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Showing posts from April, 2016

Life Long Mets Fan & Broadcaster: Gary Cohen (1988-2015)

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Gary Cohen was born on April 29th, 1958 in Flushing New York. He was raised in Queens between Flushing & Jamaica attending the United Nations School. He was true Mets fan idolizing Bud Harrelson, attending many games at Shea Stadium as a boy growing up. Cohen & his father were in the last section of Shea Stadium’s left field (Section 48) for Game #3 of the 1969 NLCS, making it all the way down to the field to get his piece of turf after the game, as the Mets won the pennant. He attended Columbia University, graduating on the dean’s list while earning a degree in Political Science. He wanted to be a short stop following in Harrelson’s shoes but couldn’t hit well enough to remain on the baseball team. He loved basketball but was too short to play that sport. He then moved into a broadcasting career, beginning by calling soccer games at Columbia University. From there he began to broadcast minor league baseball, for Boston's AAA Pawtucket club of the International Leag

Former 2010's Mets Relief Pitcher: D.J. Carrasco (2011)

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Daniel Carrasco was born April 12th 1977 in Safford, Arizona. The six foot four inch right handed pitcher was a 26th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 1997. He began pitching in the minor leagues in 1998 & has pitched there in every season but three. He has a 36-36 minor league record with 51 saves & a 3.86 ERA in 275 appearances. In his long up & down career he was been signed & released by the Orioles, Cleveland Indians & Pittsburgh Pirates before landing with the Kansas City Royals in 2002. Carrasco pitched three seasons in Kansas City, he went 6-5 as a reliever in his rookie season of 2003 appearing in 50 games for the third place Royals who made a good run for the AL Central title all year. In 2005 he was used as a starter in 20 games going 6-8 with a 4.79 ERA, 49 strike outs, 51 walks in 149 innings pitched. He was released & then pitched in Japan for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2006. That winter he signed on with the Arizona Diamondb

Mid 2000's Mets Infielder: Jerr Keppinger (2004)

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Jeffrey Scott Keppinger was born on April 21, 1980 in Miami, Florida. The six foot infielder, attended the University of Georgia where he hit .380 getting to the college World Series in 2001. That same year he was drafted in the fourth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. His power numbers fell off in the minor leagues, but he still continued to hit well batting .325 at A ball Lynchburg. In the summer of 2004 he came over to the New York Mets organization in the Kris Benson deal. He made brief stops at AA Binghamton & AAA Norfolk early that summer. He got a break when a roster spot opened up, making his MLB debut with the Mets, on August 20th at San Francisco. He came into the game as a pinch hitter, going 0-1. The next day he came into the game in the 7th inning & got his first career hit in the Mets 11-7 extra inning win. On August 22nd he made his first start at second base & got two hits in the 3-1 Mets loss. At the end of August, he hit HRs in back to back games,

Former Mets Catcher: Ronny Paulino (2011)

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Ronny Leonel Paulino was born on April 21, 1981 in Santo Domingo. The six foot three catcher was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1997 at age 16. While rising through the ranks of the minor leagues, he batted .285 in 2004 at AA Altoona & then .306 overall in 2005 between AA & AAA. He was passed up as the Pirates top catching prospect by Ryan Doumit who was tearing up A ball with his hitting. That season Paulino made his debut with the Pirates appearing in two late September games. In 2006 he had his first full season due to injuries to the Pirates catchers. Paulino batted .310 with 6 HRs 19 doubles & 55 RBIs. Behind the plate he caught a league leading 38 runners trying to steal (36%) & was second with 72 assists. He also allowed a league leading 11 errors & nine passed balls (third in the NL). The next year he fell to a .263 average but had career highs in HRs (11) RBIs (55) doubles (25) & games played (133). In 2008 he became a back up

Legendary Sixties Mets Scout: Red Murff (1963-1968)

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John Robert Murff was born on April 1st, 1921 in Burlington Texas. He served in the Army in World War II & it was there he began to play baseball. The six foot three right hander was a star minor league pitcher as soon as he signed out of Gettysburg College. After winning 17 games in his first year of pro ball he went on to win twenty games the next two seasons. In 1951 he pitched a no hitter pitching for the Texas City Texans & the following year pitched 19 2/3 innings of a twenty inning game although he took the loss. By 1955 he was 27-11 with a 1.99 ERA for the AA Dallas Eagles winning the Texas League Player of the Year Award as well as the Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year. Back injuries prevented him from ever becoming a full time MLB pitcher. He was signed by the New York Giants but was soon traded to the Milwaukee Braves for a player to be named later. In 1956 he made the Braves staff and debuted as a rookie at the age of 35. He was the team's start

The Oldest Japanese Player To Debut In The Majors: Ken Takahashi (2009)

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Ken Takahashi was born on April 16th 1969 in Yokohama, Japan. The six foot left hander was originally an outfielder turned pitcher in Japan. He pitched for 14 seasons with the Hiroshima Carp, where pitched a no hitter in 1996. After five year with sub .500 records he made his first All Star team in 2000 with a 5-9 record & 4 saves [posting a 3.93 ERA. In 2001 he went 10-8 with a 4.27 ERA making another All Star team. He continued to pitch through 2008 where he was known as the leagues old timer. He retired but expressed an interest in pitching in the Major Leagues. He signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays but injured his calf fielding a bunt in his very first Spring Training appearance. He was released & was offered a contract by the New York Mets. He made his first American appearance at AAA Buffalo on April 9th, 2009. He allowed two hits, two walks & a run to Pawtucket. After six games he was called up to the Mets to fill in for an injured Casey F

Italian / American Baseball & Football Pioneer: Edward Abbaticchio

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Edward Abbaticchio who was known as “Batty” and at times “Abbey”, is the second Italian American to play major league baseball, although many sources have him also down as the first. Logically he has to be second because his career started after Lewis Pessano who was known as Buttercup Dickerson. One thing for certain, Abbaticchio didn’t change his name to sound more American. Not only is he an Italian American baseball pioneer, but he is believed to be the first Italian American to play pro football as well. Edward James Abbaticchio was born on April 15, 1887 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. After playing semi pro ball he made his debut in September of 1897 with Philadelphia. He played there briefly for two seasons, and then went to play in the Southern League for two seasons, leading the league in hitting both times. He came back to the NL with the Boston Bean Eaters for two seasons. There in 1905, he hit .279 with 30 stolen bases as well as career highs in doubles (25) &

2000 NL Champion Mets Outfielder: Timo Perez (2000-2003)

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Timoniel M. Pérez was born April 8, 1975 in the Dominican Republic. The five foot nine left handed outfielder, began his pro baseball career in Japan with the Hiroshima Carp, from 1996 through 1999. He was never a power hitter even with the short fences in Japan, he hit his best .296 for Hiroshima in the 1998 season. He was brought into the New York Mets organization in 2000, thanks to Bobby Valentine who had known Perez from his own Japan days. Timo played just eight games with the A ball St. Lucie Mets, batting .355 before getting pushed up to AAA Norfolk. At Norfolk he hit .357 with six HRs 17 doubles seven stolen bases & 37 RBIs playing in 72 games. That September he got the call up to the Mets big league team. He debuted on September 1st getting a hit in his first MLB at bat as a pinch hitter in St. Louis. On September 24th he hit an inside the park two run HR off the Phillies Bruce Chen leading the Mets to a 3-2 victory in Philadelphia. Timo hit .286 in 24 games

Mookie Wilson Book Signing at The Yogi Berra Museum

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centerfieldmaz attended a book signing at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, New Jersey the other day. The book was called "Kings of Queens" Life Beyond baseball with the 1986 Mets. The book features profiles & interviews with 14 members of that Championship Mets team. The book is written by Erik Sherman with a forward by Davey Johnson. Sherman is also the author of Mookie, Life, Baseball & the '86 Mets as well as two other baseball books. The special guest of the night was also non other than Mookie Wilson. Mookie was a pleasure to meet, he was good natured polite & just a great guy. He talked to everyone & was genuine, it wasn't just a book signing that was just "next please, keep it moving" event. Mookie took pictures & gave good conversation. I told him I was in the upper deck of left field during Game #6 of the 1986 World Series & from that point with no audio of broadcasters, I just saw a little white ball go from be