GREGG JEFFERIES ROTTEN APPLE

Gregg Jefferies’ career with the New York Mets is difficult to put into words. As a man he has been described as “petulant … self-absorbed … immature … selfish …” As a player, Jefferies was described far differently; he was labeled by scouts as a teenage “phenom”  and the late, legendary L.A. Times baseball columnist Jim Murray described his […]

ALL-STAR FLASHBACK: MAZ STARS IN ’79

Lee Mazzilli sat on the bench at The Kingdome in Seattle for seven innings, watching the 1979 Major League Baseball All-Star unfold. Mazzilli, then the 24-year old New York Mets center fielder who was named to the team by National League manager Tommy Lasorda, was soaking it up like a sponge. It was Mazzilli’s first and, eventually, […]

BEHIND THE MASK: JERRY GROTE

In 1976, Bob Myrick found out the hard way how Grote felt about losing when the Mets rookie pitcher beat his catcher in a game of Backgammon, causing Grote to explode, sending the board and its pieces across the room with a single swing of the arm. “I just sat there staring at him – hard,” remembered […]

THE EDUCATION OF DANIEL MURPHY

With one-half of a major league season experience in his back pocket, Daniel Murphy is still learning. His education includes a new vocabulary. In May, Murphy was introduced to a word he’d never heard before – slump. From May 9 through May 31, in 20 games, Murphy was 6-for-46 (.130) including a 2-for-31 skid over one two-week […]

GREAT ARMS, SOUR DAYS AT SHEA

There surely must have been a support group for pitchers like Jon Matlack. Come to think of it, the original group could have been founded by the 1976 New York Mets starting rotation. Maybe it was called Pitchers without Run Support. Matlack, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Mickey Lolich and Craig Swan — five hurlers — each pitched their heart out in 1976. On […]

LOCKER ROOM REAL ESTATE VALUES

You can learn a lot about a baseball team from its locker room. The clubhouse is where relationships form, character is revealed and leaders speak out (or not). For the major league rookie, clubhouse real estate is valuable — sometimes priceless. Imagine being the rookie who spent eight months out of the year next to […]

SUBWAY SERIES: DAVE WHO?

Just as he did an hour earlier, New York Mets pitcher Dave Mlicki walked from the team’s dugout to the pitchers mound at Yankee Stadium. It was the same understated stroll he made to and from the dugout during the game only now the Stadium was quiet, empty and dark. It was eerily cool for a mid-June […]

BENNY AND THE METS

Talk about being unprepared? Benny Ayala stepped off a plane at LaGuardia airport just hours before first pitch and raced across the street to Shea Stadium. While his teammates finished batting practice, Ayala found his locker and, for the first time in his life, put on a Major League Baseball uniform. “I was nervous,” said Ayala, during […]

LIFE UNDER THE BIG TOP

Everywhere Mets fans looked, they were delighted and surprised by the offbeat characters on and off the field. Lindsey Nelson, one of the Mets play-by-play announcer, was no exception. His wild and colorful blazers were conversation pieces. His analysis was sharp and colorful and, on occasion, reached new heights – literally. On April 28, 1965, […]

A GONG SHOW DISGUISED AS A BASEBALL TEAM

Howard William Cohen was labeled by peers, sports fans – even some allies – as arrogant, pompous, obnoxious, vain, cruel, verbose and a show-off. Cohen, known better as Howard Cosell, agreed with every one of those infamous personal adjectives. In fact, Cosell embraced the name-calling and coveted the attention, for better or worse. The more […]