Showing posts from January, 2021

Jeff Torborg: Former Mets Manager Who Caught Three Career No Hitters (1992-1993)

Jeffrey Allen Torborg was born November 26, 1941 in Plainfield, New Jersey. After attending Westfield high school, he attended Rutgers University. He is of Danish desent. In 1963 he was an All American baseball player, setting a school record & NCAA record batting an incredible .537. Only two other college players have ever hit for a higher batting averages. Torborg also set Rutgers school records for slugging. The Rutgers Knights baseball team posted a .741 winning percentage during his time there. In 1992 he became the first baseball player to have his uniform number retired by the school, as he entered into the Rutgers Olympic Sports Hall of Fame. In 1963 he was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent.He spent just 64 games at AA Albuquerque in 1963 making the Los Angeles Dodgers team the next year. Throughout the rest of the sixties he would be the Dodgers backup catcher, first to Johnny Roseboro then to Tom Haller.  Torborg was never the same hit

John Stephenson: Former Mets Catcher Who Caught Nolan Ryan's First Game (1964-1966)

John Herman Stephenson was born on April 13, 1941 in South Portsmouth, Kentucky . The educated Stephenson earned a degree at William Carey College, in Mississippi. The five foot eleven left handed hitting catcher went from A ball in 1963 right up to the Mets big league team in 1964. He made the club out of Spring Training and appeared as a pinch hItter on Opening Day 1964 as well as in the first game ever played at Shea Stadium. He went hitless in both games. Stephenson would appear mostly as a pinch hitter & in 14 games at third base but he didn’t hit much. On Father’s Day 1964 he was the final out of Jim Bunnings's perfect game pitched against the Mets at Shea Stadium. Stephenson's biggest thrill that season came on June 29th when he hit a leadoff HR in a game at San Francisco off Giants pitcher Bobby Bolin. Stephenson was back in the minors by July after hitting just .158. At AAA Buffalo he hit .298 the rest of the season, playing at catcher, outfield & at thi

Rudy Meoli: Former Italian / American Player Who Helped Preserve Nolan Ryan's First No Hitter (1971-1979)

Rudolph Bartholomew Meoli was born on May 1, 1951, in Troy, New York. The five foot nine, left hand hitting infielder was drafted in the fourth round of the 1969 draft by the California Angels. After playing in only seven games in 1971, he was given the Angels regular shortstop job in 1973. With the departure of Jim Fregosi to the New York Mets in 1972, five time All Star Leo Cardenas had taken over the position but was at the end of his career. Meoli was suppose to be the future of the teams infield, but only hit .223 with two HRs 12 doubles & 23 RBIs (all career highs). He lost lost his job to Dave Chalk, who would have a fine career the next season. Nolan Ryan No Hitter: On May 15th, 1973 Meoli was in the lineup against the Kansas City Royals when Nolan Ryan pitched the first of his seven no hitters. Meoli made a fine over the shoulder catch off the bat of veteran; Gail Hopkins on a bloop to shallow left field. It was the closest thing to a hit the Royals had all day.

Hall of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan- Part Two (The Mets Years & the Trade 1970-1971)

In 1970 Nolan Ryan's first start came on Saturday April 18th at Shea Stadium, in a match up against the Philadelphia Phillies.  It was one of his best regular season performances in a Met uniform. After allowing a leadoff single to infielder Denny Doyle, Ryan never gave up another hit. He did walk six batters, but threw a one hit shutout, striking out fifteen batters in a 7-0 win.  In his next start he was almost as good, but allowed one run, (just two hits) over eight innings, but took a 1-0 loss at Dodger Stadium, to Claude Osteen.  On April 30th in San Francisco, he pitched a three hitter, allowing just one run to beat the Giants & Mike McCormick in another squeaker; 2-1.  In his first three games of 1970 he was 2-1, had only allowed two earned runs (0.69 ERA) & struck out twenty eight batters in 26 innings of work. In May he took two straight losses where he was hit hard, first for four runs then for seven runs. On May 24th he pitched another gem, thi

1969 World Champion Mets Pitcher: Nolan Ryan- Part One (The Mets Years- 1966-1969)

Lynn Nolan Ryan was born on January 31st, 1947 in Refugio, Texas, a son to Robert Ryan & Martha Lee Hancock a descendant of John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The Ryan family moved to Alvin, Texas when Nolan was just six weeks old. He began to pitch in Little League & tossed his first no hitter at nine years old. From the ages of 8-18 he learned a strong work ethic, working with his dad who besides working for a local oil company was also a Houston Post distributor. Young Nolan rolled up & tossed the news papers, strengthening that gifted arm. With the arrival of major league baseball in Houston, Ryan was able to go watch games & it was there he was first mesmerized by the pitching of Sandy Koufax.  In high school the Ryan stories are legendary, one tells of a game in the first inning where he cracked the lead off mans batting helmet, hit the number two man & broke his arm & had the third hitter refuse to enter the batter's box