May 24, 2020

Chris Young: Former Mets Pitcher Who Came Back To Haunt Them In the World Series (2011-2012)

Christopher Ryan Young was Born on May 25, 1979 in Dallas, Texas. The tall six foot ten inch right hander was a star pitcher & basketball player in high school. He tossed two no hitters in baseball & led his team to a Texas State Championship in basketball. 

Young attended Princeton University & became the first Ivy Leagues two sport Rookie of the Year. He was selected in the third round of the 2000 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Young went to the Montreal Expos & Texas Rangers organizations as he was rushed through the minor leagues. He debuted with the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington on August 24th earning no decision against the Minnesota Twins. He earned a loss next time out then went 3-1 in the month of September.

The next season he was 12-7, tying a Rangers record for most wins by a Rookie. He also posted a 4.26 ERA which were both second to Kenny Rodgers on the Ranger staff. Young led the team with 137 strike outs in 164 innings pitched.

That winter he was involved in a big trade with Adrian Gonzalez and Terrmel Sledge going to the San Diego Padres for, Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka & minor leaguer Billy Killian.

In 2006 he developed into a top pitcher, after a 3-3 start in San Diego he went on to win four straight. He allowed just four earned runs in 38 innings winning the Pitcher of the Month Award that June.

On the road he had the league’s best ERA (2.41) & held opponents to the lowest batting average (.206). In September he almost threw the first Padres no hitter, taking it into the 9th inning when Joe Randa spoiled it with a two run HR. Young took three different no hit bids into the sixth inning on the season. He finished up at 11-5 with a 3.46 ERA (6th in the league) making 31 starts while striking out 164 batters in 179 innings.

In 2007 he returned, and continued a streak of 25 straight road games without a losing decisions. He was leading the league in ERA & was 7-8 by the All Star break earning a spot on the NL All Star team. He took the loss when he allowed the first ever All Star Game inside the park HR to Ichiro Suzuki.

Padres vs Cubs Brawl: Prior to the All Star game he was involved in a bench clearing brawl at Wrigley Field when he hit the Cubs’ Derek Lee on the wrist with a pitch. The incident came a day after Alfonso Soriano had homered & took his time running the bases.

Young & two others were ejected & he had to serve a five game suspension. He bested his record to 9-3 but lost his last five decisions on the season finishing up at 9-8 with a 3.12 ERA.

Hit By Line Drive: In 2008 he was hit in the face with a line drive off the bat of Albert Pujols. Young fell to the ground & lay there for several minted getting assistance from the teams trainer as well as team mate Tony Clark. The play was disturbing & shook up Pujols as well. Young suffered a broken nose went on the DL but returned.

That season he went 7-6 then fell to a 4-6 record in 2009 with a 5.21 ERA. That year his season was over in June when he needed arthroscopic surgery to repair partial tears in his labrum. In 2010 he strained his shoulder & missed most of the year going 2-0 in just four starts. In January of 2011 he signed a contract with the New York Mets.

Young is the second tallest player in MLB history (the same height tied with three others) & is more of a control pitcher rather than a power pitcher for his size. His delivery is slow so base runners have a field day running on him, as he led the league in most stolen bases allowed in 2006.

On April 5th he made his first Mets start beating the Phillies on the road of course, allowing just one run in five innings of work. In his second start he pitched seven innings allowing just one run to the Nationals but earned no decision. On May 1st he pitched seven innings of shut out ball in a much needed win at Philadelphia, avoiding a sweep on the historic night the United States killed  Osama bin laden.

Young had been one of the Mets most consistent starters early on, but then the worst happened. He suffered a torn anterior capsule in his right shoulder, the same injury that sidelined him in the past. He opted to get the surgery to repair the injury missing the rest of the season. 

He returned to the Mets in June of 2012 earning a win in his second start of the year, an 11-2 Mets win at Tampa over the Rays. After a win to close out June, he lost four straight games thru July.

His best outing of the year was on August 2nd, when he pitched seven innings allowing one run with four strike outs in a win over the Giants in San Francisco. His next start was his worst allowing seven runs to the Marlins in a 13-0 loss. In the only outing of the year where he gave up no runs, he got no decision as the Mets dropped a 3-0 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati.

On the year he went 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA, striking out 80 batters walking 36 in 115 innings of work in 20 starts. He was granted free agency & signed with the Washington Nationals but was released.

He then signed with the Seattle Mariners and won the Comeback Player of the Year Award winning 12 games (12-9) with a 3.65 ERA & 108 strikeouts in 165 innings pitched.

He was granted free agency & signed on with the Kansas City Royals. Young won 11 games with the World Champion Royals going 11-6 second most wins on the staff. He posted the best ERA of all the starters (3.06) as he got 18 starts pitching in 34 games.

Post Season: In the ALDS he pitched three innings of relief in Game #1of a 5-2 loss to the Houston Astros. He got a start in Game #4 of the ALCS in Toronto, he allowed two runs earning no decision in the 14-2 Royals win over the Blue Jays.

World Series: Young came out of the bullpen to pitch in Game #1 of the World Series against his old Mets team. He would come into the game in the 12th inning & pitch three scoreless hitless innings shutting down the Mets while earning the win.

He got the start in Game #4 at Citi Field, giving up a solo HR to Michael Conforto & a sac fly RBI to Curtis Granderson. He left the game down 2-0.

A rough 2016 saw him go from starter to reliever as he fell to 3-9 with a 6.19 ERA in 34 games (13 starts). 

In 2017 he began the year with the Royals bullpen making just 14 appearances, his ERA climbed to 7.50 & he was released in mid June. That December he signed as a free agent with the San Diego Padres but did not make the club & soon retired.

In his 13 year career, he is 79-67 with a 3.95ERA. He struck out 1062 batters walking 502 in 1297 innings pitched in 271 games.

Trivia: His wife Elizabeth Patrick is granddaughter to Hockey legend, Lester Patrick. Patrick is the namesake of the former NHL’s Patrick Division & the Lester Patrick Award.

May 22, 2020

Remembering Mets History: (1988) Mets Seven Game Win Streak & Benches Clear in L.A.

Saturday May 21st 1988: Davey Johnson's first place Mets (29-11) were riding a five game win streak, 4 1/2 games in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL East. 

Tonight they were in Los Angeles facing Tommy Lasorda's Dodgers (22-16) who were 1/2 game behind the Houston Astros. The starting pitchers were Dwight Gooden & Tim Belcher.

Doc Gooden came into the game with a 7-0 record, one of the best starts any Mets pitcher has ever had. Tonight the Doctor was in again, he pitched a complete game four hit shut out, he struck out six batters & walked just one. 

Gooden went to 8-0 on the season with a 2.77 ERA. Gooden would go on to start the All Star Game in Cincinnati & finish the year at 18-9 (5th most wins in NL) with 175 strike outs (8th in the NL) & a 3.19 ERA.

In the Mets 2nd, Howard Johnson singled, Mookie Wilson doubled & Dave Magadan drew an intentional pass.  Gooden came through with base hit putting New York up 2-0. The Mets put put up two more in the 5th, Lenny Dykstra doubled, then with two outs, Keith Hernandez & Kevin McReynolds both had RBI singles.

In the bottom of the 5th inning, with the Mets up 4-0, Gooden hit Dodger short stop Alfredo Griffin, on the hand with a pitch. He was removed from the game with a fracture. Howard Johnson was the first Mets batter in the 6th inning & he was hit by a pitch from new Dodger pitcher; Brian Holton. Tensions were high but nothing broke out- yet.

Sunday May 22, 1988: The Mets were now riding high with a 5 1/2 game lead in the East. On this day 44,826 filled Dodger Stadium to see the Mets; David Cone (5-0) go against Fernando Valenzuela (3-4).

The Mets wasted no time in attacking, in the 1st Mookie Wilson led off with a base hit, advanced on a fielders choice & stole third. Keith Hernandez drove him in with a base hit. Darryl Strawberry followed with his 11th HR of the season. With a 3-0 lead, in the 2nd Wally Backman singled and was moved up on a sacrifice. With two outs Kevin Elster walked & then Hernandez & Strawberry delivered with RBI singles making it 5-0 Mets.

In the home 6th, Cone threw two high & tight pitches to Dodger clean up hitter; Pedro Guerrero. On the next pitch he throws a 75 mph curve ball that bounces off Guerrero's shoulder and bounces off his head. With tensions still high from the previous night, Pedro glares at Cone, then swings his bat & flings it at him. 

The bat slowly rolled over toward shortstop Kevin Elster. As Guerrero walks toward the mound, he is stopped by Mets catcher Barry Lyons & a fast moving Howard Johnson. Both benches cleared & a lot of words were exchanged but no punches were thrown. Eventually calm prevails & everyone cools down. 

After the game; NL President Bartlett Giamatti suspends Guerrero for four games with a $1000 fine.

Cone gave up two runs that inning but that was all for L.A. on the day. The Mets went on to win the game 5-2 David Cone went six innings, two runs on four hits, six strike outs & three walks. 

Cone bests his record to 6-0 with a 1.75 ERA. Roger McDowell got his fifth save of the year. The Mets would sweep the series in L.A. and finish off a seven game win streak before being stopped in San Francisco.

May 12, 2020

Remembering Mets History: (1978) Bobby Valentine Drives In Mets Winning Runs

Tuesday April 18th 1978: This one is a blast from the past to honor Bobby Valentine as  a player. Remembering a game winning hit he had in the late seventies having his moment in the sun......

Early on in this season the Joe Torre's New York Mets (7-5) were in first place as they visited St. Louis to play Vern Rapp's Cardinals (5-6). A small crowd of 5,728 showed up at Bush Stadium to see the Mets Mike Bruhert go against Eric Rasmussen.

Starting Lineups

The Cards struck first as the pitcher Eric Rasmussen singled & moved on to second after a base hit by Jim Dwyer. Gary Templeton then doubled him in making it 1-0.

In the top of the 5th, Willie Montanez singled for the Mets & went to third on Lee Mazzilli's double. Then Tim Foli grounded out to short but Montanez did score to tie it up. The game stayed that way until the 7th inning.

Montanez doubled to left field with one out. Mazzilli walked & with two outs pinch hitter Ed Kranepool was walked intentionally. With the pitcher Bruhert due up, Joe Torre sent Bobby Valentine in to pinch hit. Valentine doubled to left field bringing in both runners putting the Mets ahead for good 3-1. His hit was the game winner, the only one Valentine had as a Mets player.

The Cards scored a run on reliever Skip Lockwood but he notched a save & Bruhert got the win as the Mets won their third straight. The rest of the season did not go so well.

May 11, 2020

The History of Yogi Berra & Yoo-Hoo

Yogi Berra & Yoo-Hoo go all the way back to the 1950's. Yogi had met the owners of the Yoo-Hoo company (the Oliveri family) at a Country Club function near his home in New Jersey.

The product wasn't selling that well and they asked Yogi's opinion. He said he liked the soft drink and started promoting it. Soon Yogi put Yoo-Hoo on the map, by appearing in commercials, ads and supermarkets promotions. 

He would show up at the factory in Carlstadt, New Jersey and was a hero to the factory workers. He became a Vice President of the company and owned a large amount of stock.

Yogi wrote in his auto biography "One time I was in the office and the phone rang, I always answer a ringing phone, the woman on the other end asked if Yoo-Hoo was hyphenated. I said, 'No ma'am, it's not even carbonated."

He was still involved with the company while he was coach & then manager of the Mets in the mid seventies. Eventually as the company's ownership kept changing at Yoo-Hoo, Berra sold his stock & cut his ties with the company.