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Showing posts from March, 2016

The St. Lucie Mets

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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 sinc

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

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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

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

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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

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

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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

Bill Sudakis: Early Seventies Mets Reserve Catcher (1972)

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William Paul Sudakis was born on March 27, 1946 in Joliet, Illinois. The six foot one switch hitter, was  signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1964 as an amateur free agent.  He projected a macho, tough guy image & liked to be the center of attention. He earned the nick names "Suds" &  "Sudsy", because he liked to drink with his teammates. 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

Short Time Mets Third Baseman: Joe Moock (1967)

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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 d

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

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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.  T he 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 owne

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

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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 1

Former Mets Generation K Pitcher: Paul Wilson (1996)

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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 i

Early Eighties Mets Outfielder: Mike Howard (1981-1983)

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Michael Frederic Howard was born on April 2nd, 1958 in Seattle Washington. The six foot two, switch hitter was drafted out of Sacramento High school by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 6th round of the 1976 amateur draft. He didn't show much power in the minors, but earned the nick name of Mad Dog with his hustling style of play. He would run down to first base when he drew a walk, just like Pete Rose. Howard did hit .291 with 30 doubles at AA Jackson in 1980. He was promoted to AAA Tidewater in 1981,  where he hit .278 in 120 games, 6 HRs 22 doubles & 33 RBIs. In 1982 he was back at Tidewater, batting .286 (second on the club to Rusty Tillman) with 12 doubles & a team leading 10 triples. Howard got a September call up in the second half of the '81 strike shortened season, making his debut on September 12th. He came in the 8th inning  & doubled off the St. Louis Cardinals; Mark Littell in his first at bat. The next day he got the start & drove in the Mets

Forgotten Member of the 1986 Mets Team: Tim Corcoran (1986)

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Timothy Michael Corcoran was born on March 19, 1953 in Glendale, California. The left-handed outfielder attended California State University just after Mets pitcher Bob Apodaca left the school.  Corcoran was signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1974, making the club by 1977. That season he hit .346 at AAA Evansville which got him the call up. In 1978 he became the Tigers main right fielder sharing time with Mickey Stanley in the final year of his long career. Corcoran batted .265 with one HR 13 doubles & 27 RBIs playing in 116 games. He was the A.L.’s fifth best right fielder posting a .984% with six assists, making just three errors in 195 chances. After two more seasons in Detroit he was traded to the Minnesota Twins, playing just 22 games in 1981.  In 1982 he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent. He spent that whole year at AAA Oaklahoma City batting .289. The next year he hit .311 & played three games for the NL Champion Phillies, but did not make the pos

Late Nineties Mets Short Stop: Manny Alexander (1997)

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Manuel de Jesus Alexander was Born on March 20, 1971 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. He was signed at the age of 17 by the Baltimore Orioles in 1988.  Alexander spent fourteen seasons in the minors throughout his career with brief call ups to the majors debuting in 1992. He was not known for hitting but being a fine defensive shortstop, voted the #39 top prospect by Baseball America in 1992.  He didn’t see much action at short for the Orioles as Cal Ripkens back up so he played over at second base, third base & occasional outfield in his Orioles years (1992-1996). In Spring Training of 1997, he was sent to the New York Mets for Hector Ramirez. Alexander debuted in the Mets second game of the year in San Diego as a defensive replacement for Carlos Baerga. He also got a single in the 9th inning in a game the Mets lost in extra innings. He would play in 54 games for the Mets at second base & short stop making four errors posting a .980 fielding %. He hit stole

Short Time Late Nineties Met: Craig Paquette (1998)

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Craig Harold Paquette was born on March 28th 1969 in Long Beach, California. The six foot right hand hitter attended Golden West College at Huntington Beach, California. He was signed by the Oakland Athletics in the 8th round of the 1989 draft. Paquette spent five years in the minors, hitting over 15 HRs four times. He came up to the A's in June of 1993, making some noise, hitting 12 HRs & driving in 46 runs although he only hit .219. In 1994 he was back at AAA Tacoma where he hit .287 with 17 HRs, getting a June call up for 14 games. After the baseball strike he returned for his last season at Oakland in 1995. In Spring Training 1996 he was released but was soon signed by the Kansas City Royals. He had his best season in Kansas City in 1996, hitting a team leading 22 HRs, with 15 doubles & 67 RBIs while batting .259. The following season injuries shut him down, for just 77 games, he hit 8 HRs batting .236. He was granted free agency & signed with the New York