Apr 10

Today In Mets’ History: Agee Hits Monster Homer

The Mets aren’t noted for the home run in their history, but one of the franchise’s signature long ball moments happened on this day in 1969 when center fielder Tommie Agee went into the left field upper deck in Shea Stadium against Montreal’s Larry Jaster in a 4-2 victory.

timmie-agee-home-run-spot-400x306The Mets commemorated the drive by painting a disc on the concourse where the ball hit. It really is a long way from the plate.

Agee went 2-for-4 for two RBI hitting in the leadoff spot. He finished that season with a .271 average and 26 homers and 76 RBI, but what Mets fans most remember from Agee that year was Game 3 of the World Series against Baltimore when he homered and made two magnificent game-saving catches. VIDEO

Agee hit 82 of his 130 career homers during his five years with the Mets. Agee also played for Cleveland, the White Sox, Houston and St. Louis. The Mets traded him to the Astros for Rich Chiles and Buddy Harris after the 1972 season.

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Apr 09

Today In Mets’ HIstory: Carter Hits OD Game-Winning Homer

On this date in 1985, the Mets’ drive to, as manager Davey Johnson said, “to dominate,” began with Gary Carter‘s 10th-inning Opening Day homer gave them a 6-5 victory over St. Louis at Shea Stadium.

Carter Gary Plaque_NBL_0The Mets acquired Carter in an offseason trade with Montreal for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham and Floyd Youmans.

The Mets’ championship team of 1986 was built around draft picks Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden, but the trades for Carter and Keith Hernandez were largely regarded as the final pieces of the puzzle.

The Mets finished second to St. Louis in 1985, but the die had been cast. During spring training in 1986, Johnson said the Mets would “dominate,” that year. The Mets cruised through the regular season, outlasted Houston to win the NLCS with a dramatic win in extra-innings. That was a crucial win because Mike Scott – who was clearly in the Mets’ head – was the Astros’ Game 7 starter.

The Mets rallied to win Game 6 of the World Series in another epic game, to set up Game 7. The Mets came from behind to win that game, also. Carter hit .276 in the World Series with two homers and nine RBI.

Carter played only five years with the Mets and released after the 1989 season. He played three more years in the majors with San Francisco (1990), Los Angeles (1991) and retired after the 1992 season with a farewell tour with Montreal.

After falling short in several votes, Carter was finally inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Carter died, February 16, 2012.

ON DECK: Mets Should Skip DeGrom’s Next Start

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Jan 03

Are Mets And Jets Kindred Spirits?

Watching the Jets kick away a playoff berth today, who didn’t make the statement: Same old Jets. Sure you did. I did, too.

JETS: Maybe next year.

JETS: Maybe next year.

At one point, when they shared Shea Stadium and the arms were Joe Namath and Tom Seaver, there as a distinguishable connection. There was that magical time when the Jets beat the Colts in Super Bowl III (47 years ago); the Mets beat the Orioles in the 1969 World Series; and for good measure, the Knicks won the NBA Championship. Since then the Jets haven’t returned to the Super Bowl and the Knicks have won one title and the Mets have won two titles.

OK, so not winning the Big One is a common denominator. So is a lack of leadership from up top, evidenced by poor spending or not spending at all.

However, watching the Jets today produced another common trait, that being to spit the bit.

In 2006 and 2007, the season came down to the final weekend, where by winning they were in. Both times they were outed by the Marlins. In 2006, we were treated by Tom Glavine‘s implosion, much like Ryan Fitzpatrick did today with three interceptions.

At least Fitzpatrick had a fourth quarter. Glavine didn’t make it out of the first, and things were complicated with semantics when the lefty said he wasn’t devastated. Mets fans never forgave him.

 

 

 

 

Sep 10

What Is Mets’ 2015 Black Cat Moment?

It wasn’t hard to figure out the omen that turned out to be the Mets “Black Cat Game” in 1969 when a black cat came out of nowhere in Shea Stadium to walk in front the dugout of the fading Chicago Cubs. There was nothing subtle about it. Nothing.

FLORES: They are now tears of joy. (AP)

FLORES: They are now tears of joy. (AP)

However, what is this year’s “Black Cat” moment? I’ve got a few contenders in mine, beginning with the night of July 29 when the Mets’ trade for outfielder Carlos Gomez for Wilmer Flores fell through and the Mets’ shortstop cried on the way to his position.

“It was a tough night,” outfielder Michael Cuddyer recalled. “Bizarre is a good way to put it.”

Bizarre? Flores received an ovation prior to a late-inning at-bat that he couldn’t comprehend until he got back to the dugout.

“I heard I had gotten traded,” Flores said. “And, I got very emotional.”

BLACK CAT: The moment defined 1969.

BLACK CAT: The moment defined 1969.

The Mets looked clumsy that night, but turned it around and acquired Yoenis Cespedes two days later. Trades are mostly build on hope, and that’s what the Cespedes deal was all about. Manager Terry Collins sensed that right away: “This guy was a legitimate run producer. He is an impact player.”

That night, Flores homered in extra innings to give the Mets a victory over the Nationals, and they would go on for three-game sweep of the series and wipe away years of pent up frustration in the process.

The Mets were on their way.

Cespedes lit a fire under their dormant offense, with the signature moment the night of Aug. 24, when David Wright homered in his first swing after four-and-a-half months on the disabled list. It was definitely was a “things will be all right” moment. They hit eight that night.

Three days later, the Mets had one of those “I don’t believe it” moments when the Phillies’ Jeff Francoeur ripped a ball off reliever Carlos Torres‘ foot that bounced to first baseman Daniel Murphy who made a backhanded, no-look flip to the pitcher.

Also tipping the “WOW” meter was Bartolo Colon‘s behind-the-back flip to first last weekend in Miami. Then, there was that crazy inning Tuesday night in Washington.

Does anybody else have a moment that could end up defining this season?

Jul 14

DeGrom Provides Mets All-Star Memory

Jacob deGrom didn’t pitch long, but long enough to show why teams would salivate for the chance to get him if the Mets were to put him on the market.

DEGROM: Gives us a memory. (AP)

DEGROM: Gives us a memory. (AP)

The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year struck out the side in the fifth inning, and needed only ten pitches to do it.

Overpowering is too tame a word. He was nasty. He was filthy. He was special. He was so good that Madison Bumgarner, who is pretty special himself, waited on him when he returned to the dugout with a drink of water.

“He’s a nice guy,’’ the typically understated deGrom said of Bumgarner during a between-innings interview.

DeGrom also said, “I remember being nervous running out there, but not much else.’’

Even so, he gave Mets’ fans a memory that will rank among the franchise’s best in All-Star history as he joined Dwight Gooden as the only Amazin’ to strike out the side (in 1984).

The others on that list are:

2013: Matt Harvey throwing two scoreless innings at Citi Field.

2012: R.A. Dickey tossing a scoreless inning.

2010: David Wright getting two hits and a stolen base.

2006: David Wright homering.

1979: Lee Mazzilli hitting a pinch-hit homer in the eighth to tie the game and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the ninth to drive in the game winner.

1968: Jerry Koosman striking out Carl Yastrzemski to end game.

1967: Tom Seaver earning the save in a 15-inning game.

1964: Ron Hunt became the first Met selected and collected a single in his first at-bat in the game played at Shea Stadium.