Jim McIsaac / Getty Images
The Mets' finest vintage grows another year older and another year finer.
Happy birthday to vintner George Thomas Seaver, who turns 68 today. Long before he took up winemaking, Seaver happened to be a pretty good hurler for the New York Mets. Said fellow beverage aficionado Reggie Jackson of his Hall of Fame compatriot:
"Blind people come to the park just to listen to him pitch."
From 1967 to 1977 (and again in 1983), Seaver delighted Flushing fans, unsighted and otherwise, by taking the ball just about every day and, more often than not, using it to make non-Mets look hapless. Hank Aaron called the hard-throwing righty from Fresno the toughest pitcher he'd ever faced, a sentiment surely shared by Donn Clendenon (Seaver's first strikeout victim), Willie Upshaw (his last), and anyone else forced to dig into the batter's box against the Franchise.
Seaver's accomplishments are too long to list here in any sort of graceful way. Even his Hall of Fame plaque, the only one in Cooperstown adorned with a bronze Mets hat, doesn't give the full measure of the man's career. So let's frame it this way: Barring a decade's worth of seasons like the one R.A. Dickey just had, Tom Seaver's name is going to remain at the top of many lists in the Mets record books for years to come.
- Jim Mann, 38, made his MLB debut with the Mets in 2000, appearing in two early summer games for the eventual National League champs. Small sample size, but Mann's K/BB ratio of 0.00 was the worst on the squad, though outfielder Derek Bell did match it in his one inning of work.
- Eli Marrero turns 39. The Cuban-born utility man didn't do much for the Mets in 2006, his lone season with the club, though he still earned goodwill by virtue of not being the man he was traded for: Kaz Matsui. Marrero spent two months on the bench before being designated for assignment.
- 2012 Triple-A Home Run Derby winner Val Pascucci is 34 today. The 6' 6", 255 pound slugger first reached the minor's highest rung back in 2003 as an Expos farmhand and he's been there ever since, save for a two season sojourn in the Nippon League and a brief cup of coffee with the Amazins last September. In just under 4,000 AAA at-bats, Pascucci has thumped 176 homers and, assuming he re-ups with the Mets organization, has an excellent chance to blow past the 200 jack mark in the thin desert air of Las Vegas this coming summer.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Thirty-nine years ago today Richard Nixon stood before the gathered press in Orlando, Florida to relate the following message to the American people: "I am not a crook." Forced into early retirement for, in fact, being a crook, Tricky Dick kept active in the world of baseball, calling a no-hitter thrown by future Mets and acid freak Dock Ellis, arbitrating an actual umpire strike in 1985, and making occasional appearances at Shea Stadium during the team's mid-80s hey day.