Oct 31, 2018

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 Only Catcher In Mets History To Catch A Mets No Hitter: Josh Thole (2009-2012)

Joshua Michael Thole was born on October 28th 1986, the day after the Mets won the '86 World Series.

Thole was born & raised Breese, Illinois. The six foot one, left hand hitting catcher was drafted out of high school in the 13th round of the 2005 draft by the New York Mets.

Thole never showed any power at the plate but showed good defensive skills & was a good singles hitter. He hits much better against right handed pitching. He spent two seasons in the Rookie League, then two seasons at A ball.

He hit .300 with a minor league career high of five HRs at A ball St. Lucie in 2008 followed by a .328 year at AA Binghamton. That year he was praised by Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen on how good his defensive skills were behind the plate, as early as Spring Training. With the Mets going nowhere in the pennant race he was brought up to the big league club on August 31st.

He was being primed as the Mets catcher of the future, recieving extra tutoring by veteran Brian Schneider who knew his days were going to be over at the end of the season.

In his first career at bat, Thole singled against the Rockies; Jason Marquis in Colorado & then stole second base. He drove in a run in each of his last three games on the year, finishing up with a .321 average (17-53).

In 2010 he began the year at AAA Buffalo after 48 games he was batting .267 with 2 HRs 19 doubles & 19 RBIs. The Mets year began with Rod Barajas & Henry Blanco as the teams catchers. Thole debuted in late June & by July was seeing steadier playing time.

On July 19th, he hit his first HR , it came in Arizona & by the end of the month he was batting .318.

By August he was the teams main catcher, as Barajas went to the Dodgers & although Thole wasn't hitting with power he was remaining at .the .300 mark.

On October 1st, Thole hit a walk off HR against the Washington Nats Tyler Clippard leading to a 2-1 Met win.

In 2011 Thole saw his first full season at catcher, he tossed out 21% of base runners trying to steal, posting a .997 fielding % (3rd best in the NL) while allowing 16 passed balls (most in the league). R.A. Dickey's knuckle ball didn't help that stat out too much. On April 17th, at Turner Field putting the Mets up 1-0. He later singled in the 5th driving in what turned out to be the games winning run.

On April 29th he drove in all three Mets runs in loss at Philadelphia & then had another three RBI day a month later on May 29th in a 9-5 win against the Phillies at home.

On July 20th he singled off the Cardinals Jason Motte tying up the game, setting the stage for an Angel Pagan walk off HR. In San Diego on August 15th, Thole hit his second HR of the year & then drove in another run in the 5th inning, leading the Mets to a 5-4 win over the Padres.

In September he had another three RBI day, this time gathering up three hits as well in a 12-2 over the Braves in Atlanta. On the year he hit .268 with 3 HRs 17 doubles 40 RBIs & a .345 on base % in 114 games.

Thole was the Opening Day catcher in 2012 & had a pair of hits in Johan Santana's 1-0 win over the Braves at Citi Field.

In April he had a ten game hit streak, finishing the first month hitting well enough be batting .317. On April 29th he hit his only HR of the year, it came off 49 year old Jamie Moyer in Colorado in a 6-5 Mets win against the Rockies.

In May he suffered a concussion after a home plate collision with former Met Ty Wigginton. As a result he missed a month of action returning in early June.

When he got back the Mets were surprising everyone playing well enough to be in second place, only a few games behind the Washington Nationals.

On June 2nd, Thole became the first catcher in Mets history to be behind the plate for a no hitter. Although many have come close, it was on this night; Johan Santana threw the first no hit game in franchise history beating the St. Louis Cardinals in an 8-0 win.

Another thrill for Thole that season, was being behind the plate & catching R.A. Dickey, who became the Mets first twenty game winner since Frank Viola in 1990.

After the All Star break the Mets long losing streak pretty much ruined the season. Thole struggled as well, possibly never recovering fully from the concussion, he batted .234 with one HR 15 doubles & 21 RBIs, posting a .296 on base % in 104 games.

Defensively he threw out 24% of would be base stealers, allowed 18 passed balls (mostly due to Dickey's knuckleball) & posted a .992 fielding %.

On December 17, 2012 he was involved in a big trade that sent himself, R.A. Dickey & Mike Nickeas to the Toronoto Blue Jays for highly toted catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud.

He began the 2013 season at AAA Buffalo, now an affiliate of the Blue Jays batting .322 in 41 games.

He joined the Jays in June, playing behind main catcher; JP Arencibia who hit 21 HRs. Thole only hit .150 with one HR, which came in New York against the A.L. club that August. 

In 2014 he was the Jays back up catcher behind veteran Dioner Navarro. The '14 Jays put in a fine season, contending for a playoff spot until September winning 83 games (83-79).

In 57 games Thole hit .248 with seven RBIs. His nine passed balls behind the plate put him at 6th most in the league in that category, mostly due to R.A. Dickey's knuckleball. The following season he played in just 18 games with the Blue Jays.

For the 2016 AL Wild Card Champion Blue Jays; Thole won the second string spot, behind Russell Martin. In 50 regular season games he hit just .169 but posted solid defense with a .997 fielding %. Although Dickey's knuckleball gave him 17 passed balls on the season, second most in the AL. Thole is also second among active catchers with 80 passed balls. 

In his eight year career in 478 games, he is batting .242 with 9 HRs 53 doubles 111 RBIs & a .306 on base %.

In 439 games at catcher, he threw out 24% of would be base stealers, posting a .994 fielding%.

In 2017 he signed on with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He suffered a torn hamstring in a spring training game, required surgery & was finished for the year. In 2018 he was released.

Family: Thole & his wife Kathryn have three children. Their Maltese poodle is deaf & Thole has taught the dog sign language with amazing results

Former Mets Relief Pitcher: Braden Looper (2004-2005)

Braden Laverne Looper was born October 28, 1974 in Weatherford, Oklahoma. He is one of the few Mets to be born in Oklahoma and one of very few players to have a middle name of Laverne. Looper was no dummy a smart student graduating in the National Honor Society. He was a scholar, as well as a four letter man in High school.

The six foot four right handed pitcher attended Wichita State, earning All American honors going to the College World Series and later getting elected to the Wichita Hall of Fame. In 1996 he was part of the bronze winning US Olympic baseball team in Atlanta.

The tall six foot five right hander was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1996 as a first round selection the third pick overall. Two years later he was traded to the Florida Marlins with Armando Almanza and Pablo Ozuna for Edgar Renteria. 

Looper debuted during the 200 season as a mid reliever in going 5-1, with 18 hold as the set up man to Antonio Alfonseca. He remained in that role before gradually earning the role of the Marlins closer toward the end of the 2002 season.

He originally took the role over from Vladimir Nunez, going 2-5 with 13 saves, posting a 3.14 ERA. In 2003 he had 28 saves (8th in the NL) with a 6-4 record finishing off 64 games, while posting a 3.68 ERA for the Marlins World Championship team. Toward the end of the season he lost his job to Ugeth Urbina who enjoyed a short lived success as a closer. 


2003 Post Season: Looper saw action in two games of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. He was the winning pitcher in Game #3 at Joe Robby Stadium in Florida. 

In Game #1 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs he earned the save, again seeing action in two series games.

2003 World Series: He appeared in four games of the 2003 World Series getting roughed up for four runs in 3.2 innings of work. 

After winning the World Series Championship in Florida he signed with the New York Mets for the 2004 season.

Looper debuted on Opening Day 2004 in the Mets 7-2 win in Atlanta against the Braves. In the month of April he had four saves and a perfect 0.00 ERA showing some promise. 

Overall Looper had as strong first half, gathering up 18 saves a 1.88 ERA while posting a 2-2 record by the All Star break. In the second half he took two losses & blew two saves through late August.

In September he saved five games, but took two losses & blew a save allowing four runs to the Phillies in one inning of work on September 11th. That would be his best career season in 2004 gathering up 29 saves (10th in the league) going 2-5 with a 2.70 ERA. He did blow five saves along the way & allowed five HRs in 83 appearances.

The following year although he saved 28 games but he blew a lot of save opportunities which is how he is remembered. It started on Opening day in Cincinnati when he entered the 9th with a 6-4 lead. He gave up a single then two consecutive HRs to Adam Dunn & Joe Randa, taking the 7-6 loss.

There was a collapse in a June Subway series match up where the Mets could have swept that AL team but Looper gave up two 9th inning runs. In August there was a nightmare game against the Washington Nationals where the Mets blew an eight run lead.

 Looper entered the 9th with a 8-6 lead but surrendered the tying runs as the Mets lost it in extra innings. The fans began to boo the hell out of him and he was doomed in New York. Any site of him would lead a chorus of boos and he became known as Braden Blooper.

To his credit that September it was learned he was pitching with a blown AC joint and required surgery. Looper an easy going nice guy took it all in stride and didn’t blame the injury for his pitching woes. The Mets didn’t sign him in 2006 and he went to the St. Louis Cardinals who went on to beat the Mets in the NLCS. 

2006 Post Season: Looper laughed off the greeting he got at Shea Stadium when he entered Game #1 in the 8th inning; he gave up two hits but no runs. 

In Game #6 (a game centerfieldmaz attended) us fans really let him have it in the 8th inning. After getting the first two outs, Michael Tucker & Jose Reyes both singled then stole bases.

Next the winning runs were driven in by catcher Paul Loduca, sending the series to a game seven. In three games he posted a 5.79 ERA allowing three runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings of work. In the World Series he appeared in three games against the Detroit Tigers.

The Cardinals made him a starter in 2007 and he won 12 games, going 12-12 with a 4.94 ERA striking out 108 batters in 199 innings. In 2008 he was 12-14 with a 4.16 ERA.

In 2009 he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers going 14-7 leading the NL in starts (34) but also gave up the most HRs (39) & earned runs (113). He did not pitch in 2010 & although he signed with the Chicago Cubs in 2011 he did not make the team.

Looper retired finishing off his 12 year career with a 72-65 record & 103 saves. In 670 games he pitched 1176 innings posting a 4.15 ERA allowing 132 HRs.

Oct 27, 2018

Mid Nineties Mets Utility Player: Tim Bogar (1993-1996)

Timothy Paul Bogar was born October 28, 1966 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He attended East Illinois University getting drafted by the New York Mets in the 8th round of the 1987 draft.

He spent six years in the minors having his best year at A ball Columbia in 1988 batting .282. Bogar was a member of the last AAA Tidewater Tides team before they moved over to Norfolk.

He was one of the teams top hitters batting .279 behind Jeff McNight (.307) Chris Donnels (.301) & Steve Springer (.290) . Bogar made the Mets in 1993 debuting as a pinch hitter at Shea Stadium against the San Francisco Giants.

The versatile Bogar would play all infield & outfield positions for the Mets from 1993-1996. One of his biggest days at the plate came on August 1st, 1993 in his rookie year. He hit a pair of HRs & had four hits in Philadelphia in a game against the Phillies. He would only hit 6 HRs in 491 at bats in his entire Mets career. Unfortunately he got injured and was sidelined for the rest of the season. He hit .244 with three HRs 13 doubles & 25 RBIs in 78 games played.

In 1994 he remained with the club until early August but was only batting .154 in fifty games before getting sent to AAA Norfolk. In 1995 when play resumed after the great baseball strike, Bogar was back on the big league club.

He struggled hitting just .158 at the end of May. From June through the end of the year he hit well as he saw more steady playing time. He finished the year drawing a bases loaded walk in the final game of the season, giving the Mets a walk off win over the eventual World Champion Atlanta Braves.

Bogar had his best season batting .290 in 78 games, with one HR seven doubles & 21 RBIs. In 1996 he saw action in 91 games behind Jeff Kent (third base), Rey Ordonez (short stop) & Butch Huskey (first base) around the infield but his average fell off to .213. Bogar was traded at the end of Spring Training 1997 to the Houston Astros for Luis Lopez.

He spent four years in Houston hitting a high of .249 in 1997 getting to the post season in 1999. In 2001 he played his final season with the Los Angeles Dodgers He finished his nine year career with a lifetime .228 average with 345 hits 24 HRs 69 doubles 9 triples & 161 RBIs.

Retirement & Coaching Career: After his playing days he became a manager in the Cleveland Indians minor leagues winning Baseball Americas Future Manager Award. He then coached for the Tampa Rays as their quality assurance coach.

In 2009/2010 he was the Boston Red Sox first base coach under Terry Francona, moving over as the third base coach for 2011. In 2012 he was the Boston bench coach under Bobby Valentine. After Valentine was let go, Bogar left the organization three weeks later.

Bogar then moved on to the Texas League in 2013. He then was hired by the Texas Rangers as the teams bench coach in 2014, joining his long time friend Dave Magadan. He & Magadan were Mets together & Red Sox coaches as well. He became the Rangers interim manager after Ron Washington resigned. He did not get the managerial job in 2015 nor was he retained as bench coach.

In 2015 he teamed up with his old Mets teammate Jerry DiPoto who was now the GM in Anahiem. DiPoto resigned in June 2015 & Bogar stayed on.

The next year DiPoto went to the Seattle Mariners & Bogar became the teams bench coach for two seasons. In 2018 he became the Washington Nats first base coach under old pal Dave Martinez.

Oct 26, 2018

Remembering Mets History (1986): World Series Game #7 - Mets Are World Champions

Monday October 27, 1986 World Series- Game #7- Shea Stadium, NY: After the unbelievable Game Six comeback, the Mets and their fans couldn’t wait to play Game #7. It was understood in New York that there was just no way the Mets could lose. Confidence was at an all time high.

It rained on Sunday and the game was postponed until Monday. My Game #6 ticket has a seven strategically placed on it in an attempt to get in, it didn’t work. I was determined to get in to this game, I had to be there as the Mets were going to win a World Series. After many attempts, I finally bribed a ticket taker with a ten dollar bill wrapped around a lot of ones. He said he had let to many people in that way in already, but I said there’s a lot of money here, he took it & he let me in. A good man to me. I wasn't greedy as I ecstatically ran up the escalator, to the upper deck. Some how I found the only empty seat in Shea Stadium that night and I was there for the entire game.  




Boston Red Sox
       
New York Mets
1Wade Boggs3B
1Mookie WilsonCF
2Marty Barrett2B
2Tim Teufel2B
3Bill Buckner1B
3Keith Hernandez1B
4Jim RiceLF
4Gary CarterC
5Dwight EvansRF
5Darryl StrawberryRF
6Rich GedmanC
6Ray Knight3B
7Dave HendersonCF
7Kevin MitchellLF
8Spike OwenSS
8Rafael SantanaSS
9Bruce HurstP
9Ron DarlingP

Mets manager Davey Johnson sent Ron Darling to the mound for his third start. In the first two games he did not allow an earned run in 14 innings of work. He was 1-1 taking a loss on an unearned run, on Tim Tuefel's error in Game #1. 

The Sox sent Bruce Hurst to the mound, who had also kept the Mets bats quiet, giving up just two runs in 17 innings, although he did give up 14 hits.

In the top of the 2nd, Darling got into trouble giving up back to back lead off HRs to Dwight Evans & Rich Gedman. A walk to Dave Henderson, a sacrifice & a single to Wade Boggs made it 3-0. 

Darling would get relieved in the 4th inning, overall in 17 innings pitched in the World Series, he only gave up the three earned runs, good for a 1.53 ERA. 

El Sid With A valiant relief effort
The turning point of the game came in that 4th inning when Sid Fernandez relieved Darling. El Sid who had not gotten a start in the World Series, shut down the Sox through the 6th inning, retiring all the batters he faced, striking out five of the last six. 

Boston’s Bruce Hurst was tough on the Mets, in the first five innings allowing only one hit, a single to Ray Knight in the 2nd.


In the home 6th, the Mets began their come back. After Sid Fernandez had walked off to a standing ovation in the top of the inning, he was pinch hit for by Lee Mazzilli. Mazilli singled to left field, Mookie Wilson then singled to left as well & Tim Tuefel walked. 

With the bases loaded, Mr. Clutch Keith Hernandez came to bat against Hurst. As the Shea crowd began to get excited, making some noise, Hernandez singled up the middle scoring Mazzilli & Wilson with two runs making it a 3-2 game. Wally Backman came in to pinch run for Teufel. 

Keith Hernandez delivers Big Two Run Single

Lee Mazzilli Scores on Keith Hernandez Base Hit

Gary Carter then hit a short fly to right field. Dwight Evans dove for the ball but could not come up with it. Backman crossed the plate with the tying run. Keith Hernandez had to wait until a delayed call was made by the umpire, to see if Evans caught it or not. He was thrown out at second base & was livid on the field yelling at the umpire. In any event, Shea Stadium was wild & there was no looking back, it was a different place & the crowd was now a huge factor.

Ray Knight Game #7 HR
Roger McDowell came on and retired the side in order in the 7th. He struck out Tony Armas & got Boggs & Marty Barrett to ground out.

After a wild 7th inning stretch, Ray Knight led off the inning with a HR, probably his biggest hit in his Mets career. This sealed Knight as the World Series MVP. Lenny Dykstra then pinch hit for Kevin Mitchell and singled to right field. 

For the first time that I could recall, the crowd began to sing the words to Queen's “We Will Rock You” as the P.A. system played the drum beat to the song, which is similar to the 'Lets go Mets" chant. It certainly rattled Calvin Shiraldi. The Queen song soon turned into taunts of “Caaaaalvin” "Caaaalvin" answering back the taunts to Daryl Strawberry at Fenway in Game #3. 

Shiraldi then threw a wild pitch & Dykstra advanced to second base. Then the light hitting short stop; Rafael Santana chimed in as well, he singled to right and "Nails" scored from second base to make it 5-3. Keith Hernandez added his third RBI of the night on a sac fly to centerfield. It was 6-3 & only a matter of time, to celebrate the long awaited championship.

In the 8th, the Sox got three straight hits to start the inning. Bill Buckner & Jim Rice both singled. Dwight Evans then doubled making it a 6-5 game. Davey Johnson pulled McDowell & gave the ball to Jesse Orosco. Orosco got Gedma to line out to Backman at second, then struck out Dave Henderson & got pinch hitter Don Baylor to ground out to short. Three outs away.

In the bottom of the 8th, with Al Nipper was now pitching for the Sox, Daryl Strawberry added to the heroics leading off with a monstrous HR to right field. The Shea crowd roared & went into another frenzy. 

Ray Knight who would win the Series MVP award, got his 9th hit of the Series, a single (good for a .391 batting average). He moved up on an intentional walk to Santana in order to get to the pitchers spot. 




Wade Boggs Cries in a Sad Boston Dug Out
 In a rare plate appearance, Orosco came up and singled in his only post season at bat, scoring Knight with the final run of the Series making it 8-5 New York. Boston's Steve Crawford came in to pitch and hit Mookie Wilson with a pitch.There was no brawl & the next two Mets were retired, on to the 9th.




Jesse Orosco got Ed Romero to start out the 9th with a foul pop out. The crowd were on their feet throwing confetti, rolls of toilet paper & anything else in celebration. Wade Boggs was out #2 as he grounded out to Backman. Orosco retired the side in order as Marty Barrett struck out for the final out. 

Orosco threw his glove in the air and fell to his knees, his team mates came running out & piled on top of him on the mound. The dream had come true again, the Mets were World Champions. 

This time around, there were no fans able to run on the field, as the NYPD had mounted police officers surrounding the playing field. 

On a personal note- I found strength I didn’t know I had and ripped my actual seat right off its support. I still don’t know how did it, but I still do have it. Maybe I cant prove it by I know what it is.









In the Series Ray Knight was the Series MVP going 9 for 23 (.391) with a HR, two walks & five RBIs. Gary Carter led the team with nine RBIs and hit two HRs, he was 8-29 (.276) and could have also been a good candidate for Series MVP. Lenny Dykstra also hit two HRs & was 8 for 27 (.296) with three HRs, two walks & four runs scored. 

Keith Hernandez was 6-26 (.231) with five walks good enough for a .344 on base %, & four RBIs. Darryl Strawberry hit the only other Mets HR & Straw only drove in one run going 5 for 24 (.208). Danny Heep & Rafael Santana both had a pair of RBIs, as Wally Backman, Jesse Orosco & Tim Teufel all added an RBI each.




Mookie Wilson Celebrates - Forever A Mets World Series Hero










Hernandez & Carter Raise the Trophy at City Hall