Feb 24, 2021

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.

Feb 23, 2021

Remembering Mets History (1992): Hojo Steals 200th Base & Eddie Murray Hits 400th HR

Sunday May 3rd 1992: Jeff Torborg's New York Mets (15-10) visited Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, to play Bobby Cox's N.L. Champion Braves (12-13) in front of 41,282. 

Todays game would be highlighted by two career mile stones for two veteran Mets players.

The starting pitchers were David Cone for New York & Charlie Leibrandt for Atlanta.

Starting Lineups

The two pitchers matched zeros until the top of the 5th inning. The Mets, Bobby Bonilla singled & Eddie Murray doubled but Bonilla could not score. Howard Johnson came up & doubled bringing in both runners making it 2-0 Mets. Johnson then stole third base and would add another steal later in the 6th inning.

Career Milestone: The mile stone stolen bases put him at 200 steals for his career, making him the 16th player in MLB history to have 200 HRs & 200 stolen bases. In 1989 Johnson had joined Willie Mays & Bobby Bonds as the only two players, at that time, to have multi year 30 HR / 30 stolen base seasons.

Later that inning, Johnson would score in David Cones base hit. Willie Randolph grounded out but another run scored making it 5-0 Mets.

In the top of the 6th, Howard Johnson walked & stole second. He came around to score on Daryl Boston's infield single. The Mets went to a 6-0 lead.

In the 8th inning Eddie Murray had his own career mile stone. Murray hit a solo HR off Marvin Freeman marking the 400th HR of his Hall of Fame career. He would go on to hit 504 career HRs.

This was a highlight in what was to be a bad year for the Mets.After signing high priced free agent duds like Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman & Bret Saberhagen, the team was soon dubbed "the worst team money could buy" as they finished two games out of last place at 75-87.

Remembering Mets History (1992): Eddie Murray Becomes All Time RBI Leader Amongst Switch Hitters

Saturday, June 6th 1992: On this day Hall of Famer; Eddie Murray became the All Time RBI leader amongst switch hitters, doing it while playing in a Mets uniform. Murray spent two years with the Mets in the twilight of his career.

The Mets & Manager Jeff Torborg, came to Three Rivers Stadium to play Jim Leyland's, first place Pittsburgh Pirates. At the time, the Mets were just two games behind the Pirates in second place. By the end of the season the Mets would drop to fifth place (72-90) & get labled the"the worst team money could buy" as all the high priced veterans were aging or underachieving.

The Pirates would win the NL East but lose to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS in seven games.

On the mound today, for New York, Sid Fernandez (5-5) took on the Pirates' Denny Nagle (2-4). 

Starting Lineups

Vince Coleman led off the game for New York with a double & advanced to third base on Willie Randolph's base hit. Next, Eddie Murray hit a long fly ball to left field, it was caught by Barry Bonds but it was far enough for Coleman to score. It was Murrays 1,510th career RBI, putting him ahead of Mickey Mantle as the all time RBI leader amongst switch hitters.

Murray went on to drive in 93 runs for the 1992 Mets, hitting 37 doubles, 16 HRs, but only batted .263. He was 37 years old at the time. In 1993 he had his last good year at the plate, batting .285 with 20 HRs, 28 doubles & 100 RBIs.

As for the rest of the game that night; the Mets trounced Pittsburgh 15-1, beating up Negale, Victor Cole & Dennis Lamp with 18 hits. Todd Hundlet, Bobby Bonilla & Chico Walker all homered for the Mets.

Bonilla had four hits with four RBIs, Todd Hundley &Chico Walker (who came in a s a pinch hitter) both drove in three runs each. Howard Johnson & Dick Schofield both drove in a run each.

Eddie Murray had two RBI's on the night. The other coming on a 6th inning base hit.

On the mound for the Mets, “El Sid” -Sid Fernandez pitched the complete game victory,  allowing one run on seven hits, striking out five. The Mets Bobby Bonilla had a big night against his old team, with four hits & four RBIs. Todd Hundley &Chico Walker both had three RBIs apiece.