Jul 31, 2020

Remembering Mets History (1999): Al Leiter Strike Out A Career High 15

Sunday, August 1st 1999: Bobby Valentines Mets (66-43) were boasting on the leagues best records & were trailing the Atlanta Braves by just a half game on this day, as they visited Wrigley Field to play Jim Riggleman's Cubs (48-54).

A Wrigley Field crowd of 39,222 filled the Friendly Confines to watch Kyle Farnsworth take on the Mets Al Leiter.

The 13 inning affair would last four hours & twenty five minutes, seeing pitchers strike out 28 batters with both teams collecting ten hits each.


Starting Lineups

Al Leiter would strike out two batters in the 1st inning & again in the 3rd inning.  He struck out the side in both the 2nd & 4th innings. In the 5th he struck out two more Cubs, but ran into trouble, giving up runs on RBI singles to Manny Alexander & Mark Grace.

In the 6th the Mets came back, Rey Ordonez bunted to reach base to start out the inning. Al Leiter sacrificed him over to second. Rickey Henderson & Edgardo Alfonzo then both walked to load them up. The Mets leading hitter, John Olerud doubled to right field tying the game. Daryl Hamilton then singled to make it 3-2 Mets.

Leiter got another strike out in the 6th inning. In the 7th he notched two more K's, reaching a personal career high 15 strike outs in a game. 

As for the Cubs, strike out victims, Mickey Morandini & Glenallen Hill, both went down three times each on the day. Manny Alexander was second in Ks, going down twice on strikes. 

This was the only game Leiter, would have a double digit strike out game all year. He would notch 162 strike outs in the 1999 Mets Wild Card season.

The Cubs tied it in the 9th, when Henry Rodriguez homered off Armando Benitez.

In the 10th, Rickey Henderson walked, stole second & advanced to third on an error. An Edgardo Alfonzo sac fly put New York ahead. But the Cubs came back, as Benitez walked the first two men in the home 10th.

He was yanked & Billy Taylor  came in to pitch. The Cubs scored a run on John Olerud's fielding error to tie it. Dennis Cook got Jose Nieves to ground out in a double play to kill the inning.

In a wacky 13th, Roger Cedeno doubled, but Todd Pratt lined out & Rey Ordonez popped out. Benny Agbayani was intentionally walked to face the pitcher Pat Mahomes.

With a depleted bench Mahomes batted. He came through with a single up the middle to bring in what was the winning run. Mahomes closed out the game in the bottom frame, Mets won it 6-4.

Jul 26, 2020

Leo Durocher: 1954 World Champion New York Giants Manager (1948-1955)

Leo Ernest Durocher was born Born on July 27, 1905 in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

The second baseman / shortstop made his MLB debut in 1925 with the A.L. New York team & played with BaBe Ruth & Lou Gehrig in the 19278 World Series. 

Leo, who was never a great hitter, was dubbed “The great American out” by Ruth. Manager Miller Huggins loved the passion, & competiveness in Durocher but upper management hated him.

Leo loved the nightlife, stayed out late, passed out bad checks & dressed in expensive clothes. After the 1929 season Durocher went to Cincinnati for four seasons getting traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in May of 1933. 

He arrived in time to play on the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals World Champion “Gas House Gang” team. He had his best batting averages in St. Louis (.260 in 1934 & .286 in 1936) while driving in over 70 runs twice, & hitting 20 plus doubles three times.

1934 World Series: In the 1934 World Series he hit .259 (7-27) scoring 4 runs. 

In Game #6 Durocher scored two runs including what turned out to be the game winner in the 7th inning. After doubling off School Boy Rowe, Durocher scored on Paul Dean’s base hit putting the Cards in front of Detroit 4-3 and forcing a Game #7. 

Dodgers Career: After four seasons in St. Louis Durocher went to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers for six years finishing up his long 17 year career. He batted .247 with 24 HRs 210 doubles 567 RBIs in 1637 games.

In 1938 he was named the teams Player / Manager and right away Leo the Lip became legendary. 

Leo the Lip: He was controversial, brash, & very argumentive. He always wanted to win & would do anything to earn a victory. The fiery Durocher demanded the same from his players as well. 

He was famous for yelling “stick it in his ear” & had his pitchers regularly throw at hitters. In an interview with Red Barber, he coined the famous phrase “nice guys finish last” in reference to New York Giants manager Mel Ott. The Giants who were “nice guys over there in the other dugout” were in last place, while Durocher’s Dodgers were riding high in first place.

He took over the helm in Brooklyn after the team suffered six straight losing seasons. Durocher’s team finished would finish with a losing record all but one season while he was there.

His Dodgers won the 1941 NL Pennant, then would win 104 games in 1942 just missing another World Series berth. In 1946 the Dodgers & Cardinals tied for first place forcing the N.L.’s first ever playoff series. Durocher’s team was on the losing end.

Off the field Durocher loved the celebrity life, he was friends with George Raft, Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin. 

Actress Wife: He had an affair with married actress Loraine Day, that upset many people especially Brooklyn’s Catholic Youth Organization. The two would later elope in 1947 & stay married until 1960. 

The couple were instant media celebrities, seen on television, Broadway & around Hollywood. In addition Leo hung out with gamblers, and was a noted pool shark himself. Besides his celebrity & gambler friends he had known ties with mobsters.

In 1947 two of Durocher’s coaches were hired away by the A.L New York club, causing a feud between the two. Each accused the other of having ties with gambling in their respective clubhouses. 

With all the controversy going on, Commissioner Happy Chandler discovered Durocher & Raft may have rigged a crap game taking a Detroit player for a lot of money. Durocher was suspended for the 1947 for having ties with gambling.

Before he was exiled, he let it be known that he would not tolerate any dissent of players who were opposed to the promotion of Jackie Robinson to the MLB club. "I don't care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a damn zebra. I'm the manager of this team and I say he plays." 

The Dodgers went on to win another pennant in 1947 while Durocher was serving his suspension. Durocher returned in 1948 but the Dodgers struggled, and his outspoken personality was causing trouble with management.

New York Giants Career: In a strange deal worked out in July, Leo was set free from the Dodgers & allowed to go to the rival New York Giants. A move that fueled the Giants / Dodger rivalry even further, and had Dodger fans immediately hating Durocher. 

The Giants fans took a deep breath and tried to digest Leo Durocher, as their manager! Ironically Durocher would replace the man he called a “nice guy”, Mel Ott as manager.

It took time for Leo to build the type of team he wanted at the Polo Grounds, he recruited guys like Eddie Stanky, Alvin Dark, Hank Thompson, Monte Irvin & a superstar kid named Willie Mays. After two 5th place finishes the Giants moved to 3rd place by 1950.

Willie Mays Mentor: In 1951 Leo led the Giants to one of baseball’s greatest comebacks ever. He helped mentor rookie Willie Mays after Mays slumped in his first few weeks.

 Mays was crying at his locker telling “Mr. Leo” as he called him, that he couldn’t make it & he was sorry for letting him down. Leo told Willie he was his centerfielder and was sticking with him.
Mays turned it around, and became one baseballs greatest players of all time. 

Dodger Rivalry: After getting beat by the Brooklyn Dodgers at the Polo Grounds earlier that summer, he told his team to listen to the Dodgers taunt them “the Giants is dead” as they banged on the thin clubhouse walls of the Polo Grounds.

His battles with the Dodgers were classic, he once had Ruben Gomez throw at Carl Furillo, instead of charging the mound; Furillo went after Durocher in the dugout. His battles with Jackie Robinson also legendary; He would taunt Robinson mercifully, but nothing racial, and Jackie would do the same back, even attacking Durocher’s wife Loraine Day.

Eye in the Sky: Leo did anything he could to inspire his team. He also recruited a Polo Grounds electrician to install a buzzer from the clubhouse to the bullpen. Then he perched his old friend Herman Franks in the centerfield clubhouse with a telescope to steal the signs from the opposing catcher while the Giants were up to bat.

Franks would use the buzzer after he saw the sign to signal the bullpen, there backup catcher Sal Yvars would either toss a ball in the air or just hold on to it, to tip off the hitter.

This method has been disputed by many as if it actually worlked or not. Statistics show the Giants actually hit better on the road, and had better pitching at home. Many players said they never actually used the system & even if they knew what pitch was coming they still had to hit.

Either way the Giants were 13 games back on August 11th and after getting swept in Brooklyn they turned their season around. Leo’s Giants went on a 16 game winning streak and won 23 of their last 31 games tying the Dodgers for first place and forcing the most famous playoff Series in baseball history.

1951 NL Playoff: The teams split the first two games and it all came down to one game at the Polo Grounds. The Giants were down 4-1 in the 9th when history was made as Bobby Thomson hit the shot heard round the world, the most famous HR in baseball history as the "Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant!" 

After the Pennant: The Giants would win 90 games in 1952 but finish second to the Dodgers, 1953 was total disaster finishing 5th. 

1954 World Champions: Going into 1954 the Giants were not picked to win, and surprised everyone.

 After trading off popular 1951 hero Bobby Thomson, the Giants received pitcher Johnny Antonelli who would win 20 games, lead the league in winning percentage & ERA. That season Willie Mays won the batting title & the MVP Award. 

Leos Giants went on to win 97 games, and went to the World Series as underdogs to a mighty Cleveland Indians team who won 111 games. 

In the first game at Cleveland, Dusty Rhodes hit a walk off HR. In the second game, Johnny Antonelli pitched  a one run complete game, with Rhodes once again hitting a pinch hit HR to break a tie, this one in the 7th inning. 

Back in New York, the Giants rolled to a 6-2 win in Game #3 & an easy 7-4 win in Game #4, sweeping the World Series.

After the 1955 season, the Giants finished third & Durocher was done as manager. 

Broadcaster: He went to work for NBC as a baseball color commentator & a host for the NBC Comedy Hour & Jackpot Bowling. In 1962 he was back with the Dodgers this time in Los Angeles. 

Hollywood: Hollywood was perfect for Leo, during the sixties he appeared on episodes of many classic TV show. 

He played golf with Jed & Jethro Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, & wanted to sign a talking horse to a Dodger contract on Mr. Ed. 

Then there was the classic Munster’s episode where Leo wanted to sign slugger Herman Munster after seeing him blast monstrous HRs.

Cubs Career: In 1966 he was hired as manager of the Chicago Cubs, there his Cubs were the fisrt team to finish behind the early last place Mets teams. 

By 1969 the Cubs had a powerhouse team, and led the newly formed NL East by 8 ½ games in mid August & looked like a shoe in for the post season.

But 1969 was the year of the Amazing Mets, & after losing two critical Series to the Mets in July, then getting swept in a two game Series in August, Durocher’s Cubs fell apart. After a loss to the Mets he was asked “Are these the real Cubs?" Durocher answered "I don't know," "but these are the real Mets."

They ended up losing their lead and finishing 8 games behind the Mets. Durocher was criticized for over playing his top players without rest & over working his pitchers. He had a hard time dealing with the new breed of high paid ball players, having run ins with his stars Ernie Banks & Ron Santo. 

He was fired midway through the 1972 season and getting hired by the Houston Astros.

He retired after the 1973 season, as the Mets won another Pennant. 

Managerial Career: Durocher finished his managerial career with a 2008-1709 (.540 %) posting winning records with all four teams he led. He was the first manager to win 500 games with three different clubs & was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.

He also wrote a bestselling autobiography called “Nice Guys Finish Last”. Durocher passed away in 1991 at age 86, and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood.

Jul 25, 2020

Frank Tanana: Former Italian / American Mets Pitcher (1993)

Frank Daryl Tanana was born on July 3, 1953 in Detroit, Michigan. The left handed fast ball pitcher was a 1971 first round draft pick for the California Angels, the 13th pick overall. 

In 1973 he was 33-12 with a 2.70 ERA at two levels of minor league ball, getting promoted to the big league staff by the end of the year.

In 1974 Tanana teamed up with Nolan Ryan making them one of the best one & two combo’s in baseball. The saying went in Anaheim was “Tanana, Ryan & two days of cryin’” during those mid seventies hey days.

 In his first full season, 1974 he was given the start on the second game of the season in Chicago against the White Sox.

Although he pitched well into the 7th inning allowing just two runs, he got no decision. He then won his next two starts beating Texas & the White Sox at home. 

In May he lost four straight starts going 2-4 in the month, although his ERA was just at 2.88. From the end of June on, he allowed more than three runs in a game just five times, but was just 10-7 in that time.

Topps All Star Rookie: Tanana finished the year at 14-19 (3rd most losses in the A.L.) on a last place Angel’s team, striking out 180 batters (7th in the AL) in 268 innings pitched with a 3.12 ERA. He made the Topps All Star Rookie Team & was voted California’s most eligible bachelor. The free spirited Tanana became a star the next season.

In 1975 he started out at 2-4 then things took off after June 3rd. He won four straight decagons, striking out ten batters or more three times. On June 21st in the first game of a double header with the Texas Rangers he struck out 17 batters pitching a two hit complete game. 

In that game his fast ball was clocked at 1000 mph. Two outings later he struck out 15 Twins in Minnesota, tossing his third straight complete game win.

After a July Fourth of July loss at Oakland, he won eight of his next nine decisions, ten of his last fourteen. From August 24th through September 10th he tossed five straight complete games, beginning with a four hit shut out against the AL New York team in New York's Shea Stadium.

He never allowed more than six hits in those starts and was 4-1 lowering his ERA to 2.36. On September 22nd he earned no decision although he pitched 13 shut out innings, allowing just six hits against the White Sox.

Tanana led the A.L in strikeouts with 269, going 16-9 with a 2.62 ERA (fourth in the AL). On the season he threw 16 complete games with five shut outs, coming in fourth in the Cy Young Award voting.

In the bicentennial year of 1976, he had a great May winning six straight starts pitching complete games in five of those outings. He made his first All Star team, that year & ended the season with a 7-1 August/ September. On September 6th he struck out 15 Oakland A's for his tenth game with double figures in strike outs on the year. 

On the year he was 19-9 (fourth most wins in the AL) with a 2.43 ERA (3rd in the AL) & 23 complete games (2nd in the AL) pitching 288 innings. 

AL -ERA Leader: In 1977 he started out the year at 4-0 and was an incredible 11-3 by the middle of June. By now he was one of the league's top pitchers. On May 25th he threw a three hits shut out in Detroit & then in his next start threw a five hit one run game in Cleveland but took the loss to Dennis Eckersley' s 1-0 shutout.

In June when the Indians came to California he got revenge by throwing a two hit shutout victory. In August he tossed a four hit shut out over seven innings against the Boston Red Sox & then pitched a three hit shut out in his next outing against the Baltimore Orioles. His season was cut short with an injury at the beginning of September.

On the year he led the league in ERA (.2.54) & shut outs, tossing seven of them. He was second to team mate Nolan Ryan in strike outs (230) as well as strike out per nine inning ratio.

 He went to that All Star Games as well as the next years, representing the Angels. Tanana would go 82-59 over a five year period with the Angles. The team only finished above fourth place once in those years (second place in 1978).

In 1979 he missed two months due to a shoulder injury which would ruin his fastball. After the tragic murder of team mate Lyman Bostock, Tanana became a religious man & changed his perspective on life. 

He also learned to become a finesse style pitcher, without his blazing fast ball, prolonging his career for another 14 years. After his return in September he went 2-1 helping the Angels clinch their first AL Western Title.

1979 Post Season- ALCS: In the 1979 ALCS he pitched his first game getting no decision against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing two runs over five innings of work. The Orioles took the series in four games.

In January of 1981 he was traded to the Boston Red Sox along with Joe Rudi & Steve Renko for All Star Fred Lynn. 

Red Sox & Tigers Career: He would never be the dominant pitcher he once was. He went to Boston in the  strike shortened 1981 season in Boston going 4-10. Things got worse as he moved on to the Texas Rangers (1982-1985). 

In 1982 Tanana led the league in losses (18) posting an ERA over four for the third straight year. By 1984 he turned himself around to to be a fifteen game winner, going 15-15 with a 3.25 ERA. 

Tigers Career:  Mid way through 1985, he came back to his home town of Detroit, pitching for the Tigers for the next seven plus seasons through 1992.

In Detroit legendary broad caster Ernie Harwell would call him ‘Tan-talizing Tanana” as he became known as "the great tantalizer" for his wide array of pitches. He would post winning records in all but one season & would pitch over 200 innings four times in those years.

He would win 13 or more games four times, including a 15-10 season in 1987 as the Tigers won the AL Eastern Title. That year he pitched a 1-0 shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays on the last day of the season, helping the Tigers get to the post season.

1987 Post Season- ALCS: In the ALCS he took a loss to Frank Viola & the Minnesota Twins in Game #4, allowing four runs in 5.1 innings of work. 

He went 14-11 the next season but then fell to 10-14 in 1989. He won 13 games in back to back seasons (1991/1992) ending his time with the Tigers.

Tanana signed on with the New York Mets as a free agent for the 1993 season.

Mets Career: His first Mets start came in the 10th game of the year, in Cincinnati against the Reds. Tanana pitched six innings allowing one run on six hits earning the 4-1 victory. 

He won his next start as well, pitching eight innings allowing only one run at Shea Stadium against the San Diego Padres. In May he lost his first three starts then beat the Reds to close out the month. During the summer months he went 3-10, winning just one game in each month.

In September he finished his Mets career with a 5-4 victory against the Phillies at Shea Stadium on September 14th. He would pitch into the 7th inning or beyond 14 times during the season, but more often than not, ended up on the losing end for a last place Mets team.

He led the staff in starts (29) but also in HRs allowed (26) earned runs (91) & hits (198). Overall he was 7-15 with a 4.48 ERA, 104 strikeouts, 48 walks & 26 HRs allowed in 183 innings pitched.

 In late September he was traded to the AL New York team for Kenny Greer. There he went 0-2 before retiring at the end of the year.

Career Stats: In his 21 season career, Tanana won 240 games (56th best all time) while taking 236 losses (17th all time). 

He struck out 2773 strikeouts (21st all time) with 34 shutouts (83rd all time) 616 starts (18th all time) a 3.36 ERA, 143 complete games (240th all time) in 4441 innings pitched (35th all time) and his 448 HRs allowed are the sixth most all time.

Retirement: He & his wife Cathy, are involved in the Christian community within pro baseball. He serves on the Pro Athletes Outreach Board of Directors, and they are involved in the Home Plate and Career Impact ministries. 

Honors: In 2006, Tanana was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.

Jul 17, 2020

Remembering Mets History (1969) Mets Players Defend Thier Manager In Wake of Hawk's Book

All Star Break- Summer of 1969: Today Ken "the Hawk" Harrelson (no relation to Bud Harrelson) is known as the long time (33 years) broadcaster of the Chicago White Sox. The controversial broadcaster in known for his "Hawkisms" & a homer, outwardly rooting for the White Sox team. 

Back in his playing days he was controversial & outspoken as well. He wore hip flashy colorful clothing of the late sixties, something ball players were not doing yet. Although he was not the first player to use one, he is credited with bringing the batting clove back to the game in his era. He wore a golf glove while batting.

He began his career with the Kansas City A's as one of the teams first star players, he left in 1966 but was brought back by popular demand the next year. His time in Kansas City ended when he allegedly called owner Charley Finley " a menace to baseball". Finley moved the A's to Oakland & would win three straight World Series in the early seventies.

Harrelson would go on to he Boston Red Sox in their 1967 Impossible Dream season & win the A.L. pennant with them, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. In 1968 he led the AL in RBIs (109) & had his best season. Shockingly he was traded to Cleveland the next year, at first he retired to veto the trade but did come back to play with the Indians. An injury led him to retire in 1971 at age 30.

But back in 1966 he was sent to the Washington Senators in mid season & would spend part of the 1967 season there as well. At that time, Gil Hodges was manager of the Senators. Hodges was a stern disciplinarian, a strict rule enforcer, a conservative man who took the game very seriously. Ken Hawk Harrelson did not get along with his manger Gil Hodges.

By  1969, Gil Hodges was in New York trying to win the NL East in Miracle fashion, that summer, Harrelson released his autobiography, while he was playing on a poor Indians team that would lose 97 games. In his book he was one of the only people to ever say anything negative about Hodges. Hawk, trashed Hodges, calling him " a Jekyll & Hyde"-"unfair, unreasonable, unfeeling, incapable of handling men, stubborn, Hoilier than thou, & ice cold".

During one losing game in Washington, Harrelson suggested to the manager that he start a fight to get the team to pull together. Hodges refused telling him " that shows something about the kind of person you are". Another time, Hodges benched Harrelson because his hair was too long, telling him he'll play when he gets it cut. Harrelson got it cut in the locker room by a teammate & was inserted in the line up.

Quotes- Gil Hodges: In reference to love beads, which Harrelson did wear, "maybe the players would be better off with Rosary beads instead of love beads".

When the book came out, Hodges Mets team stuck up for him immediately. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Ron Swoboda & Ed Charles were the most indignant.

Quotes- Tom Seaver told the Daily News: " That doesn't seem like the manager I know. Mr. Hodges treats his players with an attitude of professionalism. Maybe Mr. Harrelson in his immaturity couldn't tell  the difference between professionalism treatment & someone picking on him."

Jerry Koosman who said he was shocked to read that article, noted it was probably a publicity stunt to sell more books, adding he just lost one sale on him.

The Manager who was upset at the distraction surrounding his club, said he did not wish to comment at this time. He was chasing a pennant in the second half of the season.

Jul 15, 2020

Remembering Live Aid 35 Years Later

July 1985- My Story: At the time I was a young 19 year old teenager, ready to start my real job at the Utility the Monday after this concert. At that time Rock & Roll was everything to me & my friends. It was a time where classic Rock was at a cross over. The sixties music was still popular with us, we grew up in the seventies rock & were living the 80's Rock, especially the Hard Rock / Heavy Metal scene. (Now it's called classic Metal) 

We were regulars at the rock clubs (Lamore's Brooklyn, Lamore's East Queens, The Red Eagle Saloon (Bronx), The Rising Sun (Yonkers) The Ritz (NY)  Kenny's Castaway, Rock & Roll Cafe & other MacDougal/Bleeker Street Clubs. We were attending all the rock/metal concerts coming through the New York area, so we had to be at this Live Aid concert.

My friend Spanky, managed to get tickets to the sold out show. Me, Billy & Spanky set off on Friday night from the Bronx, to Brentwood, Long Island to pick up his brother & his friends. Then we were off to RFK Stadium in Philadelphia. It was a hot weekend of partying, no sleep & incredible music, one of the best concerts of the hundreds that I attended.

Live Aid was held simultaneously in Philadelphia (RFK Stadium- 100,000 people) & in London (Wembley Stadium 72,000 people) with a few other smaller venues around the world. 

It was broadcast live on MTV & at prime time on the major networks. It was a big, big deal at the time, billed as the Global Jukebox. 1.9 billion people watched on TV world wide (40% of the world population) as millions of dollars went to the Ethiopian famine cause. But for us it was about the music & an awesome concert of the generation.

In America, the concert began @851 AM & went 14 hours until 1105 PM. It was very, very, hot (95 degrees) very humid, with no shade. We had floor seats & there were no aisles or rows allotted. It was just like being on a beach, people everywhere. Pretty unsafe by todays standards, but it was the 80's & we were a tougher generation. 

I can not emphasize enough, on how hot it was. The sun was blaring on a typical hazy, hot humid, North Eastern sweltering summer day. There were some Red Cross stations, on the side tiers of the stands with water, but my memory had them break down after a half hour trek from our seats to get there. 

The place ran out of food as well. I remember eating hot dogs when we first went it, because we were stupid enough not to bring any food on the trip. After that all that was available were sno-cones for sale. At times they tried to spray water on the crowd to cool off, but inly if you were lucky enough to be in the vicinity of the fire hoses.

At one point I was taking a nap, and I remember the Red Cross waking me up to see if I was ok. In the background I saw my friend Spanky laughing as he must have have told them to check on me. So yes, there was medical teams available to assist.

As the day ended & turned into evening, it was such a relief. The sun was down & breeze came through the air, ah relief!!. We met some girls who had fruit in a cooler & they shared with us. At this point is was just Me & Billy as we lost the other guys. Also from some where we got some water. We were revived.

In Philly, between some sets, the large screens would broadcast the major events live from London. That's how I saw the now legendary Queen set. It was live, but I watched in a stadium across the world. Still pretty kool looking back. 

And yes even at that time, we knew they kicked ass & did a great performance. We were old Queen fans from the 70's, into their albums up until "The Game" (1980). Their newer music hadn't been our style, but Billy & I especially had always been huge fans & it was great to see them rock again. 

Via satellite at Philadelphia, I also got to see, one of my other favorite bands live (sort of) for the first time. The Who in London. 

It was the first time in three years the Who had played live, this time with Kenny Jones who replaced Keith Moon, on drums. I remember at the time that it was also a great performance.

The Who set (My Generation, Pinball Wizard, Love Reign O'er Me & Wont Get Fooled Again)

Also on the Wembley bill were: Queen, David Bowie, Elton John, Elvis Costello, Dire Straits, Sade, Adam Ant, U2, Status Quo, Bryan Ferry, Howard Jones, Bob Geldof who put the whole thing together band- the Boomtown Rats & a few others. Paul McCartney himself, closed the show with Let It Be. He was joined on stage by Pete Townshend, David Bowie, Alson Moyet & Bob Geldof.

Back In America: It was an incredible concert, with two generations of classic rock acts, as well as some R&B & Motown mixed in. 

This was also the first time I saw Mick Jagger live. He came on when the sun was down & the place cooled off.  On this night, I realized what a showman he was, as soon as he hit the stage, the crowd was electrified. 

To see one guy on a stage, ignite a crowd of 100,000 plus, like that was incredible. Mick was a solo act at Live Aid. He was joined by Tina Turner for a hot set as well. The Stones had been on hiatus since the Tattoo You tour, with Mick & Keith bickering. It was the closest the group ever came to breaking up. Keith Richards & Ron Wood also played ay Live Aid, but an acoustic set, with Bob Dylan. 

Mick Jagger set (Lonley at the Top- Just Another Night & Miss You)
Mick Jagger & Tina Turner set (State of Shock & It's Only Rock & Roll)

Also on that day, some of our favorite Metal bands played & reunited as well. The most anticipated event of all, was the Led Zeppelin reunion. Zeppelin had not played together since the death of John Bonham in 1980.  

They were still one of the biggest names in Rock. Phil Collins, actually took the Concord & played at both, Wembley & the Philadelphia shows during the day. Collins & Queens, NY born drummer Tony Thompson (Power Station / Chic)  both filled in on drums, for the departed Bonham.

Led Zeppelin set (Rock & Roll- Whole Lotta Love & Stairway to Heaven) 

Led Zeppelin themselves, thought their performance was terrible & did not have it included on the  DVD that was finally issued years later.

Plants voice was hoarse, Page's guitar was out of tune, the monitors were not functioning right. Collins wasn't a good fit on drums & Page didn't want him there. 

But for us fans, it was a dream come true. I remember when they started with Rock & Roll, the excitement just exploded, everyone was dancing, jumping & pumping their fist in the air. 

Everyone was singing along to Stairway to Heaven, with people their arms around each other. The sight of Jimmy Page playing his double neck guitar was just mesmerizing. 

Stairway to Heaven was probably the most popular song of our 70's-80's classic rock generation. It was a concert moment for a life time.

Another much anticipated event, happened earlier, as Ozzy Osbourne reunited with Black Sabbath for the first time in seven years! At this point they were still the biggest name in Heavy Metal so this was super special for us metal heads. 

It was hot when Sabbath came on but again I can remember the energy of excitement through the crowd, with fists a pumping & heads a banging.

Black Sabbath set (Children of the Grave, Iron Man & Paranoid) 

One of the biggest Metal bands of that time (and all time), was Judas Priest. Priest got a call to come down to play the gig as they were recording the Turbo album. 

They also played an awesome set that day and one of the hardest, best rocking, since they had been touring & very active in those days. 

Judas Priest set (Living After Midnight, The Green Manalishi & You've Got Another Thing Coming).

Another legendary performer & one of our favorites, was Eric Clapton. 

Clapton who had been in Cream one of all time favorite bands, Blind Faith, Derek & the Domino's & an incredible solo career. Clapton had once again revived his career in the 80's & was on top of his game. For this show he did a Cream song, a new song & the classic Derek & the Domino's song- Layla.

Eric Clapton set (White Room, She's Waiting & Layla)

This incredible concert in Philadelphia, also featured great bands like:

The Cars set (You Might Think, Drive, Just What I Needed & Heartbeat City) 

The Cars were always one of 
my favorites from the New Wave era. After Live Aid they pretty much fell out of popularity.

Crosby Stills & Nash set (Southern Cross- Teach Your Children & Suite Judy Blue Eyes)

Crosby Stills Nash & Young set (Only Love Can Break Your Heart & Daylight Again/ Find the Cost of Freedom) This was also a reunion, first time in 11 years CSN played w/ Young.

Again, another one of me & Billy's favorites from the sixties (especially Billy). So we were pretty exited about these guys too. I remember the beauty of their harmonies seeing them in person for the first time, it was special. 

The set list was great too, since Southern Cross still one of my favorite Stills songs was new at the time & of course Suite Judy Blue Eyes! It was our Woodstock!

The Beach Boys set (California Girls, Help Me Rhonda, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Good Vibrations& Surfing USA) 

This was a killer set in the hot sun & had everybody dancing. Everyone loved the Beach Boys then too. 

Keep in mind, although they weren't getting along, this was mostly the original band, with the exception of Dennis Wilson who had passed two years earlier. I remember we saw them at Jones Beach again a few weeks later. One of last shows with Brian Wilson.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers set (American Girl, The Waiting, Rebels & Refugee)
I wasn't the biggest Petty fan back then, but he was popular & put on a great show. Apparently, he was the first act to go on after the grand finale in England. So he threw American Girl in there (in America) to start the set, even though it wasn't scheduled. 

Phil Collins (solo set) (Against All Odds & In the Air Tonight)

Not a big fan of his music, but I do respect all he has done. On this day especially, he flew on the Concord to play live at both shows. He did a solo set in America, as well as played drums with Led Zeppelin & Eric Clapton. Not a bad day!

The Pretenders set (Time of the Avenger- Message of Love- Stop Your Sobbing- Back on Chain Gang& Middle of the Road) 

A Good set from a good very popular band at the time, Chrissy Hynde always sings well.

George Thorogood & the Destroyers set (Who Do You Love- The Sky Is Crying & Madison Blues with Albert Collins)

Madonna set (Holiday-Into the Groove & Love Makes the World Go Round w/ the Thompson Twins & Nile Rogers)

Madonna had only been around 2 years at the time & a tough ticket to get for a concert. I did like some of her stuff when she came out & wanted to see her live performances. So this was pretty kool for me too. Into the Groove was the biggest song back then & all the girls loved it so you had to listen.

Power Station set (Murderess & Get It On (T-Rex cover)

This was a supergroup featuring Robert Palmer, Tony Thompson & Duran Duran brothers John & Andy Taylor. Robert Palmer did not perform live with the group. I liked this album a lot when it was out. 

The hit Some Like It Hot & the T-Rex cover of Bang a Gong were highlights. Good performance. Thompson & The Taylor brothers also had a busy day performing at least twice.

Bob Dylan Keith Richards & Ron Wood set (Ballad of Hollis Brown- When the Ship Comes In - Blowin In the Wind)

Dylan's set was the last before the We Are the World grand finale, that included a cast that filled the stage.

Trivia: Dylan & Ronnie Wood drove down from Woodstock NY in Dylan's pick up truck. Imagine that.

Duran Duran set (A View to A Kill- Union of the Snake- Save a Prayer- The Reflex) 

It was the last time they played live & broke until until brief reunions in the 90's.

Neil Young set (Sugar Mountain- the Needle & the Damage Done- Nothing Is Perfect & Powderfinger)

REO Speedwagon set (Cant Fight This Feeling & Roll with the Changes (w/ Beach Boys)

Bryan Adams set (Kids Wanna Rock- Summer of '69- Tears Are Not Enough- Cuts Like a Knife)

Santana with Pat Methany set (Brotherhood-Primera Invasion-Open Invitation- By the Pool & Right Now)

Hall & Oates with Eddie Kendricks & David Ruffin of the Temptations set (Man Eater, Aint to Proud to Beg- The Way You Do The Things That You Do- Get Ready & My Girl) 

I was not a big Hall & Oates fan but did like some of their songs & did like the Temptations. 

So this set with former Temptations Kendricks & Ruffin, was a real pleasant surprised & a crowd pleaser. 

The Four Tops set (Bernadette, Reach Out I'll Be There, I Cant Help Myself & Shake Me Wake Me)

We were always fans of these songs but didn't know the Tops did them all. These guys really surprised us & had the whole place dancing, they were awesome. I specifically remember my friend Spanky, a true metal head, whispering to me, how kool these guys were.) 

Also that day, Joan Baez, (who opened the show with Amazing Grace) Kenny Loggins set (Footloose) Simple Minds (Don't You Forget About Me)

Philadelphia band, the Hooters set (And We Danced, All You Zombies) the Thompson Twins set (Hold Me Now & cover of the Beatles Revolution), Rick Springfield (Human Touch), Billy Ocean, Run DMC, Patti Labelle. Ashford & Simpson with Teddy Pendergrass (who made his first appearance in wheel chair after his accident) (Reach Out & Touch).

MCs for the day, introducing the bands included Jack Nicholson, Chevy Chase, Joe Piscopo, Bill Grahm, George Segal, Grace Slick, Don Johnson, Bette Midler & Dionne Warwick.

At the time we thought it was the next Woodstock, and for our generation it was. But history seemed to forget all about Live Aid. There were controversies about where the money actually went, how much of it got siphoned away & to where. 

Due to bad recordings, many artist didn't like they way they sounded. Decisions to who & what would be included on an album or film added to the drama. A film for the concert, didn't come out until almost twenty years later. It is now out of print.

Finally in 2018 Live Aid got new life, it came from Queen & the movie Bohemian Rhapsody. Queen's performance is now legendary & some of the magic has been relived. 

Queen set  (Bohemian Rhapsody intro- Radio Ga Ga- Hammer To Fall- Crazy Little Thing Called Love- We Will Rock You - We Are the Champions)

There were a lot of great reunions & performances at that event. Lots of great memories for those of us lucky to attend. Looking back it was a historic day, it was a great time & a concert for the ages.

Bob Geldof who put the whole thing together