Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times: 50 Years From The Mets Junk Draw

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times, has put together a 50 Years From The Mets Junk Draw column that looks at 50 of the best and most interesting moments in Mets history that are not the obvious choices, such as:

 May 2, 1963: Skipper Casey Stengel decides to do something different. He inserts catcher Choo Choo Coleman in the batting order’s leadoff slot. To this day, it’s still the only time any catcher has led off for the Mets. New York wins, 10-3

 WOW  who’da thunk that?  I would have bet either John Stearns or Mackey Sasser would have hit at the top of the order during their Mets career.   I bet Josh Thole hits in the leadoff spot at least once as a Met

Aug. 9, 1963: Jim Hickman hits a walk-off grand slam for the Mets, an achievement that’s extra special because it ends the 18-game losing streak of Roger Craig, the team’s best pitcher in their early horrible years.

Jim Hickman had terrific power and hit some home runs as a Met but the lure of obtaining Brooklyn born and bred (and Boys High baseball and basketball standout) Tommy Davis from the Dodgers was too strong so Hickman was shipped to LA for Davis. Davis by the way played one season for the Mets in 1967 and was dealt in the off season to the White Sox for Tommie Agee and Al Weiss.

Sept. 16, 1975: Since 1950, quite a few baseball games have ended on a walk-off walk, but none have happened as late as this one. The Mets top the Expos 4-3 when Montreal’s Don DeMola walks Del Unser with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 18th inning.

 

It has always seemed to me that the Mets have played more long extra innings games than any other team in baseball history

 

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BASEBALL LIKE IT OUGHT TO BE

I’ve been to 10 games at Shea so far this season and I’ll be back there this weekend and every time I go I look over at our new palatal playpen that is near completion and I stare at it with both eager anticipation and some sadness. I’m happy because it’s new and will have state of the art amenities that we fat cat Americans can’t live without. The sadness is, the more I hear about this Jackie Robinson Rotunda and the marble entrance and all the grandeur, I keep thinking there will be a shoe check stand at the front gate and don’t even think of putting your feet up on the new railings. Aside from the physical characteristics I worry about the “soul” of the new place. Shea has ‘soul” and last night you felt it.

 

The last three innings last night when Big Pelf took the mound was classic Shea. All I needed was for Gary Cohen to put on a multi color sports coat and morph into Lindsay Nelson. I though of Nelson last night during the game because he knew how to give you the feel of the crowd. I could just here him say “and “Michael Pelfrey will be out on the mound for the 9th inning, Michael Pelfrey” . Last night’s game proved a few points. First, when Shea is packed and the Mets are rolling there is no better place in the world to be. Second,  Mets fans know pitching and love pitching as we have been a pitching first organization since Roger Craig took on the St Louis Cardinals on April 11, 1962 and when we see a guy like Big Pelf who was drafted and nurtured by the Mets and face more downs than ups and then finally finds the formula to be a big time big league pitcher we show our approval by making the stadium’s foundation rock like it was last night.  The team is rolling right now and while it’s way to early to think about October, for one night at least the team and Mike Pelfrey gave us a night that during the dead of winter you think about and anticipate spring.

 

No surprise that the Mets signed Al (Don’t tase me Bro) Reyes and according to Omar Minaya, Reyes passed up a chance to go right to the majors with another team to sign with the Mets and work out of Bingo for a while. Hopefully Bing pitching coach Ricky Bones can get Reyes ready for big league action soon.

 

The casualties of the baseball season are coming back to Flushing little by little. First it looks like Ryan Church will be back this weekend and from what Warlord Jerry is saying he will be part of a right field platoon with Fernando Tatis. They will join the left field platoon of the Gold Dust Twins Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans. Then you have the platoon at second base of Easley Reyes which J-Man is standing his ground on that Argenis does not go back to NOLA for Gimp Castillo. In fact it looks like J-Man will get his way as the Mets are ready to send Gimp back to St Lonesome to work on his bat in other words sit tight until September 1 there Gimp.

 

Titan Tom Glavine will have surgery on his left elbow but don’t worry he’s not devastated.

 

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