May 31, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (2012) Johan Santana Throws First Mets No Hitter

Friday night June 1st, 2012: At first it seemed like any other New York night. Terry Collins' New York Mets were playing well & surprising everyone with a 29-23 record, just one game out of first place. 27,069 fans came to Citi Field to see the Mets go up against the reigning World Champion, St Louis Cardinals (27-25).

The Mets sent Johan Santana to the mound, 2-2 with a 2.75 ERA. Santana had missed all of 2011 due to injury, he had an impressive Opening Day win, pitching five scoreless innings then struggled. In his last start he threw a complete game four hit shutout at Citi Field, beating the San Diego Padres. On this night he was even better, he went out & made Mets history.

After a quiet 1st inning, he walked two batters in the 2nd but struck out Matt Adams & Tyler Green to end the inning. Santana would walk the lead off batters in the 4th & 5th innings but retired the sides with no trouble.

In the 6th, ex-Met Carlos Beltran drilled a line drive down the line that was called a foul ball. Replays showed the ball may have been fair, but the ruling was a foul ball & that's that. A one two three sixth inning, had everyone feeling the no hitter looming. The Mets were well ahead with a 5-0 lead at this point.

In the home 4th, Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled & David Wright doubled. Luca Duda followed with a sac fly making it 1-0. Daniel Murphy then tripled off the Cards; Adam Wainwright to make it 2-0. In the 6th Lucas Duda blasted a three run HR over the right centerfield wall. In the 7th inning Santana got David Freese to pop out to first base, there were eight outs to go for the no hitter.

The next batter was Yadier Molina, a Mets villain who had the winning HR in the 2006 NLCS. Molina was out to spoil another Mets historic day, he hit a fly ball deep to left field. Queens born Mike Baxter chased the ball which was hit over his head, he made a leaping catch crashing into the left field wall & fell to the ground. He injured himself but held on to the ball for out number two.

Everyone held their breath during the play, but a huge sigh of relief came when Baxter made one of the most important catches in Mets history. Baxter was removed from the game but got a huge ovation as he left & big thank you from Santana.

Matt Adams grounded out for the third out, six more outs to go for Mets history. In the home 7th, the Mets scored two more runs as David Wright walked with the bases loaded & Daniel Murphy singled another run in, 8-0 Mets.

In the top of the 8th, Tyler Greene flew out to left & pinch hitter; Shane Robinson struck out. Carlos Beltran then hit a weak liner up the middle, but Murphy was able to make a nice grab to end the inning. By this time Santana had passed his usual pitch count & everyone was wondering if he would be pulled. But Manager Terry Collins & pitching coach Dan Warthan knew how important this game was to the organization & to the fans.

 Santana came out for the 9th, the crowd cheered & remained on their feet as they had been. The viewers at home held their breath as well. Matt Holliday lined out to centerfield, on another close play but Andres Torres made a fine catch.

With Two more outs to go for history. Allen Craig then flew out to left for out #2. With the fans going wild, David Freese struck out swinging & Johan Santana had thrown the first no hitter in Mets history.

There had been 35 one hitters thrown by Mets pitchers, and though many have come close, it was on this night it was done for the very first time. The announcers knew how important it was to the us long time fans as did Santana himself. He said "I am very happy & happy for you guys, the first one" as he acknowledged the Citi Field crowd after the game.

Mets broadcaster; Gary Cohen called it: "He struck him out! It has happened. In their 51st season, Johan Santana has thrown the first no-hitter in New York Mets history.”

Throughout the game us longtime Mets fans, could not help but think of Tom Seaver & Dwight Gooden, the two best pitchers the franchise has ever had. They both came close, especially Seaver who tossed five one hitters. Guys like Jon Matlack, Gary Gentry , Tom Glavine & David Cone had all thrown two Mets one hitters each. Steve Traschel threw three Mets one hitters but Santana the only no hitter.

Former Met; Nolan Ryan, who has throw seven no hitters & a Mets one hitter said it best; "They've had a lot of history of one-hitters, and it's because of the great pitchers they've had there. When you think of Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden there, and some of the other guys, it's amazing they never did."

Mets third baseman David Wright said; "Short of Tom Seaver, I couldn't think of a better guy to have this recognition."

During the post game interview; Justin Turner gave Johan a cream pie to the face. It was a Turner tradition but maybe out of line on this special occasion.

Remebering Mets History: (1964) Mets Play the Longest Doubleheader In MLB History (9 Hours 52 Minutes)

Sunday May 31st 1964: The second place San Francisco Giants (25-17) just one game out of first place, returned to New York, just seven years after leaving the Polo Grounds for the west coast. They always attracted big crowds when they came back to play the Mets & today's double header drew  57,037 fans. 

It was a day to go down in the history books, as this was to be the longest double header in baseball history. The double header lasted a total of nine hours fifty two minutes. 

The first game was a breeze, as the Giants behind Hall of Famer; Juan Marichal lasting just two hours & twenty nine minutes. The Giants beat the Mets & pitcher Al Jackson, 5-3 in nine innings.

Night Cap:

Starting Lineups

The second game started with the Mets Bill Wakefield going up against Bobby Bolin. Wakefield was hit for two runs in the 1st inning,. A leadoff walk to Harvey Kuenn led to an RBI double by Jesus Alou & then a base hit to Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

Wakefield was removed by Mets skipper; Casey Stengel after just two innings. In the 3rd the Giants hit six singles & scored four more times off pitchers; Craig Anderson & Tom Sturdivant. Tom Haller, Chuck Hiller, Jim Ray Hart & Bob Bolin all delivered RBIs. 

The Mets had scored a run on catcher Cris Cannizzaro's single in the 2nd & were down 6-1 in the 6th inning. Joe Christopher singled & up came a young twenty year old Ed Kranepool. Kranepool was an original Met, the teams first bonus baby, home grown out of the Soundview section of the Bronx. 

The youngster had just arrived after being called up from the minors, where he just played in both games of a double header the day before. Kranepool was in for a long day, as he would play in both games of this doubleheader, all 32 innings. In this at bat he tripled, bringing in a run & then scored on Charlie Smith's base hit making it 6-3 Giants.

In the 7th; the Mets Joe Christopher hit a three run HR to tie the game, all of a sudden making this an exciting ball game. It was just the start.

The Giants would send three future Mets; Ken MacKenzie, Bob Shaw & Ron Herbel to the mound through  the 11th inning. It was then Gaylord Perry, the future Hall of Famer came in to pitch an incredible ten innings of relief. He allowed no earned runs on seven hits with one walk & nine strike outs.

After the first three Mets pitchers, Frank Lary pitched two scoreless innings. Then Larry Bearnarth threw seven shut out innings, allowing just three hits with four strike outs. Galen Cisco came on in the 15th inning, pitching another nine innings & would eventually take the loss.

Triple Play: In the 14th inning, Jesus Alou singled & Willie Mays walked. Orlando Cepeda hit a hard line drive up the middle, but Mets short stop; Roy McMillan snagged it, stepped on second to get Alou & threw to first to nail Mays for the triple play. The excitement continued.

The game rolled along as one of the longest ever in baseball history, entering its 23d inning. With one out the Giants got a triple from Jim Davenport & an intentonal walk to Craig Peterson. Pinch hitter Del Crandall doubled bringing in Davenport. Then Alou added an RBI single to make it 8-6. Bob Hendley closed out the bottom of the 23rd, retiring the Mets in order.

The game is still not the longest for the Mets, they would play a 25 inning game on September 11th 1974 & a 24 inning game on April 15th 1968. The game ranks as the 8th longest game to play in baseball history.A total of 41 players were used in the game, with New York using 21 of them. Both teams used six pitchers each.
Umpire Ed Sudol

Trivia: This game was the first extra inning contest at Shea Stadium which had just opened up in April 1964, two months earlier.

Trivia: New Jersey born Umpire Ed Sudol, was the home plate umpire for this game & strangely enough, was the home plate umpire for all three of the Mets longest games mentioned above.

May 29, 2017

2016 Mets Pitcher: Zack Wheeler (2013-2016)

Zachary Harrison Wheeler was born May 30th 1990, in Smyrna, Georgia. The six foot four left hander, attended East Paulding High School in Georgia. In his senior year he was 9-0, getting voted the Georgia Player of the Year by Baseball America.

In 2009 Wheeler was the San Francisco Giants number one pick, the sixth pick overall in that years draft. After a year in the South Atlantic League, he pitched at A Ball San Jose going 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA posting 98 strike outs in 88 innings, getting named to the All Star team. That July he was traded to the New York Mets in exchange for Carlos Beltran.

Wheeler came to the Mets as a highly touted prospect with lots of hope for the future. 

Wheeler closed out 2011 at A Ball St. Lucie where he went 2-2 with a 2.00 ERA. In 2012 he pitched at AA Binghamton (19 games) leading the club in wins (10) going 10-8 with 117 strike outs in 116 innings posting a 3.26 ERA, making another All Star team. He was moved up to AAA Buffalo (six games) where he went 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA. 

Overall his 12 wins tied Gonzalez Germen for the most wins by a Mets farmhand. His 148 combined strike outs were best among Mets minor leaguers & he was 9th in the league in ERA (3.26).

In 2013 he entered the year as Baseball America's #13 prospect & was one of the most watched players at Mets Spring Training. He started out well but strained an oblique muscle while taking batting practice. The Mets wanted him to start in the minors despite the anticipation the fans & media had for him at the big league level.

Wheeler began the year at AAA Las Vegas with the 51's. In 13 games he was 4-2 with 73 strike outs & 27 walks in 68 innings. On June 18th, he got the much awaited big league debut, coming in the second game of a double header in his native Georgia, at Atlanta. Matt Harvey had gotten the start & the win in the first game. Everyone was saying that this was the Mets one & two pitchers of the future in a a winning era.

Wheeler After His First Career Win In Atlanta
Wheeler pitched six innings, allowing no runs on four hits while striking out seven, while walking five to earn his first career win, a 6-1 victory. 

His next start was in Chicago & the White Sox got him for four runs in 5.1 innings in a no decision. On June 30th he gave up five runs & took his first career loss coming against the Washington Nationals.

 July proved to be a good month for Wheeler, on July 5th he went five innings in Milwaukee allowing just one earned run in a 12-5 Mets win. On July 12th in San Francisco he beat the Giants 7-2, getting his record to 3-1, as he allowed just one run on three hits in seven innings. As the Braves came to Citi Field, Wheeler posted another victory, pitching six innings allowing just two runs. A

After a loss to Kansas City he posted three more victories in the month of August. On August 15th he struck out 12 Padres in San Diego over six innings but had no decisions in the 4-1 Mets win. He closed out September with two losses finishing up the year at 7-5 with 84 strike outs 46 walks & a 3.42 ERA in 100 innings pitched in 17 starts.

In 2014 the Mets lost Matt Harvey to Tommy John surgery for the season, Wheelers' position on the staff was even more important. He began the year at 0-2, on April 14th in Arizona he got his first win pitching into the seventh inning, beating the D-backs 7-3.

It took over a month to gain another victory, even though he had had some good outings with no run support. On May 7th he shut out the Marlins in Miami over six innings but got no decision. June saw Wheeler fall to 2-7 before his best outing of the year came.

On June 19th he pitched his first complete game, a three hit eight strike out performance in Miami to beat the Marlins 1-0. That win put Wheeler in a good groove, after a loss to the Oakland A's, he went on to win his next six decisions through July until late August. 

In that time he pitched into the seventh inning, ten of thirteen starts. In five straight starts in July he never allowed more than one run.

In September he beat the Reds in Cincinnati & then shut out the Braves for six innings in Atlanta. He also took a loss to the Nationals in one of his worst outings where he allowed six earned runs. For 2014 he went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA, 187 strike outs (10th in the NL) & 79 walks (3rd most in the NL) in 185 innings pitched over 32 starts. His 9.081 strike outs per nine innings was 6th best in the league.

Wheeler with his girl friend
There was a lot of excitement going into the Mets 2015 season, particularly with their pitching staff. As Wheeler was penciled in for a top three spot in the rotation, along with Matt Harvey returning from Tommy John surgery & Jacob deGrom coming off his Rookie of the Year season. 

But in Spring Training Wheeler & the Mets got the bad news that he had a torn ulnar collateral ligament. On March 25, Wheeler underwent successful Tommy John surgery, performed by Dr. David Altchek to repair the torn UCL in his elbow. Wheeler missed the entire 2015 season. He was thrilled for his team mates & rooted them on as the went all the way to the World Series.

In July when rumors swirled that he was traded along with Wilmer Flores to Milwaukee he was very upset but completely thrilled when the deal didn't go thru. He was outspoken about it saying how glad he was to be a Met & anxious to join the club in 2016.

Wheeler was hopeful to join the Mets rotation in July, & began to throw softly again at Spring Training 2016 where he joined his pitching pals. He started out the year on the 60 day disabled list. On August 6th he finally made a start at St. Lucie but only threw 17 pitches & was diagnosed with a mild flexor strain. He would be shut down for year by September.

Quotes: Zack Wheeler-It's been tough, mental side and physical side, You have good days, bad days arm-wise, mostly good, but those bad days, they are there and you just have to keep in mind this is what it takes to get back on the field. Some days you don’t feel like going in that weight room, but you have to remind yourself where you want to be once you do get back up there.’’

When asked about pitching inside he told the NY Post this winter- “People have gotten away from that, people are getting soft these days. I don’t care, if somebody is showing me up or throwing at one of our guys, you are going to get something inside to let you know I noticed that.’’

In 2017 he pitched at Spring Training & the Mets made it clear he would be watched closely when the season began. Wheeler made his 2017 & long awaited return on April 7th at Citi Field. That day the Miami Marlins hit him up for five runs on six hits in a 7-2 loss.

In his next start, he earned his first win in almost three years, beating the Phillies in Philadelphia 5-4. He would earn two no decisions in outings where he allowed just one earned run each time to close out April.

On May 9th he had his best start of the season up to that point. Wheeler went six innings allowing just one run on two hits striking out four Giants, as the Mets earned him his second win of the year in a 6-1 triumph over San Francisco at Citi Field.

May 28, 2017

2015 NL Champion Mets Long Island Born Pitcher: Steven Matz (2015-2017)

Steven Jakob Matz was born May 29th 1991 in Stony Brook, Long Island. His father is a service manager at a Jeep dealership in West Islip & his mom is a an administrative worker at a Brookhaven high school.

He has a brother & sister, who are all part of a fine family of Mets fans.

The six foot two left hander bats right handed. He did not start receiving pro scouting attention until his junior year of high school.

The next year he was voted Newsday's Long Island Player of the Year & was winner of the Carl Yastremski Award for the best Suffolk County high school player. Matz was signed out of Ward Melville High as the Mets second round pick in 2009.

The youngsters' career was prolonged due to elbow issues & Tommy John surgery. By 2012 he was finally ready & went 2-1 for the Kingsport Mets. In 2013 he was pitching with the Savannah Sand Gnats posting a 2.62 ERA in 21 starts making the All Star team.

In 2013 he was with the St. Lucie Mets making another All Star squad & then was promoted to  AA Binghamton.

By 2015 he was being touted as the 33rd best prospect in the game by Baseball America & Baseball Prospectus. Matz was considered the 2nd best prospect in the Mets system, behind Noah Syndergaard as yet another pitching stud coming through the organization.  

He began the year with the AAA Las Vegas 51s but his progress was so good, he was deemed ready for the bigs & was brought up in the summer, when the Mets first toyed with the idea of a six man rotation to save arms.

Matz made his much anticipated debut on June 28th facing the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field. He donned uniform #32, which was once worn by another fine Mets left hander; Jon Matlack.

At the time of his arrival the Mets were in second place 2 1/2 games behind the Washington Nationals.

Not only was he to earn his first win going into the 6th inning, allowing two runs on five hits with six strike outs, he also went 3-3 at the plate with four RBIs. In the home 2nd inning, he doubled in his first career at bat driving in two runs. He would single in the 5th inning & top off his debut with a two rub single in the 6th inning. Not bad debut.

Trivia: The local Long Island boy, quickly had a sandwich named after him at his favorite deli on the Island.

On July 5th, Matz would earn his second win in Los Angeles throwing six shut out innings allowing a pair of hits with eight strike outs. Unfortunately he then suffered a set back ,as he had back issues & missed time until September.

He returned in September and got a no decision  in a Mets loss at Miami to the Marlins. On September 11th, he led the Mets to a 5-1 win pitching five innings.

His next start came at Citi Field in the late season subway series, where he allowed just one run in six innings beating the A.L. New York team 5-1. That bested his record to 4-0, he would earn no decision in Cincinnati in the Mets 6-4 win on September 24th.

He suffered from back issues that had him miss his final start of the season. Matz ended the year at 4-0 with 34 strike outs 10 walks & a 2.27 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched in six games.

Although he only had three months of experience he was being penciled in by Mets Manager Terry Collins to pitch in the NLDS.

2016 Post Season: Matz got the start in Game #4 of the NLDS, a game centerfieldmaz attended. He went up against the L.A. Dodgers Clayton Kershaw who held the Mets offense down to just one run that evening. Matz had a rough 3rd inning where he gave up four hits including an RBI double to Justin Turner & an RBI single to Adria Gonzales. He took the 3-1 loss as the series was evened up at two games each & moved back to Los Angeles for the final game.

2016 NLCS: In the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs he got the Game #4 start at Wrigley Field with the Mets ready to clinch the series on a sweep, up three games to none. He pitched into the 4th inning, allowing just one run on four hits & two walks while striking out four.

He left the game with a 6-1 lead giving way to Bartolo Colon who would earn the victory. Five Mets pitchers would pitch on the night in the 8-3 Mets win.

2016 World Series: The young kid from Long Island found himself starting a World Series game against the Kansas City Royals at home at Citi Field in Queens.

Matz went up against veteran Chris Young with the Mets down two games to one in the series. Matz rolled along into the 5th inning with a two run lead after Michael Conforto's HR & Curtis Granderson's sac fly.

In the 5th he gave up a dn RBI double to Alex Gordon making it 2-1. Conforto added his second HR in the home 5th giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.

Matz was relieved in the 6th inning after giving up a double to Ben Zobrist & a single to Lorenzo Cain. He left with a 3-2 lead and a chance for a World Series victory, but the Mets bullpen was unable to hold the lead & the offense was unable to score anymore runs.

He began 2016 missing his last Spring Training start & awaiting the Mets sixth game of the year before coming on bard with a start. His first start was a disaster allowing seven earned runs in just 1.2 innings of work taking a loss to the Miami Marlins on April 11th.

He rebounded quickly shutting out the Cleveland Indians for seven innings & striking out nine batters, earning his first win. On April 23rd he pitched into the 7th inning striking out eight Braves in Atlanta on his way to his second win of the year.

On April 29th the Mets supplied Matz lots of offense with 13 runs, but he pitched seven scoreless innings on his way to his third victory. On May 4th in a cold rainy matinee at Citi Field, centerfieldmaz was in attendance as the Mets hit four HRs & Matz shut out the Atlanta Braves for 7.2 innings with an 8 strike out performance. 

Matz then won games in Los Angeles & at home against the Milwaukee Brewers to get his record to 6-1. On May 25th he went out & helped the Mets take the rubber game in an important series with the Washington Nationals.

On the day after Matt Harvey got beat up again on the mound, Matz was super, pitching a four hit, eight inning shut out, recording seven strike outs, for his seventh straight win. He became the first Met pitched in ten years (2006) since Steve Traschel won his first six games. Matz was looking great at 7-1 with a 2.36 ERA through May 25th 2016.

But the it all fell apart, he lost five straight decisions which led into mid July. In late June it was revealed he & Noah Syndergaard were both pitching with bone spurs in their pitching elbows. On July 24th he broke the losing streak with six shut out innings against in South Florida to beat the Marlins. He then lost two more games & earned a no decision. On August 14th he made what turned out to be his last start of 2016, earning a win at Citi Field over the San Diego Padres. That day he pitched into the 8th inning with a one hit shut out.

Matz went on the DL with shoulder tightness & in September went for surgery for the bone spurs. He ended 2016 with a 9-8 record, posting a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts. He struck out 129 natters & walked just 31 in 132 innings of work.

Matz started 2017 on the DL once again with elbow issues.

Remembering Mets History: (1973) Tom Seaver Strikes Out 16 Giants

May 29th, 1973: the Mets were in the midst of a California West Coast road trip. Yogi Berra's Mets were just below .500 at 20-21 in second place 5 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs. 

They had lost four straight, including getting beat by a pair of Hall of Fame pitchers the past two nights. The previous night the first place San Francisco Giants, Juan Marichal beat rookie Tommie Moore & the night before that, the Dodgers Don Sutton beat Jerry Koosman in a 2-1 classic.

Tonight's game drew a small crowd, just under 8000 at Candlestick Park. The Mets sent Tom Seaver to the mound to face off against Jim Barr.

Starting Lineups

Seaver started things off by striking out two batters in the 1st inning, & then the side in the 2nd inning.

In the 5th inning, Seaver put the Mets on the board hitting his first & only HR of the season. Seaver was a fine hitting pitcher who batted .154 with 12 career HRs & 86 RBIs.

In the Giants home 6th inning, Tito Fuentes doubled to left field & Willie McCovey blasted a two un HR. McCovey was one of Seaver's most respected & toughest opponents, growing up in Fresno made him an idol. It was 2-1 Giants. Barr kept the Mets at bay, holding them to just one run through eight innings.

Seaver allowed just the two runs & was striking out Giants along the way. He had at least one strike out in every inning with a pair of K's in the 4th, 5th inning & 8th innings.

In the top of the 9th, pinch hitter Ken Boswell drew a walk. Giants manager Charlie Fox, pulled Barr & brought in reliever Randy Moffitt. Moffitt is the younger brother of female tennis star Bill Jean King, who was on top of her game in 1973.

Moffitt surrendered singles to Bud Harrelson & Tom Seaver. He then walked Wayne Garrett forcing in a run to tie the game. Felix Millan followed with a two run single, putting the Mets up 4-2. Moffitt was gone & Sudden Sam McDowell was brought in to pitch.

Yogi Berra sent in George "the Stork" Theodore to pinch hit & he came through with a sac fly scoring Millan making it 5-2, Mets.

McDowell retired Jim Gosger next & Boswell again who originally led off the inning, as the Mets batted around.

Seaver came on to finish the game off, striking out Gary Maddox for K #15 & then he got McCovey for his 16th strike out of the day.

On the night Seaver struck out every batter in the line up. Bobby Bonds led the team in wiffs, going down four times, earning "the golden sombrero".

Willie McCovey who homered, also struck out three times on the night. Chris Speier & Gary Mathews both went down twice apiece.

The victory put Seaver at 6-3 his fourth win in a row. His ERA was an incredible 1.71 eleven games into the season. He already had 82 strike outs on the season. The 16 Ks would be his highest total in a single game all year. Overall he had six games where had double figures in strike outs.

May 27, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Foster's Grand Slam Ignites A Ray Knight Mets / Dodger Brawl

Tuesday May 27, 1986: 35,643 show up at Shea Stadium as the first place Mets (28-11) host the fifth place Los Angeles Dodgers (22-23).

The Mets were on a three game winning streak securely in first place by 4 1/2 games over the Montreal Expos. 

Ron Darling who was undefeated at 5-0 went up against Bob Welch (3-3).

Darling was great once again, pitching a complete game five hitter, only allowing one run and striking out twelve. Darling had great stuff tonight, he struck out Franklin Stubbs three times, Ken Landreaux & Mike Marshall twice each. With the exception of Mike Scioscia & Greg Brock, every other Dodger struck out at least once. 

Starting Lineups

The game was tied at one in the 6th inning, as Len Dykstra singled & was brought in by Wally Backman's double. Keith Hernandez & Gary Carter both singled & Backman scored as well. Danny Heep followed with a base hit to load the bases. Dodger manager Tom Lasorda removed Welch & brought in Tom Niedenfuer.

George Foster who's days were numbered as a Met by this time, had a big blow hitting a grand slam HR, making it 7-1 New York. It was Fosters' 13th career grand slam & the 5th HR of the season.

L.A. Pitcher Tom Niedenfuer was upset, he stared into the Mets dugout, then stood on the mound with his eyes closed. With tempers beginning to rise, third baseman Bill Madlock came over to calm him down. 

On the first pitch to the Mets next batter; Ray Knight, Niedenfuer hit Knight on the elbow, not a wise thing to do. Knight dropped the bat and charged the mound tackling Niedenfuer to the ground. Both benches cleared, punches were flying everywhere as the fighting '86 Mets were at it again.  

It seemed everyone was off the benches & bullpens on the field in the melee'  except George Foster. The man who hit the HR to start the tension was just sitting back watching everything unfold. This was the final straw for Foster, on this night he lost any support from his team mates. He would be released in the next few weeks.

Order was eventually restored on the field and no one was ejected, although both players were fined. 

After the game, Ray Knight said he had no choice, when he got hit, he had to hit back. "If he wants to hit me, fine, I'll do the same thing to him" Knight said.

Niedenfuer said: ''The pitch to Foster wasn't where I wanted it. The pitch to Knight wasn't where I wanted it.'' 
Strangely before the game Dodgers Steve Sax & Greg Brock had a scuffle in the dugout until team mates broke it up.

from centerfield: centerfieldmaz at the next night's game as Dwight Gooden beat the Dodgers 4-2. We had great seats, first row on top of the Dodger dugout. When Niedenfuer was brought in the game we really let him have it. The Shea faithful booed & harassed him as well as manager Tommy Lasorda mercifully. It was noticeable that the it was getting to the two. After the game Lasorda complained to the press about the hostile fans.

May 26, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1997) Todd Hundley's Three Multi HR 5 RBI Games

On Todd Hundley's birthday we look back at his 1997 season where he had three different games in where he hit three HRs & drove in five runs. For 1997 Hundley hit 30 HRs (eleven less than his record setting 1996 campaign) batted .273 with 21 doubles & 86 RBIs (16 less than the previous year). Overall he played in 132 games twenty one less than 1996. For the second straight year he represented the Mets in the All Star Game.

April 23rd 1997: Today Bobby Valentine's Mets (8-12) hosted Ray Knight's Cincinnati Reds (6-14) in front of 26,492 fans at Shea Stadium. With the Mets down 1-0 in the 1st inning Hundley put the Mets ahead with a two run HR off Red pitcher Mike Morgan.

In the 3rd inning, John Olerud doubled in Edgardo Alfonzo to tie the game. Hundley drove in his third run of the day, with a base hit up the middle. Bernard Gilkey & Carl Everett also added RBI hits in the Mets five run inning.

In the 6th inning Hundley added to his big day, driving a two run HR off Kevin Jarvis bringing in the Mets ninth & tenth runs of the day capping off their 10-2 victory.  Hundley had three hits, two HRs five RBIs & three runs scored. Mark Clark earned his second win of the year.

Two weeks later on Monday May 5th, the Mets (15-16) were in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado taking on Don Baylor's first place Rockies (20-9). A huge crowd of 48,036 filled Cooors Field to see Kevin Ritz take on the Mets Bobby Jones.

Jones allowed one run in seven innings & good relief efforts from Greg McMichael & Takashi Kashiwada sealed the 6-1 win.

Todd Hundley took advantage of the Colorado air hitting a three run HR in the 3rd inning & a solo shot in the 8th, his 9th HR early on in the season. Hundley also hit an RBI double in the 5th inning.  On this night Hundley had four hits with two HRs & five RBIs.

Sunday July 20th: A nice Sunday crowd of 36,259 came out to see a rejuvenated Mets team (55-42) under manager Bobby Valentine. At this point the Mets were just 6 1/2 games back & in third place, playing better than they had in years.

The Mets once again hosted the Reds under Ray Knight. Good starting pitching from Dave Mlicki (7 innings one run five hits & four Ks) led to Takashida & Corey Lidle closing it out. The Mets won 10-1 led bt Todd Hundley.

Hundley started out Mets scoring with a1st inning RBI double. In the 3rd he led off with a solo HR & then in the 6th blasted a three run shot, his 22nd of the year. It was another four hit, multi HR five RBI game for Hundley.

Mets Number Three All Time Catcher In Game Caught: Todd Hundley (1990-1998)

Todd Randolph Hundley was born May 27, 1969 in Martinsville, Virginia. That year his father Randy Hundley was the catcher of the Chicago Cubs, who were battling the Amazing New York Mets for first place. 

The five foot eleven, catcher, was drafted in the second round of the 1987 amateur draft by the New York Mets. He was highly touted prospect right from the start of his career, even throughout his school days while growing up in Illinois.

After playing in A ball briefly 1987-1989, he was sent to AA Jackson in 1990. He was pushed right up to the major leagues, making his debut on May 18th, 1990 batting eighth & catching Frank Viola in a 6-3 Mets loss at San Diego. Hundley arrived with a lot of hype & anticipation.

 At first he showed great defensive skills, but just like in his minor league start, he didn’t hit right away. In his first career game he doubled off the Padres, Bruce Hurst in his second at bat. But from there he batted just .167 through the end of July & was sent back down to AA Jackson to work things out. He returned at the end of August & in limited time through the end of the season batted .209 with six extra base hits, all doubles.

In 1991 he spent most of the year at AAA Tidewater, where he batted .273, leading the club with 14 HRs & 66 RBIs. He arrived back with the Mets that September. On September 26th, he hit his first career HR, off Bill Landrum, in a 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea Stadium. In 21 games he batted a meek .133 with one HR, no doubles & seven RBIs.

In 1992 he got the job as the Mets main catcher ahead of Charlie O'Brien & Mackey Sasser. He caught 121 games posting a .996 fielding % (both fourth best in the NL) with 700 put outs (third in the NL). He allowed 89 stolen bases (second most in the NL). In early April he hit HRs in back to back games against the Montreal Expos & St. Louis Cards, but didn't hit another HR until a month later.

He didn't get over the .200 mark until the start of August, and his struggles continued through the end of the season. With the exception of a five game stretch in late June, where he drove in runs in each game, his season was uneventful at the plate. Hundley batted just .209 with 7 HRs 17 doubles & 32 RBIs with a .256 on base %.

In 1993 he had a little better start to the season, beginning with a four RBI day in Colorado on April 18th leading the Mets to an 8-4 win over the Rockies. On an early home stand against the West Coast San Francisco Giants & San Diego Padres, he hit HRs in three straight games, while driving in runs in four straight games.

He was still struggling at the plate for the last place '93 Mets, by the end of June he hit his seventh HR, but was only hitting .219. He had a four RBI day on July 10th, coming against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium. In that game he led the Mets to a 7-6 win, including a two run HR off Pedro Astacio.

On September 2nd, he had a big five RBI day at Wrigley Field, including a grand slam HR off Juan Guzman in a 8-3 Met win. Hundley drove in twelve runs on the month of September finishing up with 53 RBIs. He batted .228 on the year, with 11 HRs 17 doubles & a .269 on base %. Behind the plate he allowed 101 stolen bases (second in the NL) & made eight errors (fifth most in the NL).

In 1994 he began the year with two hits & an Opening Day HR in a wild 12-8 Mets win at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Later that week he hit another HR at Houston, driving in three runs in an 8-2 Mets win. Todd had his best month to date in April 1994, with six HRs, 13 RBIs & a .333 batting average entering May. On May 1st he hit a pair of HRs, leading the Mets to a 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. In that series at Shea, he had five hits off Dodger pitching, with three HRs & five RBIs.

On June 18th, he hit another two HRs in a game at Florida, driving in four runs to beat the Marlins 6-1. That week Hundley, drove in seven runs & had twelve in the month. The baseball strike ended the season in August, Hundley hit just .237 on the year, but showed some improved with power, hitting 16 HRs with 10 doubles & 42 RBIs playing in just 91 games.

Injuries kept nagging Hundley throughout his career, his hitting was developing slowly, but The Mets organization, as well as the fans had patience with him. The potential always seemed to be there & as well as future expectations. By 1995 he was healthier and started out Opening Day with a HR & four RBIs in the 11-9 loss at Colorado.

On May 4th, he hit a grand slam HR at Montreal, leading the Mets to a 5-1 win over the Expos. Hundley hit three HRs in the first week of that May & kept his batting average up over .290 into June. On June 18th he hit a three run HR, while driving in three runs in a 10-4 win over the Astros at Shea. But in the month his average fell off in to the .240's. To enter July he hit six HRs in the first ten days of the month, two in a three game set against the Cincinnati Reds & then two more against the Chicago Cubs. He then hit two HRs in a three game set at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium.

Then on July 22nd he got injured & would go on the DL for six weeks, putting a big halt to a decent season. He returned in September finishing out the year batting .280 with 15 HRs 11 doubles & 51 RBIs. His on base % improved to .382% as he got more patient & drew 42 walks.

Although the Mets finished under .500 (69-75) they finished in second place behind the Atlanta Braves, who went on to win the World Series.

In 1996 he had his career year, setting a single season record for most HRs by a catcher with 41, breaking Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer Roy Campanella’s previous mark of 40. The 41 HRs were also a Mets single season record & fourth best in the NL on the year.

He made the first of his two All Star teams, and set career highs in most offensive categories; 112 RBIs, 32 doubles, 140 hits, 85 runs scored, 540 at bats and he also drew more walks, 79 (9th most in the league) playing in 152 games. Behind the plate he was second in the NL assists (72) & third in put outs with 700. That season he struck out 146 times & would strike out over 100 times three times in his career.

Hundley started the '96 season with a bang, going down in Mets history for hitting HRs in four straight Opening Days from 1994-1997. In the 1996 Opener at Shea Stadium, he hit a two run shot in a 7-6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

After hitting two more HRs on the first road trip of the year, Hundley returned to Shea & blasted HRs in back to back games against the Houston Astros. He then added a HR in each of the next two series against the Colorado Rockies & Cincinnati Reds. Overall he had a good April, with eight HRs & 21 RBIs while batting .305.

On May 17th he had huge day in San Francisco, as he bashed two HRs & drove in seven runs in a Mets 14-5 win over the Giants. That week he hit four HRs in a four game span while driving in seven runs. In the first two weeks of June he had five multi hit games, with hit six HRs & 18 RBIs. On June 4th he hit a 1st inning two run HR, off the Braves Jason Schmidt in Atlanta. He drove in five runs that day in the Mets 12-6 win. When the Braves came to Shea, on June 10th he had a big four hit game, where he hit a pair of HRs & drove in another five runs in an 8-3 win.

On June 13th he hit a 7th inning lead off HR in St. Louis, off Andy Benes. The next batter Jeff Kent followed with a solo HR of his own, leading the Mets & Robert Person to a 2-1 win.

On June 24th, Hundley once again, hit two HRs in a game while driving in four of the Mets nine runs in a 9-4 win over the Reds. In July he hit HRs in three games, of a four game series at Montreal. That week he drove in runs in six straight games as well.

That July he was named to his first All Star team. In the month he hit ten HRs & drove in 22 runs in the month, capped off with four round trippers in the last week of the month. On July 30th, he hit a walk off game winner against the Pittsburgh Pirates, to finish off a Mets double header sweep. 

On August 1st he had yet another five RBI game, although the Mets fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates at home 13-9. Hundley hit six HRs in the first eleven days of the month, including three straight games against the Cardinals at home & the Cubs in Chicago. Hundley drove in twenty runs that month but cooled off in September driving in just ten with three HRs. 

On September 2nd, he hit a HR off the Dodgers Pedro Astacio in Los Angeles. The HR tied Darryl Strawberry for the Mets single season mark of 39, set in 1987.

On September 8th in Atlanta Hundley hit his 40th HR of the year to pass Strawberry for the Mets single season mark, it came in Atlanta in a 6-2 Mets win. On September 14th, he hit his 41st HR of the year, it also came against the Atlanta Braves, but this time at home in Shea Stadium. The HR passed Hall of Famer Roy Campanella for most HRs in a season by a catcher. That 41 HR mark would also be a Mets record, tied in 2006 by Carlos Beltran.

The 1996 Mets finished up in 4th place (71-91), manager Dallas Green was replaced by Bobby Valentine in August, starting a new Mets era. 1996 was a tough act for Todd to follow, and although he did put up good numbers, 1997 wasn’t the same.

There were changes in New York as Bobby Valentine was now the manager for the entire season running things his way. He publicly criticized Hundley for drinking, smoking & partying too late in the New York night clubs. 

Trivia:  In 1997 Hundley even did a cameo sketch on Saturday Night Live appearing in a scene baseball dreams with Helen Hunt, Chris Kattan & Will Ferrell. MLB players Greg Jeffries, Cliff Floyd, Todd Zeile, Scott Rolen, Mark Grudzielanek, Mary Cordova, Jeff Vassero, Rondell White & Mike Sweeney.

Needless to say, Valentine & Hundley did not get along too well.

On Opening day in San Diego, the Mets took a 12-5 beating, but Hundley highlighted the Mets offense with another Opening Day HR, two run shot. On April 23rd he hit his fourth & fifth HRs of the month, driving in five runs in a 10-6 win in Cincinnati. 

On May 5th in Colorado Coors Field, he hit two more HRs & had another five RBI day in a 6-1 Mets win. The next night he hit another HR & drove in three more runs, although the Mets lost 12-11 in a mile high scoring contest. In the first eight games of May, Hundley drove in 14 runs & won the NL Player of the Week Award. He continued to hit well, with seven HRs in June & seven multi hit games.

In July he got his average over the .300 mark, adding another two HR, five RBI day on July 20th against the Reds in a 10-1 Mets win at Shea. On August 23rd he blasted a grand slam HR, in the 7th inning off the Padres Sean Bergman, in a 9-5 Mets win at Shea. 

The 1997 Mets improved to a third place finish, at 88-74 under Valentine. Hundley would make his second All Star team, hit 30 HRs with 21 doubles 86 RBIs & hit for a better average (.273). He posted career highs in on base % (.394%) & walks (83). Behind the plate he threw out 24% of would be base stealer's.

In 1998 he had a career threatening elbow injury that put him on the DL for a long while. Next thing he knew the Mets acquired Mike Piazza, and although the team said Hundley was still in their plans the writing was on the wall. Piazza was here to stay and change the face of the organization.

Hundley made a brief attempt to play left field (34 games) but that didn’t work out, he made five errors in 49 chances (4th most for left fielders). After playing in only 53 games with a .151 average he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Roger Cedeno & Charles Johnson.

In his Mets career he played in 829 games with 124 HRs 118 doubles 397 RBIs & a .323 on base %. Hundley has caught the third most games all time in Mets history with 745.

In L.A. he did hit 24 HRs two years in a row, but only drove in 55 runs and batted a lowly .207 in 1999.

In 2000 he brought his average up to .284 with 24 HRs & 70 RBIs playing in only 90 games. That season he became the first visiting player to hit a home run into McCovey Cove at San Francisco’s new Pac Bell Park. He went to his dad’s old team the Chicago Cubs in 2001, and like father like son became the teams catcher sharing time with Joe Girardi.

In two years at Wrigley he averaged 14 HRs but only managed to hit a bat .211 in 2002. He had an ugly situation & angered the Cubs fans when they got on him when he wasn't hitting.

Drama: In a game against the Cincinnati Reds he gave the fans the middle finger after rounding third base on a HR. He said he aimed it at the Reds fans who were heckling him but no one seemed to buy the story. He had one final chance at a comeback in L.A. playing in 21 games in 2003 but was done after hitting .189.

In 2007 he was named in the Mitchell Report for steroid use.

In 1225 lifetime games spanning 14 seasons, he batted .234 with 883 hits with 202 HRs 167 doubles 599 RBIs and a .320 on base %.

Behind the plate he has a lifetime .988 fielding %, throwing out 25% of would be base stealers, while allowing 793 stolen bases (61st most all time). He caught 1096 games caught (89th all time) with 6535 put outs (51st all time).

todd hundley's father: randy hundley:

Cecil Randolph Hundley known as Randy with the nick name of Rebel. He began his career with brief appearances for the San Francisco Giants in 1964 & 1965. In December of '65 he was involved in a big trade going to the Cubs with pitcher Bill Hands, for Don Landrum & Lindy McDaniel.

He then was the Chicago Cubs main catcher from 1966- 1973 before moving on to the Minnesota Twins (1974) San Diego Padres (1975) & back to Chicago (1976 & 1977) finishing his career in 1977. He was a lifetime .236 hitter with 813 hits 82 HRs 118 doubles 13 triples & 381 RBIs. He had one of his best seasons in the classic 1969 season, with 18 HRs 15 doubles 64 RBIs & a .255 batting average.

Hundley came in fourth in 1966 for the Rookie of the Year voting, hitting a career high 19 HRs with 22 doubles & 63 RBIs batting .236. He was a onetime Gold Glove winner (1967) & All Star catcher (1969) with great defensive abilities. He threw out 50% of would be base stealers four different times in his career, leading the league twice in throwing out base stealers.

From 1966-1969 he led the league each year in most games behind the plate. He would also lead the league in assists twice (1966/1969) put outs once (1967), caught stealing % once (1974) & fielding one time as well (1972).

In 14 seasons total he threw out 42% of runners trying to steal, while posting a .988 fielding percentage (80th all time) in 1026 games caught.

Retirement: Randy has been a part time radio broadcaster for the Cubs for many years.