Feb 25, 2020

Kevin Plawecki: 2015 NL Champion Mets Reserve Catcher (2015 - 2018)

Kevin Jeffrey Plawecki was born February 26th 1991 in Carmel, Indiana where his father coached his youth baseball teams. 

The six foot two right hand hitter can play both catcher & at first base. After attending Westfield High School he went to Perdue University where he was a star baseball player.

He set a freshman school RBI record there getting named Freshman All American. He got better through the years, getting named Big Ten Player of the Year & second team All American batting .359 with 20 doubles in 59 games. He was also voted Most Outstanding Player in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. 

Plawecki was the New York Mets first round draft pick (35th overall) in the 2012 amateur draft. His pick along with Gavin Cecchini were compensation for losing Jose Reyes to free agency.

He spent 2012 with the Brooklyn Cylones batting .250. In 2013 he was with the A ball Savannah Sand Gnats & then a promotion to A ball plus St. Lucie where hit .294. He was gaining a lot of attention & was soon being called the Mets catcher of the Future even before Travis d'Arnaud's career took off.

 He spent the season at both AA Binghamton where he hit .326 & was pushed up to AAA Las Vegas. There he caught the another highly touted Mets prospect; pitcher Noah Syndergaard. The anticipation of the two players development toward the MLB careers was very exciting for the Las Vegas club. 

Both Players were named to the 2014 Futures Game for the United States Team, where Plawecki was named the starting catcher.

Plawecki was at Spring Training 2015 & there was no rush to bring him up, as the Mets were comfortable with d'Arnaud & Anthony Recker as his back up. But everything changed in April, when d'Arnaud went down with a broken hand. Rather than go with the back up Recker, Plawecki was brought up sooner than planned.

He made his debut on April 21st, getting the start catching Jonathon Niese in a 7-1 Mets win over the Braves at Citi Field. That day he went 2-4 collecting his first big league hits & scored two runs as well. On April 25th he hit his first career HR, it came in an inter league subway series game, off pitcher CC Sabathia where the Mets won 8-2.That day he had his first career multi RBI game.

Quotes: Terry Collins: “He’s such a good prospect, we’re not going to just let him sit on the bench. Now, when Travis is ready to play like normal, we’ll have to make another decision, see how this is working.”

On May 5th his 4th inning two run double, ended up being the game winner in Bartolo Colon's fifth win of the season, coming over the Baltimore Orioles. At the plate he struggled as his average fell to the low .200's by mid June, this may have been due to an on going sinus infection.

As he recovered from that he raised his average up 35 points to the middle of July. On July 3rd his 9th inning sac fly scored Lucas Duda against the Los Angeles Dodgers & proved to be the games winning run. By the end of July the Mets had a different team, with the promotion of Michael Conforto, the additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Kelly Johnson & Juan Uribe the team was coring a lot more runs.

Catcher Travis d'Arnaud also returned to the line up at the end of July & Plawecki was sent back down to AAA Las Vegas on August 10th. He returned in September with the expanded rosters.

On September 10th, Plawecki hit a two run double in Atlanta & then scored on Bartlo Colon's RBI base hit. He added another RBI in the 8th inning giving Plawecki his second career three RBI game. 

On Sunday September 27th, the day after the Mets clinched the NL East in Cincinnati Plawecki hit his third HR of the season, a solo shot in the Mets 8-1 win.

He ended the year batting .219 with 3 HRs 13 doubles & 21 RBIs in 73 games. Behind the plate he caught 26% of base runners trying to steal & posted a .998 fielding %.

He showed great defensive abilities & the handling of the Mets young pitching staff, to some of whom he was familiar with from the minor leagues. He was added to the Mets post season roster but did not play.

Family: In the 2015-2016 off season he married his wife Tayler.  In the busy off season, he also had surgery on his paranasal sinuses to correct his dizziness.

In 2016 he was expected to play second string to catcher behind Travis d'Arnaud, but things didn't turn out like expected. Travis went down with injury & struggled missing half the season. Plawecki struggled as well & Rene Rivera saw most of the playing time.

On April 2nd, in his second start of the year Plawecki drove in both runs of a 2-1 Mets win over the Miami Marlins. His best hitting stretch came in early may where he hit in 11 of 14 games. He also drove in runs in four of five games and hit his only HR of the season. By mid June he was batting just .197 and was sent down to AAA.

Overall at AAA Las Vegas he batted .300 with 8 HRs 11 doubles & 40 RBIs as the 51's main catcher throwing out 32% of would be base stealers.

He did return to the Mets in September, overall playing in 48 Mets games batting .197 with 1 HR & 11 RBIs. Behind the plate he posted a .988 fielding % throwing out 23% of would be base stealers.

He went into Spring Training '17 hoping to regain his form & was fighting for a catchers back up role.

He began the season with the Mets as the team went with three catchers. 

Pitcher?: On April 30th, as the Mets were getting beat up by the Nationals in D.C. 23-5. Plawecki was brought in to pitch. It was his the first time he pitched in a game since he was a teenager. He gave up four HRs, including the third HR of the game to Anthony Rendon.

Drama: On May 5th after a Mets win over the Marlins in Miami, a photo of T.J. Rivera appeared on the Mets twitter page. In the background a dildo sex toy was spotted in Plawecki's locker.

Quotes: "There are some good pranksters on this team. It's definitely awkward. It's weird, but at the same it is kind of funny, but by no means does it reflect who I am as a person."

He batted just .125 by the end of May & was sent back to AAA Las Vegas. There he batted .328 with 9 HRs & 45 RBIs in 64 games. He returned  to the big league club, in late August & hit a two run HR in his first game back, in an 8-1 win over the Miami Marlins. 

Pitcher?: In an August 29th, 14-4 loss to the Reds, Plawecki came in to pitch for the second time that season. In this outing he pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

He saw ample action in September. He hit a HR on September 9th in a 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. He hit his only other HR, in a 4-3 win over the Atlanta Braves. 

For the 2017 season, Plawecki appeared in 37 games (118 at bats) he improved his average to .260 with 3 HRs 5 doubles & 13 RBIs. Behind the plate he threw out 19% of base runners, catching in 29 games.

2018: In 2018 the Mets catching situation was up for grabs as Travis d'Arnaud was down with injury again (4 games). 

The Mets used Devin Mesoraco (66 games) Tomas Nido (34 games)  Jose Lobaton (22 games) with Plawecki seeing the most action (79 games).

Plawecki got the Opening Day start & made the best of it. He collected two hits with two walks & an RBI in the Mets 9-4 win over the Cardinals. On April 11th he went down with a broken hand, missing action until the end of May.

On June 24th, he hit a three run HR & drove in a career high four runs in the Mets 8-7 loss to the Dodgers at Citi Field. 

In the first two weeks of August he saw action in eleven games, he collected 12 RBIs with 8 hits. On August 15th he matched his four RBI high with a grand slam in a 16-5 romp over the Orioles in Baltimore. 

The next day the Mets beat the Phillies in Philly with another offensive explosion 24-4. That day Plawecki drove in three more runs & collected four hits. 

On September 27th he hit his last career Mets HR it came in a 4-1 over Atlanta at Citi Field. 

In 2018 he played in 79 games he hit .210 with career highs in HRs (7) doubles (13) & RBIs (30). He was behind the plate in 71 games throwing out 23% of would be base stealers. 

On January 6th, 2019 he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for reliever Walker Lockett & minor leaguer Sam Haggerty.

In a four year career he played 237 games with 153 hits 14 HRs 33 doubles 75 RBIs & a .218 average. 

He has caught 215 games behind the plate with a .995 fielding % & tossing out 23% of would be base stealers.

Family: Kevin & his wife Tayler were married in 2015. Tayler was born in California, also went to Perdue & is a soccer alumni there. 

The mid western Indiana boy, returned to the region in 2019, playing with the Cleveland Indians, 330 miles from his hometown in 2019. He was the Tribe's back up catcher to Roberto Perez. In 59 games he batted .222 with 3 HRs & 17 RBIs. Behind the plate he threw out 23% of runners trying to steal.

In January 2020 he signed  on with the Boston Redsox.

Anthony Recker: Former Mets Backup Catcher (2013-2015)

Anthony Vito Recker was born on August 29th in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The six foot tow catcher attended Alvernia College in Reading, Pa. He was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 18th round of the 2005 amateur draft.

Recker played in the minors for seven years before getting an MLB call up & actually considered retirement from the game. He & a friend made a pact they would join the FBI if Recker's career did'nt go anywhere back in the late 2000's.

He did show some power in his minor league career hitting 15 plus HRs in both 2007 & 2009. His best year came in 2011 hitting .288 with 16 HRs & 48 RBIs, finally getting called up to the big leagues..

Recker debuted with the Oakland A's on August 25th in New York in a 22-9 debacle in which he caught the entire four & a half hour loss. He played in five games the rest of the season hitting .176.

In 2012 he began the year with Oakland in hopes of making it as backup catcher, but he hit just .129 through late May & was sent to the minors. In August he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Blake Lalli & then was placed on waivers in October.

He was picked up by the New York Mets, where he was to fill in as a backup catcher behind the newly acquired, veteran John Buck. Buck was to take the catching duties until Travis d'arnaud was ready to get to the big leagues full time.
Recker made his Mets debut on April 7th, getting a start behind the plate at Citi Field in a 4-3 Mets win over the Miami Marlins. In the 5th inning he doubled to bring in Ruben Tejada for his first hit & RBI.

On May 10th he hit his first career HR, coming at Citi Field in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On June 5th at Washington, he had a big two hit three RBI day in a 10-1 Mets win over the Nats. Recker singled off Dan Haren with the bases loaded bringing in a pair & then later doubled home Marlon Byrd in the 5th.

On June 18th he got the call to catch Zack Wheeler in his much anticipated MLB debut at Atlanta. Wheeler struck out seven, allowed no runs on four hits while earning a win, in his home town state.

On June 30th Recker pitched the 9th inning of a Mets 13-2 win over the Washington Nationals, to help out a tired bullpen.

 Although he was only batting .157, he was seeing more playing time from late June to early July & had a strong start to the month. Recker hit HRs in back to back games against the Arizona D-backs at Citi Field collecting three hits. 

On July 9th he homered off Barry Zito in San Francisco, as the Mets took three games from the reigning world series champs. On August 8th, his 4th inning sac fly scored Marlon Byrd in what turned out to be the games 2-1 winning run over the Arizona D-backs.

Recker with Mets Legend Rusty Staub
The Mets traded John Buck at the end of August & Recker was the clubs main back up catcher. In 50 games he hit .215 with 6 HRs 7 doubles & 19 RBIs. 

Behind the plate he has thrown out 21% of would be base stealers & posted a .990 fielding %.

Family: In the off season Recker married his wife Kelly.

The Mets were confident enough to go into 2014 with youngsters; Recker & Travis d'arnaud as their two main catchers.

On April 12th, in an inter league contest in Los Angeles / Anaheim, Recker hit a 13th inning game winning HR off Matt Shoemaker. Earlier in the game he had a two run single as well. 

He hit two HRs in April then would not hit another until July 6th, a three run shot against the Texas Rangers in a 8-4 Mets win. 

On August 11th, Matt den Dekker tied up a game with a 7th inning double at Citizen's Bank Park. Recker followed two batters later with a two run HR, sealing the Mets 5-3 victory.

In his next three games stretching over two weeks, he homered in them all. On August 31st, he hit a three run HR off the Phillies A.J. Burnett leading New York to a 6-5 win over Philadelphia.

On September 7th he blasted a two run shot off the Reds Mat Latos in a
4-3 Mets win at Cincinnati. He added another HR on September 11th.

In 58 games he hit 7 HRs with 27 RBIs nine doubles but hit just .201. But he played a fine defense in a back up role, throwing out 37% of would be base stealers & posting a .998 fielding %. For a brief period he was given the main job as Travis d'arnaud was sent down to fine tune his skills.

In 2015 he began the year backing up Travis d'Arnaud. But when d'Arnaud went down with injury the Mets promoted Kevin Plawecki as their main catcher. 

This made Recker his backup. He enjoyed his first multi HR game in a May 14th Mets loss at Wrigley Field.

After 19 games he was batting just .143 & was optioned to AAA Las Vegas in mid June.

In 18 games at AAA Las Vegas he has hit 7 HRs while batting .292 while winning the June 29th Pacific Coast Leagues Player of the Week Award.

He returned in late July & played with the Mets the rest of the regular season. He finished up 2015 batting .125 with 2 HRs & 5 RBIs in 32 games. He did not play in the post season.

In November 2015 he was granted free agency & signed with the Cleveland Indians. He played there in Spring Training but was traded to the Atlanta Braves in May 2016. He got promoted after an injury to Braves catcher Tyler Flowers. In 33 games he batted .278 with 2 HRs 15 RBIs.

In 2017 he was one of the last two players to make the opening day roster. He played in just six games but by the end of April he was demoted.

In July he was traded to the Minnesota Twins but was outrighted to the minors a week later. In March of 2018 he got a chance with the Arizona Diamondbacks, playing at their AAA Reno club. He was granted free agency in November 2018.

In his seven year career ,he caught 172 games (140 with the Mets) throwing out 26% of would be base stealers, posting a .990 fielding %. Overall he played in 206 games batting .199 with 18 HRs 28 doubles & 70 RBIs.

Feb 24, 2020

Ed Lynch: Brooklyn Born 1980's Mets Pitcher (1980-1986)

Edward Francis Lynch was born on February 25th, 1956 in Brooklyn, New York. The Lynch family soon moved to Miami where Ed played both basketball & baseball.

The six foot six inch tall, Lynch was such a good basketball player, he went to the University of South Carolina on a basketball contract. 

Eventually he was drafted as a baseball player by the Texas Rangers in 1977 and signed in the 22nd round. In 1979 he was the player to be named later for Willie Montanez coming over to the New York Mets. 

After two seasons of pitching under .500 in the Texas organization he took it to a new level with the Mets. He won 13 games at AAA Tidewater in 1980 (13-6) tied for the most wins on the staff with Mike Scott. 

Lynch got called up on August 31st 1980 pitching two innings of relief in San Francisco against the Giants. In just 1.1 innings of work he was roughed up for four runs. 

He made his first start on September 13th at Shea Stadium against the Chicago Cubs. That night he allowed one run over six innings earning his first career victory. He had another good outing in his third start, pitching seven shutout innings against the eventual World Champion Phillies, but got no decision. 

 In 1981 he began the year at AAA Tidewater going 7-6, coming back up to the Mets staff in May. In his second start he pitched into the 8th inning beating the San Francisco Giants & veteran Doyle Alexander 3-2. But Lynch lost his next three decisions and was sent back to AAA Tidewater on June 3rd. 

He returned to the Mets in mid August & quickly earned a win in Atlanta. On August 18th he pitched shutout ball into the 8th inning, beating the Braves 4-0. He then beat the Cardinals at Shea Stadium but lost his last two decisions. 

Lynch finished out the year at 4-5 with a 2.91 ERA making 13 starts in 17 appearances. He struck out 27 batters, walking 21 & averaged just 2.1 walks per nine innings (6th best in the NL). 

 In 1982 he was used as a reliever at the start of the season, making a few spot starts then returning to the rotation by mid August. He beat the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium for his second win of the year on August 15th.

 In his next start he shut out the Atlanta Braves for nine innings, but earned no decision in a game the Mets would lose when Dale Murphy hit a walk off HR off Pat Zachary. Lynch finished up the season at 4-8 with two saves and a 3.55 ERA. He walked 40 batters in 139 innings pitched. 

By 1983 he was one of the Mets top pitchers on the staff, that included the return of veteran Tom Seaver who went 9-14, Mike Torrez (10-17) , Walt Terrell (8-8) & Craig Swan (2-8).

After a 1-1 April, he was placed in the starting rotation in May. He quickly went 3-1 into early June. On June 28th he allowed just one run over seven innings, defeating the reigning champion St. Louis Cardinals.

On July 2nd, he beat the Phillies 4-3 in Philadelphia & was leading the team with a 6-3 record, posting a 3.35 ERA. From there on though he struggled the rest of the way going 4-7. His season was highlighted with a complete game victory at San Francisco on August 20th, where he walked no one & struck out two in the 7-2 win. 

He finished the year tying Mike Torrez for the team lead in victories with ten (10-10). Lynch posted a 4.28 ERA, walking 41 batters but allowed 208 hits. He was never a strikeout pitcher, he struck out just 44 batters in 174 innings pitched that season. 

That year at the plate he drove in four runs, batting .154 with eleven sac hits (10th best in the NL). The '83 Mets went 68-94 finishing sixth, but better things were on the way. 

In 1984 as the Mets starting rotation got better, with the emergence of Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, & Sid Fernandez, Lynch began the year in the bullpen. Walt Terrell & Bruce Berenyi were the other two main starters.

 In April he won two games in relief with Mets come backs, after entering in the 8th inning. 
On May 2nd, he had a four inning relief efforts against the Astros & although he gave up two runs, still earned his third win. Lynch was back in the rotation by mid May, beating the Dodgers in Los Angeles in his first start, He allowed three runs over five innings in the 4-3 Met win. 

He had a fantastic start to June, winning three straight games allowing just three earned runs over twenty innings, in games against St. Louis, Montreal & Pittsburgh. 

 He brought his record up to 7-1 with a 2.64 ERA, by mid June, but then struggled losing four straight, allowing four runs or more three times, finding himself back in the bullpen. 

He earned two saves in July & a win on July 23rd, when Wally Backman ended the 12th inning with a walk off RBI single against Neil Allen & the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Brawl:  On August 2nd, during the heat of a pennant race while chasing the first place Chicago Cubs, Lynch nailed Chicago's Keith Moreland with a pitch in the second game of a double header at Wrigley Field.

Moreland had hit a three run HR earlier, off Ron Darling in the first game of the twin bill. The pitch lead Moreland, who was a former college line backer, to charge the mound. This led to a full scale bench clearing brawl. 

Lynch finished the year pitching in relief, going 9-8 with two saves and a 4.50 ERA. He struck out 62 batters while walking 24 in 124 innings in 40 appearances. The Mets ended the year a respectable second place six & a half games behind the Cubs. 

In 1985 he would see more times as a starter, getting 29 starts in 31 appearances. He pitched the fourth game of the promising Mets season, going seven innings allowing just one run on four hits. But he earned no decision, as the Reds Tom Browning matched him through seven innings. It wasn't until Daryl Strawberry hit a walk off HR off John Franco when the Mets won it 2-1. 

Lynch got his first win pitching a complete game in Cincinnati on May 3rd. He then threw a five hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves on May 8th, in his next start. He then took a pair of losses & was 3-3 in June.

On June 8th he threw eight innings of shutout ball against the rival St. Louis Cardinals, but earned no decision as the Mets lost a tough 1-0 game to John Tudor. 

 On June 18th he returned to throw another complete game, this time a 5-1 eight hitter against the Chicago Cubs at Shea. In July he began a six game personal winning streak which included complete games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros & Cubs once again. 

On August 11th he beat the Cubs again but it was his last winning decision of the year. He would go 0-2 with five no decisions the rest of the way. Overall he put in a solid 1985 season, behind Dwight Gooden & Ron Darling; matching his career best ten wins, going 10-8 with six complete games.

Once again he had one of the lowest walk ratios in the league (3rd best) at 1.2 per nine innings, walking just 27 batters. He posted a 3.44 ERA with 65 strike outs, in a career high 191 innings pitched. 

In the Mets 1986 Championship season, Lynch pitched two innings of relief at Philadelphia in the third game of the season in an 9-8 loss to the Phillies. 

An injury set him back & after pitching four games at AAA Tidewater he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Dave Liddell & Dave Lenderman. 

 There wasn't much room on the talented 1986 Mets staff, as the popular Lynch finished his Mets career at 38-40 with a 3.82 ERA in 167 appearances, throwing seven complete games. 

His pitching career in Chicago, spanned just two more seasons, for the rest of the 1986 season he was 7-5, in 23 games. 

On September 25th at Wrigley Field. he was the losing pitcher in a 4-3 loss to the Mets. He gave up hits to Keith Hernandez & Gary Carter before getting replaced by Lee Smith. Smith then allowed a fielders choice to Ray Knight scoring Hernandez. Lynch went 2-9 in 58 appearances in 1987 deciding to retire at the end of the season.

In his eight year career, Lynch had a 47-54 life time record with eight saves, & a 4.00 ERA. In 940 innings pitched he walked 229 batters with 396 strikeouts in 248 games. 

Retirement: After baseball he went to the University of Miami and earned himself a law degree. The ex- big leaguer was popular with the other students, always letting them try on his 1986 World Series ring the Mets had awarded him for starting out the season with them. 

He got back into baseball in management positions with the San Diego Padres & then the Chicago Cubs where he became General Manager from 1994-2000. 

He resigned in 2000, becoming a scout with the Cubs & then with the Toronto Blue Jays. Lynch currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona.

Monte Irvin: New York Giants Hall of Famer (1949-1955)

Monte Merrill Irvin was born February 25, 1919 in Haleburg, Alabama but his family soon moved up North. Irvin grew up in West Orange, New Jersey. He was to become became one of just five players from the state of New Jersey to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

He went to West Orange high school and starred in four different sports, setting a state record for javelin throwing. He was offered a scholarship to the University of Michigan but turned it down, because he could not afford to move to Ann Arbor.

He went to play for the Newark Eagles in the Negro Leagues on weekends under a different name to keep his amateur status. In baseball Irvin could do it all and was a five tool player in the style of his future team mate: Willie Mays. 

Irvin was a five time All Star with his home state Newark Eagles in the Negro Leagues, hitting over .400 twice & just missing a third time batting title when he hit .396. He led his team to a championship win over the Kansas City Monarchs as well. He also played in the Mexican League winning an MVP award & a Triple Crown in 1942. 

He then went off to serve in World War II returning in 1945 to hit .400 again and lead Newark to a Championship over the Kansas City Monarchs. Many people believed he should have been the first player to break the color barrier and was probably the best all around player at the time. 

He was approached by Branch Rickey & the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945 about being signed for the major leagues. As the story goes, Irvin felt he wasn’t ready to play at that level, especially after just leaving the military. Eventually The New York Giants paid $5,000 for his contract he while was playing in Cuba.

He was assigned to their affiliate in Jersey City back near his home town. After batting .373 in 63 games at Jersey City, he was brought up the Giants big league team in July at the age of 30. 

He was mostly used as a pinch-hitter, playing some outfielder, third & first base, going 16-76 in 36 games. In 1950 he started out the year in Jersey City again, but after hitting .510 after 18 games, he arrived in the major leagues for good. 

In just his third game that year, On May 18th, 1950, he hit a grand slam HR off Dutch Leonard of the Chicago Cubs. He drove in five total runs in the 10-4 win. The next day he hit another HR & drove in three more runs. He cooled off into a slump that brought his average below .200 in mid June.

Things got better, especially in August as Irvin had an eleven game hit streak, hit three HRs & drove in 14 runs in the month. In the first two weeks of September he hit five HRs, and had big month with 25 RBIs, falling one point below the .300 mark. 

On the 1950 season he hit 15 HRs with 19 doubles, five triples, 66 RBIs & a .392 on base %. 

By 1951 Irvin would become one of the star players on the Giants NL Pennant winner. He came in third place in the NL MVP Voting, leading the league in RBIs (121). He hit .312 (5th best in the league) with a .415 on base % (4th best in the league).

He hit 24 HRs (10th in the NL) with 19 doubles & 11 triples (3rd in the NL).. He stole 12 bases (8th in the league) & posted the third best fielding % in the outfield (.996). Irvin would have an important role, as a mentor to a young rookie, 19 year old Willie Mays. 

On April 19th Irvin hit a grand slam HR in Milwaukee, & drove in a total of six runs, although the Giants lost 13-12 to the braves. He fell into a slight slum then took off in May. He would drive in runs in six straight games from May 5th through May 9th, with three of those games being multi run games.

On May 23rd his two run HR at Wrigley Field was all Sal Maglie needed to beat the Cubs 2-1 on a four hitter. In a five day stretch in mid June he drove in ten runs in the midst of a thirteen game hits streak. ON June 12th he hit a three run HR in the top of the 10th inning, off Cincinnati’s Ken Raffensberger for the 6-3 win over the Reds. Later that week, 

On June 18th Irvin’s, single in the top of the 12TH off Cloyd Boyer, drove home Bobby Thomson with the game winning run over the St. Louis Cardinals. He continued to drive in runs & hit throughout the summer. 

In late August the Giants made their incredible come back from 13 games back to catch the rival Brooklyn Dodgers. On August 12th he drove in all three runs in the Giants 3-2 win over the Phillies. That win sparked an incredible 16 game Giant win streak. 

In the win streak Irvin drove in runs in seven games. On August 27th with the Giants down to the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in the bottom of the 12th inning, Irvin hit a base hit to left field & then scored the game winning run on pitcher Bill Rigney’s base hit. Then in the second game of that days double header, he hit a two run HR leading to a 6-3 Giants win. 

On September 5th he hit a three run HR & drove in four runs in a 9-1 win over the Braves. The next game in a 7-3 win, he hit another HR with three more runs driven in. Two days later he hit drove in both runs with a two run HR off Ralph Branca, to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field 2-1. The win cut the Dodger lead to 5.5 games. 

On September 18th he hit a two run HR helping in a 6-5 win over the Reds at Crosley Field. He then drove in runs in five straight games, all Giants wins, topped off with a three run HR& four RBIs in a 10-1 win at Philadelphia. He drove in runs in five straight games from September 22nd thru the 26th during another Giants win streak, lasting nine games. 

On September 26th he hit a three run HR in the first inning of a 10-1 blowout of the Phillies. On September 30th, he drove in what turned out to be the game winning run, in the 5th inning at Boston to beat the Braves. He drove in another the next day as the Giants kept pace with Brooklyn for the pennant race. 

The Giants & the Dodgers finished in a regular season tie ending the ’51 campaign. A three game playoff series was set to determine the NL Pennant. 

1951 NL Playoff: In the first game, after Bobby Thomson hit a two run HR off Ralph Branca, Irvin added an 8th inning insurance HR in the 3-1 win. In the second game he went 0-4 as the Dodgers tied the series at one game each. 

In the legendary third game, on October 3rd, 1951 led off the 7th inning with a double off Don Newcombe & scored the tying run on Bobby Thomson’s sac fly.

In the bottom of the 9th, he fouled out to Gil Hodges at first base with two runners aboard making the first out of the inning. Next Whitey Lockman doubled & Bobby Thomson followed with the most famous HR in baseball history, sending the Giants to the World Series. 

In the three games he had a hit in each one, drove in a run & scored three runs. Defensively he led all left fielders with a .995 fielding %, making eight assists (4th most in the NL). 

Post Season- 1951 World Series: In the 1951 World Series, Irvin had big start gathering up four hits in Game #1. 

In the first inning he singled & eventually stole home off pitcher Allie Reynolds in the Giants 5-1 win. He would have three more hits the next day in the 3-1 loss across the Harlem River.
In games #4 & #5 he would have two more hits in each game. Overall in the Series he hit .458 (11-24) with two walks & a .500 on base percentage. He drove in two runs, scored three runs, stole two bases & hit a triple. Monte hit .500 (4- 8) in both Games at the Polo Grounds. 

Trivia: In that 1951 World Series Mont Irvin along with team mates, Willie Mays & Hank Thompson made history, as they formed baseballs first all black outfield.  

In 1952 he broke his ankle in April and was limited to just 46 games all season. He did bat .310 & made his only All Star appearance. In 1953 he was having another MVP type season until an injury to the same leg he had the broken ankle with the previous year affected his play.

In June of 1953 he hit 6 HRs with 30 RBIs, hitting safely in all but three games that month. On July 8th he cleared the bases with a three run triple in the first inning in a game at Pittsburgh. He later hit a grand slam driving in seven of the Giants ten runs in the 10-7 over the Pirates. 

That season the Giants finished fifth going 70-74. Irvin finished the year batting .329 with 21 HRs 21 doubles 5 triples & 97 RBIs while posting a .406 on base %. 

In the 1954 Giants Championship season Irvin was already 35 years old & injuries had weakened his strength in his legs. During the first week of the season, he helped beat the rival Brooklyn Dodgers with a HR & a four RBI day in a 6-3 win at Ebbets Field. On May 13th he hit a pair of HRs at the Polo Grounds in a 6-3 win over the Chicago Cubs. He was hitting for lower average but still was driving in runs, as had nine RBIs from May 31st to June 8th.

On June 8th, with the Giants down by a run, his top of the 9th inning double at Milwaukee drove home two runs, leading to the Giants 5-4 win. 

Starting on July 7th he would hit HRs in four straight games, all Giants wins including a three game sweep of Brooklyn at Ebbetts Field.

He was hitting .286 at the end of July, but then slumped to finish off the year at .262. He only hit two HRs in the final two months, both coming in early September, over a three game stretch where he drove in two runs in each game. 

In 1954 he hit 19 HRs with 13 doubles 3 triples & 64 RBIs. His 70 walks were second on the club to Hank Thompson & helped him post a .363 on base % . 

Post Season-1954 World Series: In the 1954 World Series Irvin went hitless in the first three games. He was removed for pinch hitter Dusty Rhodes in Game # in the 10th inning & Rhodes went on to hit a walk off HR. 

In Game #2 Rhodes pinch hit for him in the 5th inning, & went to drive in all three Giants runs in the 3-1 win. 

In Game #3 he was removed in the 3rd inning in favor of Rhodes. 

In the final Game #4 of the Giants sweep, he had two hits driving in two runs and scoring another. In the 5th inning he singled off Hal Newhouser driving in the fifth run in the 7-4 Giants win. hit .222 (2-9) seeing less playing time due to his aging & the huge Series Dusty Rhodes was having. 

Overall in his career, Irvin played in two World Series’, batting .394 (13-33) with 13 hits four RBIs & two stolen bases. 

1955 would be his last year with the Giants; he was limited to only 51 games hitting .253 with one HR & 17 RBIs. He spent his final season with the Chicago Cubs after being drafted (Rule V) away from the Giants. 

In his final season he batted .271, with 15 HRs 13 doubles & 50 RBIs while playing in 111 games. 

Trivia: While in New York, he & Willie Mays owned the Wilmont Liquor store located in Washington Heights.

He retired at the age of 37 in 1956 after an eight year playing career in the majors. Lifetime he batted .293, with 731 hits 99 HRs 443 RBIs 366 runs scored 97 doubles & 31 triples in 764 games played with a .383 on base %. 

Quotes: His long time Brooklyn Dodger rival, Roy Campanella once said “Irvin was the best all around player I ever saw”. 

Retirement:  After his playing days he served as a scout for the New York Mets in the late sixties. Then he spent seventeen years (1968-1984) as a public relations specialist for the baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Irvin was living in Florida during these years.

Honors: In 1973 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame for his play in both  the major leagues & in the Negro leagues. He also served as a member of the Hall of Fame Veterans & Negro Leagues Committee. 

On June 26th 2010, Irvin’s uniform number was officially retired by the Giants in a ceremony at AT&T Park.

 Irvin joined fellow Giants Hall of Famers; Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry & Orlando Cepeda in tossing out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2010 World series.

In January 2016, Monte Irvin passed away in Houston, Texas at the age of 96. He was living in Texas in a retirement community for some time. Prior to his death Irvin was the oldest living member of a World Series team.