May 18

Today in Mets History: Hundley has tainted career day.

Not even chemistry would make Todd Hundley the player he was supposed to be. On this date in 1996, Hundley homered from both sides of the plate and drove in a career-high seven runs in a 14-5 victory at San Francisco.

HUNDLEY: Enjoyed career day on this date.

Hundley would hit 41 homers that season, but never again had a year that approached those numbers. According to the Mitchell Report, Hundley started using steroids that season after never hitting more than 16 prior to that year.

Hundley, the son of former major league catcher Randy Hundley, hit 124 homers in nine seasons with the Mets, and after stints with the Dodgers and Cubs, finished with 202 career homers when he retired after the 2003 season.

CAREER NUMBERS

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine and Hundley feuded after the manager suggested his catcher needed more sleep, in reference to his late-night party image.

After Mike Piazza was acquired in May of 1998, it was apparent Hundley was done with the Mets and was traded to the Dodgers after that season.

Four years after his retirement, Hundley was named in the Mitchell Report along with another Mets catcher, Paul Lo Duca, for using performance enhancing drugs.

BASEBALL STEROID ERA

 

May 17

Wright, Mets messed up injury.

Yes, David Wright’s desire to stay in the lineup and play is an admirable quality, but it isn’t a testament to common sense. And, it didn’t do any good as Wright will be placed on the disabled list tomorrow.

WRIGHT: Should have taken MRI weeks ago.

Wright sustained a stress fracture in his lower back in an April 19 game against Houston, and nearly a month later the severity of the injury was revealed. In discussing the injury yesterday, Wright admitted the Mets wanted him to have a MRI on his back, but put it off.

Although still in discomfort, Wright said he eschewed the MRI because he was feeling better. Not completely better, but enough to where he could still play.

That wasn’t sound thinking on Wright’s part, and not a good play by the Mets, either.

Wright must know his value to the Mets, and there’s nothing to be gained by putting off the exam. Although the injury isn’t deemed serious, we didn’t know that at the time and it is possible Wright exposed himself to further injury. From the Mets’ perspective, why didn’t they just order the MRI and insist Wright be examined?

Why didn’t Terry Collins just refuse to pen him into the lineup until the MRI?

Both parties should have been smarter in the handling of this situation. The Mets have long been criticized in their handling of injuries, and shouldn’t have let Wright call the shots here. And, Wright, as much as he wanted to play, needed to take care better care of himself.

 

May 17

Today in Mets History: Milner unloads vs. Expos.


MILNER: Had big day vs. Expos.

Nicknamed “The Hammer,’’ because he could rake, John Milner is another whose career never lived up to its expectations because of injuries. In his case a succession of hamstring issues.

A left fielder and first baseman, Milner broke in with the Mets in 1971 and played through the 1977 season. He was traded to Pittsburgh (1978-81), played with Montreal (1981-82) and spent the latter part of the 1982 season back with Pittsburgh.

On this date in 1972, when he hamstrings were still fresh and had a lot of spring, Milner drove in five runs in a 12-2 rout of the Expos at Shea Stadium.

Milner finished with a career .249 average with 131 homers and 498 RBI.

Milner died Jan. 4, 2000, at age 50, from lung cancer.

CAREER RECORD

BOX SCORE

 

UP NEXT: Tonight’s line-up against Florida.

May 16

Not a great match-up for Mets tonight.

It is a match-up not in the best interest of the Mets. Josh Johnson against Mike Pelfrey pits Florida’s ace against the Mets’ No. 1, but the numbers clearly favor the Marlins.

PELFREY: Fish not his dish.

Johnson (3-1, 1.63 ERA) is 8-1 with a 2.73 ERA lifetime over 13 starts against the Mets. Pelfrey, meanwhile, won the first start of his career against the Marlins, but has lost his last seven decisions.

After a slow start, Pelfrey is coming off back-to-back victories over San Francisco and Colorado.

The Mets aren’t helped any with Ike Davis on the disabled list and David Wright out with a stress fracture in his lower back.

Wright’s injury tempers the momentum of winning three straight series.

 

May 16

Today in Mets History: Straw hits the first of many.

When he first broke into the big leagues, they used to say of Darryl Strawberry he had the swing of Ted Williams. However, he never had the plate discipline of Williams, and as great as his numbers were, there was always the belief he could do more.

Strawberry’s career high in homers was 39, accomplished twice. Perhaps the most memorable homer in his career was the 440-foot drive off the scoreboard clock in St. Louis in 1985.

STRAWBERRY: What a sweet swing.

 

That proved to be overstated, but Strawberry was one of those rare players who grabbed and held your attention whenever he came to the plate. How far would this one go? Would he be punched out?

On this date in 1983, Strawberry hit the first of 335 homers in a career marred by drug use and suspension. Strawberry averaged 34 homers and 102 per 162-game stretch.

In a career oddity, Strawberry played for all the teams with New York roots: the Mets, Dodgers, Giants and Yankees.

Strawberry played out the last years of his career with drug problems and will be remembered as a wasted talent. Had he stayed clean, there’s no telling what his numbers might have been.

CAREER NUMBERS

BOX SCORE