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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

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

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

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

N.L. Champion Mets General Manager: Sandy Alderson (2010-2016)

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Richard Lynn "Sandy" Alderson was born November 22, 1947 in Seattle, Washington. Alderson is the son of an Air Force pilot who flew missions in World War II, Korea & Vietnam. Sandy Alderson attended Dartmouth College, then served with the US Marines during the Vietnam War. He returned & worked to received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law in 1976.  Alderson practiced law in San Francisco, California through 1981 when he joined one of his law partners in baseball. That friends father in law bought the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Alderson worked in the Athletics general counsel for two years. In 1983 he was named the club's General Manager, a position he would serve through 1997. In Oakland he would win  four AL West titles, three AL pennants & one World Series Championship. These were the glorious years of the A's Bash Brothers & company; Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Dennis Eckersley, Dave Stewart, Manager Tony Larussa & an All St

2015 NL Champion Mets Italian / American Director of Player Development: Paul DePodesta (2011-2015)

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Paul Depodesta was born on December 16th, 1972 in Alexandria, Virginia. Depodesta attended Harvard University, where he played baseball as well as football, while earning a degree in Economics.  In 1996 he got his first job in MLB, scouting for the Cleveland Indians. After three years there he joined the Oakland Athletics as a special assistant to General Manager; Billy Beane. Depodesta assisted Beane with the use of a saber metric approach to putting together a successful team, on a low budget in a small MLB market. Depodesta's Economic degree certainly played a big part in this style. The Oakland A's made the playoffs in four of the five years Depodesta was with the Beane in Oakland. The book & film; Moneyball was based on the Oakland A's approach to this methods. Depodesta did not approve of the way his character was portrayed in the film & did not want his name associated with the movie. His role was removed and a fictional character "Peter Brand