Oct 31, 2018

Al Leiter- The Mets Years (1998-2004)

Al Leiter debuted with the Mets in the second game of the 1998 season, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium. He won his next three starts closing out April at 3-1. On May 23rd he pitched a four hit shutout, beating the Milwaukee Brewers at Shea Stadium.

From that day to the end of June, Leiter won six straight games lowering his ERA to 1.60. After missing three weeks of action he returned to go 8-2 the rest of the year.

In his first season with the Mets Leiter had his best career season, becoming the ace of the staff winning a career high 17 games. He was 17-6 with the league’s third best ERA (2.47) and was second in the NL in hits allowed per nine innings. He pitched 193 innings struck out 174 batters & walked just 71.

In 1999 he was Bobby Valentines Opening Day pitcher, but was gone after five innings, as he took the loss in Florida against his old Marlins team mates. He had a rough start to the season finding himself at 2-5 by the end of May.

He turned it around in June going 5-0 in the month, never allowing more than three runs in a game & going at least into the seventh inning all but one time. On June 6th he beat the AL New York club allowing just one run in seven innings in the subway series held in the Bronx. That month he also beat the Boston Red Sox & the Marlins twice.

On August 1st, Leiter struck out a season high 15 batters at Wrigley Field in a 5-4 win over the Cubs. He pitched seven innings allowing just two runs on seven hits. As he entered September he was 10-9 and then he beat the Colorado Rockies pitching into the 9th inning on September 4th allowing just two runs in the 4-2 Mets win.

He then he lost his next three starts as the Mets were fighting for a wild card finish. During the last week of the season he beat the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium allowing just two runs pitching seven innings. Then he had his best outing of the year in the Mets biggest game of the year, after they ended the regular season tied for the wild card title.

Wild Card Playoff: Leiter was brilliant in the one game playoff against the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium. He threw a two hit complete game shutout striking out seven Reds while walking four. He helped bring the Mets into their first post season in thirteen years.

In the Mets wild card winning season he went 13-12 with a 4.23 ERA, striking out 162 batters with 93 walks (6th in the league) pitching in 213 innings. At the plate his 11 sacrifice hits were 8th best in the league.

Post Season: In the '99 NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks he got the start in Game #4 at Shea Stadium. He went into the 8th inning with a 2-1 Mets lead but with two outs gave up a walk & a base hit. He exited the game giving the ball to Armando Benitez. Benitez allowed a two run double to Jay Bell blowing the chance for Leiter to earn a victory. The Mets came back & won it on Todd Pratt’s now famous walk off HR, winning the Series advancing to the NLCS.

In the NLCS Leiter faced off against Atlanta’s Tom Glavine In Game #3 at Shea Stadium. In the first inning the Braves scored on an unearned run after a Mike Piazza error, the run was the only one scored in the game & Leiter took a heartbreaking 1-0 loss.

In the game he pitched seven strong innings allowing no earned runs on just three hits. He returned in Game #6 but never got past the 1st inning, as the Braves roughed him up scoring five times & he was relieved by Pat Mahomes.

In 2000 he took a step back becoming the number two starter behind newly acquired Mike Hampton. After playing the first two games of the year at the Tokyo Dome in Japan, the Mets had their official home opener on April 3rd. Leiter got the start beating the San Diego Padres after allowing just one run over eight innings. Leiter was sensational in the first part of the season; he was 5-0 by mid May pitching his first complete game at at Pittsburgh on May 11th, striking out eight Pirate batters.

On July 1st he struck out a season high 12 batters in a victory against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium. He went into the All Star break with a 10-2 record posting a 2.99 ERA, making his second All Star team. He pitched the 4th inning of the Mid Summer Classic at Atlanta’s Turner Field allowing two runs & earning the National League loss.

His best outing during the second half of the season came against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium on August 12th when he struck out 12 batters matching his season high. He allowed no runs on two hits in eight innings pitched. On August 23rd he pitched eight innings in San Diego allowing just one run on three hits, matching his season high 12 strike outs for the third time.

He went 6-6 the rest of the season finishing off the year leading the Mets staff in wins with 16. He went 16-8 with a .667 winning percentage. He struck out 200 batters (5th in the NL) for the second time in his career, throwing 208 innings of work while posting a 3.20 ERA (6th best in the NL). Leiter led the league with a perfect .1000 fielding %, for the first of three seasons.

Post Season: Leiter started Game #2 of the NLDS in San Francisco against the Giants. He held the Giants down to one run on five hits pitching into the 9th inning. He allowed a leadoff double, giving way to Armando Benitez who blew the Mets 4-1 lead. Benitez allowing a three run HR to J.D. Drew, but the Mets came back to win it on Jay Payton’s single in the top of the 10th inning.

In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cards, Leiter started Game #2 at Busch Stadium. He pitched seven strong innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, leaving the game tied at 3-3. The Mets went on to win the game after a Jay Payton RBI single in the top of the 9th inning.

He opened up the 2000 subway World Series in the Bronx, pitching another quality start. He left Game #1 with a 3-2 lead after seven innings pitched, and striking out seven batters. Armando Benitez blew that lead as the Mets lost a heart breaker in extra innings.

In the final Game #5 he pitched his heart once again at Shea Stadium. He pitched into the 9th inning allowing three runs on seven hits & three walks. He had struck out nine batters as well. After a walk & a single he served up an RBI base hit to Luis Sojo.

Unfortunately the Mets offense couldn’t get anything going for him in the bottom of the inning once again. Leiter pitched two World Series games with 16 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched posting a 2.87 ERA.

On Opening Day 2001 he pitched a fine game seven innings, allowing two runs in Atlanta but earned no decision in the Mets 6-4 win over the Braves. He then struggled losing his next three games. He rebounded winning three straight beating the Los Angeles Dodgers at home & the Expos & Marlins at home. He then struggled & lost five of his next six starts finding himself at 4-8 at the break. He pitched his best at the end of August into early September winning four straight games pitching into the 7th inning or beyond three times.

 On August 26th he pitched eight innings against the Giants allowing just three runs in the 605 Mets win. He earned another victory in his next star when he pitched eight innings once again, this time against the Marlins. He allowed just one run & struck out seven for win number ten on the year.

In September he made the start in the first game after the 911 attacks. He allowed just one run in seven innings but exited in a 1-1 tie. The Mets went on to win it as John Franco got the victory. He then had two good outings against the Braves, one at home & one in Atlanta.
He pitched eight innings each time, allowing just one run both times but earned no decisions due to lack of run support.

On the year he was 11-11 but pitched better than his record showed. He posted a 3.31 ERA (8TH in the league) as the Mets fell to 82-80 finishing in third place. Leiter struck out 142 batters, walked 46 in 187 innings pitched.

In 2002 he beat the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day pitching six innings of one run baseball. On April 18th he pitched a two hit shutout in Montreal striking out eight Expos. He had a good start on the year going 5-2. By the All Star break he was 9-7 posting a 2.95 ERA. He was just like the team bouncing around at the .500 level the rest of the way.

On the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Leiter threw another complete game shutout, this time a five hitter against the Braves in Atlanta. On the year he went 13-13 with 172 strike outs & 69 walks, pitching in 204 innings while posting a 3.48 ERA.

For the 2003 season, he took a back seat to the newly acquired Tom Glavine as the ace of the staff. Leiter won his first three starts, beginning with a win against the Chicago Cubs in the second game of the season.

He pitched well enough to be 10-5 at the end of July although his ERA was up at 4.81. He went on to go 15-9 on the season, second on the staff in wins to Steve Trachsel who won 16 games. Leiter was ninth in the NL in wins that season. He struck out 139 batters while walking 94 (5th most in the NL) pitching 180 innings and posting a 3.99 ERA.

2004 was his final Mets season as the 39 year Al Leiter’s career began to wind down. He started out 2-2 but then won six out of seven games over the next two months. He made his last Mets start on October 2nd, getting no decision in an outing against the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium. He won ten games overall on the year, going 10-8 with a 3.21 ERA pitching in thirty games.

In his seven year Mets career he made 213 starts (6th on the all time Mets list) he won 95 games (95-67) which is also sixth on the Mets all time list. 

He is seventh in innings pitched (1360) & strike outs (1106) with a 3.42 ERA. He is tenth in winning % (.586) & losses (67). As a Met was in the league's top ten in ERA four times, wins three times, strikeouts twice and threw at least one shut out in four different seasons.

In 2005 he went to the Florida Marlins going 3-7 through mid July when he was sent to the A.L. New York club to finish out his career. Lifetime over nineteen seasons he was 162-132 (214th all time in wins) with 1974 strikeouts (74th all time), 1163 walks (61st all time), 16 complete games, 10 shutouts and a 3.80 ERA in 2391 innings pitched in 419 games.

Retirement: He began broadcasting games while still a player during the post season games on Fox. He angered a lot of Met fans working as an analyst on the YES network from 2006-2008.

In 2009 he signed on for MLB Networks inaugural season as an in studio reporter. Leiter has considered running for political office on the Republican ticket in the state of New Jersey. He was appointed as member to the NJ Sports, Gaming, and Entertainment Committee.

Leiter who was seen at many Bruce Springsteen concerts especially the ones at Shea Stadium in 2003. He was on hand for the closing ceremonies of Shea Stadium in 2008 & got a luke warm greeting due to his ties with the cross town rivals.


2000 NL Champion Mets Pitcher: Al Leiter- Part One (1987-1997)

Alois Terry Leiter was born October 23, 1965 in Toms River, New Jersey. He went to high school in Bayville New Jersey at Central Regional high.

Leiter grew up a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and was a local New Jersey baseball star. He was drafted by the AL New York team in the second round of the 1984 draft. 

His older brother Mark Leiter, attended Ramapo College & was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles a year earlier. Injuries delayed Mark's career until 1990 when he debuted for eight games with the AL New York club. He would go to the Detroit Tigers (1991-1993) having a best 9-7 year in 1991.

Mark pitched for the California Angles (1994) San Francisco Giants (1995-1996) where he won ten games (10-12) in 1995. Mark Leiter moved onto Montreal Expos (1997) Philadelphia Phillies (1997-1998) Seattle Mariners (1999) & then was injured for two more years making a brief comeback with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001 (three games). In his 11 year career he is 65-73 with a 4.57 ERA in 335 games. 

Older brother Al Leiter, pitched in the minor leagues under the .500 mark in his three seasons before making it to the big leagues. Al Leiter made his MLB debut on September 15th, 1987 in New York beating the Milwaukee Brewers in a six inning one run performance. He struggled with blisters and injures the following year After being hyped up and only going 4-4 in 1988, the impatient organization gave up on him He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jesse Barfield in April of 1989.

There he had to have elbow surgery and struggled with injuries up until the 1992 season. In his first four seasons in Toronto he only pitched in nine games total. He was aboeard for the Blue Jays championship seasons & the hey day of the Sky Dome when it was billed as the 8th wonder of the world. He appeared mostly as a reliever in the Blue Jays 1993 post season, making 12 starts in 34 appearances. He was 9-6 with two saves & a 4.11 ERA.

Post Season: He appeared in two games of the ALCS against the Chicago White Sox. In the 1993 World Series he got the win beating the Philadelphia Phillies, Curt Schilling in Game #1 at Toronto. At the plate he hit a double in Game #4, while allowing six runs in two innings of work in the Blue Jays 15-14 win.

In 1994 he was back in the starting rotation but was limited to twenty games going 6-7. In 1995 the Blue Jays glory days were over as they fell to fifth place. Leiter was 11-11 with a 3.64 ERA leading the league in walks (108) & wild pitches (14). After six years with the Blue Jays he signed as a free agent with the Florida Marlins in 1996.

In Miami his career turned around, as he went 16-12 with a 2.93 ERA (3rd best in the NL) and made his first All Star team in his first season there. In 1997 Leiter won 11 games while losing nine, as the Marlins went on to win the World Series. He was the number three pitcher behind Kevin Brown (16-8) & Alex Fernandez (17-12).

Post Season: In the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, Leiter was the losing pitcher in Game #4 at Florida. He allowed four runs in six innings taking the loss to Denny Neagle who pitched a complete game four hit shutout. In the World Series against the Cleveland Indians,

Leiter started in Game #3 at Cleveland, allowing seven runs (four earned) in just 4.2 innings of work. The Marlins rallied to win a wild 14-11 victory.

Leiter got the ball for Gme #7 in Florida, he went six innings allowing two runs & leaving the game behind 2-1. The Marlins rallied to win it in the bottom of the 9th on Edgar Renteria's walk off base hit. Overall in the 1997 post season he appeared in five games and went 0-1 with an ERA over six.

During that off season the Marlins management had a huge fire sale, selling off most of thier high priced top players. Leiter was traded to the Mets for two minor leaguers and a young A.J. Burnett.

Mets Player Who Set A Record Hitting Four HRs In His First Four MLB Games: Mike Jacobs (2005 / 2010)

Michael James Jacobs was born October 30, 1980 in Chula Vista California. 

The six foot three inch, left hand hitter, was originally selected by the New York Mets as a catcher in the 38th round of the 1999 draft. By 2003 he had developed into a power hitter (17 HRs) and won the Sterling Award as the Mets top prospect.

In 2004 he suffered a torn labrum while at AAA Norfolk and the next season learned how to play first base. In 2005 he hit 25 HRs with 93 RBIs at AA Binghamton, getting called up to the Mets in August, to replace Doug Mientkiewicz and help solve the first base problem.

He made his MLB debut on August 21st, in a game against the Washington Nationals. He became the fourth Met in history to homer in his first MLB at bat, bashing one off Esteban Loiza. Two days later during a four game sweep in Arizona, Jacobs homered again. The following day he hit two more HRs, both coming off Claudio Vargas in the Mets 14-1 win. In that game Jacobs set an MLB record hitting four HRs in his first four career games.

On September 25th the Mets entered the top of the 8th inning behind 4-3. In the inning David Wright homered to tie the game & two batters later Jacobs hit one as well, it turned out to be the winning run. In only 100 at bats that season Jacobs hit 11 HRs with 23 RBIs, a .310 batting average, and a .375 on base percentage.

He closed out the season with hopes of being the Mets first baseman of the future. There was a quick change of plans around Thanksgiving, when the Mets traded him along with Yusmeiro Petit and Grant Psomas to the Florida Marlins for Carlos Delgado.

In 2006 in Florida he hit 20 HRs with 37 doubles with 77 RBIs batting .262. He became one of the Marlins most popular young players.

Family: That year he got married in December and had twin daughters. Overall he & his wife have four daughters & reside in Chula Vista.

He played a few less games in 2007 (114) hitting 17 HRs with 27 doubles 54 RBIs & a .265 average. The free swinger struck out 101 times on the season.

In 2008 he played a career high 141 games and had his biggest year; 32 HRs 27 doubles & 93 RBIs but his average dropped to .247.

Marlins Religious Error: In an error of Religious beliefs, the Marlins has a Jewish heritage day & gave out t-shirts with Jacobs image on them. The only problem was, Jacobs is not Jewish. Jacobs took it all in stride.

The Marlins needed a closer and on October 31st, 2008, they traded Jacobs to the Kansas City Royals for Leo Nunez. He struggled defensively in KC, and found himself as the Royals DH. He batted a career low .228 with 132 strike outs, although he rebounded with 19 HRs 16 doubles & 61 RBIs in 2009.

In 2010 he signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets & found himself as the teams Opening Day first baseman when Daniel Murphy went down with injury. But by April 18th, he was batting .208 & was designated for assignment. In just seven games he went 5-24, with one HR & two RBIs.

While playing at AAA Buffalo he hit 15 HRs batting .260 with 57 RBIs. On July 30th he was traded to the Toronto Blues Jays for a player to be named later.

In 2011 he was playing at AAA Colorado Springs hitting 23 HRs, but after he came up positive for using a human growth hormone, he was released by the Rockies organization.

In 2013 he signed with the Arizona D-backs & after hitting 18 HRs was given another big league shot. He got into 13 games batting .208 but was granted free agency after the season.

In seven career seasons he batted .253 with 493 hits 100 HRs, 116 doubles, 312 RBIs & 492 strike outs in 1949 at bats in 569 games.

Retirement: After playing two years in the Mexican League, Jacobs played one year in Independent baseball for the Lancaster Barnstormers. In 2016 he became a minor league manager in the Miami Marlins organization.

Oct 30, 2018

Remembering Mets History (1988): NLCS Mets Force A Game Seven

 Tuesday October 11th, 1988 NLCS Game #6- Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California:

It was do or die for the '88 Mets, as they were getting shocked by the Los Angeles Dodgers. This game would give the Mets life as they forced a Game Seven.

Davey Johnson sent David Cone (20-3 with the NL's best winning percent; .870% / 2.22 ERA / 213 Ks) to the hill to face L.A.'s Tim Leary (17-11 / 2.91 ERA / 180 Ks). 

Starting Lineups

David Cone stepped up big for New York as he continued his fine season. Cone was also writing a column for the New York post that series & angered the Dodgers with some of his comments. But on this night Cone threw a complete game, allowing just one run in five hits. He struck out six & walked three .

The Mets scored in the 1st inning, as Kevin McReynolds hit a sac fly with the bases loaded, bringing in Lenny Dykstra. In the 3rd, Darryl Strawberry & McReynolds both singled. Then with two outs, Kevin Elster doubled in the Mets second run.

In the 5th, Straw led off with a walk & Kevin McReynolds blasted a two run HR, knocking Leary out of the game with a 4-0 Mets lead.

The Dodgers scored their only run in the 5th on a Mickey Hatcher RBI single. In the top of the 6th, Dykstra doubled & Keith Hernandez singled him in to top off the 5-1 Mets win.

Unfortunately, it was the Mets last win of the year & the last post season win for that Mets team of that era. The Dodgers upset the Mets in Game Seven. The next year saw age catch up to Keith Hernandez & Gary Carter. The team that seemed to be destined for a dynasty in 1986 was now on the decline, although no one really saw it coming at that time.

New York Giants Hall Of Famer & The Last NL Player To Hit .400: Bill Terry (1923-1936)

William Harold Terry was born on October 30, 1898 in Atlanta, Georgia. "Memphis Bill"  as he was known, began his playing career as pitcher while he was still a teenager.

By 1922 the Toledo Mud Hens signed Terry & they converted to a full time first baseman. But his best asset was that he was a fantastic hitter.

That year in the minor leagues, he batted .377 with 15 HRs & was quickly brought up to the New York Giants MLB team by mid September.

The following season he was backup at first base to Giants Hall of Famer; George “High Pockets” Kelly, batting .239 with 5 HRs & 24 RBIs in 77 games. The '24 Giants won the pennant and faced the Washington Senators in the World Series.

1924 World Series: In Game #1 of the World Series, he got the start at first base, as "High Pockets" Kelly played outfield & second base. Terry had a big day, collecting three hits, including a 4th inning HR off "The Big Train" Walter Johnson in the Giants 4-3 win. 

He got two more hits the next game in the Giants 6-4 win at the Polo Grounds. Overall he batted .429 (6-14) in that Series with three walks, playing in five games.

By 1925 he was the Giants main first baseman, as the infield was switched around to accommodate Terry. With an injury to Henie Groh, the future Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch, was moved to the spot & "High Pockets " Kelly to second base. Terry hit .319, with a .374 on base % while driving in 70 runs. But the Giants finished second & he found himself a back up to Kelly once again in 1926, as the defense which suffered, was switched back to the way it was.

By the 1927 season, the Giants traded Kelly away, as well as Frankie Frisch. Terry became the teams main first baseman for the next decade. That year he had his breakout season, batting .326 (10th in the N.L.) with 20 HRs (4th in the NL) & 121 RBIs (5th in the NL). He scored 101 runs & had 189 hits with  32 doubles (all 7th best in the NL) & posted a .377 on base %.

In 1928 he would hit .326 again, drive in 101 runs, score 100 runs (8th in the NL) & post a .394 on base %, but the Giants finished second in the NL, just two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 1929 Terry hit .372 (4th in the NL) with 226 hits (4th in the NL) driving in 117 runs (9th in the NL) while blasting 39 doubles coming in the top ten in most offensive league categories. He finished third in the MVP voting. The Giants fell to third place that disappointing season.

But even better things were ahead for Terry & the Giants in the thirties.   In 1930 he had his best season, becoming the first player since Rogers Hornsby (1925) to bat over .400. Terry hit .401 & is still the last N.L. Player to accomplish this feat. Ted Williams is the only other player to have hit over .400 since Terry’s 1930 season.

Terry easily won the batting title, while leading the league in hits (254). That tied Lefty O'Douls 254, for a record of most hits in a single season, in the National League. Terry hit 23 HRs (8th in the league) with 39 doubles 15 triples (5th in the league) & 129 RBIs (5th in the league) winning the Sporting News MVP Award. Unfortunately the Giants finished third that season.

At first base he led the N.L. in put outs & assists posting a .990 fielding percentage. In his career he led first baseman in put outs & assists five times, as well as leading twice in fielding percentage & coming in runner up three more times.

In 1931 he led the league in triples (20) & runs scored (121) while coming in runner up for the batting title to the St. Louis Cardinals; Chick Hafey. Hafey beat out Terry in one of the closest batting races in history, a mere .0002 points.

Terry had another 200 plus hit season that year with 213 hits, as well as 112 RBIs. Terry would hit a career high 28 HRs in 1932 and bat .350 coming in runner up to Brooklyn's Lefty O'Doul (.368). That June he was named the New York Giants player manager, replacing legendary Hall of Famer; John McGraw who was ill & retired after managing the Giants for thirty years.

After a sixth place finish that season, Terry lead the Giants to another World Series title in 1933, as they defeated the Washington Senators in five games. Terry himself batted .322 but saw his power numbers fall to just 6 HRs & 58 RBIs.

Post Season: In the '33 World Series, he hit .273 (6-22) with a HR in Game #4 at Washington D.C. He would win another pennant as manager of the NY Giants in 1936 and bat .240 in that World Series. His power numbers certainly fell off after his .400 season, but he still batted over .310 every season, which was six more years.

In his career; Terry hit over .300 eleven times, while driving in over 100 runs six straight years. He had six seasons where he had 200 or more hits.

In his 14 year career he batted .341 (15th best all time) & in the modern era he would be ranked at tenth best. Terry had 2193 hits (182nd all time) in 6428 at bats.

He hit 154 HRs, 373 doubles (226th all time) with 112 triples (119th all time) & a .393 on base percentage (91st all time) . He scored 1120 runs (236th all time) in 1721 games played.

His defensive numbers are very impressive; playing 1579 games at first base (51st all time) making 1108 assists (34th all time) with 15972 put outs (35th all time) turning 1334 double plays (36th all time).

His range factor according to baseball reference is tenth best all time & he would have led the league in that department eight times.

If a Gold Glove Award had been issued the, speculation is Terry would have a few of them. The All Star Game didn't begin until he was 34 years old, but he still got into three of those.

Retirement: After his playing days, Terry remained the Giants manager. He won another pennant in 1937, but then never finished higher than third place.

He continued to manage the New York Giants until 1941, when his protégé & long time team mate; Hall of Famer Mel Ott, took over as the teams Player/ Manger.

After baseball he owned a car dealership & a minor league ball team in Jacksonville, Florida. Terry passed away in 1989 at the age 90.

Honors: Although he was popular with the Sports writer, he did not elected to the Hall of Fame until in 1954.

He had his Giants uniform #3, retired by the club in 1984. He was a nominee for Baseballs All Century team & was voted #59, in the Sporting News All Time Greatest Players.

Oct 29, 2018

Remembering Mets History: (1988) NLCS Game #1 Mets vs Dodgers

Tuesday October 4th,1988 NLCS Game #1 - Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California / Attendance : 55,582

Davey Johnson's Mets had won their second divisional title in three years & were the heavy favorite going into the post season. The Mets had won 100 games (100-60) & dominated the Dodgers in the regular season. 

Darryl Strawberry led the NL in HRs (39) that season as well as slugging %. Wally Backman was the only Met in the starting line up that had hit over .300. Howard Johnson was establishing himself as a true slugger & veterans Gary Carter & Keith Hernandez were entering the twilight's of their careers.

The '88 Mets staff had twenty game winner; David Cone (20-3) as well as Dwight Gooden (18-9) Ron Darling (17-9) Sid Fernandez (12-10) & Bobby Ojeda (10-13). In the bullpen closer Randy Meyers had 26 saves. 

Meanwhile Tommy Lasorda's Dodgers had gone 94-67 finishing seven games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds. This was a team of destiny, as they shocked the Mets & then the might Oakland A's in the World Series. Orel Hershiser was the Cy Young winner (23-8 / 2.26 ERA) & the offense was led by Kirk Gibson 25 HRs 76 RBIs & .290 average. Although his numbers were no where near Strawberry's he won the NL MVP Award that year????

New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers
1Mookie WilsonCF
1Steve Sax2B
2Gregg Jefferies3B
2Franklin Stubbs1B
3Keith Hernandez1B
3Kirk GibsonLF
4Darryl StrawberryRF
4Mike MarshallRF
5Kevin McReynoldsLF
5John ShelbyCF
6Howard JohnsonSS
6Mike SciosciaC
7Gary CarterC
7Jeff Hamilton3B
8Wally Backman2B
8Alfredo GriffinSS
9Dwight GoodenP
9Orel HershiserP

The Dodgers began the scoring first; in bottom of the 1st inning, Steve Sax singled & stole second base. He would score on a Mike Marshall base hit. 

Gooden rolled along holding the Dodgers down, striking out ten batters until the 7th inning. Catcher; Mike Scioscia led of with a double & was brought in on Alfredo Griffin's base hit. Gooden went seven innings, allowing the two runs, four hits & just one walk.

Mean while, Orel Hershiser had shut out the Mets, striking out six & allowing just four hits going into the 9th inning.

 But in the 9th the Mets struck. Greg Jefferies led off with a base hit & was moved over to second base. Darryl Strawberry followed with a double to center field, bring home Jefferies making it 2-1. 

Tommy Lasorda removed Hershiser & brought in Jay Howell to pitch. Howell walked Kevin McReynolds & then struck out Howard Johnson . 

With two outs & the winning runs on base, Gary Carter stepped in & delivered with a line drive double to center field. Both runners scored & he Mets now had a 3-2 lead. Carter's runs proved to be the game winner, as Randy Meyers closed out the 9th inning.

Remembering Mets History (1988): NLCS Game #3- Mets Go Up Two Games to One On L.A.

Saturday, October 8th, 1988: NLCS Game #3-Shea Stadium in New York.

After a split in the first two games at Los Angeles, the first game back in New York on Friday was postponed due to bad weather. The Mets returned home to play at Shea in front of 44,672 for Game #3 on Saturday afternoon.

In a rematch of Game #1 starters, Davey Johnson sent Ron Darling (17-9 / 3.25 ERA) to the mound for New York & Tommy Lasorda sent Orel Hershiser (23-8 / 2.26 ERA) for L.A. But neither pitcher would figure in the decisions in the end. The Dodgers would use five pitchers & the Mets four.

Mets Pitcher Roger McDowell Confirms Rain Out
Darling was shaky in the 2nd, he walked the first two batters in the inning, then gave up a base hit to Mike Scoscia which brought home the first run. The next run scored on a ground out to short stop, it was quickly 2-0 Dodgers. A Kirk Gibson ground out in the 3rd made it 3-0.

In the home 3rd, Mookie Wilson struck out but reached base on a wild pitch. Darryl Strawberry's double brought in Mookie with the Mets first run.

Both pitchers rolled along until the bottom of the 6th. Keith Hernandez & Strawberry both singled. Kevin McReynolds then reached on an error to load the bases. Gary Carter & Wally Backman both collected RBI base hits to tie the game at three. 

Ron Darling pitcher six innings, allowing three runs on five hits with four walks & five strike outs. In the 8th Roger McDowell was on for the Mets, after getting the first two outs he surrendered two base hits & a walk to load the bases. Randy Meyers came in but walked Mike Sharperson to put L.A. ahead 4-3.

For the Dodgers, Orel Hershiser went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits with four strike outs & four walks. 

In the home 8th, Jay Howell started the inning but walked Kevin McReynolds. Howell was relieved by Alejandro Pena. With two outs, Wally Backman doubled tying the game back up at four. After Len Dykstra walked, Mookie Wilson singled to bring home Backman. Greg Jefferies was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Keith Hernandez then drew a bases loaded walk bringing in another run. Darryl Strawberry followed with a pop fly single, bringing in two more runs to cap off the Mets victory.

In the 9th David Cone was brought in to shut the door with a save. The Mets took a two games to one lead in the series with the 8-6 victory.

Oct 28, 2018

The 2012 N.L.Cy Young Award Winner: R.A. Dickey (2010-2012)

Robert Alan "R. A." Dickey was born October 29, 1974 in Nashville, Tennessee. He majored in English Literature with 1 3.3 GPA at the University of Tennessee, before getting drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996.

That year he was a member of the US Olympic baseball team that won a bronze medal at the summer games in Atlanta. Dickey was the winning pitcher in two of the games.

The Intelligent right hander was offered a contract over $800,000 until a doctor noticed his arm hanging in an odd way. An x-ray found a missing ulnar collateral ligament and the Rangers lowered their offer to $75,000.

Doctors said he shouldn’t be able to turn a door knob let alone, pitch in the major leagues. Upset & angry he found a spiritual enlightment and moved on. He began a minor league career that lasted straight 14 seasons where he pitched at least three games at the level every seasons.

Dickey made his MLB debut in Texas on April 22nd, 2001 finishing off an 11-2 win over the Oakland A's pitching one scoreless inning. He made four appearances & was sent down to AAA Oklahoma in early May. 

In 2002 he pitched 38 games making 13 starts going 9-8 for Buck Showalter's fourth place Rangers. The next year he pitched 25 games going 6-7 with limited success. He pitched just nine games the next year & was back in the minor leagues.

He eventually realized his forkball pitch which he called “the thing”, was actually a hard knuckle ball. He realized he needed to perfect the knuckler to stay in the major leagues.

In 2006 the Rangers gave him a shot to show off his new knuckleball, but he hadn't perfected it yet. He allowed six HRs in his first start of the season, tying fellow knuckle baller Tim Wakefield’s MLB record.

He pitched just the one game in Texas & then spent the entire year at AAA Oklahoma going 9-8. He was granted free agency at the end of the year & then signed with the Milwaukee Brewers to a minor league deal.

His new knuckle ball was successful as he went 12-6 with a 3.80 ERA at AAA Nashville, winning the Pacific Coast League’s Pitcher of the Year Award. He would get drafted away from the Brewers, as a Rule V pick by the Seattle Mariners. In 2008 in Seattle he went just 5-8 with a 5.21 ERA.

On August 17th he set an MLB record with four wild pitches in a single inning, during a game against the Minnesota Twins. In the inning he allowed two runs on a single, with two walks, a passed ball the four wild pitches & retired one batter.

The record tied a mark with Hall of Famers Walter Johnson & Phil Niekro. After one season with the Mariners he then signed on with the Minnesota Twins.

In 2010 he was signed by the New York Mets and began the season at AAA Buffalo. On April 29th he allowed a single to the first batter he faced then retired the next 27 batters in a row, for a one hitter. He was 4-2 with a 2.23 ERA by May when the Mets brought him up to their staff.

He made his debut against the Nationals earning no decision after pitching six innings allowing only two runs. Dickey then went on to win his first six decisions as his knuckleball surprised all N.L. hitters. He was 6-2 at the All Star break posting a 2.62 ERA.

On August 13th he pitched a one hit shutout at Citi Field against Cole Hammels & the Phillies. He pitched another complete game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in mid September for his 11th victory on the year.

He struggled the rest of the way taking losses in his last three decisions of the year, although he only allowed one run in seven innings against Milwaukee on September 27th.

He finished up 2010 with the best year of his career & as a pleasant surprise on a disappointing Mets team; he was 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA (7th best in the N.L.). He pitched in 27 games, posting 174 innings & striking out 104 batters while walking only 42. 

At the plate he was one of the leagues better hitting pitchers, batting .255 with two doubles & five RBIs.

He began the 2011 season, pitching in the third game of the season earning a win against the Florida Marlins allowing just one run in six innings. He then lost his next five decisions, finding himself 1-5 with a 5.08 ERA by mid May.

In early June he had some success, pitching into the 8th inning twice allowing one run against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field earning a win. But he then allowed three runs to the Pirates in Pittsburgh, taking a loss.

Dickey’s 2011 wasn’t going as successful as 2010, by mid August he was 5-11. He closed out that month, pitching seven shutout innings against the Florida Marlins in the second game of a double header, earning a win. He won his first two starts in September as well, highlighted by tossing seven shutout innings in Florida beating the Marlins 1-0 on September 7th. 

On September 24th Dickey earned no decision in a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies where he threw seven innings while allowing just a run.

He ended the year at 8-13 with a 3.28 ERA striking out 134 batters with 54 walks in 208 innings of work. On the mound he led all pitchers with 58 assists.

In 2012 Dickey started the second game of the Mets season beating the Atlanta Braves. He had a solid April going 3-1 then went on a roll from there. On May 6th he pitched eight solid innings, allowing just one run on four hits against the Arizona Diamondbacks for his fourth win.

He rolled through the month undefeated, finishing up May at 7-1. At the end of the month he was the N.L. Pitcher of the month with two outstanding performances that week. He struck out eleven Pirates in Pittsburgh on May 22nd, followed by a ten strikeout performance at Citi Field on May 27th against the San Diego Padres.

In June he would be even better, winning the Pitcher of the Month Award going 5-0 with a 0.94 ERA.

On June 7th Dickey pitched a complete game shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out nine Cardinals lowering his ERA to 2.69. On June 7th the Mets were 1.5 games behind the Washington Nationals, surprising everyone with their winning.

But after losing two straight from the Nationals they were in jeopardy of a sweep. Dickey ended any chance of the Nats sweep by throwing 7.1 shutout innings earning win number nine.

On June 13th Dickey took the mound in Tampa Florida, he allowed a first inning single to B.J. Upton on a ball David Wright failed to play cleanly. No one thought about it, as Dickey went about his business.

He went on to retire the next the next twenty two batters until Elliot Johnson reached on an error in the ninth. In the inning there were two passed balls & a run scoring ground out. He finished the game with a one hit 9-1 victory, while striking out 12 batters.

He established a Mets record of 32.2 scoreless innings besting Jerry Koosman's old record from 1973. The Mets attempted to appeal the official scorer's decision on ruling Wright's play a hit, but MLB denied the appeal. 

Dickey entered his next start, by having only allowed one earned run, with three walks & 50 strikeouts over his five previous starts.

On June 18th he went out & pitched another one hitter, this time a shutout, striking out a career high 13 Baltimore Orioles at Citi Field. He became the first NL Pitcher since 1944 to throw back to back one hitters. He had now won six straight starts, winning nine straight decisions, while becoming the first pitcher in the league to reach eleven victories.

Another amazing stat has Dickey being the only pitcher in MLB history to throw back to back one hitters & have over ten strikeouts in each of those games. In history only Nolan Ryan & Sandy Koufax have ever thrown one hitters in the same season.

He was named to the 2012 NL All Star team, but did not get the start which angered a lot of Mets fans as manager Tony Larussa went with San Francisco's Matt Cain. Dickey came in to pitch a scoreless 6th inning, allowing a base hit in the 8-0 National League win at Kansas City.

Quotes: Hall of Fame Pitcher and fellow knuckleballer Phil Niekro commented on Dickey's 2012 performance saying "I had a few streaks, but nothing like he’s going through.

I don’t know if any other knuckleballer has ever been on a hot streak like he has been. He is just dynamite right now." Mets manager Terry Collins also stated he never saw anything like the streak Dickey was on in June.

The Mets quickly faded away from the race after the break with a long losing streak, broken up by Dickey as he beat the first place Nationals on July 19th in Washington. 

In August he went 3-2 highlighted by two complete games, both against the Marlins. On August 9th at Citi Field he struck out ten Marlins becoming the first pitcher to toss four complete games on the year.

 On August 31st, he pitched a complete game shutout in Miami string out seven, becoming the first Mets pitcher since Al Leiter to win 17 games in a season. 

On September 5th he earned win #18 beating the Cardinals in St. Louis. He then lost his next two starts & it was looking doubtful he would reach twenty wins. But as usual he bore down winning #19 on September 22nd at Citi Field.

On September 27th he took the mound at Citi Field & pitched into the eighth inning, striking out 13 Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing three runs on eight hits. He earned the win becoming the first Mets pitcher since Frank Viola to win twenty games.

Dickey ended the year at 20-6 (second in the NL in wins) while leading the league in strike outs (230) starts (33) innings pitched(233) , batters faced (927) complete games (5) & shut outs (3).

His fielding was also excellent, posting a .933 fielding %, second in the league in assists (44).

In September Dickey who entered the last year of his contact- along with the clubs best hitter David Wright, said he would only sign an extended contract if the team aggressively perused Wright.

In December he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with Mike Nickeas, as the Mets decided to go with youth, getting Top prospects Travis d'Arnaud & Noah Syndergaad along with veteran John Buck.

In Toronto he debuted on Opening Day taking a loss to the Cleveland Indians, allowing four runs on five hits in six innings. He was 0-2 before earning his first win, which was a 3-2 victory at Kansas City where he pitched into the 7th inning. On April 18th, he shut out the Chicago White Sox for six innings, striking out seven batters for his second win.

On May 14th, he struck out ten Giants during an interleague game going six innings in a Blue Jays 9-6 win. On May 20th, he earned his fourth win pitching eight innings to beat the Tampa Rays 7-5.

The Blue Jays season did not go as expected, with injuries & lots of struggles. Dickeys year went up & down as he pretty much stayed at .500 all season. 

On June 5th, he had one of his best games with Toronto; pitching a one hit shut out into the 9th inning. He left the game with one out finishing up a two hit shut out win over the Giants in San Francisco. 

In July he got to the .500 mark (8-8) but then lost three straight & had to play catch-up once again. He did, finishing up the year winning four of five decisions, while going to the 8th inning three times. 

On September 22nd, he took a loss to the AL Eastern Champion Red Sox but struck out a season high 11 batters. He finished the year winning a Gold Glove & leading the AL in starts (33) going 14-13 (8th most wins in AL) with 174 strike outs 70 walks & a 4.27 ERA in 217 innings. He allowed 35 HRs which was second most in the AL.

In 2014 he was pretty much at .500 most of the year, earning wins followed by losing decisions. The Jays had a fine season, contending for a playoff spot into September, Dickey along with Mark Buehrle led the pitching staff.

From August 20th through the end of the year he went 4-0 pitching into at least the 6th inning every time, giving three seven inning outings as well. 

He ended the year at 14-13 with a 3.71 ERA and pitched 215 innings for the 4th straight year. He led all pitchers in hit by pitches (14) & served up 32 HRs (3rd most in the AL).

In 2015 the Blue Jays won the A.L. Eastern Division, with the help of AL Sluggers Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion & Jose Bautista, along with trade deadline acquisitions David Price & Troy Tulowitzki. 

Dickey went 11-11 behind Buehrle, Marco Estrada & Drew Hitchinson. Dickey posted a 4.00 ERA & pitched over 200 innings (209) for the fifth straight year.  He struck out 123 batters & walked 61.

Post Season: Dickey pitched Game #4 of the ALDS earning no decision in the 8-4 win at Texas over the Rangers. He allowed just one run & struck out three in 4.2 innings of work.

2015 ALCS: In the ALCS against the Kansas City Royals, he took the Game #4 loss serving up two HRs, four hits & five hits in just 1.2 innings of work.

In 2016 the Jays returned to the post season, winning the wild card as well as the ALDS losing to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS.

In the regular season, Dickey now a late rotation starter, took a back seat to twenty game winner J.A. Happ (20-4) & 15 game winner Aaron Sanchez (15-2). His best performance was a three hit eight inning shut out over Texas on May 13th. He did not pitch in the post season. & wasn't on the post season roster.

He signed on with the Atlanta Braves in 2017 going 10-10 with a 4.26 ERA. He struck out 136 batters in 190 innings in 31 games.

He had offers but chose to retire after the season, finishing up a 15 year career going 120-118 with a 4.04 ERA.

He struck out 1477 batters while walking 663 in 2073 innings in 400 games. He made 300 starts & 15 complete games.

At the plate he was a .169 hitter with 16 career RBIs & 45 hits.

Personal: Off the field he is a born again Christian, married with four children. His favorite hobby is reading, he is notorious for having a stack of books in his locker at all times.

In 2012 he wrote a book of his own about the amazing journey of his life where he found success as well as God in his life.

He mentioned being sexually abused when he was 8 years old by a 13 year old girl who was baby sitting him. He later was abused by a male as well. He also admitted to attempting suicide. The book called Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest or Truth, Authenticity & the Perfect knuckleball.

The book was a huge success & inspiration to many, in a season where he personally found the most success of his own career.

His story has become an inspiration to many people. He has made rounds doing interviews in the baseball world, Christian publications, & television shows, including a stop by on David Letterman. Even Forbes magazine did an article on how C.E.O.'s can learn from Dickey's book to make a successful company.