Santana’s Status In Question…

February 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm (Baseball, New York Mets)

… may just cause the Mets to examine their vulnerabilities and reach out to Manny Ramirez. He’s so much less expensive than what agent Boros was asking just weeks ago. True the bullpen is revamped and , yes, a case can be made for just letting it all play out… but the importance of going all the way to the Woild Serious [most likely to play the Yankees] can’t be overstated in this, the year both teams open new Stadiums. It will set the tone of how these two franchises compete for back page space in the New Yawk tabloids.


Pictured below is the sore elbowed Johan Santana.


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Losing Less, The 1962 New York Mets Way

February 26, 2009 at 9:32 am (Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, New York Mets) ()




These days part of my “Fantasy Baseball trip” is recreating past seasons on my computer baseball game [Baseball Mogul 2007].

I’m managing the Mets of ‘62, the pride of the Polo Grounds. Through July 19th, I’m doing better then the Originals. 35-54 isn’t all that great, but if the “wheels don’t fall off” I’ll continue to compete with the Cubs, Phils, and Colt 45’s for seventh place or, at the very least, avoiding the moniker of “Basement Bertha.”

My favorite story about that year is the one the late Leonard Koppett, the two-sport [baseball and basketball] Hall of Fame writer, loved telling. The phone rang in the newsroom at the NY Post at two in the in morning. “I understand the Mets scored 16 runs last night,” the caller said. “Did they win?”

Here’s hard luck [an understatement, to say the very least] pitcher Roger “The Dodger” Craig.


Original Met Clem Labine was a former Dodger pitcher.


Former Brave pitcher Ken MacKenzie.


Chris Cannizzaro ended up doing most of the catching.


[Hot] Rod Kanehl was special. A Jack of all trades, master of none. The late Leonard Shecter wrote about him [and Casey] in his great book, “Jocks”.


Utility man Rick Herrscher.


Pitcher Dave Hillman, a one time Cub.


Joe Christopher’s intangible attributes on a baseball field take away from any positive statistics you can get from him…


.. and the same can be said for Jim Hickman.


Pitcher Galen Cisco, from Ohio State, was one of the few who pitched effectively enough to stay in the organization long enough to make it to Shea. Mert and I shared a car on the 7 line with the former Buckeye on the way to opening day in 1964.


Willard “Bill” Hunter came over from the Dodgers and, as I recall, wasn’t the piece needed to turn things around.


Red Ruffing made the Hall Of Fame as a pitcher. Certainly not as the pitching coach of the 1962 Mets. I question the wisdom of entrusting one’s pitching staff to a man who cut off his toes with a lawnmower…. but, what do I know?


Northwestern’s Jay Hook, reputed to be one very smart cookie, was one of many Met pitchers who started games without finishing them and relieved games without offering relief… In short, it was a dismal staff.


Vinegar Bend Mizell, veteran NL pitcher, added to th Mets futility.


Ed Kraneppol made is debut in the majors in 1962.


Gil Hodges may or may not be the best baseball player who is not in the Hall of Fame. That doesn’t mean he deserves to be in it. He most certainly doesn’t. When I think of Gil, I’m reminded of his wife Joan. She’d get in the spirit of things by dyeing her hair “Met Orange.”


Jim Rufus Marshall filled in at first base for the gimpy kneed Gil Hodges in the first game they ever played. He later went on to manage the Cubs and join an inordinately long list of big league managers [including the aforementioned # 14] who at one time or another played for Leo ”The Lip/Lion” Durocher. [A future blog about these men looms large.]


Elio Chacon was the regular shortstop. Made for a long year.


Craig Anderson was known as an “inning eater.” Given his earned run average, this was a backhanded compliment.


Cliff Cook was acquired for…


… Don Zimmer. A dog for a cat.


Harry Chiti was the catcher the Mets acquired for a player to be named later… That player turned out to be Harry Chiti.


“… Little Alvin Jackson was born on Christmas Day, one of twelve children from Waco, Texas…” , the late Bob Murphy [original Mets announcer] would babble, every inning of every game he pitched. Jackson was also the fastest runner on the 162 New York Mets.


Hard to dislike Choo Choo, who was the fastest runner the Mets ever have had catch for them. That’s Clarence, to you.


Casey brought in former Yankee outfielder Gene Woodling. Gornisht helphen.


Former Dodger and future bullpen coach Joe Pignatano did some catching for the ’62 Mets.


Myron “Joe” Ginsberg, one of the few Jewish ballplayers in Mets history, also did some catching in 1962.

Bob Moorhead [A surname that, after all these years, still evokes a smile.] was a gas can, waiting to explode.


Johnny DeMerit was a highly regarded prospect for the Braves and a lowly regarded bust for the Mets.


The original Frank “Mule” Thomas was a super hitter in the National League for a decade before the Mets were born and the heart of their offense [such as it was] in 1962.


A lot more was expected of this former Brave. I remember Felix Millan as the “Cat,” and Felix Mantilla as the “Sail Cat.”


Bob “Righty” Miller [the Mets also had a southpaw Bob Miller in ’62 with far less talent] was an effective pitcher for many years, before, during and after his stint in New York. Trading him for Tim Harkness and Larry Burright seemed like a good idea at the time, but set them back.

Pictured below is the right handed throwing Bob Miller…


.. and Bob “Lefty” Miller.


By all accounts, the Hall O’ Fame 2nd baseman was a removed, uncommunicative coach.

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Rogers Hornsby


“There comes a time in every man’s life, and I’ve had a few.” That’s my favorite Casey Stengel quote.



Sammy’s brother was Solly Drake, not…


…Mets coach Solly Hemus.


Charlie Neal was a terrific ballplayer for the Dodgers… for the Mets, another story.


Then Brooklyn Dodger Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto in his last ML at bat broke up Bill Beven’s no hitter against the Yankees in the 1947 Woild Serious. After coaching the Mets for a while, he was traded for SF Giant coach Wes Westrum, who later replaced Casey as manager.


Going in to the season Gus Bell was worth a lot… “on paper.” The Mets, and fans like me, play the game on grass. :-)


The first Met drafted was Hobie Landrith, whom they traded for…


… Faye’s brother, Marv Throneberry, who was once a prospect with the Yankees.


Former Cardinal outfielder Bobby Gene Smith played some for the ’62 Mets.


Sammy Taylor came over from the Cubs and did nothing but add to the Mets catching woes.


In a spring training battle, Sherman “Roadblock” Jones [pictured bellow] beat out Bob “Butterball” Botz, who shared a nickname with my rather large brother, for a spot on the original roster.


Richie “Whitey” Ashburn nicknamed Marv Throneberry,”Marvelous.” What a team. 40 wins, 40 nicknames.


I’d love to have bigger pictures of coach Ralph “Red” Kress, who died shortly after the season…kress

… and pitchers Larry Foss…


…Ray Daviault…


…and Herb Moford.


Mr. Met, mascot extraordinaire.


Original Mets Annoncers

Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Ralph Kiner


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Deb A New Granny, Again…

February 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm (Family & Friends)

… and I’m proud to be a Great Uncle.



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Shea Stadium, Age 44, RIP

February 18, 2009 at 7:07 pm (Baseball, New York Mets, News & Politics)

I noted today that Shea Stadium has now been completely demolished. I played hooky from Newtown High School to attend opening day in 1964. Joe Cristopher played right field for my beloved Mets against the Pirates. Time goes by fast, whether you’re having fun or not. I had a lot of fun at Shea that day, and many other days afterwards. Yes, it was “cookie cutter,” and the wind blowing through was as severe as Candelstick Park. It brought the Beatles and the Jets [formerly the Titans] to Queens. I will miss it very much.


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Pitchers And Catchers Report, As Do I…

February 16, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Baseball, Fantasy Baseball, New York Giants, New York Mets)

at long last.

The California Sea Otter, my Fantasy team, has been drafted. Hanley Ramirez, Matt Holiday, Cliff Lee, Carlos Marmol, Lance Berkman, and Victor Martinez are amongst the draftees that excite me [if not in the Biblical way]… The Mets look to be the team to beat in the NL East, yet again. This years bully should put an end to the chokeitis that has befallen my beloveds for the past few years. From my mouth to gawd’s ears. Their new stadium is almost an exact replica of Ebbets Field. As an old NY Giants fan, I’m less than thrilled. Fact is, the SF Giants do more to honor the memory of the New York Giants than do the Mets… Manny is still out there. Will the Dodgers or Giants win the sweepstakes? I’m guessing the Giants, who thus far haven’t insulted the man by taking any offers off the table. The Mets may sneak in there. That would be splendid… Jim Rice in the HOF, and Bert Blyleven not. What a travesty… Congrats to Rickey, who in his prime, “became the game,” as only Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson, could do… A-Rod on steroids? Really. Next thing you know, Brady Anderson will be accused. Seriously, Baseball would be better served if all the 104 names are released. The overwhelming majority of players who didn’t test positive will than not be lumped in to this Gene Orza caused travesty…. If any one sees the game I grew up loving [the one played on a comparatively even playing field, with no DH, and Sunday double headers], please return it at once. No questions asked. Reward offered… The closest I can come to the “way it was” is recreating the seasons past on my computer baseball game. I’m now replaying the 1962 season, again. This time, I’ve programed the game not to include injuries. After all, a season without injuries is, indeed, a fantasy.

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20 Years Later

February 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm (Life & Death)


I was stunned to be reminded on my dear sister-in-law emeritus Deb’s Facebook, that Joan has been gone for two decades. She would be so proud of her daughter, Melissa, and her sisters, nieces, and grand nephew and niece.

She was so very special.

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The 2008 Darwin Awards

February 6, 2009 at 2:44 pm (News & Politics)

Yes, it’s that magical time of year again when the Darwin Awards
Are bestowed, honoring the least evolved among us.

Here are the glorious top 10 winners:

1. When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended
victim during a hold-up in Long Beach , California , would-be
robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder.
He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time
it worked. And now, the honorable mentions:

2. The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-
cutting machine and, after a little shopping around, submitted
a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting
negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself.
He tried the machine and he also lost a finger.

The chef’s claim was approved.

3. A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his
car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to
find a woman had taken the space. Understandably, he shot her.

4. After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean
bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed
to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not
wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby
bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He
then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling
the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to
bizarre fantasies.
The deception wasn’t discovered for 3 days.

5. An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from
serious head wounds received from an oncoming train.. When
asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that
he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head
to a moving train before he was hit.

6. A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on
the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the
cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash
in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man
took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill
on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the
drawer… $15. [If someone points a gun at you and gives you
money, is a crime committed?]

7. Seems an Arkansas guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He
decided that he’d just throw a cinder block through a liquor
store window, grab some booze, and run. So he lifted the
cinder block and heaved it over his head at the window. The
cinder block bounced back and hit the would-be thief on the
head, knocking him unconscious. The liquor store window was
made of Plexiglas. The whole event was caught on videotape.

8. As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store,
a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911
immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed
description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police
apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove
back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car
and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he
replied, ‘Yes, officer, that’s her.
That’s the lady I stole the purse from.’

9. The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked
into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at 5 A.M., flashed
a gun, and demanded cash.
The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn’t open
the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered
onion rings, the clerk said they weren’t available for
breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.

10. When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home
parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained
for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man
curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police
spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal
gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motorhome’s
sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to
press charges saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had.

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Nebraska Technology

February 6, 2009 at 2:28 pm (News & Politics)

After having dug to a depth of 10 yards last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their New York ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, California scientists dug to a depth of 20 yards, and shortly after, headlines in the LA Times newspaper read:
‘California archaeologists have found traces of 200 year old copper wire and have
concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network
a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.’

One week later, the Lincoln Journal Star, a local news paper in Lincoln , Nebraska reported the following:

‘After digging as deep as 30 yards in a corn field near Milford, NE, Larry the Cable Guy, a self-taught archaeologist and dyed-in-the-wool Husker fan, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Larry has therefore concluded that 300 years ago,  Nebraska had already gone wireless.’

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Missin’ W?

February 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm (News & Politics, Unzipped Thoughts)

Here are a list of gaffes by George W Bush, compiled by Sarah Baxter

1. “Will the highways on the internet become more few?”

2. “It’s a time of sorrow and sadness when we lose a loss of life.”

3. “I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of thejaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq.”

4. “I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans, right here in the Oval Office.”
5. “We’re concerned about Aids inside our White House, – make no
mistake about it.”
6. “I’m honoured to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had
his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein.”
7. “I’ve coined new words, like “misunderstanding.”
8. “I recently met with the finance minister of the Palestinian
Authority, was very impressed by his grasp of finances.”
9. “It’s in our country’s interests to find those who would do harm to
us and get them out of harm’s way.”
10. “One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end.”
11. “I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even
though I wasn’t here.”
12. “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a
literacy test.”
13. “I don’t particularly like it when people put words in my mouth,
either, by the way, unless I say it.”
14. “[The Taliban] have no disregard for human life.”
15. “When the governor calls, I answer his phone.”
16. “Those who enter the country illegally violate the law.”
17. “I think we agree, the past is over.”
18. “America stands for liberty, for the pursuit of happiness and for
the unalienalienable right of life.”
19. “My job is a decision-making job, and as a result, I make a lot of
20. “One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some
fantastic pictures.”

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