Feb 27, 2017

A Short Time Member of the 2000 NL Champion Mets Pitching Staff: Dennis Springer (2000)

Dennis Leroy Springer was born February 12th 1965 in Fresno California, the hometown of Tom Seaver. He was one in a long line of Major league players that attended California State University at Fresno. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 21st round of the 1987 draft.

The five foot ten, right hander's specialty was his knuckleball. He would spend seven years in the minors before making to the big leagues. By that time he was with the Philadelphia Phillies debuting in 1995 going 0-3 in just four games pitched.

He then signed on with the California Angels playing there for two years into the transition of the team being called the Anaheim Angles. In two seasons there he posted ERA's near six & went a combined 14-15. He allowed the second most HRs in 1997 (32) & was fourth in the AL in earned runs with 112. He did throw a shut out in each of his seasons in Anaheim.

In 1998 he was drafted by the new expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the 25th pick. Unfortunately he had a terrible 3-11 season inaugural season there. He moved down state to South Florida where he signed with the Florida Marlins getting a spot in their rotation.

In a career high 38 games (29 starts) & 196 innings, he went 6-16 (second most losses in the NL) with a 4.86 ERA.

In the winter of 2000 the 1999 NL Wild Card Champion Mets signed him & gave him a shot. Springer debuted with the Mets on April 22nd, starting the second game of a double header at Shea Stadium, against the Chicago Cubs. He went into the 6th inning, giving up three runs on seven hits earning no decision, as the Mets did go on to a 7-6 win thanks to a five run 6th inning. 

The knuckleballer got one more start, coming on April 26th but it was a debacle. He allowed eight runs on thirteen hits with four walks in just six innings of work, taking a 12-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

He went 5-5 with the Mets AAA Norfolk Tides that season as well. Overall he spent 15 seasons in the minors going 24-48 with a 3.33 ERA.

The Mets let him go & he appeared with the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching five games over the 2001 & 2002 seasons. In his big league career he was 24-48 with a 5.18 ERA, 296 strike outs & 258 walks in 130 games (98 starts).

Trivia: In 2001 he served up the San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds his 73rd HR of the season.

Feb 26, 2017

Former Mets Catcher: Alberto Castillo (1995-1998)

Alberto Terrero Castillo was Born on February 10, 1970 in the Dominican Republic. The tall six foot catcher was signed out of high school by the New York Mets as an amatuer free agent in 1987.

Catillo would spend eleven years in the Mets minor leagues, making brief appearances in the big leagues with New York four different seasons. 

He debuted in the big leagues on May 28th, 1995 catching Dave Mlicki at Shea Stadium going 0-3 against the Giants. He hit just .103 in 13 games with the Mets that season but showed good abilities behind the plate, even throwing out 4 of 5 base stealers. He saw action in six MLB games the next year & 35 games in 1997.

In 1998 he was with the club out of Spring Training & had his shining Mets moment on Opening Day. In the bottom of the 14th inning with the bases loaded he singled home the walk off winning run to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0. That season he hit his first career HR in San Francisco & another in Boston in early June. By the end of the month he was sent back down after batting just .205 at the big league level.

He signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1998 season. He soon got traded to the St. Louis Cardinals where he played as a back up to Eli Marerro. Castillo had career highs that season in games (93) hits (67) HRs (4) RBIs (31) & batting average (.263). He led all NL catchers throwing out 51% of would be base stealers & posted a .991 fielding %.

He would become a journey man backup & third string catcher through the years playingwith the Toronto Blue Jays, A.l. New York team, San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Royals & Baltimore Orioles. In his 12 season career he threw out 41% of would be base stealers posting a .991 fielding % & batted .220 with 12 HRs & 101 RBIs.

Castillo was a catcher for the first Dominican team in the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic. In 2008 he played for the Newark Bears of the Independent League & eventually got traded to the Long Island Ducks.

Feb 25, 2017

Short Time Mets Catcher: Taylor Teagarden (2014)

Taylor Hill Teagarden was born December 21st 1983 in Dallas, Texas. The six foot right hand hitting catcher attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a star player. He was named Bug Twelve Conference Freshman of the Year & helped the 2005 Longhorns win the College World Series, making the All Tournament team as catcher. He was soon signed by his home town Texas Rangers in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft.

 2005 was a rough year for him as he needed back surgery as well as Tommy John surgery. In 2008 he played on the US Olympic Team that won a Bronze medal. That year he also made his debut with the Rangers for two quick games in July & playing in 14 more games that September, batting .316.

 In 2009 he played in a career high 60 games backing up Jarrod Saltalamacchia for the second place Rangers. He threw out 38% of would be base runners, while batting .217 with 6 HRs & 24 RBIs. Teagarden would spend four years in Texas as a part time player. He would then go to the Baltimore Orioles as a player to be named later.

He spent parts of 2012 & 2013 with the Orioles batting under .200 both seasons playing 22 & 23 games respectively. In 2014 he signed as a free agent with the New York Mets. He played with the Gulf Coast Mets (4 games) St. Lucie Mets (2 games) & AAA Las Vegas for 55 games.

On June 10th Teagarden was brought up to catch in a game with the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. That night he also got the biggest hit of his career, a grand slam HR off Marco Estrada in the bottom of the 6th inning. He put the Mets ahead 6-1 on their way to a 6-2 victory. He got seven starts with New York that June over a two week period. He hit just .43 in 28 at bats in nine games.

At the end of the year he was granted free agency. In a seven year career he is batting .202 with 100 hits 21 HRs 26 doubles & 68 RBIs.

Former Mets Catcher: Juan Centeno (2013-2014)

Juan Centeno was born on November 16th 1989 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. In 2007 the Mets drafted him out of high School in the 32nd round. The five foot nine, catcher Centeno, bats left handed while throwing right handed.

He spent four years at the Mets A ball level between Brooklyn & St. Lucie, not hitting much but showing solid defense. After batting around or under .200 he hit .371 in 32 games (just 89 at bats) with the Cyclones in 2010. He then was pushed up to St. Lucie again even getting to AA Binghamton by the end of the season.

In 2011 he was back at St. Lucie hitting .318. In 2012 he hit .285 at AA Binghamton as the clubs main catcher catching guys like Zack Wheeler & Jenrry Mejia. The next year he was playing in Puerto Rico, Binghamton & at AAA Las Vegas as their main catcher. He hit .305 & tossed out 56% of would be base stealers. With not much power he did not hit any HRs in 67 games.

On September 18th he made his MLB debut catching & batting 8th in a 5-4 win at Citi Field over the San Francisco Giants. In the home 5th he collected his first career hit a single off Matt Cain. In the 9th inning the Mets were down 4-1, Centeno's RBI hit helped the Mets rally in which they won on a walk off hit by Josh Satin. He saw action in four games that year.

In 2014 he got a call up in May & got into six games starting in the subway series. He collected two hits against the Washington Nationals with another two RBI day. He would go back down & return in September where he got one hit in four games, ending the season batting an even .200.

In October 2014 he was placed on waivers & picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers. There he saw action in ten games getting granted free agency & was signed by the Minnesota Twins.

In 2016 he appeared in 55 games behind main backstop All Star Joe Mauer. Centeno batted .261 with 3 HRs & 25 RBIs. In the off season he was signed by the Houston Astros.

In a four year career he is batting.290 (56-237) with 3 HRs 13 doubles & 28 RBIs. In 73 games behind the plate he tossed out just 14% of would be base stealers.

Feb 24, 2017

Early Nineties Mets Reserve Catcher: Kelly Stinnett (1993-1994)

Kelly Lee Stinnett was born on February 14, 1970 in Lawton, Oklahoma. The five foot eleven right hand hitting Stinnett was a star baseball & football player in high school. He won the State Championship with team mates James Trapp and Will Shields who both went on to play in the NFL.

Stinnett attended Seminole Junior College winning All American & Jr. College Player of the Year batting .399. He was signed as a catcher by the Cleveland Indians in the 11th round of the 1989 amateur draft. He was drafted away by the New York Mets in December 1993 in the Rule V draft.

He made the club out of Spring Training & would spend two seasons in New York, as Todd Hundley’s backup catcher. He debuted in third game of the season at Wrigley Field, catching Pete Smith & hitting a double in the Mets 6-2 win. He would see action in 47 games for the Mets that year, making five errors behind the plate throwing out 32% of base stealers. He would hit his first career HR on May 5th in St. Louis in the Mets 8-1 victory . On the season he batted .253 with 19 extra base hits 2 HRs & 14 RBIs.

In 1994 his average would drop to .219 with 4 HRs & 18 RBIs playing in 77 games sharing time with Alberto Castillo as Todd Hundley’s back up. That off season he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Corey Lidle who would go 7-2 for the 1997 Mets.

Stinnett would play for 14 seasons as backup catcher in Milwaukee (1996-1997) Arizona (1998-2000) Cincinnati (2001-2003) Philadelphia (2003), Kansas City (2004) New York (A.L.-2006) St. Louis (2007) & another brief stint with the Mets in 2006 for seven games. He saw the most playing time in Arizona where he backed up Damian Miller appearing in over 75 games each season (1998-2000).

In 1999 he had career highs with Arizona in HRs (14) RBIs (38) games (92). That year he played in his only post season series, the NLDS against his old Mets team mates. He went 2-14 with a run scored while playing in all four games. Stinnett was the catcher behind the plate calling the pitch Todd Pratt drilled for the walk off win in Game #4 in the bottom of the 9th inning.

On August 24, 2006, Stinnett signed a minor league contract with the Mets. He made his return to Shea Stadium as a Met on September 9th, 2006 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and went 1-3. He finished September with a .083 Batting Average, and was not included on the 2006 New York Mets postseason roster.

After 14 seasons he batted .234 with 476 hits, 65 HRs 91 doubles & 230 RBIs playing in 734 games. In his career behind the plate he threw out 28 % of base runners, made 67 errors in 4063 chances (leading the league with 12 in 2001) posting a .9834 fielding %.

Feb 21, 2017

Former Mets Pitcher: Akeel Morris (2015-2016)

 Akeel J. Morris was born November 14h, 1992 in St. Thomas, United Sates Virgin Islands. The six foot one right hander pitched a perfect game in high school while in the Virgin Islands. He was selected by the New York Mets in the tenth round of the 2010 amateur draft.

He pitched his first season with the Gulf Coast Mets & then at Kingsport, where he had great strike out numbers averaging 10.5 Ks per nine innings, but he had control issues, walking 6.5 batters per nine innings. In 2013 he was moved to Brooklyn where he went 4-1 with a 1.00 ERA with the Cyclones. He improved to strike out 60 batters while walking 23.

In 2014 he got even better, while with the Savannah Sand Gnats he became a full time relief pitcher. He was 4-1 with 16 saves, posting a fantastic 0.63 ERA. He struck out 89 batters in 57 innings, which computes to a 14.1 strike out per nine inning ratio. In a rare instance, he struck out four batters in one inning in a game against the Augusta Green Jackets.

He began 2015 with the A ball St. Lucie Mets going 0-1 with 13 saves & a 1.69 ERA. In mid June he got a very big surprise.

On June 17th he was called up to help out a struggling Mets bullpen & reduce their work load. He was given his first chance at Skydome in Toronto against a very powerful Blue Jays line up. He relieved Jonathan Niese in the 8th inning with the Mets own 3-0.

He quickly issued two straight walks before getting Edwin Encarnacion to ground out. He then gave up two base hits, followed by a three run HR to Danny Valencia. The kid from A ball was relieved by John Leathersich.

Morris was sent back down to make room for Logan Verett. He finished 2015 at AA Binghamton with six saves going 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 23 games.

He began 2016 with the Mets AA Binghamton club, going 2-2 with  six saves & a 4.62 ERA. In early June 2016 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves organization for veteran Kelly Johnson. At AA Mississippi he was impressive, going 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA  making four starts in 25 games. He struck out 50 batters in 35 innings with 21 walks.

Feb 20, 2017

Bronx Born Third Baseman the Mets Received In Exchange For Amos Otis: Joe Foy (1970)

Joseph Anthony Foy was born on February 21, 1943 in the Bronx, New York. He attended Evander Child’s high school on Gun Hill Road in the early sixties, & was a standout baseball player. He originally got signed by the Minnesota Twins in early 1962 but was then drafted away by the Boston Red Sox later that year.

In 1965 he won the International League batting title , hitting .302 with 14 HRs & 73 RBIs at AAA Toronto. He was named the Minor League Player of the Year & the league’s MVP. In his rookie year of 1966 he got the job as the Red Sox everyday third baseman replacing the departed, Frank Malzone.

Foy deuted in the second Sox game of the year at Fenway Park going 0-3 against the Baltimore Orioles. In just his third career game he was in the Bronx where he had grown up playing against the AL New York team. He got his first career hit that day, an RBI double off Bob Friend, as the Red Sox went on to an 8-5 win. Foy started out slow not getting above the .200 mark until mid May.

He had a fine Rookie year, coming in second in the league in walks (91) fourth in triples (8) fifth in runs scored (97) & eighth in on base % (.364). He hit .262 with 15 HRs 23 doubles, 63 RBIs & was rated the leagues fifth best third baseman. 

In the Red Sox 1967 "Impossible Dream" Pennant season, Foy saw action in 118 games at third base, but led the league in errors for the first of two straight seasons. At the plate he hit .252 with 16 HRs 22 doubles 4 triples and 49 RBIs.

On a road trip to New York that summer, he learned of a fire at his family’s house & that it was burning down while on his way to the ballpark located less than a mile away. In that series he was involved in a bench clearing brawl when he was hit in the helmet with a pitch by Thad Tillotson. Foy just went to first base after he was beaned, but when Sox pitcher Jim Lonborg retaliated against Tillotson, when he came to bat, the two pitchers had words. Foy stepped in & said “why don’t you just fight me since it all started with me”. The benches cleared & a full scale brawl ensued.

Foy enjoyed some fame appearing in photo in Life magazine that season as well, although not as the main figure. The magazine did an article of Triple Crown Winner Carl Yastrzemski, and it featured a photo of Yaz jokingly tackling Foy in the Boston club house.

In the 1967 World Series Foy hit only .133 (2-15) playing in six games, driving in one run. In 1968 Foy was selected by the expansion Kansas City Royals & became an original Royal, the next season. On Kansas City's Opening Day, Foy was the team's first cleanup hitter, going 1-6 that day. He played mostly at third base (113 games) but he made 17 errors, the Royals also tried him at first base & in the outfield. At bat he hit .262 with 11 HRs 71 RBIs & 72 runs scored, stealing 37 bases (fifth in the AL).

His stay in K.C. was short though, when on December 3rd, 1969 the New York Mets made another one of their worst trades. In trying to solve their long time third base problem, they sent a young Amos Otis & Bob Johnson to the Royals for Joe Foy. Otis went on to play seventeen seasons in Kansas City, making five All Star teams, winning three Gold Gloves. He hit over .290 five times, stole thirty or more bases five times, also leading the league in doubles twice & stolen bases once. Pitcher Bob Johnson struck out 200 batters going 7-8 in 1970 & then was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for short stop Fred Patek. What a deal the Foy fiasco turned out to be for the Royals & their future.

Foy was in the 1970 Mets Opening Day lineup, batting in the third position, going hitless with a sac fly RBI. He never got it going at the plate finishing up at .206 hitting his only HR that month against the Phillies on April 19th. That month he did drive in runs in three straight games against the Phillies at home. Foy did have a few shining moments in a Mets uniform; On May 3rd his 7th inning double off the Padres Pat Dobson in a game at San Diego broke a 2-2 ties & was the games winning run.

He would miss some action in June playing in just 12 games that month. His best month would be July and in the middle of the month he had a seven game hit streak on a West Coast road trip. In that series he had a three hit game in Los Angeles & a huge five hit day in San Francisco. 

On July 19th in the second game of a Mets Giants doubleheader, Foy had five hits, hitting two HRs & driving in five runs. His tenth inning HR off Don McMahon proved to be the game winner in the Mets 7-6 victory. When the Padres visited Shea at the end of the month, he added another RBI hit & then scored the tying run on Tommie Agee's double in a Mets comeback win.

On August 5th Foy came to bat with the bases loaded & two out in the bottom of the 9th inning in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. Reds pitcher Wayne Granger walked Foy allowing the winning run to score and crediting Foy with a game winning RBI.

As the season went on Foy never fit in with Gil Hodges ballclub. He was back in his hometown of New York City playing with the Mets, and hooked up with the wrong crowd from his old neighborhood. He got mixed up in drugs and developed an addiction problem.

During a summer double header, he noticeably appeared to under the influence of something during the game. In the opening game, he stood in front of manager Gil Hodges and began cheering a pitch loudly while awkwardly laughing. Hodges chose to start him in the nightcap to prove a point to his team. A hard grounder was hit to Foy at third and he never saw it. Reportedly even after the ball passed him he kept shouting "hit it to me". Pitcher Jerry Koosman & his team mates were furious, but Hodges made his point- "this guy doesn't belong here!"

1970 was his only season with the Mets, Foy saw action in 99 games, batting .236 with 6 HRs 12 doubles 68 walks & 36 RBIs. His best stats were his 22 stolen bases, although he was thrown out 13 times & his .367 on base %. At third base he made 18 errors & certainly wasn’t the answer to the Mets third base puzzle. He was picked up by the Washington Senators in 1971 (Rule 5 draft) and hit .234 in just 41 games before getting sent to the minors.

He finished out his career playing in 15 games at AAA Denver, getting released in July. In his six year career, Foy was a lifetime .248 hitter with 615 hits 58 HRs 102 doubles 99 stolen bases 390 walks, a .351 on base % & 291 RBIs, playing in 716 games.

Retirement: Foy did give back to the community, appearing at Mets events, teaching children to play ball & coached little league in the South Bronx as well. Sadly he had his demons & maybe wasn't given enough of a chance by M. Donald Grant & the organization.

The Mets tried Bob Aspromonte at third in 1971, Jim Fregosi in 1972 and neither one worked out either. Eventually Wayne Garrett got the job and in 1973 the Mets went to another World Series. Garrett remained at third for the good part of four seasons.

Passing: In 1989 Joe Foy died of a heart attack in the Bronx, New York at the age of 46.

Early Eighties Mets Outfielder: Jerry Morales (1980)

Julio Ruben (Torres) Morales was born February 18, 1949 in Puerto Rico. The right hand hitting five foot, ten inch outfielder was originally signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1966 at the age of 17. He was taken away as the 16th pick by the National Leagues new San Diego Padres during the 1968 expansion draft. 

Morales was an original Padre outfielder, making his debut as a September call up that season batting .195 with one HR & 6 RBIs in 19 games. He had good speed in the outfield & often made two handed basket catches playing as a reserve his first three seasons. By 1972 he was seeing regular action hitting .239 with seven triples, (sixth most in the NL) 4 HRs & 18 RBIs in 115 games. 

In 1973 he played 122 games in the Padre outfield under manager Don Zimmer on a last place team going 60-102. Morales had 23 doubles, while batting .281. He would bat over .270 each of the next five seasons. But by 1974 the Padres had young outfielders Dave Winfield & Johnny Grubb to team up with Cito Gaston in the outfield. Morales was the odd man out & was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Glenn Beckert & Bobby Fenwick. 

He would spend the next four seasons as a Cubs regular outfielder, putting up decent numbers at Wrigley Field. He hit 15 or more HRs twice, as well as driving in 80 plus runs two times as well. In 1975 he drove in a career high 91 runs (just missing the top ten in the NL) on a team that drove in the fourth most runs in the league. His 11 sac flies that season were second best in the NL. He also hit twenty plus doubles three times during his Chicago years. 

In the outfield, playing the walls of Ivy at Wrigley Field, he had eleven assists in right field (second in the league) in 1975, followed by twelve assists in 1976 (3rd most in the NL). He would come in the top five of the league in fielding % every season from 1975-1979.

In 1977 he represented the Cubs in the All Star game along with Rick Reuschel, Bruce Sutter, and Manny Trillo. The Cubs had a five game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East at the break that season. In that All Star game, played in the Bronx, at the A.L. New York's new revamped ballpark, Morales was hit in the knee by a Sparky Lyle pitch, in the 7-5 N.L. win. Morales was on track to have his best overall season that year, but he broke his finger toward the end of the summer, finishing his season after 136 games. His injury added to the Cubs demise & falling out of contention. He posted career highs in batting (.290) doubles (34) on base % (.348) & outfield assists (12). 

In December 1977 he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Steve Swisher in exchange for Hector Cruz & Dave Rader. His average fell to .239 and he only hit four HRs with 46 RBIs for the fifth place Cardinals. That December he was traded along with Aurelio Lopez to the Detroit Tigers for Bob Sykes & Jack Murphy. 

In one season there he batted a lowly .211 in 129 games. But he did hit 14 HRs with 23 doubles while driving in 56 runs, a lot more production than he had in 1978. On Halloween 1979 Morales was traded to the New York Mets for a very unhappy Richie Hebner, who spent just one season with the Mets. 

Morales debuted on Opening Day 1980, batting seventh for the Mets, playing center field alongside Joel Youngblood in right & Steve Henderson in left. In his first Mets at bat he singled home Mike Jorgensen with the first Mets run of the season. The hit came against former team mate Rick Reushel, he later drove in another run, helping Craig Swan beat his old Cubs team mates 5-2. He started out hitting safely in his first six games as a Met, driving in six runs. On April 15th he hit a HR against the Montreal Expos & the next day drove in two runs with a third inning single, leading the Mets to a 3-2 win. 

On May 14th, he drove in the Mets winning run, with a tenth inning RBI single off the Reds Tom Hume, in a 7-6 win at Cincinnati. He went into a slump after his hot start falling below the .200 mark into mid June. He hit well through the summer, as a reserve outfielder, raising his average up over .260. On July 23rd, in a tie game at the Houston Astrodome, Morales hit a top of the 9th sac fly, bringing in the game winning run off Frank LaCorte. 

In August he hit a solo HR at Montreal in a 4-3 Mets win over the Expos. In the next game he played in, he hit a two run HR & drove in another run in the Mets 7-1 win. In September he had four pinch hit RBI sac flies. He played all around the outfield in 63 games and appeared often as a pinch hitter, playing in 94 games overall. He batted .254 with three HRs, seven doubles 30 RBIs and a .293 on base %. His eight sac flies put him in the top league’s top ten in that department. But after one brief season with the Mets, he left New York & signed back with the Cubs as a free agent. 

He spent three more seasons in Chicago as a reserve player, batting a best .286 in 1981. Morales finished up his 15 year career in 1983, batting .259 with 1173 hits, 95 HRs, 199 doubles, 36 triples, 56 sac flies, 570 RBIs & a .313 on base %. In right field (563 games) his .980 fielding % is 91st all time. In center field (510 games) he posted a .986 fielding % which is 98th best all time. 

 Retirement: After his playing days he was a roving coach for the Cubs, then a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. After a twelve year absence from the game, he became a Montreal Expos first base coach from 2002-2004. 

In 2007-2008 he coached with the Washington Nationals. In 2006 he coached the Gulf Coast Mets, and in 2009 was a coach for the St. Lucie Mets.

Feb 18, 2017

2015 NL Champion Mets Bench Coach: Bob Geren (2012-2015)

Robert Peter Geren was born on September 22nd 1961 in San Diego, California. He was a star athlete in high school, winning the San Diego HS Player of the Year Award. The six foot three catcher, was drafted in the first round (24th pick overall) by his hometown San Diego Padres in 1979.

A year later he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals as a player to be named later in the deal that sent Gene Tenace & Rollie Fingers to the Cardinals. Fingers was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in a huge deal four days later.

As for Geren, it almost took him a decade to get to the big leagues, after spending five years at AAA ball where he eventually was signed by the AL New York club.

He hit .271 at AAA Columbus in 1988 getting three call ups throughout the season. That year he appeared with his family, on the daytime version of the game show Family Feud. His family won the $5000 grand prize.

He spent two years as back up to Don Slaught, taking over as the clubs main backstop in 1990.

On July 1st, he was the catcher behind the plate when Andy Hawkins tossed a would be no hitter, although he lost the game 4-0 due to New York's errors. The game has been erased as a no hitter since baseball rules have changed. That year Geren hit just .213 with 8 HRs & 31 RBIs as the AL New York team finished seventh in the East.

In 1991 Matt Nokes took over as catcher, and Geren hit .219 in a backup role. He was placed on waivers that winter, going to the Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox & San Diego Padre organizations over the next two years.

In 1993 he made his last appearance in the majors sharing time at catcher with Kevin Higgins & Brad Asmus in San Diego. In his five year career he hit .233 with 22 HRs 21 doubles & 76 RBIs in 307 games. He threw out 38% of would be base stealers & had 126 assists with a .992 fielding %.

 Retirement: After his playing days, Geren managed in the Boston Red Sox & Oakland A's farm systems. In 1999 he won the Manager of the Year Award in the California League. He was also a Red Sox minor league roving catcher instructor.

In 2003 he became an Oakland A's coach through 2005 under Ken Macha. In 2007 he became the A's manager and his club never finished above .500 in his four plus years at the helm.

In 2010 the A's finished at 81-81 making the .500 mark. In June 2009 he was fired & replaced by Bob Melvin. After he was fired he was criticized by some of his players for lack of communication skills. Huston Street & Brian Fuenetes were among some of his critics.

In 2012 he was hired as a New York Mets bench coach, replacing Ken Oberkfell under Manager; Terry Collins. He held that position for four seasons, winning the National League Pennant with the Mets in 2015. Geren was known to rely heavily on stats & was praised by the team for the statistical aptitude in which he used. The team was quoted as saying he has a "strong working knowledge of advanced analytics." 

After the Mets World Series appearance, he took a job with the Los Angles Dodgers as their teams bench coach in 2016. His reason for leaving New York was to be closer to his family in Southern California.

Family: Geren and his wife, Pam, reside in the Bay Area suburb of Danville with their sons, Brett and Bobby.

Former Mets Late 2000's Manager: Jerry Manuel (2008-2010)

Jerry Manuel was born December 23, 1953 in Hahira, Georgia soon moving with his family west to Cordova, California.

He was picked in the first round of the 1972 draft, by the Detroit Tigers, the 20th pick overall. He was a solid middle infielder never known for his hitting. Life time he was a .150 hitter, going 19-127 in his brief career. He made his debut in 1975 as a September call up, going 1-18 in six games. The next season he hit only .140 in 43 at bats and found himself toiling in the minors for the next three years.

In 1980 he was traded to the Montreal Expos for former Mets backup catcher, Duffy Dyer. He spent two seasons playing sparingly in Montreal; hitting a career best .200, with 3 HRs & 10 RBIs in 27 games in 1981. The 1981 strike shortened season was the only time the Expos ever made the post season. I

In the first round of the playoffs, Manuel went 1-14 playing in five games as Montreal defeated the Philadelphia Phillies. In the NLCS he appeared as a pinch runner only, against the eventual World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. He played two games in San Diego in 1982 and ended a quick five season career playing in 96 career games with 19 hits 3 HRs, 6 doubles one triple 13 RBIs and a .150 average.

Retirement: Manuel began as a scout in the White Sox organization then moved over to the Expos organization for the next eleven years. In 1991 he became the Expos third base coach, remaining there through 1996. In 1997 he was bench coach under Jim Leyland winning a World Series title with the Florida Marlins.

The next season he was hired as the White Sox manager, a position he held for six seasons. After two straight second place finishes, his 2000 White Sox won 95 games and a division title earning him the Manager of the Year Award.

They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. His Sox finished second four times during his time at the helm, posting winning records three times along with one 81-81 season. He is fourth all time in wins in White Sox history, posting a 500-471 record.

Trivia: Along with GM Ken Williams, the two made up the first African American manager/General Manager combo in baseball history.

In 2005 he was hired by the New York Mets as a first base coach under new skipper Willie Randolph. The next season he was promoted to bench coach, a position he would hold for the next season as well. He wanted to be manager again badly, and announced if he didn’t get a big league job by 2009 he would leave to head up a baseball program at William Jessup University in California.

On June 17, 2008 when Willie Randolph got the axe, Manuel was named the Mets interim manager becoming the 19th manger in Mets. On his first day on the job, he removed Jose Reyes from a game and had an argument with him in the dugout runway. Reyes returned to the dugout and apologized to his team mates for the incident.

Manuel’s easy going style, sense of humor & contagious laugh made him interesting at media press conferences. Manuel’s impact was felt right away as he brought the Mets from .500 to first place into September going 55-38 under his leadership. They held a 3 ½ game lead with two weeks to go, but they ended up blowing it all down the stretch. Their playoff hopes faded when they lost on the last day of the season, at the final game ever played at Shea Stadium.

In 2009 injuries plagued the Mets in their inaugural season at Citi Field, they finished fourth 70-92. It was their worst effort in six seasons, finishing 23 games out of first place.

Mets ownership gave Manuel another chance for 2010 and at the Winter meetings he himself admitted he’s on the hot seat. Things didn't get better, he finished the year at 79-83 in fourth place, 18 games back. Manuel was fired at the end of the season.

Feb 17, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (2002) Roger Clemens Comes to Bat in SubWay Series 2002

Saturday June 15th 2002: Today the Mets hosted their cross town rivals in a subway series game on an overcast day at Shea Stadium. It was a huge game, since this was the first time Roger Clemens was to come to bat, since the game was in an NL ballpark against the Mets, since the controversies between he & Mike Piazza.

Back in the 2000 regular season Subway Series, Clemens had hit Piazza in the head with a pitch, laying him out at home plate. Piazza had continuously owned Clemens blasting HRs & hit after hit off the steroid ridden pitcher again & again. After the beaning Piazza missed time but returned to lead the Mets to the World Series, the first New York Subway Series since 1956.

More controversy followed in Game #2 of that Series, when the two faced off & Piazza broke his bat on a pitch from Clemens. The bat barrel rolled to the mound & Clemens threw it in the direction of Piazza. Piazza walked to the mound & shouted words to Clemens but the umpire stepped in the middle. It was a big game so cooler heads prevailed. Fast forward to June 2002.

54,347 fans filled up Shea Stadium including centerfieldmaz, in anticipation of an exciting showdown. The game had been talked about & hyped up by the media, as well as the fans for days. It was no doubt the hottest ticket in town. 

Bobby Valentine's Mets were just below .500 (33-34) at this point & gave the ball to Shawn Estes, who had only been a Met for a few months. He was now in the spotlight on the worlds biggest stage in the middle of this madness.

The Met fans outnumbered the NL New York fans & since most of the game went the Mets way, they had to take the grunt of the verbal abuse.
The Shea crowd was loud as Mets fans shouted insults at Steroid abuser Clemens & his team.

In the top of the 3rd inning, it all came to a head, the fans; many on their feet held their breaths as Clemens stepped in to bat, looking a bit shy & meek. You could hear a pin drop as Estes wound up & threw the pitch.

The pitch went behind his back, it did not knock him down nor hit him. Most Mets fans wanted to see him lying in the dirt but it was not to be. Estes made the moment pass, some praised his effort to keep peace, even Clemens touched his helmet in a tip of the hat style gesture. Others were furious that Estes had not throw at Clemens. Most likely his team mates felt the same way, Estes was traded away two months later.

In the home 3rd inning, Rey Ordonez doubled to left field to start the inning. Pitcher Shawn Estes laid down a bunt down third base, on the throw to first Ordonez hustled & scored the Mets first run.

In the home 5th Roger Cedeno led off with a double & Sean Estes gained some respect from the fans when he took a Roger Clemens pitch over the fence to make it 3-0. In the 6th Mike Piazza who was 0-2 at this point stepped in & blasted a Clemens pitch over the fence for another HR.

The Mets were now up 4-0 & two batters later manager Joe Torre removed Clemens from the game. The Mets fans had their moment as he walked off the field, letting him have it at the top of their lungs. Ted Lilly was the new AL New York pitcher.

In the home 8th, the Mets got to Sterling Hitchcock as Piazza walked & Mo Vaughn singled. Jeromy Burnitz then singled to centerfield bringing in Piazza, as the Mets crowd roared once again. By this time most AL New York fans were long gone.

Roger Cedeno singled, giving Hitchcock his exit. Rey Ordonez greeted new pitcher Mike Thurman with a bases clearing triple, capping off the 8-0 Mets romp.

Shawn Estes got the win (3-5) as he allowed five hits, one walk & 11 strike outs over seven innings. Scott Strickland & Mark Guthrie closed out the last two innings.

Clemens took the loss (8-3) allowing four runs, six hits & a walk in 5.2 innings. Lilly, Hitchcock & Thurman finished it up.

Burnitz, Dedeno & Ordonez all had two hits each, with Piazza Vaughn & Estes collecting one hit each. Piazza & Estes had the big blows with the HRs.

Short Time Mets Pitcher & His Big Start In A Mid Season Subway Series Classic: Shawn Estes (2002)

Aaron Shawn Estes was born February 18, 1973 in San Bernardino, California. The six foot two inch, left handed pitcher was a highly sought after prospect attending high school in Nevada, getting offered a scholarship to Stanford University.

He turned it down when he was selected as a first round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1991, the 11th pick overall. After four seasons in the minor leagues he was traded to the San Francisco Giants organization in 1995, along with Wilson Delgado in exchange for Salomon Torres. 

 He made his MLB debut in September of 1995 losing all three games he pitched. After a 3-5 year the next season, he turned it all around to have a career year. He went 19-5 (second most wins in the league) with 181 strikeouts, pitching 201 innings, posting a 3.18 ERA and making the NL All Star team. He was never known as a control pitcher & that year was no exception. He led the league in walks (100) and hit batters with eight. 

Estes would walk 100 plus batters three more times in his career  & would lead the league in wild pitches again in 1999. He was in the leagues top ten four times in that category. In 1998 he began the year at 0-4 after staring out with an opening day no decision. He closed out the year losing seven of eight decisions, dropping to a 7-12 record. He came back the following year to improve to 11-11 with a 4.92 ERA. 

In 2000 he was in the league’s top ten in wins once again, going 15-6 with 136 strikeouts in 190 innings, for the NL Western Champion Giants. He did post a high 4.26 ERA and walked over 100 batters for the second straight season. 

Post Season: In the NLDS against the New York Mets, he started Game #2 in San Francisco & was pulled in third inning for a pinch hitter. He left the game behind 2-1, after allowing a Timo Perez's two run single in the top of the third inning. Estes earned no decision in the Mets 5-4 win.

 In 2001 he put up a 9-8 record posting a 4.02 ERA. That December he was traded to the New York Mets for Desi Relaford and Tsuyoshi Shinjo. He was placed into a 2002 Mets starting rotation that featured Al Leiter, Steve Trachsel, Pedro Astacio & Jeff D’amico. 

Estes got the start in the third game of the season taking a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing three runs.He got two more no decisons in close one run ball games & then took his second loss in Montreal on April 20th. On April 26th, Estes threw a one hit gem against the Milwaukee Brewers at Shea Stadium. He struck out eight & allowed just one walk in the classic 1-0 shutout. But as May began he lost two more games, falling to 1-4 with a 4.71 ERA. By mid June he was 2-5, when on a rainy Saturday afternoon he was to set to pitch in a media hyped game at Shea Stadium. 

It was an inter league game against the cross town rivals and Roger Clemens's was his opponent. Since the game was being played in the National League Park at Shea Stadium, Clemens would have to come to bat against the Mets. It Would be the first time he’d face a Mets pitcher, since he had hit Mike Piazza in the head with a pitch, placing him on the DL back in 2000. 

The game was talked about for days and was blown way out of proportion by the media & the fans alike. It was the hottest ticket in town that day & the anticipation was gut wrenching for those of us lucky enough to attend. You almost felt sorry for Sean Estes, who was thrown in the middle of this madness, and had only been a Met for a few months. 

It was his first taste of the rivalry as he was given the ball that day. It was quite a moment when Clemens's came to bat. The Shea Mets fans stood up loudly anything they could at him. Since the Mets were winning & we had the larger numbers, the A.L. New York fans also took a verbal harassment. 

 On the first pitch to Clemens as he stepped in looking a bit shy, Estes threw a slow pitch behind his back. It did not hit him or knock him down. Most fans wanted to see Clemens go down and nothing short of that was going to satisfy the hungry mob. Clemens seemed to gesture a tip of the cap to Estes during the at bat.

Estes fate was sealed that day, as he would not be a Met for long. But on that day it was one of his best as a Met, besides the one hitter. He pitched seven innings of shutout ball, striking out eleven batters, while allowing just five hits. At the plate, he drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice bunt, then later added insult to injury, when he hit a two run HR off Roger Clemens. This was the during the height of Clemens steroid days, in which he later admitted guilty to. 

 But it was Mike Piazza’s who really brought the Met fans to their feet that day, He blasted a lead off 6th inning HR off Clemens, once again hitting him so well. The Mets won the game 8-0 making for good day at Shea for the fans. 

Estes returned to the mound later that week, facing the Kansas City Royals in a rare visit to Shea. He pitched into the 7th inning, allowing three runs, earning no decision in the 4-3 Mets win. Although he allowed just two runs to the Braves in his next start, he took another no decision as Tom Glavine & Chris Hammond & John Smoltz took care of the Mets 6-3. 

He would take three more losses through July before winning his first game since the subway series victory, a month & a half ago. His last Mets win was a fine outing, as he tossed a seven inning, two hit performance beating the Astros 10-0. But Estes was traded by mid August, going to the Cincinnati Reds (with cash) for players to be named later. The Reds would send Pedro Feliciano & a minor leaguer to New York to complete the deal. 

In 23 games with the Mets he went 4-9 with a 4.55 ERA, striking out 92 batters & walking 66 in 132 innings. 

Estes would move on to the Chicago Cubs (2003), Colorado Rockies (2004) Arizona Diamondbacks (2005) & San Diego Padres (2006-2008) over the next four seasons. He had another 15 win season (15-8) in Colorado in 2004. 

He pitched 202 innings, striking out 117 batters while posting a 5.84 ERA & leading the league in earned runs (131). In 2006 he pitched only one game and then needed Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2007 season but returned for nine games with San Diego in 2008. Estes retired at the end of the year. 

In his 13 year career he was 101-93 with a 4.71 ERA. In 283 games pitched he struck out 1210 batters, walking 858 over 1617 innings pitched. He threw 14 complete games with eight shut outs for seven teams. 

Honors: In 2010 he received a plaque on the Giants wall of fame at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco.