Sep 19

Happy Birthday To Bob Murphy

New York Mets Report and MMO wants to send a Happy Birthday shout-out to the late great Bob Murphy (1924-2004).

“Murph” would have been 89 years old today and I can’t begin to tell you how often I think about him each season. Today’s game has become so noisy and just a non-stop barrage of promos and product pitches the game itself gets lost in translation.

Bob MurphyMurphy hearkens to a time when broadcasters like him, Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner had a profound respect for the National Pastime and understood how the sounds of the game were an integral part of a baseball broadcast.

In 1994, Bob Murphy was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame alongside his former Mets broadcast partner Lindsey Nelson, both were recipient of the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award. Murphy was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1984.

His wonderful, folksy way about him, always made listeners feel right at home and there was nothing better than hearing his happy recaps after a Mets win.

Murph kept all of us company all Summer long like a good friend. We took him wherever we went whether at the beach, a backyard barbecue, or tucked underneath our pillows during those late west coast games. He was a part of our family.

He loved the Mets and in return Mets fans loved him.

Murph we miss you, Happy Birthday…

Mar 26

Saluting The 1973 Mets; The Start Of A Series

mays

MAYS: ENDURING IMAGE OF A FORGOTTEN TEAM

The Mets have made four World Series appearances, with each of those seasons and Octobers giving us cherished memories.

But, only one – the nearly forgotten 1973 team, with the still memorable rallying cry of “Ya Gotta Believe,’’ – identifies with the tumultuous ride this franchise has been on since its birth as the replacement child for the kids New York really loved – the Dodgers and Giants.

Think of it, the Mets’ colors are Giant orange and Dodger blue. The early rivals, before realignment with divisions, were against the teams that fled, namely because the wounds were still fresh.

Ah, c’mon, we don’t have to think that much. Let’s not go forty years to analyze. Go back only four when the owner of this team was criticized for honoring his beloved Dodgers at the opening of Citi Field – complete with the Jackie Robinson rotunda – more than his own team.

The Summer of 69 was special in that it was the first. It was the summer of Vietnam, the year after the race riots than burned numerous cities in America, including nearby Newark, and, the close of the decade seeing a man walk on the moon.

Countless times that summer, the improbability of the Mets’ drive to the World Series was compared to the moon landing. They were the Miracle Mets, but often overlooked in that season was dominant pitching, and dominant pitching usually wins.

That team doesn’t totally identity with the franchise because of how close it was to its birth. Seven years after first pitch in the Polo Grounds and the Mets are champions? That stuff only happens in the movies, and while it was a special, sometimes the ride is still hard to believe. Then again, there are some who still can’t believe man walked on the moon.

The 1986 champions did not identify with the franchise’s personality in that it was brash, bold and overwhelming, hardly descriptors fitting the Mets. During the season it bullied the National League. Only in the playoffs and its two Game Sixes, did it show the comeback, gritty nature associated with the franchise.

The 2000 team lost to the Yankees in the “Subway Series,’’ which was a marketing salute to a past that existed before the Mets were even a gleam William Shea’s eye. Wasn’t the whole build up of that World Series just a love-fest for what baseball was in the Fifties, the Golden Age of the sport in New York?

Remember, that was age that didn’t include the Mets and the Yankees won.

The World Series run that most identifies with this franchise’s nature was the gritty season of 1973. The Mets, as usual, were underdogs to Pittsburgh and St. Louis in the division, to Cincinnati in the NLCS, and Oakland in the World Series.

When the Mets won they’ve had good pitching. Tom Seaver was still here and joined by Jon Matlack, but they didn’t have a 20-game winner that season. They also didn’t have a .300 hitter and were at the bottom in runs scored. Save the 1986 monster and a few subsequent seasons with the Darryl Strawberry-Keith Hernandez-Gary Carter core, the Mets have rarely been a masher franchise. That’s just not them.

They were in last place as late as August 26. Then came the free-for-all pennant race in September, with the Mets getting a disputed call that enabled them outlast the Pirates, Cardinals and Cubs. The Mets won the win the division with a muddied 82-79 record, the worst in baseball history for a division winner.

For the number of teams involved, it was one of the more compelling pennant races in history, but lost in the mediocrity of the combatants. The still new divisional alignment required another step, which was the expected slaughter at the hands of the Big Red Machine, which was on its own historic run.

The Mets brawled their way through the NLCS with the enduring image being Bud Harrelson going after Pete Rose on a play at second. The Mets rallied to beat the Reds and hung tough against Oakland with their arms, those on the mound and Rusty Staub’s dangling at his side.

It was a season that showed the improbable, yet resilient nature that has been the Mets. The record typifies the franchise, which has lost more than it has won in fifty years. At 3885-4237, there has been more frustration than glory. The irony is it was managed by a man, Yogi Berra, whose career was all about winning.

From start to finish, the 1973 season most typifies the ride of this franchise than any of the other pennant winners. The 1973 team tells the story, with its collection of non-descript players joined by its best player and an iconic star on his last legs. The 1973 team overachieved, which has been a Mets’ signature, but left us unsatisfied and wanting more, feelings all Mets’ fans know so well.

The story of the Mets is captured in two images.

There’s the unabashed joy of Jesse Orosco in 1986 after striking out Marty Barrett to end the World Series as champions. There’s also the pain and anguish of Willie Mays – somebody else’s star – on his knees, pleading for a call in the 1973 Series.

Now, which picture best symbolizes fifty years of Mets’ baseball?

Thoughts from Joe D.

John, I’m very excited to be working with you again on another new Mets feature. I loved the 1973 season, and as I look at the image we have on the top of this post, I can’t but notice how symbolic it is of our plight during 51 years of Mets baseball. Next week, we’ll retell the tale of how the slogan “Ya Gotta Believe” first came about. All you newbies out there pay attention.

This season me and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerized Online will be collaborating on this new feature saluting the 1973 Mets.  Both on MMO and here on New York Mets Report, each week we will highlight a game, event or player profile commemorating that unforgettable season. Hope you enjoy.

Dec 30

MMO: Remembering Those We Lost In 2010

The following is a guest post from our friends at Mets Merized Online.

I wanted to make a special post in remembrance of those we lost this past year. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, however these are immeasurable as I’m sure you will all agree.

Sparky Anderson 1934 – 2010

Jim Bibby 1944 – 2010

Phil Cavarretta 1916 – 2010

Mike Cuellar 1937 – 2010

Willie Davis 1940 – 2010

Walt Dropo 1923 – 2010

Bob Feller 1918 – 2010

Ernie Harwell 1918 – 2010

Ralph Houk 1919 – 2010

Jose Lima 1972 – 2010

Bob Mandt 1926 – 2010

Gil McDougald 1928 – 2010

Robin Roberts 1926 – 2010

Ron Santo 1940 – 2010

Bob Sheppard 1910 – 2010

George Steinbrenner 1930 – 2010

Bobby Thomson 1923 – 2010

In 2010, baseball was hit hard with the losses of some of their greatest voices, players, coaches, managers, fan favorites, Hall of Famers, and executives. Many of them changed the way the game was played, but a lot of them just made the game memorable and magical for millions of us. They are forever a part of the fabric of our National Pastime.

The venerable Marty Noble wrote a poignant review of how impactful many of them were to this game that we love so much. Go check it out at MLB.com.

There may be some that I may have missed, but we can honor them too by including them in the comments section as an addendum to this post.

One of the new things that I wish to do with this site in 2011, is to encourage our readers and other Mets bloggers to submit Guest Blogs for NewYorkMetsReport.com. I think it will be fantastic to have some different views and opinions about the Mets posted here and that ultimately it will make for a much more diverse and  interesting experience for our community. To submit a guest blog, simply email me at jdelcos@yahoo.com.