Nov 26, 2017

2017 Mets Relief Pitcher: Chasen Bradford (2017)

Chasen David Bradford was born on August 5th 1989 in Las Vegas Nevada. The six foot one right hander attended Junior College at Southern Nevada & two years at University of Central Florida. Ne was drafted by the Mets in the 35th round of the 2011 MLB draft.

A career reliever, he went 9-3 with a 2.61 ERA at A ball & AA combined in 2013. In 2014 he posted 11 saves in 23 appearances overall, first at AA Binghamton, then was promoted to AAA Las Vegas where he grew up, and saved five more.

He pitched the next two seasons at Vegas & posted an ERA a bit over for which isn't bad at such a hitters friendly park the 51's play in. He combined with other relievers in the closer role & notched 12 saves in the two years. Most of his outs come on ground balls due to his sinker & slider.

He began 2017 at Las Vegas & was called up to help an ailing Mets bullpen, making his debut on June 25th in an 8-2 win at San Francisco over the Giants. He finished the game, struck out two & allowed one hit.

He got to finish off an 8-0 shut out in Miami three days later. He had two rough outings in July & was sent back down until the start of August.

In his first game back he
pitched two innings of a 10-5 win at Colorado & earned his first career victory. He pitched well through August not allowing a run but was shelled on August 29th giving up seven runs (four earned) on six hits not recording any outs against the Cincinnati Reds in a 14-4 Met loss.

He rebounded well, in ten September outing he only allowed runs in one game. On September 22nd, he pitched a scoreless 6th inning against the Nationals & earned his second win. On the year he was 2-0 with three holds, 27 strike outs, 13 walks & a 3.74 ERA in 33.2 innings in 28 appearances.

Family: Bradford's father, two uncles & currently his brother have all served in the military. Bradford says he also intends to do some time in the service after his baseball career.

"The flag will always hold a special place in my heart, It's given me plenty of opportunities and I know the sacrifices people have made for it."

2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Utility Player & Current Dodgers Coach: Chris Woodward (2005-2006)

Christopher Michael Woodward was born on June 27, 1976 in Covina, California. The scrappy player was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1994 way down in the 54th round. He was primarily a short stop in the minor leagues, after five seasons there he batted .292 at AAA Syracuse in 1999.

The six foot right handed hitting Woodward, got a call up in 1999 making his MLB debut against the New York Mets in June 7th in an inter league game. He had a base hit & a sacrifice fly, driving in both Blue Jays runs in an 8-2 Mets win.

He would spend six years in Toronto as a utility infielder & designated hitter. He got into 90 games in 2002 batting .276 with career highs in HRs (13) triples (4) & RBIs (45).

The next year he got into 104 games enjoying career bests in hits (91) doubles (22) & walks (28) while batting .261. In 2004, Woodward made it to television, appearing in a TV episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation.

In 2005 he signed a two year contact as a free agent with the New York Mets. He would become manager Willie Randolph’s all around guy, playing every infield & out field position in 81 games with the 2005 Mets. 

Woodward debuted in the second game of the season as a defensive replacement for Doug Mientkiewicz. On April 23rd he started the game at short stop at Shea Stadium. He got two hits & his first two Mets RBIs in a game against the Washington Nationals.

In May he played in just nine games & the light hitting Woodward hit two HRs in those games. On July 19th he came up as a pinch hitter, in the bottom of the 11th inning in a 1-1 tie against the San Diego Padres. He had one of his finest Mets moments, hitting a walk off game winning HR, off pitcher Chris Hammond.

In August he had a three hit day on August 4th & in the middle of the month had a five game hit streak. On August 20th he once again came off the bench, for a game winning hit. This one was a pinch hit single against the Washington Nationals, capping off a 9-8 Mets win.

Overall Woodward hit a career high .283 (going 49-173) with three HRs, 10 doubles 16 runs scored a .337 on base % & 18 RBIs, having a fine season.

He returned in 2006 and drove in three runs, in his first start which was at Washington on April 13th. He homered the next week in a game against the Atlanta Braves, and drove in six runs in eight games played that month. He went 2-6 as a pinch hitter then saw some more steady playing time in June. He was batting .300 on June 11th after having three straight multiple hit games from June 6th- June 11th.

That July hit two HRs in a one week span in games at Shea Stadium & then Wrigley field in Chicago. He then suffered through some injuries & struggled both as a pinch hitter as well as in a starting role. The good natured positive Woodward kept his sense of humor throughout the slump.

He would finish up the 2006 season hitting just .216, but did contribute to the NL Eastern champion Mets. He matched his previous year's totals with three HRs & 10 doubles. He scored 25 runs & drove in 25 runs as well.

2006 Post Season: In Game #5 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium, he got a pinch hit base hit & scored a run in the Mets victory.

The Mets did not resign him in 2007 & he went on to the rival Atlanta Braves.

There he played in over 90 games but hit just .199, the worst in the major leagues for any regular starting player. In 2008 he played in the Phillies & Brewers minor league organizations, signing with the Seatle Mariners at the end of the season.

He was placed on waivers & then got selected by the Boston Red Sox in August 2009. That season he played just 13 games with the Boston Red Sox batting .083.

In 2010 he was back in Seattle playing the majority of the season at AAA Tacoma batting .232 getting a call up for eight games with the Mariners batting .158.

In 2011 he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays playing in just 11 games. In his career Woodward batted .239 with 408 hits 87 doubles 14 triples 33 HRs 191 RBIs a .296 on base % & 209 runs scored. 

Retirement: In 2012 he officially retired, the next day he got a job as a coach in the Seattle Mariners organization. In just two years he got to the big league level as the Mariners infield coach in 2015 but opted not to return in 2016.

When Dave Roberts was named Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers he named Woodward the Dodgers third base coach for 2016. Woodward returned in 2017 getting to the World Series with the NL Champion Dodgers.

In the off season he has interviewed for a managerial position with the AL New York club.

Woodward managed New Zealand in the World Baseball Classic qualifier in 2016.

Woodward met his wife Erin while playing in Toronto, Erin is an Ontario native. They now live in Arizona with their two sons & daughter.

Nov 23, 2017

Mid Seventies Mets Pitcxher: Tom Hall (1975-1976)

Thomas Edward Hall was born November 23, 1947 in Thomasville, North Carolina. He grew up in Riverside California, attending high school there a s a star player.

The six foot tall left handed pitcher was the Minnesota Twins third round pick in 1966. In 1967 at A ball Wisconsin, he went 14-5 which got him promoted the next year. In 1968 he was 10-4 overall at AA Charlotte & AAA Denver with an ERA under two. He was in the big leagues with the Twins by the end of the year.  

He was nicknamed “the blade” & went on to have some fine seasons in the early seventies. He was primarily a reliever for four years in Minnesota, posting winning records every year, with the exception of 1971. In 1969 he was 8-7 making 18 starts in 31 appearances for the AL Champs that had two twenty game winners in Jim Perry & Dave Boswell. He made one appearance in the ALCS loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

In 1970 he struck out 184 batters (8th most in the league) going 11-7 with four saves & a 2.55 ERA. By 1971 he was the Twins main reliever, leading the staff with nine saves, while posting a 4-7 record for the AL Western Champions. He pitched in two ALCS games against the Baltimore Orioles, taking the loss in Game #2 at home. In that game he served up a two run HR to Brooks Robinson & left the game behind 4-3. The Orioles went on to a 11-3 victory.

In December 1971 he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for pitcher Wayne Granger. Hall was fantastic for the 1972 Big Red Machine, going 10-1 with eight saves and a 2.61 ERA out of their tough bull pen. Reds manager Sparky Anderson earned the name "Captain Hook" as he liked to remove pitchers quickly, which was something not done too often in those days.

From late May through the end of the season Hall was 8-0 with six saves & eight holds to his credit. He did not blow any games or take any losses. In the 1972 NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he got the win at Three Rivers Stadium in Game #2, pitching over four innings of one run relief.

In the 1972 World Series against the Oakland A's he made four appearances, earning a save in Game #6 which tied up the Series at three games apiece.  

Hall returned to go 8-5 with eight saves (third behind Clay Carroll & Pedro Borbon on the club) in 1973, getting to another post season with Cincinnati.

In the 1973 NLCS he made three appearances against the New York Mets getting no decisions. In Game #2 at Riverfront Stadium, he entered the game in 9th inning with the Reds behind 1-0. He gave up a single to Felix Millian, then a walk to Rusty Staub. Cleon Jones followed with a base hit to center field scoring Millan.

He would get charged with three runs before he was relieved by Pedro Borbon, in the Mets 5-0 win. That was the game Jon Matlack pitched a two hit shut out to even the Series. In Game #3 he allowed another run which ballooned his ERA up to a whopping 54.00.  

In April 1975 he was traded to the New York Mets for pitcher Mac Scarce. Hall made his Mets debut on April 16th in St. Louis, pitching two scoreless innings, finishing up a game with the Cardinals. On May 12th he earned a save against the San Francisco Giants preserving a win for Jon Matlack.

He got a rare start on June 4th & although he allowed three runs over five innings he still earned his first Mets win. Five days later he got another start, but he allowed five runs in four innings to the Atlanta Braves and was placed back in the bull pen. Over the last ten days in July, he earned three wins, two came in relief. The first was at home against Houston & the other on a road trip to Chicago.

On July 29th he got a start in St. Louis in the second game of a double header, although he gave up three runs the Mets supported him with eleven runs. Hall made 34 appearances for the third place '75 Mets, third most out of the bullpen, going 4-3 with one save. He would finish 15 games posting a 4.75 ERA. He struck out 48 batters in 60 innings pitched.  

In 1976 he earned a win on April 27th when John Milner & Bruce Boisclair drove in runs for a dramatic 9th inning finish. In his last Mets game, his former Reds team mates Ken Griffey & George Foster got him for two runs in the 11th inning for a loss. After just five appearances, posting a 5.75 ERA, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for a minor leaguer. He finished up his career there the next season.  

In a ten year career, Hall was 52-33 with 32 saves and a 3.27 ERA. He struck out 797 batters walking 382 in 852 innings pitched. Hall made63 starts in 358 games with seven complete games & three shut outs. He was certainly an under rated pitcher, especially at a time when mid relievers got no recognition.  

Retirement: After baseball he began a career as a supervisor for Rohr Aeospace in 1978. After that he became a postman for twenty years in the Riverside California area he grew up in.

Hall was elected to the Riverside Hall of Fame in 2002. He enjoys bowling, fishing, traveling with his wife, & spending time grandchild.

Mid Nineties Mets Hitting Coach: Tommy McCraw (1992-1996)

Tommy Lee McCraw was born November 21, 1940 in Malvern, Arizona. His family moved to Southern California, and he attended high school in Venice Beach. He then attended Santa Monica Community College.

The speedy first baseman / outfielder got signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1960. In 1962 he won the AA batting title hitting .362 making the big leagues for good the next year. He came up with a lot of promise, as the Sox everyday first baseman right off the bat in his rookie year.

That season (1963) he hit .254 with 6 HRs 33 RBIs & 15 stolen bases. He hit .261 the next year which was his best in his playing years at Chicago. He stole 12 or more bases in each of first three seasons, then 20 or more over the next three years. In 1967 he hit a career best 11 HRs, with 45 RBIs batting .236 while stealing 24 bases (4th in the league).

On May 24th he hit three HRs in a game against the Minnesota Twins, he just missed a fourth sending a Jim Kaat pitch to the warning track. Also that month, he tied an MLB first base record, by committing three errors in one inning. That year he led AL first basemen in assists (93), double plays (103), total chances and errors (20). He was second in the league triples (12) tenth in steals (20) although he only batted .229.

He spent eight years in Chicago wearing the White Sox classic road powder blue road uniforms, before getting sent to the Washington Senators in 1971. That was the teams their last season in the nation’s capitol. He learned how to hit the ball with more force under the direction of Senators manager Ted Williams.

That May he was involved in a very strange play in a game against the Cleveland Indians. McGraw hit a routine infield popup, future Met, shortstop Jack Heidemann, outfielders John Lowenstein &Vada Pinson all ran after the ball & collided. The ball rolled away from the fielders & the speedy Mcraw rounded the bases for an inside the park HR.

He only hit .213 & made the last out in Senators history when he was caught stealing second base. McCraw was traded to Cleveland as the Washington franchise got to Texas. He hit .258 there but the journey man found himself at home in Anaheim, getting traded for Leo Cardenas in April 1973. He was the Angels first official designated hitter on Opening Day 1973, going 1-4 on that day. He was in the Angels line up on July 15th 1973, going 0-2 with a walk, playing right field when Nolan Ryan threw his second career no hitter.

In 99 games that season he batted .265 with 3 HRs. McCraw had his contract purchased by the Cleveland Indians in 1975, playing for the first African American manager; Frank Robinson. In that season, he & Robinson grew a bond that would last for many years.

McCraw finished his playing career there the next year, in 13 seasons McCraw hit .246 with 972 hits 143 stolen bases, 75 HRs, 150 doubles, 404 RBIs & a .309 on base % playing in 1468 games played.

Retirement: After his playing days he became a long time coach, with the help of the knowledge he had gained as a player under the tutoring of Hall of Famers; Ted Williams & Frank Robinson. McCraw would also serve as a hitting coach under Frank Robinson four different times.

In his career he coached: Cleveland (1975/ 1980-1982) Baltimore (1989-1991) Montreal (2002-2004) & the Nationals in (their first season 2005). He also coached in San Francisco (1983-1985) Houston (1997-2000) & with the New York Mets.

McCraw was the Mets hitting coach for four seasons from 1992-1996. He first served under his old Angels team mate manager Jeff Torborg, then Dallas Green finishing out the year when Bobby Valentine was hired. As for the disastrous 1993 season, McCraw said “The whole season was a long rerun”.

That year the club batted .248 (13th in the league) although they were 4th in HRs (158) & triples (37).The next year they were 13th in batting and fist in the league in striking out. There was improvement in 1995 as the club batted fifth in the NL (.267) & in 1996 the Mets were second in batting average (.270).

Nov 9, 2017

New York Giants Pitcher Who Pitched In Three World Series: Hugh McQuillan (1922-1926)

Alvin Hugh McQuillan was born on September 15th 1895 in New York City. The six foot right hander began his career with the Boston Braves in 1918. He pitched there into the 1922 season. He won double figures from 1920-1922, winning as many as 13 games but posted losing records each season. In those years the Braves finished seventh twice & a best fourth in 1922.

That season New York Giants manager John McGraw wanted him on his staff, the Giants traded three players & $100,000 to get him. The deal was made on July 30th & came right after a controversial Red Sox trade with the AL New York club. These deals led to baseball adopting the June 15th trade deadline which stood for many years.

McQuillan joined the Giants on August 4th and took two losses in his first two starts. But from there he won four straight to close out the month of August. He went 6-5 for New York as the Giants went on to win the NL Pennant.

Post Season: That World Series was played entirely in the Polo Grounds since both the Giants & the AL New York team were both sharing the ball park. McQuillan pitched a complete game 4-3 victory in Game #4 benefiting from a four run Giants fourth inning. The Giants won the Series in five games.

In 1923 he came back to win a career high 15 games (15-14) second on the staff to Jack Scott. He threw five shut outs with 15 complete games, posting a 3.41 ERA as the Giants went on to another NL Pennant. His first half of the season was much better as he was 10-5 by the end of July.

Post Season: In that year's subway World Series he was the losing pitcher in Game #2 as the Giants lost the series in six games.

In 1924 McQuillan went 14-8 with a 2.69 ERA. He was one of two fourteen game winners, pitching behind two sixteen game winner. That season John McGraw stepped down as manager after managing the Giants for 31 seasons. Hughie Jennings took over the team in August as they rolled on to another NL Pennant.

Post Season: This time they faced off against the Washington Senators in the World Series losing in seven games. McQuillan was the winning pitcher in Game #3 although he was relieved in the fourth inning, by one of four Giants pitchers son the day. The Giants won the game 6-4 at the Polo Grounds.

In 1925 he was limited to just 14 games, but returned in 1926 to go 11-10 for the fifth place Giants. Midway through 1927 he was traded back to the Boston Braves where he ended his career that season.

In a ten year career he was 88-94 (53-44 in New York) with ten shut outs 16 saves 95 complete games & a 3.83 ERA in 279 appearances.

Retirement: McQuillan remained in New York City residing in Jamaica Queens. He passed away in August 1947 & is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Woodside Queens.