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HARVEY’S GOOD, BUT NOT GOOD(EN) OR EVEN TERRIFIC – YET

Matt Harvey

By the time I arrived at Shea Stadium in mid-June, a Dwight Gooden start had become a New York event. I had been watching Gooden baffle opponents on television over the first two months of the 1985 season. The first month he shut out the Philadelphia Phillies twice and the Cincinnati Reds. From May and early June he pitched into the seventh inning in all seven of his starts. He was four days younger than I was for goodness sakes. It was time to see this with my own eyes, in person.

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NO, NO, NO

santana

A pair of Chicago Cubs centerfielders, Jimmy Qualls (1969) and Joe Wallis (1975), stole two of Tom Seaver’s early bids for a no-hitter. One year after being traded from New York to Cincinnati, Seaver threw a no-hitter for the Reds. Nolan Ryan never pitched a no-hitter – as a New York Met – but after being traded to the California Angels in 1971 he nudged Mets fans every couple years, throwing seven no-hitters. “Every time he pitched you expected a no-hitter – or 15 strikeouts,” said Jay Horwitz, Mets VP/Public Relations, referring to Dwight Gooden. In May 1996, Gooden tossed the only no-hitter of his career – as a member of the New York Yankees. Even Duffy Dyer had to leave the New York Mets to catch his first no-hitter (John Candelaria, Pittsburgh, 1975), 11 years before Josh Thole was born.

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LOCKER ROOM REAL ESTATE VALUES

locker

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 Sandy Koufax? Roberto Clemente? Lou Gehrig? Tom Seaver? These were model athletes, wise and humble men, who used their talent to teach.

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DEALING DICKEY

R.A. Dickey

The last time I spoke to R.A. Dickey it was 2010. It was a late spring morning in Port St. Lucie and he was sitting, legs crossed, on a wooden stool, Mets pinstripe pants, three-quarter sleeved t-shirt, stirrups, no shoes, quietly gnawing on a hot dog and eating baked beans off a paper plate in front of his temporary "space" in the New York Mets locker room. From a distance, Dickey appeared lost and alone amongst the anxious rookies and loud overconfident veterans. In hindsight, he probably was -- at that moment in time.

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JOEL YOUNGBLOOD: NO RESPECT

youngblood

Today in New York Mets History: August 4, 1982Former New York Met Joel Youngblood became the first player in Major League history to get a base hit for two different teams in two different cities in the same day. He started the day as a New York Met and collected a two-run single off Ferguson Jenkins in the third inning at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. Youngblood was notified he was traded to the Montreal Expos in the fourth inning. He grabbed his bats, left the ballpark and caught a flight to Philadelphia in time for the Expos-Phillies game. He pinch-hit in the seventh inning and singled off Steve Carlton.

Joel Youngblood played for six teams over his 14-year Major League Baseball career – including two in one day. It happened 30 years ago today on August 4, 1982; Youngblood’s longest, and in an odd way, his most productive day, as a major league player.

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TIME TO MUTE KINER

kiner

I love Ralph Kiner. I respect him for his for his contribution to the game of baseball – both as a player and, later, a broadcaster. If you’ve been a New York Mets fan for any length of time you certainly understand Kiner's importance in team history.

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HIGH RISK, HIGH REWARD FOR DARVISH

darvish

The chess game continues. With Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson relocating to the American League West, the Texas Rangers knew they must make a bold move to keep pace and stay competitive. That move transpired Monday night when Major League Baseball announced the Rangers posted the winning bid for negotiating rights to Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. But it was more than just a winning bid, but a record bid: $51.7 million.

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A GONG SHOW DISGUISED AS A BASEBALL TEAM

cosell

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 emotional viewers would get, the more Cosell felt reassured he was doing his job.

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THE WORST TRADE IN BASEBALL HISTORY

seaver

Every year since 1977, New York Mets fans have viewed the Major League Baseball trade deadline as the darkest day in team history.

The trade deadline – June 15, 1977 – was the day the Mets traded Tom Seaver.

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GREAT ARMS, SOUR DAYS AT SHEA

koosman

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.

Matlack, Tom Seaver Jerry Koosman, Mickey Lolich and Craig Swan -- five hurlers -- each pitched their heart out in 1976. On paper, no major league team was better. The Mets team ERA was the lowest in baseball (2.94). Still, the Mets finished 86-76 in third place in the National League East, 15 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

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