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.


Oct 19

Why isn’t Fred talking with Alderson again?

I’ve been hearing there are no plans for Fred Wilpon and/or Saul Katz to speak with Sandy Alderson during his second interview and that has me wondering.

Why not? Isn’t there anything else they can ask of Alderson? Maybe Alderson has some questions of his own. Either way, I would’ve hoped Fred Wilpon, who said, “the buck stops with me,” would’ve wanted to get more involved in the interview process.

I don’t know what questions Fred and Katz asked the first time, if any, but I keep hearing the candidates met with Jeff Wilpon and John Ricco. I haven’t heard about Fred’s input in the interview process, but I would like to know what it is and what questions he might have asked.

Sep 17

Encouraged by Pelfrey

PELFREY: On the cusp of stardom

The qualifier, of course, is it was against the Pirates, but it was good to see Mike Pelfrey throw a good game last night. His July swoon was alarming, but he seems to have corrected his mechanical and concentration problems that slammed the brakes on a potentially great season.

It is premature to say he’s completely there as a starter, but he could win 16, 17 games this year which is a watershed mark for a pitcher. And, if he even went .500 during his slide he could be looking at a 20-win season.

Pelfrey worked quickly and efficiently last night. He mixed his pitches well and worked both sides of the plate. The movement on his pitches was excellent, just the way it was at the beginning of the season.

I said going into the season Pelfrey might be the key Met, and it should be that way again next season. This guy is on the cusp of being right there and there will be more pressure than ever in 2011 because we don’t know what, if anything, the Mets will get from Johan Santana.