Mar 30, 2017

Former Mets Reliever: Antonio Bastardo (2016)

Antonio Francisco Bastardo was born September 21st, 1985 in the Dominican Republic. The five foot eleven left handed reliever bats right handed. He was signed as an amateur free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005.

He began his career at low A ball going 9-0 with 1.87 ERA blowing away hitters with his fastball. He was used as a started in his early career, spending four full seasons in the minors before getting to the big leagues with the Phillies in 2009 for six games, going 2-3 as a starter. A shoulder injury shut him down for most of the rest of the regular season but he made the post season roster. Bastardo had one appearance in both the 2009 NLDS & NLCS.

Bastardo returned as a reliever for 25 games in 2010, he went 2-0 with 26 strike outs in just 18 innings, finishing up two games. His ERA was a concern at 4.25. He made another appearance in the NLCS loss to the San Francisco Giants. 

In 2011 Bastardo took over the Phils closer role when Ryan Madsen went down with injury. He exceled in the role, going 6-1 with 8 saves & a 2.64 ERA. He posted 70 strike outs in 58 innings with 26 walks. He also recorded 17 holds in the set up role & had himself a 17 inning scoreless streak as well. 

In the off season the Phillies signed Jonathan Paplebon & Bastardo agreed to let him wear his uniform #58. Bastardo switched to #37. The next year he gave that up to Mike Adams & switched to #37.

In 2013 he was involved in some drama, caught up in MLB's Biogenesis performance enhancing drug scandal & was suspended for 50 games. He returned to go 3-2 with two saves & a career best 2.32 ERA in 48 games. As the Phillies went down the tubes, Bastardo remained one of their best pitchers & relivers. In 2014 he went 5-7 with a 3.94 ERA, striking out 84 batters in 64 innings, finishing up 17 games in the teams 89 loss season. That off season he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 2015 he was credited with a blown save in his Pirate debut & through the first two months was 0-1 with 5.11 ERA. But by June things turned around, he recorded two wins three days apart in the middle of the month & by July lowered his ERA to 3.13.

In July he notched his first Pirate save, coming at home against the Padres. He earned two more victories in August, and when he came to New York he struck out four Mets in a August 16th two inning appearance.

Bastardo finished the year 4-1 with nine holds & a 2.98 ERA as set up man in a strong Pirates bullpen. Bastardo struck out 64 more batters in 57 innings while walking 26 allowing just 39 hits. In 2015 lefties batted .178 against him. In the Wild Card Game loss to the Chicago Cubs he pitched a scoreless inning as well.

On January 22nd, the 30 year old signed a two year deal with the New York Mets for $12 million. He was added as left handed strength to the Mets bullpen as the bridge to closer Jeurys Familia.

Bastardo made his Mets debut on April 8th, striking out two Phillies in the 9th inning of a 7-2 Mets win. On April 25th he blew his only save as a Met, giving up a base hit to the Reds Joey Votto, tp tie up the game. A Neil Walker HR the next inning gave the Mets the win. 

Bastardo would appear in 41 games for New York, striking out 28 batters while walking 11 giving up 11 earned runs in 24 innings of work, with seven holds. His ERA of 4.64 was not what the Mets wanted. He didn't seem to gel with the players & with the team wanting to give Jon Niese another chance, on August 1st he was traded back to the Pittsburgh Pirates for former Met Jon Niese.

Bastardo would go 3-0 in 28 games with Pittsburgh posting a 4.12 ERA. In an eight year career he is 27-19 with 12 saves, 462 strike outs, 183 walks & a 3.75 ERA in 410 games, 384 innings pitched.

Family: Antonio is married to his wife Maribel.

1986 World Champion Mets Coach: Vern Hoscheit (1983-1988)

Vernard Arthur Hoscheit was born April 1st, 1922 in Brunswick, Nebraska. The five foot nine, catcher, outfielder would spend 12 seasons in the AL New York teams minor league system, never getting to play at the big league level. Overall he batted a career .283 in 1155 games. Hoscheit also served three years military service during World War II.

After his playing days ended he began a long career as a coach & minor league manager. He started out managing the AL New York clubs minor leagues in the late forties & through the fifties. He also was a minor league executive in those years. In the sixties he was a scout & in charge of the instructional League staff for the Baltimore Orioles. In 1968 he was a coach on the Orioles staff.

In 1969 he became a coach for the Oakland A's, staying with them through their dynasty tears as the Swingin' A's or the Moustache Gang, if you prefer. He would be on board for all three A's World Series titles from 1972-1974 under manager Dick Williams & Alvin Dark in '74.

His relationship with Dark never went well & he was replaced by Dark's coaching choices the next year. It was Hoscheit who helped Gene Tenace transform into being a successful catcher & Rollie Fingers into becoming one of the best closers the game ever seen.

He moved on to the California Angels in 1976 as coach, once again under manager Dick Williams. After Williams was dismissed he left baseball & returned to Nebraska, coached a team & ran a liquor store.

By 1983 he was back in baseball, in the Mets organization as manager of the Gulf Coast Mets. In 1984 Davey Johnson who was friends with him back in their Orioles days, brought him up to the Mets big league club. Hoscheit spent 1984-1987 there as a bullpen coach & catchers instructor. In his book, Johnson called him the greatest catchers coach he has ever known.

The players affectionately referred to him as "Dad". In Spring Training of 1986, Hoecheit accurately predict the Mets would clinch the NL Eastern title on September 17th. In a classic '86 Mets brawl ignited by Ray Knight with Eric Davis & Dave Parker, Hoscheit was right in the middle of the ruckus, while George Foster sealed his fate as the only person remaining on the bench.

Quotes: Hoscheit in the 1987 Mets Yearbook-  “The bus leaves in ten minutes, be on it or under it.”

Outside of baseball he co-owned a celebrity fishing camp with Davey Johnson. He also owned a kennel of hunting dogs. He retired from baseball in 1991, settling in Plainview Nebraska. After a long illness he passed away in 2001 at age 85. In his career he earned four World Series rings.

Mar 29, 2017

2015 NL Champion Mets Bronx Born Backup Catcher: Johnny Monell (2015)

Johnny Monell was born on March 27th 1986 in the Bronx, New York. His father Johnny Monell SR. was a catching prospect with the New York Mets in the 1980's, peaking with the AAA Tidewater Tides but never making it to the big leagues.

  Monell SR. also played baseball in Italy, Tawain, Mexico & Puerto Rico. As he & his wife divorced he would get half custody of Monell Jr. Johnny would spend time traveling with his father & grew up around baseball clubhouses.

At seven years old he used to take players equipment & put it in his locker. One day former Met Bernard Gilkey & friends put the kid safely in an equipment bag & hung it on a door. It was their way of telling his father to have him stop taking the others equipment. His father said he let him hang there a bit to teach him a lesson, it was all in fun.

He grew up across from Pelham Bay Park & also played baseball in between the apartment buildings where he lived. He & his friends would hit a tennis ball across to another building & each level was a different hit. It was there he said he learned to hit up the middle.

Quotes:  “You had to hit it up the middle. If you hit the buildings, it was an out. To this day, I’m an up-the-middle, gap hitter. I really think it comes from playing that game at Pelham Park.”

While his father was playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, the 12 year old Monell was shagging fly balls in the outfield. It was then that Cubs catcher; Hector Villanueva told him to put on his catching gear & catch. Next thing you know his father hears his son is catching in the bullpen. From then on, Monell Jr. originally a short stop, became a catcher.

Monell was a baseball star at Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx & later attended Seminole Community College in Florida. He was chosen by the San Francisco Giants in 2007 as a 30th round pick.

After six years in the minor leagues he got a big league chance in 2013. He played in 8 games for the Giants batting .125 with an RBI. It was tough for a catcher in the Giants organization with a guy like Buster Posey behind the plate. His contract was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles & LA Dodgers but he never made to their big league clubs. On November 6th, 2015 the New York Mets gave him a shot.

He was invited to the Mets Spring Training in 2015 & impressed with a .357 average in 42 at bats. He was known more of a left handed power bat & not known for being much of a defensive player.

Quotes: “It’s hard to imagine playing in Citi Field, and playing for the Mets, knowing my dad spent his entire career trying to get to the same place. Growing up, it wasn’t that far away, just across the Whitestone Bridge.”

With injury to the Mets main catcher Travis d'Arnaud, Monell got a chance with the Mets. Although highly touted rookie Kevin Plawecki was on board, as well as Anthony Recker, Monell was still getting a chance as the fourth string catcher. He debuted with the Mets on May 9th.

On May 10th, he came into the game as a pinch hitter with the Mets ahead of the Phillies 5-4 at Citizens Bank Park. Monell delivered a two run double scoring Recker & Ruben Tejada. Monell struggled at the plate & saw his average fall to .059. He was sent back to AAA Vegas but returned again at the end of June.

On June 28th he got a start & collected two hits while scoring a run in a 7-2 Mets win over the Reds. In July he had a stretch where he hit safely in four straight games.

On July 6th, he got some revenge on his old Giants team by hitting a two run double in the top of the 9th inning breaking open a scoreless game. He scored the third run on Juan Lagares' base hit. The Mets won it 3-0 as Jonathan Neise pitched one of his best games, a three hit eight inning shut out.

Monell was back down to the minors by late July & was recalled again in September. In 27 games he hit .167 with a pair of doubles & four RBIs. He did not make the post season roster.

He now lives in South Jersey where his father runs a baseball scholl in Margate, New Jersey.

Mar 28, 2017

Remembering Mets History (1962) The New York Mets First Game

Wednesday April 11th 1962: This historic day in Mets history marks the very first ball game the National League New York Mets ever played. The game was played at the old Sportsman Park in St. Louis, Missouri in front of 16,147 fans.

The Mets were the new National League New York team, one of two new NL teams that year, the other being the Houston Colt 45's, later to be renamed the Astros. the Mets donned blue & orange colors, in honor of the departed New York Giants & Brooklyn Dodgers who had left for California in 1957 (but that's another story).

The Mets manager was “the old professor” Casey Stengel. Stengel was 72 years old in 1962 and had been a successful player & manager, since forever.

Stengel was a lifetime .284 hitter who went on to win seven World Series titles as a manager. He was one of select few to have played and or managed all four New York baseball teams. Stengel was a walking Mets public relations machine, giving them the moniker “The Amazing Mets”.

As Stengel once said “when a baby Mets fan is born his first words aren’t mommy or daddy its Metsie, Metsie”. A term Met legend Keith Hernandez uses today all the time on tv broadcasts. Stengel is a member of the baseball Hall of Fame & was the first Met to have his uniform number (#37) retired by the Mets.

The Mets starting line up that day was a rag tag of veteran players, as expansion in those days was different than the developing of a new team in todays times. The starting pitcher was Roger Craig who was to suppose to start the home opener the next day, but he had to start since scheduled pitcher Sherman "road block" Jones had burned himself on a team flight. The saga of the '62 Mets just began...........

Starting Lineups

Ritchie Ashburn stepped up to the plate in the top of the 1st inning as the first batter in Mets history. He flew out to center field, the second batter was Felix Mantilla, he grounded out. Charlie Neal was next & flew out to right, Mets history was under way.

In the bottom of the 1st, Craig got Curt Flood out but then gave up a pair of singles & Hall of Famer Stan Musial singled in the first run against the Mets. Future Met Ken Boyer drove in the next.

In the 2nd inning, former Cincinnati Red; Gus Bell got the first Mets hit, a single to center field. After Gil Hodges flew out in his Mets debut, Con Zimmer got the second Mets hit.

In the 3rd inning, Ashburn singled to left field & Felix Mantilla walked. Then Charlie Neal drove in the first run in Mets history with a base hit & slugger Frank Thomas the second with a sac fly.

In the 4th, after the Cards went ahead 5-2, future Mets manager Gil Hodges led off the inning by hitting the first HR in Mets history. It was #363 of his great career. In the 5th inning,

Charlie Neal hit the second HR in Mets history, a line drive shot that carried right over the fence. Neal had the best day of all the Mets hitters going 3-4 with a HR, and two RBIs. Neal would also make the first error in Mets history when he booted a grounder in the sixth inning, helping the Cards as they scored four runs in the inning.

On the mound, Roger Craig was done by the 4th inning, giving up five runs on eight hits. He recorded the first Mets strike out by a pitcher, fanning catcher Gene Oliver. In the 4th inning, Bob Moorehead became the Mets first relief pitcher to come out of the bull pen.

The Mets would lose their first nine games before winning on April 23rd, 1962 at home in the Polo Grounds. The 1962 Mets went on to lose a record 120 games while winning only 40.

Trivia: The 1962 coaching staff behind Casey Stengel consisted of Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, former Brooklyn Dodger Cookie Lavagetto, Red Ruffing, Solly Hemus, & Red Kress.

Ritchie Ashburn: Ashburn was a longtime Philadelphia Phillies legend, a five time All Star getting inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1995. A life time .308 hitter, and winner of two NL batting titles. He was the Mets first All Star & first .300 hitter. After the terrible losing 1962 season he retired & became a longtime Phillies broadcaster until his death in 1997. He suffered a heart attack & died in New York after broadcasting a Mets Phillies game. His #1 is retired by the team and Ashburn Alley is named in his honor at Citizen Banks Park.

Felix Mantilla: Mantilla was Hank Aaron's roommate with the Milwaukee Braves & was a member of their 1957 World Championship team. With the 1962 Mets he had 11 HRs 59 RBIs and hit .275. He was sent to the Boston Red Sox the next season where he had some good years, hitting 30 HRs in 1964 & driving in 92 runs in 1965.

Charlie Neal: A member of the Brooklyn/ L.A Dodgers who had his best season in 1959 when they won the World Series. That year he made the All Star team, won a gold glove, batted .287, scored over 100 runs & led the league in triples. Neal hit .260 for the 1962 Mets with 11 HRs & 9 triples playing a solid defense. He was traded to the Reds the next season. Neal passed away in 1995 at age 64.

Frank Thomas: Thomas would hit 34 HRs in 1962, a Met record until Dave Kingman hit 37 HRs in 1975. Thomas was a journey man outfielder who hit 266 career HRs, including twelve straight years in double figures. He was second in the NL with 35 HRs in 1958 & appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Thomas who had studied to be a priest before baseball, was on the top 40 all time HR list when he retired. He was on hand for the closing ceremonies at Shea Stadium in 2008.

Gus Bell: Bell was a four time All Star who had hit over .290 six times in twelve previous seasons. Bell was a power hitter had four 20 plus HR & 100 plus RBI seasons. He was a team mate of Ralph Kiner with the Pirates & then a hero in his hometown of Cincinnati with the Reds. Gus only hit .149 in 30 games with the 1962 Mets and was traded to the Milwaukee Braves. Gus is the father of a rare three generation baseball family, his son Buddy Bell was a long time player & manager, and his grand children David & Mike were also MLB players. Gus passed away in 1995 at age 67.

Don Zimmer: Zimmer went on to a successful baseball career as a player, coach & manager. He was a Brooklyn Dodger utility infielder, having his career affected by a terrible beaning that put him in the hospital & almost left him blind ending his career. He was a member of the 1955 & 1959 Dodger championship teams. Zimmer batted .235 lifetime and only hit .077 in 14 games with the 1962 Mets, before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds.

Hobie Landrith: Landrith was the Mets first pick in the 1961 draft. Manager Casey Stengel justified the choice saying "You gotta have a catcher or you're gonna have a lot of passed balls. He was a career backup catcher with seven different teams batting .233 lifetime. In 45 games with the 1962 Mets he hit .289 before going to the Baltimore Orioles in a trade for Marv Throneberry.

Roger Craig: Craig was a former Brooklyn/L.A. Dodger who was a member of the 1955 & 1959 Dodger Championship teams. In the ’59 season he went 11-5 with a 2.06 ERA. He would spend two seasons with the Mets losing twenty games both years. He would have success years later as pitching coach of Detroit Tigers & is credited with developing the split finger fast ball. He then went on to manage the San Diego Padres & San Francisco Giants taking them to the 1989 Earthquake World Series. 

Bob Moorehead: Moorehead would spend two years with the Mets never winning a game going 0-3. In 1962 he went 0-2 giving up 118 hits in 108 innings.

Of course Gil Hodges had a spectacular career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, winning the 1955 World Series there & the 1959 World Series in Los Angeles. He then became a successful Manager with the Washington Senators & New York Mets. He led the Mets to the Amazing 1969 World Championship & had his uniform #14 retired. Hodges passed away from a fatal heart attack in 1972.

Mar 23, 2017

Citi Field's Jackie Robinson Rotunda Was Inspired By The Ebbets Field Rotunda

The Mets home ball park; Citi Field in Queens, New York is one of baseball's best looking stadiums.

It was designed with the old look of Brooklyn's old Ebbets Field in mind since the teams owner was a die hard Brooklyn Dodger fan  while growing up. Complete with the Jakie Robinson Rotunda, similar to the rotunda at the old ball park in Brooklyn.

Ebbets Field construction began in 1912 on various lots, that Dodgers owner Charles Ebbets had bought up. One of the lots was an  garbage dump called "pig town". It got its name because pigs actually ate there & helped create the stench.

Ebbets Field was made of concrete & steel and originally held 25,000 fans, although it eventually upped its capacity to32,000. It's location was perfect for the early part of the 20th century before cars took over the roads. It was located on Bedford Avenue, bounded by Sullivan Place, McKeever Place & Montgomery St.

It was walking distance to the junction of a major hub for the trolley cars. Over twenty different trolleys ventured out of the that point on Flatbush Ave which was the main drag through Brooklyn. That's how the Dodgers actually got their name, first called the trolley Dodgers.

Two subway/rail lines also stopped at Ebbets Field, making the train ride from 42nd St. only 20 minutes. Before the age of cars, it was the way to go the game. If you wanted to drive there was a very small parking lot across the street, that's about it.

The Ebbets Rotunda, was the main entrance to the ball park, Ebbets Field. It's archway entrances were reminiscent of the Roman Coliseum from the outside, and resembled a large movie theaters lobby on the inside.

It was an 80 foot in diameter, enclosed circle made of Italian marble with the floor tiled in what resembled baseball stitching. The width of the entrance from the street was 56 ft long.

The ceiling was a 27 foot high dome with a chandelier designed of 12 baseball bat arms holding 12 baseball shaped circles of light. Inside were 12 turnstiles and 12 ticket windows that made their way into the stands. They were separated into four different areas leading to different sections of the ballpark as to prevent bottle neck. There were also 18 different arched exits for leaving the game.

Citi Field -Jackie Robinson Rotunda

Citi Field -Jackie Robinson Rotunda
The playing field's dimensions varied through the years. Right field always remained a short distance at 300 ft down the line when it opened in 1914 to 297 ft. by 1957. The right field fence was 19 ft. high with a 19 ft. screen above it that kept balls in play.

Center field was an incredible 450 ft. away in 1914, eventually  shrinking down through the years to 393 ft. by 1957. The left field line started out at 420 ft. but was closed down to a more normal 348 ft. by the ballparks closing in 1957. What started out as a pitchers park, became a hitters paradise by the 1930s.

The Schaefer Beer scoreboard in right field was used for official scoring as well as scores. The letters lit up in the word Schaefer, the H meant hit & E meant error.

Below that was the famous Abe Stark suit sign "Hit Sign Win Suit". Stark owned a clothing store nearby and eventually became Brooklyn Borough President. The sign was hit often through the years but most outfielders caught the ball before it got to that low point.

Outside the ball park, there was a portal in right field where kids could get a glimpse inside the stadium. Vendors set up grills on bricks and sold hot dogs.

Amazingly there was no press box until 1929, it hung under the upper deck behind home plate. A woman started playing the organ located under the girders on the 1st base side while players warmed up & during the 7th inning stretch in the late 1940s.

Trivia: In 1938 Hilda Chester started becoming a regular at the ballpark becoming known as one of baseballs first super fans. It was the home of the Dodgers Sym-Phony band among many other classic Brooklyn characters.

Also in 1938 Ebbets Field began hosting Ladies Day where for 10 cents Ladies could attend the ball game.

Marilyn Monroe at Ebbets Field
The first televised baseball game was broadcast by Red Barber in 1939 at Ebbets Field. In the 1950's a young Vin Scully began his long 67 year broadcasting career with the Dodgers there as well.

The Dodgers won seven N.L. pennants at Ebbets Field & one storied World Championship in 1955 with the legendary "Boys of Summer". It was where Sandy Koufax started pitching & also the home of Jackie Robinson & his historic legacy.
The Dodgers left for California in 1957 (taking the New York Giants with them), & Ebbets Field was torn down in 1960 breaking the hearts of millions in a National League city.

Three Time Dodger MVP Roy Campanella
on Ebbets Field's Last Day
A housing project was built there in 1962, called the Ebbets Field Houses later renamed the Jackie Robinson Apartments.

Long Time Shortstop Finishing His Career In New York: Gary Templeton (1985)

Garry Lewis Templeton was born on March 24, 1956 in Lockney, Texas. The highly touted good hitting, quick footed, shortstop was the St, Louis Cardinals #1 draft pick (13th overall) in 1974. In 1975 he hit .310, stealing 24 bases playing in both A & the AA levels. The following year he was at AAA Tulsa where he batted .321 with 25 steals, now ready for the big leagues.

Templeton made his debut in St. Louis in the bicentennial year batting .291 in 53 games with 11 stolen bases. The next year he was the NL’s third best hitter, batting .322, leading the league with 18 triples, making the All Star team & getting votes for the MVP Award.

He stole a career high34 bases that year (8th in the league). He would lead the league in triples three straight seasons from 1976-1978. Templeton was among the top ten in batting average as well as hits three times, in his career. In 1979 Templeton led the NL in hits (211) becoming the first switch hitter to get 100 hits from each side of the plate. He led the league with 19 triples, hitting 32 doubles with 9 HRs 62 RBIs a .331 on base % & 105 runs scored (6th in the NL).

He was picked for the 1979 All Star team but not as a starter, despite having the best stats. Larry Bowa & Dave Concepion were both more popular getting chosen ahead of him. He created controversy when he refused to attend the game, saying “If I ain't startin', I ain't departin'!". Templeton batted over .300 two more times in St. Louis including a .319 average, coming in third in the batting race in 1980. He stole over 25 bases five times, & although he was fast he got caught often, leading the league in caught stealing in 1977 (24 times).

Templeton was never a favorite with the Cardinal fans and in 1981 when he gave them an obscene gesture after being heckled, it was the last straw. Manager Whitey Herzog removed him from the game to a serenade of boo’s and after the incident he was traded at the end of the season. He was traded along with Sixto Lezcano to the San Diego Padres for future Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith. The rest is legend for Mr. Smith who went on to Cooperstown.

As for Templeton he never hit as well as he did in the seventies, batting a high of .282 in 1985 while making another All Star team. Templeton played a solid shortstop for nine seasons in San Diego, and a new town gave him a new popularity. In Southern California he was very popular with the Padre fans, despite not putting up the best offensive numbers. At this point in his career he also began to suffer from constant knee problems.

He was considered an inspirational leader for the 1984 NL Champion Padres, playing on a team of veterans with Steve Garvey & Greg Nettles as well as a young Tony Gwynn. Short stop Larry Bowa named Templeton the team Captain which was quite an honor for that bunch. He hit .333 in the 1984 NLCS with two RBIs & a stolen base against the Chicago Cubs. In the World Series against the Detroit Tigers he hit .316 (6-19) with a run scored.

In 1985 he batted .282 with 16 stolen bases 6 HRs 55 RBIs & a .332 on base %. His numbers fell off after that season, as he never hit above .255 in his next five years in San Diego. In 1991 in the twilight of his career at age 36 he was traded to the New York Mets mid season, for Tim Tuefel. Templeton made his Mets debut as a pinch hitter on June 1st going hitless in a game at St. Louis.

On June 15th he hit a three run HR helping Dwight Gooden in a Mets 6-3 win over the Houston Astros. He drove in a run the next day & then two more the day after that against the Reds in a 10-6 Met win. He had an eleven game hit streak entering July, scoring six runs in that stretch. He appeared in 90 games for the ’91 Mets but was never the same player he was in his prime. He hit .228 with 50 hits, one HR, nine doubles, one triple & 20 RBIs in 219 at bats.

In 40 games at short he made six errors, posting a .963 fielding percentage. He also played 25 games at first base & two games in the outfield. He retired at the end of the season.

In his 16 year career he played in 2079 games, batting .271, with 2096 hits 106 triples (139th all time) 329 doubles 70 HRs 728 RBIs & 242 steals (241 all time) posting a .305 on base %. He drew 144 intentional walks (49th all time) striking out 1092 times (197th all time).

Defensively he posted a .961 fielding % at short stop playing in 1964 games at the position (20th most all time). His 384 errors are 43rd on the all time list. His 6041 assists put him at 21st all time, while his 3393 put outs put him at 27th all time.

Retirement: After his playing days he was a coach for the Angels from 1998-2001. He coached & managed in the minors, & currently manages in the Independent Golden Baseball League in California.

Mar 22, 2017

Remembering Former Mets Player (1966) & Mananger (1993-1996): Dallas Green

George Dallas Green was born August 4th, 1934 in Newport Delaware. The six foot five Green attended the University of Deleware where he was a roommate to Lee Elia whom became a lifelong friend. He would later hire Elia as a coach, while he was managing in Philadelphia & Chicago.

Green was a right handed pitcher during his playing days getting signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1955. He would spend five years in the minors before getting to the major league level. Overall he played ten years in the minor leagues (seven years at the AAA level) posting an 89-64 record with a 3.59 ERA in 201 games (172 starts).

Green came up with the Phillies in parts of seasons from 1960-1964. He saw Robin Roberts pitch his last days as a Phillie, as well as seeing Dick Allen win the Rookie of the Year Award.

In 1964 Green was aboard early on as the team rolled along staying in first place much of the season. He returned as September call up witnessing the team lose a six game lead with just 12 game left to play, in one of the worst collapses in NL history. The previous year he had his best season going 7-5 with two saves posting a 3.23 ERA in forty appearances.

That same year on June 23rd facing the New York Mets at the Polo Grounds, Jimmy Piersall hit his 100th MLB career HR & ran around the bases backwards in celebration. Piersall stated that he saw Duke Snider hit career HR #400 with little fanfare & wanted to do something special for his milestone HR. The fans were delighted but Green, the Phillies & the Mets weren't as happy.

In May 1965 he was sent to the Washington Senators as a throw in from a previous deal, pitching just six games there. In July of 1966 his contract was purchased by the New York Mets.

Green debuted as a Met on July 23rd in Los Angeles, pitching one inning, allowing a run to the Dodgers in a 6-2 Mets loss. The next day he pitched two innings serving up a HR to catcher Johnny Roseboro. Green pitched just four games in a Mets uniform posting no record with a 5.40 ERA striking out one batter, walking two & allowing three earned runs in five innings of work. On August 10th he weas returned to the Phillies following a previous deal.

He finished him pitching career in 1967 going 20-22 lifetime in the majors with four saves, 268 strike outs 197 walks in 562 innings of work over 185 appearances.

Retirement: By the early seventies Green became an assistant minor league director for the Phillies (1970-1972), eventually becoming the Director of Player Development & scouting (1973-1979).

In 1980 he was named the teams manager and led the team to its first Worlds Championship. Green certainly was not the most popular manager in baseball. He was a rough guy with a loud voice who yelled often & had a nasty temper to with it all. He was very difficult to deal with & did not have good people skills.

He said of himself "I'm a screamer, a yeller and a cusser. I never hold back." He had many issues with players on the team, like slugger Greg Luzinski,and Gold Glovers; Larry Bowa & Bob Boone. He even came to blows with pitcher Ron Reed during an ugly incident.

After 1981 he was hired away by the new ownership for the Chicago Cubs as the team's General Manager. He held the position for five seasons, with his biggest achievement being the trade that landed future Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg in Chicago.

In the deal he gave up Ivan Dejesus & Larry Bowa to the Phillies. Green also made acquisitions of the likes of Dennis Eckersley, Gary Mathews & Rick Sutcliffe who went 16-1 winning the Cy Young Award. The Cubs became contenders for the first time in a long time winning the NL East in both 1984 & 1989. In between the team finished last in 1987.

He was named the teams president and continued to bring on the drama. He was a strong supporter of getting lights installed at Wrigley Field & threatened to move the team if the city didn't agree. He blasted his team in the press fired his manager & eventually resigned due to differences with upper management.

In 1989 he managed the AL New York club getting them to a dismal 56-65 record before getting replaced by Bucky Dent. After laying low for a few seasons he was named the eleventh manager of the New York Mets replacing Jeff Torborg in May 1993.

The Mets went 46-78 the rest of the '93 season with Green at the helm. He walked into one of the worst periods in Mets history & the Green era would not be a good one.

A strict disciplinarian with a fiery personality was not going to click among this team. Green was always yelling at players, throwing fits, removing them from games, & having tirades with umpires. His explosive personality was terrible in New York especially on a losing team.

He even managed to anger women & animal rights groups when he asked how he copes with losing, he said "I just beat the hell out of Sylvia (his wife) and kick the dog and whatever else I've got to do to get it out," . Although he was joking it didn't go over well.

In his time as manager he would see Vince Coleman get charged with a endangerment after his firecracker throwing incident outside Dodger stadium which injured a young girl. It was a time when Anthony Young set a record with consecutive losing decisions & Bobby Bonilla needed ear plugs to drown out the boos he heard at Shea Stadium. It was also the time when the Mets Generation K pitching staff failed after being hyped as the teams saving grace.

Also In Greens time in New York, the Dwight Gooden ERA ended. Green showed no sympathy but rather blamed Gooden for his issues which violated the league's drug policy once again. He showed no support for Gooden suggesting it's time for him to move on.

Green constantly berated his players to the press, was always pressing his veteran for more production & was accused of having no patients with the younger players. He clashed with the troubled Carl Everett, insulted David Segui publicly & even got into a public heated argument with star pitcher Bret Saberhagen.

In the middle of all these messes was the 1994 MLB season ending baseball strike. That year the Mets finished 55-58 in third place, 18 games behind the Montreal Expos. In 1995 Green brought the Mets to a second place tie with a 69-75 record, 21 games behind the Atlanta Braves. By 1996 his time was done, he was replaced by Bobby Valentine in August after posting a 59-72 record.

In his Mets career he was 229-283 as manager, with a .447 %.

Overall he was 454-478 as manager with a .487%. After his time with the Mets, Green never managed again, eventually retiring to his farm in Pennsylvania. Since 2005 he as been an advisor to the Phillies.

Family: His son John Green is a supervisor of baseball scouts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Family Tragedy: In 2011 his nine year old granddaughter was one of the tragic victims in the shooting spree that killed six people outside a Tucson Arizona Safeway, following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's.

“They say time heals,” Green said in 2013. “Time, I don’t think, will ever heal that part of my life. I still tear up when I see something that reminds me of Christina.”

Passing: Green was battling kidney disease & had been in declining health since 2016. He passed away on March 22, 2017 at age 82.