“Ya Gotta Remember” The 1973 NL Pennant Winners the NY Mets

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I haven’t seen nor heard anything pertaining to the NY Mets having a day/night to honor the 1973 NL Pennant winners.   I really hope that there is something in the works to bring back the surviving members of that team for a celebratory remembrance.   It would an awful shame to let this 40th Anniversary of the “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets   go unnoticed by the organization the ’73 team’s season for its comeback ability should be given be revered and honored just like the ’69 and ’86 champions as the Ya Gotta Believe mantra of Tug McGraw was no showboat move it was what had this team come together to have one of the great runs not just in Mets history but baseball history as well.

The ’73 Mets were awful from May to July winning 32 games and losing 49 with the low make of the season coming on July 4th when the Mets found themselves 12.5 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs in the NL East. July was still a bad month for the team as they put up a dismal 12-18 record but from August on the Mets went 49-22 while all the other NL East teams went into the dumper no team hit the skids worse than the Cubs who went an astonishing awful 30-52 during that stretch.

This team was no offensive juggernaut that’s for sure with Rusty Staub the leading hitter driving in 76 runs on 12 HR and a .781 OPS. John “The Hammer” Milner lead the team with 23 HR and 72 RBI and surprisingly Wayne Garrett hit 16 HR as well. The club was in the bottom third of every offensive statistic in the league that year except for Walks where they had the 6th best rate in the NL.

What ran this Mets team in ’73 was the pitching especially a solid stable of left-handed pitching plus The Franchise. Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack and George Stone supported the Ace Tom Seaver in the rotation , one of the best in baseball that year, along with swing man and veteran pitcher Ray Sadecki and of course their Fireman (that’s what the closer was known as back then) Tug McGraw.

1973 was also the swan song or Willie Mays who after a few embarrassing missteps in centerfield knew it was “time to say good bye to America”.

How great would a day at Citi Field be to honor this Pennant winning Mets team by having Willie Mays, Yogi Berra, Rusty Staub, Jerry Grote, Wayne Garrett , Ed Kranepool and of course The Franchise, Tom Seaver  etc. on the field for a pre-game ceremony?

Please, please, please we cannot let this anniversary go without a day of remembrance. It’s already a big disappointment that a Salute to ’73 day is not on the season calendar already.

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Jerry Koosman and Edgardo Alfonzo at Citi Field 6-15-12 (Audio)

Jerry Koosman and Edgardo Alfonzo were at Citi Field this past Friday as part of Mets Alumni helping out City Harvest. Mets bloggers were able to get a few minutes with both former Mets greats.  Click for audio 

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The Artist Known As R.A. Dickey

You’ve read the book, some have seen the movie, but nothing beat being beats watching the live performance of the Dickster.

Last night was another dominating performance by R.A. Dickey and his pitch of Mass Destruction. It wasn’t so much that Dickey dominated Rays hitters with his dancing knuckler, it was how well orchestrated his whole performance was, so well-choreographed.  Dickey is now the George Balanchine of baseball pitchers.

R.A. is now tied with Lance Lynn for most wins in the NL with 10, and 3rd in ERA (2.20) along with 4th in K’s (90) in the pitching Triple Crown stats. With his 32.2 scoreless innings pitched Dickey took over the Mets record for consecutive scoreless innings from Jerry Koosman but so far this season his pitching performance has been Seaver-esque.   

Yes it would have been an even more memorable start had David Wright gotten B.J. Upton at first in the first inning but that should not overshadow the masterpiece Dickey constructed last night at the Trop. At no time in this game was Dickey in any peril, he went to a 20 pitch inning just once (in the 1st) after that Dickey was a green energy pitcher , sending the Rays batters back to grab some pine efficiently and quietly. Of the 98 knuckleballs R.A. launched, 73 went for strikes that some hitters took swings at others just stared at but no one stepping in to the batter’s box could figure it out. It showed in the collective attitude of the Rays players, who I’m seemed like they couldn’t wait to get this game over with.

The Mets should forget the appeal of the lone hit in the game, its fine; we’re good with no hitters fifty years when it comes to no hitters. Add in that Matt Cain pitched a perfecto last night, its best leave well enough alone.

Lost in the Dickeymania is the fact the Mets have bounced back yet again this season. Last Sunday evening into last Monday, the Mets fan base was licking the wounds of a three game sweep of the hands of the Bronx Bastards and lynch mob was reading to string up Jon Rauch. Buffalo wasn’t far enough to send Ike Davis and Jason Bay……….OOOO-FAAAAA HHHHHHHH Jason Bay. Today, the bandwagon has lost a bit of the leg room it had a few days ago as the rats fans have decided time to hop back on.

I’ve been trying to tell you folks, don’t abandon this team. This is the team many of us Mets fans have been screaming for. How many times during Jerry Manuel’s reign of error did we here the cry “play the kids” well many of the kids are here and they are playing their ass off as are the vets, so stop bitchin’ and start enjoyin’.

I’ve never been a fan of Tony LaRussa but by naming Terry Collins as a coach to the NL All-Star team, he has gained my respect and gratitude.  It’s a well-deserved for all the hard work TC has done the last two seasons as Mets manager.

 

 

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The New York Mets 50th Anniversary Conference Is In Full Swing At Hofstra University

For some reason I had a problem getting the site to load but seems like we are good to go now, so let me put up a late day stream of Mets consciousness:

The 50th Anniversary of the New York Mets conference on now in Day 2 at Hofstra University and from hanging out on Twitter it looks like it’s been a success and a lot of fun, a true tribute to Dana Brand. I will be out at Hofstra tomorrow and I will join a panel discussion with Taryn Cooper and John Coppinger with Greg Prince as our moderator.

As we all know the Mets played a solid 1-9 “homegrown” lineup yesterday for the first time since September 19th 1971, a 5-2 Mets win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium. The lineup for that game was:

Teddy Martinez 2B

Bud Harrelson SS

John “The Hamer” Milner LF

Ed Kranepool 1B

Mike Jorgensen CF

Ken Singleton RF

Duffy Dyer C

Jerry Koosman P

Interesting as well about that home grown lineup was having three homegrown New Yorkers in there as well, Kranepool of the Bronx, Jorgensen of Bayside Queens and Singleton of Mt. Vernon.

It’s real early in the season but a positive sign for this team is that they are 5-1 in 1 run games and 7-1 in games of 2 runs or less, only good teams mange that kind of record.

Here’s your line up for tonight as the Mets start Chris Schwinden in Big Pelfs rotation spot against LHP Drew Pomeranz

 Kirk Nieuwenhuis – CF

Ruben Tejada – SS

Daniel Murphy – 2B

David Wright – 3B

Scott Hairston – LF

Lucas Duda – RF

Zach Lutz – 1B

Mike Nickeas – C

Chris Schwinden – RHP

So Ike Davis sits against Pomeranz a neophyte big leaguer, very interesting move by Terry Collins

 

 

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WINNING UGLY, BETTER THAN LOSING PRETTY

Back in 1983, Tony LaRussa led a band of Chicago White Sox to the AL West Division title that were so disrespected, many opponents said of them they were Winning Ugly,  many of the East Coast sports writers felt if they played in the AL East they’d be a 2nd division club. In 2011, LaRussa is still managing and still winning and in taking the NL Pennant last night in Milwaukee, he still has his team Winning Ugly.  I’m not a fan of LaRussa as he comes off as believing the baseball Hall of Fame should have been built in his hometown of Tampa FL since it was he who invented baseball, but last night for the first time I really felt bad for him during this ugly Game 6. You could see the frustration on his face as he watched Edwin Jackson piss away a 5-1 lead in the second inning, and he had to go to his bullpen much sooner than he had hoped. If we learn anything from this post season it’s even the top echelon teams in baseball have woeful starting pitching so in order to win you need a well-stocked bullpen, something that Sandy Alderson has alluded to in his state of the Mets press conference at the end of this season.       

One more note on that 1983 White Sox team, Jerry Koosman was a stalwart of that pitching staff winning 11 games and saving 2. Many around that team felt the season turned around when GM Roland Hemond sent 2B Tony Bernazard (Yes THAT Tony Bernazard) to Seattle for 2B Julio Cruz.

Check out Mike Silva’s NY Baseball Digest as he has an interview he conducted with Bobby Valentine who is plugging a movie he was an executive producer on called “Peltotero” which follows tow Dominican teen agers as they pursue a career in the big leagues.  By the way, I agree with Mike’s thinking on Jose Reyes, and I bet that’s the path Alderson will take with Reyes’ contract negotiations as well. He will not get in a bidding war for the shortstop.

WOW now I know why I had such a great night sleep, Wally Backman has decided to stay in the Mets organization. A Festivius miracle I tell ya!

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A PUBLIC DISPLAY OF OWNERSHIP?

So neither Mayor Moneybags or Jerry Seinfled are interested in buying the Mets. That’s fine by me because I am very much interested in buying the Mets

 (first thing I’d do is redesign Citi Field and make it like Cameron Indoor Stadium where all the seats in the field level of the stadium would be for Mets fans only and by fans I mean in order to sit there you would have to take a 10 question quiz on Mets history. For every question you get right I deduct a dollar off the already low 20 bucks I’d charge for the seat. Then I’d move all the club seats holders to the Promenade and make up the difference in my new ticket price plan on them. Oh and I enclose the whole promenade as so not to disturb the high rollers with our screaming and yelling of LET’S GO METS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)   

Except I lack the one thing that would make that happen. MONEY, but both Bloomy and Seinfeld are filthy rich so if they front me the cash, I would be happy to take ownership over from the Skill Sets.

Alex Remington on FanGraphs puts out the theory of the Mets going with a public sale of stock in the team as a way to raise capital and keep control of the franchise. If this happened I would definitely buy in. Remington mentions the Boston Celtics in his piece as a team that stock was available in back in the mid late 90’s. Being a Celtics fan, I bought 100 shares of Celtics stock for 8 buck a share. When the current management took over control of the team they wanted make them private, so they offered the shareholders $35 a share so my $800 investment brought me back $3500 and the right to say I once was a part owner of the Boston Celtics.  

Ed Marcus’ Top 50 Mets of all time checks today with #27 Jesse Orosco. Of course we can never forget Orosco on the mound for the NLCS and World Series clinchers and of course coming to the Mets from the Twins for Jerry Koosman but the game that stands out to me is July 22, 1986 in a 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Davey Johnson had both Orosco and his tag team partner Roger McDowell stay in the game by rotating them from the outfield to the pitcher’s mound.

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HOW MANY DAYS TILL SPRING?

I want to thank everyone who has contacted me letting me know how much they enjoyed my interview with Jerry Koosman last night on THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN. I had hoped to get 20 minutes with Kooz and instead I chatted for the full hour and Jerry was a great guest. If you haven’t listened to it yet I hope you can some time to give it a listen.

Adam Rubin went out to snowy Citi Field today to watch utility infielder Chin-lung Hu take a picture with his new Mets jersey. There were rumors that Hu would be issued #17 but someone came to their senses and realized that #17 should be taken out of circulation, so instead Hu will don #25 instead. You’re no Frank Thomas, Mr. Hu.

Rubin also had these tidbits from his visit to Queens today. Johan Santana is NOT throwing after Sandy Alderson said that Johan was cleared to start throwing:

“To my knowledge, he’s not throwing at this point,” Alderson said. “But, again, that’s his own decision and based on how he feels. I think the PT [physical therapist] recommended that he continue to do certain exercises, and when he feels like he’s ready to toss, he will. He’s medically cleared, but to my knowledge he hasn’t actually started throwing yet.”

Hummmm not to go all Jay Cuttler here but there seems to be a bit of a contradiction, Alderson claims Santana is “medically cleared” but Johan doesn’t feel he’s ready yet. By no means should Santana start a throwing program until he feels he’s ready but after the last few years where conflicting medical reports were the norm, I hope the front office will refrain from that practice. Sometime “we’re not sure” is a good answer.

Howard Johnson has to feel kind of awkward as Alderson tries to find a place for him in the organization. HoJo managed one year in Brooklyn but the Mets do not look at him as managerial timber. The hitting coach jobs in Buffalo (Mike Easler) and Binghamton (Luis Natera) have been filled so where in the world will HoJo land?

Matt Artus has a great post on last weeks Citi Field Kids event at Citi Field and the Q & A the bloggers had with the players who attended. Oh and the guy standing next to Big Pelf in the picture is yours truly.

Darryl Strawberry feels the Mets missed the boat on not hiring Wally Backman as manager. His chief reason is because Wally played for the ’86 Mets. From speaking to Terry Collins on a couple of occasions they only difference I see between him and Backman is Collins didn’t play for the ’86 Mets.

Congratulations to Omar Minaya for getting hired by the New York Highlanders as a Major League talent coordinator.

Speaking of the Bronx Bastards, what the hell is going on in Da Boogy Down? First Pee Wee Cashman, thinking he was with Dr. Phil instead of the Sports Pope, starts to purge his soul by saying that El Capitan will eventually moved to center field. I don’t know what all the hub bub is over this as eventually Jeets will have to go to the outfield I mean why the outrage? It’s not like Pee Wee told the Sports Papal audience that The Captain signed an endorsement deal with Bosley Hair Restoration (oooops did I say that out loud!!!!)

And what’s with this censorship of Highlander State Commissioned bloggers? Gee you’d think they were involved in the distraction of Not So Highlander Classics (Video of games the Highlanders actually lost) instead of stating the obvious that the team got hosed in the Rafael Soriano deal. This is grounds for a repriamand? When did Michelle (WHICH CAMERA!!!!!!WHICH CAMERA!!!!!!!!!)  Bachmann was named team president.

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JERRY KOOSMAN JOINS ME TONIGHT ON THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN ON BLOG TALK RADIO

Join me tonight at 10PM ET for THIS CALL TO THE BULLPEN Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio. My guest will be former Mets LHP and Mets Hall of Famer, Jerry Koosman.

If you can’t join us live tonight, you can listen to the podcast here at Kranepool Society (lower right side bar) or at our show page on Blog Talk Radio. You can also download the show on iTunes as well.

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AUGUST 4, 1975: WHAT THE HELL WAS YOGI BERRA THINKING ?

After a day of trudging through the snow, slush and ice of the sidewalks of Lower Manhattan, little did I know what a wonderful reward was waiting for me when I got home, SNY was showing the 1975 Mets Yearbook and a name from the past that only Mets fans of a certain era would know, Randy Tate was the star of the show.

What you don’t remember or never heard of Randy Tate? Don’t worry you’re not alone. I vaguely remember Tate and for good reason, he not only had just one season in Flushing but that one year been the extend of his big league career.

On the night of August 4, 1975, Randall Lee Tate of Florence Alabama came close to becoming the first Mets pitcher to hurl a no hitter. As we all know, the Mets have not had a pitcher throw a no hitter in their history, but Randy Tate joins the ranks of those who came close, as Tate held the Montreal Expos hitless for  7 innings and the Mets held a 3-0 lead. Tate was dominating through 7 as he K’d 10 and walked 4 which for Tate was a great ratio as his season tally of BB/K was 86/99 in 137.2 IP. Tate came into the game with a 4-9 record after his last start against the Cardinals that lasted just 1.2 innings and got his tits lit for 5 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks. Tate was a back end of the rotation guy, along with Hank Webb. The front end of the staff by the way was 22 game winner Tom Seaver along with Jerry Koosman and Jonathan Trumpbour Matlack.

The Mets scored all of their runs in the 5th inning of this game as Jerry Grote singled and went to second base on a wild pitch by Expos starter Dan Warthen (Yes, our own pitching coach Old School Dan Warthen) The 8 hole batter, Jack Heidemann (what a head of hair Heidemann had back then) walked. Randy Tate then tried to lay down a sac bunt but he bunted right at Old School Warthen who wheeled and threw to Larry Parrish at third to force out Grote. Gene Clines the Mets centerfielder and lead off man stepped up and hit a triple down the right field line that scored Heidemann and Tate. Second baseman Felix Milan hit a ball down to first base that Mike Jorgensen misplayed and Milan was safe and Clines scored the third run of the inning and the game. Jesus Alou flied out to left field and the inning was over.

Tate was strong through six but in the seventh inning he started to show signs of fatigue. He walked rookie catcher Gary Carter and Parrish but was helped out by two force plays and a key strikeout of 2B Pete Mackanin .

Now remember, the manager of the Mets at this time was one Lawrence Peter Berra, who was hanging on to his job by a bare thread. Berra was not very popular in the clubhouse especially by his pitchers as he had never lived down not going with a rested George Stone in Game 6 of the 1973 World Series with the Mets up 3game to 2 over the A’s but making a bad move by going with Tom Seaver on 3 days rest and then going with Jon Matlack on 3 days rest when he could have had both his pitchers on 4 days rest in case of a game 7.

The Mets go down in order in the bottom of the 7th with Tate making the last out. On to the top of the 8th.

Expos manager, Gene Mauch goes right to his bench as he sends up Jose Morales to hit for Pepe Frias. Tate K’s Morales. Jim Lyttle now comes up to bat for pitcher, the pride of Glen Cove LI, Don DeMola. You’d have to figure that Tate was getting a bit weary on the mound. I don’t know what the weather was that night but August nights in NYC are usually warm and humid and Tate had thrown just an average of 4.2 IP in his last five starts but Tate was just 5 outs away from becoming the first Mets pitcher to toss a no hitter, but first he would have to get Lyttle out.

There weren’t many people at Shea that night as the paid attendance of 10, 720 shows but you can bet they were making as much noise as if the place were packed. That was one thing about Shea when the die hards hung around they were a noisy bunch. I can imagine the clapping and cheering as Lyttle stepped into the batters box to face Tate.

All the clapping and cheering turn to moans and groans on one pitch that Lyttle connected with to singled to left field to break up the no-hitter and spoil the greatest day Randy Tate ever had as a major league pitcher. Now that the no hitter was by the boards, it was time to concentrate on winning the game.

You’d have to think that Yogi Berra would have his bullpen up and have a fresh arm ready to close out the last five outs and preserve the win. Well, Tate stayed in the game and then walked the next batter Pepe Mangual to bring the tying run to the plate and still no movement from the manager. Tate then gave Berra a false sense of security by striking out Jim Dwyer, so with two out and one on up stepped Gary Carter, rookie Gary Carter. Again no change in pitcher and Tate is now up into the high 120’s in his pitch count as he gives up a single to Carter that plates Lyttle to make it 3-1 Mets. So the no-no and the shutout are gone and the go ahead run in former Met Mike Jorgensen is strolling to home plate. Still no pitching change by Yogi Berra.

I would love to know what was being said in the Mets dugout as this was playing out on the field. Rube Walker was still on staff as pitching coach and of course Tom Seaver was there as well. I can’t believe that Walker wasn’t looking to get his pitcher out of the game and get a new arm in the game, just from reading the play by play of this game I’m breaking out in a cold sweat.

Now remember Jorgensen was shipped out by the Mets to Montreal along with Ken Singleton and Crazy Horse Foli for Rusty Staub , no doubt he wanted to make his ex-team suffer and sure enough he did by hitting a 3 run home run to put the Expos ahead 4-3.

What in the world was Yogi thinking of not going to the bullpen? Tate had to be on fumes at this point in the game so it seems unless his arm fell off Tate was not coming out this game. Thankfully he got Larry Bitinger ot ground out to end this excruciatingly painful inning. Tate lost his no hitter, shutout and game and maybe his career in this 8th inning. Sad.

The Mets went down without a fight in the 8th and 9th and what could you expect as their manager showed no leadership in this game.

The next day the Mets and Expos played a twi-night double header and the Expos won both games by identical 7-0 scores, after the game, GM Joe McDonald (on orders I’d imagine from M .Donald Grant ) fired Yogi Berra and named Roy McMillan the interim manager. For Randy Tate, the change of manager came a day to late.

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GET YOUR HAT AND COAT IT’S OPENING DAY!!!!!!

 

 

 

I’m still trying to figure how the Gary Sheffield signing is this catastrophic moment in Mets history? Sheffield is not coming in here and bogarting a spot in the line up he has to earn it and the one guy who is impacted by Sheffield being here is Ryan Church  not Dan Murphy (we covered this already I know)  No one shakes their head at the Mets moves more than me but I can’t even fathom Omar Minaya promising anything to Sheffield other than an opportunity to show he can still play. If he can’t then he’s gone, it’s that simple.

 

A major tip of the Mets Cap to The Mets Police, for this link to this story on Jerry Koosman and how the Mets started the five man pitching rotation under Rube Walker. The wildest thing about seeing this story about Koos was I was thinking of Koosman last night last night I was watching MLBN and there were previewing the SF Giants and how the Giants are one of the team in baseball that does not forget it’s former players or it’s franchises history. They put up a graphic that showed Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Felipe Alou as former Giants who still work for the organization and who are around the current Giants all through spring training and at times during the season. This has been one of my major gripes with Mets management. Even though it’s nice that Sandy Koufax comes to St. Lonesome every spring to talk to the pitchers it would be even better if Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman were there as spring instructors. Same thing with guys like Jerry Grote, Rusty Stub, and Felix Milan. Management is starting to embrace the old Mets some by of course having them in the TV booth (why isn’t there an analyst in the radio booth? Let Howie do the play by play and have John Franco do color commentary? I’m sorry Wayne Hagin does nothing for me. Besides he talks funny) My hope for opening day at $ti Field is that the pre game festivities would include as many former Mets the team could find and have them walk on to the field from the outfield gates and greet the current team.

 

As far as prediction for the season go let me do it this way:

 

The NL East will be a four team race to start with the Nats looking up at the pack but they will be pains in the ass’s all season. I’m as concerned with the Braves as I am with the Phillies in fact I hope the Phucking Phillis keep up this “look at us we’re beautiful” bullshit celebration of winning the World Series going. Better put the party hats away assholes.

 

The NL Central is the Cubs, Cards, Brewers and maybe the Reds. The Astros and Pirates are there to get fat on.

 

The consensus in the NL West is that the Dodger and D’Backs will fight it out but DO NOT OVERLOOK THE SF GIANTS. Every year I try to find a team I like to follow as I feel they’re taken for granted and the Giants are that team for me this year

 

What makes the AL East so much fun is the Highlanders could win 90 games and not make the post season and yes that’s what I’m rooting for. I still can’t understand why the Tampa Rays get no respect THEY’RE NOT GOING AWAY FOLKS!!!!!! Add in the Old Town Team and this is the best division in baseball. Sorry Jays and O’s fans

 

The AL Central is the most competitive division in baseball and any one of the teams here can win the division title, yes even the Royals and Tigers.

 

The weakest division in the game is the AL West only the Mariners are on the outside looking in as far as a division crown goes.

 

Mets Grrl is in Cincy for opening day and has pics and stories from the town that takes opening day seriously  

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The Mets are looking great this year and The Eddie Kranepool Society keeps you up to date on the good bad and the ugly. If you are looking for Mets Tickets, you must visit Coast To Coast Tickets for all your ticket needs. CTC carries MLB Tickets as well as some of the best priced Concert Tickets on the web and don't forget they also carry Yankees Tickets.

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