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Showing posts from July 24, 2005

I Was A Walk-Off Baby (another tale of self-indulgence)

I'm going to interrupt my Mets-related chatter to tell a brief story and perhaps it explains my interest in all things walk-off and buzzer beater. Basketball is a hot topic in New York City with the Knicks hiring Larry Brown as their head coach earlier this week, so we'll tell a hoops-related tale for this weekends entry.

The date was January 30, 1975 and the Knicks were on the road, taking on the Atlanta Hawks. My mom and dad were big basketball fans during the glory days of New York's basketball franchise. My dad was at Madison Square Garden when Willis Reed limped on to the court for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals and not long after that he met my mom. They got married on November 8, 1970, better known as the day that a New Orleans Saints kicker named Tom Dempsey set an NFL record by kicking a 63-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions. My dad's job on Wall Street enabled him easy access to Knicks tickets and I've been told the story on more than one occasion of…

On the Other Hand...

If we're going to talk about violent swings, as we did yesterday, former Met Tony Clark's was one that got my stamp of approval.

It probably helped that I had an experience with Clark that shaped my viewpoint. During the 2002 season, I was at Fenway Park, gathering some information for my real job, and it just so happened that Clark had a terrific game. My familiarity with Clark came from his early days in the minors, with the Tigers Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder, where he became famous for his long home runs.

The media gathered around his locker after the game, but Clark wasn't there. Maybe he had ducked out, but that seemed unlikely since he played well. The wait got to the point where most of the other Red Sox were on their way out. Finally, Clark arrived fresh from a long shower.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said deliberately to the reporters he had kept waiting, "I would like to apologize."

That was a new one for me. A player apologizing to the…

Name in the News: Baseball Burn

Bringing up the name Jeromy Burnitz in my family and you'll start an interesting debate between me and my dad as to whether Burnitz (who has been Mr. Walk-Off in two of the last three Cubs games,) was a quality Met.

I tend to take the opposing view in this debate. I can remember plunking down a quarter for a Burnitz rookie card at a baseball card show sometime in 1993 or 1994 when Burnitz was a touted power prospect. The problem came when I initially saw him play. This author generally doesn't like violence, be it in real life, on television, or in baseball games. Jeromy Burnitz has had the most violent swing in baseball for 13 years. Yes, he played as hard as anyone, and hustle is wonderful, but the results didn't impress me in either his 1993 or 1994 tenure, or his stint with the team in 2002-2003. The high strikeout total (301 with the Mets) cost the team scoring chances in numerous key situations. Burnitz batted .237 with the Mets, and .225 with runners in scoring posit…

Table of Contents

Curtain Call

In the Mets early days, they had a willingness to bring back some of New York's baseball heroes of the past. Management had a sentimental side for people like Casey Stengel, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, and Willie Mays, who were on the down side of their careers, but had something to offer to fans from the good ole' days of city baseball.

Let's focus on 1980 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Edwin Snider, better known as "Duke," "The Duke of Flatbush" and "The Silver Fox," today. For those too young to remember him, Snider starred for the Brooklyn Dodgers, particularly during their glory years. From 1953 to 1957 Snider put up unbelievable numbers, including a career high 136 RBI in 1955 when next year finally came for the Dodgers, who beat the Yankees in the World Series. In that five-year span, Snider averaged 41 home runs and 117 RBI, hit better than .300 on three occasions and played a fine defensive centerfield. Basically he was the equivalent of …

Fun with Statcounter II

It is fascinating to me how "Google" and other search engines work, and how people go about finding others on the internet. My statcounter hit tracker allows me to find the hows and the wheres regarding visits to this site and it has been an interesting experience to go through that data.

Within the last week, this site has been found via internet searches for Chuck Hiller, Ken Boswell, Ed Kranepool, Bruce Berenyi and Rodney McCray (!). I've also been visited by people searching for my longtime friend David Cooper (alas someone looking for one based in Michigan) and even Luke Linder (referenced in my Little League walk-off story...unfortunately, that person hasn't written with the answer in regards to the questions about my final Little League game). I've been visited by folks from Alabaster, Alabama, Oxford Ohio and Castaic, California, three allitterative cities I never would have known the existence of otherwise.

And once again, I've been targetted by someon…

The Torre Story

If the rest of Joe Torre's reign had gone half as well as the first eight games did, perhaps Mets history would be a little different.

After a 15-30 start to the 1977 season, and much dissension between players and ownership, Mets management axed manager Joe Frazier and named Torre, still an active player, to his first managerial gig. The 1977 Mets were not a happy bunch and couldn't carry over the late season success of the previous year, other than in Torre's first week on the job.

"We're not as as bad a team as the record indicates," Torre said at his first press conference, and for a few happy days, he was right. Torre decided to play an aggressive style of baseball and that seemed to wake the Mets out of their doldrums. They swept a series at Montreal, than took three of four from the defending NL East champion Phillies. The last two wins of that series came on June 5, in a doubleheader sweep, one that included the first of many walk-off wins in Joe Torre&…

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

"I wonder if I should try to steal home?" -- Charlie Brown, pondering the hero/goat possibilities at the pivotal moment in a baseball game.

July 24 marked the 35th anniversary of one of the most amazing and also most underappreciated walk-off wins in Mets history, a day when the Mets played 'Willieball' long before it became known by that name in 2005.

On that date in 1970, the Mets and Dodgers were knotted at one through nine innings after a pitchers duel between Mets southpaw Jerry Koosman and Dodgers hurler Bill Singer. Koosman allowed six hits and sidestepped his way around six walks to hold the Dodgers to a lone tally, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning when Bill Russell was barely thrown out at first, bidding for a two-out hit. Singer, coming off a no-hitter in his previous start, was a little sharper, allowing only five hits and walking three.

Gil Hodges was first to go to his bullpen, calling on Tug McGraw, who set the Dodgers down 1-2-3 in the 10t…