Apr 30, 2019

Former Mets Catcher & Helmet Inventor: Charlie O'Brien (1990-1993)

Charles Hugh O’ Brien was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 1, 1960. The six foot two Charlie O attended Wichita State University, hitting 25 HRs with 116 RBIs while leading his team to the 1982 College World Series.

That year he was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the fifth round as a catcher. Initially he hit .291 with 14 HRs at AA Albany in the Eastern League in 1983 but dropped off significantly the next two seasons. In 1985 the solid defensive catcher, got a September call up batting .273 in 16 games.

In 1986 he got traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with two minor leaguers for pitcher Moose Hass. He played three seasons in Milwaukee and never hit like he did in college ever again, putting up a best .234 with 6 HRs 35 RBIs in 1989. In Milwaukee he was primarily B.J. Surhoff’s backup catcher, putting up strong defensive numbers. He threw out 43% of runners attempting to steal in 1989 & tossed out at least 36% every season in Milwaukee.

In August of 1990 he was traded to the New York Mets for two players to be named later, who turned out to be Julio Machado and another player named Kevin Brown. He didn’t hit much but became known around the league as one of NL's best defensive catchers.

O’Brien battled Mackey Sasser & Rick Cerone for the Mets catching job in 1991. Although he did not win the starting role, mostly due to his hitting, he became Dwight Gooden’s personal catcher.

With the Mets, O’Brien would also catch former Cy Young winners Bret Saberhagen & Frank Viola. In his career O'Brien would be the back stop for a total of eleven Cy Young Award winners that he would call pitches for. Only four of those pitchers actually won the Award the season O'Brien was their catcher. O’Brien became famous for his long curly hair over the collar look, similar to Gary Carter.

O'Brien debuted in New York on September 1st with the first place Mets catching Julio Valera who earned his first win that day, beating the San Francisco Giants. On September 8th O'Brien had a rare big day at the plate getting three hits with three RBIs in a Mets 12-2 win over the Phillies.

On September 11th he had another three RBI day in a Mets 10-8 win over the Cardinals topped off by a walk off Daryl Strawberry HR. In the month he hit .162 with nine RBIs in 28 games played. Behind the plate he threw out a league best 46% of would be base stealers 16 of 35.

In 1991 his first full season as a Met he hit .185 with two HRs, six doubles & 14 RBIs. But it was his defense that made him such a good player, in 1991 he posted a .988 fielding % throwing out 32% of would be base stealers. At the plate he enjoyed a three hit day on May 15th driving in a run against the Padres at San Diego.

Later that summer he drove in three runs in a 904 win over the Dodgers at Shea Stadium. He hit his first HR of the season on August 22nd in a Mets 6-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 30th he hit a solo HR helping David Cone beat the Reds 3-2 in Cincinnati.

In 1992 as Todd Hundley's backup catcher, he threw out 46% of would be base stealers, second best in the National league while posting a .991 fielding %. At the plate he hit .212 with 2 HRs 12 doubles & 13 RBIs.

On May 1st he hit a two run HR in Atlanta against the Braves in an 8-7 win. O'Brien added another HR in late August in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. On September 14th O'Brien drove in three runs with a bases clearing double in a Mets 10-8 win at Wrigley Field.

In 1993 he had his best year at the plate & hit a career high .255 with 4 HRs 11 doubles & 23 RBIs appearing in 67 games. In early May he had a three game stretch where he had seven hits while driving in runs in three straight games. On May 25th his double in the top of the 9th inning drove in two runs putting the Mets ahead for good, after rallying from being down 4-1.

Again in July he had a three game stretch where he drove in runs in each game, enjoying a four game hit streak. In August he had another four game hit streak & had two different games where he drove in more than one run. On September 22nd, he hit a two run HR in Pittsburgh scoring Jeromy Burnitz for the game winning runs. He averaged 67 games behind the plate in each of his three seasons with the Mets.

O’Brien was not resigned for 1994 as Kelly Stinnett was given the backup catcher’s role. Charlie O went to the Atlanta Braves as a free agent & became the personal catcher of Cy Young winner Greg Maddox. He also was Steve Avery’s main catcher as the Braves went on to win the 1995 World Series. O’Brien went 2-5 in the NLCS good for a .400 average and 0-3 in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians.

Brawl At Shea Stadium: He became unpopular with Met fans, when he was involved in a brawl at Shea, leveling short time Met John Cangelosi. Cangelosi had charged the mound after getting hit by a pitch from Braves pitcher, John Smoltz. It was the second time that season Smoltz had plunked Cangelosi. The 6'2" O'Brien tackled the 5'8" Cangelosi from behind, wrestling him to the ground.

After two seasons in Atlanta, he moved onto to the Toronto Blue Jays backing up Pat Borders and having career highs in 1996 in HRs (13) & RBIs (44) hitting .238.

In Toronto he would catch Pat Hentgen in his CY Young season adding to his list of award winners. O’ Brien had brief stints with the Anaheim Angels (1998-1999) Chicago White Sox (1998) & Montreal Expos (2000) bbefore retiring in 2000.

In a 15 year career he was a lifetime .221 hitter, with 493 hits 56 HRs 119 doubles a .303 on base % & 261 RBIs. He posted a .990 lifetime fielding % making only 47 errors in nearly 5800 innings. He threw out a career 37% of would be base stealers (265 runners) posting a .990 fielding %.

Inventor: The biggest thing Charlie O’Brien will be remembered for is pioneering the hockey-style catcher's mask used today by many catchers.

While playing with the Blue Jays he invented the new style mask, and worked with the Van Velden Mask Co. of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to develop his idea. The new design, called the All-Star MVP, was approved by MLB in 1996 and O’Brien was the first to use it.

Retirement: Since baseball O'Brien, a life long hunter & lover of the outdoors, now runs one of the premier whitetail deer operations in the country, Catch 22 Ranch. His hunting success and knowledge of deer hunting has led him to be one of the key members and hosts of the ever-popular hunting show Deer Thugs.

O'Brien still resides in Tulsa.

Family: O’Brien’s son was a star basketball player & catcher at his dads old college at Wichita State. In 2011 he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 18th round.

Former Mets Coach & Scout: Sheriff Robinson (1963-1977)

Warren Grant Robinson was born April 8th 1921 in Cambridge, Maryland. The six foot right hand hitting catcher, earned the name "Sheriff" after his father had unsuccessfully ran for County Sheriff twice, in their home town in Maryland.

Robinson began a long minor league career that began playing in 1938  in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He soon landed with the AA Rochester Red Wings by 1941. He spent two years there before going off to serve three years in the military during World War II. He was assigned to Guam on a floating dry dock for the US Navy.

In 1946 he returned to AA Rochester moving to Baltimore with the team the next year, as they were now a AAA affiliate. He spent two years there before dropping to the low levels of the minors with the Boston Red Sox organization through 1953. In 15 years the catcher, was a .251 hitter with 44 HRs & 115 RBIs.

Retirement: In 1957 he began a three year stint as manager of the AA Oklahoma City Indians & then the Memphis Chicks. In 1960 he joined Johnny Murphy in the AL New York club organization as a minor league manager winning a Texas League pennant in 1961.

In 1963 he joined Murphy now a VP in the New York Mets organization. Robinson began as manager of the A ball Quincy Gems. In his minor league managerial career he was 786-821 (.489 %) over twelve seasons.

In 1964 he became the Mets bullpen coach under Casey Stengel, in the Mets first year at Shea Stadium. In 1965 he began the year managing at AAA Buffalo but rejoined the Mets as first base & bullpen coach under Wes Westrum. He held that position through the 1967 season, until Gil Hodges arrived.

In 1968 Robinson tried to get a young Tug McGraw to concentrate on throwing a curve ball instead of his famous screwball. McGraw & his brother Hank would both have problems & get into it with Robinson. 

Robinson then became a long time Mets scout, until the late seventies. In 1969 he scouted the Baltimore Orioles home games late in the season & ALCs for the Mets, earning a World Series ring. He made another appearance as a Mets coach for 1972 Mets under  Manager Yogi Berra, after the sudden passing of Gil Hodges.

Passing: After baseball in 1977 he became the Dorchester County tax collector until 1991. Robison passed away at age 80, in 2002 at Cambridge, Maryland.

Apr 29, 2019

Remembering Mets History (1977): Joe Torre Starts Out 7-1 As Mets Manager

May 31st, 1977: This was the start of some very dark years in Mets history, the Mets would fall into the depths of the NL East cellar, lose their star franchise hero; Tom Seaver, not sign any top free agents in the start of the free agent era & not have another winning season until 1984.

At this point in the year, 45 games in, the Mets were 15-30 & the front office parted ways with manager Joe Frazier. His replacement was Mets player, Brooklyn native Joe Torre. Torre was the Mets only Player/Manager in team history, although it was a short run.

Torre was just 36 years old & long away from his Hall of Fame managing days. His legacy as a Mets skipper would be 286-420 (.405%) in a five year span 1977-1981. But his first week went pretty good, here's a look back.

His first game as manager came on May 31st, 1977 in front of just 6,505 fans in a night game against the Montreal Expos. Craig Swan would pitch the Mets to a 7-2 victory as John Milner led the team with three RBI's coming on two run scoring singles. Jerry Grote, Bud Harrelson & relief pitcher Bob Apodaca also added RBI hits in Torre & the Mets 6-2 victory.

June 1st, 1977: The next night the Mets went to Montreal, it would be one of Tom Seaver's last starts as a Met. All the controversy surrounding his contract was coming to a head & there was a lot of buzz about Seaver & management around Stade Olympique on this night.

Seaver went about his business on the mound, obviously the whole trade rumor situation was affecting him, in 6.4 innings he gave up four runs, including a solo HR to Ellis Valentine, only striking out three. He still earned his fifth win (5-3) as catcher, John Stearns led the way with a grand slam HR. Lenny Randle scored two runs, one on a Dave Kingman hit & another on an Expo error. Joe Torre had his second win as manager.

June 2nd, 1977: The next night, Mets completed the short two game sweep over the Expos, as Jerry Koosman beat future Mets pitching coach; Dan Warthen 7-3. Warthen gave up six runs, including a Lee Mazzilli two run HR. Mazzilli would drive in three runs on the night, Felix Millan would bring in two, John Stearns & Koosman a run each.

June 3rd, 1977: The Mets returned to Shea, for a four game set with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies of the late 70's were the elite team in the NL East, winning division titles in 1976-1977-1978 & 1980. In the first game Jim Lonborg out duled Jon Matlack in 1-0 Met loss. The next night, Torre's Mets returned to their winning ways, as Nino Espinosa pitched 7.1 innings of shut out ball & reliever Skip Lockwood closed out the rest of the game, beating Steve Carlton 2-0.

Sunday June 5th, 1977: This was a special doubleheader day at Shea & one of few highlights in the '77 season. The Mets would pull off a twin bill sweep, staring out with a walk off extra inning victory. Lenny Randle drove in two runs & John Milner another, but the Mets & Phils went to extra innings.

In the bottom of the 10th, the Phils had Tom Underwood on the mound. With one out Milner & Dave Kingman singled.

Joe Torre then placed himself in the game as a pinch hitter, the crowd of just over 30,000 rose to their feet & gave him a long standing ovation. The Shea crowd loved their new manager & it was certainly a moment to be remembered. Torre was intentionally walked to load the bases. Underwood then threw a wild pitch to John Stearns & Milner scampered home with the winning run, as the Shea crows went wild once again.

In the night cap, Dave Kingman led the charge with a long 4th inning, three run HR off veteran Jim Kaat, who go on to pitch in four different decades & become a successful broadcaster after his playing days. Craig Swan pitched another fine game earning his second win of the week & Skip Lockwood earned his 8th save, his fourth save of the week in Torre's regime.

Tuesday June 7th 1977: Two nights later would have Joe Torre get to a 7-1 start as Mets manager, as the Mets beat the two time reigning World Champion Cincinnati Big Red Machine 8-0. It was to be Tom Seaver's last start at Shea Stadium in a Mets uniform until 1983. It was his last win as a Met in that time as well. The trade, known as the Midnight Massacre was just eight days away.

Trivia: On that night Tom Seaver beat Reds pitcher; Pat Zachary, one of the players he would be later traded for.

The Mets were still in last place (22-31) & 11.5 games out of first place. That would be the closest they were to first place for the remainder of the year. Torre's Mets would finish last 64-98 a full 37 games back.

Remembering Mets History: (1980) Pete Falcone Ties MLB Record Striking Out First Six Batters

Thursday May 1st 1980: A small crowd of just 5928 came out to see Joe Torre's Mets (6-11) already in 5th place take on the eventual 1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies (7-9) led by Dallas Green.

Tonight an old Mets nemesis, Lefty Steve Carlton took on Brooklyn's own Pete Falcone.

Starting Lineups

The game would start out with Falcone striking out the first six batters he faced, setting a Mets record while accomplishing that feat. It also tied an MLB record & had only been done four times proio in baseball history.

Falcone struck out Lonnie Smith & Pete Rose swinging & then got Gary Maddox looking at a called third strike. In the 2nd inning, he got sluggers Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski & then catcher Bob Boone to all go down swinging.

Falcone was going good until weak hitting reserve second baseman Lis Aguayo hit a two run homer in the 5th inning. The two runs would be all the Phillies needed in the 2-1 win. Carlton walked Eliot Maddox with the bases loaded for the Mets only run. Former Met legend Tug McGraw came on for the save as a Phillie.

The Italian American Falcone, a Brooklyn kid & cousin of Mets coach Joe Pignatano went 7-11 for the 1980 Mets, tied for second most wins on the staff.

He spent four years with the Mets, going 26-37 with a 3.91 ERA in 145 games 86 starts.

Apr 27, 2019

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: (April 29th 1969) The Mets Play Thier First Game Outside The United States

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

Tuesday April 29th 1969: This game would mark the first time the New York Mets ever played a regular season game outside of the United States. It began an NL East competition that would last into the new millennium when the Expos left Montreal for Washington D.C.

Montreal Expos history: The 1969 expansion, Montreal Expos were named after the 1987 Worlds Fair (Expo '67) held in the city. Montreal had been an AAA home to the Montreal Royals, a long time minor league club that began play in 1897.

With the exception of ten years (1918-1927) minor league ball was played since then in Montreal for 53 years. The Royals were an affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the place where Jackie Robinson also played for breaking into MLB. The team won seven championships in their era.

The first star player for the Expos was the Popular (future Met) Rusty Staub whom the locals named "Le Grande Orange". The future Cajun chef also learned to speak French while in Montreal.

Jarry Park, Montreal Quebec: The Expos played in a large park area where a baseball field was built- Jarry Park (or Park Jarry as the French Canadians say) was home to the club until they moved to Olympic Stadium (Stade Olympique) in 1976.

Park Jarry was a cold windy place, with the sun setting in west blinding the first baseman's eyes. Forgotten is the fact that there was a large swimming pool beyond the outfield, belonging to the parks grounds.

This was long before the pools & splash HRs of today in various in ballparks. Pirate slugger Willie Stargell once landed a 490' shot into the pool, earning its nickname "Willies Pool". Today the area is Stade Jarry a tennis stadium.

Just 8,577 fans showed up on a brisk Montreal afternoon to watch Gene Mauch's Expos (7-12) face Gil Hodges eventual World Champion Mets (8-11). Veteran MudCat Grant went for the Expos taking on the Mets lefty, Jerry Koosman.

Starting Lineups

The game was highlighted by two HR's hit by Ed Kranepool. Kranepool blasted a 2nd inning shot & a 6th inning shot both off of Mud Cat Grant.

It was all the Mets needed as fine pitching once again came from the 1969 Mets.

Koosman would pitch into the 5th inning, allowing no runs on two hits. Fireballer Nolan Ryan came in relief went the distance shutting out the Expos, striking out seven walking no one & scattering four hits. He earned the victory to go 2-0 on the year.

Apr 26, 2019

1969 World Champion Mets September Call Up: Bob Johnson (1969)

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

Robert Dale Johnson was born April 25th, 1943 in Aurora Illinois. The six foot four left handed hitter, threw right handed & was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1964.

Johnson went 10-9 in the New York Penn. League in 1964 & then had a great 7-1 start to the 1965 season before getting promoted to AA Williamsport. In 1966 he was 8-3 at Williamsport getting promoted to AAA Jacksonville where he fell to 1-3. In 1967 he was back at Williamsport having a good year, going 301 with a 1.02 ERA in just 13 games. Johnson would suffer from arm trouble that would haunt him for the rest of his career.

After missing the 1968 season, he returned to pitch at AA Memphis in 1969, where he was the clubs top pitcher. He went 13-4 with a 1.48 ERA striking out 129 batters in 134 innings. He was promoted to up to AAA Tidewater appearing in 14 games going 0-1 with three saves.

Johnson was called up to the Mets team that September, arriving just before the Amazing's clinched the NL East. Johnson debuted on September 19th, finishing off a 8-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would make just one more appearance, earning a save in a 6-5 win at Wrigley Field on October 1st. He was not eligible for the post season.

In December 1969 he was traded away with Amos Otis to the Kansas City Royals for third baseman Joe Foy. 

Johnson went 8-13 for the Royals with a 3.07 ERA getting traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the season. In 1971 he was third on the World Champion Pirates staff (behind Steve Blass & Doc Ellis) with 11 wins, going 11-7 with a 4.11 ERA.

Post Season: In the 1971 NLCS he pitched eight innings of one run ball against the San Francisco Giants. He earned the Game #3 win striking out seven batters walking three.

In the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles he started Game #2, giving up four runs & getting removed in the 4th inning, taking a loss. He appeared in relief of Game #6 pitching two innings in the 3-2 Pirate loss.

He returned to the NLCS in 1972, making two relief appearances against the Cincinnati Reds. From now on, Johnson turned into more of a relief pitcher over the next couple of years, staying with the Pirates through 1973.

That December he was traded to the Cleveland Indians, but was released that July. He would pitch in the minor leagues over the next three seasons, spending time with the AL New York club, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals & Atlanta Braves organizations.

He reappeared in the majors pitching 15 games for the 1977 Atlanta Braves before his career ended.

In a seven year career, he was 28-34 with 12 saves in 183 games (76 starts). He struck out 507 batters, walking 269 in 692 innings of work.

Legendary Italian / American NY Giants Pitcher: Sal "The Barber" Maglie (1945 / 1950-1958)

Salvatore Anthony Maglie was born on April 26, 1917 in Niagara Falls, New York. His father- Giuseppe, came from a prosperous family in Italy but when he immigrated to America, his lack of education could only get him small paying jobs. He ended up as a pipe fitter who would later run his own grocery store, and do well for himself. 

A young Sal would also work in that store, but had no intention to remain in that business as he had a love for baseball.

His parents wanted him to be educated & work, telling him to forget about playing sports. But Sal would sneak out of the house just to play ball. Noy only an exceptional baseball player but a good basketball player as well. 

He was offered a basketball scholarship in which he turned down. The six foot, two inch tall right hander, attended Niagara University where he played his most loved sport baseball, becoming a pitcher.

At first he worked in the local Niagra chemical plants while pitching for local company teams. After failing at a few pro tryouts, Maglie  began his pitching career with a semi pro team out of Buffalo, New York. There he was noticed by former big leaguer Steve O'Neill, who gave him a shot. Maglie would beat the legendary Negro League pitcher, Satchel Page in a 1-0 duel back in his early days. 

Maglie had some bad years with the AA, Buffalo Bisons & was demoted to the Pony League & then to Class A. Eventually he finally had a good year, winning 20 games. In 1942 he failed a physical & was not admitted to the US military during World War II. With many of the players getting drafted, Maglie was signed by the New York Giants in 1942.

After a poor year in pro ball, he resigned & went back to work in the chemical plant for two more years. He returned to pro baseball in 1945 pitching with AAA Jersey City Giants, an affiliated of the New York Giants.

Maglie would get called up for the Giants later that year, but was already 28 years old. Sal Maglie debuted on August 9th, 1945, pitching middle relief in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. 

On August 14th, he got his first start & threw a complete game 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds, at the Polo Grounds. In early September he tossed back to back shut outs, beating the Phillies & Chicago Cubs. He finished up at 5-4 with a 2.35 ERA.

In 1946 he jumped over to the Mexican League in order to make more money. This was something other players had done too but was frowned upon by MLB. Then MLB Commissioner Happy Chandler, then put a ban on players who would  jump to the Mexican leagues. 

Maglie did not get a chance to return to the big leagues for another four years. In 1950 the ban was lifted & Maglie returned but by this time he was 33 years old. 

Now finally, that the legend of Sal Maglie was born. He would become known as "Sal the Barber," because he gave close shaves to the batters. He was famous for throwing pitches up & in, under the batters chins. 

On the mound he would stare down, at his hitters with an angry look. He donned a five o’clock shadow, with a razor stubble beard, which added to his menacing look.

Quotes: Maglie said “When I’m pitching, the plate is mine”.

But off the mound he was a known as gentle, courteous, good-natured guy. One sports writer actually wrote" when Maglie spoke he sounded like a Priest’s in a confessional ”.

Maglie was a key part to the success of the New York Giant teams of the early 1950s. He began the 1950 season in the bullpen and was 5-3 by late July, getting placed into the starting rotation.

From there on he was sensational, going on an incredible eleven game winning streak. In August he tossed five complete games going 6-0 with a save to his credit. On August 26th, he began a stretch were he threw four straight complete game shut outs. 

On August 26th he shut out the Cardinals in St. Louis although he gave up eleven hits he allowed no one to score. In his next start at Pittsburgh, he allowed just five hits while walking two batters, shutting out the Pirates 3-0. 

On September 4th, he defeated the Phillies 9-0, in the second game of a double header in Philadelphia. Then on September 9th, he beat Brooklyn's Preacher Rowe in a 2-0 win at the Polo Grounds.

He finished the year at 18-4 (8th most wins in the league) while leading the league in ERA (2.71) winning % (.818%) and shutouts (5). He struck out 96 batters in 206 innings coming in tenth place for the overall MVP Award. He was also second in the league with ten hit batters.

1951:In the Giants miracle run of 1951, Maglie was the ace of the staff & arguably the best pitcher in the league. That year the rival Brooklyn Dodgers had two twenty game winners; Preacher Roe (22 wins) & Don Newcombe (20 wins).

But the Giants had two twenty game winners of their own; Maglie & Larry Jansen, who both won 23 games. Maglie (20-6) & Jansen tied for the league lead in wins.

On May 4th, he pitched a one hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates, at the start of an eight game winning streak. In that stretch, he also tossed a two hit shut out against the Phillies in Philadelphia. Maglie would add a three hitter along the way & find himself at 15-4 by the end of July.

The Giants were ten games back at the start of August & were thought to be dead in the pennant race. They would go on an incredible come back stretch to tie the Dodgers by the last day of the season. 

From August 12th to the end of the season he was 8-1 with six complete game wins. In September alone, he beat the Brooklyn Dodgers three times. On September 9th, he beat Ralph Branca in a 2-1 win at Ebbetts Field.

On October 3rd he was the starting pitcher in one of the most famous games in baseball history. Maglie, shut out the Dodgers in the third & final game of the 1951 NL Playoff series forced by the tied record. He held down the Dodgers into the 8th inning, before surrendering four runs, leaving down 4-1. It seemed he would be the losing pitcher, until Bobby Thompson connected for the most famous walk off HR in history, sending the Giants to the World Series.

He finished up second in both ERA (2.93) & complete games (22). He struck out 146 batters (third in the league) pitched 298 innings & recorded four saves.

He made the All Star team and came in fourth in the MVP voting. (This was before the Cy Young Award was given to pitchers). At the plate he hit his first career HR, driving in five runs and batting .152. 

Post Season- 1951 World Series: In the 1951 World Series, Maglie took the loss in Game#4 of the World Series, losing at the Polo Gounds to AL New York's Allie Reynolds. Reynolds had an extra days rest because of the previous day’s rain out. Sal gave up four runs on six hits in five innings pitched,  including a two run HR to Joe DiMaggio.

In 1952 he was already 35 years old & just in his third full season pitching in the majors. He had a great start to the season, beating the Philadelphia Phillies at the Polo Grounds on Opening Day, striking out eight batters.

In his second start he pitched a two hit shutout at Ebbets Field striking out eight Dodgers. Through his first nine starts he won every game, allowing more than two earned runs in only one of those games.

He was 11-2 with a 3.06 ERA entering July & made another All-Star team. He was undefeated in August as well going 3-0 with another shut out on August 19th, coming against the Chicago Cubs. 

He finished the year at 18-8 (second most wins in the NL) with a 2.92 ERA (tenth in the NL) pitching in 216 innings striking out 112 batters. Although he had such a great year, he was starting to have back issues, that would limit his effectiveness.

In 1953 his numbers began to decline as his age caught up to him slowly. He pitched in 27 games with 145 innings, eight less starts & 50 less innings than the previous year. His record slipped below .500 for the first time, with an 8-9 record.

He rebounded with 14 wins in the Giants 1954 Championship season, becoming the number three man on a staff. That group included; twenty game winner Johnny Antonelli & 17 game winner Ruben Gomez.

Maglie began the season with an Opening Day 4-3 win against Brooklyn at the Polo Grounds. He started out strong at 4-0 with a five hit shutout pitched on April 25th, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Phillies. In the month of July, he went 4-1 with a pair of saves added in relief efforts.

Over the last two months of the year, he pitched well but had seven no decisions going 3-1 in that time. On the season he went 14-6 (9th most wins in the NL) with two saves, striking out 117 batters (8th in the NL) in 218 innings pitched, posting a 2.96 ERA (8th in the NL).

For his efforts he even received votes for the MVP Award, coming in 22nd in that voting.

Post Season: In 1954 “The Barber” opened up the World Series against the Cleveland Indians, in Game #1 at the Polo Grounds. Just like the 1951 Series, Maglie had a troubled first inning.

Cleveland lead-off batter; Al Smith singled, then the 1954 AL batting champ Bobby Avila singled as well. Maglie was then able to retire Larry Doby on a grounder and Al Rosen on a pop-up.

 Then Vic Wertz came to the plate & doubled to deep right-center and the Indians had a 2-0 lead. This was enough for Leo Durocher to get Don Liddle to warm up in the bull pen.

Maglie reared back to get the next out. The Giants eventually tied the game & Maglie then cruised all the way to the eighth inning. He was relieved going 7.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, with two walks & two strike outs.

Don Liddle did relieve Maglie & gave up a long fly ball off the bat of Vic Wertz. It resulted in the famous Willie Mays over the shoulder catch, perhaps the most famous defensive play in baseball history. 

The Giants went on to win it in the bottom of the 10th on a three-run walk off pinch hit HR by Dusty Rhodes. Maglie got no decision & did not get another appearance in the four game Series sweep.

The following season, Maglie struggled suffering from back issues, in 23 games he was 9-5 with a 3.75 ERA into July when he was placed on waivers. He was picked up by the Cleveland Indians where he finished the year going 0-2.

Brooklyn Dodger Career: In 1956 he began the year in Cleveland but after two games, he was purchased by his long time rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers for $1000. He made a great comeback and pitched great down the pennant stretch.

On June 4th he pitched a three hit shutout at Milwaukee to defeat the Braves. On August 14th he pitched seven scoreless innings against his old Giants team mates earning no decision in Brooklyn's 3-1 loss.

On September 1st he beat them at the Polo Grounds, allowing just one run in 5.1 innings pitched. On September 25th, Maglie had his best game of all, throwing a no hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies at Ebbetts Field.

Years later he said "The last pitch I threw was a fastball, low and outside. Marty Blaylock was the batter and he hit the pitch on the ground to the second baseman, Jim Gilliam. Gilliam scooped it up and threw him out to end the game." The game would put Brooklyn just 1/2 game behind the Milwaukee Braves in the battle for first place. 

Four days later Maglie beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of a double header securing the Dodgers spot in first place, clinching at least an NL tie.

On the year he was 13-5, with the league's third best winning % (.733%) He had nine complete games & 2.87 ERA (4th best in the NL) helping the Boys of Summer win another the Pennant.

On the mound he also posted a perfect .1000 fielding %. He finished second to team mate Don Newcombe in the first balloting for the Cy Young Award, and was also second to Newcombe in MVP voting.

Post Season-1956 World Series: Maglie opened the 1956 World Series against the AL New York club with a 6-3 complete game win at Ebbets Field, striking out ten batters. 

Trivia: Maglie was the opposing pitcher in Game #5 when Don Larsen threw his famous perfect game. Maglie was also good on that day, allowing just two runs on five hits, but obviously took the loss. Maglie went 1-1 in that World Series allowing five runs in 18 innings, pitching two complete games and striking out 15.

In 1956 he appeared on the TV show what's my line, where blind folded celebrities try to guess who a person is by questioning.

He went 8-6 the next season, ending up on the A.L New York club at the end of the season. He became one of very few players to have played on all three New York clubs before the Giants & Dodgers left for California. 

He began 1958 in the A.L. & then finished his career with the St. Louis Cardinals going 3-7 for the entire 1958 season.

In his ten year career, Maglie was 119-62 with 14 saves, throwing 25 shut outs (173rd all time) with 93 complete games, posting a 3.15 ERA (228th all time). He compiled a .657 winning %, 19th all time & was the ninth best in history when he retired. Maglie struck out 862 batters with 562 walks in 1723 innings.

Although he was known as the Barber, and did come in the top ten in his league, four times in hit by pitches, he hit just 44 batters in his entire career.

Retirement: After his playing days Sal served two terms as pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox (1960-1962/ 1966-1967). 

Many pitchers gave Maglie credit as as he became a well respected pitching coach. Hall of Fame Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale & 1967 Red Sox ace Jim Lonborg both credited Maglie with teaching them how to master pitching inside to hitters. Red Sox pitcher (Na one time Met pitching coach) Bill Monbouquette, also gave credit to Maglie when he struck out 17 batters in a 1961 Red Sox game.

During the Red Sox "Impossible Dream" season of their 1967 AL pennant, Maglie was the teams pitching coach, but there were issues. He had signed a two year deal & when new Sox manager Dick Williams came along, the two did not get along. Williams of course wanted his own pitching coach of his chosing.

Also that year, Maglie's wife Kay, died of cancer &amp. At 49 he was a widower with two sons. After the Red Sox won the AL pennant, they lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Maglie was fired the day after the Series ended. He was outraged, at the Red Sox but mostly at Dick Williams & publicly said so. 

He the got the job in Seattle as pitching coach of the one year expansion Seattle Pilots. The Pilots would move to Milwaukee the following year becoming the Brers.

After baseball Maglie worked as a wholesale liquor salesman & a coordinator for the Niagara Falls Convention Bureau.

Maglie’s reputation made him a popular New York favorite & he appeared at many New York Mets old timers games at Shea Stadium.

Family: Maglie married his first wife Kathleen (Kay) back in 1941.  She was born in Ontario Canada, moving to Niagara Falls in 1933, where she eventually met Sal. While with the Giants, they lived in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York. The couple adopted two boys. Kay passed away at the young age of 43 in 1967, in Massachusetts, as Sal was working with the Red Sox.

One of their sons made a career in the Air Force. Sadly the other son, had issues with drugs & alcohol after his mothers death. He passed away in 1982.

Passing: Sal Maglie suffered a brain aneurysm in 1981 but did recover. After the death of his son, his health deteriorated & he was placed in a Nursing Home in 1987. He passed away in Niagara Falls, New York in 1992 at age 75.

Honors: Maglie is inducted in The Italian American Sports Hall of Fame & has a baseball stadium named after him, in his home town of Niagara Falls. 

A highly acclaimed book about his life in & out of baseball was written by Judith Testa in 2007.