Review: New York Mets The Complete Illustrated History

If you’re a Mets fan, and I’m assuming you are if you’re reading this, “New York Mets The Complete Illustrated History” by Matthew Silverman is a must-have coffee table book. It’s a large book filled with huge pictures of the Mets from 1962 through the 2010 season. If you’ve read any of Silverman’s other books, you know that he’s one of the foremost authors of Mets books. You can see the complete list of books he’s written on his website.

Of course, there’s extra attention paid to the teams from ’62, ’69, ’73, ’86, and 2000 as there should be. There are so many images that I’ve never seen before. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Nolan Ryan together with Gil Hodges was a great picture. I always think of what could have been when I see pictures of Ryan.

Some of the images that really jumped out at me were:

  • Tug McGraw
  • Willie Mays celebrating in the locker room after clinching the NL East in ’73
  • Seaver when he got the news he was traded to the Reds in ’77
  • Doc Gooden in ’84
  • Lenny Dykstra’s walk off homer against the Astros in game 3 of the ’86 NLCS

The thing I like about books like this is that you can pick it up and read through Silverman’s rich description of a season or two. Or you can even go through a decade in an afternoon and get a great feel for the era. The late ’70’s and early ’80’s will be depressing though.

The World Series teams are the most exciting to read about. I particularly love to read about the build up from the abyss of the early ’80’s to the Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter trades, and Doc and Straw coming up to the team. The build up to something great was so clear and palpable.

Overall, it’s a great book to add to your collection if you’re a Mets fan. If you know someone that’s a Mets fan, this is a guaranteed hit as a gift. You can purchase the book at Amazon. It’s listed at $19.80 as of the writing of this post.

I did receive a promotional copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.

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Nolan Ryan and Saber-Metrics Go To The World Series

Texas Rangers owner Nolan Ryan holds up the ALCS trophy as the Rangers beat the New York Yankees 6-1 to take game six of the ALCS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas on October 22, 2010.  It will be the Rangers first trip to the World Series. UPI/Ian Halperin Photo via Newscom happens when you take a bankrupt baseball franchise, a part owner who was arguably the most successful pitcher of the 60’s and 70’s and team him up with the youngest General Manager in history who is a self proclaimed Saber-metrics Geek?

You get a team with a $50 million payroll heading to the World Series.

You have to admire the fusion of ideas from the 60’s, 70’s and today. Nolan Ryan, arguably one of the best pitchers ever to play the game, current part owner and president of the Texas Rangers, brings a belief that pitchers should not be subject to pitch counts and should pitch deep into games as in decades past.

Jon Daniels, youngest GM in the majors, brings the saber-metrics revolution to the Texas Rangers. Sabermetrics, the statistical analysis of a players future potential, enables many small market teams to identify potential low cost talent and explains why small markets teams who implement saber-metrics are able to compete with teams in larger markets.

It’s an interesting combination and although Nolan Ryan has taken some credit for turning the Texas Rangers around due to the emphasis on pitchers going deeper in games, Jon Daniels, super sabermetrics geek, is now a hot commodity and a highly sought after GM.

Teams that are able to blend the traditional game of baseball with a true understanding of saber-metrics will be the most successful teams in the game. Hence, why the search for the Mets next GM is so important.

I’m still dabbling in the world of Saber-Metrics myself but wonder if a GM with a true understanding of Saber-Metrics would have signed the likes of Gary Sheffield, Oliver Perez, John Maine, Pedro Martinez, Luis Castillo, J.J. Putz, and the many other players who didn’t pan out as planned.

In a day and age where you can easily calculate a player’s “VORP” or “Value Over Replacement Player” the decision to sign or drop a player should be a lot easier for any GM to make and, thankfully, the Mets have narrowed down the field of potential GM’s to two people who both understand sabermetrics. Sandy Alderson and Josh Byrnes.

But in the end, it still feels like it’s down to only one person, Sandy Alderson, and that decision felt like it had been made three weeks ago. Sandy Alderson is the only candidate who brings that blend of old school & new school baseball mentalities that has catapulted the Texas Rangers to the World Series. So the question remains and seems an easy one to answer…

Will the Mets follow the Texas Rangers game plan?

Mets 2010 – Year of the No-Hitter?

It’s well documented that only the Mets, Rays, and Padres haven’t had a no-hitter in their histories. When I started searching the Internet for facts and figures on futility, I came across someone that has a Mets blog about the elusive no-hitter. The Mets are up to 7,673 games without one now. And the Mets have had 33 one-hitters over the years including the famous July 4, 1972 no-hitter that Tom Seaver lost with one out in the ninth against the Padres. You can see the complete list of one-hitters in Mets history.

Tom Seaver would go on to throw a no-hitter in 1978 for the Cincinnati Reds, the year after the Mets traded him away. Nolan Ryan had a one-hitter for the Mets in April 1970 and would go on to throw seven no-hitters in his illustrious post-Mets career including one in May 1991 at the age of 44. Continue reading “Mets 2010 – Year of the No-Hitter?”

Mets Get 1969 Celebration Right

Donn Clendenon, Mets hero - video
Image by bobster855 via Flickr

If you missed the pre-game of last night’s Mets-Phillies game, you missed a very well done celebration of the Mets first World Series championship- The Miracle Mets. A couple of things stood out for me about the celebration:

  1. The Mets organization does a great job with these events like they did with the final game at Shea and the 25th anniversary of the ’86 World Series champs
  2. It was fantastic to see Nolan Ryan back in New York with a Mets uniform on; the pitching they had on that team was off the charts

Related to point number 1, how can the Mets get these events right that celebrate their team’s history yet get their new stadium so wrong? It doesn’t make sense to me. Just when I think that the organization is completely out of touch with their fan base, they do something like this so well. I guess there’s still hope for them yet.

I want to add a couple of links on the ’69 celebration:

  • Remembering Shea has some good comments about watching the celebration last night
  • Ken Belson of the NY Times writes about how Mets fans got a brief reprieve last night from a season of injuries, incompetence, and all-around sloppy play when they saw the ’69 team take the field
  • ESPN has a good report including that Jerry Manuel played with Bud Harrelson and Jerry Grote briefly in a Senior League in Florida
  • Keith Olbermann, the Baseball Nerd, writes about his attendance at the event last night

Welcome Back Pedro, Your Age Is Showing

The local papers and talk shows are buzzing about the return of Pedro Martinez to the Mets, and the introduction of Joba Chamberlain to the starting rotation for the Yankees. Check the back pages and the sports talk shows this afternoon and that’s all that you’ll hear about.

It’ll be a fun night because New York baseball fans will get to see Joba for the Yankees early and then Pedro in the nightcap from San Francisco. Both teams need a boost from their pitchers. The Yanks are toiling away in fourth place, seven games behind the Rays. Equally as mediocre, the Mets are also in fourth place and four and a half games back of the Phillies.

Unfortunately, I like the Yankees’ chances better with a young, power arm coming into the rotation from the bullpen. The Mets are relying on Pedro Martinez to utilize his guile because his power has long since disappeared from his 36 year old arm. Continue reading “Welcome Back Pedro, Your Age Is Showing”