Jun 10

Today in Mets History: Keith hammers Cubs.

Keith Hernandez wasn’t much of a home run hitter, but on this date in 1987, he went deep twice as the Mets pummeled the Chicago Cubs, 13-2, at Wrigley Field.

HERNANDEZ: So smooooth.

The game also featured four hits each from Gary Carter and Kevin McReynolds. Hernandez, Tim Teufel and Rafael Santana drove in three runs apiece, and Dwight Gooden pitched eight innings to earn the victory.

I always liked watching Hernandez play. Whenever I watched the Met from that era, Hernandez was always the guys I’d want at the plate when a clutch hit was needed. Darryl Strawberry was always feared for his power, but Hernandez was the one with the game on the line.

One question I’ll ask Hernandez when I see him next is whether he could have been a home run hitter if he tried to hit for more power. Wade Boggs always said he would hit more homers if that was his mindset, and I believe the same the same would have applied with Hernandez.

Defensively, he was superb, and along with Don Mattingly, New York was blessed to have two premier first basemen during the 1980s.

Hernandez was so smooth at the 3-6-3 double play, and, of course, making the throw to third off a bunt. Nobody made that play better than Hernandez.

BOX SCORE

 

May 27

Today in Mets History: Zeile has big day.

I’d be lying if I said reporters didn’t have their favorite athletes. One of mine was Todd Zeile, whom I covered when he was with the Yankees. When Zeile retired following the 2004 season, he did so with the distinction of hitting at least one homer for each of the 11 teams he played for during his career. He also homered in his final at-bat, Oct. 3, as a Met. However, on this day in 2000, Zeile homered twice, including a grand slam, as the Mets beat St. Louis, 12-8.

CAREER NUMBERS

 

NOTE: Going away for the weekend for friend’s wedding. Will take laptop with me, but don’t know about Internet. Will try to blog if I can. Have a great Memorial Day weekend.


May 27

Today in Mets History: Big day for Zeile.

I’d be lying if I said reporters didn’t have their favorite athletes. One of mine was Todd Zeile, whom I covered when he was with the Yankees.

When Zeile retired following the 2004 season, he did so with the distinction of hitting at least one homer for each of the 11 teams he played for during his career.

He also homered in his final at-bat, Oct. 3, as a Met.

However, on this day in 2000, Zeile homered twice, including a grand slam, as the Mets beat St. Louis, 12-8.

CAREER NUMBERS

 

 

May 15

Today in Mets History: Another Tom Terrific Day.

SEAVER: One-hit Phillies on this date.

Tom Seaver had many moments as a Met, including on this date in 1970 when he threw a one-hit shutout with 15 strikeouts to beat Philadelphia, 4-0. It was one of five one-hitters during his Hall of Fame career.

It was one of Seaver’s 61 career shutouts, five of which were against the Phillies. Lifetime, Seaver was 27-14 with a 3.00 ERA against Philadelphia, averaging eight strikeouts per nine innings.

Seaver was 18-12 with a 2.82 ERA in 1970. Seaver worked 290.2 innings that season with 283 strikeouts and only 83 walks. He did all this for the bargain basement price of $80,000.

The most Seaver made in any season was $1,136,262 with the 1986 Chicago White Sox.

 

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.