May 13

Today in Mets’ History: Gentry misses no-hitter.

And, here’s another missed no-hitter in Mets’ lore. On this date in 1970, Gary Gentry threw 7.2 hitless innings in Wrigley Field when Ernie Banks hit a fly ball to left. Dave Marshall gave chase, but dropped the ball. Banks received benefit of the hometown scoring and was given a hit and Gentry was denied his shot at baseball immortality.

GENTRY: Near no-no at Wrigley.

Gentry won 13 games for the Mets as a rookie in 1969 as the third starter behind Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman.

Gentry pitched a four-hit shutout on Sept. 24 of that year to beat the Cardinals in the game that clinched the NL East.  Gentry also beat Baltimore in Game 3 of the World Series.

On a side note, Nolan Ryan relieved Gentry for the save in what would become his only World Series appearance during his 27-year career.

Gentry pitched three more seasons with the Mets but was traded to the Braves in 1972. He sustained an elbow injury and was done in 1975 with a career 46-49 record.

After his release by the Braves, Gentry tried to return with the Mets, but that didn’t work out.  Gentry did come back and was part of the closing ceremonies for Shea Stadium.


May 12

Mets’ Lineup: May 12 at Colorado.

It’s still raining in Denver, so this lineup could be a moot point. But, here’s who the Mets are playing this afternoon behind Jonathan Niese:

Jose Reyes, SS

Willie Harris, 3B

Carlos Beltran, RF

Jason Bay, LF

Daniel Murphy, 1B

Justin Turner, 2B

Josh Thole, C

Jason Pridie, CF

Jonathan Niese, LP

COMMENTS AND NOTES: Six starters whose names begin with a “J.’’ Wonder if that’s some kind of record. That could be the best thing to be said about this lineup. … Beltran up to third in the order. If he has a hot game will Terry Collins leave him there for awhile? … Nick Evans is cold and both Zach Lutz and Lucas Duda are injured, which is why the Mets didn’t promote a first baseman. … Chris Young has opted for season-ending surgery. … Bobby Parnell will pitch tonight at Triple-A Buffalo.

 

May 12

Those pesky trade rumors and Mets’ notes.

You’ll be hearing a lot of trade rumors from now until the July 31 deadline. Some will be true, some not, but most entertaining.

RODRIGUEZ: Scouting reports not good.

This isn’t all that hard to figure out. If a player gets hurt or goes into a deep slump, figure his team might make inquiries. In fact, most teams are making calls all the time.

Every team’s front office goes over players on other teams with its scouts on a continuous basis. This is also when players are routinely put through waivers and then pulled back as to ascertain interest. This is when players clear waivers, explaining how those post-July 31 deals are made.

Believe me, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez and just about everybody on the Mets’ roster are put out there to give Sandy Alderson an idea of who is interested and the player’s worth.

Alderson doesn’t have to play phone tag with all the other GM’s to gauge interest in his players.

Speaking of Rodriguez, reportedly a scout told ESPN his velocity is down and the bite is off his breaking ball. No way the Mets let him finish 55 games so that option kicks in. And, no way a team wants to trade for that contract.

Expect Rodriguez to finish this season with the Mets, take his buyout and attempt to hook on elsewhere in the offseason.

Meanwhile, Fernando Martinez will meet up with the team in Denver this afternoon in preparation for being recalled if Ike Davis is placed on the disabled list.

Davis returned to New York yesterday to have his left calf and ankle examined following a collision with David Wright the previous night. Davis reported his calf is fine but the ankle is sore.

That being said, considering the Mets’ history with injuries, who doesn’t expect Davis to be placed on the DL?

In the interim, Daniel Murphy will play first with Justin Turner playing second.

Word is the weather is horrible in Denver and there’s no guarantee they’ll play this afternoon.  Jonathan Niese will get the start if they do.

 

May 12

Mets History Today: Sweeping the Braves behind Hobie and Gil

It was one of the few times when the Mets had their way with the Braves. On this date in 1962 in the Polo Grounds, the Mets got ninth-inning homers from Hobie Landrith and Gil Hodges for their first-ever doubleheader sweep of the Braves.

Landrith’s homer won the first game, 3-2, and Hodges’ homer won the nightcap, 8-7.

LANDRITH: A shining moment.

Landrith hit a two-run pinch homer on the first pitch, but it was almost voided with runner Rod Kanehl nearly missed touching third base.

Landrith was a journeyman reserve catcher who played for Cincinnati, the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Orioles and Senators. However, he’ll always be a trivia question answer to Mets fans for being the first pick of the team in the 1961 expansion draft.

It was after Landrith’s selection that then manager Casey Stengel said, “You gotta have a catcher or you’re going to have a lot of passed balls.’’

Landrith earned $75,000 that year. He returned his initial contract to team president George Weiss, saying it was a $3,000 paycut. Weiss sent that same contract back to Landrith three times before the catcher releneted.

Landrith was the Mets’ Opening Day catcher in 1962, but went 0-for-4, made an error and had the Cardinals steal three bases on him. He was replaced after that game by Joe Ginsberg.

Hodges, of course, was a New York legend, first as a player with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and then as manager of the 1969 Mets.

Hodges had his No. 14 retired by the Mets, and to this day it is a mystery to me why he isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

GAME ONE BOX

GAME TWO BOX

 

May 11

Willie Mays became a Met on this date.

He was supposed to be a Giant forever, but on this day in 1972, San Francisco traded Willie Mays to the Mets for future trivia question answer, pitcher Charlie Williams, and $50,000.

MAYS: Playing stickball is how some will always remember him.

The trade was full circle for Mays, who returned to the city where he began his Hall of Fame 21 years before.

Mays showed few glimpses of greatness with the Mets. They were scarce and he looked old in the 1973 World Series. Still, he was still Willie Mays and he carried an aura about him. He was an electric player, in the field, on the bases and at-bat. And, even in those last games there was always the hope he’d provide one more memory.

Mays did not have the longevity in New York as Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider or Joe DiMaggio, but will always be linked to the city, and as they talk of his catch off Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series in the Polo Grounds against Cleveland, they also speak of him playing stickball with kids in the streets.

Mays finished with 660 home runs, but missed nearly two years at the beginning of his career to serve in the military. Had he played those seasons, there’s no telling how close he would have come to Babe Ruth. The numbers were staggering regardless as he played in that wind tunnel known as Candlestick Park. (For the record, Mays hit .298 with 39 homers and 106 RBI lifetime against the Mets).

Much to my regret, I never saw Mays play in person. I saw Mantle, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Roberto Clemente from his era, but never Mays. Television never did him justice. I do know, however, had I had that opportunity, I wouldn’t have taken my eyes off him the entire game.

He was that special a player. I hope you’ll share your special memories of Mays with me.