Aug 26, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1993) Jeromy Burnitz's Seven RBI Day

Thursday August 5th 1993: Dallas Green's Mets (38-70) were in seventh place 30 1/2 games back going no where. They came into Montreal to face a good Expo team (58-51) that was in third place under Manager Felipe Alou. 

On this day the Mets would have one of their biggest run production outputs of the year, mostly due to a rookie named Jeromy Burnitz. Burnitz was a slugger who had just been brought up from the minor leagues at the end of June.

Burnitz was inserted in the 5th spot in the order & in the 1st inning delivered his first RBI with a single off Dennis Martinez. In the 5th inning the Mets were already ahead 4-1, as pitcher Eric Hillman doubled,  Joe Orsulak singled & Bobby Bonilla was intentionally walked. Burnitz stepped in & hit a grand slam HR, again off Martinez into the right field seats of Stade Olympique. It was already the young Burnitz's sixth HR of the year since arriving in late June. 

The Mets were now ahead 9-1. But the Expos got to Mets pitchers Eric Hillman, Pete Schourek & Jeff Innis tying up the game at nine by the end of the 6th inning.

Stade Olympique- Montreal
The game went to extra innings, in the 13th inning the Mets did rally back against pitcher John Wetteland. Jeff McKnight singled & Ryan Thompson reached on an error. Joe Orsulak came through with an RBI single. 

Jeromy Burnitz came up & completed his big day with a double bringing in Thompson & Orsulak making it 12-9. Anthony Young came in to close out the Met win.

Burnitz finished the day with four hits, a HR, seven RBIs & two walks.

Aug 19, 2017

Remembering Mets History: (1974) Ray Sadecki Shuts Out Braves

Sunday August 25th, 1974: A small crowd of 9,358 came to Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium to see Yogi Berra’s fifth place, but Reigning NL champion Mets (54-70) take on Clyde King’s third place Braves (70-57). 

It would be a great pitcher’s match up of future Hall of Famer; the Braves Phil Niekro against the Mets veteran, Ray Sadecki.

Starting Lineups

Both pitchers held the opposing team down through the first four innings. In the 5th, the Mets Jim Gosger singled to right field. He advanced to second on a passed ball & then to third base on a ground out.

The Mets pitcher; Sadecki then singled to right field bringing in Gosger with what turned out to be the game’s only run. The Mets would go on to the one run win, gathering just five hits off of Neikro. 

Sadecki would be even better that day, shutting out the Braves, allowing five hits with two walks & five strike outs. Sadecki didn’t strike out anyone until the 7th inning. It was also the only inning he came closest to allowing a run, as two Braves reached with singles. He answered by striking out all three outs of the inning. His other strike out came in the bottom of the 9th as he fanned Leo Foster for the final out. 

Sadecki spent six seasons with the Mets (1970-1974 / 1977) being used as both a starter & reliever. He was 30-25 with one save, posting a 3.36 ERA in 165 games as a Met. Overall he pitcher 18 big league seasons going 135-131 in 563 games.

Former Mets Pitcher: Ray Burris (1979-1980)

Bertram Ray Burris was born August 22, 1950 in Idabel, Oklahoma. It's safe to say, he is the only former Met to have the real first name of Bertram. The tall six foot five, right hander went to South Western Oklahoma State University and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 17th round of the 1972 draft.

Burris was brought up to the big leagues the next season by a Cub staff in need of a pitcher. On April 18th in his second career game, he got a start at Shea Stadium against the New York Mets. Burris pitched five innings allowed just four hits & no runs, earning his first career victory. It would be his only start & win of the season. He went 1-1in 31 games posting a 2.92 ERA.

After two seasons as a reliever, he was put into the Cub rotation in 1975. He would be a regular on the Cubs staff for the next four seasons, winning 15 games twice (1975 & 1976) leading the team in victories & innings pitched both years.

In 1975 he was 15-10 but struck out the least amount of batters among Cub starters (108) & actually gave up more earned runs (109) than strike outs. That season he posted a 4.12 ERA & allowed 238 hits.

The next year he lost 13 games (15-13) but posted a better ERA (3.11) . In those season he was in the league's top ten in starts, hits & Hrs allowed both years. Although he had some stretches of being a top pitcher, he was always plagued by the long ball, serving up twenty plus HRs four times.

In 1977 he gave up a league leading 29 HRs while going 14-16 for a Cubs team that finished fourth for a second straight year. In 1978 he fell to a 7-13 record posting a 4.75 ERA and going back to the bullpen. In mid 1979 he was traded to the AL New York team for Dick Tidrow but pitched just 15 games there going 1-3. He was placed on waivers & got picked up by the New York Mets in late August.

He came to a bad 1979 Mets team and was thrown in the rotation right away. Burris made his Mets debut on August 24th pitching seven innings of two hit shutout ball against the Cincinnati Reds. Unfortunately he earned no decision as the Mets were shut out 1-0.

He took losses to the Atlanta Braves & Montreal Expos in his next two games. He went 0-2 in four appearances the rest of that year. Burris was an all around good athlete and a good base runner who was sometimes used as a pinch runner.

In 1980 he began the year at 2-0 & then On May 2nd he went eight innings allowing only two hits with one run to the San Diego Padres but took a loss. He soon found himself at 4-6 but was pitching well enough to have a 3.29 ERA. He pitched a complete game against the Philadelphia Phillies in June allowing only one run getting no decision.

After missing all of July, Burris had a good stretch in mid August going 3-1 and beyond the 7th inning each time. He allowed less than two runs three times in five games. He finished up with a 7-13 record, 83 strike outs 54 walks, 20 HRs allowed & a 4.02 ERA in 170 innings in 29 games. He led the Mets staff in games started (29) innings pitched (171) losses (13) and HRs allowed (29).

After the season he was a free agent and signed with the Montreal Expos. In the strike shortened 1981 season, he was 9-7 tied for second on the staff in wins behind Steve Rodgers. That year the Expos made their only post season appearance.

Post Season: Burris lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in Game #3 of the NLDS, allowing four runs in 5.1 innings pitched. In the NLCS against the eventual World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers, he was the winning pitcher in Game #2 throwing a five hit shut out.

He struggled mightily in 1982 going 4-14 (fourth most losses in the NL) & was traded to the Oakland A's. In Oakland he made a great come back, winning 13 games, going 13-10 with a 3.15 ERA (9th best in the AL). ver the next three years he pitched in Milwaukee (1985 & 1987) as well as with the St. Louis Cardinals (1986).

He finished up his 15 year career going 108-134 lifetime with a 4.17 ERA. He struck out 1067 batters, walked 764, allowed 221 HRs (161 all time) 1015 earned runs (222nd all time) in 2188 innings pitched in 480 games.

Retirement: Burris became a pitching coach in the Detroit Tigers organization after his playing days. He is known to have a serious phobia of bees.

Aug 12, 2017

2006 N.L. Eastern Champion Mets Pitcher: Oliver Perez (2006-2010)

Oliver (Martinez) Perez was Born on August 15, 1981 in Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico. He originally signed in the Mexican League at 16 years old but did not pitch.

The six foot three left hander was signed as an amateur free agent by the San Diego Padres in 1999. At the start of his career he had a good fastball & was a big strike out pitcher. In 2001 he struck out 160 batters in 154 innings pitched going 10-9 at A ball.

In 2002 he blew up the ranks from A ball to AA, to AAAA debuting in the major leagues on June 16th. He won his first two starts beating the Seattle Mariners & the AL New York club, striking out ten batters in eleven innings. He wound up 4-5 on the year with a 3.50 ERA.

He went 4-7 the next season but struck out 117 batters in 103 innings. in San Diego before the Padres traded him on August 26, 2003 along with Jason Bay to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Brian Giles. The rest of the year he fell to 0-3.

In 2004 he had his best season on a fifth place Pirate team that lost 89 games. On April 25th he struck out ten Cincinnati Reds pitching a six hit shut out starting out a great year.

He was the top pitcher on his staff going 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA (6th in the NL). He had the league’s best strike out per nine inning ratio at 10.975 with 239 strikeouts (4th in the NL) in 196 innings pitched. His 239 strike outs are the third most in a single season by a Pirates pitcher, Bob Veale fanned more on two separate occasions. Perez also walked 81 batters & allowed 21 HRs.

In 2005 he was plagued with injuries & missed over two months after a June loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He kicked a cart breaking his toe, he returned in September to finish up 7-5 with a 5.85 ERA. In 2006 he had lost something off his fastball, as he dropped to 2-10 with a 6.63 ERA. On July 31st the Pirates gave up on him & sent him to the New York Mets along with Roberto Hernandez in exchange for Xavier Nady.

The Mets needed pitching help due to injuries especially in the bullpen help when Duaner Sanchez went down. Perez began at AAA Norfolk, and then made his first Mets start on August 26th allowing five runs to the Philadelphia Phillies in five innings of work at Shea Stadium earning no decision.

He lost three of his first four Mets decisions. His best outing was a five hit complete game shutout in the night cap of a double header against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium on September 5th.

Post Season: Ollie did not see action in the NLDS but was needed to help out an injured staff in the NLCS. Although he allowed five runs in 5.2 innings in Game #4 against the St. Louis Cardinals, he earned the win as the Mets scored twelve runs in their 12-5 victory.

He returned to get the start in the big Game #7 & pitched well. Perez allowed just one run on four hits with four strike outs leaving the game in a 1-1 ties in the 6th inning. The Mets couldn’t score & lost it in the 9th inning.

In 2007 Rick Peterson seemed to have worked well with Perez, and there was a lot of pressure on him to succeed. He began by beating the Braves in Atlanta allowing just one run over seven innings of work at Turner Field.

In May he pitched into the 7th inning or beyod four of six starts & went 4-1 in the month posting a 2.69 ERA. He was a bit better than .500 through July going 9-7 but then pitched his best during the two months of the season.

He went 6-3 in August & September, having one of his best outings on August 24th at Shea Stadium when he pitched seven shutout innings allowing just three hits to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also in August he opened & closed the month out with double figure strike out games. On August 1st he struck out 11 Brewers in Milwaukee & on August 29th he struck out ten Phillies at Philadelphia.

His win on September 22nd still had the Mets up by 1.5 games but his loss on September 28th took the Mets out of a first place tie & one game back with two left to play. The lost the final game of the season & were eliminated from the post season.

Perez had his ups & down during the year but was good enough to tie John Maine for most wins on the staff (15) going 15-10 with the teams second best ERA among starters (3.56 which was 9th best in the NL) He posted 174 strikeouts (10th in the NL) with 79 walks in 177 innings pitched.

In 2008 things all fell apart for Perez, at any given point he could get rattled & allow a big inning. He began the year well, pitching six shutout innings in the third game of the season, earning a win in Florida against the Marlins. He began the year at 2-0 but lost three straight from there.

On April 30th in Pittsburgh all hell broke loose against the Pirates as he walked five, allowed seven runs (two earned) & exited in the second inning. On June 2nd in San Francisco the Giants scored six runs on five hits & a pair of walks, as Perez exited that one in the first inning. In other outings that moth he allowed four runs against the Angels of Anaheim & then six runs against the Seattle Mariners.

There were a few outings where he did show his old form, one was On June 29th he pitched seven inning allowing just one run in the subway series at Shea Stadium, earning himself a win. On July 6th he pitched seven shutout innings against the Phillies earning a victory. It was the first time since his first two starts of the season that he did not allow any runs; he would only do that once more the rest of the year.

At the end of July he also had a 12 strikeout performance against the Phillies at Shea Stadium. In September as the Mets faltered Perez did as well after starting out the month with a win he had no other decisions along the way.

His best outing was the last game of the season in the final game of Shea Stadium’s history. He allowed just two runs striking out six Marlins exiting in the 6th inning, but was not the pitcher of record as the Mets tied it in the bottom of the inning before losing it later on.

On the year Perez was 10-7 leading the league with 34 starts, as well as walks (105) hitting 11 batters with pitches, striking out 180 while posting a 4.22 ERA. In February of 2009 the Mets gave him a three year deal that shocked everyone.

He started the third game of the 2009 season in Cincinnati & the Reds clobbered him with eight runs by the 5th inning. In a game at the end of the month he allowed seven runs to the Washington Nationals at Citi Field & he was hearing if from the fans, the media & just about anybody around. He then went on the DL & missed two months of action.

He returned in July & won his first start, a five inning three run performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In that game he walked seven and would allow at least four walks or more in his next five starts. He pitched two good outings on the August West Coast trip but earned no decisions.

On August 23rd he was shelled in the first inning allowing six runs, on four hits & two walks to the Phillies. It was his last outing as he ended the year on the disabled list again. In 2009 he was 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA, he struck out 62 batters & walked 58 in 66 innings pitched.

In 2010 his days were numbered, he went 0-3 with an ERA near six when manager Jerry Manuel moved him to the bullpen in mid May. Perez was doomed, first he refused to go to the minor leagues to work on his pitching. He soon got injured & when he returned he again refused to go to the minors to work things out.

He ended the year at 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA allowing 35 earned runs & 42 walks in 46 innings pitched. Fittingly enough, he took a loss on the final game of the season, coming in relief in the 14th inning.

In Spring Training of 2011 the Mets new regime of management gave him his unconditional release eating the $4.2 million owed to him. In his Mets career Perez was 29-29 in 101 appearances with a 4.71 ERA, 494 strike outs & 628 walks in 520 innings.

He signed a deal with the Washington Nationals & was 3-5 with a 3.09 ERA at AA Harrisburg for 2011. In 2012 Perez was back in the big leagues going 1-3 with a 2.12 ERA in 33 games for the Seattle Mariners. Perez found a new home in Seattle & uin 2013 made 61 appearances out of the Mariner bullpen. he recorded two saves, posting a 3-3 record with a 3.74 ERA.

That off season he signed a deal with the Arizona D-backs for 2014 as a mid reliever. He posted went 3-4 with a 2.91 ERA while getting credit for 15 holds in 68 appearances.

Perez returned in 2015  starting out the season in the same role for Arizona. He would go 2-1 in 48 games before getting sent to the AL Wild Card Champion Houston Astros. There he was 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in 22 games. He did see action in two games of the ALDS loss to the Kansas City Royals.

In 2016 he was signed as a free agent with the Washington Nationals. He went 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA in 64 appearances.
In 2017 through July 20th the middle reliever posted a 4.26 ERA in 30 games.

Aug 8, 2017

Tommie Agee's 1973 Topps Baseball Card

One of my favorite baseball card sets in the 1973 set, lets examine the Agee card: 

This 1973 Topps Tommie Agee baseball card in a classic early seventies Topps airbrushing job.

At the end of November 1972 Agee was traded from the Mets to the Houston Astros. By the time the 1973 Topps baseball cards were ready to roll out, Topps knew Agee had been traded but had no photos of him in his new uniform. So they got their air brush atrist to paint over the Mets uniform letters in white. Then they painted the sox, caps & Agee's sleeves Astros orange. Although its more of a maroonish red.

Notice there's no Houston or Astro name, nor any numbers on the plain white uniform. It's hard to imagine there were no other recent Agee photos available, like one with him not wearing a cap. Then, Topps would have probably given us one of their classic still head shots from that era.

The Astros played inside the Houston Astrodome at the time & would be wearing a  darker road uniform in an outdoor Stadium. This picture was taken on a beautifal day at Shea Stadium in 1972. Notice the classic 371 mark on the dark green outfield wall & the white bus parked in the Shea parking lot.

It has to be 1972, because Rusty Staub is the rightfielder coming in on the play behind Mets second baseman Kenny Boswell. Rusty arrived with the Mets for the first time in 1972. 

Interestingly Rusty Staub has no 1972 or 1973 Topps cards, beacuse he was one of the last players to join the newly former Players Union, who had cut an exclusive deal with Topps.