Franklyn Mint

Franklyn Kilome, the beanpole prospect the club received in the Asdrubal-Cabrera-to-the-Phillies trade of 2018, made a wobbly-but-ultimately-successful big-league debut last night during another worse-in-on-the-field-than-in-the-boxscore, humiliating Mets defeat. Rene Rivera went to the injured list to make room for Kilome.

Kilome became the third guy to wear No. 66 which was represented best by Josh Edgin who broke it in between 2012 and 2017. Ty Kelly wore 66 briefly in 2018, after 55 and 56.

Also this morning, word came the club had traded DFAed pitching prospece Jordan Humpheys to San Francisco for center fielder Billy Hamilton. Hamilton will not give away his shot to overtake Ryan Cordell as the noodle-batted, right-handed-hitting pinch-running, centerfielding reserve. He’s worn No. 6 in Cincinnati and Kansas City and 9 in Atlanta.

Also, Jared Hughes has been activated and will wear No. 35, replacing Kilome who was optioned back to Brooklyn. Hughes was out with the COVID virus.

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Welcome Back

The 2020 Mets are pretty dreadful so far, giving back both games to an equally awful-looking Boston club this week and demonstrating they’ve solved none of the problems Brodie’s signature trade presented them with, namely, an old and declining second baseman who jams up the middle of the order, and a closer with great stuff, no control and no consistency whose once again devouring the confidence fans and teammates. They also whiff too often, execute poorly, don’t field well and give leads back.

Joining this disappointing group this week were outfielder Ryan Cordell (in for another injured Brodie acquisition, Jake Marisnick) and infielder Brian Dozier, a one-time All-Star with a good chance of being this year’s Joe Panik. Cordell is wearing 18 as he did in spring and summer training. Dozier wears 15.

Congrats to Andres Gimenez, however, who blew past the all-time mark for hits (1) and RBI (0) by a guy wearing No. 60 this week.

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Move Over, Buddy Baumann

David Peterson, a low-key name among recent top Met draft picks, will make his MLB debut tonight as the Mets face the Red Sox in an eerily empty Fenway Park.

He’ll be wearing No. 77, the same digits issued to him back in real spring training, and becomes the fourth Met to wear the jerset, following DJ Carrasco in 2011-12; a brief appearance by Tomas Nido in September of 2017, and a brief appearance by Buddy Baumann in 2018. I can barely remember Buddy at all (three appearances, a 24.00 ERA and a ticket back to wherever); Carrasco was no great shakes, and Nido, whom I kinda root for a little, resurfaced the following spring in No. 3.

So who’s this Peterson guy anyway? A tall lefty out of Oregon State drafted 20th overall in 2017 who’s made slow but steady progress up the ladder, highlighted by a respectable showing in the Arizona Fall League last fall, the showcase for so-called top prospects.

You may have noted in the meantime the Mets have demoted Corey Oswalt after a punching-bag mop-up job the other day, briefly recalled perennially disappointing prospect Tyler Bashlor in his place, then (I think) sent Bashlor away to make room for Peterson, raising the possibility he joins some other club on a waiver claim, probably the Marlins at this rate.

By the way had a tech issue inputting some changes into the all-time roster I hope to have solved soon, including updates and additions to the coaching staff. Stay tuned!

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And… We’re Back?

Wow. It’s been awhile since our last update as I’ve holed up working through this pandemic, I hope you guys are all staying safe. This website was so dusty I hadn’t realized I’d allowed the domain to expire, if you tried to visit recently, my apologies.

Hard to believe they’re going to try and pull this off, but ready or not (um, not, based on the injuries and exhibitions I’ve seen) they open in a little more than 24 hours and today announced the THIRTY guys they’re going to start off with. We’ll update the records on the database as they go live, but say hello to the Pandemic Mets of 2020 (including 40-man guys “not active”: I guess they are in some sort of limbo, along with the Non-roster guys like who didn’t make the cut like Steven Gonslaves who I assume are set free to join the growing number of unemployed Americans).

So let’s be fans and provide warm and socially distant greetings to the following new Mets: Dellin Betances, Rick Porcello, Chasen Shreve, Hunter Strickland, Michael Wacha, Andres Gimenez, Eduardo Nunez and Jake Marisnick. Joining the uniformed staff for the first time: Manager Luis Rojas, and coaches Hensley Muelens, Jeremy Hefner, Jeremy Accardo, Tony DeFrancesco and Brain Schneider.

I’m listing Hefner in 53 although he was most recently wearing 93 while the Mets entertained but ultimately decided against Melky Cabrera. Hearing from reliable sources there’s another assistant hitting coach in uniform 34, Ryan Ellis, but that makes no sense as Syndergaard is still with us in spirit anyway. Subject to change!

Number Name Notes
0 Marcus Stroman, P Injured list
1 Amed Rosario, SS
2 Dom Smith, IB-OF
3 Tomas Nido, C
4 Jed Lowrie, INF Injured List
5 vacant Unassigned (David Wright)
6 Jeff McNeil, INF-OF
7 vacant
8 Vacant Unassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Brandon Nimmo, OF
10 Gary DiSarcina, CH 3rd base coach
11 Tony DeFrancesco, CH 1st base coach
12 Eduardo Nunez, INF
13 Luis Guillorme, INF
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15 Vacant
16 Jake Marisnick, OF
17 Vacant unassigned (Keith Hernandez)
18 vacant
19 Luis Rojas, MGR
20 Pete Alonso, 1B
21 vacant
22 Rick Porcello, P
23 Brian Schneider, CH quality control coach
24 Robinson Cano, 2B
25 Ricky Bones, CH bullpen coach
26 vacant
27 Jeurys Familia, P
28 JD Davis, INF-OF
29 Brad Brach, P Injured List
30 Michael Conforto, OF
31 Retired Mike Piazza
32 Steven Matz, P
33 vacant
34 Noah Syndergaard, P Injured List
35 vacant
36 Retiring Jerry Koosman
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Justin Wilson, P
39 Edwin Diaz, P
40 Wilson Ramos, C
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 vacant
44 Rene Rivera, C
45 Michael Wacha,P
46 vacant
47 Chasen Shreeve, P
48 Jacob deGrom, P
49 Tyler Bashlor, P Not Active
50 Jeremy Accordo, CH assistant pitching coach
51 Paul Sewald, P
52 Yoenis Cespedes, OF
53 Jeremy Hefner, CH pitching coach
54 Chili Davis, CH hitting coach
55 Corey Oswalt, P
56 Tom Slater, CH Assistant hitting coach
57 Dave Racianello, CH Bullpen catcher
58 Hensley Muelens, CH Bench coach
59 vacant
60 Andres Gimenez, INF
61 Walker Lockett, P Not active
62 Drew Smith, P
63 Thomas Szapucki, P Not Active
64 Jordan Humphreys, P Not active
65 Robert Gsellman, P Disabled list
66 Franklyn Kilome, P Not Active
67 Seth Lugo, P
68 Dellin Betances, P
69 Vacant
70 Ali Sanchez, C Not Active
71 Hunter Strickland, P
72 vacant
73 Daniel Zamora, P Not Active
74 vacant
75 vacant
76 vacant
77 vacant
78 Eric Langill, CH Bullpen catcher
79 vacant
80 vacant
81 vacant
82 vacant
83 vacant
84 vacant
85 vacant
86 vacant
87 Jared Hughes, P Injured List
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The Untold Story of John Stearns vs. Chief Noc-A-Homa

No discussion of John Stearns ever gets too far without mentioning he’s the Mets catcher who took out Chief Noc-A-Homa with an open-field tackle. He was a four-time Mets All-Star and famously to me at least set a stolen-base-by-catchers mark in 1978 that got him hios own record-breakers card but his propensity to run down mascots–and rogue fans–are one of those things that will be mentioned in his obituary.

At the same time, while all Mets fans seem to know of these encounters with the Braves’ mascot, there’s a remarkable lack of specificity as to when this event actually happened. After all, tackles aren’t an official stat in the same way the uniform number is not really a stat: We associate with them, we tend to remember them, but only us geeks bother to commit it to the record. This guy mentions the very same phenomenon when it comes to Stearns’ fan encounters: I happened across that today while looking up the Noc-A-Homa situation.

A lot of online accounts say the Noc-A-Homa-Stearns brewhaha took place in 1977. Longtime Mets PR maven Jay Horwitz said it happened in 1984–which is highly unlikely given the catcher’s fragile physical condition then. I couldn’t substantiate either of those dates but I did find something interesting: There wasn’t one encounter but two:

The first took place in 1975, this poorly written and laid out Daily News piece shows (the lines are reversed at one point, a cut-and-paste back when they actually cut-and-pasted newspapers.

 

Then in 1981, Stearns gets his man a second time:

 

 

 

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Meet the Mets, Beat COVID-19

You may have seen Bobby Valentine do a spirited performance of “Meet the Mets recently. I’m not sure but that may have inspired this guy who played the woodwinds and brass in a zoom show.

Next thing I know my musician friend Kenny “tags” me in a #MeetTheMetsChallenge only this one has a COVID-19 charity associated. So while we suffer through a baseballess baseball season and with the world needing a lot more support for treatment and a cure than it’s getting, I got some help from my wife and son and performed the Subterranean Homesick Blues inspired version below and made a donation of Relief International, which isn’t just Satoru Komiyama’s job description but a charity. Consider yourself challenged!

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“Whomp, Whomp, Whomp”

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, and also, the anniversary of Tom Seaver’s dominant outing at Shea Stadium where he whiffed 19 batters including the final 10 Padres in a row. Tom Terrific had the benefit of a sizzling fastball but also, effects of a bright sunny afternoon which enveloped the San Diego hitters in shadow by the late innings. The Padres managed just 2 hits and 2 walks off Seaver that day. Al Ferrera hit a second-inning solo home run to left field; and Dave Campbell bounced a single off Joe Foy’s glove at third base for a single in the fourth inning. The Mets won 2-1.

Though some 30 years before “pitch counts” became a thing, an account in the Daily News indicated Seaver threw 136 pitches that day–91 for strikes, and 81 fastballs. It notes that two change-ups were thrown for strikes. The 19 whiffs broke a club record of 15 strikeouts that had been set just four days before by Nolan Ryan, triggering a round of ribbing by teammates that the droll Texan took in stride. “That’s what they’re there for,” he said. Catcher Jerry Grote also set a record that day with 20 putouts.

Seaver himself hadn’t realized the roll he was on until the scoreboard informed of the team record–the News account indicated neither had manager Gil Hodges. Tom confessed afterward the game was “exciting, but not quite as exciting” as the near no-hitter he’d pitched vs. the Cubs a year before.

Ed Kranepool, who played first base that afternoon, had the best take. “He was like a machine out there: Whomp, whomp, whomp.”

WFAN will be rebroadcasting the game this evening beginning at 6:30. Happy Earth Day.

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The Bat Boy

Many moons ago, MBTN supporter Ed A. mailed me a copy of this book and for whatever reason I dug it out and read for the first time.

The book, published in 1967, is a first-person account, aimed at teen readers, describing what it was like to be a Shea Stadium bat boy (and ball boy) mainly in 1965 and ’66. It’s quirky and personal, and there are a ton of photographs. We learn not only Dom’s close-up observations about baseball, but about his Beatles records, his prom date, his misadventures camping, and some enlightening thoughts on draft-card burners (Dom’s 1966 season is interrupted as he reports to the US Air Force). There’s no real uni-number content (ball boys back then literally wore no numbers) but I learned the following things:

1.There was a hierarchy to the “boy” employees: back then at least, you started as a ball boy, graduated to visiting bat boy, then became home bat boy.

2. The ball boy along the third-base line is stationed in the visiting clubhouse; and the first-base ball boy in the home clubhouse. This makes sense but I never gave it any thought before.
3. Pay was about $5 a game
4. The Mets would take the bat boys on 1 road trip a year. Amazin’.
5. Ron Hunt never wanted to receive a bat by hand; he preferred to pick it up off the ground himself.
6. Jerry Grote ate black licorice rather than chaw, but wouldn’t share the game stash he kept in the dugout.
7. Casey Stengel was aloof and distant, had a separate dressing room for himself and his coaches, and the players didn’t like him (I knew some of that). Wes Westrum moved the staff in with the guys and was more personable.
8. Rob Gardner, who was a pitcher, preferred his bat stay cool when he hit, so he had his stored behind the water cooler instead of in the bat rack.
9. Dennis Ribant was called “Weasel” by teammates because he couldn’t sit still. Ron Hunt was known as “Pig.”
10. The author comes off as a strong believer in his co-workers but even his wild optimism has him imagining the Mets as a “first division” unit “in five years.”
All good stuff, right? It’s a little dated and by this I mean, it’s a lot dated, but there’s so little pretension that it serves as a nice little artifact of the perspective of a teen on the verge of cultural and baseball revolution.
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Blas From the Past

It’d been bothering me for a few days now that after assembling the below list of Met 34s, I’d come across yet another instance where our humble record here and the posted info as Baseball-reference came into conflict.

This time? It’s Blas Minor, identified as having worn No. 55 for the Mets in 1995.

I’m going dispense with the mystery right here and now and say it: This never happened.

Minor was wearing 34 for the Mets when 1995 camp broke, he wore it for three innings on the mound in Denver for opening day, and coach Frank Howard occupied No. 55 not only for all of that year but for the entirety of Minor’s career as a Met.

The Record newspaper season preview, April 23, 1995. Opening day was April 26.

Well why then? As we’ve noted in the past bbr seems to have imported their uni-data from Jack Looney’s book NOW BATTING NUMBER. That work literally has about 12 pounds of impressive research but it’s not nearly as precise as it could be. Multiple number issues in a season aren’t presented in sequence, for example. In Minor’s case, the 55 reference in the book is noted as (INJ), or injured. This could refer to the period that season that he spent on the disabled list or perhaps in a minor league rehab start, but there’s no record of that either. He never wore 55 in a Mets game.

It’s a Minor error, for sure.

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Meet the Mets’ All-Time Top 10 34s

Elbow surgery will cost Noah Syndergaard whatever becomes of this season and quite possibly much of the next, but if he never throws another pitch for the Mets, you can probably already make a rock-solid argument for Thor as the greatest Met ever to wear No. 34.

The big righty needs just four victories to claim the most wins by a Met 34: That title still belongs to Mike Pelfrey and his 50-54 career won-loss record in New York. Fans can dismiss Pelfrey as underperforming their expectations, but when he departed in 2012–ominously enough as a result of early-season Tommy John surgery–Pelfrey had long since vanquished the career marks of most all of his predecessors in the 34 jersey. That’s the way this number has pretty much gone: Set-up men, lightly regarded reserve hitters and as you’ll see below, a few disappointing starters.

Syndergaard in the meantime has racked up a career 47-30 record over five seasons (a team-best .610 winning percentage for guys with more than 10 decisions), and a massive lead in strikeouts with 775 in 716 innings over Pelf’s paltry 506 K’s in 869.1 innings. Both Pelfrey and Syndergaard cut imposing figures on the mound and came armed with good fastballs, but their careers look vastly different.

Best of luck to Syndergaard, who for some reason is getting elective surgery in New York this week. To help him recover, here’s my list of the Top 10 All-Time Met 34s as ranked by my proprietary mix of science and Met-ness:

  1. Syndergaard (2015-present). For what it’s worth, Thor is also 2nd all-time among home runs by guys who wore 34 (6).
  2. Bob Apodaca (1973-1977): An undersized, undrafted righty, Apodaca rode a mean sinkerball and his wits to set-up success for some awful Met clubs. 26 saves and a 2.84 ERA, a post-career stint as a wise Mets’ pitching coach and one of the greatest quotes of all time: After a white-knuckle, opening-day save in his first-ever appearance, Apodaca remarked to the New York Times that shaking Jerry Grote’s hand afterward was the greatest feeling he ever had “except maybe sex.”
  3. Mike Pelfrey (2006-2012) A top draft pick who ultimately shared more in common with the guys at 8 and 9 on this list than the ones above him. I like to re-imagine Pelfrey’s career were he a short reliever. Somehow managed to give up a home run to the first batter ever to appear in an official game at CitiField.
  4. Chico Walker (1992-93) A bargain for the “Worst Team Money Could Buy” Mets, Walker was a versatile role player who mostly on the strength of his 1992 year, grabbed all-time club records for games, at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, and RBI by guys who wore 34 that still stand today.
  5. Danny Frisella (1968-1972) Righhanded set-up reliever with a terrific forkball had an absolutely dominating season out of the pen in 1971 (8-5, 12 saves, 1.99) and was fairly reliable at other times. Tragically died in dune-buggy accident in 1977 while his career was still going.
  6. Cal Koonce (1967-1970) Yet another heavily-used right-handed set-up reliever, Koonce gets bonus points for his presence if not performance for the 1969 world champs. Was much better in ’68.
  7. Junior Ortiz (1983-84) Have you noticed that reserve catchers who can’t actually hit are invariably described as having a rep for handling pitchers? That’s our Junior, who stopped in on his way to a 13-year career. Wore No. 0 with the Pirates and Twins. Distinctive beard.
  8. Kris Benson (2004-05) Acquired in controversy, discarded in disgrace, and hardly worth all the fuss he caused in between, Benson was an average starting pitcher who fooled everyone into thinking he was a superstar.
  9. Pedro Astacio (2002-03) One of those veteran acquirees who starts off really strong before reminding everyone why he’s a journeyman. Astacio was actually one of the better pitchers in the league in 2002 through August, when he completely lost it.
  10. Blas Minor (1995-96) Occasionally effective right handed setup man, somewhat carelessly traded to Seattle for a minor leaguer after a rough start in ’96.
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