May 26

Today in Mets History: Funny anecdote in rout of Cubs.

Good morning folks. Anything that makes one laugh out loud is something to share. Such is the case with this note. There are a lot of funny nuggets in Mets lore, but this one is a gem.

On this date in 1964, the Mets scored a then club record 19 runs in a 19-1 rout of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

As the story goes, a fan called a New York newspaper and asked, “How did the Mets do today?’’

He was told they scored 19 runs.

After a pause, the fan asked, “Did they win?’’

Actually, in reading about those days, its plausible to think it happened.

It would have been interesting to follow them as an expansion team. If anybody has any early-year stories, please share.

May 24

Looking at Wilpon’s criticism of Beltran.

It’s not like Fred Wilpon wasn’t telling the truth.

Let’s face it, Carlos Beltran isn’t the player he thought he signed after the 2004 season. It’s true, injuries sapped his talent and forced him to move to right field in the final season of his $119 million contract, and the last two years have been a waste.

THE STRIKEOUT: Nobody forgets.

The contract and signing have looked more and more a bust as the team slid out of competitive status.

Wilpon called himself a schmuck for signing Beltran based on a strong playoff series while with Houston in 2004. Beltran had problems his first year getting acclimated to New York, but there was a toughness to him. Afterall, this is guy who played with a broken face after a gruesome collision with Mike Cameron in late 2005.

Beltran played hurt and for the next three seasons produced numbers, but no, they weren’t the numbers Wilpon had hoped for when opening his checkbook.

Beltran rebounded from his first year in New York to hit 41 homers with 116 RBI in 2006, but never reached that height again and slid to 33 homers and 112 RBI and 27 homer and 112 RBI in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Decent numbers, but more was expected for that kind of money.

And, as with most Mets, there was criticism about hitting in the clutch.

Continue reading

May 23

Wilpon rips Reyes, Beltran; say a prayer for Gary.

Good Monday morning all. Still ailing.  Spent the weekend in the hospital and will be here maybe through tomorrow.

WILPON: Rips Reyes, Beltran.

I asked Joe D. from Mets Merized Online to post during the weekend and grateful he did. I had my laptop brought to me, so I will get back to posting, including Today in Mets History later this afternoon.

Never mind the games, it wasn’t a great weekend all around for the Mets, beginning with the news of doctors discovering four small brain tumors after Gary Carter complained of headaches.

I’ve spoken with Carter on several occasions. I don’t know him, but always found him to be cooperative and pleasant. I wish him and his family well and ask you say a prayer.

Now there’s the latest Wilpon mess, which will take more than a prayer to fix.

In an article in The New Yorker, Wilpon is quoted as taking shots at Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, questioning their value and performance.

Reyes will be a free agent after the season and Wilpon has to consider the reported $100-plus million the shortstop is seeking. To listen to Wilpon, he’s certainly not going to get a monster payday.

Said Wilpon: “He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money. He’s had everything wrong with him. He won’t get it.’’

Ouch.

Crawford’s deal with the Red Sox is $142 million over seven years, which is steep. I never thought Reyes would get that, especially since Wilpon is correct when saying everything has gone wrong with Reyes.

Reyes is playing well, but has been injured and produced little the last two seasons. A player heavily reliant on this legs, what will Reyes’ game look like at the end of a long-term deal?

That’s the gamble question the Mets, or any team considering Reyes for the long haul, must consider. I’ve said the Mets would like to deal Reyes at the deadline if they can find any takers, and still feel that way. I am even more sure of it after Wilpon, who, in questioning Reyes’ value hurt himself in his asking price.

“Well Fred, if you don’t think that much of him, then you can’t expect much in return, can you?” would be be the logical thinking of any owner talking to the Mets about Reyes.

Reyes could be traded to a contender as a rental and then test the free agent market. However, I can see Reyes pushing for a deal with the Mets or a new team because the collective bargaining agreement will expire in December. He’s obviously won’t get that deal from the Mets now.

Because of the CBA, figure a slow free-agent season early in the winter, and that’s something Reyes would like to avoid.

Wilpon is dead-on about Reyes, and also Beltran, whom the Mets signed after his monstrous 2004 postseason with Houston.

Wilpon said: “We had some schmuck in New York who paid him based on that one series. He’s sixty-five to seventy percent of what he was.’’

Hard to tell if that schmuck was then GM Omar Minaya or if Wilpon was talking about himself. Kind of think it was the latter.

To be fair, the Mets received production from Beltran early, but little the last two seasons because of injuries. However, the Mets must accept some responsibility for Beltran after mishandling his knee injury in 2009.

According to the author of the magazine piece, Jeffrey Toobin, when asked if the Mets were a cursed franchise, Wilpon pantomimed Beltran’s checked swing strikeout that ended the 2006 NLCS against St. Louis.

In all fairness, there is no guarantee of what would have happened had Beltran swung, or even had he made contact. It was nasty pitch from Adam Wainwright.

Also, the Mets had several opportunities earlier in the game before Aaron Heilman coughed up the series-losing homer to Yadier Molina in the ninth inning.

Wilpon did say the Mets were snakebitten, but how can a franchise whose history includes the 1969 miracle and the Bill Buckner-Mookie Wilson play complain about bad luck?

Most of the Mets’ run of poor luck is self-induced with poor management decisions and even worse play on the field.

I can’t see how Wilpon helped himself any in the Mets’ attempts to deal Reyes and/or Beltran by ripping them.

 

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

 

May 14

Today in Mets History: The Ryan Express nails 14 Reds.

RYAN: Seven no-hitters.

The Mets knew early there was something special about Nolan Ryan, he with the electric arm that threw thunderbolts that sizzled.

On this date in 1968, Ryan established a then club record by striking out 14 Cincinnati Reds. “I threw nothing but fastballs the last two innings,’’ said Ryan, then 21.

Ryan pitched in parts of five seasons with the Mets and compiled a non-descript 29-38 record with a respectable 3.43 ERA.

Ryan’s stay in New York was interrupted with stints in the National Guard, wildness, and blisters that required soaking his fingers in cups of pickle brine.

Above all Ryan never felt comfortable in New York, and the Mets, weighing all this and in need of a third baseman, dealt him to the Angels prior to the 1972 season.

The Mets were to receive All-Star shortstop Jim Fregosi, who was at the end of his career and would be shifting to third base. The trade sounded good in theory at the time, but a 27-year Hall of Fame career said the Mets clearly lost this deal.

However, the Angels let him get away, too, to Houston and then the Texas Rangers. When it was all over, Ryan had thrown seven no-hitters.

CAREER STATS