Dec 30, 2019

centerfieldmaz top albums of 2019

















































Dec 29, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (1972) Rookie John Milner Collects Mets Record Five Hits

Friday September 8th 1972: Yogi Berra's third place Mets (67-63) hosted Red Schoendienst fourth place St. Louis Cardinals, in the first game of a double header. The Mets were sporting a pair of hot rookies in tonight's game & both would be the starts of the game.

Mets left hander: Jon Matlack would give up twelve hits, but only allow two runs in seven innings of work, striking out six. He went on to beat Reggie Cleveland for his 12th win (12-9) of the year.

Matlack would win the 1972 Rookie of the Year Award, as he finished up 15-10 with a 2.32 ERA (4th in the NL) & 169 strike outs (10th in the NL).

At the plate, ROY runner up, the Mets young slugging out fielder; John Milner, nick named"The Hammer" after his idol Hank Aaron. Milner would set a Mets record at the time collecting five hits in a game. Five hits were the most for a Mets player in a single game until Edgardo Alfonzo had six hits in a game in 1999.

Starting Lineups

In the 1st inning, Milner doubled but was stranded on third base, as the Mets took a 1-0 lead when Reggie Cleveland walked Cleon Jones with the bases loaded. Milner would single in the 3rd & again in the 5th inning. 

In the bottom of the 7th the Mets were down 2-1, Ken Boswell doubled to right field & Milner followed with a two run HR putting the Mets ahead. It was the young slugging Milner's 14th HR of the year. He would hit  17 HRs on the year, best on the Mets team. 

The Mets erupted for five runs in the 8th inning, highlighted by a Ken Boswell three run HR. In the inning Milner collected his fifth hit of the night, going five for five with a HR & two RBIs. 

Dec 26, 2019

Rick Porcello: New Jersey Native 2020 Mets Pitcher

Frederick Alfred Porcello III was born on December 27th 1988 in Morristown, New Jersey. He grew up a die hard Mets fan, loving Mike Piazza & the 2000 NL Champions. Porcello was a star high school pitcher in West Orange, New Jersey. In his senior year he was undefeated going 10-0  with 103 strikeouts & tossed a perfect game. 

He was planning to go to college but decided on going right to the big leagues instead. He was the number one ranked prospect but got selected #27 in the first round, mostly because Scott Boras was his agent & teams didn't want to deal with him representing such a young player. 

Porcello was selected by the Detroit Tigers tagged aa special pitcher with the ability to be an ace of a staff. At a total of an $11 million contract, Porcello became the highest paid kid ever out of high school.

He debuted with Jim Leyland's Detroit Tigers on April 9th 2009, in a game against Ricky Romero. It was the first time in MLB history that two first round picks went up against each other in their debuts. He went 5-0 becoming the youngest pitcher since Dwight Gooden to win his first five games. 

Brawl: In an August game against the Boston Red Sox he hit Kevin Youkilis with a pitch & then tackled him to the ground after Youkilis charged the mound. That year the Tigers tied the Twins for first place at the end of the season. 

Manager Jim Leyland chose Porcello to pitch the tie breaking game, in which he gave up two earned in runs in six innings, getting no decision. The Twins won the game in extra innings. He went 14-9 that year with a 3.96 ERA coming in third in the Rookie of the Year honors.

He struggled the next season & spent some time back at AAA.

Post Seasons: He spent six years with Tigers, getting to the post season for three straight seasons 2011- 2013. I those years he was on a staff behind Justin Verlander & Max Scherzer. Porcello won ten or more games in each of those years.

 In 2011 he won 14 games (14-9)  getting to his first post season, where he took a loss to the AL New York team in the ALDS. The Tigers won the series & Porcello pitched three games on the NLCS earning no decisions in the series loss to the Texas Rangers.

In 2012 he fell below .500 (10-12) & gave up the most hits in the league (226) . That year the Tigers got to the World Series, losing to the San Francisco Giants. Porcello pitched just 1.3 innings in that post season. 

He had to fight for a fifth starters spot in 2013 & avoided abirritation as well, all before the start of the season. He rebounded with a 13-8 season & career high (up to that point) 42 strike outs. 

Another Brawl: On June 30th, he hit the Rays, Ben Zobrist with a pitch, that was though of as retaliation after the Fernand Rodney had hit the Tigers Miguel Cabrera the night before. It led to a bench clearing brawl & a six game suspension for Porcello. He took a loss in that years ALCS to his future Red Sox team.

In 2014 he went 15-13 with a 3.3 ERA in 204 innings, all his best numbers in those Tigers years. 

Trivia: He became the first Tiger hurler since Jack Morris to throw back to back shut outs that season. In other odd trivia, in is three shut outs that year, one came with no walks & one came with no strike outs. 

That December he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes, Gabe Speier & Alex Wilson. 

He suffered from trice soreness that year & went on the DL for the first time in his career. He struggled in his first year in Boston going 9-15 with a 4.92 ERA

Cy Young Award: In 2016 he had his best season, winning the AL Cy Young Award, leading the league with 22 wins (22-4) & the best strike out to walk ratio 5.91. 

He posted a 3.15 ERA (5th  best in the AL) a .846 win % & struck out 189 batters in 223 innings pitched (4th most in the AL) in 33 starts (4th in the AL) with three complete games (3rd most in the AL).In the ALDS he took aa loss to the eventual AL champion Cleveland Indians.

In 2017 he fell to leading the league with 17 losses, going 11-17 surrendering the most HRs (38) & hits (236) I the league as well. 

He posted a 4.65 ERA struck out 181 batters walked 48 in 203 innings of work. The Red Sox won their Second of three straight AL East titles, but lost to the Houston Astros in the ALDS.

In 2018 he was the ace of the Boston staff that won 108 regular season games & their ninth World Series title, their fourth of the 2000's. 

Porcello was 17-7 with a 3.28 ERA on a staff that featured David Price (6-7) Chris Sale (12-4) & Eduardo Rodrigues (13-5). Porcello had a career high in strike outs (190) & hit by pitches (16) in which he led the league. 

2018 Post Season: He came in relief of ALDS Game #1 shutting down the AL New York team in a 5-4 Sox victory. He clinched the series with a Game #4 win, pitching five innings allowing just one run.  

He had another relief appearance in Game #2 of the ALCS at Houston, earning a hold in the 7-5 Boston victory. He started Game #4 but pitched just 4 innings giving up four runs on seven hits.

2018 World Series: In the World Series he started Game #3 in Los Angeles, allowing just one run while striking out five in 4.2 innings, earning a no decision in the Dodgers win. Porcello won his first Championship as the Red Sox took the Series in five games.

After the Championship: In 2019 Porcello went 14-12 with a career high 5.52 ERA. He struck out 143 batters walked 45 in 174 innings while serving up 31 long balls. 

The 2019 Red Sox struggled 84-78 finishing third. He was granted free agency setting his sights to the New York Mets. Although he received other offers, some long term he signed a one year deal with the Mets in December 2019.

Quotes- Rick Porcello: "I'm really excited to be part of the Mets. I look forward to seeing you guys at the ballpark & we got a great year coming up. So come on out, we'll see you down at the yard. Go Mets."

"This team is a team that's built to win now & most important to me as a competitor I want to be part of that."

Personal Life:
Porcello lives in Chester Township, New Jersey. His brother Zach is a pitching coach at Seton Hall University & his younger brother Jake was drafted by the Tigers in 2009. Rick Porcello's girlfriend is Amanda Soucy, a model & digital reporter.

Dec 25, 2019

Dellin Betances: New Mets 2020 Reliever

Mets Welcome veteran Relief Pitcher Dellin Betances on Christmas Eve:

Dec 24, 2019

Tom O'Malley: Former Mets Outfielder (1989-1990)

Thomas Patrick O’Malley was born Christmas day 1960 in West Orange, New Jersey. The Irish American family moved to Montoursville, Pennsylvania where Thomas would grow up. The six foot left hand hitting outfielder, was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 16th round of the 1979 draft.

At age twenty he was a Texas League All Star leading all third baseman in fielding. By 1982 after 26 games he was batting .446 at AAA Phoenix, when the Giants wanted him in their line up. They made room for his bat, by moving veteran Darrel Evans over to first base.

The Giants had high hopes for Tom; he hit .275 with 12 doubles, two HRs & 27 RBIs in 92 games that year as they finished third under Frank Robinson. 1983 would prove to be O'Malley's only full season, batting .259 with five HRs, 16 doubles & 45 RBIs in 135 games as the team finished fifth.

Over the next two seasons he spent most of his time in the minors, where he hit well, batting .346 at AAA Phoenix. He struggled at the major league level batting just .120 in 13 games for the sixth place Giants. In 1985 he was first traded to the Chicago White Sox, then got released. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later.

He hit .254 in 56 games for the ‘86 Orioles but was granted free agaency & signed with the Texas Rangers. There he hit .274 from August through the end of the 1987 season. He played briefly for Montreal in 1988 & then in Spring Training 1989 he got traded to the New York Mets for Steve Frey. Frey had come over from the AL New York club in a trade after the 1987 season.

At AAA Tidewater, O’Malley hit .295, leading the International League in on base percentage as well as in RBIs (84). His fifteen HRs were fifth most in the league, and he won the International League MVP Award. He also got the position as the starting third baseman in the AAA All Star game.

He got a September call up to the Mets 1989 squad, debuting as a pinch hitter on September 7th, in a 13-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea. On September 9th in his second game as a Met, he drove in two runs with a pinch hit off the Phillies Jeff Parrett at Philadelphia. O’Malley had a good month, batting .545 (6-11) while driving in eight runs, and hitting two doubles in just nine games.

In 1990 he was with the club at the start of the season, but struggled as he only had two hits in 21 games over the first two months of the season. On June 5th he had his shining moment as he hit a walk off HR off the Expos Dale Mohorcic beating Montreal 6-5. In a June 12th 19-8 Mets win at Wrigley Field O'Malley had a three hit three RBI day.

The next day he returned with a two run HR at Wrigley as the Mets won another wild one 15-10. On August 29th he singled in the 7th inning off the Padres Andy Benes to tie up the game 1-1. Daryl Boston would win it with a base hit in the bottom of the 9th.

O'Malley was often used as a pinch hitter against lefties but only hit .175 in 44 tries in that role. In 82 games he batted.223, with three HRs, seven doubles, 14 RBIs & a .286 on base % in just 121 at bats.

In 1991 his contact was purchased by the Yashin Tigers in Japan. There he became an All Star & Best Nine MVP winner. He also won a Championship title, while leading the league in walks three times, intentional walks twice & on base percentage once. He was among the league leaders in many categories for five seasons in Japan.

Retirement: After his playing days he coached the Newark Bears in his home state of New Jersey in the Independent league. He then coached & scouted in Japan.

In his nine year career he batted .256 with 310 hits, 54 doubles 5 triples 13 HRs 131 RBIs & a .329 on base % in 466 games.

Al Ferrara: Former Italian / American Player & Hollwood Actor (1963-1971)

Alfred John Ferrara was born on December 22, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York. The muscular Italian American was known as “The Bull” way before Philadelphia’s Greg Luzinski took the moniker in the seventies.

His father Al Sr. was a New York fireman & then in retirement worked the gate at Jackie Gleasons Country Club in Miami Florida. His mother died when he was 17 & his grandmother raised him & his twin siblings. As a child he was an accomplished piano player but he loved baseball more than piano.

Quotes: Al Ferrara- “I never wanted to play the piano, I wanted to play baseball. But a first-generation Italian woman like my grandmother didn’t know anything about baseball, so I had to play the piano, starting at age eight. I learned the classics. I read music and play the pieces as they were written by Beethoven and Bach. I got pretty good and I learned to use piano to do what I wanted to do. I had a deal with my grandmother that after playing for an hour she would give me a quarter to go to the Bat Away at Coney Island. In those days you could hit about 25 balls for a quarter".

"After a while I got a reputation as a pretty good hitter and men would come around when I was hitting and put more quarters in the machine so I could hit for maybe a half-hour. Finally, I got my grandmother to agree that if I were to become Mr. Morvillo’s number one student I could give up piano and play baseball." 

"He would have showcase recitals at Carnegie Hall, and the number one student would play last. When I was 16, I went on last as the number one student, kissed my grandmother, and never touched the piano again".

Ferrara attended Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, the same school  MLB players: John Franco, Sandy Koufax, Pete Falcone, Bob & Ken Aspromonte, Sal Campisi, Kevin Baez, Mike Fiore & Luis Lopez attended. Other notable alumni are: Fred Wilpon, Larry King, Paul Sorvino & artist Peter Max.

Al got signed by his favorite boyhood team, the Dodgers who were now relocated in Los Angeles, in 1959. In 1963 he batted .321 earning him a call up to the 1963 World Champion Dodgers team going 7-44 in 21 games played. 

He was back at AAA Spokane for the entire 1964 season hitting 24 HRs while batting .280. He made the Dodgers in 1965 out of Spring Training, and hit his first career HR in May a three run shot against the Cubs. By the end of June he was only hitting .179 & was sent back down to the minors until his return in September.

In 1966 he had a better year, batting .270 with 5 HRs and 23 RBIs playing in 63 games. These were the glory days of the 1960’s Dodgers, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Tommy Davis, Maury Wills and the likes, Winners of two World Series and three pennants. 

1966 World Series: Ferrara managed to get one at bat in the 1966 World Series vs. Baltimore. In the final fourth game of the Orioles sweep Ferrara got a pinch hit base hit off Dave McNally in the 8th inning.

In 1967 he had one of his biggest years as fourth outfielder, behind Ron Fairly, Willie Davis & Lou Johnson. He batted .277 with 16 HRs 16 doubles & 50 RBIs. Ferrara enjoyed playing in Los Angeles, because he also had other talents & made himself a second career as a part time Hollywood actor.

Classic Television Shows: He got to play two small parts in the original classic Batman television series. First he played one of the Black Widows (Tallulah Bankhead) henchmen and later played "Atlas", one of Minerva's (Za Za Gabor) muscle man villains in the original Batman sixties TV series' final episode. 

He also played a head hunter, along with team mate Jim LeFebvre in the Gilligan’s Island 1967 episode "High Man on the Totem Pole". Ferrara also appeared in Riot on the Sunset Strip & made cameo appearances in other television shows. He was also an excellent piano player, who once played at Carnegie Hall.

After playing in only two games the next season, he was left unprotected, and got drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 1968 expansion draft.

He was an original Padre in 1969 would see the most playing time of his career over the next two seasons. In 1969 his .952 fielding % was 5th best in among all left fielders in the NL. He hit 14 HRs with career highs in RBIs (56) & doubles (22) while batting .260. His 103 hits were a career high in 1970 matching his career best .277 batting average.

In a historic Mets game on April 22, 1970 at Shea Stadium, Ferrara hit a HR off Tom Seaver for the only Padres run in a Seaver classic. That afternoon Seaver struck out a record 19 batters, including a record ten straight. Ferrara was the first of the ten in the sixth inning, then was his last victim, making the final out of the game.

After hitting .118 in 17 a game in 1971 he was sent to the Reds finishing his career there. In his 8 season career he batted .259 with 358 hits 51 HRs 60 doubles & 198 RBIs in 574 games.

Retirement: After his playing days he made other television appearances, once as a contestant on Match Game 74, as well as a 1975 appearance on Robert Blake's classic show- Baretta.

He also had recurring parts on two lesser known shows; Mansion of the Doomed & Dracula’s Do.

He worked at Martoni Marquis  in Los Angeles as a greeter then went into the home improvement business. He eventually started his own business lasting 30 years. After the recession of 2008 he needed money & called the Dodgers they gladly put him back to work.

The Dodgers used Ferrara to work in community relations right through recent times. He talks to students about the angers of drugs & tobacco. He also reads books to elementary students in schools. Ferrara was also frequent visitor to Vero Beach, Florida's old Dodgertown Spring Training Facility.