Jun 12

Today in Mets History: Mets sign Tug McGraw.

One of the most popular players in team history is signed on this day in 1964 when scout Roy Parlee gets the signature of 19-year-old lefthanded pitcher Tug McGraw on a contract.

MCGRAW: An original.

Once a starter, McGraw carved out his niche as a reliever with the Mets. McGraw filled in when Jerry Koosman was injured in May of 1969, but returned to the pen with the latter returned. With a rotation that also included Tom Seaver, Don Cardwell, Jim McAndrew and at times Nolan Ryan, there was no place for McGraw.

McGraw, the last player to play for Casey Stengel, pitched in the NLCS against Atlanta, but did not pitch in the World Series against Baltimore. However, his role now set, McGraw emerged as a premier closer in the early 1970s, and was an emotional leader who coined the “Ya Gotta Believe,’’ slogan for the 1973 pennant-winning Mets.

In December of 1974, the Mets dealt McGraw to Philadelphia in a package deal that saw pitcher Mac Scarce, outfielder Del Unser and catcher John Stearns come to New York.

McGraw continued on as a top reliever and was a central figure during the Phillies’ 1980 World Series season.

When asked what he spent his money on during the World Series, McGraw answered: “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women and Irish whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.’’

McGraw was always a popular visitor to Shea Stadium after his retirement, although he worked for the Phillies as a guest instructor during spring training, when he was hospitalized with a brain tumor in 2003. Less than a year later, he died.

The Mets wore a “Ya Gotta Believe,’’ arm patch in honor of McGraw during the 2004 season, and McGraw’s son Tim, a country music star, recorded the song, “Live Like You Were Dying,’’ later that year.

Tim McGraw spread his father’s ashes on the pitcher’s mound at Citizen’s Bank Park prior to Game 3 of the 2008 World Series.




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 06

Mets Chat Room: Dodgers in town.

Two financially strapped franchises meet tonight at Citi Field when the Dodgers and Mets play.

Jon Niese  (1-4, 4.71) starts tonight for the Mets. He’s pitched well in his last two starts, giving up two earned runs in each. He lost his last start, Saturday, against the Phillies, giving up two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

No surprise in this, but he’s gotten three or fewer runs in all but one of his six starts.

If you’d like to talk during the game, click onto the Mets Chat icon to your left.

Apr 29

Mets start over tonight in Philly behind weakened Pelfrey.

Do you remember the story of the kid who told his father he had a no-hitter going until the big kids got out of school?

PELFREY: Goes tonight at Philly.

Well, that’s the Mets, whose six-game hitting streak was snapped last night at Washington. After beating Houston, Arizona and the Nationals, the Mets are in Philadelphia for the second time this month to face the Phillies.

Time to start another streak.

Mike Pelfrey, suffering from the flu the past week, was cleared and will start tonight despite losing 11 pounds. The Mets are taking the precaution of having Dillon Gee ready should Pelfrey weaken, which tells me they are concerned.

Given that, why push the envelope on Pelfrey in the first place? It’s only April. Do they really have to run Pelfrey out there tonight?

Gee has pitched well and is on the roster for situations just like this. I’d rather push Pelfrey back and have him pitch on full strength.

Chris Capuano did not have a good start last night, but there’s been no word of taking him out of the rotation. Something to possibly look for is that with another bad outing he could be replaced by Gee.

Just thinking.


Apr 27

More bright spots for the Mets.

The Mets are riding high with five straight victories, and tonight behind R.A. Dickey can climb out of last place in the NL East. Who would have thought that two weeks ago?

With a victory tonight at Washington, coupled with a loss by Atlanta, the Mets could finally be looking down at somebody in their division. Yes, small steps.

This winning streak hasn’t convinced us the Mets have reached contending status, but what it has done has made the team worth following again. Last night was especially important in that they found a way to win.

Chris Young was gassed early as three home runs indicated, but the Mets overcame blowing the lead and adding tack-on runs. They did not play as crisply as they have but still found a way to manufacture runs and a victory. And, they did it on the road against a team they are supposed to beat.

All this victories have come across teams they should win – Houston, Arizona and Washington – but this isn’t fishing, you don’t have to throw anything back.

Sure, you’d like to see the Mets beat the Phillies, Reds and Giants, but one step at a time. The important thing is they are finally taking steps.