Tom Seaver is the Mets’ only home-grown Hall of Famer, but unfortunately didn’t play his entire career with the team. Neither will this year’s inductee, Mike Piazza.
There have been no Met with Hall of Fame ties whose entire career was spent in flushing.
With today being Willie Mays’ 85th birthday, and yesterday’s post on Warren Spahn prompted this list of Hall of Famers with Mets’ ties:
Seaver, 1967-77, 1983
Richie Ashburn, 1962
Yogi Berra, 1965 (player), 1972-75 (manager)
Gary Carter, 1985-89
Eddie Murray, 1992-1993
Nolan Ryan, 1966, 1968-71
Duke Snider, 1963
Casey Stengel, 1962-65 as manager
Good morning. The Mets are in Atlanta today for the beginning of a three-game series with one of their biggest rivalries, although things have cooled off in recent years as the Braves plunged into mediocrity.
Harvey, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom will start for the Mets who will be going after their third straight series win.
Today on the blog I’ll have for you:
* Today In Mets History.
* A list on some of the most memorable moments in the Mets-Braves rivalry, with the promise Armando Benitez won’t be in any of them.
* A short piece on Harvey.
* Today’s lineups.
And, of course, an analysis on any breaking news.
ON DECK: Today In Mets History: Big Day For Tom Seaver
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Not known for his power, on this day in 1971 Mets catcher Jerry Grote’s homer in the bottom of the 11th was the difference in a 1-0 victory over Cincinnati at Shea Stadium.
Batting eighth, Grote homered off Wayne Granger to lead off the inning. Grote homered twice that season and 39 times during his 16-year career, which included 12 seasons with the Mets where he carved a reputation as a defensive specialist with a strong throwing arm.
GROTE: Mets’ best defensive catcher. (AP)
Grote was a National League All-Star in 1968 and 1974. In those days, the NL was strong behind the plate with the likes of Johnny Bench, Tim McCarver and Randy Hundley.
How good was Grote defensively? Bench once said: “If Grote and I were on the same team, I’d be playing third base.”
Tom Seaver started that day and pitched nine scoreless innings. He was relieved by Tub McGraw, who worked two innings for the victory.
Grote also played with Houston (1963-64), the Dodgers (1977-78, and 81), and Kansas City (1981).
Grote was inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame in 1992.
He is 73 and lives in San Antonio, Tx.
ON DECK: April 11, Mets’ Lineup Against Miami
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SEAVER: Began holdout on this date. (Topps)
This date in 1976 was a sign of things to come, and they weren’t good as ace Tom Seaver began a spring training holdout. With it, Seaver’s golden stature with the Mets began to tarnish and the frayed relationship culminated with him being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1977.
“If Seaver wants to play somewhere other than New York, I’ll oblige him,’’ said then-Mets GM Joe McDonald. “I’ll trade him if he wishes to be traded. We don’t want anyone who doesn’t want to be with us.”
Seaver’s response was he wanted to play with the Mets, “but not at the expense of making far less money than I can make someplace else.’’
Seaver eventually signed a three-year contract that paid him $200,000 annually, but that didn’t prevent the Mets from making the trade the franchise still regrets.
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.
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.