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.
Marcus Stroman, who already made club history by becoming the team’s first pitcher to wear a single-digit uni number, will be making more news soon.
Stroman says will no longer wear the No. 7 he was issued upon his trade to the Mets from Toronto in July, saying that he didn’t feel right playing in the same uni as a childhood idol Jose Reyes.
Obviously we all want Stroman to wear what he’s most comfortable wearing but in the bigger picture I’m wondering whether this notion of respect has gone completely overboard. It has always seemed to me that you could argue just as persuasively that wearing the same number your idol did on the same field would be the ultimate way to pay respect, and that pointedly avoiding a number for that reason in particular, while admirable, is an awfully passive statement in practice.
I’m also left to wonder what this will mean to the newly respect-sensitive Mets and their plans to take an untold batch of jerseys out of circulation in coming years. This began only recently with the deserving but curious announcement they would hang up 36 next year. Who knows if the Mets stay on task with this, but you figure such an approach would have to include Ed Kranepool at some point, a different No. 7.
Until then though, you wonder if the club will now have the stones to issue anybody No. 7 as long as Stroman is on board. Did he inadvertently just mothball No. 7 teamwide? Let’s wait and see.
Let’s also wait and see what Stroman finally settles on. Will he continue to buck tradition and take a single digit? If so there’s but two choices and a similarly wobbly third: Zero is available now; 2 belongs to the free-agent-to-be-but-I’d-sure-love-to-be-back infielder Joe Panik; and then there’s 8, which has gone unissued now for 17 years (!!) as the Mets seemingly make up their minds on Gary Carter’s legacy (If you’re listening Mets, don’t do it. Name the St. Lucie minor league team the Kids instead. Give out a Gary Carter Award every year for the team’s best citizen. Don’t take out numbers for guys with 2 good years on the club and more concrete legacies elsewhere).
Stroman’s Toronto No. 6 belongs now to Jeff McNeil and Stroman said he wouldn’t ask for that. I’ll bet you a beer he’s the next 0.
Twitter caught fire this morning with reports that Travis d’Arnaud was changing his uniform number, from 15 to 7. While I haven’t seen official confirmation yet, it appears the source is an especially revealing e-commerce site: The team’s own order-your-own-‘official’-jersey offer (only $267.99!!).
The drop-down has plenty more to say that’s not yet on the official roster page, including assignments for newcomers John Mayberry Jr. (44); Sean Gilmartin (36); Jack Leathersich (51); Steven Matz (32); and Noah Syndergaard (34). A few other guys on the 40-man are listed in 00, which we’ll assume are unassigned still — Akeel Morris and Gabriel Ynoa. (Leathersich is also listed in 00, while Hansel Robles isn’t listed at all. Neither are the gaggle of NRIs who typically get Spring assignments in the 60s, 70s and 80s).
We may be jumping the gun on at least some of the actual assignments. If d’Arnaud is indeed changing to 7, we’d presume Mayberry would take the vacant 15, which he wore for several years with the Phillies, rather than 44, which technically still belongs to 2014 Met and 2015 non-roster invitee Buddy Carlyle. The switch to 7 would also require that bench coach Bob Geren changes into something else, not that that’s a big deal. We’ve also heard, from a reader, that incoming hitting coach Kevin Long will wear No. 30, but still have no confirmation of that.
The move to 7 will reignite a battle for the all-time lead in hits by a single uniform number: Though 7 and occupants Ed Kranepool and Jose Reyes maintains its longtime, all-time lead, Team 5 led by David Wright as of the end of last season had pulled to within 3 hits.
Typically we’re at the time of year when such info drops officially so we expect to see the roster populate soon and answer — at least for now — the burning questions.
Great reprint of a 1984 article on the aftermath of Ed Kranepool’s career surfaced this week at MetsMerized Online. If quotes were hits, David Wright would never catch Steady Eddie, who reveals his inner Gene Simmons and demonstrates he’s as unique a charcater as the team ever produced. Well worth the read!
All Met fans ought to spend a half-hour with this recent interview of old No. 7, Ed Kranepool, published at Jimmy Scott’s High & Tight. He talks about the end of his career and the doomed attempt to buy the club in 1979; he absolutely unloads on former GM Joe McDonald while speaking well of chairman Donald Grant; andprovides his take on former colleagues and teammates from Seaver to Swan.
Great job, Jimmy!
Pedro Martinez hit the disabled list for the second time this year, and for the fourth time, the Mets have recalled Heath Bell from Norfolk, helping the Mets turn this into their worst road trip since the Boston debacle in late June. With Carlos Delgado 21 radically slumping, David Wright 5transforming into a singles hitter, and Lastings Milledge 44 looking every bit the rookie he is, this could get worse before it gets better. And that’s why God created 12-game leads.
Thanks to Met number genius Ed for pointing out the comment below on Jae Seo’s “outrageous”No. 98 in Tampa had a precedent: Seo, Ed writes, wore 98 as a Met spring training hopeful in 1998.
Props also to the reader who pointed out our math below on Ed Kranepool’s tenure in No. 7 was inaccurate: Krane was 21 for his first two seasons with the Mets, and so occupied 7 for 15 years, not 17.
The new contract signed by David Wright last week all but assures he’ll become the longest tenured No. 5 in team history, surpassing Steve Henderson — unless he’s also traded to the Cubs for Dave Kingman.Meanwhile, Jose Reyes, who signed a four-year deal last week, still has a long, long way to go to catch Ed Kranepool’s 17 years of service in the No. 7 jersey.
Henderson by the way leads all No. 5s in games (497) as well as seasons (4) and narrowly edges Olerud in all-time plate appearances 2,029 to 2,018. Wright is on pace to surpass those marks sometime in 2007.
The return of Darryl Hamilton from the disabled list tonight means a bittersweet reassignment for Matt Franco, expertly described by The Village Voice earlier this year as “even beginning to look like Rusty Staub.” No. 15 hits the road as the Mets’ third all-time leader in pinch hits behind Rusty and Ed Kranepool. We’ll miss him. In case you forgot, Hamilton is still wearing No. 18.