The Mike Piazza story may just be too Hollywood for Hollywood. While true, it doesn’t sound true, but cliched.
Frank Cashen arrived in Flushing with an impressive resume; two World Series rings, a drawer full of bowties and patience.
Throughout Spring Training and most of April 1980 Cashen watched Joe Torre’s team sputter. There were no trades, nor firings. Not a single transaction. The Mets front office was quiet.
In 1976, Bob Myrick found out the hard way how Jerry Grote felt about losing when the Mets rookie pitcher beat his catcher in a game of Backgammon, causing Grote to explode and 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 Myrick. “He got up and picked up all the pieces, and we never had a cross word.”
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 a phone interview from Puerto Rico. “I had to rush in late...