the next day. 

He played first base in his first seven Mets games & then was sent back down to the minors through the month of August. He was used as a pinch hitter going 1-7 in the first half of September. On September 22nd, he hit a HR in his first start at catcher, driving in three of the four runs in a 5-4 loss to the Phillies. He closed out the season catching the final three games of the year, getting three hits.

In 18 games as a New York Met he hit .143 with one HR & seven RBIs. In that short time as a Met, Sudakis appeared on both a 1972 & 1973 Topps baseball card as a Mets player.

With the birth of the Designated hitter in 1973, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Bill McNulty who never played a game for the Mets. Suds hit a career high 15 HRs in Texas, batting .255 in 82 games that year. In the off season he was traded to the A.L. New York club for future Mets closer Skip Lockwood.

In New York, he used to mimic the teams manager Bill Virdon who would try to flex his muscles while addressing the team. Sudakis who had pretty big arms himself, would stand behind Virdon & flex himself to the delight of his team mates. 

He also got into a famous fight with team mate Rick Dempsey at a hotel in Milwaukee in front of a bunch of surprised hotel guests. NY outfielder Outfielder Bobby Murcer, broke his finger trying to break up the fight between the two.

Over the next two seasons he would play in New York, California & Cleveland before the knee injuries cut his career short.

Sudakis' MLB career ended in 1975 at age 30, batting .234 lifetime with 362 hits 59 HRs 214 RBIs & 56 doubles.

Mar 22, 2016

Short Time Mets Third Baseman: Joe Moock (1967)

Joseph Geoffrey Moock was born on March 12th 1944 in Plaquemine, Louisiana.  The six foot one, left hand hitter, threw right handed. His father Joseph, was a minor league infielder in the forties. 

Moock attended LSU at baton Rouge, getting drafted by the New York Mets in the third round of the 1965 amateur draft.

In 1966 he hit .284 in the New York Penn League & spent most of 1967 in the minors as well. The Mets as they were desperate for a third baseman to back up Ed Charles & brought him up in September.

Moock debuted on September 1st, 1967 wearing uniform #18, striking out in his first career at bat. In his second start at third base on September 13th, he helped Tom Seaver to his 14th win of the year. Moock doubled off the Braves; Par Jarvis in Atlanta, in the 4th inning, driving in Ron Swoboda to tie the game. The Mets won it 2-1 on Jerry Grote's 9th inning base hit.

Moock would enjoy a four game hit streak that month in late September. On September 29th, he drove in two runs with a bases loaded single off  the Dodgers; Bill Singer in a 5-1 Mets win in L.A. The next day he drove in two more runs, with a bases loaded single off Don Drysdale in the 1st inning. The Mets won this game 5-0 on a Les Rohr shut out. Moock would play in 13 games batting .225 with two doubles & five RBIs, but never make the major leagues again.

He would be a member of the Montreal Expos organization in their inaugural season. He had a fine Spring Training with the '69 Expos & hit the teams first ever HR in an intra squad game. He was eventually cut from the team as they went North.

He would play in the minors through 1970 batting .300 in a five year career.

Retirement: After his playing days he coached baseball at a private school in Louisiana.

New York Giants Hall of Fame Pitcher: "Iron" Joe McGinnity (1902-1908)

Joseph Jerome McGinnity was born March 20, 1871 in Cornwall, Illinois. He earned his nickname of "Iron Man" because he worked in an Iron foundry in the off seasons. 

The name fit well because on the mound, the five foot eleven right hander's durability, was also that of an iron man. He claimed his arm never hurt him and that he could throw the ball all day long. His style of pitching was a submarine style curve ball that he called "old Sal" & said was easy on his arm. 

McGinnity began pitching with the Decatur Coal Mining Company in the late 1880's in Decatur Georgia. His family moved West toward Montana but along the way, his Aunt struck gold in a coal mine. The family settled in Oklahoma, where McGinnity met his soon to be wife. There he popularized the sport with his pitching as well. From there he was discovered & pitched six minor league seasons. While pitching at Peoria, he was dicovered by the owner of the Brooklyn Grooms who also owned the Baltimore Orioles team of the day. 

 McGinnity was assigned to the Baltimore Orioles big league club in 1899 for $150 a month. There he played along with John McGraw who refused to report to the Brooklyn squad, because he had invested in a Baltimore Restaurant. He & player manager Wilbert Robinson influenced McGinnity with their over aggressive style of play. He went 28-16 that season leading the league in wins pitched 48 games (second in the league) & posted a 2.68 ERA (third in the league). 

The next year he went to Brooklyn, pitching for the newly named; Superbas. Once again he led the league in wins with 28. He also led the NL in winning percentage (.778) and innings pitched with an incredible 343. That year he led Brooklyn to a title winning the Chronicle Telegraph Cup. He also set a modern day record with 40 hit batsmen. 

 The following season he jumped over the newly formed American League, taking less money than the Brooklyn team had offered him. In the new league he had a chance to reunite with his old teammate John McGraw. But McGraws teams were always involved in fights, in the dirty early twentieth century days of baseball. In one incident McGinnity spat on an umpire & was arrested, receiving a long suspension, that was shortened when he apologized. 

The next year the Orioles were sold due to financial debts. The new owners also owned team in the NL; The New York Guants & Cincinnati Reds. They cut the players from the Orioles teams & assigned them to the NL teams. McGinnity joined John McGraw, Roger Bresnahan , Cy Cemour & Dan McGann on the Giants, who were to become one of the elite teams in the NL for years to come. 

In 1903 he won 31 (31-20) ames setting NL records in starts (48) & innings pitched (434). His Iron Man status was confirmed as he started both ends of double headers throughout the season. He once did this three times in a month& in August of '03 pitched in over 100 innings. Along with his team mate Christy Mathewson, they accounted for three quarters of the teams victories. At the end of the season he joined several team mates accusing owner John T. Brush on holding out on payouts to the players. 

Quotes: "Nothing can hurt my arm. I can throw curves like that all day. Last year, I pitched a 21-inning game for Peoria that took four hours. I never hurt my arm." - Joe McGinnity. 

 In the 1904 season he came back to go 35-8 leading the league in wins, winning percent (.814%) a career best ERA (1.61) innings pitched (408) starts (51) & saves (5). As the Giants were fighting the Chicago Cubs in a pennant race, he pitched both ends of double headers winning both games three times over a months' time. That year the Giants topped the NL, but did not compete in a World Series because John McGraw refused to acknowledge the American League & their champion Boston Pilgrims. 

 In 1905 he was second to Christy Mathewson (who won 31 games) on the Giants staff winning 21 games (21-15), posting a 2.87 ERA, and pitching 320 innings. He would again lead the league in starts (46) and do so for five straight seasons total, six times overall. 

 Post Season: 1905 would be his only World Series appearance, although he got overshadowed by Christy Mathewson’s three shutout performances. McGinnity took the loss to the Philadelphia A's in Game #2, getting shut out 3-0 by Chief Bender. It was the only game the Giants would lose in that series. 

He came back in Game #4 to throw a five hit shutout of his own, sandwiched between two Mathewson shut out performances. In that game McGinnity allowed just five hits in beating Eddie Plank in a 1-0 duel. 

McGinnity came back to lead the league in wins again 1906 with 27, going 27-12 with a 2.25 ERA. The next year he went 18-18 the only time in his career he didn’t post a winning record. 1908 was his last MLB season going 11-7 with a 2.27 ERA and leading the league in saves again with five. 

 In the famous Fred Merkle's boner game, against the rival Chicago Cubs in the heat of a late season pennant race; McGinnity was coaching at third base. Merkle got what appeared to be the game winning hit, as the Giants winning runs scored Merkle left the base paths not following through to the next base. This had happened before & alert Cubs infielder Johnny Evers called for the ball to touch the base & record Merkle as out. 

There was soon chaos on the field, as the fans were exiting onto the field heading toward the centerfield gates, which was normal in those days. According to some accounts the actual ball was thrown into the stands by McGinnity as the Cubs players were trying to recover it. The game was replayed later on with the Cubs winning it & the 1908 pennant . 

Iron Man finished his ten year career with 246 wins (49th all time) & 142 losses with a 2.66 ERA (66th all time). He pitched 3441 innings (77th all time) with 314 complete games (33rd all time) 32 shutouts 999th all time)& 24 saves. He posted 1068 strikeouts in 465 games pitched. He was a fine fielding pitcher, making 929 assists mostly due to his slow "old Sal" pitch. He had eight twenty win seasons, two thirty win seasons, & led the league in wins five times. 

 Retirement: He went back to the minor leagues and pitched until he was 54 years old winning a total of 207 games there. He passed away in Brooklyn, NY at his daughters house in 1929, he was 58 years old. 

 Honors: Joe McGinnity was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.

Mar 21, 2016

Former Early Nineties Met: Chris Donnels (1991-1992)

Chris Barton Donnels was born April 21st 1966 in Los Angeles California. The six foot left handed batter, threw right handed, played at first & third base. After graduating at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles he was the New York Mets number one draft pick (the  24th pick overall) in the 1987 amateur draft.

Donnels went through the minor leagues winning the Florida State League MVP in 1989. He reached AAA Tidewater in 1991 where he batted .303 in 81 games getting called up to the Mets big league team.

Donnels debuted with the Mets at Shea Stadium on May 7th in a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. A Dodger team that featured Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter & Juan Samuel, all former Mets. In the bottom of the 1st Donnels singled bringing in Howard Johnson with his first career hit & RBI. The Shea crowd welcomed him.

The Mets went west to San Francisco, Donnels was inserted in the line up in the second night, collecting a double & RBI in the Mets 6-2 win. On May 12th, he came into the game in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter, drawing an intentional walk. The game went to extra innings, Donnels drew another walk in the 10th inning.

In the 11th He followed Dave Magadan's RBI single with an RBI single of his own, scoring Kevin McReynolds. The Mets went on to a 4-2 win. His hitting stopped & Donnels went back & forth to AAA Tidewater the rest of the year, remaining as a September roster addition. He hit .225 on the year with 5 RBIs.

In 1992 he played 45 games for the Mets hitting a weak .174 with six RBIs.

In December he was drafted by the Florida Marlins as the 67th pick in the expansion draft. A year later he was put on waivers & was selected by the Houston Astros. He would spend 2 1/2 seasons with the Astros playing as a reserve player at first, second & third bases. In 1995 after batting .300 in 19 games with Houston,  he was traded to the Boston Redsox hitting .253 in 40 games.

He spent the next four seasons playing in Japan with the Kintetsu Buffaloes & Orix Blue Wave.

In 2000 he signed on with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he hit .294 in 41 games that year but fell to .174 the next season. His last season was in 2002 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played at the minor league level for the Chicago Cubs, Florida Marlins & Colorado Rockies before he officially retired.

In an eight year career he hit .233 with 186 hits 17 HRs 36 doubles 86 RBIs & a .312 on base %.

Mar 20, 2016

Former Mets Generation K Pitcher: Paul Wilson (1996)

Paul Anthony Wilson was born on March 28, 1973 in Orlando, Florida. He was a star pitcher for the Florida State Seminoles and was the New York Mets number one draft pick, the first pick overall in 1994. He was highly touted with his fastball/slider combo.

In 1994 he was 0-7 in the Rookie League & at A ball with the St. Lucie Mets. In 1995 he was promoted to AA going 6-3 at Binghamton & then 5-3 at AAA nrfolk. On the year he combined for a 2.41 ERA & 198 strikeouts.

He along with Jason Isringhausen & Bill Pulsipher were billed as Generation K and the future stars of the Met staff. He made his highly publicized debut on April 3rd 1996, at Shea Stadium. He pitched well allowing three runs in six innings with six strikeouts getting no decision. His next two starts didn’t go that well, he allowed 12 runs in just under six innings pitched taking one losing decision.

He got his first win at Shea against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing only one run on three hits in 8 innings of work. He lost his next three decisions and was 1-4 before putting in two fine performances at the end of May/start of June.

Then his troubles began, it started with tendinitis in his right shoulder which sidelined him from June 5th to mid July. He had a great start against the Expos on July 20th, allowing only one run on three hits, in 8 innings pitched. More troubles came his way as he lost his next seven decisions before getting a win in what would be his last Mets start. He went 5-12 with a 5.38 ERA, 71 walks & 109 strikeouts in 149 innings pitched.

It was discovered that he had a torn labrum which led to surgery that wiped out his 1997 season. Setbacks & injuries kept him down for four years before the Mets finally gave up on him on July 28, 2000. He was traded to Tampa with Jason Tyner for Bubba Trammell & Rick White.
Wilson came back to win 8 games (8-9) with a 4.88 ERA.

After two seasons he went to the Reds and had a fine 2004 season, pitching in 29 games, going 11-6 with 117 strikeouts and a 4.36 ERA, including one complete game.

In 2005 he dropped to 1-5 and another surgery ended his career for good. What was supposed to be a promising career ended at 40-58 619 strikeouts in 941 innings pitched with three complete games & a 4.86 ERA after only seven active seasons.