Jul 07

Today in Mets’ History: Hunt an All-Star.

HUNT: His card has to be worth more than two bucks.

The Mets will soon host the All-Star Game at Citi Field. However, on this date in 1964, Shea Stadium was home to its only All-Star Game, won 7-4 by the National League.

Second baseman Ron Hunt was the first Met to start an All-Star Game and went 1-for-3 with a single off the Angels’ Dean Chance.

Hunt played with the Mets from 1963-66, then went on to play with the Dodgers (1967), Giants (1968-70), Expos (1971-74) and Cardinals (also in 1974).

Hunt’s baseball legacy was summed up by this quote from him: “Some people give their bodies to science; I give mine to baseball.’’

He had a knack for being hit by pitches, and was plunked 243 times in his career (he had 1,429 career base hits). Incredibly, he was hit 50 times in 1971 while with the Giants. He led the league in that category for seven straight seasons.

HUNT’s CAREER

 

Jun 28

Today in Mets’ History: Casey says good-bye.

Did you know Casey Stengel was the first player to hit a World Series home run at Yankee Stadium?

And, on this date in 1975, he made his final appearance at Shea Stadium at an Old Timers Game. He died several months later.

STENGEL: An original.

 

 

Charles Dillon Stengel, nicknamed Casey, which came from the initials of his hometown of Kansas City, Mo., was not only the first manager of the Mets, but a baseball original, an icon.

Stengel was an average, but not spectacular player for the Brooklyn Dodgers – starting his career in 1912, the year the Titanic sunk – Pirates, Phillies, Giants and Boston Braves.

Of his career as a player, Stengel said: “I had many years that I was not so successful as a ballplayer, as it is a game of skill.’’

Stengel carved his niche as a Hall of Famer managing the Dodgers, Boston Braves, Yankees, and, of course, the Mets, where he became a folk hero.

Stengel won ten pennants and seven World Series titles for the Yankees, including a record five straight from 1949-53. He was fired after the 1960 World Series, in which the Yankees lost to Pittsburgh in seven games. Stengel insisted it was age related after turning 70, and said, “I’ll never make that mistake again.’’

Stengel was talked of retirement to manage the expansion Mets in 1962, and when he was hired, said: “It’s a great honor to be joining the Knickerbockers.’’

The Mets finished last in his four years with them.

Continue reading

Jun 21

Today in Mets’ History: Jim Bunning was perfect.

This date wasn’t one of the Mets’ most shining moments in their history, but it was memorable nonetheless when Philadelphia’s Jim Bunning tossed a perfect game at Shea Stadium on Father’s Day, 1964, winning 6-0.

BUNNING: Perfecto vs. Mets in 1964

Tracy Stallard, the pitcher who served up Roger Maris’ 61st homer three years earlier, was the losing pitcher for the Mets.

Pinch-hitter John Stephenson struck out to end the game. It was Bunning’s 10th strikeout.

BOX SCORE

Lost on that day was in the second game of the doubleheader, Rick Wise beat the Mets on a three-hitter, 8-2.

Bunning, a Hall of Famer and nine-time All-Star, also pitched for Detroit, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles.

Bunning also threw a no-hitter for Detroit, July 20, 1958, over Boston. When he retired after the 1971 season following a second stint with the Phillies, he had 2,855 strikeouts, second on the career list at the time behind Walter Johnson.

Bunning is also the answer to a trivia question, as he was the only pitcher to strike out Ted Williams three times in a single game.

After has retirement, Bunning served as a state senator for Kentucky.

If anybody has any memories of that day, please share them.

 


 

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 13

Today in Mets’ History: Gentry misses no-hitter.

And, here’s another missed no-hitter in Mets’ lore. On this date in 1970, Gary Gentry threw 7.2 hitless innings in Wrigley Field when Ernie Banks hit a fly ball to left. Dave Marshall gave chase, but dropped the ball. Banks received benefit of the hometown scoring and was given a hit and Gentry was denied his shot at baseball immortality.

GENTRY: Near no-no at Wrigley.

Gentry won 13 games for the Mets as a rookie in 1969 as the third starter behind Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman.

Gentry pitched a four-hit shutout on Sept. 24 of that year to beat the Cardinals in the game that clinched the NL East.  Gentry also beat Baltimore in Game 3 of the World Series.

On a side note, Nolan Ryan relieved Gentry for the save in what would become his only World Series appearance during his 27-year career.

Gentry pitched three more seasons with the Mets but was traded to the Braves in 1972. He sustained an elbow injury and was done in 1975 with a career 46-49 record.

After his release by the Braves, Gentry tried to return with the Mets, but that didn’t work out.  Gentry did come back and was part of the closing ceremonies for Shea Stadium.