Jul 28, 2018

Former New York Giants Pitcher (1925-1936) Coach (1949-1955): Freddie Fitzsimmons

Frederick Landis Fitzsimmons was born on July 28, 1901 in Mishawaka, Indiana. The right hander was known as a tough competitor, and famous for his knuckle curve ball. Although he wasn’t a strike out pitcher was one of the games better pitchers for the next two decades.

He came to the Giants staff in 1925 pitching in ten games going 6-3. The following year he was 14-10 (10th most wins in the NL) with a 2.88 ERA (6TH in the league). In 1927 Carl Hubbell arrived on the Giants staff & the two made an awesome lefty righty combo on the Giants staff. Fitzsimmons won 17 games going 17-10 paving the way for his best season in 1928. That year he went 20-9 (5th in the NL in wins) second on the staff to Larry Benton, with a 6.90 win % (4th in the NL) posting a 3.68 ERA, pitching 261 innings.

In 1930 Fitsimmons led the league in winning % (.731%) going 19-7 (third in the NL in wins) with a 4.25 ERA. That year Hubbel & Bill Walker both had 17 wins. Fitzsimmons would win 17 or more games five times, posting double figures in wins twelve different times. In his nineteen year career he posted winning record fourteen times & had one .500 season. He twice led the league in shut outs, & one time each in starts, shut outs & earned runs.

In 1934 he led the league in put outs for the fourth time setting the major league mark which was eventually broken by Cleveland’s Bob Lemon in 1954. He pitched for the Giants thirteen seasons, before being traded to the cross town rival Brooklyn Dodgers for Tom Baker in 1937. Pitching in Brooklyn firey team mate Leo Durocher said, “"I wish we had nine guys like Fitz. We'd never lose."

In 1939 he broke Burleigh Grimes record of 74 double plays on the mound. Warren Spahn would break this record in 1964. He pitched there for seven seasons; having a fantastic 1940 where he was 16-2 with a 2.81 four shut outs, eleven complete games & a league leading .889 win %. In his time pitching in the NL he was the third most winningest pitcher in the league behind only Burleigh Grimes & Paul Derringer.

Defensively he led the league in put outs four times, fielding % three times & assists once time.

Post Season: Fitzsimmons got to three World Series winning his first one in 1933 while being on the losing end the other two times. In the 1933 Series he took the Giants only loss in Game #4 to the Washington Senators.

In the 1936 Series he took two more losses going 0-2 in that Fall Classic, allowing seven runs in thirteen innings pitched. In the 1941 Series with Brooklyn, he pitched seven scoreless innings matching zeros with Marius Russo but earned no decision in his only series appearance. In 1943 he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies where he was named the teams manager right away, ending his playing days.

In his nineteen year career he was 217-146 (80th most wins all time) with a .598 win % (125th all time) 3.54 ERA pitching in 3223 innings (98th all time) with 30 shut outs (130th all time), 186 complete games (161st all time)& 13 saves over 513 games, with 425 starts (95th all time). His 237 put outs are 47th all time, his 940 assists are 30th all time & his .977 fielding % is 33rd all time.

Retirement: He managed the Phils through 1945, going 105-181 (.367%). In 1943 & 1944 he served as a Genral Manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers football team in the All America Football Conference. In 1948 he coached the Boston Braves, returning to the New York Giants as a coach from 1949-1955.

He won two pennants & a World Series with the Giants serving as former team mate Leo Durocher’s pitching coach in that time. After his time as the Giants coach he went to the Chicago Cubs & Kansas City Athletics.

Fitzsimmons passed away at age 78 of a heart attack in Yucca Valley, California. Fitzsimmons was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.

Jul 25, 2018

Former Italian / American Mets Pitcher: Frank Tanana (1993)

Frank Daryl Tanana was born on July 3, 1953 in Detroit, Michigan. The left handed fast ball pitcher was a 1971 first round draft pick for the California Angels, the 13th pick overall. In 1973 he was 33-12 with a 2.70 ERA at two levels of minor league ball, getting promoted to the big league staff by the end of the year.

In 1974 Tanana teamed up with Nolan Ryan making them one of the best one & two combo’s in baseball. The saying went in Anaheim was “Tanana, Ryan & two days of cryin’” during those mid seventies hey days. In his first full season, 1974 he was given the start on the second game of the season in Chicago against the White Sox.

Although he pitched well into the 7th inning allowing just two runs, he got no decision. He then won his next two starts beating Texas & the White Sox at home. In May he lost four straight starts going 2-4 in the month, although his ERA was just at 2.88. From the end of June on, he allowed more than three runs in a game just five times, but was just 10-7 in that time.

Tanana finished the year at 14-19 (3rd most losses in the A.L.) on a last place Angel’s team, striking out 180 batters (7th in the AL) in 268 innings pitched with a 3.12 ERA. He made the Topps All Star Rookie Team & was voted California’s most eligible bachelor. The free spirited Tanana became a star the next season.

In 1975 he started out at 2-4 then things took off after June 3rd. He won four straight decagons, striking out ten batters or more three times. On June 21st in the first game of a double header with the Texas Rangers he struck out 17 batters pitching a two hit complete game. In that game his fast ball was clocked at 1000 mph. Two outings later he struck out 15 Twins in Minnesota, tossing his third straight complete game win.

After a July Fourth of July loss at Oakland, he won eight of his next nine decisions, ten of his last fourteen. From August 24th through September 10th he tossed five straight complete games, beginning with a four hit shuut out against the AL New York team in New York's Shea Stadium.

He never allowed more than six hits in those starts and was 4-1 lowering his ERA to 2.36. On September 22nd he earned no decision although he pitched 13 shut out innings, allowing just six hits against the White Sox.

Tanana led the A.L in strikeouts with 269, going 16-9 with a 2.62 ERA (fourth in the AL). On the season he threw 16 complete games with five shut outs, coming in fourth in the Cy Young Award voting.

In the bicentennial year of 1976, he had a great May winning six straight starts pitching complete games in five of those outings. He made his first All Star team, that year & ended the season with a 7-1 August/ September. On September 6th he struck out 15 Oakland A's for his tenth game with double figures in strike outs on the year. On the year he was 19-9 (fourth most wins in the AL) with a 2.43 ERA (3rd in the AL) & 23 complete games (2nd in the AL) pitching 288 innings. 

In 1977 he started out the year at 4-0 and was an incredible 11-3 by the middle of June. By now he was one of the league's top pitchers. On May 25th he threw a three hits shut out in Detroit & then in his next start threw a five hit one run game in Cleveland but took the loss to Dennis Eckersley' s 1-0 shutout.

In June when the Indians came to California he got revenge by throwing a two hit shutout victory. In August he tossed a four hit shut out over seven innings against the Boston Red Sox & then pitched a three hit shut out in his next outing against the Baltimore Orioles. His season was cut short with an injury at the beginning of September.

On the year he led the league in ERA (.2.54) & shut outs, tossing seven of them. He was second to team mate Nolan Ryan in strike outs (230) as well as strike out per nine inning ratio. He went to that All Star Games as well as the next years, representing the Angels. Tanana would go 82-59 over a five year period with the Angles. The team only finished above fourth place once in those years (second place in 1978).

In 1979 he missed two months due to a shoulder injury which would ruin his fastball. After the tragic murder of team mate Lyman Bostock, Tanana became a religious man & changed his perspective on life. He also learned to become a finesse style pitcher, without his blazing fast ball, prolonging his career for another 14 years. After his return in September he went 2-1 helping the Angels clinch their first AL Western Title.

In the 1979 ALCS he pitched his first game getting no decision against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing two runs over five innings of work.

In January of 1981 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox along with Joe Rudi & Steve Renko for All Star Fred Lynn. He would never be the dominant pitcher he once was. He went to Boston & the Texas Rangers (1982-19885) where he led the league in losses (18) in 1982. Mid way through 1985, he came home to Detroit fpitching for the Tigers for the next seven plus seasons through 1992.

In Detroit legendary broad caster Ernie Harwell would call him ‘Tan-talizing Tanana” as he became known as "the great tantalizer" for his wide array of pitches. He would post winning records in all but one season & would pitch over 200 innings four times in those years.

He would win 13 or more games four times, including a 15-10 season in 1987 as the Tigers won the AL Eastern Title. That year he pitched a 1-0 shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays on the last day of the season, helping the Tigers get to the post season.

Post Season: In the ALCS he took a loss to Frank Viola & the Minnesota Twins in Game #4, allowing four runs in five 1/3 innings of work. He went 14-11 the next season but then fell to 10-14 in 1989. He won 13 games in back to back seasons (1991/1992) ending his time with the Tigers.

Tanana signed on with the New York Mets as a free agent for the 1993 season. His first Mets start came in the 10th game of the year, in Cincinnati against the Reds. Tanana pitched six innings allowing one run on six hits earning the 4-1 victory. He won his next start as well, pitching eight innings allowing only one run at Shea Stadium against the San Diego Padres. In May he lost his first three starts then beat the Reds to close out the month. During the summer months he went 3-10, winning just one game in each month.

In September he finished his Mets career with a 5-4 victory against the Phillies at Shea Stadium on September 14th. He would pitch into the 7th inning or beyond 14 times during the season, but more often than not, ended up on the losing end for a last place Mets team.

He led the staff in starts (29) but also in HRs allowed (26) earned runs (91) & hits (198). Overall he was 7-15 with a 4.48 ERA, 104 strikeouts, 48 walks & 26 HRs allowed in 183 innings pitched. In late September he was traded to the AL New York team for Kenny Greer. There he went 0-2 before retiring at the end of the year.

In his 21 season career, Tanana won 240 games (56th best all time) while taking 236 losses (17th all time). He struck out 2773 strikeouts (21st all time) with 34 shutouts (83rd all time) 616 starts (18th all time) a 3.36 ERA, 143 complete games (240th all time) in 4441 innings pitched (35th all time) and his 448 HRs allowed are the sixth most all time.

Retirement: He & his wife are involved in the Christian community within pro baseball. He serves on the Pro Athletes Outreach Board of Directors, and they are involved in the Home Plate and Career Impact ministries. In 2006, Tanana was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

Jul 20, 2018

Former Mets First Round Draft Pick: Preston Wilson (1998)

Preston James Richard Wilson was born on July 19, 1974 in Bamberg, South Carolina. Preston Wilson is the stepson & nephew of former Mets player & current coach, Mookie Wilson. Mookie married his brother’s ex-wife who is the mother of Preston. Preston went to the same high school as Mookie and was a star outfielder there as well. He was drafted by the New York Mets as a first round pick (9th pick overall) in 1992.

He spent five seasons in the minors hitting over 20 HRs four different times. He was voted one of the top 100 prospects by Baseball America four separate times as well. Preston also spent one season playing in the Australian baseball league. He was an aggressive hitter known to swing at the first pitch & strike out often.

He was brought up in May of 1998 as a highly touted prospect. In his first two games he got three hits apiece and drove in two runs against the St. Louis Cardinals. He went hitless on a West Coast road trip and while still in California, he learned he was being traded. He was sent to the Florida Marlins with two minor leaguers, for All Star Mike Piazza. Wilson spent the rest of the season back in the minor leagues hitting 26 HRs batting .273.

In 1999 he was the starting centerfielder in Florida playing in his first full season, hitting 26 HRs with 21 doubles 11 steals & 71 RBIs with a .280 batting average. He came in runner up for the Rookie of the Year Award. In 2000 he joined the 30-30 club, with 31 HRs & 36 stolen bases, driving in 121 runs (8th best in the league). The free swinging Wilson, also led the NL in strikeouts with a whopping 187, two shy of Bobby Bonds record (189) at that time.

His numbers fell off the next two seasons although he did hit over twenty HRs & stole twenty plus bases each year. In November 2002 he was traded to the Colorado Rockies with Charles Johnson for Mike Hampton & Juan Pierre. Preston enjoyed hitting in Colorado and bashed 36 HRs with 43 doubles, while leading the NL in RBIs (141) in 2003.

He never had the same numbers again, and went to the Washington Nationals (2005), the Houston Astros (2006) & St. Louis Cardinals (2006) before getting released in 2007. He finished his career after ten seasons with 1055 hits 189 HRs 221 doubles 668 RBIs 124 stolen bases & a .264 average with 1085 strikeouts in 4003 at bats. He struck out over 100 times seven out of ten seasons he played.

In 2009 he played in the Independent league for the Long Island Ducks under former Met, Gary Carter.

Jul 11, 2018

Remembering Mets History: (1986) Mets Finish Sweep of Braves With a Blow Out & a Shut Out

July 11th- July 13th 1986 Weekend Series:
On Friday night, the first place Mets (58-25) took the first game of the series against the Braves (42-45) in a game where Gary Carter hit two HRs, drove in seven runs & his curtain call led to yet another '86 Mets bench clearing brawl. The Mets blew out the Braves in a 11-0 shut out.

Saturday July 12th: So on Saturday 30,899 fans came to Shea for game two of the weekend series. Davey Johnson sent Rick Aguilera to the mound against Atlanta's Rick Mahler. Again the Mets fans would see another Mets blow out.

Lenny Dykstra led the way with four hits, as Gary Carter & Darryl Strawberry both had three hit days. It was Rick Aguilera earning the win, pitching seven innings as Roger McDowell & Jesse Orosco closed it out.
In the 3rd, Aguilera & Dykstra singled, both came home on Keith Hernandez's triple. Hernandez would also score on an error on the play. Carter then singled & Straw brought him in to make it 4-0.
Mookie Wilson would steal a base & then score on two Braves errors in the 5th inning. In the home 7th, Mookie would drive in two runs with a base hit & then score with Strawberry on Ray Knight's single. Knight came in after Dykstra singled as well making it 10-1.

Sunday July 13th: The Mets completed the three game sweep during this five game win streak, as Ron Darling pitched a complete game shut out, striking out seven Braves, while scattering nine hits.
The Mets would get just two runs off Atlanta veteran Doyle Alexander, the first run came in the 1st inning, after Len Dykstra tripled & scored on Wally Backmans ground out.

Later in the 6th inning, Dykstra hit a solo HR to complete the Mets scoring, in the 2-0 win.

Jul 7, 2018

Former Mets Catcher Also Coming Over In the Noah Syndergaard /Travis dArnaud Trade: John Buck (2013)

Jonathan Richard Buck was born on July 7th, 1980 in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The six foot two catcher is one of two active MLB players currently playing that were born in the state of Wyoming.

Buck was drafted by the Houston Astros in the seventh round of the 1988 draft. Buck spent five years at the low level of A ball in the minor leagues.

By 2003, he improved his defense so well behind the plate, he was voted the minor leagues 21st best prospect while playing at AAA New Orleans. In 2004 he got his average up to .300 & was brought up to the majors. 

In June of 2004 he was involved in a big three team trade, that sent him to the Kansas City Royals along with Mark Teahan & Mike Wood. In the trade Carlos Beltran went to the Houston Astros & Octavio Dotel to the Oakland Athletics. He saw playing time right away replacing the veteran catcher; Benito Santiago.

His defense was good enough to keep him in the line up & by the end of the year he hit 12 HRs with 35 RBIs batting .235 in 71 games.

That season he came in eighth in the Rookie of the Year voting. Buck would spend six years in Kansas City as the Royals main catcher, coming in the league's top five in fielding twice, posting .994% or better each time. 

In 2009 he led the league in errors, posting eight three straight seasons. While in Kansas City he got into a heated argument, that led to a scuffle with his pitcher; Runelvys Hernandez, during a 2006 game against the Cleveland Indians.

In 2010 he signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays, having the best year of his career. He hit 20 HRs with 25 doubles & 66 RBIs while batting .281 (all career highs).

On April 29th he hit three HRs in a game, driving in five of the six runs in a win against the Oakland Athletics. Buck then hit two HRs in a game in both May & June, & had 13 by the All Star break.

That year he was selected to the All Star team playing behind starter Joe Mauer. In that game at Anaheim, Buck doubled off Adam Wainwright, going 1-2 in the National Leagues 3-1 win. At the end of the year he signed on with the Florida Marlins. In his first Marlins game he hit a grand slam HR, off the New York Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey.

He was the clubs main catcher for two seasons, throwing out the league's lowest percent of base runners attempting to steal, in 2011, while hitting 16 HRs with 57 RBIs. That off season he helped save two elderly woman, in an overturned car in Sunrise Florida.

In 2012 he batted just .192 with 12 HRs & 41 RBIs. He was then traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson & Emilio Bonifacio at the end of the season for Jeff Mathis, Yuneil Escobar, Hendersen Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria & three minor leaguers.

Two months later, in December he was traded to the New York Mets along with Travis d'Arnard, Noah Syndergaard & Wuilimer Becerra for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole & Mike Nickeas.

Bucks arrival in New York was thought of as just filling in time, with veteran leadership until Travis d'Arnard was ready for the big leagues. But Buck had an incredible start to the year, surprising everyone with a huge April.

On Opening Day he had two hits, while driving in a run in the Mets 11-2 win over the San Diego Padres. The next day he hit a two run HR off Clayton Richard, with two hits driving in three runs in the Mets 8-4 win. The next day he hit another HR, driving in the lone Mets run in the 2-1 loss. On April 6th, he drove in four runs, including two sac flies in a 7-3 win over his former team, the Miami Marlins. Buck was batting .400 through his first full week after six game as a Met.

On April 8th, he had a four game stretch where he homered in each game, topped off by a grand slam HR off Pedro Hernandez at Target Field in Minnesota in a 16-5 win over the Twins.

It was in the next game that he was behind the plate, calling the signals for Mets pitcher Mike Harvey who took a no hitter into the 7th inning. On April 21st he hit a HR off Jordan Zimmerman, in a Dillon Gee 2-0 win over the Washington Nats.

That week he drove in runs in three straight games. He finished off April with a HR against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 27th, then another on the 29th in Miami in a 4-3 Mets loss.
On May 1st, he doubled driving in two runs that turned out to be the games winning runs in the 7-6 win at Miami. On May 3rd he hit his tenth HR of the young season, a two run shot in Atlanta off the Braves Mike Minor in a 7-5 Mets victory.

Buck slowly cooled off, not hitting another HR until the Braves came to Citi Field on May 24th. He would drive in ten runs in the month, but saw his average fell off to .220 by the start of June. He did not hit another HR until June 18th, also coming against the Braves. This HR came during a Matt Harvey 4-3 win, in the first game of a double header sweep. In the second game Zack Wheeler made his MLB debut.

On June 30th he hit his 13th HR of the year, coming at Citi Field in a 13-2 debacle of a loss to the Washington Nats. In July he had a seven game hit streak where he drove in eight runs over that span. He had four multi hit games & three muti RBI games as well in the stretch.

On July 25th he had a big night against the Atlanta Braves, starting out with a single bringing in two runs in the 3rd inning. Later he doubled, scoring David Wright with his third RBI of the night in the 7-4 Met win. The next day he drove in the only run in the Mets 2-1 loss to the Nats.

When the Mets went to Miami, it was Bucks 10th inning single that scored David Wright & Marlon Byrd breaking the 2-2 tie, giving the Mets the win.

In August he hit his 15th HR of the year, it came on August 15th in San Diego in the 4-1 Mets win. On that road trip he also drove in runs in two games in Los Angeles.

That month John Buck Was on stand by, awaiting his wife to give birth back to their third child.

The Mets were also waiting, as this was the time they chose to bring up their highly touted catching prospect; Travis d'Arnaud.

Shortly after he arrived the Mets determined he was the number one catcher. This had been the plan all along, it was d'Arnaud's injury that only prolonged the situation.

On August 26th, Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey was diagnosed with a UCL tear in his elbow. During that night's game at Citi Field, John Buck consoled the pitcher he had enjoyed catching all season in New York.

The next day, The Mets traded Buck & Marlon Byrd to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dilson Herrera & a player to be named later.

Buck would play in nine games for the Pirates as a back up to Russel Martin & Jose Tabata. In 2013 Buck hit 15 HRs & 11 doubles with 62 RBIs while batting .222 with a .288 on base %. Behind the plate he had thrown out 29 % of would be base stealers & had 746 putouts. He was signed by the Seattle Mariners in 2014 where he played 27 games before being released. He was signed by the L.A. Angels at the end of July & played five more games there. He officially retired in 2015.

In his eleven year career hit .234 with 844 hits 134 HRs 172 doubles 491 RBIs & a .301 on base %.

He had caught 1042 games with 6733 put outs (50th all time) with a .992 fielding % (50th all time) making 58 errors throwing out 25% of would be base stealers.

Jul 4, 2018

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Steven Matz & Logan Verrett Toss Three Hitter In L.A.

Sunday July 5th 2015: Terry Collins second place Mets (42-41) were 4 1/2 games out of first place & barely over .500. They came to L.A. to face Don Mattingly's first place Dodgers (46-37).

Mets young pitcher Steven Matz was already 2-0 & the latest buzz in baseball, as yet another fine young Mets pitcher came up from their organization. Matz would go against Mike Bolsinger in front of 40,027 in Dodger Stadium.

Starting Lineups

Today would be another easy win for the young Steven Matz, as the Mets provided him with eight runs of offense. But Matz certainly earned the win, he would pitch six innings, as the Mets protected him early on, shutting out the Dodgers allowing just two hits, walking two & striking out eight. The win was his third (3-0) and he now lowered his ERA to 1.32. Logan Verrett closed it out with three shut out innings on just one hit & another three strike outs.

In the 1st inning, Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy & Wilmer Flores all singled. Flores made it -0 with his first RBI of the day.

In the top of the 4th, the Mets sent nine men to the plate collecting five hits. Steven Matz grounded out to second but that allowed Johnny Monell to score.

Curtis Granderson's double brought in Ruben Tejada & the Wilmer Flores gor his second RBI on the day with his second hit, an infield single.

In the 7th, Tejada got himself an RBI single & Juan Lagares added a two run triple. to make it 7-0.

In the 8th, Daniel Murphy singled, Lucas Duda grounded out to second but an error on the fielders choice got him to second base. Wilmer Flores completed his three hit, three RBI day with a double down the left field line. The Mets had an easy 8-0 win, took two of three in L.A. & took two of three in San Francisco next for a successful West Coast trip.

Jul 2, 2018

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Donn Clendenon's Hot July Start

50th Anniversary of the 1969 World Champion "Amazing Mets"

The Mets acquired Donn Clendenon on the 1969 June trade deadline. The team was lacking the run producing, slugger Clendenon was. He was slowly put into the line up, as a pinch runner, pinch hitter & then in the platoon with Ed Kranepool at first base. He would score runs in his first two games but overall have just four hits in his first 22 Met at bats. 

On June 29th 1969 he drove in three runs & totaled four RBIs in his first two weeks. Then at the start of July, he went on a six game tear from July 1st to July 6th. 

Clendenon would collect ten hits, driving in ten runs, with three runs scored, a HR & three extra base hits. The Mets won four of six in that stretch, with two more wins dating back to his three RBI game on June 29th.

July 1st 1969:  The Mets dropped a twin bill in St. Louis to the Cardinals. It was in that second game Clendenon began his hitting tear for the week. He collected two hits with a pair of RBIs. In the July 2nd 6-4 win highlighted by Wayne Garrett's four RBI game, Clendenon drove in a run with two more hits.

Thursday July 3rd 1969- The Mets came off that double header loss taking the previous nights game, on this day they evened the series & left St. Louis going 2-2. The Mets sent Gary Gentry to the hill to face veteran Mud Cat Grant.

Gentry would go the distance, nine innings allowing one run on just five hits, he struck out five & walked two to earn his 8th win (8-6). Mud Grant had a tougher time with the Mets line up taking the loss.

Starting Lineups

Tommie Agee led off the game for New York with a HR. In the 4th, Cleon Jones who was batting .355 atop the NL, singled. Art Shamsky followed with a double & then Grant walked Wayne Garrett to load the bases. The man with the hot bat, the newest Met, Donn Clendenon singled to left field brining on two runs, making it 3-0.

Grant walked three more & threw a wild pitch in the inning, getting relieved after it was 5-0 Mets.

In the 5th Jones & Clendenon singled, Jerry Grote & Al Weis followed with base hits driving in both runners making it 7-0. Ken Boswell added an RBI double in the 8th, topping off the Mets 8-1 win.

Friday July 4th 1969: The Mets (43-34) now ten games over .500 moved on to Pittsburgh for an Independence Day game with the Pirates (38-41) at Forbes Field, in its final season. The leagues top Pitcher, Tom Seaver went on the mound for the Mets against Bob Veale.

Starting Lineups

In the Mets 2nd, Rod Gaspar reached on an error & advanced to second, he came all the way home on Jerry Grote's base hit. In the 3rd, Bobby Pfeil doubled to left field, Cleon Jones then drove him in with another base hit.

In the 4th, the Pirates got two runs off Seaver, including Willie Stargell's 11th HR of the season. Stargell would hit 29 HRs & drive in 92 runs in 1969.

In the 5th, Pfeil walked & Cleon Jones doubled putting two men on for the hot hitting Clendenon. Clendenon doubled to right field, driving in both runners making it 5-2. Al Weis brought in Clendenon with a double of his own.

In the 8th, Tommie Agee hit his second HR on as many days, his 12th of the year. Jerry Grote added an RBI single bringing in Rod Gaspar with the Mets eighth run. In the 9th the Mets sent eight men to the plate, collecting three more runs & six more hits in the inning. All this with two outs.

It began when Jerry Grote walked, Al Weis singled, pitcher Cal Koonce who had relieved Seaver in the 8th, then drove in a run with a base hit. Tommie Agee & Bobby Pfiel followed with RBI base hits of their own to make it 11-4 Mets.

The win gave Tom Seaver his league leading 13th of the year (13-3), he had now won seven straight & was already the Mets all time leading pitcher in wins with 45, just ahead of Al Jackson. In this game he went 7.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, three walks & seven Ks, his season ERA was at 2.62.

Sunday July 6th 1969: Gil Hodges Mets  were now a solid ten games over .500 as they closed out the series at Forbes Field. Neither of todays starters, Jim McAndrew for the Mets & Luke Walker for Pittsburgh would fare too well.

In the top of the 1st,Bobby Pfeil would single for the Mets. The hot hitting Donn Clendenon then doubled to right field scoring Pfeil with the Mets first run.

In the bottom of the frame, McAndrew walked two Pirates & gave up an RBI hit to Roberto Clememte & then a three run HR to catcher Jerry May. Clemente would have a two RBI base hit the next inning, making it 6-1 Pirates. 

The Mets collected two runs in the 4th with RBI singles from Jerry Grote & Ron Swoboda. In the 5th inning, the Glider, Ed Charles hit a HR to narrow the Pirate lead to 6-4. 

The Mets bullpen of Danny Frisella, Ron Taylor & Cal Koonce kept the Pirates scoreless, the rest of the way. The Mets struck back in the top of the 6th. Singles by Al Weis & Ron Swoboda put two men for Cleon Jones. Jones, who was batting .354 singled bringing in Weis with his team leading 51st RBI of the season. 

Next up, the hot Donn Clendenon hit a three run HR, to put New York in front 8-6. Clendenon's HR was just his 5th on the year, his forst since joining the Mets. He now had 29 RBIs on the season with 11 in the past week & 15 runs driven in since joining the Mets.