Sep 29, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1976) John Milner Hits Third Grand Slam of Season As Jon Matlack Wins His 17th

Monday September 27th, 1976: Joe Frazier's third place Mets had put in a good season (85-71) but were 11 1/2 games out of first place & their season was over.

With just a few games left to play, just only 2929 fans came out to a rainy Shea Stadium as the Mets hosted Charlie Fox's sixth place Montreal Expos (53- 103).  

The Mets sent Jon Matlack to the mound, to face Larry Landreth. The Mets left hander, Matlack, was enjoying one of his finest seasons winning a career high 17 games (17-9), earning that 17th win on this night.

Starting Lineups

Matlack went the distance, seven innings, in the rain shortened 10-2 Mets win. Matlack allowed three runs on seven hits, walking three while striking out one.

The hitting star of the night, was "the Hammer' John Milner. Milner came up with four hits, two HRs, six RBIs, highlighted by a grand slam. In the home 3rd, Jon Matlack singled to center field. Rookie Lee Mazzilli reached on an error advancing Matlack to third. Felix Millan then followed with an RBI sac fly. Milner then stepped in & blasted a two run HR, making it 3-0. It was Milners 14th HR of the year.

In the 6th inning, Matlack got his third hit of the night, he would drive in a run & score two runs as well, not bad for the pitcher. Mazzilli then was hit by a pitch & Felix Millan singled.

John Milner stepped in & blasted a grand slam HR. It was Milners third grand slam of the season, his 15th HR. He would be second on the club to Dave Kingmans 37 HRs & one of just three Mets (Kingman, himself & Ed Kranepool) to hit double figures in HRs.

Sep 26, 2016

Early 2000's Mets Back Up Catcher/ First Baseman: Jason Phillips (2001-2005)

Jason Lloyd Phillips was born on September 27th, 1976 at La Mesa, California. Phillips went to San Diego State University getting drafted by the New York Mets in the 24th round of the 1997 amateur draft. He hit 16 HRs with 71 RBIs between A ball St. Lucie & AA Binghamton in 1999 but hit just .248.

In 2000 he hit over .300 with the St. Lucie Mets & at AA Binghamton throwing out 40% of base runners attempting to steal. In 2001 he batted .293 at Binghamton getting promoted to AAA Norfolk. He was batting .303 at there after 19 games when he got the big league call up.

The strange looking fellow with the goggle glasses & goatee beard debuted on September 19th as a defensive replacement for Mike Piazza. In that 9th inning he was the battery mate for three brief September Mets; Dicky Gonzales, Tom Martin & C.J. Nitkowski. In just six games he was 1-7 during his September cup of coffee.

In 2002 he was batting .282 after 88 games at AAA Norfolk and was brought up again at the end of the season. In his first game that season he drove in a run going 1-3 in the second game of a double header against the Florida Marlins. On September 12th he hit his first career HR, it came at Olympic Stadium in Montreal in a 8-2 Mets win. Phillips showed some promise batting .368 (7-19).

By 2003 he playing more at first base (84 games) that at catcher (24 games). Vance Wilson was the main backup catcher & saw a lot of playing time due to Mike Piazza’s injuries. Phillips put in a solid year with career highs in batting (.298) hits (120) HRs (11) doubles (25) walks (39) & RBIs (58) while posting a .373 on base percentage. He threw out 33% of would be base stealers & only made one error in 155 chances, posting a .994 fielding percentage. At first base he posted a .990 fielding %.

During a May California raod trip he drove in runs in back to back games at San Francisco. In the second game he hit a three run HR helping the Mets to a5-1 win. On June 6th during an interleague game at Shea against the Seattle Mariners he broke a 1-1 tie hitting a HR off Ryan Franklin. The Mets went on to a 3-2 win. One of his biggest thrills was a game winning walk off single against Terry Adams & the Philadelphia Phillies on July 13th at Shea Stadium. 

That month he had a 12 game hit streak & had four different three hit games, coming at Philadelphia, Montreal & at home. He finished the month off batting at .322 on the season.

Phillips was one of the slowest runners in the game & that season grounded into 21 double plays (6th most in the NL).

In 2004 he saw the most time behind the plate as Mike Piazza was placed at first base to try to prolong his hitting career. Phillips played in 87 games at catcher, Vance Wilson played in 69 games & Piazza caught in 50 games.

Phillips struggled at the plate, hitting nowhere near his previous year’s numbers; he batted just .218 with 7 HRs 18 doubles & 34 RBIs in 128 games. In mid May he had a three RBI day against the Astros in Houston & then drove in runs in five of his next six games. On May 30th he hit a pair of HRs in a 8-6 loss to the Marlins in Florida. The next day he hit yet another HR in a 5-3 win at Philadelphia. 

In the off season the Mets acquired Ramon Castro & the solid defensive catcher Mike DiFelice to back up Piazza, as Wilsons days were numbered.

In Spring Training of 2005 he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Kaz Ishii. In Los Angeles he played in 128 games, becoming the Dodgers main catcher. He hit 10 HRs with 20 doubles & 55 RBIs while batting .238. He threw out only 20% of would be base stealers posting a .991 fielding percentage, also seeing some action at first base. He was granted free agency as Russell Martin took over the Dodgers catching duties for 2006. Phillips signed in Toronto with the Blue Jays and got a few breaks remaining on the club on for two seasons.

In 2006 he saw some action when main catcher Greg Zaun went down with injury. Then later in the year was brought up to replace Shea Hillenbrand’s roster spot. Phillips saw action in 25 games as a utility player batting .250. In 2007 he got a chance to play when more Bengie Molina left Toronto for free agency. He played in 55 games batting just .208 playing (158 at bats) in his last season in the majors. 

After his MLB playing days he played one season in the Australian Baseball League, then eventually in the Atlantic League with Camden. He would sign a deal with Atlanta playing at the AAA level for the Braves but was released.

In February 2009 he received an invitation to the Seattle Mariners spring camp. He didn’t make the Mariners club but was offered a job as bullpen catcher. He finished his seven year big league career batting .249 with 344 hits in 465 games played, 30 HRs 77 doubles, 168 RBIs & a .994 fielding percentage, throwing out 21 % of would be base stealers.

Retirement: During a warm up practice one day, in he made eye contact with a girl in the stands; they kept looking at each other throughout a game. Phillips tossed her a ball with his number on it & she texted messaged him and the two decided to meet. Soon they were deep in love, and got married in June 2010 at a ceremony held in the bullpen at Safeco Field. Phillips is the older brother of San Diego Padre Kyle Phillips.

Sep 19, 2016

Bronx Born New York Giants Hall of Famer: Frankie Frisch -"the Fordham Flash"

Frank Francis Frisch was born in the Bronx, New York on September 9th, 1898. He went to Fordham University and starred in four sports earning the nickname "The Fordham Flash".

He was signed by the hometown New York Giants right out of college playing for legendary manager John McGraw. His fiery competitiveness & solid second base play led to him being named the Giants team Captain. He would hit over .300 every year he played on the Giants, except his first year. He led the Giants to four straight pennants winning two World Series in 1921 & 1922.

In 1921 he had his first great year, leading the league in stolen bases (49) batting .341 (7th in the league) gathering 211 hits. He hit 17 triples (3rd in the NL) with 31 doubles scoring 121 runs (2nd in the NL) & driving in 100 runs (5th in the NL).

In the 1921 World Series Frisch hit .300 (9-30) with three walks, three stolen bases, five runs scored and a triple.

In 1922 he played in a bit fewer games (132) stealing 31 bases, with 5 HRs 16 doubles 13 triples & 51 RBIs. He had a good World Series batting .471 (8-17) with an on base percentage of .474%.

Post Season: In Game #1 he had two hits, including an 8th inning single which was the third straight single of the inning. He would score the games winning run on a sac fly by Ross Youngs.

He had two hits in each of the next two games, driving in two of the three runs in Game #3 at the Polo Grounds. In Game #5 Frisch doubled in the 8th inning & then scored the game’s tying run on High Pockets Kelly’s base hit. The Giants would go on to win the game & their second straight World Series.

In the 1923 regular season Frisch led the league in hits (223) total bases (311) stealing 29 bases (5th in the league). He was third in the NL with 111 RBIs, & third with 116 runs scored, hitting 32 doubles (9th in the NL) with 12 HRs & 10 triples.

Post Season: In the 1923 World Series he was 10-30 posting a .400 batting average with four doubles. In Game #1 he put the Giants ahead in the 3rd inning with an RBI single in a game they would win 5-3. In the final Game #6 he refused to go down quietly as he gathered three hits in the losing effort.

In 1924 he hit .328 (8th in the NL) leading the league in runs scored (121) gathering 198 hits (3rd in the NL) 33 doubles (4th in the NL) 15 triples (5th in the NL) 22 steals & a .387 on base % (10th in the NL). In the 1924 World Series he hit .300 (10-20) with five extra base hits against the Washington Senators.

He hit .331 the next year followed by a .314 year in 1926, stealing just over twenty bases each season. Manager John McGraw ripped into Frisch publicly after missing a sign that resulted in an August 1926 loss during a crucial game in the pennant race.

Frisch was furious about being criticized & spoke out against his manager. From that point on the two fiery personalities could barely tolerate each other. This resulted in a shocking off season, block buster trade in which Frisch went to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for the great Rogers Hornsby.

In St. Louis Frisch had a rough start replacing the popular Hornsby but eventually did win the Cardinal fans over. He was the driving force of the famous St. Louis "Gas House Gang" with his aggressive no bull style of play.

He would hit over .300 in his first five seasons with the Cardinals, lead the league in stolen bases twice, score over 100 runs three times & hit thirty or more doubles four times. He would hit over .300 in seven out of the next eight seasons for the Cardinals, and bat over .290 in eight out of ten years. The Cardinals would go on to play in four World Series after Frankie Frisch arrived, winning two Championships.

In 1927 & 1928 he led all second baseman in fielding. It was the first time he led the league in that category after coming in second three other seasons. In 1931 he was voted the NL MVP hitting .311 with a league leading 28 stolen bases, 4 HRs, 24 doubles 4 triples 96 runs scored 82 RBIs & a .368 on base %. That season he led the Cards to the World Championship over Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A's, hitting .259 in the Series with one RBI going 7-27.

He became a player/ manger in 1933 & played in the first three All Star games for the National League.

In 1934 he led the famous "Gas House Gang" to another World Series Championship batting .305 with 168 hits, 30 doubles, 6 triples, 75 RBIs & a .356 on base %. He averaged 55 at bats for every strike out he had, the best percentage in the NL & the third time in his career he led in that category.

Post Season: In the 1934 World Series Frisch drove in a run in Game # 3 gathering two hits. In Game #7 he cleared the bases on a third inning double giving the Cards a 3-0 lead, as they went on to go to an 11-0 romp over the Detroit Tigers winning the Championship. Although he drove in four runs in the Series, he only batted .194 in what would be his last Fall Classic.

Frisch played in eight World Series, 50 games overall batting .294 with 58 hits 10 doubles 3 triples 9 stolen bases 10 RBIs with a .335 on base %. He won four World Championships, two with the New York Giants & two with the St. Louis Cardinals.

He managed the Cards through 1938, & then took over as skipper to the Chicago Cubs from 1949-1951. In his managerial career he was 1138-1078.

He ended his 19 year playing career in 1937 with a .316 average (72nd all time), 2880 hits (39th all time) 1532 runs scored (59th all time) 105 HRs, 466 doubles (85th all time) & 138 triples (66th all time). 

The Flash had 419 stolen bases (61st all time), 1244 RBIs (132nd all time) 229 sac hits (53rd all time) & a .369 on base % playing in 2311 games (104th all time).

Defensively at second base, he committed 280 errors (39th all time) with 6026 assists (13th all time) with 4348 put outs (16th all time) & a .970 fielding %. He also played 459 games at third base (.953 %) & 75 games at short (.934%).

Frisch was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947 & served on the Veterans Committee until the time of his death. In 1999 the Sporting News voted him #88 of the All Time greatest players.

Retirement: He worked as a New York Giants coach & radio broadcaster in the 1950's, until a heart attack slowed him down in 1956.

He was a long time resident at 184 Fenimore Road in the Bonnie Crest neighborhood of New Rochelle, New York.

He later moved to Rhode Island & passed away there in 1973, at age 74 after complications from a car accident. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

Honors: A ball field on Webster Ave. at Mosholu Parkway & E. 201st St. in the Bronx, near his old school, Fordham University is named after him.

The field has a baseball diamond, a backstop, dug-outs, a drinking fountain and bleachers.

Sep 17, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Mets Take First Game of September Subway Series Magic # Down to 8

Friday September 18th 2015: The first place New York Mets (83-63) hosted their cross town rivals, the A.L. New York club (80-66) in front of one of the largest crowds ever at Citi Field.

The Mets began the night eight games up on the Washington Nats with a magic number of 9.

The young Steven Matz, straight out of Long Island took the mound for the Mets tonight against Masahiro Tanaka. Mantz did not have his best stuff tonight, but he fought hard and after a shaky 1st inning where he allowed a run, he settled in to shut out the A.L. New Yorkers for the next five innings.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Lucas Duda connected for his 22nd HR of the year to tie up the game at one. It ended a long HR drought for Duda whom the Mets hope they could get going for the post season.

In the 6th Daniel Murphy hit a long HR to right center field, putting the Mets up  2-1. It was Murph's 12th HR of the year.

In the 7th inning, with Tanka gone on the losing end as pitcher of record. With Wilmer Flores on, Juan Uribe came in to pinch hit against Chasen Shreve and blasted a HR to right field. It was his 14th HR of the year & the Mets fourth pinch hit of the year.

In the home 8th a wild pitch to Lucas Duda scored Eric Young from third base to top off the Mets 5-1 victory.

Addison Reed pitched a scoreless 8th & Jeurys Familia had a shaky 9th loading the bases but allowed no one to score. Steven Matz got the win to go 4-0 and the Mets remained eight games in front of the Washington Nats, with 15 games left to play. The Mets magic number was now down to eight.

Sep 14, 2016

Mets Legendary Broadcaster: Bob Murphy (1962-2003)

Robert Allen Murphy was born September 19, 1924 in Oklahoma.

Bob spent fifty years doing play-by-play of MLB games on television and radio. 41 years of those years were spent with his beloved New York Mets, from their inception in 1962 until his retirement in 2003.

Murphy’s first broadcast job was in the minor leagues, with the level D Muskogee, Oklahoma Reds.

His first major league job was with the Boston Red Sox in 1954, working with the legendary Curt Gowdy. Murphy stayed in Boston broadcasting the Red Sox for six years, seeing them finish a highest of third place twice. He then moved to the Baltimore Orioles for two seasons 1960-1961. His call of Roger Maris' record-tying 60th HR in 1961 was what he used as an audition tape that landed him a job with the expansion New York Mets in 1962.

Quotes: Bob’s introduction to the New York Mets went like this in 1962-“This is Bob Murphy welcoming you to the first regular season game in the history of the New York Mets. Tonight the New York Mets meet the St. Louis Cardinals right here in St. Louis.”

Murphy would be part of a three man rotation of announcers, along with Lindsey Nelson & Ralph Kiner. The trio would broadcast Mets games on the radio & on television through the 1978 season. They would usually do three innings of work each on WOR Channel 9 TV, then switch to the radio booth. The three would also narrate the Mets highlights films after each season, and do commercial spots for various sponsors. Who could forget Murphy’s classic spots for Rheingold & Schafer beers throughout the Mets history?

Murphy became known for his optimistic & positive outlook on the game. He would almost never criticize the players & always tried to fins the good in a situation. Everyone knew he was happier when the Mets won, but he would not openly root for the team in any way. Only in the end after each Mets win would he say “we’ll be back with a happy recap in just a moment”.

His love for baseball would have him equally excited when a fine play was made by the visiting team just as if it was made by the Mets.

He was said to have painted a picture of each baseball game he broadcast with his own words & his unique delivery. Somehow with Bob Murphy who never seemed to get to down, you always had a feeling the Mets could comeback when you heard his voice.

Murphy reported the Mets through the early years at the Polo Grounds as the fan base grew. He then found a seat in the grand new ballpark known as Shea Stadium in 1964 with the World’s Fair as it’s neighbor in the background.

By 1969 Murphy was there for the Amazing Mets as they shocked the baseball world winning the World Series.

He was at the mic in the 9th inning at Shea Stadium on July 9th for Tom Seaver’s famous imperfect game: "And it's hit hard to leftfield...It's going to be a base hit...A base hit by Jimmy Qualls and it breaks up the perfect game...Now the applause for Tom Seaver...Eight and one third innings of perfect baseball by Seaver."

On September 24th he made another famous call as the Mets won the Eastern Division. "The crowd is chanting, 'We're number one!' The Mets made up fifteen-and-a-half games since the 13th of August. Lou Brock is on second, and Vic Davalillo, the runner on first with one man out...ninth inning, 6-0, New York.

Gentry pitching, working hard here against Joe Torre. Now in the set position, here's the pitch...ground ball hit to shortstop...Harrelson to Weiss, there's one, first base...Double play...The Mets Win! It's All Over! Ohhhh, the roar going up from this crowd! An unbelievable scene on the are pouring out on the field."

Murphy's joyous voice filled the airwaves again in 1973 as the Mets rose from the cellar at the end of August to the coming within one game of winning another the World Series.

It was the year of "You Gotta Believe” & all throughout 1973, Murph's voice seemed to be there for each dramatic moment. From the ball off the ball play at Shea Stadium in late September to out that clinched the NL Pennant as John Milner flipped to Tug McGraw in the rain at Wrigley Field on the last day of the season.

"Now the stretch by McGraw...the 3-2 delivery...the runner goes...a little pop up...Milner's got it...he'll run to first...Double play! The Mets win the pennant! The Mets have just won the pennant in the Eastern Division! It's all over! They won the pennant with a magnificent stretch drive."

In the 1973 NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds it was Bobs call on the radio to the New York fans that let everyone know “a fight breaks out at second base”.

In his voice you heard the surprise & the disgust as he mentioned how much bigger Pete Rose was than little Bud Harrelson “Rose outweighs Buddy Harrelson by about thirty five pounds”.

Murphy called the classic Game #5 as the Mets won the pennant & went to the World Series falling one game short of another miracle.

Murphy continued to broadcast the Mets through the seventies as the team that was once a family had changed. Tom Seaver was gone & the Mets fell into last place. Broadcast partner Lindsey Nelson left New York for the west coast San Francisco Giants in 1979 he was replaced by Steve Albert for three seasons.

Prior to 1982, the Mets announcers had done television and radio on a rotational system. When one was on TV, another would take over on radio, and the other would take a three inning break. As a general rule, the Mets did not have two men in the broadcasting booth, as is so common today.

In 1982, Murphy was taken out of the television booth, and placed solely on the radio. He was joined by Steve Lamar that season who also strictly did radio for the Mets broadcasts.

At first Murphy wasn’t happy about being exiled into radio, but with his class he never complained, took on the job & mastered it.

Many say that play-by-play of baseball on the radio requires a lot more skill than on television, because the broadcaster must be able to inspire the listener's imagination. This is where Bob Murphy was the master, from his description of the weather at the ballpark to the size of the crowds, you saw it through Bob’s radio eyes.

Murphy like a great artist was even able to paint the perfect picture of baseball right down to the puffy cumulus clouds on warm sunny days. For the rest of his career, with the exception of a few emergency situations, he announced exclusively in the radio booth.

Bob & Joy Murphy
In 1984 he was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame. Bob truly took over as the voice of summer for Mets fans as the team once again became contenders in the mid eighties. 
From the steady play of Keith Hernandez, to the monstrous HRs of Daryl Strawberry to the phenom pitching of Dwight Gooden, it was Bob’s voice who brought it to us.

By 1986 the Mets were the best team in baseball and were back in the postseason for the first time in 13 years, and it was Bob Murphy whos voice is remembered with its biggest thrills.

Murphy's call of Lenny Dykstra's ninth inning walk off HR at Shea Stadium in Game #3 of the 1986 NLCS. "Lenny Dykstra, the man they call Nails on the Mets ball club is waiting...Now the pitch and it's a high fly ball hit to right field...It's fairly deep...It's way back, by the wall...A home run!! A home run!! The Mets win the ballgame...Dykstra wins it...Len Dykstra hit a home run...This ballgame is over...Lenny Dykstra is being mobbed by his teammates." 

Murphy's call on October 25, 1986, Game #6 of the World Series: "Mookie Wilson still hopes to win it for New York...3-2 the count...And the pitch by Stanley...And a ground ball trickling...It's a fair ball. It gets by Buckner! Rounding third is Knight...The Mets will win the ballgame...They win! They win!" -

Murphy's call of the final out of the 1986 World Series: "Now the pitch on the way...He struck him out...Struck him out! The Mets have won the World Series! The dream has come true. The Mets have won the World Series coming from behind to win the seventh game." -

Bob witnessed more than 6,000 Mets games and was behind the microphone for the club's six trips to the post-season and two World Championships. In his own words Murphy said, "It's hard to single out one game, but Game Six of the 1986 NLCS at Houston is one that stands out for me," once noted Murphy.

Murph went through those Mets glory years with another fine announcer at his side Gary Thorne. He got to another Eastern Divisional title in 1988 with his new broadcast partner Gary Cohen.

 As some more down years followed in the 1990’s Murphy received the Ford Frick Award & earned a spot in the broadcaster’s wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. At Shea Stadium the Mets named the radio booth the Bob Murphy Radio Booth in his honor.

In the twilight of his career Murphy got to see the Mets get to two more post seasons including a Subway World Series in 2000. In 2002 the radio booth in Shea Stadium was renamed the Bob Murphy Radio booth in his honor. As the new millennium rolled in he was aging, his eyes & his health began to go down hill. He no longer sounded like the smooth broadcaster he once was.

At a game against the Cincinnati Reds I was at in 2003 he announced his retirement at the end of the season.

In the final home game of the 2003 season, the Mets honored him on Bob Murphy night September 25, 2003.

On July 25, 1990 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, the Mets took a 10-3 lead into the ninth inning. But the Phillies opened the inning with seven consecutive singles, a walk, and scored six runs to narrow the Mets lead to one run.

Finally the Mets were able to turn a double-play and get a line drive out. By the end of the inning Murphy showed a rare display of emotion as his patience had worn thin. As the game finally ended, he famously said, "The Mets win! They win the damn thing by a score of 10 to 9!"

The actual chance that Bob would use a bad word was so out of character, that it became one of his more memorable moments following his retirement.

After the 2003 season, Murphy retired to sunny Florida. He passed away of lung cancer in August of 2004 in West Palm Beach Florida at the age of 79. After his passing, the Mets honored Murphy's memory by wearing a patch on the left sleeve of their uniforms for the rest of the 2004 season. 

A standing room only crowd including hundreds of Mets fans jammed St. Patrick's Cathedral for Bob’s memorial service. Mets owner Fred Wilpon led a both current players like Mike Piazza and Al Leiter as well as former Mets Keith Hernandez, Ed Charles and Bud Harrelson. Wilpon and broadcaster Gary Thorne delivered the eulogies. "For 42 years, he was with us for every beautiful summer's day," Wilpon said. "His impact on Mets fans will live on for generations."

Quotes: Gary Thorne, former Mets broadcaster & ESPN announcer; “He was my former radio partner with the Mets, a Hall of Fame announcer and a good friend.

In his memory, all of us who love the game might remember just what made Bob and his band of broadcast brothers such a joy to hear. They put the game first. They cared about their listeners.

They painted the word picture for the enjoyment of their audience, In 50 years of broadcasting, Bob Murphy left behind a treasure chest of memories. He showed us all how powerful words can be when they're spoken by one of the great voices of the game.”

Gary Cohen-Mets Broadcaster: "What stands out the most about Bob is the first game I ever broadcast for the Mets, in 1988.
Bob & A Young Gary Cohen

I was filling in for one night and I was a minor-league kid who had looked up to Murph from the time I was 6 years old. I was petrified, to put it lightly. 

At one point early in the broadcast, I just froze. I didn't know what to say or do next. Murph reached out with his hand and patted mine and took over, making the rest of the evening easy. He was a very sweet man. He made sure that I was comfortable and that I could function and succeed, and I'll never forget that."
Trivia: Murphy was also an announcer for the New York Titans (now the New York Jets) of the American Football League (before they joined the NFL. In addition, in 1973, he hosted the New York edition of Bowling for Dollars, a locally-produced game show, on WOR-TV.

His brother Jack Murphy was a sports writer who was instrumental in bringing MLB to San Diego. The former Padres home Jack Murphy Stadium was named in his honor.

from centerfield: For me there was no more favorite of announcer than Bob Murphy. As a kid I grew up with Bob from the Miracle of '69 through the pennant of '73, he brought it all to life  for me. I remember seeing him leave the ballpark once when I was a kid & he seemed like some kind of a star, as he got into a private car driving off.

Later as I got older in the late seventies, I remember mimicking his voice in school. "It's beautiful daaaaaay for baseball" (in a classic Bob voice). Then again in my partying days of the mid eighties, my friends & I would once again imitate Bobs voice with more of an adult humor added to it.

As I got older, it became such a pleasure listening to Bobs broadcasting, as if it were like an art. At times, I would keep the TV's volume down & put Bobs radio broadcast on instead. He is greatly missed & was a huge part of my centerfieldmaz 's Mets history.

Sep 11, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1973) Tug McGraw Saves A Jon Matlack Win As Mets Move Within 2 1/2 Games of 1st Place

Wednesday September 12th, 1973: As the surging New York Mets were making their way to the N.L. Eastern title, tonight was another big game. Yogi Berra's Mets (70-75) moved within 2 1/2 games of first place as they went down the New Jersey Turnpike to Philadelphia, to take on Danny Ozark's last place Phillies (65-80).

Starting Lineups

Yogi Berra had his left hander Jon Matlack take the mound, Matlack had won five of his last eight games & was in the midst of a personal four game September win streak.

The Phillies went ahead as future Mets hitting instructor Bill Robinson doubled in a run the 2nd inning. In the Mets third inning, Wayne Garrett hit his 13th HR of the year a solo shot to lead off the inning.

The score remained tied until the 6th inning when John Milner hit his 22nd HR of the year. The Mets sophomore slugger was the team leader in HRs.

In the 8th after Rusty Staub had doubled, Milner had an infield single, a throwing error caused the slow footed Staub to score the Mets third run, 3-1 New York.

After Mike Anderson hit a solo HR off Matlack, Manager Berra went to his ace out of the bullpen, leading fireman Tug McGraw. McGraw allowed two singles but ended the inning striking out a young Mike Schmidt & Tommy Hutton.

In the 9th he struck out Larry Bowa, got pinch hitter Terry Harmon to fly out & then struck out Billy Gra barkewitz to end the end with another Mets win. The win was Matlack's 13th 913-15) & the save was McGraw's 19th. The win was the Mets 15th in their last 22 games.

Sep 10, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1974) Mets Play In Another of One of the Longest Games in MLB History

Wednesday September 11th 1974: Tonight 13,460 fans came out to Shea Stadium to see Yogi Berra’s fourth place Mets (65-75) take on manager Red Schoendienst’s second place St. Louis Cardinals (75-68).

The Mets were still the reigning N.L. Champions at the time, but their days were numbered as they were eleven games behind the first place Pittsburgh Pirates. 

The St. Louis Cardinals were in heavy pursuit of the Pirates just 2 ½ games back, alive & well in the pennant race. (Eventually the Pirates would win the East in 1974 but lose to the L.A. Dodgers in the '74 NLCS).

Jerry Koosman (13-9) was the clubs top pitcher that year, as Tom Seaver was struggling through the season with back issues which effected his mechanics. Koosan took the mound for the Mets at 7:05 PM, going up against the Cards; Bob Forsch.

The Cardinals Hall of Famer; Lou Brock had just set a modern day single season record for stolen bases (105) the night before in St. Louis, breaking the L.A. Dodgers Maury Wills old record of 104, set back in 1962.

A young Keith Hernandez was in the Shea Stadium visiting dugout that night and had only played in five career MLB games going 4-11 (.364) at the plate, since his debut on August 30th, 1974.

The Mets leading hitter in 1974 was Ed Kranepool (.300) while the John Milner (20 HRs) & Rusty Staub (19 HRs - 78 RBIs) were the teams leading power hitters.

Starting Lineups

Koosman got himself in trouble early on, walking two batters in the first inning and allowing an RBI single to St. Louis' first baseman; Joe Torre. The Mets came right back as Felix Millan reached on an error & then was forced by Cleon Jones. Jones reached second on a wild pitch & soon scored on a John Milner double, it was tied at 1-1.

The score remained tied into the bottom of the 5th inning, when Felix Millan singled & Cleon Jones hit a two run HR putting New York up 3-1.

Koosman rolled along, allowing just the one run & three hits until the 9th inning. He then allowed a double to catcher Ted Simmons, but then struck out Joe Torre & Bake McBride. But with two out, Cardinals third baseman Ken Rietz, blasted a game tying HR over the Shea Stadium fence.

The Cardinals sent relief ace Al Hrabosky (the Mad Hungarian) to the mound, he shut down the Mets’ Don Hahn, Duffy Dyer & pinch hitter Ted Martinez in the 9th. Hrabosky kept the Mets down in the next two innings as well. The Mets brought in reliever Harry Parker, who kept St. Louis in check for three innings, including getting the pinch hitter Keith Hernandez to fly out to lead off the 12th inning.

In the bottom of the 12th, the Mets got two base runners on when Millan & Jones singled off Rich Folkers. But John Milner struck out to end the inning.

In the top of the 13th inning, Mets pitcher Bob Miller (who was a member of the both the 1962 original Mets & the 1973 pennant team) took the mound.

There was some excitement when Joe Torre who walked & advanced, attempted to score on a base hit by Bake McBride. Torre was nailed out at the plate, on a series of relay throws from Cleon Jones to third baseman Wayne Garrett to catcher Duffy Dyer, who made the tag.

The Mets threatened again in the bottom of the 13th, as Dave Schneck doubled & Don Hahn was walked. But they left both men on base as Folkers, got pinch hitter George “the Stork” Theodore to ground out. In the 14 inning the Mets threatened once again, as Bud Harrelson walked & was sacrificed over to second by Felix Millan. Next, Cleon Jones was intentionally walked, but Pitcher Claude O’Steen retired John Milner & Wayne Garrett. O’Steen would pitch nine innings of relief that night, striking out five Mets, while allowing just four hits along the way. 

The Mets Bob Apodaca pitched three scoreless for New York, handing the ball over to rookie Jerry Cram who would then pitch eight fantastic innings of relief.

Cram allowed seven hits, with four walks, while stranding eight Cardinal runners on base, escaping trouble each time he got into a jam.

In the top of the 20th inning, Mets catcher; Ron Hodges now behind the plate, was involved in an obstruction call on an at bat by Joe Torre. Mets manager; Yogi Berra came to argue the call & was ejected from the game by home plate umpire Ed Sudol. In the top of the 24th inning, Joe Torre involved in another game highlight, singled with two runners on. But no one was able to score, then Cram got Dick Billings to ground out.

In the bottom of the 24th inning, the Mets looked as though they were going to pull off a win. With two out, Dave Schneck (who led all players with 11 official at bats that night) doubled. Next, pinch hitter; Jim Gosger was walked intentionally & catcher Ron Hodges followed with another walk.

The Mets leading RBI hitter, Rusty Staub who had been sitting on the bench nursing an injury, came up as a pinch hitter, to the excitement of the remaining Shea crowd. Unfortunately, Staub grounded out to end the inning.

In the top of the 25th inning, Yogi Berra brought in the Mets sixth pitcher of the night, September call up Hank Webb. Webb had been the second best pitcher at AAA Tidewater that year, behind Randy Sterling, going 10-8 for the Tidewater Tides.

The Cards; Bake McBride, led off the 25th with a single, his fourth hit of the night & then all hell broke loose. Webb attempted to pick off the speedy McBride, but threw the ball wide of first base. 

John Milner chased the ball all the way to the outfield as McBride circled the bases. Milner threw home, but McBride scored on another error by catcher Ron Hodges. This turned out to be the winning run.

In the bottom of the 25th inning, Ken Boswell & Felix Millan were both retired quickly. Then with two outs, the legendary early seventies Mets yearbook prospect; Brock Pemberton, got his first career hit, a pinch hit base hit, coming in just his second career game.

Future Mets pitcher, who was a Cardinal at this point, Sonny Siebert, then struck out John Milner to end the game. 

After seven hours & four minutes the line score read: Cardinal- four runs, 18 hits two errors, the Mets- three runs 16 hits four errors.

Mets pitchers struck out twelve batters while walking eight & Cards pitchers struck out sixteen batters while walking eleven.

The Mets used 24 players while the Cards used 26 players. When the game ended the big Longines clock on the Shea scoreboard read 3:07 AM. For the record, It is the second longest game in history in terms of innings (25).

The Mets as a team have played in four games of the 42 games in MLB history lasting twenty or more innings.

Also that night at Shea in attendance was Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, along with his family, he was reported as staying for the whole game.