Aug 29, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (1974) Tug McGraw Pitches His Only Career Shut Out

Sunday September 1st, 1974: Yogi Berra's fifth place Mets (60-71) were nine games back at the start of September, but unlike last year there was no NL Pennant run in store this September. 

The Mets were the reigning NL Champs but were to loose their title in the next month. Tonight the Mets hosted Clyde Kings third place Atlanta Braves (73-61) in front of 33,879 fans. The Braves Carl Morton (14-7) went up against The Mets Tug McGraw (5-7).

In his Mets career, Tug McGraw made 36 starts for the club, most of them in the earlier part of his career. In the upsetting Mets 1974 season, the team needed help in the starting rotation at times & McGraw filled in making four starts. This game would be McGraw's only shut out of his fine career, albeit most of it was as a reliever.

Starting Lineups

McGraw scattered just five hits on the night, coming off the bats of Hank Aaron, Davey Johnson, Ralph Garr, Darrell Evans & Marty Perez. Tug walked just one while striking out three in the complete game victory.

Morton shut down the Mets, until the 4th inning, John Milner & Rusty Staub both singled. Then rookie Benny Ayala flied out to center field, Rusty Staub was thrown out trying to get back to first base but John Milner was able to score on the play. 

In the 5th, the Mets Teddy Martinez singled & McGaw drew a walk. Bud Harrelson singled bringing in Martinez. Felix Millan grounded out, but McGraw scored on the play making it 3-0. It was all the Mets needed for the win.

Aug 26, 2019

Mike Torrez: Early Eighties Mets Pitcher (1983-1984)

Michael Augustine Torrez was born on August 28th 1946 in Topeka Kansas. The tall six foot five right hander was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964 at age 17.

Torrez went 10-10 at AAA Tulsa & would make his MLB debut as a September call up for the 1967 World Champion Cardinals. 

On September 10th, he pitched to one batter & struck him out in a 8-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The next year he began the year with the Cardinals & went 2-1 but was sent down in late May. He went 8-2 at AAA Tulsa in the Pacific Coast League as the Cards won another pennant & lost to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

In 1969 the Cards fell to fourth place & Torrez filled in on a staff of Bob Gibson (20-13) Steve Carlton (17-11) & Nelson Briles (15-13) going 10-4 with the best winning percentage on the staff. He fell to 8-10 in 1970 & in June of 1971 was traded to the Montreal Expos for Bob Reynolds. Torrez would spend four years in Montreal, having two 15 win seasons.

In 1972 he Balor Moore & Bill Stoneman made a good rotation, but the team had no offense. Torrez won 16 games (9th most wins in the NL) going 16-12 with a 3.33 ERA. He struck out 112 batters, but also walked 103 in 243 innings of work. Torrez would be among the league leaders in walks allowed through most of his career.

He would also give up lots of hits & runs as well, although he was a work horse pitcher. Ten times in his career he pitched over 200 innings. He also walked 100 batters or more six times (leading the league three times) & gave up over 100 runs seven times (leading the league twice). He was known as a nibbler, not having the best stuff but a guy who would nibble away at the corners of the strike zone.

In 1974 he won 15 games, tying Steve Rogers for the Expos team lead & went on a seven year stretch where he won double figures. That year Torrez married a girl from Montreal & was hoping to stay put to raise a family. But it was not to be, manager Gene Mauch was tired of his walking too many batters & a trade was made. 

In 1975 he went to the Baltimore Orioles in a big traded that sent he & Ken Singleton to the Orioles for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins & a Bill Kirkpatrick.

 The deal was terrible for Montreal, as McNally retired in May, Coggins got very sick & was released & Kirkpatrick never pitched for the team. The trade was great for Baltimore, Single became an All Star outfielder & Torrez a top hurler.

He won twenty games (20-9) fourth most wins in the AL, posting a 3.06 ERA in 270 innings (9th in the AL) , while leading the league with 133 walks. He was part of another talented staff that included Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar & Ross Grimsley, but the O's finished second to the Boston Red Sox ending their six year run as AL East champs.

That off season Torrez was traded to the Oakland A's who had just won five straight AL West Division titles & three World Series (1972-1974). It was a monster trade at the time, sending Reggie Jackson & Ken Holtzman to the Orioles for Torrez & Don Baylor.

Torrez had another good year there, going 16-12 with a 2.50 ERA. He tossed four shut outs as well (4th in the AL). The only other starting pitcher left from the A's Championship years was Vida Blue who went 18-13.

After starting out 1977 3-1 in April he was traded to the AL New York team for Doc Ellis, Marty Perez & Larry Murray. There he went 14-12 helping the club to a world championship. It was his only post season appearance of his long career. In the ALCS he took a loss to the Kansas City Royals in Game #3 at Kansas City. In the World Series he was the winning pitcher in Game #3 at Los Angeles & the winner in Game #6 at New York.

That winter he signed on as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox. He would spend seven seasons in Boston winning 16 games in each of his first two seasons. His 16 wins were 8th best in the league in 1979. He would finish second on the Red Sox staff to Dennis Ekersley both seasons. Also on the staff were Luis Tiant & Bill Lee, making up one of the league's best.

But it was a heartbreaking season in 1978 for the Sox, They fell apart, losing 17 games in the standings after holding a big lead in the AL East. They rebounded to come back & force a one game playoff after being down 3 1/2 games with 14 to go.

Torrez capped off the season, with one of the biggest blows against the Red Sox in modern history. It was Torrez who gave up the 7th inning, three HR, deep to left field over the Green Monster, to weak hitting short stop; Bucky Dent. Boston had been up 2-0 but were now behind & never came back. The Sox lost a heart breaker finished second & then third the next year.

In 1979 Torrez led the league once again in walks & earned runs. In 1980 he fell to 9-16 the worst record he had since 1973. In the strike shortened 1981 season he rebounded to a 10-3 record posting a 3.68 ERA. After going 9-9 in 1982 he was traded to the New York Mets for a player to be named later.

Torrez joined the 83' Mets staff that included the return of Mets legend Tom Seaver, Craig Swan & youngsters Walt Terrell & Ed Lynch. Torrez made his Mets debut on April 9th, in the third game of the season, at Shea Stadium. Torrez gave up five runs in six innings, taking a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He lost to the Cardinals in St. Louis in his second start, beginning the year at 0-2. 

Torrez then made three relief appearances before getting a start on April 27th in Cincinnati. He went eight innings allowing just one run on three hits, earning his first win 2-1 over the Reds. In his next start he went nine innings, but without run support took a 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros. Torrez was 2-6 by the end of May with an ERA over five. He had a good stretch at the end of June winning three straight games, including a three hit one run victory against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium on June 26th.

Torrez was a streaky pitcher that season, after three straight wins he lost four straight dropped six of seven. But at the end of August, Torrez won another three straight, beating the San Francisco Giants twice & the Los Angeles Dodgers. On August 31st, he pitched a complete game one run victory beating the Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela.

In September he went 1-3 to finish the year at 10-17, the most losses in the National League. He also topped the league in earned runs allowed (108) & walks (113). He pitched 22 innings struck out 94 & posted a 4.37 ERA.

Torrez began the year with Mets in 1984 but this was a completely different team, the pitching staff now had Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling & Sid Fernandez on board. Torrez actually got the nod to make the Opening Day start that season, taking a loss at Cincinnati. He was shelled for six runs on six hits, exiting in the second inning.

Torrez pitched into the six inning allowing no runs in his next start, but got no decision in the Mets 3-1 win. In that game, Torrez hit the Houston Astros young All Star short stop; Dicke Thon in the face with a fastball, fracturing his orbital bone almost ending his career. Thon recovered but was never the same player.

On April 21st Torrez made the start but was gone after allowing three runs in the 1st inning. On May 13th the Dodgers tagged him for four runs at Dodger Stadium, as he exited in the 5th inning taking a 5-3 loss. On June 3d, he pitched 8 innings & although he gave up ten hits, only allowed one run to The St. Louis Cardinals. But that day Dave LaPoint was better shutting out the Mets & Torrez 1-0.

On June 9th, Torrez got his only win of the year, beating the Expos in Montreal. By the end of June he 1-5 with a 6.30 ERA when the Mets gave him his release.

Torrez signed with the Oakland Athletics, pitched in two games ending his career at age 38. In his long 18 year career he was 185-160 (150th all time in wins / 119th in losses).

He had 1404 strike outs, 1371 walks (23rd all time), 1340 earned runs (69th all time most) allowed in 3042 innings (126th all time) over 494 games. He threw 15 shut outs, 117 complete games as well as 103 wild pitches in 458 starts (76th all time) & posted a 3.96 ERA. 

Retirement: In 2011 he was named General Manager of the Newark Bears as they began play in the Canadian American Association, but was fired that summer.

Aug 24, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (2005) Mike Jacobs Has A Slugging Start To His Career

Sunday August 21st, 2005: Willie Randolph's Mets (63-60) were in fifth place but just six games put of first place. 

On this day they hosted Frank Robinson's Washington Nationals (69-59).
Kris Benson & the Mets took a 7-4 loss on this day, but brought up a young rookie named Mike Jacobs.

Jacobs came to bat in the 5th inning as a pinch hitter for Juan Padilla. In his first career at bat he hit a three run HR off Estaban Loaiza. Jacobs would get the start the next day but go 0-4 in a 4-1 Mets win at Arizona.

Tuesday August 22, 2005: The Mets had a huge offensive night on this date, scoring 14 runs bashing out 17 hits. David Wright had a three hit night, driving in a pair of runs. Ramon Castro had a bigger night driving in five runs with two hits. That night two young Mets players Victor Diaz & Mike Jacobs both drove in two runs each.

Jacobs was now seeing regular playing time as Doug Mientkiewicz & Chris Woodwars were the clubs main first basemen. In the 5th inning, Jacobs connected with a HR off Claudio Vargas, a two run shot scoring David Wright.

Wednesday August 24th, 2005: The Mets exploded for their biggest night of the year this evening. They scored 18 runs on 20 hits, coming up with two five run innings. David Wright had a four hit, two HR night. Jose Reyes had four hits, a HR & drove in four runs. Kaz Matsui also had three hits, Ramon Castro drove in two more runs as did pitcher Jae Seo. 

The other big hitter that night was once again Mike Jacobs. Jacobs had four hits, connecting for two HRs, the first a two run shot off Russ Ortiz in the 2nd inning & the other  a 9th inning solo shot off Jose Valverde.

Jacobs had hit four HRs in just 12 at bats, impressing everyone with his power, and became the talk of the ball club. The Mets were on a win streak with him in the line up & got to within a game of the wild card lead but soon faded away.

Jacobs finished the year with 11 HRs in just 100 at bats & was being labeled the slugging first baseman of the Mets future. This didn't work out, that winter he was sent to the Florida Marlins for Carlos Delgado. 

He had a couple of good years; hitting 32 HRs with 93 RBIs in 2008, but injuries as well as set backs, has had him only play in seven MLB seasons.

Aug 21, 2019

Remembering Mets History: (2015) Yoenis Cespedes' Historic Night

August 22nd 2015: Terry Collins first place Mets visited the Rocky Mountains with a weekend series at Coors Field in Denver.

It was to be a historic offensive night for the most recent Mets player Yoenis Cespedes who was acquired on the July 31st non waiver trade deadline. Since his arrival, as well as the additions of Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson & rookie Michael Conforto,  the Mets have become a true first place team. Tonight Cespedes had one of the biggest games of his career as well one of the best any Mets player has ever had at the plate.

Tonight's starters Bartolo Colon for New York & John Gray for Colorado would have a tough time of it and not factor in the decagons what so ever.

In the 1st inning, Cespedes doubled with two out for his first hit, he then scored his first run when Lucas Duda singled him in. The Rockies tied it on a solo HR by Carlos Gonzalez. In the 2nd the Mets had a huge inning, Kelly Johnson singled, Michael Conforto walked & pitcher Bartolo Colon was hit by a pitch. Base hits by Curtis Granderson & Daniel Murphy made it 3-1 New York.

Next up the star of the night Yoenis Cespedes hit a grand slam HR to left center field, it was his first of the night putting the Mets up 7-1. In the 4th inning Cespedes added his second of the night a solo shot making it 8-1 Mets.

But those pesky Rockies didn't let up, in the light air of Coors field they battled back to eventually tie the game, knocking out Colon in the 4th inning, giving way to Sean Gilmartin. In the home 5th, after Gilmartin gave up the tying run, Curtis Granderson made a fantastic double play throwing out Nick Hundley at the plate trying to score.

In the 6th inning, after Murphy walked, Cespedes answered back with his third HR of the night, another blast to right center field, it was his 23rd of the year.

In the 8th he added a double & a stolen base, scoring his fifth run of the night on a Wilmer Flores double.

The Mets went on to a 14-9 win, going up five games on the second place Washington Nats, the Mets largest lead of the year (so far). 

Cespedes' night was historic as he become the first player in MLB history to hit three HRs in a game, collect five hits, drive in seven runs, score five runs, & steal a base in the same game. His 15 total bases were the second most by a Met (after Edgardo Alfonzo 16) in team history.

His three HRs also marked the first time in team history that three different Mets players (Cespedes, Lucas Duda & Kirk Nieuwenhuis) have homered three times in a game. His seven RBIs are tied for third most in a game in team history as well.

Quotes: Mets Manager Terry Collins- "I haven't seen anything like that, He just continues to display some of the things that everybody says he can do. When you see it, you just shake your head because he's a special talent."

Trivia: In a bit of humor Cespedes said through his interpreter Ricky Bones (Mets bullpen coach), that Juan Uribe egged him on to hit a third HR by saying: "anybody can hit two HRs in this park."

Chris Capuano: Former Italian / American Mets Pitcher (2011)

Christopher Frank Capuano was born August 19, 1978 in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Capuano was the valedictorian of his class at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass. 

He went on to earn a degree in Economics at Duke University, where he earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

The tall left hander was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 8th round of the 1988 draft. In 2001 he helped Team USA win the Silver Medal, but then had arm trouble needing Tommy John surgery the following year.

In 2003 he made his MLB debut with the D-backs going 2-4 with a 4.64 ERA pitching in nine games. The promising young lefty was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in an eight player deal that also sent Ritchie Sexton to Arizona. In 2005 he had a career year, going 18-12 (4th most wins in the NL), his 18 wins were the most by a Brewer pitcher since Teddy Higuera in 1985.

From mid June through the end of July he won seven straight decisions, while putting up a 11-6 record the first half of the season. He led the league in starts (35) posting a 3.99 ERA striking out 176 batters in 219 innings, while pitching three complete games.

Capuano has a fantastic pickoff move to first base, & had led the majors in pick offs in 2005 with twelve. At the plate he batted a modest .169 with 9 RBIs. In 2006 he became the clubs ace as Ben Sheets went down with injury, Capuano made the All Star team going 10-5 by the mid season break.

The rest of his season turned out to be a nightmare for him, going 1-7 finishing with a 11-12 record with a 4.03 ERA over 221 innings of work. In 2007 he began the year at 5-0 but then struggled losing his next 12 decisions.

In 2008 he had a second Tommy John surgery; and setbacks had him miss the next two seasons. He signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee for 2010 and when he felt soreness in his shoulder he was sent back in the minor leagues. In early June he made his first MLB appearance in almost three years, taking a loss at Florida to the Marlins.

On July 3rd he pitched in a game where the Brewers beat the Cardinals, it broke a streak of 26 straight losses, in games in which he had appeared in. Then on July 19th he earned his first win since 2007 pitching five innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Capuano finished the season at 4-4 pitching in 66 innings allowing 29 earned runs (3.95 ERA). In November he was granted free agency & signed with the New York Mets in January 2011.

Capuano made his Mets debut in Florida pitching the 7th inning of relief in a Mets 9-7 win over the Marlins. His first start came against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on April 9th. Although he gave up four earned runs over six innings he still earned the victory.

Capuano was up & down with New York, his worst enemy seems to be the long ball. In the subway series in late May he allowed four HRs (six runs overall) before being removed in the sixth inning. He had a quality month of June going 4-2 pitching at least six innings in five of six starts.

At the All star break he was 8-8 with a 4.12 ERA. In his next two starts he allowed four runs each time, pitching at least as far as the 6th innings taking a pair of losses.

On July 28th he beat the Reds in Cincinnati although he allowed six runs in 5.1 innings pitched helping the Mets complete the three game sweep.

In the month of August Capuano allowed six HRs & 15 earned runs over a four games span going 0-1 raising his ERA to 471. He beat the Atlanta Braves with his best game of the season, a two hit 2-0 shut out on August 26th at Citi Field. In that game he struck out a season high 13 batters.

He would go 1-1 in September finishing the year at 11-12  with a 4.55 ERA, 112 strike outs, 37 walks, 27 HRs (5th most in the NL) 94 earned runs (8th in the NL) & one complete game shut out. He was granted free agency at the end of the season, signing with the L.A. Dodgers.

In 2012 he made a fantastic comeback, having a great start going 10-5 with a 2.81 ERA  through July.

He went 2-7 the rest of the way, finishing the year at 12-12 with a 3.72 ERA.  He led the league in starts with 33 & his 13 sac hits were fourth most in the NL.

In 2013 he joined the Dodgers staff for the second year. He struggled as the team did early on, finding himself at 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA. In his best outing, a 7.1 innings of one run ball against the Miami Marlins, he earned no decision. By the end of the season he was 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA, as the Dodgers went on a roll & won the Western Division.

In 2014 he signed a deal with the Boston Red Sox. He was used as a reliever going 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA before getting released on July 1st.

Three days later he signed a deal with the Colorado Rockies but then had his contract purchased by the AL New York team. He went 2-3 there the rest of the way.

In 2015 he went 0-3 in his first three starts allowing nine runs in 12 innings. He was summoned to the bullpen in May & was 0-4 into mid July with an ERA near five.  

In 2016 he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers as a relief pitcher. He went 1-1 with a 4.13 ERA in 16 appearances through the end of May.

In his twelve year career he is 77-92 with 1199 strike outs & 463 walks in 316 games pitched, with a 4.38 ERA.

Trivia: Capuano is a fitness freak who is in terrific shape. He met his wife Sarah Clifford, while at Duke University, she too is a fine athlete who was a contender for the modern pentathlon in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Aug 18, 2019

Pete Alonso Sets NL Rookie HR Record

Sunday August 18th 2019: In the Mets big 11-5 win at Kansas City, Pete Alonso went into the record books. His incredible Rookie season is now highlighted by setting the NL HR record for Rookies with 40 HRs. The Amazing Alonso went 2-4 with two runs batted in his 95th RBI of the year. He is now just one HR shy of tying the Mets HR record of 41 HRs in a season held by Todd Hundley & Carlos Beltran.

A look back on Pete Alonso's 40 HRs in 2019:

On April 1st 2019, in south Florida, in the Mets fourth game of the season, Pete Alonso hit his first career HR, a three run shot off the Marlins, Drew Steckenrider. The Mets went on to a 7-3 win that night as a new era for a Mets slugger began. 

After the game Alonso squeezed into a clubhouse cart & his team mates doused him with everything they could find. "A couple of eggs," Alonso said. "Barbecue sauce. Mayonnaise. Beer. Shaving cream. Maybe ketchup and mustard. Maybe relish."

On April 6th at Citi Field, he hit HR #2, a 427 foot shot, off the Nats, Justin Miller in a 6-5 Mets win. It was his first HR at home in New York. The next day he hit another HR, this one off the Nats Matt Grace in a 12-9 loss.

On April 9th, Alonso had his first multi HR game, hitting two more at Citi Field in a 14-8 loss to the Minnesota Twins. The HRs came off Twins hurlers, Adalberto Mejia & Chase De Jong. In his first ten career games, he had 5 HRs 15 RBIs & was batting .385. Quite a start for the Rookie.

On April 11th, he hit a massive 454 foot HR, off the Braves Johnny Venters in a 6-3 Mets win. Eight days later, Alonso's 7th HR came off Ryan Helsley of the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-4 Mets win.

Two after that, he was suppose to sit out a game after getting hit in the hand. But he texted his manager when he found out Dakota Hudson was pitching, saying I hate that guy I played against him in college. Mickey Callaway put him in, he left St. Louis hitting his 8th HR, coming off pitcher Dakota Hudson. Closing out April, Alonso hit his 9th HR, this one came off Milwaukee's Alex Claudio, in a 8-6 loss at Citi Field.

Alonso became the first player in MLB history (since 1900) to have at least 11 extra-base hits in his first 10 career games. No other player ever had more than nine. His nine HRs led all MLB Rookies & are tied with four Mets players for most HRs before May 1st.

He also tied Met records for most HRs & RBIs in a single month. That month he won the Rookie of the Month Award.

On May 4th, as the Mets went to Milwaukee, Alonso blasted his 10th HR of the year, it was an opposite field shot off Junior Guerra in a 4-3 Mets loss.

On May 7th, the Mets went to beautiful San Diego, where Alonso hit a game winning top of the 9th inning HR, breaking a 5-5 tie. It was his 11th of the year, coming off pitcher Adam Warren in the 7-6 Mets win. In the game he had three hits & the first of his career high four RBI games.

On May 11th, he helped the Mets in a 4-1 Citi Field win over the Marlins with a solo shot off Sandy Alcantara.

On May 17th, as the Mets were in South Florida, getting swept by the lowly Marlins, Alonso had his second multi HR game. It came in the 8-6 loss against pitchers; Trevor Richards & Nick Anderson, both solo shots.

On May 20th, the Mets were on a rare 2019 four game win streak up to that point, sweeping the Washington Nats at Citi Field. His 15th HR came off Patrick Corbin, a solo shot. The next day he hit another dramatic, game saver. With one out in the home 8th down 5-4, Alonso homered off Tanner Rainey to tie the game. Amed Rosario's walk off HR won it in the bottom of the 9th.

On May 28th in a 9-8 loss to the Tigers at home, Alonso homered off  Zac Reininger, another solo shot #17 of the year.

On May 29th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Alonso had his third multi HR game.

 He hit two HRs off Walker Buehler, both two run shots in the 9-8 loss. He had three hits in the game driving in four runs, bringing his total to 19 HRs & 43 RBIs.

That HR tied him with Mark McGwire for most HRs by a Rookie before June 1st. 

JUNE: In a June 4th loss to the Giants, he hit his 20th HR of the year, this time off pitcher Madison Bumgarner. The next time up Bumgarner hit him with a pitch.

Later that week, on June 8th, Alonso hit #21 off Jake McGee of the Rockies. It put New York ahead for good in the home 7th inning in the 5-3 win.

In the subway series, June 11th double header, Alonso hit a 1st inning three run HR off James Paxton in the Bronx, as the Mets went on to a 10-4 win, splitting the twin bill.

Four days later, he hit #23 off the Cards Michael Wacha, in a wild 9-8 Met win over St. Louis. This one was measured at 458 feet, the longest by a Met so far in 2019.

Three days later in Atlanta, Alonso had a four hit day & hit his 24th HR, coming off Julio Teheran in a 10-2 win. The Mets were in a 4 of 5 losing streak.

As the team moved on to Wrigley Field, Alonso hit HRs in three of the four games. In the first game he homered off Tyler Chatwood for #25. 

His next two HRs were both mile stones, in the youngsters career. He hit #26 setting the record for most HRs by a rookie before the All Star break. The previous record was held by the Dodgers Cody Bellinger in 2017. That HR was off the Cubs Jose Quintana.

His HR #27 made Mets history, being the most HRs ever hit by a Mets Rookie in an entire season. Darryl Strawberry had 26 HRs in 1983. This milestone HR came off Cole Hamels. The Mets split the series in the Friendly Confines. 

Alonso closed out June with #28 off the Braves, Mike Soroka. Alonso ended the month of June with 28 HRs 64 RBIs & batting .278.

As the Phillies rolled into town in early June, Alonso hit two more HRs in the three game set. The first was off Vince Velasquez & then two days later #30 came off Aaron Nola. It was just the second time in Mets history that a Met batter had 30 HRs before the All Star break. Dave Kingman first did it in 1976.

From there Pete Alonso had the honor of being named to the NL All Star team & compete in the HR Derby, in Cleveland. He had his cousin pitch to him in the derby and went on to hit 57 overall HRs.

He didn't hit the most, but hit them when they counted. He is the first Met to win the title outright. Darryl Strawberry tied with Wally Joyner back in 1986. He was also just the second rookie to win a derby.

Quotes- Pete Alonso: “It's survive and advance, You've got to go in with kind of a killer instinct. It doesn't matter how many you hit; you just need to have one more than the guy you're facing.”

He won a million dollars in the derby & donated 5% to The Wounded Warrior Project & 5% to Tunnel To Towers Foundation.

“I respect anyone who puts their life on the line every single day, going to work knowing that they may have to make the ultimate sacrifices,” Alonso said. “There are people that are making sacrifices every single day abroad keeping us free and then there are people at home keeping us safe.”

 A week later, on July 17th, he hit #31 off Matt Magill of the Twins in a Mets 14-4 blow out win. This mammoth shot was measured at 474 feet & reportedly broke a statcast record.

Quotes- Pete Alonso: "It's not every day you kind of connect like that, so that felt good. That felt really, really good." 

The next series in San Francisco he hit HRs in two of the three games. #32 came off Williams Jerez & went past a flock of seagulls in the left field seats. #33 came off Derek Holland, in a pinch hitting role off the bench.

After the HR derby he began to slump & everyone blamed the Derby. Mets broadcaster, Keith Hernandez pointed out every Rookie goes through a slump. By now the Mets were all hitting, scoring runs & going on a seven game win streak, ten of eleven.

On July 26th, he hit #34 in Pittsburgh, off pitcher Dario Agrazal, a solo shot in the 6-3 Mets win. Nine days later in the longest streak where he hadn't hit a HR, he contributed to a big Mets inning. 


On August 5th, the Mets were down by two runs in the second game of a double header with the Marlins at Citi Field.

The Mets blasted three HRs in the inning, JD Davis, Michael Conforto & then Alonso hit his #35 of the season. It came off Jeff Brigham, losing pitcher, as the Mets went on to the twin bill sweep & their 10th win in 11 games.

After the game in the on field interview, he addressed the fans with LFGM!!

Alonso went on a roll homering in four straight games, as the Mets went on another eight game win streak, right up in the front of the wild card race. 

For Alonso #36 came on the next night on August 6th, as the Mets won their fifth straight, 11 of 12. His shot similar to #35 down the left field line, off pitcher Hector Noesi.

On August 7th he wasted no time, homering in the 1st inning, a two run shot off Jordan Yamamoto. On Friday August 9th, he electrified the Citi Field crowd with his 38th HR of the year, coming in the 4th inning off Steven Strasburg, in a big win over the Washington Nats. Michael Conforto followed with a back to back shot.

After what seemed like four long days not hitting a HR, Alonso homered tying the NL record set by the Dodgers Cody Bellinger in 2017. In his big game, Alonso drove in a career high six runs. His HR was a 1st inning three run shot off Atlanta's Julio Teheran. 

Alonso had a two run single in the 5th & topped off his big night with an RBI single in the 7th, as the Mets salvaged the final game of the three game series against the division leading Braves.

Pete Alonso is now in the record book with most HRs by a National League Rookie.

Aug 16, 2019

50th Anniversary of the 1969 Mets: Mets Sweep Second Double Header In Two Days

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

Sunday August 17th 1969: After the Mets had swept yesterday's doubleheader Gil Hodges Mets (65-51) were playing great baseball, but were still nine games behind the Chicago Cubs & tied for second with the St. Louis Cardinals.

On this Sunday everyone was talking about the Mets & the Woodstock concert going on in Upstate New York. These were exciting times.

On this Sunday, the Mets & Padres were playing another double header. Today was also another Shea classic; it was "Banner Day" a tradition since the Mets second season, 1963 in the Polo Grounds. 

A crowd of 35711 came out for the festivities & the twin bill. Jerry Koosman took the mound against Joe Neikro.

Starting Lineups

First Game: Jerry Koosman came out and threw a complete game five hit shutout . There was mo need to use the bullpen, giving them a nice rest. Kooz sailed along striking out five & walking only two while earning his 10th win of the year (10-8). Koosman had lost his last outing on August 12th, but would only lose one more game the rest of the way going 8-1 in the regular season. 

The Mets were down 2-0 into the 5th, when Bud Harrelson & Donn Clendenon both singled off Joe Neikro. Then, catcher Duffy Dyer hit his second HR of the year, a three run shot, to put the Mets ahead for good 3-2. (Dyer would only hit three HRs all season).

Night Cap: In this game, the Mets handed the woeful Padres their tenth loss in a row & fourth loss in two days at Shea Stadium. 

Starting Lineups

Gil Hodges gave Mets pitcher Don Cardwell the start and he was outstanding. Cardwell would not allow any runs through seven innings pitched. He allowed eight hits, walked three & struck out three as well. The win got him to 5-9 on the year. He would start 21 of his 31 appearances inn 1969.

 In the home 7th, Ed Kranepool singled & Al Weis came in as a pinch runner. Jerry Grote then walked putting two on. Bud Harrelson then tripled to the deepest part of the ballpark in centerfield, scoring both runners, making it 2-0.  J.C. Martin then hit a sac fly to score Harrelson, making it 3-0.

Mets reliever, Cal Koonce started the 8th with a 3-0 lead but ran into trouble.

Ollie Brown reached on an error & then back to back singles from Al Ferarra & Larry Stahl gave the Padres their first run. Koonce exited & Ron Taylor, the Mets ace of the bullpen in '69, saved it ending the threat & pitching a scoreless 9th. It was Taylor's 12th save of the year.

The Mets started a six game winning streak at that point and a twelve out of fourteen winning stretch taking them to the end of August. They were getting very hot and everyone was contributing to get wins. They took over sole possession of second place & were eight behind the Cubs. The Miracle was gaining momentum.