Aug 31, 2016

Turn Back the Clock To Some Old Mets Advertisments:

What better way to make for a nicer day at Shea, Mets baseball & a big fat salty pretzel?

If you can't get to the ballpark, listen to the voices of experience: Lindsey, Ralph & Bob made it all come to life for so many of us.

Back in the late sixties, you could get your official Original Mr. Met wrist watch for only $9.99.

A Casey Stengel ad for Westinghouse dish washers in the early sixties.

Here's another great Yogi Berra Yoo-Hoo ad. Two great Hall of Famers.

The official beer of the Mets for years was extra dry Rheingold. Who could forget those little brown nip bottles?
1969 World Champion Met's outfielder Art Shamsky with model / actress Lauren Hutton in Harpers Bazaar, circa 1970.

Tom Seaver for the Men's Store at Sears, wearing that early seventies "comfort- shirt", and a classic seventies wide burgundy tie.

Gary Carter was the amazing clean up hitter for Northville Gasoline. Gary was quite the commercial success upon his arrival in New York in 1985.

Here's how Dwight Gooden also known as "Dr. K"- fixes his Ribs, with Kingsford charcoals.

Remember when half the Mets games were broadcast on Channel 9 & the other half were on cable's Sports Channel? They had you covered.

In the seventies the Mets were on New York's Country Music AM station, 1050 WHN.

David Wright represents Union Carpenters constructing the new Citi Field in 2007.

Aug 26, 2016

Late Eighties Mets Pitcher: John Mitchell (1986-1989)

John Kyle Mitchell was born on August 11, 1965 in Dickson, Tennessee. The six foot two, right-hander was drafted out of high school while at Nashville in 1983, by the Boston Red Sox in the seventh round.

Tragedy: After his 1983 minor league season, he & two team mates Anthony Latham and Scott Skripko went fishing off the coast of Florida. Their boat capsized, and they were left clinging for life, for twenty hours before being rescued.

Tragically the owner of the boat & Latham both drowned. Mitchell said he held on to a bucket & some debris during the time it took to get rescued. Years later he named his child in honor of his fallen team mate.

In November of 1985 Mitchell came over to the New York Mets in the Bobby Ojeda deal. He pitched at AAA Tidewater in 1986, going 12-9 with a 3.38 ERA, getting a September call up. He debuted at Shea Stadium on September 8th pitching one inning relief against the Montreal Expos. He made three relief appearances & had one start taking a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings pitched.

The following year he remained on the staff most of the year, filling in when injuries took certain pitchers out of the rotation. On July 19th Mitchell pitched a complete game victory, allowing just one run on five hits to the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium.

He got 19 starts going 3-6 with a 4.11 ERA. He struck out 57 batters in 111 innings pitched and pretty much became a forgotten man on the 1980’s Mets teams.

Over the next two seasons he would only appear in just three Mets games, pitching mostly at AAA Tidewater going 10-9 with a 2.34 ERA in 1988. That year he tied Wally Whitehurst for second on the Tides staff behind David West in wins. In 1989 he was 11-11 second to Blaine Beatty on the Tides staff.

By 1990 he was sent to the Baltimore Orioles for Keith Hughes, there he went 6-6 with a 4.64 ERA finishing his brief MLB career. In five seasons Mitchell was 9-14 with a 4.35 ERA, posting 107 strike outs with 93 walks in 240 innings pitched in 51 appearances (37 starts).

He spent four seasons in the minors & then four more seasons in the independent leagues before leaving baseball in 1998. Overall in minor league ball he is 97-82 with a 3.34 ERA in 247 games.

Retirement: Since his playing days Mitchell has worked for for a company that makes municipal castings in Nashville, Tennessee.

Late Nineties Mets Centerfielder: Brian McRae (1997-1999)

Brian Wesley McRae was born August 27, 1967 in Avon Park, Florida, the son of former MLB player

Hal McRae. Hal McRae was born on July 10, 1945 in Avon Park, Florida. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1965 making it to the big leagues in 1968 for brief 17 games. He would spend three more seasons with the Reds, winning two pennants in the early days of the Big Red Machine, playing as a reserve outfielder.

McRae hit .248 with 8 HRs & 23 RBIs for the 1970 NL Champion Reds, playing in 70 games. He had a great World Series that year against the Baltimore Orioles batting .455 (5-11). In Game #2 he had two hits including an RBI double, then had another double driving in two more runs in Game #5.

McRae hit .278 with 5 HRs & 26 RBIs in the 1972 season, having another good World Series batting .444 (4-9) with two RBIs against the Oakland A’s. In November 1972 he was Traded by the Cincinnati Reds along with Wayne Simpson to the Kansas City Royals for Roger Nelson and Richie Scheinblum. McRae arrived in Kansas City just as the Royals were entering their best days.

He spent fifteen seasons there, winning a World Series in 1985, an AL Pennant in 1980 & six AL West titles. He would bat over .300 seven times, including a career best .332 in 1976 coming in second to team mate George Brett.

He would make three All Star teams, lead the league in doubles twice (1977 & 1982) RBIs once (1982) on base % once (1976) & hit by pitches once (1977). In the 1980 World Series he hit .375 against the Phillies & went 0-1 in the 1985 World Series against the Cardinals. In his 19 year career McRae batted .290 with 2091 hits 484 doubles 66 triples 191 HRs 1097 RBIs & a .351 on base %.

As a young kid, Brian McRae became a big fan of his dad’s teammate, Pete Rose during his years in Cincinnati. He was a good athlete in high school, playing football as well as baseball. He decided if he wasn’t chosen as a first round draft pick, he would go to college. He wasn’t even around on draft day, not expecting anything, when he got a phone call that he was actually was drafted in the first round, by the Kansas City Royals.

He was originally a second baseman getting converted to an outfielder in the minor leagues. His MLB career certainly wasn’t as good as his father’s, the switch hitting McRae never made the playoffs & was predominantly a singles hitter.

He was the Royals everyday centerfielder from 1990-1994, playing for his father, Hal McRae who was the teams manager. He had his best season there in 1993, batting .282 with 177 hits, 12 HRs, 9 triples, 14 stolen bases, & 69 RBIs. In 1994 he hit .273, then as the 1995 season was about to start, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for future Met, Derek Wallace. McRae hit well in his first season at Wrigley Field leading the NL in at bats (580) batting a career high .288 with 167 hits (4th in the league) with 12 HRs 48 RBIs & 38 doubles.

McRae would hit 30 or more doubles for the next three seasons. In the outfield he posted a .992 fielding % (4th in the NL) leading all outfielders with 345 out outs. The next year he hit 17 HRs with 66 RBIs batting .276. His numbers dropped during the 1997 season, & that August he was traded to the New York Mets along with Turk Wendell & Mel Rojas for Lance Johnson, Mark Clark & Manny Alexander.

In his first game as a Met he went 3-4 with a triple, a walk and RBI against the Houston Astros at Shea Stadium. On August 23rd he hit his first Mets HR coming against the Padres at Shea Stadium.

On the home stand he hit three more including two against the San Francisco Giants in the Mets 15-6 win on August 27th. He closed out 1997 hitting .248 with 5 HRs 4 doubles & 15 RBIs for the Mets in 45 games. During his days with the Mets Brian’s favorite rock band was Metallica.

In 1998 after missing Opening Day he went on to play in 159 games, as the clubs centerfielder. In the final week of June he hit four HRs driving in six runs gathering up seven hits. In mid July McRae hit HRs in back to back games in a home series against the Montreal Expos, leading New York to wins in both games. At the end of the month he once again homered in back to back games, this time in Chicago & at home against the San Diego Padres.

In September '98 the Mets made a run for the wild card race into late September. On September 19th McRae hit a 9th inning game tying two run HR off the Astros Billy Wagner in Houston. Later in the top of the 13th he put the Mets ahead with a double scoring Mike Piazza & Edgardo Alfonzo. He ended the year leading the Mets in doubles (36) triples (5) & stolen bases (20). Personally he posted career highs in HRs (21) & RBIs (79) while batting .264 with 80 walks & a .360 on base percentage.

In 1999 the Mets were a better team with more players who could play the outfield. He struggled in April batting just .197. In May he hit safely in 15 of 19 games & at the start of June drove in a run in all three games of the Subway series. On June 13th he hit a two run HR against the Boston Red Sox leading to a 5-4 Mets win. Three days later he broke a 6th inning tie with a two run single in Cincinnati, driving in three rusn in the Mets 5-2 win over the Reds.

On July 31st after playing in 96 games he was only batting .220 with 8 HRs 36 RBIs & 320 on base % . He was carrying a $3.5 million salary and the Mets decided he wasn’t in their future. McRae was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Daryl Hamilton. Hamilton would be a key role player in the Mets Wild Card run as well in the post season.

A week later McRae was shipped to the Toronto Blue Jays, where he was their centerfielder but eventually lost his position to Vernon Wells. He was released and his career was over by 2000 at the age of 32. McRae played ten seasons batting a lifetime .261 average, with 1336 hits, 103 HRs, 264 doubles, 37 triples, 493 walks, a .360 on base %, 532 RBIs, & 196 steals. As a Met in parts of three seasons, he hit .249 with 34 HRs, 130 RBIS & 53 doubles in 300 games.

Retirement: After his playing days he moved into the booth, first as a Chicago Cubs studio analyst. He then went to ESPN as a Baseball Tonight analyst & to MLB radio as well.  He is also part owner of Radio station WHB 810 AM in Kansas City

McRae works closely with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation charities