Will The 2013 Mets Outfield Out Do Some Past Mets Outfield Clunkers ?

As we wait and see if Michael Bourn will or won’t be the 2013 and beyond Mets centerfielder, a lot of the off season chatter amongst Mets fans has been the potential for the 2013 Mets outfield to be the worst in teams history. Well, for that to happen they would have to be piss poor of epic proportion.

I went on baseball reference to look at the various Mets outfields over the years. I decide to look at the four worst run scoring teams in Mets history to see what kind of production the outfielder supplied since two of the three spot in the outfield are where teams get their power numbers and in centerfield where you hope to find your offensive catalyst. I was a bit surprised by some of my findings.

The 1968 Mets scored the least amount of runs in franchise history. The 1968 team also had the lowest team ERA in franchise history. WHAT???  The offense scored a meager 473 runs for the season which averaged out to 2.9 per game. The pitching staff pitched to a stellar 2.72 team ERA in what was known as the Year of the Pitcher. The Bob Gibson led St. Louis Cardinals lead all of MLB with an astonishing 2.49 ERA.  The Mets outfield that season consisted of three of the most important players on next seasons World Champion New York Mets.

Cleon Jones played left field and had a line of .297/.341/.452 14 HR 55 RBI. Not a bad slash line and 14 HR is okay but 55 RBI is quite low but the teams collective OBP was a lifeless.281 so as well as Jones hit, most times he came up with the bags empty. Tommy Agee was downright awful. His line was .217/.255/.307 in 368 AB. The other CF’er on that team was Don Bosch who came over from the Pirates along with Don Cardwell for Dennis Ribrant who I was a big fan of for the sole reason that I  had a tumbler from the Sunocco gas station in our neighborhood that had his likeness on it (I also had a Rob Gardner and a Ron Swoboda tumbler as well) Bosh put up a line .171/.231/.261. , which for some reason the newly formed Montreal Expos were impressed by  so they purchased Bosh’ contract at the end of the 1968 season.  Ron Swoboda put 11 baseballs over the fence and drove in 59 runs to be the team leader. Let that sink in a bit Mets fans, 59 RBI led THE TEAM FOR THE SEASON!

The Mets of 1965 scored 495 runs and had the second worst win/loss record in team history at 50-112 second only of course to the 1962 team.  The outfield that year consisted of Ron Swoboda in his rookie season in RF, Jim Hickman in CF, Johnny Lewis in RF and Joe Christopher as the very active 4th outfielder spelling Swoboda and Lewis.  Swoboda had a career best 19 HR’s but put up an ugly slash line of .228/..291/.424.  Safe to say  Swoboda was no threat to Jim Lefevre and his run to Rookie of the Year. Jim Hickman hit 15 HR and drove in a paltry 40 runs he also put up an awful slash line of .236/.291/.407 If you look at Hickman’s page on baseball-reference his 1970 season leaps off the screen. If a player had a spike like that today, what do you think the scuttlebutt would be? Johnny Lewis also hit double digits in HR’s with 15 but he also had a tough time getting a Rib Eyed Steak with 45 runs batted in. The low number of RBI is attributed to an all-time Mets team record for worst OBP of .277 WOW!

The 1967 team just missed the 500 run scored mark falling short at 498 but this team had one the best players to come out of Brooklyn in Tommy Davis playing the outfield. The Dodgers sent Davis to the Mets for Ron Hunt and Jim Hickman. Davis was a star on those great Dodgers teams on the early 60’s but a broken ankle in 1965 seemed to affect Davis’ power although the power in his bat returned when he joined the Mets as he hit 16 HR in ’67.  Davis also drove in 73 runs to go with a .302 BA . Davis lasted just one season with the Mets as he was dealt to the White Sox for future major contributors to the ’69 World Championship Tommy Agee and Al Weiss.   The shame about Davis’ career was he looked like a sure superstar headed toward a trip to Cooperstown before the ankle injury but he became the definition of a journeyman playing for ten teams in his eighteen year career.  Cleon Jones struggled that year and part of the reason Davis was obtained was to work with Jones which would pay off a couple of season later but in ’67 Cleon’s line of .246/.282/.331 wasn’t good.  Ron Swoboda, who played on the top three worst run producing offenses in Mets history, had one of best years by hitting 13 HR and driving 53 runs which kept the Mets front office hoping that Swoboda would start to blossom into an consistent offensive player.

As bad as the 1963 Mets were when it came to scoring runs, just 501 on the season, the outfield made  up of Frank Thomas, Jim Hickman and back to New York for one season, 36 year old Duke Snider was not awful. Snider at the end of career, hit 14 HR but again something of a pattern with these bad offensive Mets teams, drove in just 45 runs due to a bad team OBP of .285. Slugger Frank Thomas hit 15 homers and drove in 60 runs which when you look at this overall team dismal effort is outstanding. Jim Hickman hit with power, 17 HR and drove in 51 runs but his OBP of .291 was head shaking bad.

So how bad can the Mets 2013 outfield be? Is Lucas Duda a modern day Jim Hickman? Can the right field platoon of Mike Baxter/Andrew Brown/Collin Cowgil produce better than a Ron Swoboda or an aging Duke Snider? Can a Kirk Nieuwenhuis/Marlon Byrd be as productive as Tommy Davis?

I guess its questions like these that have Sandy Alderson weighing the pros and cons of signing Michael Bourn compared to keeping the 11th pick in the entry draft and more importantly the slot money they’d lose as well. This not exactly an inspiring bunch of fly ball catchers. Every day we get closer to full squad workouts at St. Lonesome the tougher the decision is for the Mets GM.

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Hanging Out with Cleon Jones at Citi Field on 6-15-12 (Audio)

Since the Mets have invited me to the great Mets Bloggers events the past couple of season there have been any number of cool things and interesting players I’ve been privileged to be a part of and have met, but when we had the opportunity to not only talk with Cleon Jones but to share a pizza with him, it was an absolute blast. Check out the audio

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Another Great Mets Bloggers Night at Citi Field

Yes that’s Cleon Jones sharing some pizza and great stories from back in the day with Mets Bloggers. Thanks to Shannon Forde and Danielle Parillo for the picture and the great hospitality they shows us last night at Citi Field, The pizza by the way is called the Cleon (patra) Jones from Two Boots it was delicious 

I had a great day/night out a Citi Field last night which the Mets held another of the Mets blogger nights and it was a busy one for sure. I have some audio I’ll be downloading in a few days and I’ll have more to post as well as I’m pressed for time this weekend between baseball games today and tomorrow and Monday and some family stuff to do tonight and of course tomorrow and add in I’ll be at the 92nd Street Y for the announcing of the All Time Mets team to coincide with the 50th Anniversary season.

I’ll just add a few things that I’ll have more to talk about as the week goes on.

I had the pleasure to chat with Sandy Alderson during batting practice and to observe the teams two top draft picks, SS Gavin Cecchini and C Kevin Plawecki . Alderson is very happy that both players were available to the Mets at their turn especially Cecchini who the GM was their #1 target as the not only love his on field ability but he has as the GM put it “off the charts makeup”

I spoke to Plawecki’ parents at the press conference and told them I was excited that their son would play for the Brooklyn Cyclones. I also told his mom and dad, who are staying in town to watch his debut on Monday in Brooklyn, to have Kevin take then to Gargulio’s for dinner and spend some of that bonus money.

If you would have told me back in 1969 when I was an 11 year old watching Cleon Jones catch Davey Johnson’s fly ball for the final out of the World Series that sealed the Mets as World Champions that 43 years later I’d be hangin’ with Cleon and eating pizza at Mets game with him I’d have thought you were on strong narcotics. Well, there we were me, Cleon Jones and Two Boots pizza. WOW!!! Or as Greg Prince said to me “that’s Cleon Freakin’ Jones “

If you were at the game last night and you booed Jason Bay as he came off the field with what we now know is a concussion, you need to stop calling yourself a Mets and you need to take stock of what a low class asshole you are. Bay has been a major disappointment since he signed with the Mets and I understand the frustration fans have as he is the last remnant of the old regime that ran the baseball ops but to boo a guy who gave his body to make a play and a guy who gives 100 % and goes head first into the wall with his history of concussions, is totally classless and you should be ashamed of booing him but then you knuckle draggers have no shame.

I didn’t stay for the Reo Speedwagon concert and if it were 30 years ago I still wouldn’t have stayed for the concert .

 

I am still with 28 (#ImWith28) but I have to say, Daniel Murphy needs a couple of days off. Terry Collins would like to have him stay out of the batting cage as well but that goes against Murph’s work ethic. Collins made mention on how Murph is non-stop at working on his stance and hitting in the cage and viewing video and as much as TC and Dave Hudgens tell him to take it easy a bit that just makes him work even harder. With Justin Turner back from the DL you could see Turner and Jordany Vladespin  give Murph a needed break from 2nd base for a couple of games.

 

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MY TOP 50 NY METS OF ALL TIME

As I posted here the other day, Ed Marcus a/k/a lagranderusty is looking for readers to post a list of top 50 Mets of all time. What follows is my 50 All Time Mets, some are no-brainers and some are “are you kidding” the names are in no particualr order:

Ed Kranepool

Tom Seaver

Jerry Grote

Jerry Koosman

Tug McGraw

Ron Hunt

Al Jackson

Bud Harrleson

Rusty Staub

Tommie Agee

Cleon Jones

Felix Milan

Jon Matlack

Dwight Gooden

Ron Darling

Sid Fernandez

Keith Hernandez

Gary Carter

Darryl Strawberry

Nolan Ryan

John Olerud

Edgado Alfonzo

Rey Ordonez

Robin Ventura

David Wright

Jose Reyes

Mike Piazza

Randy Myers

Jesse Orosco

Roger McDowell

Al Leiter

John Stearns

Todd Hundley

Craig Swan

Ron Swoboda

Frank Viola

George Theodore

John Milner

Ken Boswell

Wayne Garrett

Turk Wendell

Carlos Beltran

Lenny Dykstra

Wally Backman

Bob Ojeda

Mookie Wilson

Kevin Mc Renyolds

Cliff Floyd

Bernard Gilkey

Richie Ashburn

 

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OH WHAT A NIGHT…………….

Boy, did we ever need that? In what has become one of the worst season’s on and off the field in the history of the NY Mets, last night had to prove to the Skill Sets that, yes we have a history and an outstanding one at that.

I was 11 years old (same as Gary Cohen) when the Mets became World Champions. You see all the negativism and anger from this current Mets fans base? Well now picture the complete opposite of that and you have the feel for what it was like around here in 1969.

Think of this for the first time in the history of newspapers the NY Daily News ran a COLOR front page just for the Mets. The news also sold buttons with GO METS on them and every Sunday had portraits of Mets players as inserts in the paper. Channel 9 the TV home of the Mets showed just about every game and all the games were on radio (WJRZ 970 AM) and Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner were the guys we brought into our homes for every game.

The Mets were not just the talk of NY but of the whole country they were truly America’s team. This was an organization that was looked at as loveable losers until the Quiet Man took over and put an end to that kind of thinking. It was Gil Hodges who set the tone for the club. As Mets fans we all know of the love and devotion that Tom Seaver had for Hodges, not an appearance goes by when The Franchise doesn’t invoke the name of Hodges his stories. But the most told story about Hodges and his team always is about him taking out Cleon Jones during a game against the Astros on July 30 1969 for lack of hustle.

During his time on the SNY broadcast, Jones told that the only Hodges and he knew what really happened that day. Jones went on to say how Hodges didn’t yell or scream or get in his face he just told Jones that we can’t play like this if were going to win  and Jones realized right there that is wasn’t business as usual for the Mets. Hodges meant what he said in spring training that the loser mentality stops here and now and Jones knew after getting lifted from that game that the team was destined to win.

Some observation from last night’s ceremony:

I love how Eddie Yost came out and was still giving signs, and leave it to Howie Rose to remember that Lindsey Nelson would always say “and Eddie Yost, the sign man is coaching at third base…….”

Wayne Garret and Gary Gentry must have found the fountain of youth, both guys look like they could still play.

You know you’re an old time Mets fan, when you not only can recognize Duffy Dyer but your happy as hell to see him.

Here is the legacy of Yogi Berra, he is the only man other than the Pope who could get a standing ovation in both Highlander Stadium and $iti Field.

I loved how the music of 1969 was intertwined with the introduction of the players but I wish SNY would have left the cameras on the players instead of showing videos of them in their playing day. It’s called capture the moment fellas’

The biggest ovations of the night were for Bob Murphy’s widow and for Ralph Kiner and rightfully so.

I don’t I have ever seen Jerry Grote look so happy as he did last night. I wish he was with the Mets in some capacity as that is what the organization misses an Grote like mentality. I still can see him throwing back a ball to the pitcher at about 95 mph when he was pissed off at him for either crossing him up or not hitting his spot and non of the pitchers ever challenging him.

I’m glad Gary Cohen mentioned Ken Boswell not being there and not being acknowledged on the field. It seems Boswell had a falling out with the organization an declined the invitation to come. This is where the Skill Sets are absolutely clue less. With their track history, the Skill Sets are probably at fault here and should have made amends with Boswell to get him last nights ceremony. Boswell too should not be so cranky as to snub this reunion as I’m sure he feels hurt that the Mets treated him wrong (join the club Kenny) but he may regret it for a long time not being at $iti Field last night.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, Tom Seaver is THE FRANCHISE!!!!

There may be no more underrated sports performer in this town than Jerry Koosman. The chant back then was “We can’t loose with Seaver and Kooz”

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