Jun 05

Today in Mets History: Mazzilli drafted.

A local boy made good for the Mets when on this day in 1973 they used their first-round pick to select Brooklyn Lincoln High School outfielder Lee Mazzilli.

MAZZILLI: Tabbed in draft.

Area kid, skilled and with movie star good looks, Mazzilli seemed destined to be a big New York star.

Three years later he debuted with the Mets and played with them through the 1982 season after which he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell. It turned out to be a great deal for the Mets, who subsequently dealt Terrell to Detroit for Howard Johnson.

Mazzilli didn’t last a full season with the Rangers, who traded him to the Yankees. After the 1982 season, Mazzilli was traded to Pittsburgh, where he played three years. He was released, then re-signed with the Mets in July of the 1986 season.

Ironically, prior to that year, the Mets offered Ray Knight to Pittsburgh for Mazzilli, but the Pirates rejected the deal.

Mazzilli finished his career with Toronto in 1989, and managed the Baltimore Orioles in 2004, but was fired the following year.

Mazzilli’s best two years were 1979-80. In 1979, he represented the Mets in the All-Star Game at Seattle and hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and drove in the winning run in the ninth with a bases-loaded walk.

The following year, Mazzilli hit 18 homers with 76 RBI and 41 stolen bases.

MAZZILLI’S CAREER STATS

Mazzilli will also be remembered for testifying for immunity in the Pittsburgh drug trials along with teammates Dale Berra, Lee Lacy, John Milner and Rod Scurry.  Keith Hernandez also testified at the trial.

 

Jun 04

Today in Mets History: Big day for Kong.

One of David Einhorn’s childhood heroes, Dave Kingman, has a monster game on this day in 1976.

KINGMAN: All or nothing.

 

The all-or-nothing Kingman hits three homers and drives in eight runs to back Tom Seaver as the Mets rout the Dodgers, 11-0, in Los Angeles.

Once a pitcher at USC, Seaver’s alma-mater, finished with a career .236 batting average, but with 442 homers with seven teams, including two stints with the Mets.

In 16 seasons, Kingman had 1,575 hits (131 a year average) and 1,816 strikeouts (152). The tradeoff was 37 homers and 101 RBI.

BOX SCORE

KINGMAN’S CAREER STATS

 

Kingman is one of those guys who would have severely tested the Baseball Writers Association of America had he hit 500 homers, once considered automatic entry into the Hall of Fame. Kingman certainly had the power, but contributed little else as a player.

Kingman was not considered one of baseball’s greatest citizens. While with Oakland, in protest to women sportswriters, he sent a live rat to Susan Fornoff, a columnist for the Sacramento Bee.

 

 


 

Jun 03

Today in Mets History: A small, yet a big step.

Great journeys begin with small steps and the Mets took on this day in 1969 when Ed Kranepool homered twice to back Tom Seaver to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was the Mets’ sixth straight victory and it gave them a 24-23 record to pull them over .500 at the latest point in the season in club history.

BOX SCORE

I grew up in Cleveland, but had family in New York that we visited every summer. This was about the time I started paying attention to the Mets watching them on Channel 9.

I used to love watching Ralph, Murph and Lindsey Nelson.

The TV coverage of the Indians at the time was horrible, but these guys made it fun to watch the games, and when they started winning it was even better.

 

Jun 02

Today in Mets History: A win over Juan Marichal.

Juan Marichal was awesome to watch with that high leg kick and fall-off-the-table breaking ball.  He always fell short of Sandy Koufax in notoriety during that era, but was an ace nonetheless, on a par with Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale.

MARICHAL: Dominance with a kick,

For the most part, Marichal had his way with the Mets, going 26-8 with a 2.13 ERA. That dominance included nine shutouts and 26 complete games.

Marichal also struck out 241 Mets while walking just 44.

However, on this day in 1971, the Mets beat him 5-2 in San Francisco.

The Mets got three hits from Bud Harrelson and two each from Tommie Agee, Art Shamsky, Ed Kranepool and Duffy Dyer.

BOX SCORE

 

Jun 01

Today in Mets History: Sign of things to come in 1969.

SWOBODA: One of the Amazins.

There were signs prior to their showdown series against the Cubs that 1969 had the potential to be a breakout, if not special season.

The Mets always had their troubles against the Giants, and finding little ways to win was never their forte. However, on this day in 1969 the Mets completed a three-game sweep of San Francisco at Shea Stadium, winning 5-4 on Ron Swoboda’s bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning.

BOX SCORE

Swoboda signed with the Mets after playing one year at the University of Maryland, and debuted with the team in 1965. Swoboda hit 15 homers by the All-Star break, but finished the season with 19, then a Mets’ rookie record (broken by Darryl Strawberry in 1983).

For all his strength, Swoboda never became a big time home run hitter and finished his career with 73. He will always be remembered for hitting a pair of two-run homers off Steve Carlton, Sept. 15, 1969, and robbing Brooks Robinson of extra bases with a diving catch in right field in Game 4 of the World Series.

SWOBODA CAREER STATS