Mar 22, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (1962) The First Meeting Between The Mets & the AL New York team

Spring Training- March 22nd 1962: The brand new New York Mets, were an expansion team in their first Spring Training. A rag tag bunch of has been players beyond their prime & some very young new kids made up the team, headed by manager Casey Stengel. 

Stengel had been fired from the AL New York team after losing the 1960 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. These Mets were about to head North, bringing Nation League baseball back to fans who had lost their Giants & Dodgers to California just five years prior.

This was the first meeting between the two New York clubs, the first subway series game, albeit a spring training exhibition one. Casey's Mets were 5-7 that spring, not bad for a team that would lose 120 games in the regular season. On the other side, Casey's old team was 10-1 just coming off a World Series win. For Casey this was a big game, he wanted some kind of revenge.

There already was some drama going on, even in 1962 with the Mets not even have played a game in New York yet. There were many fans who gravitated toward the Mets, mostly National Leaguers of the old Giants & Dodgers. There were even some AL fans that switched allegiances. 

Rogers Hornsby
In Florida there always was snow bird New Yorkers or transplants, and these fans were at Al Lang Stadium on this day. All of a sudden what was the long time home of those AL guys, were now rooting for these new Mets.

The Mets hitting instructor then, (there were no official batting coaches yet) was the great Rogers Hornsby, one of the game's all time best hitters. "Rajah" as he was known, was a life time .358 hitter (second only to Ty Cobb) who had batted .400 or better three times. 

In his new book, he commented on slugger Roger Maris, who had just hit 61 HRs in 1961, saying "he's a mediocre hitter, who couldn't bat .400 if you added all his averages up.

Quotes- Rogers Hornsby: "It will be unfortunate if Ruth's record is broken by a .270 hitter."

Then there was Casey's anger at his old club, as well as George Weis who had also been fired with Stengel & was now the Mets president.

 When Casey was seen on the field the 6000 fans in attendance cheered him on & the newspaper men followed him all around the field. He greeted his old team & their new manager Ralph Houck greeted Casey warmly, after all he was his mentor.

The Mets started Roger Craig the former Brooklyn / L.A. Dodger pitcher who would lead the NL in losses in the next two seasons. He faced off against Bill Stafford. The AL New York team were sloppy & made a few errors to say the least. The Mets were ahead 3-2 going into the 9th inning, but a pinch hit HR from Tommy Tresh tied it up at three.

In the bottom of the 9th, the Mets Joe Christopher tripled. Casey sent, maybe his best hitter, the first Met to bat .300, Richie Ashburn to the plate to pinch hit for Howie Nunn. He wanted to win this one. 

Richie Ashburn
Ashburn delivered with a base hit, in what is now known as a walk off hit. The game winner gave Casey & the Mets some bragging rights in the two teams first meeting.

After the game, Casey was holding court in his usual hotel, stocked with booze & deli foods. He rambled on as he usually did, entertaining the newspaper men & baseball people. He said that he was never more excited to win a ball game.

Late 2000's Mets Relief Pitcher: Joe Smith (2007-2008) & His Wife Sports Reporter Allie LaForce

Joseph Michael Smith was born on March 22, 1984 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The six foot, two right handed Smith was the New York Mets third round draft pick in 2006 (the 94th pick overall).

He pitched on the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones team in 2006 earning nine saves with an 0.45 ERA in 17 appearances. He was named one of the Top twenty Prospects in the minor leagues by Baseball America. 

photo by centerfieldmaz
 When Duaner Sanchez went down after his taxi cab accident in Miami during the 2006 season, General Manager Omar Minaya, considered bringing up Smith, but chose to make the trade for Roberto Hernandez & Oliver Perez instead.

Smith had an outstanding Spring Training in 2007 and surprised everyone when he made the team going north. He became a popular player and was known as an all around good guy at Shea Stadium. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a batting practice session before an interleague game against the Minnesota Twins & he was a gentleman. 

Smith made his MLB debut on Opening Day 2007, pitching in relief of Tom Glavine in a 6-1 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. He would pitch his first 16 2/3 innings before allowing a run, which didn't come until May 13th against the Milwaukee Brewers.

On April 24th he earned his first win, in an extra inning victory vs. the Colorado Rockies. On May 2th he allowed a run in the top of the 12th inning to the San Francisco Giants, but came up with a win as Armondo Benitez balked home a run in the bottom of the inning, followed by a Carlos Delgado walk off HR. Smith pitched well in the first few months of the season, keeping his ERA under two until mid June. 

He earned his ninth hold of the season on June 15th, holding down the A.L. New York club in a 2-0 Oliver Perez shut out saved by Billy Wagner. He began to wear down in July, allowing runs in three of five games taking a loss to the San Diego Padres as well.

Smith was sent back to the minors for a tune up. returning in September, for the pennant run. The Mets fell short again, missing the post season with a loss on the final day of the season. Smith finished the year 3-2 with ten holds, 45 strike outs, 21 walks in 44 innings over 54 appearances, posting a 3.45 ERA. 

In 2008 he was one of the best Met pitchers out of the bullpen, and one of the only relievers to actually be successful. His pitching motion is somewhere between a side armed & submarine style delivery, which can be especially tough on right handed hitters. He began April with four holds, but blew two saves in May.

On June 10th he took a loss to Arizona, serving up a HR to Chris Snyder. On July 6th he closed out the final three innings in an extra inning game at Philadelphia, the Mets won the game on Fernando Tatis HR, giving Smith the win. 

In August he recorded seven holds & closed out the month with a win in a 5-4 game at Florida over the Marlins. From September 2nd through the 10th, he was credited with three relief wins & added another against the Chicago Cubs on September 25th.

He appeared in 82 games (second on the club to Pedro Feliciano) posting a 6-3 record with a 3.55 ERA. He struck out 52 batters in 63 innings pitched. HIs .637 winning percent was third best on the club behind Duaner Sanchez & Johan Santana.

In the 2008 off season he was part of a 12 player deal, going to the Cleveland Indians, with the Mets getting J.J. Putz, Jeremy Reed & Sean Green. In Cleveland he appeared in 37 games posting a 3.44 ERA in 2009. 

He spent five solid seasons in the Indians bullpen, as a fine middle reliever, earning a reputation as reliable work horse. In 2012 was second in the A.L. in appearances with 71. He would appear in 70 plus games in each of the next four seasons. In 2012 Smith was 7-4 posting a 2.96 ERA, recording 21 holds. 

His manager in his early days in Cleveland (2010-2012) was Manny Acta, whom he knew from their days with

Trivia: In 2012 he attempted to enter a bar in Cleveland but was stopped for not having proper ID. He said he was a pitcher for the Indians but no one believed him, a shoving, shouting match followed & the police were called in to break it up.

At this time he also began dating FOX 8 sports personality & sideline reporter Allie LaForce.

In 2013 Smith started out the year 4-0, for new manager Terry Francona, not taking a loss until mid July. He ended the year at 6-2 with three saves & 25 holds to his credit. 

He led the AL Wild Card Indian staff in ERA (2.29) and was tied for second to Cody Allen in appearances with 70. Smith was part of a fine Indians bullpen that went 25-11 with a 3.30 ERA. That year he made it to his first post season.

In 2014 he signed on with the LA Angels of Anaheim & continued his fine pitching. Smith was second in the league in appearances with 76. 

He went 7-2 with 15 saves & 17 holds, posting a 1.81 ERA striking out 68 batters while walking just 15 in 173 innings. He took over the set up role when Huston Street went out with injury.

Post season: Smith pitched two scoreless innings in two games of the ALDS loss to the Kansas City Royals.

For 2015 Smith went back to the set up role to, shining with 32 holds to his credit, as Street went on to 40 saves & Smith notched five more of his own. He also went 5-5 with a 3.58 ERA making 70 appearances (9th most in the AL).

In August of 2016 he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a minor leaguer, to help the Cubs in the post season run. He pitched 16 games for the Cubs, earning a win on September 1st against the San Francisco Giants.

He recorded a loss & hold as well in September. Overall in the regular season, he posted a 2.51 ERA in 14 innings. He did not pitch in the post season but earned a Championship ring. 

In the winter of 2017 he signed on with the Toronto Blue Jays. After 38 games there he was back with the Cleveland Indians, pitching 21 games of middle to late relief, finishing off two games. He posted a 3.44 ERA with 20 strike outs & no walks in 18 innings of work.

Post Season: He pitched in four games of the 2017 ALDS finishing off two of those games, not allowing a hit or run in 2.1 innings of work.

In November 2017 Smith signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros. He continued to be a fine reliever going 5-1 with 10 holds posting a 3.74 ERA. 

Post Season: Smith got to his fourth post season in 2018, seeing action in one game of the ALCS loss to the Boston Red Sox.

In his twelve year career, Smith is 49-29 with a 3.02 ERA. He has appeared in 754 games striking out 593 batters & walking 232 in 754 innings pitched. He has 30 saves & finished off 157 games.

Family: Smith married FOX Sports personality & sideline reporter, Allie DeForce whom he has been dating since 2012.

Allie DeForce was born in Vermillion Ohio in 1988. Her mother was Moss Ohio 1977 & she herself was Miss Teen USA in 2005.

She earned a degree in journalism, eventually working as a sideline reporter for Sportstime Ohio & then at WLW Channel 8 in Cleveland as a Sports reporter. 

She is currently a reporter & anchor for CBS Sports & Turner Sports as lead reporter for SEC college football. He is host of We Need To Talk on CBS Sports network & works TNT for NBA games.

Mar 21, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Juan Uribe Has A Walk Off Hit In His Second Mets Game

Sunday July 26th 2015: Terry Collins New York Mets (51-48) had just come off a much needed victory after a week of losing five of eight games. They were in second place two games behind the Washington Nationals. The Mets had gotten a shot in the arm this week as they had just acquired veterans, Kelly Johnson & Juan Uribe.

On this matinee at Citi, the Mets hosted Don Mattingly's first place Los Angeles Dodgers (56-44) in front of 36,093 fans. Jacob deGrom went up against Zack Greinke in a much anticipated pitching match.

Starting Lineups

In the home 3rd, Kirk Nieuwenhuis was hit by a pitch, advanced to third base on Kevin Plawecki's base hit. Nieuwenhuis then scored on Jacob deGroms fielders choice. deGrom sailed along blanking the Dodgers as did Greinke.

But in the home 6th, Curtis Granderson led off with a base hit, stole second & was sacrificed over to third. Daniel Murphy was walked intentionally and Kelly Johnson bounced one to first base. Adrian Gonzales threw home & got Granderson out at home. But then Lucas Duda walked to load the bases & Greinke hit his second batter, plunking Michael Conforto. Murphy scored from third making it 2-0.

Jacob deGrom pitched into the 8th inning (7.2 innings) shutting out L.A. allowing just two hits with eight strike outs & a pair of walks.

Jeurys Familia came on to save it but didn't have it today, he blew his fourth save on the year as the Dodgers tied it up scoring two runs. Doubles to Gonzalez & then ex Met Justin Turner made it 2-1, then Yasmil Grandal's base hit tied it.

Jenrry Mejia pitched a scoreless 10th inning & the Mets came to bat. Granderson led off with a double off pitcher Juan Nicasio. After a failed bunt attempt by Ruben Tejada Murphy was walked again. Kenley Jansen came in to pitch for the Dodgers & Juan Uribe who had struck out in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter came to bat.

In just his second game as a Met, Uribe became an instant hero. He hit a fly ball over the centerfielder's head scoring Granderson with the game winning, walk off run.

In 44 games with the 2015 Mets, Uribe hit 6 HRs drove in 20 runs & hit 9 doubles.

2015 NL Champion Mets Big Time Utility Player: Juan Uribe (2015)

Juan Cespedes Uribe Tena was born March 22nd 1979 in the Dominican Republic. The right handed infielder would go on to play second, third & short stop in his long career. He began playing professionally in 1997 at just 18 years old.

Uribe would debut with the 2001 Colorado Rockies, hitting 11 triples in his rookie year. He played three years there, with 2002 being his only full season.

He then moved on to the Chicago White Sox being the starting short stop on the teams 2005 World Championship team. He he hit over twenty HRs & drove in over 70 runs in three of his five seasons there.

Post Season: In the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox, Uribe homered in Game #1 driving in three runs in the Sox 14-2 rout. He hit safely in every game of the series sweep & drove in another run in the clinching 5-3 game #3 victory. In the ALCS he hit safely in four of the five games against the Anaheim Angels.

In the World Series against the Houston Astros, he drove in runs in the first two games of the series sweep. Overall he collected 12 post season hits. In Game #4 he made a leaping catch diving into the stands for a pop fly.

In 2009 he signed a two year deal with the San Francisco Giants, where he won another a World Series. Uribe  put up his best season power numbers in the Giants 2010 Championship Season with career highs in HRs (24) & RBIs (85). 

Post Season: In Game # of the NLCS he broke an 8th inning 2-2 tie, with a HR off the Phillies Ryan Madson at Citizens Bank Park. The HR won the game for the Giants as they won the series four games to one, advancing to the World Series. Uribe drove in three runs in that NLCS.

World Series: In the World Series against the Texas Rangers he hit a three run HR in Game #1 at San Francisco, in a wild 11-7 Giants win. He drove in two more runs in Game #2 in the Giants 9-0 shut out, behind Matt Cain.

Uribe's next stop was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he spent parts of five seasons making two more post seasons. He became more of a reserve player in those years.

Post Season: In 2013 he had another fine post season, hitting two HRs against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

In Game #4, with LA down 3-2, he hit a two run 8th inning HR off David Carpenter which proved to be the game winner & series clinching win. He would drive in three ore runs in the NLCS loss to the St. Louis Cards.

In 2015 he went from the Dodgers to the Atlanta Braves, then on July 24th he was traded along with Kelly Johnson to the New York Mets. He & Johnson would play key roles in participating to the Mets NL Championship.

At first when the deal was made the team was criticized for not making a bigger deal, that all changed on July 31st when they acquired Yoenis Cespedes.

In just his second game as a Met, Uribe delivered a walk off base hit against his old Dodgers team mates for an exciting 3-2 Mets win. Just two days later he hit his first Mets HR. In August he began to get more playing time, and hit HRs in back to back games in Florida vs the Marlins & Rays.

In mid August he drove in runs in three of four games, hitting his fourth Mets HR as well.  Before August was done, Uribe would hit two more HRs. In the Mets big month of August where they too over first place, Uribe was a huge contributor, hitting 5 HRs & driving in 13 runs.

In September he had a big three hit, three RBI day on September 10th in a 7-2 Mets win at Atlanta. On September 18th, he came into the game late & hit a two run HR in the subway series, helping the Mets in a 5-1 win over the AL New York team. From there he suffered a chest contusion & missed out on the final days of the season & had to be left off the initial post season roster.

2015 World Series: Uribe was activated for the World Series, and as usual made the most of being on the big stage.

He made a pinch hit appearance in the World Series Game #3, in the 6th inning where he singled bringing in Juan Lagares for the Mets sixth run of the game. He would score on David Wright's two run single.

In 2016 he closed out his career with the Cleveland Indians, playing until August when he was released by the AL Champions.

In his16 year career he batted .255 with 199 HRs 1568 hits 323 doubles 43 triples & 816 RBIs with 388 walks 1224 strike outs & a .301 on base % in 1826 games.

He has played 917 games at short, 644 at third & 228 at second base with 7 games as a DH.

He won two World Series titles, played in three World Series & played in six post seasons, while winning two defensive Player Awards.

Mar 20, 2019

Former Mets First Baseman: Ike Davis (2010-2014)

Isaac Benjamin "Ike" Davis was born on March 22, 1987, in Edina, Minnesota. His grandfather on his father's side was a paratrooper landing in France on D-Day. His mothers side of the family are of the Jewish faith & Lithuanian heritage. Many of his ancestors were killed during the Holocaust on his mother's side. 

His father, a Baptist is former MLB pitcher Ron Davis, who pitched eleven years most notably for the A.L. New York club & Minnesota Twins. In 1979 Ron Davis was 14-2 leading the A.L. in winning % (.875%). In 1981 Davis made the A.L. All Star team & pitched in the World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

After going to the Twins he saved over 20 games for four straight seasons, closing out his career with the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers & San Francisco Giants finishing with a 47-53 record & 130 career saves. 

Ike Davis went to high school in Scottsdale Arizona leading his team to three straight State Championships. There he was still a pitcher going 23-0 while batting .447 also playing first base. He then attended the excellent baseball school at Arizona State University, where he was an immediate star player. As a freshman he was ranked second in the nation by Baseball America. He was voted a three time All Pac ten, & two time All American. Davis was still pitching in college throwing a 95 mph. fast ball, but his hitting was even better, as he finished his college career with a .353 batting average. In 2008 he was drafted in the first round (18th pick overall) by the New York Mets. 

He began in his minor league career with the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones batting .256 making the adjustment from college ball to the minor leagues. At this point he stopped pitching & became a full time position player. He went the whole season without hitting any HRs (58 games) later commenting it was his most embarrassing period as a ball player. 

 In 2009 he was promoted to the A ball St. Lucie Mets, where he hit .288 with seven HRs 17 doubles & 28 RBIs in 59 games. He was then moved up to AA Binghamton where he quickly hit 13 HRs with 14 doubles, batting .309 in just 288 at bats. He was named the Mets Organizational Player of the Year & he showed a lot of big league potential. He attended the Mets Spring Training of 2010, and got a lot of attention when he hit three HRs, lead all Mets batters with a .480 average & played a spectacular defense. 

He started out the 2010 season at AAA Buffalo, but after ten games he had two HRs & was batting .364 when he was promoted to the Mets big league club. The highly touted prospect arrived at Citi Field with a lot of fanfare & hype on April 19th in a game against the Chicago Cubs. Davis walked to the plate to a huge ovation as Mets fans were hungry to see the new hopeful home grown star of the future. 

Davis did not disappoint & singled in his first career at bat. On the evening he went 2-4, driving in his first run in the 7th nning with a single up the middle. In his first four games he had two multiple hit games & then Four days after his debut he hit his first career HR. It came against the Atlanta Braves, a monster shot onto the “Shea Bridge” in right center at Citi Field. Davis was batting .355 at the end of April, living up to the hype, although it was a concern if he could handle all the pressure put on him at such a young age. In just two short years he had played only 65 games above the AA level. 

In a season without too many highlights, Ike Davis quickly became a new Mets hero, “I like Ike” banners & t-shirts began to surface among Mets fans. On June 8th he hit a walk off HR against the San Diego Padres’ Edward Mujica. By the All Star break Davis had 11 HRs tying Benny Agbayani & second to only Ron Swoboda in 1965 for most HRs by a Mets rookie in the first half of a season. 

On August 18th his 14th inning sac fly in Houston scored Jose Reyes with the game winning run. His bat cooled off a bit as the season went on but he had a strong September. He hit HRs in back to back games at Wrigley Field, hitting three overall with seven walks & six RBIs in the first week of the month. On September 11th, he had a 7th inning bases loaded single driving his second & third runs of the game, leading New York to a 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. He had nine multiple hit games in September& raised his batting average twenty points for the season, ending a promising rookie year. 

Davis finished the year batting .264 with 19 HRs 33 doubles 72 walks, a .351 on base % & 71 RBIs, all second most figures ever put up by a Met in their rookie season. Davis also set a Mets rookie record for total bases (230) while tying Lee Mazzilli’s rookie record with 72 walks.

He also tied Ty Wigginton’s rookie record in extra base hits (53). Davis had 138 hits (4th most among Mets rookies all time) playing in 147 games. On the field he posted a .993 fielding %, with nine errors, making many spectacular plays throughout the year. He came in seventh in the Rookie of the Year voting & was named to Baseball America’s all rookie team. 

2011 began hopeful for Davis, through the first ten games of the year he had five multi hit games, drove in runs in all but one games & was batting .364. On the Mets second home stand of the year he hit HRs in three straight games while driving in runs in four straight games. In the month he hit five HRs drove in twenty runs & was batting .337. When the west coast teams rolled into Citi Field for an early May home stand, Davis hit HRs in two games. 

Then on May 10thth in Colorado, he collided with David Wright on a Troy Tulowitzki pop up, injuring his ankle. He was placed on the DL & Wright soon followed with a back injury. Davis' ankle did not heal well & an MRI revealed cartilage damage. Davis missed the rest of the 2011 season, in 36 games he hit seven HRs with eight doubles one triple, seven walks a .383 on base % & a .302 batting average. 

In 2012 Davis began slowly, going hitless in his first ten games. In mid April he hit HRs in back to back games, including a three run shot against the Braves, in a 6-1 Mets win in Atlanta. He finished the month batting just .185 and his hitting woes would continue, as he did not get over the .200 mark until June 30th. 

On June 10th Davis drove in a run during the subway series match ups, then drove in runs in four straight games. On June 12th he helped R.A. Dickey to his eleventh win of the season, with a grand slam HR in an interleague 5-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. 

On June 22nd he hit a three run HR off Andy Pettite at Citi Field, leading to a 6-4 Mets victory. On June 27th he hit another HR, driving in four runs in the Mets 17-1 debacle win over the Chicago Cubs. On July 7th he hit a two run HR off Jeff Samardzija, leading the Mets to a 3-1 win over the Cubs at Citi Field. On July 28th, Davis hit three solo HRs in a game the Mets would lose 6-3 at Arizona to the d-backs. 

It was the start of a horrible Mets second half of the season after a solid surprising first half. Davis was hitting more HRs, becoming one of the biggest HR threats in the NL in the second half of the year, hitting twenty HRs after the All Star break. 

 He was driving in runs although his batting average was still suffering from lack of consistent hits. In July he hit seven HRs the most productive power month of his season. On August 18th he hit a two run HR off the Nats Edwin Jackson, driving in both runs in a Jonathon Niese 2-0 shut out on his way to his tenth win. 

On August 26th Davis had another multi HR game, as he hit two solo shots leading to a 2-0 Mets win over the Astros. He continued his hot hitting, closing out the month with a three run HR in Miami, beating the Marlins 3-0 behind R.A. Dickey's seventeenth win. In September he hit seven more HRs, becoming the first Met since 2008 to reach the thirty HR mark. 

On September 24th, Ike had another multi HR game, as he reached the thirty HR mark,& drove in five of the Mets six runs helping Jenrry Mejia to his first win in two years, since his injury. 

 On September 27th, the day R.A. Dickey won his twentieth game, Davis added a solo HR in the second inning off the Pirates Kevin Correia. He closed out the year with another HR on the last day of the year in a 4-2 win over the Marlins in Florida.

On the season he led the club in HRs (32) was second to David Wright in RBIs (90) & runs scored (66). Davis only hit .227 with 26 doubles 61 walks & a .308 on base %. At first base he posted a .994% (5th in the NL) making eight errors (3rd in the NL). 

Trivia: Davis had been known to love the New York City night life, which did concern the Mets organization & made them unhappy at times.

In 2013 there were high expectations for Ike but he began the season with a terrible slump. But first in the second game of the season, he blasted a two run HR helping the Mets to an 8-4 win over the San Diego Padres. On April 19th he hit two HRs at Citi Field, driving in three runs as Matt Harvey beat Steven Strasbug & the Washington Nats 7-1.

He ended April with four HRs & did not hit another until June 2nd. By that time he was only batting .160 & many people were asking Manager Terry Collins how long he planned on sticking with Ike at first base. The manager had stuck by him, but by June 9th he was sent down to AAA Las Vegas for the next month to fine tune his hitting.  There he hit .293 with 7 HRs & 13 RBIs in 21 games.

Davis returned on July 5th & had a two hit, three RBI day at Milwaukee in a 12-5 Mets win. He did not hit a HR until July 26th, a three run shot in a 11-0 romp of the Nats in D.C. On July 29th, the Mets rallied for three runs in the top of the 7th inning in Miami, to beat the Marlins 6-5. Davis provided the winning RBI driving in Marlon Byrd with a double off AJ Ramos.

Ike Davis Parents- Former MLB pitcher Ron Davis
He missed all of September as injuries ended his season. In 103 games he hit just .205 not getting to the .200 level until August. He hit just 9 HRs with 14 doubles 33 RBIs a .326 on base % & 101 strike outs in 317 at bats.

Between the time he missed & with his hitting struggles, the Mets gave Josh Satin more playing time at first base. Satin did a fine job & with a healthy Lucas Duda, there was much competition for Davis at first base.

Throughout the winter the Mets tried to shop Davis for some top young pitching. As Spring Training 2014 began, Davis was back in Mets camp, saying he was surprised he wasn't dealt, but he was happy to still be a Met. 

Davis was with Mets in their Opening Day line up, although it was announced Lucas Duda was the teams main first baseman. On April 12th Ike enjoyed his last moment of glory as a Met. He came in to pinch hit in the bottom of the 9th inning, with New York down 3-2 to the Cincinnati Reds. Davis stepped in & hit a grand slam walk off HR off the Reds JJ Hoover. It was an exciting game winner for Ike & the Mets fans.

But just 12 games into the season, Davis was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitcher Zack Thorton & a player to be named later.

In Pittsburgh for the rest of 2014 Davis would become the Bucs main first baseman, making nine errors there (2nd in the NL), hitting .235 with 10 HRs 18 doubles & 46 RBIs in 131 games.

At the end of the season he was designated for assignment & was purchased by the Oakland A's. He would only play in 74 games with Oakland going down with a season ending torn hip labrum in August. He hit 3 HRs with 20 RBIs batting .229 in 214 at bats. In April he pitched a perfect inning in a blow out game against the LA Angels.

After the season he signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers for 2016. He was released & signed with the A.L. New York club. There he played just eight games going 3-14 before an August 10th release.

In his seven year career he has played in 667 games batting .239 with 496 hits 81 HRs 117 doubles 291 RBIs with 538 strike outs & a .332 on base %.

Two Time Batting Champ & One Time Mets Outfielder: Tommy Davis (1967)

Herman Thomas Davis was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 21, 1939. He was a star basketball player & long jumper at Brooklyn’s Boys High School. He almost signed with the AL New York team but got a phone call from Jackie Robinson who convinced him to sign with the Brooklyn Dodgers. By the time Davis was brought up to the major’s the Dodgers had moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. 

The six foot two, right hand hitting Davis hit over .300 every year in the minors including a .346 mark at AAA Spokane in 1959 earning him a call up to the majors for one game that season.

In 1960 Davis took over the Dodger center field spot from Dom Demeter who had taken over for Duke Snider who moved over to right field at the end of his career. 

Davis hit .276 with 11 HRs 18 doubles six stolen bases & 44 RBIs coming in fifth, in the Rookie of the Year voting. Davis got better & no one imagined the year he would have in 1962.

That season he batted .346 winning the first of two straight batting titles. His .346 average was a Dodger record until broken by Mike Piazza in 1997. Davis also led the league with 230 hits & an incredible 156 RBIs. This was at a time when not as many runs were being scored. His 156 RBIs were the highest totals from the years 1950 through 1997. He broke the Dodger single season RBI total held by Roy Campanella (153) & still holds the mark today.  

Along with that he hit 27 HRs with 27 doubles, nine triples (5th most in the NL) & 18 stolen bases (7th most in the NL). That year Davis made his first All Star team, & was second in the league’s MVP voting behind team mate Maury Wills, who stole a record at that time 104 bases. His outfield play was also good, he posted a .975 fielding% (third among left fielders) with nine assists (also third most in the league) & he was second in put outs (221). 

In 1963 Davis won his second straight batting title, hitting .326, coming in eighth in the MVP voting leading the Dodgers hitting to the NL Pennant. That season he didn't get over the .300 mark until the end of May & then went on a tear from there. He had 181 hits (tenth in the NL), with 16 HRs, 88 RBIs a .359 on base % (9th in the NL) & 15 stolen bases, making his second All Star team. 

 Post Season: In the 1963 World Series sweep of the AL New York club, he hit .400 batting fourth in the lineup as the Dodgers cleanup hitter. In Game #2 he hit two triples and drove in a run in the Dodgers 4-1 victory. In Game #3 he drove in the only run of game with one of four Dodger hits, helping Don Drysdale to a three hit shutout. In the Series Sandy Koufax won two games & was the Series MVP allowing just three runs on 12 hits in 18 innings pitched. 

 Davis average fell off to .275 in 1964 although he still drove in 86 runs, with 20 doubles, 5 triples & 11 steals, but he was still considered in the MVP voting. The next season he suffered a broken ankle & missed most of the season. He did not play in the World Series as the Dodgers & Sandy Koufax beat the Minnesota Twins for the Championship. 

He batted .313 in 1966, missing some time due to injury playing in just 100 games as the Dodgers won their third straight pennant. In the 1966 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles he only started in two of the four games , batting .250 as the Baltimore Orioles swept the Dodgers. In 1967 Davis was traded to the New York Mets for former Met All Star Ron Hunt & Jim Hickman. 

When Davis was acquired he was already an established hitter and arguably their biggest acquisition for the Mets up to that point in their history. It was a big trade on two levels, although Davis was a top player, the Mets had given away the very popular Ron Hunt & the fans weren't happy. 

Davis debuted in New York, batting clean up & playing left field on Opening Day 1967. In his first Mets at bat he singled to centerfield scoring Don Bosch with the first Mets run of the year. He added another hit later in the 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Davis soon had a seven game hit streak with four multi hit games finishing the month of April batting .315. 

On May 9th he hit a walk off HR against Mel Queen to beat the Cincinnati Reds helping Jack Fisher & the Mets to a 3-2 win at Shea Stadium. During the week of May 10th through the 17th he had three separate three hit games & drove in runs in three straight games.

On May 28th, he hit HRs in bpth ends of a double header split with the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium. In the first game, Davis had a four hit game hitting two doubles, with a HR, while driving in five runs in a 6-3 Mets win. In the night cap he added two more hits & hit a HR off Denny LeMaster in the 7-3 Met loss. He closed out the month hitting in ten of twelve games and batting .343 up to that point of the season. 

 In June he drove in ten runs over the stretch from June 9th through June 16th. He began with back to back HR games at Wrigley Field & then drove in three of the Mets four runs in a 4-0 Bob Shaw shut out at Shea. Davis had a ten game hit streak, hitting safely in 23 of 27 games in June while driving in over a dozen runs. He would remain a hot hitter all summer, having another ten game hit streak in July, getting his average back over .300. On July 17th he hit a grand slam HR at Shea Stadium helping rookie Tom Seaver to a 7-2 win over the Houston Astros. 

 On August 12th Davis hit a pair of HRs against the Pittsburgh Pirates Woody Fryman, helping Kal Koonce & the Mets to a 6-1 win. The next day he contributed to a five run Mets 8th inning rally, with a sac fly putting the Mets ahead for good in the 11-8 win. On August 17th he drove in the Mets insurance run after Bud Harrelson hit a game winning 8th inning inside the park HR breaking a 4-4 tie against the Pirates. 

In September he began the month on the second, with what turned out to be the game winning hit, in the 5th inning a Mets comeback against the Chicago Cubs. His single scored Bud Harrelson in the four run inning. Davis remained consistent throughout the month continuing to hit well. 

He would finish the year leading the Mets in most hitting categories; batting .302 with 16 HRs 32 doubles, 72 runs scored, 73 RBIs, & 154 games played. Overall, after playing on three prior World Series teams he was unhappy on a losing team & playing in New York as a whole. That season the Mets finished tenth (61-101) under managers Wes Westrum & Salty Parker. After only one season with the Mets he was traded for two major pieces of the Mets 1969 Championship team, Tommie Agee & Al Weis. 

 Davis would never hit like he did in the early sixties, although he did have two more .300 plus seasons later in his career. After the Mets he would play for nine other teams over the next nine years; beginning with the Chicago White Sox in 1968. In 1969 he played for the Seattle Pilots through the end of August in their only year of existence. He hit .271 in 123 games there & was traded to the Houston Astros for Sandy Valdespino & Danny Walton. 

He was basically a journeyman player, although he hit well. This was due to the fact that Davis was known for a lazy style of play which ruined his reputation. But Davis said he was just relaxed on the field, which is what made him such a good hitter. When he got traded, which was often, he would usually get made at the club afterwards for sending him off. At the end of his career he became one of the game’s best pinch hitters with a .320 life time average in that role (63-197). 

In 1970 he signed on as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs but got injured & only played in 11 games.

In 1971 he was signed as veteran outfield insurance, playing in 79 games, batting .324 for the AL Western Champion Oakland A's, playing behind Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi & Rick Monday. Davis introduced star pitcher Vida Blue, the phenom pitcher of 1971, winning a  Cy Young & MVP Award, to his lawyer who acted as an agent representing the two players.

Blue would hold out & have a long public feud with A's owner Charlie Finley before signing a contract. In Finley's World some one had to pay when issues happened, unless it was a star player. Davis was expendable & was released in Spring Training of 1972.

In 1972 he began the year with the Cubs once again, but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Elrod Hendricks. 

In Baltimore he played three seasons batting over .280 in each time, including a .306 average (third in the league) in 1973. That year he became the team’s first full time designated hitter in the first year the DH rule was used. While playing as a designated hitter with Baltimore, he admitted going in the club house to read & even shave between at bats. 

 Post Season: On a good Orioles team, Davis won two AL Eastern titles, getting to two ALCS but losing both times to the mighty Oakland A's. In the two ALCS Davis batted .276 going 10-36. In Game #1 of the 1973 ALCS he drove home the first run of the series, with a 1st inning double off Vida Blue, in the 6-0 Jim Palmer shut out. That day he gathered up three hits & added two more the next day with another RBI in the 6-3 Orioles loss. 

In the 1974 ALCS he started out with two hits & an RBI off Catfish Hunter in Game #1, the only game in which the Orioles won. He hit .283 with the second place Orioles in 1975 as they lost out to the Boston Red Sox for the AL Eastern crown. 

In 1976 he signed on as a free agent with the California Angels but was released & got picked up by the Kansas City Royals. There he ended his playing career. 

In his 18 year career, playing in 1999 games (227th all time) with 2121 hits (206th all time) & a 294 batting average. He hit 153 HRs with 272 doubles 35 triples 136 stolen bases & 1052 RBIs (237th all time). He had 68 career sac flies (147th all time) & grounded into 219 double plays (63rd all time). 

In left field he played 1103 games (49th all time) with 59 assists there (73rd all time) & making 50 errors (51st all time). 

Retirement: In 1981 he coached for the Seattle Mariners under his old Dodger team mate Maury Wills.

Davis still appears at Dodger functions & honrs for the great Dodger teams of the sixties.