Jun 13, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (2003) Steve Trachsel Tosses One Hitter & Jose Reyes Hits 1st Career HR

Sunday June 15th, 2003: The 2003 Mets were in fifth place (31-36) under Manager Art Howe, paying a visit to beautiful Edison Field in Anaheim, California.

A big crowd of 43,721 came to see the Mets play against Mike Scosia's third place Angels (34-32)..

The Mets sent Steve Trachsel (4-4) to the mound against Jarrod Washburn (6-6).

Starting Lineups

In the 2nd inning, the Mets struck as Jason Phillips & Tsuyoshi Shinjo walked, then Vance Wilson singled loading up the bases. Mets rookie Jose Reyes, playing in just his sixth career game, blasted a grand slam HR. It was Reyes' first career HR as well, making him & his team mates very happy.

In the 4th, Jeromy Burnitz hit a solo HR to make it 5-0 Mets. Burnitz hit another HR in the 6th , a two run shot as Trachsel was cruising along with a no hitter & a 7-0 lead. 

In the bottom of the 6th,with two outs, David Eckstein lined a hit to center field, breaking up the no hit bid. "The pitch was supposed to be in the dirt, and I didn't get it down. But it was a good piece of hitting," Trachsel said. "This team doesn't strike out, so I was really concentrating on trying to get them to hit my pitches."

An outfield error had Eckstein advance all the way to third base. The next batter popped out to first base, ending the inning.

Trachsel would not allow another hit the rest of the way, he pitched the complete game shutout, registering the 20th one hitter in Mets history. Trachsel would walk four in the game, and strike out just one along the way. 

Trachsel who was known as "the Human Rain Delay" pitched one of his quickest games, wrapping it up in two hours & thirty eight minutes. He tossed 119 pitches & it was the first complete game for New York that season.

Quotes: Steve Trachsel- The biggest difference today was that the ball was down in the zone and I pretty much had an idea where it was going."

Trachsel was fifth in the NL in wins that year, leading the fifth place Mets staff in wins (16) ERA (3.78) & innings pitched (204) in 2003.

Jun 10, 2017

Remembering Batman - Adam West (1928-2017)

It is a sad day in Gotham, as Adam West, star of the classic sixties tv show Batman has passed away. For me as a child, it was Batman, my favorite super hero. Yes the comic books but mostly the campy tv show that aired daily & was a part of my childhood as much as anything else I enjoyed.

I was Batman on Halloween, I played Batman with my friends, I made believe my bicycle was the Bat Mobile. I collected memorabilia, Batmobiles, comic books, action figures, trading cards, clothing, everything was Batman. Batman was my hero but years later I realized why I loved those episodes featuring Batgirl so much!

Some of my best memories of childhood were running to the tv set to catch Batman's cliff hangers at my grandmothers house. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel. Unfortunately I can remember running for my Batmobile, having to get back before the commercials ended, but I didn't make it. I fell flat into the door, splitting my head on the bottom bock, getting rushed to Jacobi Hospital, maybe I was six.

As the years went on, Batman became less serious than when I was a kid. Now it was party time as teen & we saw Batman for the campy, funny dry humor it was originally intended. It was what swept the nation on the college campuses of the mid sixties, making it so popular. Batman revived.

The resurgence came again, a few years later as a new generation of reruns began & the Official Batbook & Adam West's Back to the Batcave came out. Batman reborn again. The cycle continued, as conventions started to happen, the internet Bat sites & finally the box set just a few years ago. Not many special features but Batman in its best clarity & in color at it's best as well.

Of all the superheroes Batman is the best & Adam West was the best Batman. He did it all, had everything in his utility belt. Had a car phone, Bat computer & nuclear reactor in his Batcave, in the sixties, way ahead of technology in his time. He got out of every trap he was thrown into, never fell to temptation & always saved the day.

One day I will start a new blog that I have began research on, featuring all those beautiful sixties chicks who played molls on Batman. What a fun series it was. Today, even the Joker, the Riddler, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Egg Head, King Tut, the Archer, the Bookworm, Shame, Minstrel, Chandell, False Face, Puzzler, Colonel Gumm, Mad Hatter, Sandman, Olga, Marsha Queen of Diamonds, Minerva, Nora Clavicle, Ma Barker, Black Widow, Siren, Lola Lasagna, Calamity Jane, Zelda, Dr. Cassandra & Catwoman are taking a break from crime, bowing their heads in a moment of silence for Batman.

Batgirl (Yvonne Craig), Alfred (Alan Napier), Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton), Chief O'Hara (Stafford Repp) &  Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake) are all gone as is most of the villains, leaving Robin (Burt Ward) & Catwomen (Julie Newmar & Lee Merriweather) as the last leading character survivors of the show. (Joan Collins (Siren)  Barbara Rush (Nora Clavicle) & John Austin (Riddler #2 aka. Gomez Adams) are also still living.

Batman climbs the final building high above Gotham tonight................Holy Adam West RIP Batman!

Jun 2, 2017

Mid Sixties Mets Player Famous for "The Harmonica Incident" With Yogi Berra: Phil Linz (1967-1968)

Philip Francis Linz was born on June 4, 1939 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a utility infielder who got signed by the A.L. New York club in 1957.

In the minors he hit well, batting .321 in 1960 at Greensboro in the Carolina League. The next year he won the Texas League MVP Award batting .349 playing short stop for Amarillo.

Linz came up to the majors in 1962 batting .287 with 8 doubles & six steals in 71 games. He didn’t play in that year’s World Series, but got a chance to see action in the next two World Series while on the losing end.

In the 1964 Series he replaced the injured Tony Kubek at short stop, getting to bat in the leadoff spot. He went 7-21 with two solo HRs in the Series, one coming off St. Louis’ Bob Gibson in the 9th inning of Game #7. Ironically Linz only hit 11 HRs in his entire seven year career spanning 519 games.

The Harmonica Incident: Linz is famous for what is known as “the harmonica incident”. He was playing harmonica to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, after a loss to the Chicago White Sox on the team bus that was delayed at O'Hare Aorport. Manager Yogi Berra thought he was mocking the team, and told him to stop.

Linz couldn’t hear him & continued playing. Berra threatened to come back there & shove that harmonica up his butt if he didn’t stop. Linz still couldn't hear him & asked Mickey Mantle what he said. Mantle told Linz “he said to play louder”.

Linz listened & continued to play. Berra, who usually didn't get angry, came to the back of the bus knocking the harmonica out of Linz's hand. The powers that were in charge of the team at the time, were convinced Berra had lost control of the team. He was fired even after winning the pennant at the end of that season.

Linz remained a utility player, never hitting like he did in the minors again. After four seasons in the AL, he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in November of 1965 for Ruben Amaro. His batting average dropped to the lower .200’s through the years & in July of 1967 he was traded to the New York Mets for Chuck Hiller.

There he was reunited with his former manager Yogi Berra, who was now a Mets Coach. Linz played in 24 games as a reserve infielder in 1967 batting .207.

On July 6th 1968 his year was highlighted a five hit game in which he tied a club record at the time. It came in Philadelphia where he also drove in three runs in the Mets 11-6 win over the Phillies. In early August he drove in seven runs in a seven game stretch, gathering up eight hits.

Overall in 1968 he got into 78 games, playing as Kenny Boswell’s back up at second base, as well as some pinch hitting roles, batting .209 with 17 RBIs. With the glove he posted a .963 fielding percentage, making ten errors at second base.

In his seven year career Linz hit .235 with 322 hits 11 HRs 64 doubles 13 stolen bases & 96 RBIs over 519 games. He played in 190 games at short stop, 102 games at second, 82 games at third base & 22 games in the outfield.

Retirement: After baseball he owned a nightclub & was been a long time Vice President of a title insurance company in New York.

Jun 1, 2017

2000 N.L. Champion Mets Utility Man: Kurt Abbott (2000)

Kurt Thomas Abbott was born on June 2, 1969 in Zanesville, Ohio. Abbott attended high school in St. Petersburg Florida getting drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 15th round in 1989.

He spent four years in the A’s minor league system before having his best season in 1993 batting .319 at AAA Tacoma, & getting a brief 20 game call up.

He was traded to the Florida Marlins where he would be the team’s main short stop in 1994, with career highs in hits (107) HRs (17) & RBIs (60). He batted .255 but struck out 94 times (4th in the league) and made 15 errors (5th in the league). The next year he only hit 8 HRs & struck out 110 times making 19 errors (3rd most in the league).

By 1996 Abbott was suffering from vision problems & striking out way too often. Also a young Edgar Renteria was ready to take over the Marlins short stop position, & Abbott became his back up. He played at short stop & in the outfield during the Marlins 1997 Championship team, batting a career high .274.

Post Season: Abbott went 2-8 in the NLDS against the Giants. In the NLCS he batted .375 with a double against The Atlanta Braves appearing in two games.

In the World Series he was 0-3 as a pinch hitter. After the World Series he was traded to the Oakland A’s.

He was soon traded to the Colorado Rockies becoming their main second baseman batting .273 in 1998. After the 1999 season he was signed by the New York Mets as a free agent.

Abbott is almost a forgotten man, but he played in 79 games for the 2000 NL Champion Mets, at short stop & second base as a utility infielder. In April he started out getting hits in his first three Mets games. He played in 16 games that month & was batting .308 going into May. His average plummeted down to .200 entering June.

On June 8th he had one of his biggest moments, he hit a dramatic walk off HR in the 10th inning to beat the Baltimore Orioles. The HR came off pitcher Juan Mercedes, in an interleague game, one of the first times the O's visited Shea Stadium since the 1969 World Series.
Two months later, on August 7th, Abbott delivered an 11th inning HR in Houston, breaking a 5-5 tie & giving the Mets the 6-5 win over the Astros.
At short he made six errors in 128 chances turning ten double plays, while his batting average fell to .217. When short stop Rey Ordonez went down for the season with injury, the Mets didn’t have enough faith to give Abbott the position. They traded away Melvin Mora to the Baltimore Orioles for veteran Mike Bordick. In 157 at bats, Abbott ended up batting .260 with 6 HRS, 7 doubles 22 runs scored a .283 on base % & 12 RBIs.

Post Season: In the post season he went hitless in both the NLDS & NLCS appearing in three games in those two series with five at bats. He saw action in all five World Series games, beginning in Game #1 as he hit a one out double in the 9th inning, but was stranded on second base.

His hit advanced Todd Pratt to third as the Mets were still leading 3-2, but failed to score in the inning for insurance. He went 0-3 in the next three games as a pinch hitter, getting the start in the fifth game going 1-3.

The next year Abbott signed as a free agent with the rival Atlanta Braves, appearing just six games before ending his career. In a nine season career he played in 702 games, batting .256 with 523 hits 109 doubles 62 HRs 242 RBIs & a .305 on base %.