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.

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Jun 24

Analyzing a Reyes move.

General manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees would not make a run at Jose Reyes at the trade deadline.

“That’s just not going to happen … we have an everyday shortstop in Derek Jeter,’’ Cashman said.

REYES: What will happen?

Barring a significant injury to Jeter or Alex Rodriguez – which would require Jeter to move to third – there’s no need by the Yankees for Reyes. Because they placated to Jeter last winter, the Yankees probably cost themselves a dynamic replacement in Reyes, who could easily be a 20-plus homer player in Yankee Stadium.

That doesn’t mean Reyes won’t draw interest at the deadline or in the free-agent market this winter. Reyes all but guaranteed he would test the market when he said he wouldn’t negotiate during the season. It doesn’t mean he’s gone for good, but the Mets aren’t expected to approach the reported seven-year, $145-million he could command.

Just because the Yankees might not be players, it doesn’t mean Reyes would automatically slide back to the Mets. Boston has the need for a shortstop, plus the resources to pry Reyes away. The Washington Nationals also have a willingness to spend.

There are several wild-cards to consider that could impact where Reyes goes, such as the presence on the market of potential big-ticker players Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Mark Buehrle, Adam Wainwright and possibly CC Sabathia (he has an opt out clause).

There’s also the matter of how much the Mets’ financial situation might change by then, and the outcome of a new collective bargaining agreement (the current one expires in December).

Jun 21

Examining potential Beltran trade.

BELTRAN: Trade deadline approaching.

The question doesn’t appear to be “if,’’ but “when,’’ the Mets will deal outfielder Carlos Beltran.

The physical questions that followed him into the season have seemingly been answered in the positive, which means the Mets don’t have to think solely about dealing with the American League, although there are several interesting possibilities, including Boston, Chicago and Detroit.

The Red Sox could have inside leverage because executive Allard Baird – who interviewed for the Mets’ GM job – was the general manager at Kansas City when Beltran played there. That could help in Beltran waiving his no-trade clause.

In the National League, San Francisco needs offense, as does St. Louis with Albert Pujols injured and out from four to six weeks. Lance Berkman could move to first base to replace Pujols and make room for Beltran in right field.

To move Beltran, the Mets figure to eat a portion of his $18.5 million contract. How much they digest could make it substantially easier to move him. Unless they decide to make a serious run at a wild card – which would have to mean adding players instead of subtracting them – it does the Mets no good to keep Beltran because they would not receive compensatory draft picks as he is not arbitration eligible.

As badly as the Mets want to save salary and add prospects, don’t look for a crosstown move to the Yankees for two reasons, 1) the Yankees’ priority is pitching, and 2) there should be no inclination on the Mets’ part to aid the Yankees.

Should GM Sandy Alderson trade him to the Yankees, it would clearly indicate he doesn’t have a grasp on the lay of the land in New York. The Mets are struggling, both on the field and financially, and the last thing they need is to trade a key player that could put the Yankees over the top.

A trading of Beltran would raise a white flag of sorts, but don’t trade him to a prime antagonist.


 

Jun 20

Today in Mets’ History: First Mayor’s Trophy Game.

On this date in 1963, there was no such thing as interleague play thankfully. There was, however, the Mayor’s Trophy Game, which was a one-game exhibition.

In the early years we knew the Yankees would crush the Mets, and many times that’s been true.

However, in the very first Mayor’s Trophy Game, played in Yankee Stadium before 52,430, Tim Harkness’ two-run single keyed a five-run third inning to highlight a 6-2 victory over the Yankees.

Jay Hook and Carl Willey combined for the win.

The Yankees held a 10-8-1 record over the Mets in the Mayor’s Trophy game.

Has anybody every attended one of the Mayor’s Trophy Games? Have any memories? Please share them.

 

Jun 17

Today in Mets History: Marvelous Marv.

Maybe it isn’t so odd this occurred the day after the Mets lost on a balk in the tenth inning, a disappointing end to what was a good road trip that dropped them below .500 once again.

MARVELOUS MARV

 

On this date in 1962 – the year when the Mets seemed to have invented the word `amazing,’ – it was all about Marvelous Marv Throneberry, who personified those early teams.

Throneberry appeared to hit a two-run triple against the Cubs in the Polo Grounds, but was called out for failing to touch second base. When manager Casey Stengel raced out of the dugout to argue the call, first base coach Cookie Lavagetto stopped him and said, “Don’t argue, Case. He missed first base, too.’’

How can that not make you chuckle?

There were a lot of great stories about the 1962 Mets, several of them involving Throneberry.

Throneberry played for the Yankees, Kansas City Athletics and Orioles before playing the first two seasons in Mets’ history.

He was demoted to the minor leagues in 1963 and replaced by Ed Kranepool. He retired after that season as a .237 hitter with 53 homers and 170 RBI.

THRONEBERRY CAREER NUMBERS

There was a gentleness about Throneberry, who maintained a sense of humor. Many years after retiring, Throneberry appeared in the Miller Lite ads that featured sporting legends.

THRONEBERRY COMMERCIAL

WARNING: If you click on to this you might spend an hour watching the other links to commercials.

Throneberry passed away at age 60 in 1994.