Jul 19, 2016

Former Mets Player / Coach & Manager: Mike Cubbage (1981-1991)

Michael Lee Cubbage was born July 21, 1950 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The six foot, left handed hitting Cubbage; attended the University of Virginia.

He was drafted twice by the Washington Senators; first in 1968 but he did not sign. In 1971 he did sign as the club's  second round draft choice in the June secondary draft.

He was primarily a third baseman who would also play some second base in his pro career. After batting .345 while playing for Geneva in the New York Penn. League he was promoted to A ball Burlington in 1972. In 1973 he hit .312 at AA Pittsfield getting promoted to AAA Spokane.

Mike Cubbage made his debut against his cousins World Champion A’s in April 1974. He was sent back down to the minors returning in September for a call up. At that time the Texas Rangers had Lenny Randle hitting well at second base. Toby Harrah was settled in at short & Roy Howell was set for taking over the third base position. There was no room on the infield for Mike Cubbage.

 In 1976 he was part of the trade that brought Bert Blyleven to Texas, going to the Minnesota Twins along with Roy Smalley & pitcher Bill Singer.

Cubbage became the Twins main third baseman for the 1977 & 1978 seasons, having his best year in 1978. That year he batted .282 with 7 HRs 12 doubles & 57 RBIs, playing a solid third base with good range, posting a .971 fielding percentage (4th best in the A.L.). 

The next season he lost his starting job to John Castino who hit .285 & followed up with a .300 average the next season. Cubbage became the Twins backup third baseman until he was granted free agency in 1980.

He signed on with the New York Mets as a free agent for the 1981 strike shortened season.  Cubbage made his Mets debut on Opening Day at Wrigley Field in Chicago as a pinch hitter. He would be used in that role in the majority of his playing time going 11-46 in that role.

On April 12th in the last game of the Opening Series, he hit a sac fly in the top of the 9th inning scoring Hubbie Brooks in what would be the game winning run over the Chicago Cubs.

He got into 67 games mostly as a pinch hitter, seeing limited action (12 games) at third base, behind Hubie Brooks. Cubbage only hit .213 overall (17 -80) driving in four runs, with five extra base hits. He hit a pinch hit HR, in his last career at bat, on the next to last day of the 1981 season off Montreal’s Jeff Reardon in a 5-4 Mets loss.

Cubbage would get released the next April (1982) finishing his eight year career batting .258 with 503 hits 34 HRs 74 doubles 20 triples & 251 RBIs in 703 games played. 

 Retirement: After his playing days he became a long time manager in the Mets organization.

He first managed A ball at Lynchburg (1983-1985) then AA Jackson (1986) & finally, AAA Tidewater (1987-1989). He became highly regarded and seemed destined as a future MLB manager, expecting to one day take over the Mets. In 1990 he was hired as a third base coach under manager Bud Harrelson. 

During the last week of the 1991 season, Harrelson was fired as the Mets were in third place, 18 ½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cubbage got a brief chance to manage as he became the 13th manager in Met history. On September 29th 1991 Frank Viola & the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium giving Cubbage his first managerial win. Cubbage would go 3-4 as skipper winning the last game of the season 7-0 at Veterans Stadium.

After all the years of Cubbage managerial hype, he was replaced by Jeff Torborg for the 1992 season.

Cubbage has the distinction of managing the fewest games for the Mets in their history, winning & losing the least amount of games. Overall he spent 13 years in the Mets organization, seven of them on the big league level; mostly as a third base coach.

He moved on to coach the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and then scout for the Tampa Rays. Cubbage is a diabetic and in 2003, had a seizure while coaching third base for the Red Sox. The seizure was a result of a hyperglycemic event; he was taken to a hospital then soon released.

Mike Cubbage had two MLB cousins that were a father son combo, Chris & Larry Haney. 

Larry Haney born November 19, 1942 was a journey man back up catcher, for twelve seasons playing with four different teams.

The Baltimore Orioles (1966-1968) The Seattle Pilots (1969) Oakland A’s (1969-1973/ 1974-1976) St. Louis Cardinals (1973) & the Milwaukee Brewers ( 1977-1978).

He was a member of A’s 1974 World Series team, playing in 76 regular season games, behind Ray Fosse. He also appeared in two World Series games, finishing up both as a defensive replacement.

Haney hit .215 with 198 hits 30 doubles, one HRs 73 RBIs & a .252 on base % playing in 480 career games.

As a catcher he threw out 39% of would be base stealers & posted a .985 fielding %. After his playing days he served as a longtime coach in the Milwaukee Brewers
organization until 2006.

Chris Haney was born November 16th 1968, & played 11 seasons as an MLB pitcher. He played for the Montreal Expos (1991-1992) Kansas City Royals (1992-1998) Cleveland Indians (1998-2000) & Boston Red Sox (2002).

In his career he was 38-52 with 442 strike outs & 286 walks posting a 5.07 ERA in 196 games.

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