#FlashbackFriday Mets Edition: Olerud sets Mets franchise record

New York Mets first baseman John Olerud had a historical year for the franchise in 1998 as he ended up hitting .354/.447/.551/.998 with an OPS+ of 163 (League average is 100), he also slugged 39 doubles and 19 home runs while driving in 96 runs in 160 games played.

Before he reached New York, Olerud played for the Toronto Blue Jays where former manager Cito Gaston tried to get Olerud to hit for more power by having him take the approach of trying to pull the ball. He would hit a career high 24 home runs with the Blue Jays while also leading the league with a .363 batting average as well as a .473 on-base percentage and a 1.072 OPS during the ’93 campaign.

However after his career year in Toronto, Olerud began to regress and eventually he would find himself wearing the Orange & Blue after being traded to the Mets for Robert Person before the start of the 1997 season. This is when the Mets coaching staff encouraged Olerud to revert to his natural approach at the plate and start to use all parts of the diamond.

It paid off in 1998, the big yet soft spoken first baseman with a smooth stroke and a slick glove, set a New York Mets franchise record when he finished the year batting .354, topping a record held by legendary Mets outfielder Cleon Jones originally set in 1969. Olerud also set the Mets on-base percentage record at .447 that same season.

Unfortunately, Olerud would fall short to Colorado Rockies’ great Larry Walker by 9 points as Walker would eventually win the batting title with a .363 average during that ’98 season.

Olerud, a Washington state native would eventually sign with the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2000 season however his three seasons with the New York Mets should never go forgotten. Quiet… but one of the best leaders to don the uniform.

Also read: #FlashbackFriday Mets Edition: Edgardo Alfonzo goes 6-6 vs Astros

#FlashbackFriday Mets Edition: Edgardo Alfonzo goes 6-6 vs Astros

On August 30th, 1999, the Mets delivered a whoopin’ to the Astros in a 17-1 contest in which Mets starter Masato Yoshii picked up the W. A legend in the eyes on many fans, Alfonzo started the game off by homering off of a hanging curveball by Astros starter Shane Reynolds. It would go down as Alfonzo’s 21st home run of the year.

After a single in his next at-bat off of Reynolds, Alfonzo would go deep for the 22nd time of the season in the fourth, this time off of reliever Brian Williams. The home run was a 2-run bomb that was laced into the second deck of the Astrodome, driving in Rickey Henderson, the greatest lead-off hitter ever to play the game.

Astros pitcher Sean Bergman then gave up Iggy’s third home run of the game, 23rd of the season, in the sixth inninng. The Venezuelan native Alfonzo later lined a singled into left in the 8th inning for his fifth hit of the game, the hit would come off of Bergman.

Edgardo got his final knock in the 9th inning off of Trevor Williams with Todd Pratt and Benny Agbayani on first and second. Alfonzo would proceed to classically double to right field as he tends to do, driving in back-up catcher Todd Pratt.

That evening, the Mets number 2 hitter tied a club record with most home runs in a game, the last to do it… Gary Carter, ’85. He also set a club record with 16 total bases, eclipsing Darryll Strawberry, also in ’85.

Now as a 35 year old fan, this was one of the greatest games I’ve watched and Alfonzo goes down as my favorite second baseman to don the Orange & Blue. Watching him go opposite field was a thing of art and Fonzie was one bad ass artist when it came to creating a masterpiece.

#FlashbackFriday: This Date in Mets History

  • Let’s take a look at some of the transactions and life events that involved Mets and former Mets.
    • Infamous yet elite defensive shortstop Rey Ordoñez signs a deal with the Mets in 1994.
    • Left Handed Reliever Rich Rodriguez signed as a Free Agent in 2000.
    • Elmer Dessens left the Mets to sign with the San Francisco Giants in 2011.
    • The Mets signed Brandon Lyon in 2013.
    • Tyler Clippard elected to sign with the Diamondbacks over the Mets in 2016.
    • Mike Bishop died on this date in 2005. R.I.P.

    #FlashbackFriday Mets Edition: The Mets make history in Japan

    In the year 2000, sports history was made after the first official Major League Baseball game was played outside of North America. The Mets would play the Cubs in a two game series in the Tokyo Dome in Japan, where each team alternated home field advantage between the two game set.

    The Tokyo Dome was sold out with all 55,000 seats being occupied with the fans blowing the lid off of the stadium.

    Mets Lineup

    1. Rickey Henderson -LF

    2. Darryl Hamilton – CF

    3. Edgardo Alfonzo – 2B

    4. Mike Piazza – C

    5. Robin Ventura -3B

    6. Derek Bell – RF

    7. Todd Zeile – 1B

    8. Rey Ordonez – SS

    Mike Hampton, the former 20 game winner with Houston made his debut in a Mets uniform, after joining the Mets the previous off-season with right fielder Derek Bell for the outfield speed demon Roger Cedeno and a young pitching prospect by the name of Octavio Dotel.

    Hampton was known for being a nimble little left handed pitcher who knew how to get outs by working the corners and with his above average change up that had the tendency to keep the opposition off-balance.

    Hampton would go ahead and pick up his first loss as a Met in this historical game to the Cubs, 5-3. The former Astro would end up only going 5 innings while walking an outstanding 9 Cubs and only striking out one. Darryll Hamilton would hit a sacrifice fly driving in Rey Ordonez off of Jon Lieber to give the Mets their first run in Tokyo, Japan.

    In the bottom half of the 8th, Mets legend Mike Piazza hit a 2-run blast, cutting into the Cubs lead. However, it wasn’t nearly enough to give the team the victory. The game was eventually protested due to Jeff Huson being listed as a reserve for the Cubs, however Huson was not on the Cubs 25-man roster.

    Bobby Valentine was quoted saying “I didn’t really want to do it, I didn’t want to protest over such a silly thing, but the game is a major investment for the team and a win is a win”. Following the game’s finish, Valentine withdrew his protest as he came to realize that Jeff Reed was listed on the roster twice and Huson was accidentally left off causing some confusion.

    Rick Reed would win game two of the monumental series with the help from a Benny Agbayani Grand Slam.

    #ThrowbackThursday Mets Edition: Pat Mahomes (Exclusive Interview)

    By Gem Tablak

    Recently I was able to reach out to former Met, Pat Mahomes, who was nice enough to answer some questions for us Mets Junkies that just can’t seem to get enough.

    Before we get into the interview with Mr. Mahomes, let’s take a look at his career before getting to New York.

    Mahomes was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 6th round of the 1988 draft. He made his MLB debut on April 12th in 1992 against a heavy hitting Texas Rangers club going 6 innings in a no decision.

    After a few rough years in Minnesota & even 1 in Boston, Mahomes opted to play in Japan during the 1997 & 1998 seasons. He suited up for the Yokohama BayStars during his time in Japan.

    In 99, he was able to strike a deal with the Mets where he eventually ended the season with an 8-0 record, helping the Mets advance into the Playoffs via the Wild Card.

    He eventually only pitched 2 seasons (1999 & 2000) with the Mets where he had an impressive 13-3 record pitching over 150 innings

    For me personally, I was a big fan of Mahomes. He always seemed to come into the game when the Mets were pressed on pitching & he delivered while pitching over his 2 years with the Mets. He always seemed to have the demeanor that the team came first & he was ready to take the ball whenever the Mets needed him to.

    Interview with Pat Mahomes 

    MetsJunkies: Firstly I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us Mets Junkies that can never get enough. As well as Congratulations with Patrick Mahomes II unbelievable college success & we definitely wish him the best in his career.

    MetsJunkies: How did you go from pitching in Japan in 1998 to receiving a contract from the Mets before the 99 season?
    Pat Mahomes: Spent a year and a half there. We won the Japan series and I was ready to come home. My agent talked to the Mets and I liked the fit

    MetsJunkies: What was it like when you came back from Japan? Was there a lot pressure on you or did you feel you’ve already ran the gauntlet?

    Pat Mahomes: Not really pressure. I knew I had to bring my A game and what better place than New York

    MetsJunkies: Late in 1999, you ended off the season going 8-0 helping the Mets to play offs, how did it feel to be such a big contribution & part of the pen down the stretch run?

    Pat Mahomes: It was a blast. A great team all around. We should’ve won it all

    MetsJunkies: Who was your favorite player to room with while traveling & why?

    Pat Mahomes: No roommate but I was with my hero Rickey Henderson everyday

    MetsJunkies: Was there a prankster of the team?

    Pat Mahomes: Definitely Kurt Abbot

    MetsJunkies: Can you give us a scouting report of yourself in hindsight?

    Pat Mahomes: A gunslinger and a pitcher who was willing to do whatever had to be done to win. I kept the clubhouse loose

    MetsJunkies: Do you have a favorite moment as a Met?

    Pat Mahomes: Probably the game in the playoffs when Pratt hit the game winning HR

    MetsJunkies: Congratulations with young Patrick II’s success, I’m not very much into college football but I happened to flip a game on just in time to watch him sling something like a 65 yard pass. His athleticism probably doesn’t surprise you but is there an aspect to his game that surprised you & caught you off guard, in a good way of course.

    Pat Mahomes: How quick he picked up the position

    MetsJunkies: Can we get a scouting report on your son Patrick II?

    Pat Mahomes: Gamer. Eager to learn and loves to compete. Can make all the throws and is passionate about the game. Lays it on the line every game

    On behalf of the Mets Junkies website, Mr. Mahomes it’s an honor to just be able to speak with. I honestly enjoyed watching you in Mets Orange & Blue, sir. Thank you for taking time away from your schedule to answer questions for us Mets Junkies.

    Also read: #MetsCrushMonday: Patrick Mahomes II